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## Community Comment

Archive for February 2013

# A Word A Day — tchotchke

Good evening, Netizens…

# Words of the Day

• tchotchke
• \CHAHCH-kuh\
• DEFINITION
•

noun

: knickknack, trinket
• EXAMPLES
•

Upon returning home from his trip to Maine, Jerry ceremoniously placed his new ceramic lobster next to the other tchotchkes on his mantelpiece.

“Everywhere there is something to delight the eye—not tchotchkes, but art. Eccentric art, angular art, modern art, all a signifier of personal style.” — From an article in Palm Beach Post, January 12, 2013

• DID YOU KNOW?
•

Just as trinkets can dress up your shelves or coffee table, many words for “miscellaneous objects” or “nondescript junk” decorate our language. “Knickknack,” “doodad,” “gewgaw,” and “whatnot” are some of the more common ones. While many such words are of unknown origin, we know that “tchotchke” comes from the Yiddish “tshatshke” of the same meaning, and ultimately from a now-obsolete Polish word, “czaczko.” “Tchotchke” is a pretty popular word these days, but it wasn't commonly used in English until the 1970s.

Dave

# Van Cliburn passes away at 78

Good evening, Netizens…

Another of our American piano greats, Van Cliburn, died yesterday ostensibly of bone cancer, and I admit there will always be a soft spot in my heart for this Texas-born piano prodigy. There for a time, back in my youth, they made Cliburn a cultural icon, and he ended up playing for every American President since Harry Truman.

His recording of the Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 1 with Russian conductor Kirill Kondrashin (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w7Xy_QXSskw) became the first classical album to reach platinum status. Why let the awards end there? President George W. Bush presented Cliburn with the Presidential Medal of Freedom – the nation’s highest civilian honor – in 2003 and his hands were still as rock-solid on the keyboard then as when he was in his twenties.

Talent, we are reminded by our history, is seldom so lavishly given to us as it is taken away. Rest in Peace.

Dave

# Words of the day — expunge

Good evening Netizens…

# Word of the Day

• expunge
• \ix-SPUNJ\
• DEFINITION
•

verb

1
: to strike out, obliterate, or mark for deletion
2
: to efface completely : destroy
3
: to eliminate (as a memory) from one's consciousness
• EXAMPLES
•

Time and the forces of nature have expunged any evidence that a thriving community once existed in that location.

“Eligible veterans can avoid jail time or get their charges expunged if they complete an intensive treatment and rehabilitation program.” — From an article by Tracie Mauriello and Anya Sostek in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, April 22, 2012

• DID YOU KNOW?
•

In medieval and Renaissance manuscripts, a series of dots was used to mark mistakes or to label material that should be deleted from a text, and those deletion dots can help you remember the history of “expunge.” They were known as “puncta delentia.” The “puncta” part of the name derives from the Latin verb “pungere,” which can be translated as “to prick or sting” (and you can imagine that a scribe may have felt stung when his mistakes were so punctuated in a manuscript). “Pungere” is also an ancestor of “expunge,” as well as a parent of other dotted, pointed, or stinging terms such as “punctuate,” “compunction,” “poignant,” “puncture,” and “pungent.”

Dave

# Words of the day — pugilism

Good evening, Netizens…

# Words of the Day

• pugilism
• \PYOO-juh-liz-um\
• DEFINITION
•

noun

: boxing
• EXAMPLES
•

Long fascinated by the art and science of pugilism, Shane has collected biographies of noted boxers such as Muhammad Ali, Jack Dempsey, and Sonny Liston.

“At 48, Cyr has found a way to make amateur pugilism pay. He's a participant and prime motivator behind an increasingly popular boxing event that pits members of the casino, nightclub, restaurant and even banking industries against each other.” — From an article by John L. Smith in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, May 22, 2012

• DID YOU KNOW?
•

The practice of fighting for sport was in place in a number of Mediterranean civilizations by 1500 B.C. (and recent evidence suggests that it may have flourished in parts of eastern Africa before that). By the 7th century B.C., boxing had become a staple of the Olympic Games in Greece. Soon afterward, the Romans picked up the sport and introduced the word “pugil” (a noun related to the Latin “pugnus,” meaning “fist”) to refer to a boxer. Boxing faded out with the decline of the Roman Empire, but resurged in popularity in the18th century. By the 1790s, “pugilist” and “pugilism” were firmly entrenched in the English lexicon.

Dave

# Councilman Mike Fagan! Pay attention!

Good evening, Netizens…

I am cracking up over hearing how City Councilman Mike Fagan called Governor Inslee a “lying whore”. Perhaps that is because most of the whores I have met on East Sprague Avenue are more honest than your typical politician, including Mr. Fagan. I do not know Governor Inslee well enough to state whether or not he is a whore, but I guess on the basis of being a politician, he might be known by the company he keeps (politicians) and thus avoid the debate of this being an attack on Fagan.

Thus far, none of the other members of the City Council appear to support Fagan in his undisciplined and rather crude comment regarding the Governor of Washington State.

Perhaps if Fagan would simply apologize for his crudeness and get back to the business of seeing to the business of running our city, people might forget his comments and allow him to move onward. If not, Fagan is in danger of becoming that which he has accused our Governor.

