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Archive for October 2012

A Word A Day — phantasm

 

Good afternoon, Netizens…

 

October 31, 2012

Word of the Day


  

  • phantasm

  • audio pronunciation

  • \FAN-taz-um\

  • DEFINITION

  •  

noun

1

a : a product of fantasy: as b : delusive appearance: illusion c : ghost, specter d : a figment of the imagination

2

: a mental representation of a real object

  • EXAMPLES

  •  

The old mansion, which according to local legend is inhabited by the phantasm of an 18th-century resident, is the perfect location for a Halloween haunted house.

“Like the railroads, the cattle industry was a creature of finance, a phantasm of numbers and calculations so enticing and so disconnected from any underlying reality that numbers ceased to be representations and became their own world.” — From Richard White's 2011 book Railroaded: The Transcontinentals and the Making of Modern America

  • DID YOU KNOW?

  •  

The root “phan” comes from Greek verbs that mean “to appear or seem” or “to present to the mind.” Does “phan” bring to your mind any other English words, in addition to “phantasm”? Indeed, this root appears in several English words that have to do with the way things seem or appear rather than the way they really are. “Phantasmagoria” and “diaphanous” are examples. Also from this root are words such as “fanciful” and “fantasy,” in which the imagination plays an important part.

From Merriam-Webster Online at www.Merriam-Webster.com.

 

Dave

A Word A Day — mawkish

Good morning, Netizens,,.

October 30, 2012

Word of the Day

  • mawkish
  • audio pronunciation
  • \MAW-kish\
  • DEFINITION
  •  

adjective

1
: having a weak often unpleasant taste
2
: marked by sickly sentimentality : sad or romantic in a foolish or exaggerated way
  • EXAMPLES
  •  

Tessa preferred to give out humorous greeting cards to her friends as opposed to the mawkish ones that were supposed to make them cry.

“Although [the Bee Gees] harmonized beautifully, they had none of the Fab Four's cheekiness or verbal cleverness. In contrast to the Beatles, their ballad-heavy music was often mawkish.” — From Alice Echols' 2011 book Hot Stuff: Disco and the Remaking of American Culture

  • DID YOU KNOW?
  •  

The etymology of “mawkish” really opens up a can of worms—or, more properly, maggots. The “mawk” of “mawkish” derives from Middle English “mawke,” which means “maggot.” “Mawke,” in its turn, developed from the Old Norse word “mathkr,” which had the same meaning as its descendant. Although “mawkish” literally means “maggoty,” since at least the 17th century English speakers have eschewed its decaying carcass implications and used it figuratively instead. As one language writer put it, “Time has treated 'mawkish' gently: the wormy stench and corruption of its primal state were forgotten and 'mawkish' became sickly in a weak sort of way instead of repulsive and revolting.”

From Merriam-Webster Online at www.Merriam-Webster.com.

Dave

A Word A Day — dissociate

October 29, 2012

Word of the Day

  • dissociate
  • audio pronunciation
  • \dih-SOH-shee-ayt\
  • DEFINITION
  •  

verb

: disconnect, disunite
  • EXAMPLES
  •  

Although both politicians are members of the same party, the Senator is trying to dissociate herself from the unpopular governor.

“It's not easy to go back to the place where you became an adult. You can't dissociate yourself from the angst, the mistakes, the naïveté.” — From an article by Danielle Pergament in The New York Times, September 30, 2012

  • DID YOU KNOW?
  •  

“Dissociate” and its synonym “disassociate” can both mean “to separate from association or union with another.” “Associate” is from Latin “ad-,” meaning “to,” and “sociare,” meaning “to join.” “Dis-” means “do the opposite of.” So both “dissociate” and “disassociate” indicate severing that which is united, but some commentators argue that “disassociate” is illogical because it indicates separating and uniting simultaneously. “Dissociate” is slightly older, dating from 1582; “disassociate” dates from 1603. “Dissociate” is recommended by a number of commentators on the ground that it is shorter, which it is by a grand total of two letters—not the firmest ground for an endorsement. Both words are in current good use, but “disassociate” is used more often in the U.S.

From Merriam-Webster Online at www.Merriam-Webster.com.

 

Dave

A Word A Day — ad hominem

Good afternoon, Netizens…

 

October 28, 2012

Word of the Day


  

  • ad hominem

  • audio pronunciation

  • \ad-HAH-muh-nem\

  • DEFINITION

  •  

adjective

1

: appealing to feelings or prejudices rather than intellect

2

: marked by or being an attack on an opponent's character rather than by an answer to the contentions made

  • EXAMPLES

  •  

The governor's only response to the criticism of his new policy was to launch an ad hominem attack against those doing the criticizing.

“This democratization of the online media comment world results in both a lot of angry, nasty and downright insulting ad hominem attacks, followed quickly by ad hominem attacks by email commentators on each other that make for salty and entertaining, if not particularly edifying, reading.” — From an editorial by Richard Hermann in the Daily Messenger (Canandaigua, New York), August 30, 2012

  • DID YOU KNOW?

  •  

“Ad hominem” literally means “to the person” in New Latin (Latin as first used in post-medieval texts). In centuries past, this adjective usually modified “argument.” An “argument ad hominem” (or “argumentum ad hominem,” to use the full New Latin phrase) was a valid method of persuasion by which a person took advantage of his or her opponent's interests or feelings in a debate, instead of just sticking to general principles. The newer sense of “ad hominem,” which suggests an attack on an opponent's character instead of his or her argument, appeared only in the last century, but it is the sense more often heard today. The word still refers to putting personal issues above other matters, but perhaps because of its old association with “argument,” “ad hominem” has become, in effect, “against the person.”

From Merriam-Webster Online at www.Merriam-Webster.com.

 

Dave

A Word A Day — malison

Good morning, Netizens…

 

October 27, 2012

Word of the Day


  

  • malison

  • audio pronunciation

  • \MAL-uh-sun\

  • DEFINITION

  •  

noun

: curse, malediction

  • EXAMPLES

  •  

“When I see him again he shall have the rough side of my tongue and my malison besides.” — From Henry Gilbert's 1912 book Robin Hood and the Men of the Greenwood

“To add insult to injury he preferred to launch a malison of hatred and execration….” —From a letter by Raymond Ellis to the Belfast Telegraph, August 24, 2001

  • DID YOU KNOW?

  •  

“Malison” is still hanging on after being around for eight centuries, but it appears to have suffered the curse of time. Though “malison” still sees occasional use, it is no longer as common as it was in days of yore. Rather, it has been largely supplanted by its younger cousin “malediction.” “Malison” and “malediction” are both descendants of the Late Latin word “maledictio,” itself from “maledicere,” meaning “to curse.” “Maledicere” in turn traces back to Latin “male,” meaning “badly,” and “dicere,” meaning “to speak or say.”

From Merriam-Webster Online at www.Merriam-Webster.com.

 

Dave

A Word A Day — immure

 

Good morning, Netizens…

 

October 26, 2012

Word of the Day


  

  • immure

  • audio pronunciation

  • \ih-MYOOR\

  • DEFINITION

  •  

verb

1

a : to enclose within or as if within walls b : imprison

2

: to build into a wall; especially : to entomb in a wall

  • EXAMPLES

  •  

Scientists at the remote research station were immured by the frozen wastelands that surrounded them.

