Thursday, January 31, 2019

2019 - Day 31 - Thursday...Hawthorn...

A grey and drizzly day here in central Texas. it seems that is also the forecast for the next week. Chilly (high temperatures in the 50s and 60s) and chances for rain each day. We prefer sunshine, thank you very much. This is another of the abandoned homes that I pass on the way to work each morning. It still amazes me that these properties are just left, and no one goes back to care for them. I feel sorry for the house. One of the home remodeling programs I am addicted to mentioned that the house they were renovating was saying "Someone please help me, make me pretty and welcoming again." I get it. Yes, I really do feel sorry for the structures, no matter what the original intent was.

Hawthorn -- Noun: any of a genus (Crataegus) of spiny shrubs or small trees of the rose family with glossy and often lobed leaves, white or pink fragrant flowers, and small red fruits. By July the hawthorn bush had grown and spread into the neighboring garden and needed to be pruned.

Did You Know? A hawthorn is a thorny shrub or tree that can be planted into a hedge, and this fact provides a hint about the origins of the plant's name. The word hawthorn traces back to the Old English word hagathorn, a combination of haga ("hedge") and thorn (same meaning as the modern "thorn" or "thornbush"). Haga was also used in Old English for the hawthorn itself, but by the 12th century the thorn had been added to its name.

Tune in tomorrow for the annual February theme month topic.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

2019 - Day 30/335 - Wednesday...Narwhal...

This is one of the more fascinating derelicts, just about three blocks from the German Restaurant (and about the same distance from Dale's Essenhaus) in Walburg. Not to be confused with Narwhal. I expect this was once an old gin, or maybe a mill of some kind. Maybe a saw mill, but there are not too many trees out here, and it is just rusting itself into a stupor, along with the truck that was (probably) driven there and left for dead. I think that is really interesting. It would be interesting to get inside this building, and it would probably make a good base for some contemporary lofts. And the truck could be turned into a bar. What do you think?

Narwhal -- Noun: an arctic cetacean (Monodon monoceros) about 16 feet (5 meters) long with the male having a long twisted ivory tusk. "Threats to narwhals also impact the northern Inuit community, which depend on the animals for food and crafts that support their livelihoods." Sarah Gibbens, National Geographic, May 12, 2017

Did You Know? The narwhal is a toothed whale found throughout arctic waters. Its Latin binomial, Monodon monoceros, is derived from the Greek words for "single toothed" and "single horned." Its English name (also sometimes spelled narwhale) comes from the Norwegian and Danish narhval and the Swedish narval, words that are probably a modification of the Icelandic narhvalur, which comes from the Old Norse nahvalr. In Old Norse hvalr means "whale" and is akin to the Old English hwoel, the ancestor of the Modern English "whale." The first element of nahvalr is believed to be nar, the Old Norse word for 'corpse," from the resemblance of the animal's color to that of a pale human corpse.

I was gifted a pair of socks with Narwhal decorations. Of course I was!

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

2019 - Day 29/336 - Tuesday...Revanche...

As Tuesday's go, this was a really long day. Nothing bad, just long. Tiring. Chilly. And speaking of derelict properties, this house (I am pretty sure) has been abandoned ever since we have been living out here on the Edge of Nowhere. Generally, the grass is grown up all around it. For about 18 months, there was a bike (bicycle) parked not far from the house near what I think was once a driveway. The bike stayed there and was never touched. Never moved. It did not fall over in winds or rain. Nobody stole the bike (as far as I know). It was just there. I passed it by almost every day. The other interesting thing about this abandoned property is, it is less than 100 yards from a brand new upscale subdivision. Big homes. Controlled access gates. Alarm systems. Modern technology. Stuff. I am somewhat alarmed that the grass and brush has been cleared from around this house, it kind of makes me think there are plans for the property. Growth is happening all around us, and this could well be the next victim.

Revanche -- Noun: revenge; especially: a usually political policy designed to recover lost territory or status. The queen plotted a strategy of revanche to bring her country back to the ranks of a world power.