Dave

# Words of the day — idiopathic

Good evening Netizens

# Word of the Day

• idiopathic
• \id-ee-uh-PATH-ik\
• DEFINITION
•

adjective

1
: arising spontaneously or from an obscure or unknown cause
2
: peculiar to the individual
• EXAMPLES
•

“Some dogs have idiopathic epilepsy, which means there's no real explanation for their seizures, though even a reasonably mild stressor may increase the odds of a seizure.” — From an article by Steve Dale in the Orlando (Florida) Sentinel, November 13, 2012

“Juvenile idiopathic arthritis, diagnosed before age 16, causes chronic swelling of the joints along with redness, [Dr. Hilary] Haftel said.” — From an article by Amanda Whitesell in the Livingston County (Michigan) Press, January 11, 2013

• DID YOU KNOW?
•

“Idiopathic” joins the combining form “idio-” (from Greek “idios,” meaning “one's own” or “private”) with “-pathic,” a form that suggests the effects of disease. The combining form “idio-” is typically found in technical terms. Examples include “idiographic,” meaning “relating to or dealing with something concrete, individual, or unique”; “idiolect,” meaning “the language or speech pattern of one individual at a particular period of life”; and “idiotype,” meaning “the molecular structure and conformation of an antibody that confers its antigenic specificity.” A more common “idio-” word is “idiosyncrasy,” which most commonly refers to an unusual way in which a person behaves or thinks, or to an unusual part or feature of something.

Dave

# Words of the day — roseate

Good evening, Netizens…

# Word of the Day

• roseate
• \ROH-zee-ut\
• DEFINITION
•

adjective

1
: resembling a rose especially in having a pink color
2
: overly optimistic : viewed favorably
• EXAMPLES
•

Her memories of her childhood are pleasant, bordering on roseate; some of her siblings recall things a bit differently.

“A delectable avocado and bacon-topped burger—smoky and juicy—has a lovely char and an oozy, roseate center….” — From a restaurant review by Joan Reminick in Newsday (New York), January 3, 2013

• DID YOU KNOW?
•

“Everything's coming up roses.” “He views the world through rose-tinted glasses.” “She has a rosy outlook on life.” In English, we tend to associate roses and rose color with optimism, and “roseate” is no exception. “Roseate” comes from the Latin adjective “roseus,” and ultimately from the noun “rosa,” meaning “rose.” Figurative use of “roseate” began in the 19th century, and the literal sense of the term has been in the language since the 16th century. Literal uses of “roseate” are often found in descriptions of sunrises and sunsets. “Through yon peaks of cloud-like snow / The roseate sunlight quivers,” wrote Shelley in Prometheus Unbound. And in an early short story, Edith Wharton wrote, “The sunset was perfect and a roseate light, transfiguring the distant spire, lingered late in the west.”

Dave

# Words of the day — manifesto

Good evening, Netizens…

# Word of the Day

• manifesto
• \man-uh-FESS-toh\
• DEFINITION
•

noun

: a written statement declaring publicly the intentions, motives, or views of its issuer
• EXAMPLES
•

On the day of his sudden departure from the company, Rick posted an angry manifesto on the bulletin board outlining his reasons for leaving.

“Mr. Eddie Lampert, the chairman of Sears Holdings and mastermind of the Kmart/Sears merger … famously published a 15-page manifesto in 2009 which covered everything from the economic meltdown to civil liberties, and contained a suggested reading list that included free-market Austrian economist Friedrich Hayek.” — From an article by Mary Jane Quirk in Consumerist, January 8, 2013

• DID YOU KNOW?
•

“Manifesto” is related to “manifest,” which occurs in English as a noun, verb, and adjective. Of these, the adjective, which means “readily perceived by the senses” or “easily recognized,” is oldest, dating to the 14th century. Both “manifest” and “manifesto” derive ultimately from the Latin noun “manus” (“hand”) and “-festus,” a combining form that is related to the Latin adjective “infestus,” meaning “hostile.” Something that is manifest is easy to perceive or recognize, and a “manifesto” is a statement in which someone makes his or her intentions or views easy for people to ascertain. Perhaps the most famous statement of this sort is the Communist Manifesto, written in 1848 by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels to outline the platform of the Communist League.

Dave

# Words of the day — recuse

Good morning, Netizens…

# Word of the Day

• recuse
• \rih-KYOOZ\
• DEFINITION
•

verb

: to disqualify (oneself) as a judge in a particular case; broadly : to remove (oneself) from participation to avoid a conflict of interest
• EXAMPLES
•

The judge recused herself because she was the sister-in-law of the defendant.

“Planning commissioners in particular have been accused of conflict of interest for being involved professionally in too many projects that come before the commission. Many commissioners recuse themselves when considering projects.” — From an article by Ed Stych in the Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal, January 18, 2013

• DID YOU KNOW?
•

“Recuse” is derived from the Middle French word “recuser,” which comes from Latin “recusare,” meaning “to refuse.” English speakers began using “recuse” with the meaning “to refuse or reject” in the 14th century. By the 15th century, the term had acquired the meaning “to challenge or object to (a judge).” The current legal use of “recuse” as a term specifically meaning “to disqualify (oneself) as a judge” didn't come into frequent use until the mid-20th century, however. Broader applications soon followed from this sense—you can now recuse yourself from such things as debates and decisions as well as court cases.

Dave

# Words of the day — ephemeral

Good morning, Netizens…

# Words of the Day

• ephemeral
• \ih-FEM-uh-rul\
• DEFINITION
•

adjective

: lasting a very short time
• EXAMPLES
•

The young pop star's fame turned out to be ephemeral.