“Rather, what fairy tales obsessively conjure up is a world of mutability, in which things and people are not immured in their nature. The frog becomes a prince, the wolf becomes a grandmother, the little mermaid becomes a woman, the beast becomes a handsome man, the 12 brothers become a flock of ravens.” — From a book review by Adam Kirsch in Prospect, August 23, 2012

  • DID YOU KNOW?

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Like “mural,” “immure” comes from “murus,” a Latin noun that means “wall.” “Immurare,” a Medieval Latin verb, was formed from “murus” and the prefix “in-” (meaning “in” or “within”). “Immure,” which first appeared in English in the late 16th century, literally means “to wall in” or “to enclose with a wall,” but it has extended meanings as well. In addition to senses meaning “imprison” and “entomb,” the word sometimes has broader applications, essentially meaning “to shut in” or “to confine.” One might remark, for example, that a very studious acquaintance spends most of her time “immured in the library” or that a withdrawn teenager “immures himself in his bedroom every night.”

From Merriam-Webster Online at www.Merriam-Webster.com.

 

Dave

Rape is something God intended…

 

Good morning, Netizens…

 

Picture: Richard Mourdock

 

In May of 2012, Richard Mourdock became the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in Indiana after winning 61% of the vote and 89 of 92 counties in the Republican primary.  He is running for the U.S. Senate to challenge the big-spenders in both parties and will make balancing our federal budget and reducing our $15 trillion national debt his top priority. Aside from that, what made Murdock a household name?

 

Republican Senate candidate Richard Mourdock ignited controversy when he said that pregnancies resulting from rape are “something that God intended to happen” during the final Indiana Senate debate on Tuesday evening. The president's campaign denounced the remarks earlier Wednesday, calling the comments “outrageous and demeaning to women.” Even Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said Wednesday night he will no longer support Richard Mourdock, unless the Indiana Senate candidate apologizes for his recent comments on rape.

 

Mourdock lit up the airwaves with his comments about rape and has not, to date, withdrawn his statement.

 

In the meantime, Presidential contender Mitt Romney faces mounting pressure from Democrats to withdraw his endorsement of Mourdock and have a TV ad he starred in for the Indiana state treasurer removed from the airwaves.

 

President's Barack Obama denounced the remarks earlier Wednesday in an interview on the Jay Leno Show, calling the comments “outrageous and demeaning to women.”

 

The president also said that the remarks show that decisions on women's health issues shouldn't be left just to men. I could not agree more.

 

Of course, your opinion may differ.

 

Dave

A Word A Day — enigmatic

 

Good morning, Netizens…

 

October 25, 2012

Word of the Day


  

  • enigmatic

  • audio pronunciation

  • \en-ig-MAT-ik\

  • DEFINITION

  •  

adjective

: of, relating to, or resembling an enigma : mysterious

  • EXAMPLES

  •  

When Rolf asked her where she had been, Tianna just gave him an enigmatic smile and answered, “Oh, here and there.”

“Chris Marker, who died earlier this year at 91, was an enigmatic figure, reluctant to be photographed and prone to biographical embellishment.” — From an article by A.O. Scott in the New York Times, September 26, 2012

  • DID YOU KNOW?

  •  

When it comes to things that aren't clearly understandable, you have a wide range of word choices, including “dark,” “enigmatic,” “cryptic,” and “equivocal.” Of these, “dark” is the most sinister, implying an imperfect or clouded revelation, often with ominous overtones. “Enigmatic” emphasizes a puzzling, mystifying quality, whereas “cryptic” implies a purposely concealed meaning. “Equivocal” is the best choice for language that is left open to differing interpretations with the intention of deceiving or evading.

From Merriam-Webster Online at www.Merriam-Webster.com.

 

Dave

Solar flare erupts yesterday…

Good morning, Netizens…

Our sun is getting more and more active when it comes to sunspots recently according to scientists who study our star's activities. This activity naturally waxes and wanes on an 11-year weather pattern. The sun's current cycle is called Solar Cycle 24 and is expected to last through 2013.

The sun unleased a powerful solar flare late Monday (Oct. 22), releasing waves of radiation into space that have already caused a short radio blackout on Earth, although few people in the news media made mention of radio outages or other sidereal anomalies.

The flare erupted from the sunspot AR 11598 (short for Active Region 11598), and reached peak brightness at 11:22 p.m. EDT (0322 GMT this morning, Oct. 23), according to scientists working on NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), a space telescope that constantly monitors the sun with high-definition cameras. It ranked as an X1.8 solar flare, one of the strongest types of solar flares, according to the U.S. Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) run by NOAA and the National Weather Service.

 Solar flares often release bubbles of charged plasma (called coronal mass ejections) into space that, when they impact Earth, can cause geomagnetic storms that disrupt radio communications, the Internet and power grids and create especially beautiful displays of the northern and southern lights (auroras). This flare, however, did not unleash a coronal mass ejection, so it was not predicted to cause disruption on Earth and no special auroras. Its powerful radiation was enough, though, to briefly disrupt radios here last night.

Various theoreticians, however, often speak of potential giant sunspots in the future that might cause all kinds of problems; even serious scientists say such super solar flares could occur. However, scientists have not been able to predict earthquakes yet, much less when the next solar flare of gigantic proportions will take place. So all we can really do is wait on Mother Nature and perhaps keep our Tin Hats handy.

 

Dave

A Word A Day — demiurge

Good morning, Netizens…

 

October 24, 2012

Word of the Day


  

  • demiurge

  • audio pronunciation

  • \DEM-ee-erj\

  • DEFINITION

  •  

noun

: one that is an autonomous creative force or decisive power

  • EXAMPLES

  •  

The powerfully talented singer-songwriter-producer has been described by at least one music-industry insider as a “demiurge.”

“A noisy group of video-game critics and theoreticians laments the rise of story in games. Games, in one version of this view, are best exemplified as total play, wherein the player is an immaterial demiurge and the only 'narrative' is what is anecdotally generated during play.” — From Tom Bissell's 2011 book Extra Lives: Why Video Games Matter

  • DID YOU KNOW?

  •  

In the Platonic school of philosophy, the Demiurge is a deity who fashions the physical world in the light of eternal ideas. In the Timaeus, Plato credits the Demiurge with taking preexisting materials of chaos and arranging them in accordance with the models of eternal forms. Nowadays the word “demiurge” can refer to the individual or group chiefly responsible for a creative idea, as in “the demiurge behind the new hit TV show.” “Demiurge” derives via Late Latin from Greek “dēmiourgos,” meaning “artisan” or “one with special skill.” The “demi-” part of the word comes from the Greek noun “dēmos,” meaning “people”; the second part comes from the word for worker, “ergon.”

From Merriam-Webster Online at www.Merriam-Webster.com.

 

Dave

A Word A Day — smashmouth

Good morning Netizens…

October 23, 2012

Word of the Day


  

  • smashmouth

  • audio pronunciation

  • \SMASH-mouth\

  • DEFINITION

  •  

adjective

: characterized by brute force without finesse

  • EXAMPLES

  •  

Monday night's game, between two teams known for their hard-hitting, aggressive styles, promises to be entertaining if you like smashmouth football.

“The Tigers earned the win behind a smashmouth rushing attack and a passing game that was effective when it needed to be.” — From an article by sportswriter Kyle Kendrick in The Ponca City News (Oklahoma), September 23, 2012

  • DID YOU KNOW?

  •  

“Smashmouth” crashed its way into the English language during the 1984 football season to describe the brutally hard-hitting play that is characteristic of the game. It has since been used to describe similar physicality in other contact sports, such as hockey and basketball, and has even forced its way out of the realm of sports into politics; we’ve been using it to describe hardball tactics in politics since the 1984 U.S. presidential election. However, this political application of “smashmouth” has yet to make it into the end zone. It occurs too rarely in English to merit its own sense in the dictionary.