Did You Know? Revanche first appeared in English in the mid-19th century, deriving along with our noun revenge, from the Middle French verb revenchier ("to revenge"). The word developed its specific political application in the years following the Franco-German war (1870 - 1871), which resulted in France losing the territory known as Alsace-Lorraine to Germany. (The territory was returned to France following World War I and then twice switched hands again during World War II.) Although revanche appears occasionally in English today, you are more likely to encounter its relatives revanchism, which refers to a government's policy of revanche, and revanchist, referring to a follower of such a policy.

Monday, January 28, 2019

2019 - Day 28/337 - Monday...Petard...

I am particularly fond of this particular derelict piece of forgotten architecture. If you look very closely, or maybe if you can enlarge the photograph, you can see the old light over the door of the building. My great-grandfather (Charlie Beasley) and my great-grandmother (Loubaner Roden Beasley) ran a little store in Winfield, Alabama. It was on Highway 79, which ran (at least) from Memphis to Birmingham. Winfield is about 50 or so miles north of Birmingham. The store was about a quarter of a mile from their house in Highway 79. In the summers, we would head south (from outside Detroit where I grew up) to Chicago, Memphis, through Mississippi and then to Winfield. My dad grew up in Alabama and Memphis, my mother grew up in Memphis, and much of the family fled north in the 40's and 50s in search of work. BUT, Charlie and Loubaner were camped out in Winfield. I would go to the store (Charlie's Store as it said on the front) and the best part was that I always got aa grape soda. This old building on the service road of IH-35 reminds me of Charlie's Store, and I expect that is exactly what it was before the highway system, or just the passing of time, put them out of business.

Tales of the City: This afternoon, a woman came in to our office, reeking of cigarette smoke. I thought she was a tenant, she looked unhappy, like tenants look when it is time to pay the rent. She asked for a tampon. When no tampons could be produced, she asked for a box on tampons. When that request could not be fulfilled, she asked for money so she could buy some tampons. NO? Well, she then just asked for money, period. No money forthcoming, she pointed to something of our front desk and said "This is new, this used to be my desk." And then she left.

The city if full of freaks, they have just made themselves known earlier this year than usual.

Petard -- Noun: 1. a case containing an explosive to break down a door or gate or breach a wall. 2. a firework that explodes with a loud report. "Leslie is said to have distracted the castle governor while his men blew up the main gate with a 'petard.'" David McLean, Edinburgh Evening News, April 4, 2017

Did You Know? Aside from historical references to siege warfare and occasional contemporary references to fireworks, petard is almost always encountered in variations of the phrase "hoist with one's own petard," meaning "victimized or hurt by one's own scheme." The phrase comes from Shakespeare's Hamlet: "For 'tis the sport to have the engineer / Hoist with his own petar." Hoist in this case is the past participle of the verb hoise, meaning "to lift or raise," and petar(d) refers to an explosive device used in siege warfare. Hamlet uses the example of the engineer (the person who sets the explosive device) being blown into the air by his own device as a metaphor for those who schemed against Hamlet being undone by their own schemes.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

2019 - Day 27/338 - Sunday...Servile...

Can you see the trend here? There are so many of these abandoned places around the edge of nowhere. I should have held off and made them my theme for February. Usually in February, I choose a theme and spend 28 days harping on that theme. Derelict properties would have been a good theme, but so much for that. This particular house was once a proud place that fronted a fine horse farm. The outbuildings, barns, pens and all the rest of it are still there, but sinking fast, too. It is crazy. How can people just walk away from a property and let it rot around itself? I just don't get it.

It was a lovely day today, maybe reached 70 degrees. If it didn't, there is another good chance for it happening tomorrow. I even cut a little bit of grass this afternoon, so that is something to write about. I think the grass cutting will start big time out here in another month or two. Otherwise, all is well on the edge of nowhere. Peace out, bra!

Servile -- Adjective: 1. of or befitting a slave or a menial position. 2. meanly or cravenly submissive: abject. Jason's coworkers assumed that his servile flattery of the company president was done with eyes toward a promotion.