“During the creation of the ephemeral show—the walls will be erased for a new exhibition later this month, leaving only a series of framed drawings behind—Ms. Dary visited the local library and copied pages from a 100-year-old local directory.” — From an article by Tammy La Gorce in the New York Times, January 4, 2013

• DID YOU KNOW?
•

The mayfly (order Ephemeroptera) typically hatches, matures, mates, and dies within the span of a few short hours (though the longest-lived species may survive a record two days); poets sometimes use this insect to symbolize life's ephemeral nature. When “ephemeral” (from the Greek word “ephēmeros,” meaning “lasting a day”) first appeared in print in English in the late 16th century, it was a scientific term applied to short-term fevers, and later, to organisms (such as insects and flowers) with very short life spans. Soon after that, it acquired an extended sense referring to anything fleeting and short-lived (as in “ephemeral pleasures”).

Dave

# Words of the day — trousseau

Good morning Netizens…

# Words of the Day

• trousseau
• \TROO-soh\
• DEFINITION
•

noun

: the personal possessions of a bride usually including clothes, accessories, and household linens and wares
• EXAMPLES
•

I am fortunate to be in possession of various family heirlooms, including several items from my great-grandmother's trousseau.

“Kate will promise to love, comfort, honor and keep Prince William. And as the countdown continues, the princess bride is not withering under the strain, seen around town—shopping, perhaps, for her honeymoon trousseau.” — From a report by Natalie Morales in the NBC News Transcripts, April 23, 2011

• DID YOU KNOW?
•

“Trousseau” is a descendant of the French verb “trousser,” meaning “to truss” or “to tuck up.” Fittingly, a bride might truss, or bundle, a variety of items as part of her trousseau—and it is perhaps not too surprising that “truss” is also a “trousser” descendant. “Trousser” itself is thought to have evolved from a Vulgar Latin word, “torsus,” meaning “twisted.” Another descendant of “trousser” is “retroussé,” meaning “turned up,” as in a “retroussé nose.”

Dave

# Words of the day — white elephant

Good afternoon Netizens…

# Words of the Day

• white elephant
• \WYTE-EL-uh-funt\
• DEFINITION
•

noun

1
: a property requiring much care and expense and yielding little profit
2
: an object no longer of value to its owner but of value to others
3
: something of little or no value
• EXAMPLES
•

The town's white elephant is the run-down but historic theater, which has been closed for several years but still requires thousands of dollars in maintenance costs.

“An artificially low interest rate … makes vast amounts of capital available to crony capitalists at cheap rates for speculative investment, which has swelled the GDP and left the Chinese landscape strewn with white elephants such as palatial municipal buildings, factories that stand still and empty hotels.” — From an article by Mark Leonard in New Statesman, January 14, 2013

• DID YOU KNOW?
•

The real “white elephant” (the kind with a trunk) is a pale pachyderm that has long been an object of veneration in India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Myanmar. Too revered to be a beast of burden, the white elephant earned a reputation as a burdensome beast, one that required constant care and feeding but never brought a single cent (or paisa or satang or pya) to its owner. One story has it that the kings of Siam (the old name for Thailand) gave white elephants as gifts to those they wished to ruin, hoping that the cost of maintaining the voracious but sacred mammal would drive its new owner to the poorhouse.

Dave

# Words of the day — portend

Good evening, Netizens…

# Word of the Day

• portend
• \por-TEND\
• DEFINITION
•

verb

1
: to give an omen or anticipatory sign of
2
: indicate, signify
• EXAMPLES
•

In the short story, the appearance of a black cat portends danger for the protagonist.

“These changes portend better possibilities for American manufacturers and American job growth….” — From an article by James Fallows in The Atlantic, November 28, 2012

• DID YOU KNOW?
•

“Portend” has been used in English in the context of signs of things to come since the 15th century. The word derives from the Latin verb “portendere,” which means “to predict or foretell.” That verb, in turn, developed as a combination of the prefix “por-” (meaning “forward”) and the verb “tendere” (meaning “to stretch”). So you can think of “portend” as having a literal meaning of “stretching forward to predict.” Additional descendants of “tendere” include “extend,” “tendon,” and “tension,” among others.

Dave

# When to hitch a ride…

Good morning, Netizens…

By now you no doubt have heard the incredible tale of the stinky Carnival Triumph cruise liner from Hell that broke down in the tropics, leaving its passengers to fend for themselves for five days, for such necessities as food, water and a place to answer nature's call right?

Carnival Cruise Lines hustled up a bevy of charter buses to haul the frustrated cruise passengers from where they towed the distressed cruise liner in Mobile, Alabama to New Orleans, Louisiana had a malfunction of its own, leaving its passengers stranded by the roadside for 45 minutes until a replacement bus could be summoned to haul everyone the rest of the way to the Big Easy.

“You wouldn't think after the ship nightmare, that on the bus ride to New Orleans, the bus would break down,” passenger Jacob Combs said after his bus at last arrived in New Orleans.

But you see—that's where Murphy gets you. Just when you think it can't get any worse, it can and sometimes does. I think if I had been a passenger aboard that broken-down bus I would have reverted to my youth and simply stuck out my finger to hitch a ride, and to the devil the consequences. I wonder what the odds were of a hitched ride breaking down?

Dave

# Words of the day —clamant

Good morning, Netizens…

# Word of the Day

• clamant
• \KLAY-munt\
• DEFINITION
•

adjective

1
: clamorous, blatant
2
: demanding attention : urgent
• EXAMPLES
•

Clamant students gathered outside the college president's office, protesting the denial of tenure for the popular professor.