From Merriam-Webster Online at www.Merriam-Webster.com.

 

Dave

Marty Hibbs has passed away today…

 

Good evening, Netizens…

It's about the waters, actually.

In our shared lives together the late John King, a writer and friend to myself and many others, often wrote and spoke eloquently about life along the Lochsa River in Idaho, and how ephemeral and moving the life along the river was for himself and others.

When I heard the news this morning that my friend of many years, Marty Hibbs had passed away today at Scared Heart Hospital, I could not help but remember those long conversations with John and Marty at The Pancake House which was once on Francis in North Spokane.

In the huge chasm that was left behind after Marty's demise in addition to having a broken heart with the loss of yet another old friend has also come the blunt vision that I no longer have anyone with which to talk about the running waters of the Lochsa and Clearwater Rivers, save perhaps my wife. For it is there, along the banks of the Clearwater, beneath the bridge in Kamiah, is where Suzie and I scattered the ashes of our late infant daughter early one summer morning many years ago. That, too, was a moment of terrible sorrow.

So as Marty is now with the angels and once more with his late wife, Hallie, perhaps if you go wandering down along the Lochsa or Clearwater Rivers some sun-dappled morning in Idaho, you may by chance encounter a thoughtful and soft-spoken pair of spirits wandering along the water's edge. If so, please tell them I miss them both.

Rest in Peace Marty.

Dave

 

A Word A Day — extemporize

 

Good morning, Netizens…

 

October 22, 2012

Word of the Day


  

  • extemporize

  • audio pronunciation

  • \ik-STEMP-puh-ryze\

  • DEFINITION

  •  

verb

1

: improvise

2

: to get along in a makeshift manner

  • EXAMPLES

  •  

Although she was caught off-guard by the award, Sue managed to extemporize a speech thanking her entire team for their hard work.

  • DID YOU KNOW?

  •  

“Extemporize” means to say or do something on the spur of the moment, an appropriate meaning given the word's history. “Extemporize” was coined by adding the suffix “-ize” to Latin “ex tempore,” meaning “instantaneously” or “on the spur of the moment.” “Ex tempore,” in turn, was formed by combining “ex” and a form of the noun “tempus,” meaning “time.” Incidentally, “ex tempore” was also borrowed wholesale into English (where it means “extemporaneously”). Other descendents of Latin “ex tempore” include the now rare “extemporal” and “extemporary” (both synonyms of “extemporaneous”), and, as you have no doubt guessed by now, “extemporaneous” itself.

From Merriam-Webster Online at www.Merriam-Webster.com.

 

Dave

A Word A Day — abide

 

Good afternoon Netizens…

 

 

October 21, 2012

Word of the Day


  

  • abide

  • audio pronunciation

  • \uh-BYDE\

  • DEFINITION

  •  

verb

1

: to endure, tolerate, or accept

2

: to remain stable or fixed in a state

3

: to continue in a place

  • EXAMPLES

  •  

Susan has been a vegetarian for years and can no longer abide even the smell of cooked meat.

“Linen suits have a lot going for them, but if you can't abide all that wrinkling, a linen-wool-blend suit … looks crisp and still offers linen's cooling properties.” — From an article in Esquire, May 1, 2012

  • DID YOU KNOW?

  •  

“Abide” may sound rather old-fashioned these days. The word has been around since before the 12th century, but it is a bit rare now, except in certain specialized uses. Even more archaic to our modern ear is “abidden,” the original past participle of “abide.” Today, both the past and the past participle of “abide” are served by either “abode” or “abided,” with “abided” being the more frequent choice. “Abide” turns up often in the phrase “can't (or couldn't) abide.” The expression “abide by,” which means “to conform to” or “to acquiesce in,” is also common. Related terms include the participial adjective “abiding” (which means “enduring” or “continuing,” as in “an abiding interest in nature”), the noun “abidance” (“continuance” or “compliance”), and the noun “abode” (“residence”).

From Merriam-Webster Online at www.Merriam-Webster.com.

Undecided or decided voters…

 

Good morning, Netizens…

 

If the Barack Obama that showed up for the second Presidential Debate had shown up on the first debate, according to David Horsey, the Republican Party might be turning their thoughts to 2016 and arguing over how they got tricked into nominating a loser two elections in a row, or so says David Horsey, cartoonist.

 

Some think Obama clearly won the debate — early polls by CNN and CBS gave Obama the edge — some call it a draw, but few people beyond the walls of the Fox News studio are contending that Romney was the winner. Thus the third and final debate on Monday is now fired up as the Grand Finale to what has been a long and tortured campaign. It should be a knockdown drag-out fight between two candidates who do not particularly like one another, each trying to go for the knockout punch.

 

It all seems to come around to the committed voters as opposed to those uncommitted voters. The former seem to have an opinion of where they stand while the latter who seemingly have a vague and uninformed feelings and do not have a clear consensus of whom they believe. What really surprised me was that the Salt Lake Tribune did not endorse Romney, despite his once being a favored son.

 

For example, there is the matter of Romney's Five-Point Economic Plan so highly-favored by undecided voters. What plan? Romney's plan seems more aspiration and hyperbole than a dynamic plan for future growth.

 

Horsey believes the election is going to go down to the last hour on election day. Were I given the choice between the two candidates, we will need voters who are as tough and smart as the candidates should be, not idiots who cannot decide what they know or want.

 

Of course, your opinions may differ.

 

Dave

A Word A Day — uncanny

 

Good morning, Netizens…

 

 

October 20, 2012

Word of the Day


  

  • uncanny

  • audio pronunciation

  • \un-KAN-ee\

  • DEFINITION

  •  

adjective

1

: eerie, mysterious

2

: being beyond what is normal or expected

  • EXAMPLES

  •  

Our waiter had an uncanny resemblance to the creepy villain in the film we had just seen.

“When Sherlock Holmes walks into a crime scene, he displays the uncanny ability to deduce how the crime unfolded: where the criminal entered, how the victim was murdered, what weapons were used, and so on.” — From an article by Jimmy Stamp on Smithsonian.com's Design Decoded blog, August 14, 2012

  • DID YOU KNOW?

  •  

“Weird” and “eerie” are synonyms of “uncanny,” but there are subtle differences in the meanings of the three words. “Weird” may be used to describe something that is generally strange or out of the ordinary. “Eerie” suggests an uneasy or fearful consciousness that some kind of mysterious and malign powers are at work, while “uncanny,” which debuted in the 18th century, implies disquieting strangeness or mysteriousness. English also has a word “canny,” but “canny” and “uncanny” should not be interpreted as opposites. “Canny,” which first appeared in English in the 16th century, means “clever,” “shrewd” or “prudent,” as in “a canny lawyer” or “a canny investment.”

From Merriam-Webster Online at www.Merriam-Webster.com.

 

Dave

A Word A Day — hew

Good morning, Netizens…

October 19, 2012

Word of the Day


  

  • hew

  • audio pronunciation

  • \HYOO\

  • DEFINITION

  •  

verb

1

: to cut or fell with blows (as of an ax)

2

: to give shape to with or as if with an ax

3

: to conform or to adhere

  • EXAMPLES

  •  

Josh was never one to hew to policies with which he disagreed.