Did You Know? Latin served us servile with the help of servilis, itself from servus, the Latin word for "slave." Servus is also an ancestor of serve, service, and servitude. Synonyms of servile in English include subservient, slavish, and obsequious. Subservient implies the cringing manner of one very conscious of a subordinate position. Slavish suggests abject or debased servitude. Obsequious implies fawning or sycophantic compliance and exaggerated deference of manner. Servile suggests the mean or fawning behavior of a slave.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

2019 - Day 26/339 - Saturday...Anneal...

I am fascinated by old, derelict, abandoned structures, particularly houses. When I was growing up in the Detroit suburbs, delivering the morning newspapers, I was afforded plenty of time to go snoop around abandoned houses (over on Sibley Road). I loved it. New construction fascinates me too, but not as much as old places. When Jody and I first moved out her over ten years ago, there was an old house on 972 that was occupied. Soon after, it was vacant, and within five or six years, it had fallen in on top of itself. Amazing. I guess people abandon houses the same was as they pull a car up into the yard, and never think about it again for 15 or 20 years. I can show you houses where the riding lawn mower stopped, and that was it. It has not moved since. You can hardly see it from the road, it is all over grown with weeds and saplings, but I know it's there. This particular structure (see photo) continues to decline. I would really like to get inside it and poke around a bit. I expect I could retrieve at least a jar or two, maybe a couple old cans. Maybe Prince Albert in a can. Who knows.

Anneal -- Verb: 1. to make (something, such as steel or glass) less brittle by heating and then cooling. 2. strengthen, toughen. "When I get ready to stop at the end of the day, it will cool down really slowly, and I anneal the glass to make it stronger." Mary Bush, Sedalia Democrat (Missouri), August 16, 2017.

Did You Know? If you were looking for a saying to apply to the word anneal, it might be "everything old is new again." The word was originally associated with one of the oldest technologies of humankind: fire. It derives from the Old English word onoelan, which was formed from the Old English roos al, meaning "fire." In its earliest known uses, which date from around the year 1000, anneal meant simply "to set on fire." That sense has become obsolete, however, and nowadays anneal is associated with DNA research, in reference to the heating and cooling of double-stranded nucleic acid.

Friday, January 25, 2019

2019 - Day 25/340 - Friday...Collude...

Today was a really interesting day. Traffic didn't TOTALLY suck, and I made it in the office without any real issues. Then, off to a meeting at the board, our Texas Legislative Preview: 86th Texas Legislative Session. The legislature has been in session for about two weeks, and already there have been over 1,600 bills introduced. The Texas Association of REALTORS® is following a few over 600 of those bills, following those bills closely to make sure no harm comes to property owners or REALTORS® during this session. It doesn't take much, and there are plenty of issues to be addressed and cultivated before sine die (the end of the session) about four months from now. Stay tuned. But today was a great day at the board, two of my good friends a local legislators Celia Israel (also a REALTOR® colleague) and Donna Howard were speakers at the preview. Great information shared from these two as well as the Governmental Affairs staff at the Texas Association of REALTORS®. I am very proud (can you tell) to be a Texas REALTOR®, and the combined efforts of all my friends and colleagues today just reinforced that pride.

NOTE: Yesterday's word was hummock. The book I am reading (listening to) used the word in a narrative today, and I actually knew the meaning! Who could have expected that? Not me!

Collude -- Verb: conspire, plot (sound familiar?). It was alleged that the two agriculture companies colluded for more than a decade to control the price of wheat and corn. (How about now?).

Did You Know? Our English "-lude" words (allude, collude, delude, elude, and prelude) are based on the Latin verb ludere, meaning "to play." Collude dates back to the 16th century and combines ludere and the prefix col-, meaning "with" or "together." The verb is younger than the related noun collusion, which appeared sometime in the 14th century with the specific meaning "secret agreement or cooperation." Despite their playful history, collude and collusion have always suggested deceit or trickery rather than good-natured fun. And topical too, I might add.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

2019 - Day 24/341 - Thursday...Hummock...