“My clamant desire, clamant need, for some protected wilderness in the Yaak Valley of northwestern Montana … sometimes doesn’t jibe with some people’s conceptual images of an environmentalist.” — From Rick Bass's 2008 memoir Why I Came West

• DID YOU KNOW?
•

“Clamant” is considerably less common than its synonym “clamorous.” As the similarities in spelling might suggest, these two words are etymologically related, both coming from the Latin verb “clamare,” meaning “to cry out or shout.” Another relative is the noun “claimant,” meaning “one that asserts a right or title.” The paths from “clamare” to “clamorous” and “claimant” follow routes that lead through Anglo-French. “Clamant,” however, comes directly from Latin, deriving from “clamant-, clamans,” the past participle of the verb “clamare.”

Dave

# Words of the day —espouse

Good morning, Netizens…

# Word of the Day

• espouse
• \ih-SPOWZ\
• DEFINITION
•

verb

1
: marry
2
: to take up and support as a cause : become attached to
• EXAMPLES
•

The new theory has been espoused by many leading physicists.

“[The food collection drive] was scheduled on the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday in the spirit of giving that King espoused.” — From an article by Charles A. Peterson in The Granville Sentinel (Ohio), January 15, 2013

• DID YOU KNOW?
•

As you might guess, the words “espouse” and “spouse” are related, both deriving from the Latin verb “spondēre,” meaning “to promise or betroth.” In fact, the two were once completely interchangeable, with each serving as a noun meaning “a newly married person” or “a husband or wife” and also as a verb meaning “to marry.” Their semantic separation began in the 17th century, when the noun “espouse” fell out of use. Around the same time, people started using the verb “espouse” figuratively to mean “to commit to and support a cause.” “Spouse” continued to be used in both noun and verb forms until the 20th century, when its verb use declined and it came to be used mainly as a noun meaning “husband or wife.”

Dave

# Catching up is hard to do sometimes.,..,

Good morning, Netizens…

I have been more than a bit remiss in posting in Community Comment lately, for a number of personal reasons. However, now that I have once again caught up my job list, completing a number of fairly complex tasks for a diverse number of clients, attending to various medical items and catching up my social engagements, matters are now more or less back on schedule as of this morning.