“Typically at this point on the political calendar, a sitting vice president scrupulously downplays his interest in ascending to the top job…. Vice presidents as varied as Walter Mondale, George H.W. Bush, and Al Gore all gamely hewed to this script.” — From an article by Noam Scheiber in The New Republic, August 24, 2012

  • DID YOU KNOW?

  •  

“Hew” is a strong, simple word of Anglo-Saxon descent. It can suggest actual ax-wielding, or it can be figurative: “If … our ambition hews and shapes [our] new relations, their virtue escapes, as strawberries lose their flavor in garden-beds” (Ralph Waldo Emerson). It's easy to see how the figurative “shape” sense of “hew” developed from the literal hacking sense, but what does chopping have to do with adhering and conforming? That sense first appeared in the late 1800s in the phrase “hew to the line.” The “hew line” is a line marked along the length of a log indicating where to chop in order to shape a beam. “Hewing to the line,” literally, is cutting along the mark—adhering to it—until the side of the log is squared.

From Merriam-Webster Online at www.Merriam-Webster.com.

 

Dave

A Word A Day — worldly-wise

Good morning, Netizens…

 

October 18, 2012

Word of the Day


  

  • worldly-wise

  • audio pronunciation

  • \WERLD-wee-wyze\

  • DEFINITION

  •  

adjective

: possessing a practical and often shrewd understanding of human affairs

  • EXAMPLES

  •  

The interns' supervisor addressed the group, saying “We don't expect our interns to be worldly-wise—we expect them to be conscientious, hardworking, and committed to learning how work in a small non-profit is done.”

“His supposed ruthlessness is the perfect antidote to that greatest of sins for the worldly-wise—naïveté.” — From Miles J. Unger's 2011 book Machiavelli: A Biography

  • DID YOU KNOW?

  •  

“Worldly-wise” is one of a handful of compound adjectives formed from the word “wise” (“having wisdom or knowledge”). “Penny-wise” (from the phrase “penny-wise and pound-foolish“) is a good word for describing someone who is good with only small sums or matters. “Weather-wise” can describe a competent meteorologist or someone who is competent in a different kind of forecasting: that of changes in opinion or feeling. These adjectives aren't especially common, but they do see occasional use. Even less common is “air-wise,” which can be applied to people skilled in aviation. And if you master these words and feel the wiser for it, you may consider yourself “self-wise”—that is, wise in your own estimation.

From Merriam-Webster Online at www.Merriam-Webster.com.

A Word A Day — furlong

Good morning, Netizens…

 

October 17, 2012

Word of the Day

 

  • audio pronunciation

  •  

     

  • \FER-lawng\

  •  

    • DEFINITION

    •  

    noun

    : a unit of distance equal to 220 yards (about 201 meters)

    • EXAMPLES

    •  

    “They tramped on again. But they had not gone more than a furlong when the storm returned with fresh fury.” — From J.R.R. Tolkien's 1954 book The Fellowship of the Ring

    “Trained by Ben Perkins Jr. and ridden by Pablo Fragoso, the 3-year-old colt ran the six furlongs on a fast track in 1:11 and paid $13.20, $4.80 and $3.40.” — From an article from The Associated Press, July 14, 2012

    • DID YOU KNOW?

    •  

    “Furlong” is an English original and can be traced back to Old English “furlang,” a combination of the noun “furh” (“furrow”) and the adjective “lang” (“long”). Though now standardized as a length of 220 yards (or 1/8th of a mile), the furlong was originally defined less precisely as the length of a furrow in a cultivated field. This length was equal to the long side of an acre—an area originally defined as the amount of arable land that could be plowed by a yoke of oxen in a day, but later standardized as an area measuring 220 yards (one furlong) by 22 yards, and now defined as any area measuring 4,840 square yards. In contemporary usage, “furlong” is often encountered in references to horse racing.

    From Merriam-Webster Online at www.Merriam-Webster.com.

     

    Dave

    A Word A Day — surfeit

    October 16, 2012

    Word of the Day

    • surfeit
    • audio pronunciation
    • \SER-fut\
    • DEFINITION
    •  

    noun

    1
    : an overabundant supply : excess
    2
    : an intemperate or immoderate indulgence in something (as food or drink)
    3
    : disgust caused by excess
    • EXAMPLES
    •  

    “A surfeit of the sweetest things / The deepest loathing to the stomach brings….” — From William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, 1596

    “Every day, we're bombarded by options; the surfeit of decisions we don't really need to make can be overwhelming.” — From a restaurant review by Tania Ballantine in Time Out, June 14, 2012

    • DID YOU KNOW?
    •  

    There is an abundance—you could almost say a surfeit—of English words that derive from the Latin “facere,” meaning “to do.” The connection to “facere” is fairly obvious for words spelled with “fic,” “fac,” or “fec,” such as “sacrifice,” “benefaction,” and “infect.” For words like “stupefy” (a modification of Latin “stupefacere”) and “hacienda” (originally, in Old Spanish and Latin, “facienda”) the “facere” factor is not so apparent. As for “surfeit,” the “c” was dropped along the path that led from Latin through Anglo-French, where “facere” became “faire” and “sur-” was added to make “surfaire,” meaning “to overdo.” The Anglo-French noun “surfet” (“excess”) entered Middle English and went through a number of spellings before settling on “surfeit.”

    From Merriam-Webster Online at www.Merriam-Webster.com.

    Marty Hibbs is in Scared Heart…

    Good afternoon, Netizens…

    I regret to inform everyone that our own Marty Hibbs is in Scared Heart Hospital Room 652 suffering from pneumonia. He is doing better from last night when he was listed as in serious but stable condition.

    If you have time please pay him a visit.

    Dave

    A Word A Day — envisage

     

    Good morning, Netizens…

     

    October 15, 2012

    Word of the Day


      

    • envisage

    • audio pronunciation

    • \in-VIZ-ij\

    • DEFINITION

    •  

    verb

    1

    : to view or regard in a certain way

    2

    : to have a mental picture of especially in advance of realization

    • EXAMPLES

    •  

    In planning out their new patio, Betty and Sherman envisaged a place where they could grill food on the barbecue and invite friends over to relax.

    “A captivating new book envisages conversations between Twain and his European philosopher counterparts Sigmund Freud, Friedrich Nietzsche and Karl Marx. In their interdisciplinary study, 'The Jester and the Sages,' three scholars take an exciting approach to explaining the literary, philosophical and moral identity of arguably contemporary Americana’s father.” — From a review by Alexander Heffner in the Kansas City Star, December 8, 2011

    • DID YOU KNOW?

    •  

    “Envisage” has been part of the English language since the 17th century. In the early 19th century, it was sometimes used with the now archaic sense of “to meet squarely” or “to confront.” By 1837, the word had developed the sense “to have a mental picture of.” In the 1920s, some usage commentators began deriding “envisage” for reasons not entirely clear, declaring it “undesirable.” Today, time and usage have won out, and “envisage” is widely used and accepted, though it is slightly formal in tone. The same can be said of its near twin “envision” (“to picture to oneself”), which has been with us since the late 19th century and is interchangeable with “envisage” in many contexts.

    From Merriam-Webster Online at www.Merriam-Webster.com.

    She’s ALIVE! She’s ALIVE!

    Good morning, Netizens…

     

    I doubt if anyone in the free world, short of Mitt Romney, knows that our own Jeanie of Spokane has been under the weather lately. However, just in the last sixty days or so, Jeanie has had both her kidneys removed by the trained malamute sled dog surgeons at Scared Heart Hospital. Despite my concern over her having this procedure done, I understand it has resolved one minor issue. She no longer has to wait in line outside the womens' restroom to pee when attending high-powered social events at the Opera House in Spokane. Of course there is that matter of having dialysis performed every few days, which I understand she uses to catch up on her reading.