I latched on to another piece of desk art this afternoon. When it comes to yard art, Jody says there is a thin line between yard art and crap on the porch, and that I am erasing the line. The same can (probably) be said of my desk art. I may not know too much about art, but I know what I like, and what I like is generally undefinable. Eclectic. Eccentric maybe. Weird. Odd. I think I will stick with eclectic. Kind of like me.

Hummock -- Noun: 1. a rounded knoll or hillock. 2. a ridge of ice. 3. a fertile area in the souther United States and especially Florida. "He zeroed in on a hummock that looked like the earthen side of a bunker, long since overgrown with moss and foliage." Matthew Shaer, Smithsonian Magazine, March, 2017

Did You Know? Hummock first appeared in English as an alteration of hammock, another word that can be used for a small hill. This hammock is not related to the hammock we use to refer to a swinging bed made of netting or canvas. That hammock comes from the Spanish hamaca, and ultimately from Taino, a language spoken by the original inhabitants of the Greater Antilles and the Bahamas. The origins of the other hammock and the related hummock are still obscure, though we know they share an ancestor with the Middle Low German hummel ("small height") (think of the figurines) and hump ("bump"). The latter of those is also a cousin of the English word hump, another word that can refer to a small hill or hummock.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

2019 - Day 23/342 - Wednesday...Kvell...

Has it really come to this? Are our cities and counties so overburdened that emergency services have to start hiring themselves out as movers (and possibly shakers)? I was quite surprised this morning to be driving down the Interstate only to marvel at this ambulance pulling a farm trailer. Perhaps they were transporting livestock, perhaps not. I expect there is some totally logical reason for 'haul', but I wish I knew what it was. I was not even aware that ambulances came equipped with trailer hitches. I will start paying more attention now as I drive. Just one more thing to obsess over.

Kvell -- Verb: to be extraordinarily proud. Rejoice. Amalie's grandparents naturally kvelled when they learned she had won a journalism award at school.

Did You Know? We are pleased to inform you that the word kvell is derived from the Yiddish (you swear?) kveln, meaning "to be delighted," which, in turn, comes from the Middle High German word quellen, meaning "to well, gush, or swell." Yiddish has been a wellspring of creativity for English, giving us such delightful words as meister ("one who is knowledgeable about something"), maven ("expert"), and shtick (I always thought it was spelled "schtick") ("one's special activity"), just to name a few. The date of the appearance of kvell in the English language is tricky to pinpoint exactly. Among the earliest known printed evidence for the word in an English source is a 1952 handbook of Jewish words and expressions, but actual usage evidence before that date remains unseen.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

2019 - Day 22/343 - Tuesday...Peripatetic...

It was 71 degrees in Austin today, kind of grey, but 71 degrees in January is still 71 degrees. Overnight, it is supposed to rain, and be freezing (I think that is what they said) by morning. Two or three days of overnight freezing temps, then back up into the 60s. I think that is what they said, sometimes it just all turns into hummmmmmmmmsssssss. This morning, I went to let the chickens loose. I put chicken feed in their trays, but forgot to open the gate door. They were not happy. Jody finally let them loose at about 3 o'clock this afternoon. I repeat, they were not happy.

Peripatetic -- Adjective: 1. of, relating to, or given to walking 2. moving or traveling from place to place: itinerant. Given to a peripatetic lifestyle in his youth, Dan lived in 16 states before he turned 30 years old.

Did You Know? Are you someone who likes to think on your feet? If so, you've got something in common with the followers of the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle. Not only a thinker and teacher, Aristotle was also a walker, and his students were required to walk along beside him as he lectured while pacing to and fro. Thus it was that Greek word peripatetikos (from peripatein meaning "to walk up and down") came to be associated with Aristotle and his followers, and from there, with the habit of moving from place to place. By the way, the covered walk in the Lyceum where Aristotle taught became known as the peripatos (which can refer to either the act of walking or a place for walking).