Incredible as it might seem, there is nothing significantly wrong with me medically at the moment, other than a minor heart murmur which has been examined at length by my cardiologist, and some benign gallstones. What is amazing to me is the number of tests and diagnoses which suddenly become necessary once I had medical insurance through social insecurity. The doctors, surgeons and other medical professionals wouldn't so much as touch me for less than $1000 or more prior to my getting social insecurity, and in most cases none of the medical needs were even diagnosed prior to this time. Even now, attending any of the specialists for any of these tests requires a copay which is a mere pittance of what most procedures actually would cost, which I suppose is an improvement. Of course, I still do not have to either agree with or like the diagnosticians' view of what is wrong with my aging fatbody. However, they all do seem to agree vehemently with the fact I am on day 23 of not smoking. Good Lord what a painful, aggravating task it has been staying away from cigarettes! However, I think I have made it. None of the medical team have, to my knowledge, ever smoked for thirty-plus years, but I appreciate their adulation. Just don't smoke around me and I probably will not attempt to rip your head off. Even my much-beloved granddaughters have taken note of my not smoking. Each time they come by for overnight visits, they always covertly ask my saintly wife if I have reverted to smoking, and they always tell me how great it is I have continued on my course of not smoking. We are just now working on cleaning the smoke deposits off the furniture, out of my clothing and off the walls of our house. I can already smell the difference in some rooms, others not so much. So we march onward. I still would like to have a cigarette to go with my early-morning coffee, but that is a thing of the past. Much love to you all. Dave # Words of the day — intemperate Good jmorning, Netizens… ## February 15, 2013 # Word of the Day • intemperate • \in-TEM-puh-rut\ • DEFINITION • adjective 1 : not moderate or mild : severe 2 : lacking or showing lack of restraint 3 : given to excessive use of alcoholic beverages • EXAMPLES • The journalist eventually apologized for her intemperate rant against the governor. “Judge Dougan was forced to defend himself not for even a hint of corruption or intemperate behavior, but merely because the district attorney disagreed with his decisions.” — From a letter to the editor by John Amabile in The Boston Globe, January 13, 2013 • DID YOU KNOW? • “Intemperate” means more or less “not well tempered”—and that definition also provides a clue about its origins. The word derives from Latin “intemperatus,” formed by combining “in-” with a form of the verb “temperare,” meaning “to temper” or “to mix.” Both “intemperate” and its antonym “temperate” entered the English language in the 14th century. Other “temperare” words include “distemper,” “temperament,” “temperature,” “temperance,” and “temper” itself. Synonyms of “intemperate” in the sense of “not controlled” include “unbounded,” “unbridled,” “unrestrained,” and “unchecked.” Dave # Words of the day — heartstring Good morning, Netizens… ## February 14, 2013 # Word of the Day • heartstring • \HAHRT-string\ • DEFINITION • noun : the deepest emotions or affections — usually used in plural • EXAMPLES • “Thou touchest my inmost centre, boy; thou art tied to me by cords woven of my heart-strings.” — From Herman Melville's novel Moby Dick, 1851 “This former Indy icon still tugs on the heartstrings of local baby boomers, who recall cruising into the drive-ins for a Big Chief burger, onion rings and a milkshake.” — From an article by Jolene Ketzenberger in The Indianapolis Star, January 11, 2013 • DID YOU KNOW? • Before a song or movie or heart-shaped card accompanied by a box of chocolates could tug at your heartstrings, the job was more likely to be accomplished by a surgeon: the word “heartstring” used to refer to a nerve believed to sustain the heart. (The metaphor is a bit more apparent in the Melville quote above than it is in most modern uses.) You might recognize the word's second syllable in the term “hamstring,” which refers to both a group of tendons at the back of the knee and to any of three muscles at the backs of the upper legs. It's also apparent in a rare dialect term for the Achilles' tendon: “heel string.” And in light of these terms, it's not surprising to know that “string” itself was at one time used independently to refer to cords like tendons and ligaments. # Wprds of the day — companionable Good morning, Netizens… ## February 13, 2013 # Word of the Day • companionable • \kum-PAN-yuh-nuh-bul\ • DEFINITION • adjective : marked by, conducive to, or suggestive of companionship : sociable • EXAMPLES • I've come to enjoy sharing a dorm room with Brad; he's a companionable roommate and we get along well together. “Most of the 100 or more mama cows and calves stand in a companionable cluster as they munch on rye grass and red clover.” — From an article by John Kessler in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, September 23, 2012 • DID YOU KNOW? • A “companionable” person is someone who (etymologically at least) is willing to share bread with you. “Companionable” is the adjective form of “companion,” which ultimately derives from a combination of the Latin prefix “com-,” meaning “with” or “together,” and the noun “panis,” meaning “bread, loaf, or food.” “Companionable” first appeared in print in English in the 14th century (“companion” has been around for at least a century longer). Other descendants of “panis” include “pantry” (a place for storing food), “pannier” (a basket such as might carry food), and “panettone” (a kind of yeast bread). Even “food” itself is derived from the same ancient root that gave rise to “panis” in Latin. Dave # The price of North Korea’s atom bomb test..,, Good morning, Netizens… According to the Associated Press, North Korea has said it successfully detonated a miniaturized nuclear device at a northeastern test site Tuesday, defying U.N. Security Council orders to shut down atomic activity or face more sanctions and international isolation. The atomic test, North Korea's third, was conducted safely, or thus stated by North Korean state media, is ostensibly aimed at coping with “outrageous” U.S. hostility that “violently” undermines the North's peaceful, sovereign right to launch satellites. North Korea makes no bones about it that they are attempting to build a missile with a nuclear warhead that would be capable of reaching the United States. North Korean state media have even gone so far as to release a macabre video of New York City falling under nuclear attack while a piano version of “We are the World” playing in the background. We do not know whether this atomic test was a plutonium or a uranium device. The previous two devices were plutonium. We know that a uranium bomb, once they master it, is easier to make and they have deposits of uranium in North Korea so they can keep digging it up. If they have successfully detonated a uranium bomb and they have moved forward in the process of developing the technical capabilities to miniaturize it and put it on a war head, then in purely military terms it is troublesome, indeed. What perhaps is even more troublesome is that, given North Korea's current economic sanctions which have had a negative impact on their national economy, they may be tempted, for example, to provide Iran with test data or fissile material or other information, thus expanding the number of unstable world governments with access to nuclear technology. It is time to stop North Korea's atomic development in its tracks before it is too late. Of course, your opinion may differ. Dave # Words of the day — aegis Good morning, Netizens… ## February 12, 2013 # Word of the Day • aegis • \EE-jus\ • DEFINITION • noun 1 : a shield or breastplate 2 a : protection b : controlling or conditioning influence 3 : auspices, sponsorship b: control or guidance especially by an individual, group, or system • EXAMPLES • The studies were conducted under the aegis of the National Institutes of Health. “[Julian Fellowes] is also at work on a big-screen reconceptualization of Stephen Sondheim and Arthur Laurents's Gypsy … under the aegis of Barbra Streisand and Joel Silver, who will produce the film.” — From a review by David Kamp in Vanity Fair, December 2012 • DID YOU KNOW? • We borrowed “aegis” from Latin, but the word ultimately derives from the Greek noun “aigis,” which means “goatskin.” In ancient Greek mythology, an aegis was something that offered physical protection. In some stories, it was the thundercloud where Zeus kept the thunderbolts he used as weapons. In others, the aegis was a magical protective cloak made from the skin of the goat that had suckled Zeus as an infant. The word first entered English in the 16th century as a noun meaning “shield” or “protection,” and by the 20th century it had acquired the extended senses of “auspices” or “sponsorship.” Dave # Words of the day — meretricious Good evening Netizens… ## February 11, 2013 # Words of the Day • meretricious • \mair-uh-TRISH-us\ • DEFINITION • adjective 1 : of or relating to a prostitute : having the nature of prostitution 2 a : tawdrily and falsely attractive b : superficially significant : pretentious • EXAMPLES • The critic panned the book as a well-written but meretricious work with little substance beneath its veneer of forceful rhetoric and righteous indignation. “In his hands, works by Respighi and Arvo Pärt that generally sound cheesy or meretricious—at least to this listener—suddenly seemed worthy of, if not affection, then at least respect and indulgence.” — From a music review by Joshua Kosman in The San Francisco Chronicle, October 6, 2012 • DID YOU KNOW? • “Meretricious” can be traced back to the Latin verb “merēre,” meaning “to earn, gain, or deserve.” It shares this origin with a small group of other English words, including “merit,” meritorious,” and “emeritus.” But, while these words can suggest some degree of honor or esteem, “meretricious” is used to suggest pretense, insincerity, and cheap or tawdry ornamentation. The Latin “merēre” is at the root of the Latin noun “meretrix,” meaning “prostitute,” and its related adjective “meretricius” (“of or relating to a prostitute”). The Latin “meretricius” entered into English as “meretricious” in the 17th century. Shortly after being adopted, “meretricious” also began to be used to indicate things which are superficially attractive but which have little or no value or integrity. Dave # Words of the day — reprove Good evening Netizens… ## February 10, 2013 # Words of the Day • reprove • \rih-PROOV\ • DEFINITION • verb 1 : to scold or correct usually gently or with kindly intent 2 : to express disapproval of : censure 3 : to express rebuke or reproof • EXAMPLES • “Remember to say 'thank you,'” the mother gently reproved her toddler. “He reproved me, good-naturedly: 'Well, I don't think it's very nice to make fun of my accent!' Chastened, I assured him it was involuntary and that it was a form of homage, not disrespect.” — From an article by John Weeks in Contra Costa Times, January 8, 2013 • DID YOU KNOW? • “Reprove,” “rebuke,” “reprimand,” “admonish,” “reproach,” and “chide” all mean to criticize. “Reprove” implies an often kindly intent to correct a fault. “Rebuke” suggests a sharp or stern criticism (as in “the letter rebuked her opponents”). “Reprimand” implies a severe, formal, often public or official rebuke (“he was reprimanded by the ethics committee”). “Admonish” suggests earnest or friendly warning and counsel (“admonished to control expenses”). “Reproach” and “chide” suggest displeasure or disappointment expressed in mild scolding (“reproached him for tardiness” and “chided by their mother for untidiness”). Incidentally, the resemblance of “reprove” to “prove” is not coincidental—both words can be traced back to the Latin “probar” (“to test” or “to approve”) Dave # To Be, Or Not. . . Yesterday, my seatmate at dialysis talked to his doctor about planning on NOT coming back to dialysis because the site in his arm is so pitiful and they spend about an hour trying to get it to work and the blood flow to be adequate enough to dialyze. I instantly went back to when my Dad had the same conversation. On the 10th of December, 1993, the docs told him they had fixed all they could fix and this was the last spot on his body that could be stuck with the two needles required in dialysis. That was a Friday and it was my older Army son's 21st birthday, stationed in South Korea. Dad announced to us on that Friday that he wasn't going back to dialysis. Nine days later, he died, after spending a little over a week indulging in everything the center said he should avoid. Coffee. Nuts. Strawberries. Orange juice. All the liquid he wanted to consume. He was happy and actually the healthiest I had ever seen him. Whenever Hospice came in to do his vitals, I wondered if he was making the right decision - but in the end, yes. I think it was the right decision. He had little quality left to his life. Sleeping most of the day. Being confused when he was awake - thinking that whatever was on television was happening in reality. Using a walker. Wetting himself. Not being able to eat much of anything and then throwing up when he did. So - I related to my neighbor but was sad about it too. This one decision (to not come back because our sites quit working) is one we all face eventually. So far for me - I'm doing great. It's been three years (thirteen for my neighbor). Transplant is the only saving grace and for my friend that is not an option. He is too ill, veins too wrecked, to handle a transplant. Then today I got a letter from the transplant center stating that I was **back** on hold because my finances will not be able to handle one of the non-covered anti-rejection drugs I am required to take. With my insurance, that one particular drug is still$550 out-of-my-pocket a month.