     

    No sooner than she had kissed her kidneys goodbye, however, she discovered she had a malfunction of her heart, and last week she had open heart surgery. EEK! It goes to show how naive I am about such things, because I was astounded when she was released from the hospital and allowed to return home in just four days.

     

    I have since spoken to her and am pleasantly surprised she is alert and doing well, aside from still unable to lift weights, run in decathlons, or compete as an athlete. Oh, and she doesn't have a sternum quite yet. To his credit, her significant other and Chief Bodyguard, Mechanic Man, is successfully tending to various household duties, and has scarcely left her side since she first entered the House of Pain.

     

    I don't even know if she is capable of sitting down at the computer and reading this light-hearted bit of reverie, but I am delighted with her progress thus far.

     

    Dave

    A Word A Day — garniture

     

    Good morning, Netizens…

     

    October 14, 2012

    Word of the Day


      

    • garniture

    • audio pronunciation

    • \GAHR-nih-cher\

    • DEFINITION

    •  

    noun

    1

    : embellishment, trimming

    2

    : a set of decorative objects (as vases, urns, or clocks)

    • EXAMPLES

    •  

    The room was authentically furnished right down to the 16th-century garniture decorating the mantel and the wardrobe.

    “The studio was prolific, producing lamps and clock cases with matching garniture.” — From an article by Jay Moore in the Tampa Tribune (Florida), April 3, 2011

    • DID YOU KNOW?

    •  

    In Middle French, the language from which today's word was borrowed, “garniture” meant “equipment.” “Garniture” is an alteration of the Old French noun “garnesture,” which is derived from the verb “garnir,” which meant “to warn, equip, or garnish.” In fact, an Anglo-French stem of “garner,” “garniss-,” is the source of the English verb “garnish,” which in its senses of “decorate” and “embellish” shares a similar relationship to “garniture” that the verb “furnish” shares with “furniture.” “Furnish” comes from the Anglo-French “furniss-,” a stem of the verb “furnir” or “fournir,” which also gave rise to the Middle French “fourniture,” the source of the English “furniture.”

    From Merriam-Webster Online at www.Merriam-Webster.com.

     

    Dave

    A Word A Day — fecund

     

    Good morning Netizens…

     

    October 13, 2012

    Word of the Day


      

    • fecund

    • audio pronunciation

    • \FEK-und\

    • DEFINITION

    •  

    adjective

    1

    : fruitful in offspring or vegetation : prolific

    2

    : intellectually productive or inventive to a marked degree

    • EXAMPLES

    •  

    As an artist she gets most of her inspiration from nature; her daily walks in the woods are a fecund source of ideas.

    “Sea slugs that mate more than the absolute minimum necessary to retain female fertility are more fecund than slugs that mate less often, according to the study detailed Wednesday in the open-access journal PLoS ONE.” — From an article by Stephanie Pappas on NBCNews.com, August 22, 2012

    • DID YOU KNOW?

    •  

    “Fecund” and its synonyms “fruitful” and “fertile” all mean producing or capable of producing offspring or fruit—literally or figuratively. “Fecund” applies to things that yield offspring, fruit, or results in abundance or with rapidity (“a fecund herd”; “a fecund imagination”). “Fruitful” emphasizes abundance, too, and often adds the implication that the results attained are desirable or useful (“fruitful plains”; “a fruitful discussion”). “Fertile” implies the power to reproduce (“a fertile woman”) or the power to assist in reproduction, growth, or development (“fertile soil”; “a fertile climate for artists”).

    From Merriam-Webster Online at www.Merriam-Webster.com.

    A Word A Day — flotsam

    Good evening, Netizens…

    November 11, 2012

    Word of the Day

    • flotsam
    • audio pronunciation
    • \FLAHT-sum\
    • DEFINITION
    •  

    noun

    1
    : floating wreckage of a ship or its cargo; broadly : floating debris
    2
    a : miscellaneous or unimportant material b : debris, remains
    • EXAMPLES
    •  

    The young couple's apartment was adorned with the flotsam and jetsam of thrift stores and yard sales.

    “A current moves at its own pace and pushes along whatever flotsam it carries on the surface and below in a stream awash in chaos and chance.” — From an article by Dave Golowenski in The Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch, October 7, 2012

    From Merriam-Webster Online at www.Merriam-Webster.com.

     

    Dave

    A Word A Day — nuncupative

     

    Good morning, Netizens…

     

    October 12, 2012

    Word of the Day


      

    • nuncupative

    • audio pronunciation

    • \NUN-kyoo-pay-tiv\

    • DEFINITION

    •  

    adjective

    : spoken rather than written : oral

    • EXAMPLES

    •  

    On his deathbed Jacob made a nuncupative will for his son and daughter.

    “He left me a small Legacy in a nuncupative Will, as a Token of his Kindness for me.” — From The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)

    • DID YOU KNOW?

    •  

    “Nuncupative” (from Latin “nuncupare,” meaning “to name”) has been part of the English language since at least the mid-16th century, most typically appearing in legal contexts as a modifier of the noun “will.” The nuncupative will originated in Roman law, where it consisted of an oral declaration made in the presence of seven witnesses and later presented before a magistrate. Currently, nuncupative wills are allowed in some U.S. states in extreme circumstances, such as imminent peril of death from a terminal illness or from military or maritime service. Such wills are dictated orally but are usually required to be set down in writing within a statutorily specified time period, such as 30 days. Witnesses are required, though the number seven is no longer specified.

    From Merriam-Webster Online at www.Merriam-Webster.com.

    The summer-like autumn may be leaving…

     

    Good morning, Netizens…

     

    I am sick to death of what has been a long session of perfect fall weather with moderate temperatures in the 60's and 70's. What is rather frightening is that we have had no rain for over a month, leaving our grasslands and forests tinder-dry, and huge wildfires still raging in various areas throughout the state. You would have to be blind to have missed all the smoke that has filtered its way into the Inland Northwest.

     

    It appears that all this wonderful weather is about to change. If you have listened to the Weather Heads talking this morning, you already know rain is on the way, and theoretically should arrive sometime this weekend. This should be a good thing, right?

     

    You might think so, but you could be wrong.

     

    We start out with Avista Corporation's deplorable lack of electric line maintenance. It is a proven fact that, when it has been a long time since the last rainfall, the first time it rains, you see a phenomenon called “arcing over” where the dust that has accumulated on the power lines over a prolonged dry spell becomes a conductor as the first rainfall on the line allows the power to arc over from the power line to insulators, power poles and various other places. You end up losing power. Some outages may only last a few seconds; others may take hours to fix. Your luck may vary.

     

    The next place where this rainfall may bite us in our nether parts will be on our roads. All the accumulated oils and lubricants that have built up on the roadway, when coated with preliminary rainfall, becomes quite slippery, catching unaware drivers. Having experienced this phenomenon a time or two, myself, and it feels quite like you are driving on ice. You might as well be.

     

    Of course, one of the more positive aspects to the incoming rain is that, for a time, we will once again be able to breathe our air. Of course, your results may differ.