Monday, January 21, 2019

2019 - Day 21/344 - Monday...Anthropomorphic...

I knew full well that today was a Holiday and I was still surprised at the effect it had on traffic going in to Austin. About thirty minutes in, I figured it out, and got to my class about 45 minutes early. That is better than cutting it too closely. The sunrise view from the Interstate was nice, I left too early to catch one from the house. I made it until about 10:15 last night, and then I passed out in the blue chair. I got up at some point but decided it was too much trouble to actually go outside to see the eclipse. I did see some truly fantastic and creative photos on Facebook, though. If you stick bologna or pepperoni to the window and set the proper exposure, you cannot tell the difference between those and the real photos!

Anthropomorphic -- Adjective: 1. described or thought of as having a human form or human attributes 2. ascribing human characteristics to non human things. The football team's mascot is an antrhopomorphic dog named Tackle, who performs dance routines with the cheerleaders.

Did You Know? Anthropomorphic comes from the Late Latin word anthropomorphus, which itself traces to a Greek term birthed from the roots anthrop- (meaning "human being") and -morphos (having a form"). Those ancient Greek roots have given form and personality to many English words. Anthrop- relatives include anthropic ("relating to human beings or the period of their existence on earth"), anthropocentric ("considering human beings the center of the universe"), anthropoid (an ape), and anthropology ("the study of human beings and their ancestors"). Derivatives of -morphos often end in -morphism, as in polymorphism ("the quality or state of existing in or assuming different forms"), or -morphic, as in biomorphic ("resembling the forms of living organisms").

Sunday, January 20, 2019

2019 - Day 20/345 - Sunday...Prehension...

I am yawning already, and I just started this journal entry. What do you think the odds are that I will make it to see any part of the Super Blood Wolf Moon Total Eclipse tonight? I give you pretty even odds that I will see part of it (8:36 p.m.), and most of it when it is totally eclipsed (10:40 p.m.). I might even see the peak (11:12 p.m.), but after that, I can not make any promises. I will say that there was a really pretty sunset, but this journal entry is about lunar eclipses, not sunsets. So, mothers. make sure your babies are safe tonight, the crazies may just be out all over during this event!

Prehension -- Noun: 1. the act of taking hold, seizing, or grasping. 2. mental understanding: comprehension. 3. apprehension by the senses. Without opposable thumbs, prehension likely would not be possible in mammals.

Did You Know? It's easy to grasp the origins of prehension -- it descends from the Latin verb prehendere, which means "to seize" or "to grasp." Other descendants of prehendere in English include apprehend, comprehend ("to grasp the nature or significance of"), prehensile ("adapted for seizing or grasping"), prison, reprise, and reprisal. Even the English word get comes to us from the ancient root that led to the Latin prehendere.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

2019 - Day 19/346 - Saturday...Pusillanimous...

The highest wind speed I noticed today was 34 miles per hour. I expect there were some gusts that were higher, but everything around the house is still standing. A few limbs down, but nothing serious. The winds are down now to about 10 miles per hour right now, and they are supposed to keep lessening through the night. There is a chance for a light freeze overnight, but we are (again) not expecting anything terrible. I expect we will survive. The northeast is getting hit with a lot of weather, we hope they all do well, we shall see. I ws outside bringing firewood in this afternoon, and the a couple of the neighbor's calves were very interested in what I was doing. If you look at the cross-eyed, they will scatter, but that does not keep them from being curious. In case you were wondering, this is where hamburgers come from.

Pusillanimoun -- Adjective: lacking courage and resolution; marked by contemptible timidity. "Lately, however, some have shown themselves to be pusillanimous weaklings in defense of intellectual debate and plain old free speech." Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, December 27, 2016

Did You Know? Do you know someone who has a small, weak spirit, someone whose reserve of inner strength is too small to draw from in times of danger and adversity? If so, you'll find pusillanimous to be the perfect descriptor for that person. The Latin roots of this derisive adjective are pusillus, meaning "very small" (and related to pusus, meaning "boy"), and animus, which means "spirit." Pusillanimous gained notoriety in the 1970s when Vice President Spiro T. Agnew famously accused his ideological rivals of "pusillanimous pussyfooting."