It's daunting to think that maybe I'll have to make this same decision some day.  Not any time soon, mind you.  But eventually to not go back to dialysis.

My humble opinion.

~Jeanie~ (http://www.jeaniespokane.blogspot.com)

# Words of the day — métier

Good afternoon, Netizens…

# Word of the Day

• métier
• \MET-yay\
• DEFINITION
•

noun

1
: vocation, trade
2
: an area of activity in which one excels : forte
• EXAMPLES
•

Within a short time of Sonia's first piano lessons, it was clear to her parents that music was her métier.

“The protagonist in [Cary] Fagan's first story … is a judge on the Ontario Supreme Court who handles sensational cases and is widely admired for his devotion to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. What we learn is that his life as a judge is merely a sideshow to the métier he really cares about: being a magician.” — From a book review by Jennifer Hunter in the Toronto Star, January 6, 2013

• DID YOU KNOW?
•

The words “métier,” “employment,” “occupation,” and “calling” all perform similar functions in English, though each word gets the job done in its own way. These hard-working synonyms can all refer to a specific sustained activity, especially an activity engaged in to earn a living, but these words also have slightly different shades of meaning. “Employment” implies simply that one was hired and is being paid by an employer, whereas “occupation” usually suggests special training, and “calling” generally applies to an occupation viewed as a vocation or profession. “Métier,” a French borrowing acquired by English speakers in the late 18th century, typically implies a calling for which one feels especially fitted.

# Words of the day — lackluster

Good morning, Netizens…

# Words of the Day

• lackluster
• \LAK-luss-ter\
• DEFINITION
•

adjective

: lacking in sheen, brilliance, or vitality : dull, mediocre
• EXAMPLES
•

In spite of its owner's hard work, the little shop was forced to close due to lackluster sales.