     

    Dave

    A Word A Day — rectitude

    October 11, 2012

    Word of the Day

    • rectitude
    • audio pronunciation
    • \REK-tuh-tood\
    • DEFINITION
    •  

    noun

    1
    : the quality or state of being straight
    2
    : moral integrity : righteousness
    3
    : the quality or state of being correct in judgment or procedure
    • EXAMPLES
    •  

    The speaker exhorted audience members to lead lives of unimpeachable rectitude and integrity.

    “The finance ministry will pitch India's strength as a largely domestic economy, renew its commitment to fiscal rectitude and showcase recent measures to lift sentiment to try and convince global rating firms not to downgrade the country's sovereign rating.” — From an article by Deepshikha Sikarwar in The Economic Times, September 7, 2012

    • DID YOU KNOW?
    •  

    “Rectitude” has a righteous derivation. It comes straight from the Latin noun “rectus,” which means both “right” and “straight.” “Rectitude” itself can mean either “straightness” (an early use referred to literal straightness of lines, although this sense is now rare) or “rightness” of character. “Rectus” has a number of other descendants in English, including “rectangle” (a figure with four right angles), “rectify” (“to make right”), “rectilinear” (“moving in or forming a straight line”), and even “rectus” itself (a medical term for any one of several straight muscles in the body).

    Read more at http://www.merriam-webster.com/word-of-the-day/#PYurMVAayQoGUB7V.99

    From Merriam-Webster Online at www.Merriam-Webster.com.

    A Word A Day — lenticular

    October 10, 2012

    Word of the Day

    • lenticular
    • audio pronunciation
    • \len-TIK-yuh-ler\
    • DEFINITION
    •  

    adjective

    1
    : having the shape of a double-convex lens
    2
    : of or relating to a lens
    3
    : provided with or utilizing lenticules
    • EXAMPLES
    •  

    Amateur astronomers might be interested in what the observatory markets as the “largest lenticular telescope on Earth.”

    “Recently installed in the tunnel was a lenticular motion mural consisting of 135 individual 8-inch tiles with ribbed lenses created by world renowned Boston artist Rufus Butler Seder.” — From an article by N. Kirsch in the Belleville News-Democrat (Illinois), June 24, 2012

    • DID YOU KNOW?
    •  

    “Lentil-shaped”—that's the meaning of “lenticularis,” the Latin word that gave us today's word. It's an appropriate predecessor because a double-convex lens is one that is curved on both sides, giving it a shape similar to that of a lentil. English speakers borrowed the Latin term, adapting it to “lenticular,” in the 15th century. “Lenticularis,” in turn, derives from “lenticula,” which is the source of the English word “lentil” and a diminutive of the Latin form “lent-, lens,” meaning “lentil.” You probably won't be too surprised to learn that “lent-, lens” also gave English the word “lens.”

    From Merriam-Webster Online at www.Merriam-Webster.com.

    A Word A Day — viand

    October 09, 2012

    Word of the Day

    • viand
    • audio pronunciation
    • \VYE-und\
    • DEFINITION
    •  

    noun

    1
    : an item of food; especially : a choice or tasty dish
    2
    : provisions, food
    • EXAMPLES
    •  

    “The family sat down to table, and a frugal meal of cold viands was deposited before them.” — From Thomas Hardy’s novel Tess of the d’Urbervilles, 1891

    “While living in the South's grand old Charleston, S.C., my Yankee roots still were evident but my appetite craved those rich and satisfying calorie-laden viands.” — From an article by Doris Reynolds in Naples Daily News (Florida), February 16, 2011

    • DID YOU KNOW?
    •  

    Are you someone who eats to live, or someone who lives to eat? Either way, you'll find that the etymology of “viand” reflects the close link between food and life. “Viand” entered English in the 15th century from Anglo-French (“viande” means “meat” even in modern French), and it derives ultimately from Latin “vivere,” meaning “to live.” “Vivere” is the ancestor of a number of other lively and life-giving words in English, including “victual,” “revive,” “survive,” “convivial,” and “vivacious.”

    From Merriam-Webster Online at www.Merriam-Webster.com.

    A Word A Day — illustrious

    October 08, 2012

    Word of the Day

    • illustrious
    • audio pronunciation
    • \ih-LUSS-tree-us\
    • DEFINITION
    •  

    adjective

    : notably or brilliantly outstanding because of dignity or achievements or actions : eminent
    • EXAMPLES
    •  

    During the ceremony, the illustrious star of stage and screen was presented with a lifetime achievement award.

    “Born in 1843 to a wealthy, intellectual Boston family, Marian (Clover) Hooper moved in the most illustrious circles of nineteenth-century America.” — From a book review in the New Yorker, March 19, 2012.

    • DID YOU KNOW?
    •  

    Illustrious people seem to light up everything around them. The etymology of “illustrious” makes it clear that a shining glow (both literal and figurative) has long been associated with the word. “Illustrious” ultimately derives from the Latin verb “lustrare,” which means “to purify” or “to make bright,” and which is related to the noun that gave us “luster.” At one time, “illustrious” was used in the literal sense of “shining brightly with light,” but that meaning is now considered archaic. The word is now almost exclusively used in its figurative application to describe something that stands out brilliantly, much like a bright star stands out in the sky.

    From Merriam-Webster Online at www.Merriam-Webster.com.

    Speaking of PBS…

     

    Good afternoon, Netizens…

     

    The thought that Mitt Romney wants to eliminate public television, including Big Bird and the family of Muppets sours my stomach and simply won't go away. Perhaps one of the most-compelling statements I have heard against Romney's ill-advised opinion was done originally in 1969 by the late Fred Rogers, who was speaking of his show Mr. Rogers Neighborhood from the early days of public television before a U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Communications.

     

    You may have already seen this video, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yXEuEUQIP3Q before now. If so, please forgive my intrusion. Otherwise, I encourage you to watch it. There is an entire generation of what are now adults who grew up listening to Mr. Rogers, most of whom still remember the theme song with which Fred Rogers opened his show each day.

     

    He was the gentle parent some children in our generation never had, who gave some of us a sense of values, uplifted our lives each day and gave us a sense of pride in who each of us could be. He did so without proselytizing or preaching.

     

    You have to ask yourselves what would Mitt Romney fill the void left behind once PBS is gone? Replays of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir? The News according to Moroni? The Salt Lake City Gazette? No thanks. I'll take PBS. Of course, your opinions may differ.

     

    Dave

    A Word A Day - memento

    October 07, 2012

    Word of the Day

    • memento
    • audio pronunciation
    • \muh-MEN-toh\
    • DEFINITION
    •  

    noun

    : something that serves to warn or remind; also : souvenir
    • EXAMPLES
    •  

    The attic is filled with mementos of Julie's basketball career—awards, newspaper clippings, team photographs, her old uniform.

    “All season long Michel Hazanavicius and Bérénice Bejo, the husband-and-wife writer-director and star of 'The Artist,' have been recording their adventures on the awards circuit, whipping out their smartphone … at each ceremony and red carpet. It's a memento for their kids, to show what mom and dad have been up to for the last few months.” —From an article by Melena Ryzik in the New York Times, February 23, 2012

    • DID YOU KNOW?
    •  

    “Memento” comes from the imperative form of “meminisse,” a Latin verb that literally means “to remember.” (The term “memento mori,” meaning “a reminder of mortality,” translates as “remember that you must die.”) The history of “memento” makes it clear where its spelling came from, but because a memento often helps one remember a particular moment, people occasionally spell the term “momento.” That second version is usually considered a misspelling, but it appears often enough in edited prose to have been considered acceptable for entry in Webster's Third New International Dictionary and the Oxford English Dictionary.