Friday, January 18, 2019

011819 - Day 18/347 - Friday...Mansuetude...

I got a new pair of socks yesterday, a belated Christmas gift from Kerry in our office. I love them! I got a chance to wear them today, and they were a great big GIANT hit! The socks were the high point of the day. Office, meeting, office, Costco, home.

Mansuetude -- Noun: the quality or state of being gentle: meekness, tameness. The Newfoundland ranks high among dog breeds known the their mansuetude and is considered safe as a pet for a family with young children.

Did You Know? Mansuetude was first used in English in the 14th century, and it derives from the Latin mansuescere, which means "to tame." Mansuescere itself comes from the noun manus (meaning "hand") and the verb suescrere ("to accustom" or "to become accustomed"). Unlike manus, which has many English descendents (including manner, emancipate, and manicure, among others), suescrere has only a few English progeny. One of them is desuetude, which means "disuse" and comes to us by way of Latin desuescrere ("to become unaccustomed"). Two others are custom and accustom, which derive via Anglo-French from the Latin consuescrere, meaning "to accustom."

Got that?

Thursday, January 17, 2019

2019 - Day 17/348 - Thursday...Tintinnabulation...

My day had two (count 'em, TWO) highlights today. The first was a quick visit to an Estate Sale. We try to go to estate sales when we have a chance, and this was the first one we have been to in a couple months. I will tell you about the prize I got at the sale in a subsequent post. The second highlight of the day was a visit to the brand-spanking-new Keller-Williams real estate office in Georgetown. My friend Avis is the head honcho of that office and the KW office in Round Rock, and she recently renovated a building (just down the street from their former office), and celebrated their grand opening this afternoon. It is a beautiful, high tech equipped office, and there were dozens and dozens of our REALTOR® colleagues there. A 'grand' (get it?) time was had by all, and I was happy to attend and show my support for Avis and everything she has done for our profession and for me personally. Wonderful! This is a photo of my friend Susan, Avis and me.

Tintinnabulation -- Noun: a jingling or tinkling sound from or as if from bells. "The song opened with the far-away electric tintinnabulation of an iceStyleite, September 4, 2014.
cream truck." Colette McIntyre,

Did You Know? Our English work tintinnabulation derives from tintinnabulum, the Latin word for "bell." That Latin word, in turn, comes from the verb tintinnare, which means "to ring, clang or jingle." Like the English terms ting and tinkle, tintinnare originated with a vocal limitation of the sound associated with it - that is, it is onomatopoeic. Edgar Allan Poe celebrates the sonic overtones of tintinnabulation with his poem "The Bells," which includes lines about "the tintinnabulation that so musically wells / From the bells, bells, bells, bells, / Bells, bells, bells - / From the jingling and the tinkling of the bells."

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

2019 - Day 16/349 - Wednesday...Schadenfreude...

Even though I took this photo yesterday, I thought it was a classic example of an oxymoron. Traffic was backed-up for MILES (MILES I tell ya!), and it was a truly awful reason for the traffic jam, but the juxtapositioning of the traffic jam and the portable sign happily flashing "DRIVE SAFELY" was more than I could ignore. I hope you see the humor that I did.

This afternoon as I was navigating my way home, I was stopped on a feeder road, and there were two vehicles in front of me; a pretty new Cadillac directly in front of me and a relatively new pick up truck in front of the Cadillac. We were all stopped, obeying the traffic signal and checking our personal digital assistants when I heard a pretty loud crash. About ten seconds after the noise the traffic signal turned green, and I realized the Cadillac had crashed in to the pick up truck. From a distance of about four feet, the Cadillac did some substantial damage to both vehicles, and all I could do was try to get into the other lane before the traffic signal turned red again. And even though I thought of it, I did not take the extra seconds that would have been necessary for me to document the event for all posterity.