“After a lackluster first half, the Cabrillo girls water polo team began to find the net and pulled away from Paso Robles, on the way to a 14-9 non-league win at the Cabrillo high pool.” — From an article by Brad Memberto in the Santa Maria Times (California), December 13, 2012

• DID YOU KNOW?
•

In its earliest uses, “lackluster” (also spelled “lacklustre”) usually described the eyes or face, as in “a lackluster stare.” Later, it came to describe other things whose sheen had been removed; Charles Dickens, in his 1843 novel Martin Chuzzlewit, writes of the faded image of the dragon on the sign outside a village alehouse: “many a wintry storm of rain, snow, sleet, and hail, had changed his colour from a gaudy blue to a faint lack-lustre shade of grey.” In addition to “a glow or sheen,” “luster” can refer to a superficial attractiveness or appearance of excellence; it follows that “lackluster” is often used as a synonym for “unspectacular,” as in our examples.

Dave

# Word of the Day

• factotum
• \fak-TOH-tuhm\
• DEFINITION
•

noun

1
: a person having many diverse activities or responsibilities
2
: a general servant
• EXAMPLES
•

After graduating from college, Jerry worked for several years as an office factotum.

“It also was in contrast to the burgeoning and ballooning bureaucracy of the bank, which may not have rivaled the U.N. in its quantity of factotums, but still has swelled to more than 10,000 employees.” — From an article by Zachary Karabell on The Daily Beast, March 24, 2012

• DID YOU KNOW?
•

“Do everything!” That's a tall order, but it is exactly what a factotum is expected to do. It's also a literal translation of the New Latin term “factotum,” which in turn traces to the Latin words “facere” (“to do”) and “totum” (“everything”). In the 16th century, “factotum” was used in English much like a surname, paired with first names to create personalities such as “Johannes Factotum” (literally “John Do-everything”). Back then, it wasn't necessarily desirable to be called a “factotum”; the term was a synonym of “meddler” or “busybody.” Now the word is more often used for a handy, versatile individual responsible for many different tasks.

# A Word A Day — sangfroid

Good aternoon Netizens…

# Words of the Day

• sangfroid
• \SAHNG-FRWAH\
• DEFINITION
•

noun

: self-possession or imperturbability especially under strain
• EXAMPLES
•

The lecturer's sangfroid never faltered, even in the face of some tough questions from the audience.

“Daniel Craig portrays a vulnerability far removed from the glib sangfroid of his celluloid predecessors and has retired to an exotic bolt-hole after he is assumed to have died during a botched operation.” — From a movie review by Des O' Neill in the Irish Times, January 2, 2013

• DID YOU KNOW?
•

If you're a lizard, “cold-blooded” means your body temperature is strongly influenced by your environment. If you're an English-speaking human, it means you are callous and unfeeling. If you're a French speaker, it means that you're calm, cool, and collected in stressful situations. By the mid-1700s, English speakers had already been using “cold-blooded” for more than a century, but they must have liked the more positive spin the French put on having “cold blood” because they borrowed the French “sang-froid” (literally, “cold blood”) for someone who is imperturbable under strain. The French term, by the way, developed from the Latin words “sanguis” (“blood”) and “frigidus” (“cold”).

# A Word A Day — eurytopic

Good evening Netizens…

# Word of the Day

• eurytopic
• \yur-ih-TAH-pik\
• DEFINITION
•

adjective

: tolerant of wide variation in one or more environmental factors
• EXAMPLES
•

Eurytopic groups are observed in a wide range of habitats.

Eurytopic species tend to have longer geologic ranges than stenotopic ones because they are more likely to survive environmental disturbances and therefore persist through time.” — From Ronald Martin's 2013 book Earth's Evolving Systems

• DID YOU KNOW?
•

“Eurytopic” evolved in the 1930s along with “stenotopic,” which means “having a narrow range of adaptability to changes in environmental conditions.” Both words are rooted in Greek, with “eurys” meaning “broad” or “wide,” “stenos” meaning “close” or “narrow,” and “topos” meaning “place.” Eurytopic species can typically be found in a broad range of places. An example would be the perch, a fish that can be found in ponds, lakes, streams, and rivers. By contrast, stenotopic species inhabit a narrow region. Examples include the rare Spoon-billed Sandpiper as well as the plants, animals, and other organisms baring a specific area-related name, such as the Indiana Bat.

Dave

# Is it time to regulate guns?

Good morning, Netizens…

Who wants to possess a rocket launcher? Maybe a rocket launcher, tanks, fighter jets or an attack helicopter or two? There is a far difference between possessing a handgun and any of the above. According to some staunchly conservative gun rights advocates, President Obama wants to take away all their guns, under the auspices of gun registration laws being presently considered to combat the proliferation of quasi-military hardware.

I have no problem with upstanding citizens possessing guns to defend themselves and their property. I do especially have a problem with the mentally ill possessing weapons of any kind because they do not have a cogent sense of reality, and they can fall instantly from sensibility to insanity while equipped with any kind of hardware.

However, I do not believe additional laws are going to prevent more mayhem and death. Just remember, the killer in Newton, Connecticut had guns his mother obtained lawfully, which he had stolen from her. She should have had her guns locked up in a secure manner.

Does this imply that gun owners should be required to possess locking gun cabinets? That does seem to be a sensible solution.

Of course, your results may differ.