    From Merriam-Webster Online at www.Merriam-Webster.com.

    A Word A Day — conjecture

    October 06, 2012

    Word of the Day

    • conjecture
    • audio pronunciation
    • \kun-JEK-cher\
    • DEFINITION
    •  

    verb

    1
    : to arrive at or deduce by surmise or guesswork : guess
    2
    : to form a supposition or inference
    • EXAMPLES
    •  

    Some scientists have conjectured that the distant planet could sustain life.

    “[Kim Kardashian's] changing wardrobe, everyone conjectured, must be Kanye's influence—he's a bona fide designer these days with affinity for top models like Chanel Iman and Anja Rubik and top labels like Givenchy, Celine and Hermes.” —From an article in the Style section of The Huffington Post, August 24, 2012

    • DID YOU KNOW?
    •  

    When the noun “conjecture” entered English in the 14th century, it referred to the act of interpreting signs or omens (as for making prognostications). That sense is now obsolete, but by the 16th century both the noun and verb “conjecture” had acquired the meanings of speculation and inference that we use today. “Conjecture” derived via Middle English and Middle French from the Latin verb “conicere” (“to throw together”), a combination of “com-” (“together”) and “jacere” (“to throw”).

    From Merriam-Webster Online at www.Merriam-Webster.com.

    Big Bird for President..

    Good morning, Netizens…

     

    This morning, we have the return of cartoonist David Horsey to Community Comment, which couldn't come at a more fruitful point in historical time.

     

    After watching the debate between President Obama and Governor Mitt Romney, I have come to the conclusion that in the next debate, we should replace moderator Jim Lehrer with Sesame Street's Big Bird. I felt uncomfortable when Mitt Romney stated that, if elected President, he would cut subsidies for PBS, dumping Sesame Street, thus firing Big Bird in the process. Given the choice between four years of Romney's politics and four years of watching Sesame Street, I would take the latter, hands down.

     

    Of course, given the choice between either political candidate, including the current President of the United States, Barack Obama, I believe Big Bird might be a worthy write-in candidate, better than either political candidate. Big Bird, however, would definitely be a better moderator for the next debate between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama because, the first time Romney interrupted him, Big Bird would immediately peck the Big Mormon on his carefully-coiffed head and tell him to shut up, he'd had his say.

     

    Romney clearly rolled over moderator Jim Lehrer with seeming impunity, treating him rudely, rougher than he deserved. After all, this was Lehrer's 12th debate and, as he has already told POLITICO, his last. However, he already had made that promise once before. Furthermore in Lehrer's defense, the format of the debate, itself, had changed from a stricter debate format in which the moderator controls the flow of the discussion to a more open-ended format where the debaters are more-engaged with each other. Jim Lehrer aside, couldn't this debate format be viewed as more an exchange of talking points rather than debating the issues? It might seem so, at least to me, although your opinions may differ.

     

    However, in his style, cartoonist David Horsey watched the debate with friends, none of whom originally supported Mitt Romney, nearly all of the people in attendance gave Mitt Romney the winner's laurels in this debate. According to David Horsey, a few days before the televised debate, “Obama told a crowd that Romney is a very good debater while characterizing himself as just “OK.” Apparently, he was not just being modest.”

     

    I could not agree more that Mitt Romney won the debate, if you can call it that. However, as in nearly everything that is stated by either candidate in this pre-election gabfest, you need to deploy a comprehensive Internet fact-checker because during the debates, not everything is as it appears.

     

    Dave

    A Word A Day — devoir

    October 05, 2012

    Word of the Day

    • devoir
    • audio pronunciation
    • \duh-VWAHR\
    • DEFINITION
    •  

    noun

    1
    : duty, responsibility
    2
    : a usually formal act of civility or respect
    • EXAMPLES
    •  

    “The Grand Master, having allowed the apology of Albert Malvoisin, commanded the herald to stand forth and do his devoir.” — From Sir Walter Scott's 1819 novel Ivanhoe

    “Our feet are always faithful, never fickle. Now, don't contradict this. I don't know about yours, but my feet pursue me everywhere; they are perfectly content with their commitment to me, and I am more than grateful for their devoir.” — From an article by Jean Guerrero in the Daily Trojan, February 8, 2007

    • DID YOU KNOW?
    •  

    “Devoir” was borrowed twice, in a manner of speaking. We first borrowed it in its Anglo-French form, “dever,” back in the days of Middle English. As is so often the case when an adopted word becomes established in English, its pronunciation shifted to conform to English pronunciation standards. The French put the stress on the last syllable, but English speakers stressed the first. One hundred or so years later, some writers changed the English spelling to “devoir” to match the modern French. That French borrowing was actually pronounced like French (as well as English speakers could, anyway)—just as it is today.

    From Merriam-Webster Online at www.Merriam-Webster.com.

    A Word A Day — seriocomic

    October 04, 2012

    Word of the Day

    • seriocomic
    • audio pronunciation
    • \seer-ee-oh-KAH-mik\
    • DEFINITION
    •  

    adjective

    : having a mixture of the serious and the comic
    • EXAMPLES
    •  

    The intergenerational meal was a seriocomic affair, with the younger generation refereeing the jabs their elders hurled at one another while trying to keep the youngest generation from getting a true sense of just what was going on.

    “Inspired by actual events surrounding the visit of Britain's King George and Queen Elizabeth to the New York residence of sitting President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his wife, Eleanor, in the summer of 1939, the film is a seriocomic look at one of history's little known footnotes.” — From a movie trailer review on HollywoodOutbreak.com, September 3, 2012

    • DID YOU KNOW?
    •  

    “Seriocomic” may have a modern ring to it, but our earliest evidence of the word in print is from 1783. Another “comic” word—“heroicomic,” meaning “comic by being ludicrously noble, bold, or elevated”—is slightly older; evidence of it dates to 1756. Both words are about a century younger than our third “comic” word, “tragicomic” (“manifesting both tragic and comic aspects”), which print evidence dates to 1683. (Evidence of the variant “tragicomical,” however, dates all the way back to 1567.)

    From Merriam-Webster Online at www.Merriam-Webster.com.

    She may have a bona fide offer…

    Good evening, Netizens…,

    King County's candidate for Sheriff John Urquhart announced Tuesday morning that if he is elected to office, he will appoint former Spokane Chief of Police Anne Kirkpatrick as his chief deputy. One of my local wags immediately opined that Kirkpatrick's potential job as a model for Vanity Fair probably didn't work out for her. My sage rebuttal was that I thought Chief Kirkpatrick was considering a modeling job for the lingerie department at JC Pennys, but based upon Urquhart's statement yesterday, it appears neither one of us were right. (sigh) I had such high hopes.

     

    Former Chief Kirkpatrick retired from the frolicsome gambol with The Spokane Police Guild and settled back into her home in Seattle prior to this point in time. In the meantime, the inexorable wheels of justice simply grind onward, as the Department of Justice is now considering investigating the King County Sheriff's Department and how they investigate use-of-force complaints against deputies.

     

    I wonder if they will have any different results to this potential investigation as compared to the Spokane Police Department? However, in their favor, at least they didn't have fifty officers stand and salute one of their accused brethren, now did they?

     

    Dave

    Mother Nature’s trail…

    Good evening, Netizens…

     

    If you haven't already considered the thought, perhaps this morning would be a good time for you to dig out those nefarious red woolen long-handled union suits out of the closet where they have been hidden since last spring. That is because, if you step outside the back door this morning, you will quickly find autumn, complete with near-freezing temperatures, has arrived overnight and will be sticking around a few days.