Schadenfreude -- Noun: enjoyment obtained from the troubles of others (I like this one already!). Elena couldn't help but feel a tinge of schadenfreude when her chief rival was suspended from the basketball team.

Did You Know? Schadefreunde is a compound of the German nouns Schaden, meaning "damage" or "harm," and Freude, meaning"joy," so it makes sense that schadenfreude means joy over some harm or misfortune suffered by another. "What a fearful thing it is that any language should have a word expressive of the pleasure which men feel at the calamities of others," wrote Richard Trench of Dublin, an archbishop with literary predilections, of the German Schadenfreude in 1852; perhaps it was just as well that he didn't live to see the word embraced by English speakers before the century was out.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

2019 - Day 15/350 - Tuesday...Small Beer...

Long day. Sometimes, I even outsmart myself. I left the house this morning at 6 A.M. to make sure I would make it to me 9 o'clock meeting. Unfortunately, there was a wreck on the Interstate, involving an 18 wheeler and a pedestrian. Mortal injury. Awful. In many ways. Sad. A disaster. Avoidable.

I did make it to my 9 o'clock on time however, and that lasted until almost 4 P.M., and then I went to visit with our colleagues at the Four Rivers Association of REALTORS® Major Investor Event. David, Deborah and I attended, and they were able to raise $20K for TREPAC. Terrific job, and all the participants are to be congratulated. It was a lot of work, and they made their goal! Excellent!

Then back to Austin, where we attended the Inaugural Ball for Governor Abbot. Lots of people there, good entertainment, highlighting George Strait. Lots of fun.

And now it is time to call it a day!

Small Beer -- Noun: 1. weak or inferior beer 2. Something of small importance: trivia. The monthly fee that Sheila pays for a train pass is small beer compared to having to worry about keeping a car in the city.

Did You Know? Small beer dates from Shakespeare's day. The Bard didn't coin it (it was already in use when he was a child), but he did popularize it. In Henry VI, Part 2, for example, the rebel Jack Cade declares that, when he becomes king, he will "make it a felony to drink small beer." In Othello, Desdemona asks Iago to describe a "deserving woman." Iago responds by listing praises for ten lines, only to conclude that such a woman would be suited "to suckle fools, and chronicle small beer" 00 in other words, to raise babies and keep track of insignificant household expenses. Desdemona quickly retorts, declaring Iago's assertion a "most lame and impotent conclusion."

Monday, January 14, 2019

2019 - Day 14/351 - Monday...Gingerly...

...and, oh the stories you could tell. Kind of a rip-off or Dr. Seuss, but it will have to do for right now. I am reading (listening to) the latest David Sedaris book, Calypso. I gave the hard back version to Jody for Christmas, and I decided to listen to it back and forth on my way to work. That is what I do quite often during my daily commutes. To be honest, it is not one of his more subtly humorous books, and in fact, I kind of find it sad and melancholy. Which in turn kind of affects me in the same way. SO...when I was just a few miles from the edge of nowhere this afternoon, I took a bit of a different route, just so I could see a little bit of different scenery. I waited while a couple school buses dropped of their passengers after a day at school, went from a 35 mile zone (those darned Lutherans) to an immediate 65 mile zone (not gradually), and then I passed this rocking horse on the side of the road, next to an also abandoned boom box (I needed one a year ago) and some glass cabinet doors. The driveway to the house (the house is probably a thousand feet off the road) has signs posted; PRIVATE PROPERTY, NO TRESPASSING and PROPERTY UNDER VIDEO SURVEILLANCE. Well alright! It makes me sad to think what might have become of the kid that used to think this little rocking horse (spring horse?) was the best thing ever. Of course, I am a REALTOR®, and I am prone to making up things as I go. Let me walk in to a vacant house and I can make up the entire scenario about why the house is on the sales market. It is even better if the house is still occupied. There are tell-tale signs EVERYWHERE! I have been accused of (or complimented as being a) story-teller, and my mind (in its current state of melancholy, is working in overdrive!