Dave

# Words of the day — largesse

Good morning, Netizens…

# Words of the Day

• largesse
• \larh-ZHESS\
• DEFINITION
•

noun

1
: liberal giving (as of money) to or as if to an inferior; also : something so given
2
: generosity
• EXAMPLES
•

Thanks to their grandparents' largesse, both children were able to go to college.

“Just how heavily a borrower may rely on family largess to cover a down payment depends on the type of mortgage involved and the size of the gift. With a conventional loan, lenders require that borrowers contribute at least 5 percent of their own money.” — From an article by Lisa Prevost in New York Times, January 2, 2013

• DID YOU KNOW?
•

The word “largesse,” which also can be spelled “largess” (as in our second example sentence), has been part of the English language since at least the 13th century. It derives via Anglo-French from the Latin word “largus,” meaning “abundant” or “generous.” “Largus” is also the source of our word “large.” As far back as the 14th century, we used the word “largeness” as a synonym of “largesse” (“liberal giving”). In fact, that may have been the first sense of “largeness,” which has since come to refer to physical magnitude and bulk more often than to magnanimity.

Dave

# Guess who’s coming to dinner?

Good morning, Netizens…

Guess who is coming to dinner? Would you believe David Elton is coming back to Spokane, and that might be interesting, considering he is contemplating at least two lawsuits. I would wager a small pittance that perhaps Doug Clark and myself might find this mildly amusing, although I assume that others might not be entertained with David's return what passes for the cultural illuminati of Spokane. On the other hand, that is no guarantee that either of us will be eating dinner with David Elton anytime either.

Of course, those of you in the know might already be aware that in July Mr. Elton's book, ostensibly titled “Crazy Drunk Mormon” will be released. Of course, before the BMOS (Big Mormons of Spokane) stand up in unison and begin beating their agitated and celebrated gongs in favor of Moroni, the publisher of this upcoming tome is partially owned by the Mormon Church, which should make for interesting late-night final edit sessions in David Elton's future.

To add to this merry band of miscreant potential, yesterday, David Elton sent out a formal press release where he announced a forthcoming lawsuit against Cowles Media and Spokane County Judge Mary Ann Moreno…not to mention Detective Corey Turman. That set of events alone, along with a personally hitherto unknown lawyer who hails from Oregon, Mr. Gregory Ernst. (His website is http://www.LincolnCityLawyer.com ) should prove enlightening, to say the very least.

Yes, David Elton has reassured me by phone he IS coming back to Spokane, and the only advice that comes to mind at the present is for everyone, including Joe Shogun, to ignore the rooftops for the time being.

Welcome back to Spokane, David. In our new-found sense of enlightenment, we even have a PhD running our Police Department these days.

Dave

# Words of the day — amortize

Good morning, Netizens…

# Words of the Day

• amortize
• \AM-er-tyze\
• DEFINITION
•

verb

1
: to pay off (as a mortgage) gradually usually by periodic payments of principal and interest or by payments to a sinking fund
2
: to gradually reduce or write off the cost or value of (as an asset)
• EXAMPLES
•

“It's time we made permanent decisions on policy that begin to amortize and reduce our debt over time….” — Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA) on CNBC's “Squawk Box,” January 4, 2013

“As early as 1990-91, the government began to amortize the surplus to better reflect the pension liabilities it would be on the hook for in the future.” — From an article by Kathryn May in the Ottawa Citizen, December 20, 2012

• DID YOU KNOW?
•

When you amortize a loan, you “kill it off” gradually by paying it down in installments. This is reflected in the word's etymology. “Amortize” derives via Middle English and Anglo-French from Vulgar Latin “admortire,” meaning “to kill.” The Latin noun “mors” (“death”) is a root of “admortire”; it is related to our word “murder,” and it also gave us a word naming a kind of loan that is usually amortized: “mortgage.” “Amortize” carries a different meaning in the field of corporate finance, where it means to depreciate the cost or value of an asset (as, for example, to reduce interest revenue on that asset for tax purposes).

Dave

# Day nine and counting…

Good morning, Netizens…

Hey, it's day nine… nine days since I last had a cigarette, but I have to admit it all comes at a price. The patch is the only thing that has made this change tolerable, but I am having wildly-unpredictable dreams when I sleep, and there is the always-present urge to have a cigarette, although that does seem to be slowly receding, thank God! My saintly wife informed me yesterday of the amount of money (\$40-plus a week) I have saved by not smoking, and I have to admit, I did not miss having the money until it suddenly appeared after not smoking. It is the first time you'll hear me bitch about having more money than usual. Yes, Jeanie, there is not a day goes by but what I want a damned cigarette.

I have come to grips with both the addiction to nicotine and the habit of smoking. Perhaps worse than the addiction are the places and times when I instinctively reach for a cigarette, such as sitting down at the computer and writing something or after having a meal. I have always had a pack of smokes handy whenever I am writing, because that is my habit. The nicotine patch lessens the addiction by substituting the addiction to cigarettes by giving you your nicotine another way, but the habit of reaching for a cigarette may never die, I am told by others who have successfully quit the habit.

Last evening, my neighbor who traditionally is broke but still has a fierce addiction to nicotine came by to try and purchase a few cigarettes to “tide her over”, as in the past I have done what I thought was my part to help her out by donating to her cause. The look on her face when I told her neither I nor my stepson have cigarettes, that we no longer allow cigarettes in our household was sad to see. After forty-some years of living with an addiction, I ought to know the feeling pretty well.

Dave

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