     

    Given that tonight and tomorrow morning, temperatures in the Spokane region will drop to near-freezing temperatures, thus bringing unprepared gardening to a close for yet another year. I spoke earlier today with Rusan Green (CFO/CEO of Cutting Edge Communications) who has a quite respectable 4-5 acre garden of her own in Greenacres, and she announced that she already had her first killing frost, and that most of her garden was nipped heavily by the frost this morning.

     

    As I sat in front of the Virtual Ballroom this afternoon, I chanced to encounter Mother Nature, herself, strolling among the various plants, shrubs and trees in the atrium leading to the ballroom. She was holding a painter's palette in one hand, speculatively looking at the plants in our virtual garden, and humming softly to herself. It would seem to me that she is preparing to paint the garden in the frolicsome colors of autumn, as summer finally begins to fade softly into fall once again.

     

    Now if we can just please get her to dispense some rain our way, preferably not the wretchedly noxious white stuff, perhaps we can put some of the summer fires out once and for all.

     

    Dave

    A Word A Day — placate

    October 03, 2012

    Word of the Day

    • placate
    • audio pronunciation
    • \PLAY-kayt\
    • DEFINITION
    •  

    verb

    : to soothe or mollify especially by concessions : to calm the anger or bitterness of
    • EXAMPLES
    •  

    In an effort to placate the angry customer, the store manager replaced the defective product with a more expensive model at no extra charge.

    “He said he supported the septic tank tax but voted against it to placate the townships in his district.” — From an editorial in The Record-Eagle (Traverse City, Michigan), August 22, 2012

    • DID YOU KNOW?
    •  

    The earliest documented uses of “placate” in English date from the late 17th century. The word is derived from Latin “placatus,” the past participle of “placare,” and even after more than 300 years in English, it still carries the basic meaning of its Latin ancestor: “to soothe” or “to appease.” Other “placare” descendants in English are “implacable” (meaning “not easily soothed or satisfied”) and “placation” (“the act of soothing or appeasing”). Even “please” itself, derived from Latin “placēre” (“to please”), is a distant relative of “placate.”

    From Merriam-Webster Online at www.Merriam-Webster.com.

    If you leave a hole open, they will tax it…

    Good evening, Netizens…

     

    I read Jonathan Brunt's piece this morning titled “City Council raises hotel tax to back PFD” and nearly had a cow. Supporters of the expansion of the Spokane Convention Center and Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena promised the taxpayers there would be no new taxes raised or created to support the $65 million expansion project. Since when did I start believing any utterance muttered by City Hall?

     

    The minute we received the dandy political ad extolling the virtue of raising the sales and lodging taxes to pay for these expansion projects, and despite the emphasis this ad placed on “no new taxes”, I assumed the position, bent over the kitchen table, and as it turns out, the promise was a big whopper, as my saintly grandmother used to say.

     

    The tax, fortunately, is paid for by the tourists, itinerants and salespeople who stay in hotels and motels in Spokane and will pay the indebtedness of the Public Facilities District out of their room rates. Could you imagine the hue and cry that would be raised if that tax were paid by the citizens of Spokane?

     

    Of course we must take into consideration all the wonderful things the Public Facilities District has done in its historied past, the Spokane Convention Center and Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena aside. Maybe by the time these projects are completed and allowing for the inevitable cost overruns, we will truly know whether the expansion as planned will be all empire-building with no real fruition.

     

    Of course, your opinion of the Public Facilities District and their “invisible” taxation may differ from my own.

     

    Dave

    A Word A Day — fourth estate

    October 02, 2012

    Word of the Day

    • fourth estate
    • audio pronunciation
    • \FORTH-ih-STAYT\
    • DEFINITION
    •  

    noun

    : the public press
    • EXAMPLES
    •  

    “We should all be concerned,” the senator asserted, “about the plight of newspapers and the consequences of a weakened fourth estate on our democracy.”

    “As someone firmly entrenched in the fourth estate, I am not too agreeable to most censoring, and would fight such impositions on the press or any other body, tooth and nail.” — From an article by Sunil Dang in The Day After, July 1, 2012

    • DID YOU KNOW?
    •  

    It might be news to you that the term “fourth estate” has been around for centuries. In Europe, going back to medieval times, the people who participated in the political life of a country were generally divided into three classes or “estates.” In England they were the three groups with representation in Parliament, namely, the nobility, the clergy, and the common people. Some other group, like the mob or the public press, that had an unofficial but often great influence on public affairs, was called the “fourth estate.” In the 19th century, “fourth estate” came to refer exclusively to the press, and now it's applied to all branches of the news media.

    From Merriam-Webster Online at www.Merriam-Webster.com.

    Jeanie prepares for open-heart surgery…

    Good evening, Netizens…

     

    You might think, given all the various health maladies that have stricken me in the last two years, that I might hold a very special place in my heart for Jeanie of Spokane, who has served with her gentle nature and distinction as my “strong right arm” here at Community Comment going on four years. Each time my aging fat body showed signs that it was on the rough edge of termination, Jeanie was always there, prayers in hand, and urging me in all the right ways. I have always sought to replicate her kindnesses, and even when she had her kidneys removed, there didn't really seem to a time and place to repay her.

     

    I believe the time has arrived. Jeanie is in Scared Heart Hospital tonight awaiting open heart surgery, not something one might take lightly after having had her kidneys both removed.

     

    All I can suggest is, that if you, such as I, hold a special place in your heart for Jeanie, please include her in your prayers to whatever deity you prefer, and hold her close to your thoughts. She has proven herself to be a tough and resilient creature, but right now she needs all the prayers that we can offer.

    I sppke by phone with her tonight, and she informs me she cannot accept flowers or visitors due to the various infections both entail. Otherwise I would be up there in the House of Pain with her, for rthat is the very least I could do.

    Get well, soon, Jeanie, and thank you one and all.

    Dave

    A Word A Day — excoriate

    October 01, 2012

    Word of the Day

    • excoriate
    • audio pronunciation
    • \ek-SKOR-ee-ayt\
    • DEFINITION
    •  

    verb

    1
    : to wear off the skin of : abrade
    2
    : to censure scathingly
    • EXAMPLES
    •  

    “Every blow that shakes it will serve to harden it against a future stroke; as constant labour thickens the skin of the hand, and strengthens its muscles instead of wasting them away: so that a day of arduous toil, that might excoriate a lady's palm, would make no sensible impression on that of a hardy ploughman.” — From Anne Brontë's 1847 novel Agnes Grey

    “One consequence of writing for a broader public was a growing disposition to write about people and places that I admired, and not just those whom it gave me pleasure to excoriate.” — From Tony Judt's 2012 book Thinking the Twentieth Century

    • DID YOU KNOW?
    •  

    “Excoriate,” which first appeared in English in the 15th century, comes from “excoriatus,” the past participle of the Late Latin verb “excoriare,” meaning “to strip off the hide.” “Excoriare” was itself formed from a pairing of the Latin prefix “ex-,” meaning “out,” and “corium,” meaning “skin” or “hide” or “leather.” “Corium” has several other descendants in English. One is “cuirass,” a name for a piece of armor that covers the body from neck to waist (or something, such as bony plates covering an animal, that resembles such armor). Another is “corium” itself, which is sometimes used as a synonym of “dermis” (the inner layer of human skin).

    From Merriam-Webster Online at www.Merriam-Webster.com.

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