Gingerly -- Adjective: very cautious or careful. Greg held on tightly to the railing and made the gingerly walk down the icy steps.

Did You Know? Etymologists take a gingerly approach to assigning any particular origins to this word. While it might have come from the name of the spice known as ginger, there's nothing concrete to back up that idea. Another conjecture is that it's related to an Old French word gensor, which meant "delicate." That's because in 16th-century English an earlier sense of gingerly often referred to dancing or walking with dainty steps. Not till the 17th century did it change to apply to movements that were cautious in order to avoid being noisy or causing injury, and to a wary manner in handling or presenting ideas. Not too surprisingly, given its "-ly" ending, gingerly is also quite often correctly used as an adverb. One could thus say, "The paramedic rotated the patient's shoulder gingerly." could thus...DUH!

Sunday, January 13, 2019

2019 - Day 13/352 - Sunday...Meed...

I just have to be clear, these amaryllis have been TOTAL over-achievers. I bought the bulbs at Costco back around thanksgiving, and they bloomed beautifully. This is the second set of blooms from these bulbs in the last few months. I wonder if they will bloom again this year?

I did very little of anything today, but I did get the important stuff done, the important stuff being to get the chicken coop cleaned, empty the trash cans, take the trash to the road, sweep the porch, and some more this and that along the way. Oh year, I ate some nuts and some M&Ms, took several naps (some intended, some accidental), watched a movie with Jody and just (I expect) a few more things that I can't remember. Life is good!

Meed -- Noun: a fitting return or recompense. For his valor displayed on the field of battle, the knight was rewarded with his due meed of praise and gratitude from the king.

Did You Know? The word meed is one of the oldest terms in our language, having been part of English for about 1,000 years. An early form of the word appeared in the Old English classic Beowulf, and it can be found in works by literary luminaries including Geoffrey Chaucer, Edmund Spenser, John Milton, Alexander Pope, and Ben Johnson, Its Old English form mede, is akin to terms found in the ancestral versions of many European languages, including Old High German, Old Swedish, and ancient Greek. In Modern English, the venerable meed is most likely found in poetic contexts.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

2019 - Day 12/353 - Saturday...Forte...

In my quest to become a more interesting person, and to be loathed by canines in a three to five county area surrounding the edge of nowhere, I decided that today was the day to give the dogs a bath. The white girl was not at all happy about this turn of events. That is not to mislead you into thinking that the grey girl was ecstatic about it, but the grey one did sit down while the bathing was taking place. The whole episode was done (both girls) in less than thirty minutes, and I think all parties to the event were please with the speed in which the chore was accomplished. I have put a tickler on the calendar in five weeks to consider a repeat performance. I have to tell you, it is certainly more cost effective than the beautiful parlor.

Forte -- Noun: something in which one excels (see dog bathing); one's strong point. Cooking is not Shawna's forte, so she tends to order takeout for dinner frequently.

Did You Know? Forte comes from fencing--when English speakers first borrowed the word from the French, it referred to the strongest part of a sword blade, between the middle and the hilt. It is therefore unsurprising that forte eventually developed an extended metaphorical sense for a person's strong point. (Incidentally, forte has its counterpoint in the word foible, meaning both the weakest part of a sword blade and a person's weak point.) There is some dispute over how to pronounce forte; while some usage commentators recommend \fort\, many speakers pronounce the word as \for-tay\ to match the Italian musical direction forte.

Friday, January 11, 2019

2019 - Day 11/354 - Friday...Eristic...

I have come to the conclusion, as of yesterday, that I need to lead a more interesting life. Perhaps I just need to remember to take photos of the things I do and see on a daily basis. Or maybe I just need to steal other peoples photos of the things that I find to be interesting. Whichever one is the actual case, I found again today that I had not taken a photo all day long, even though I did a few interesting things (to me), but if I were pressed to prove same, I would be sadly unable to. As a fall-back, I went through my photo files (back to 2011), and found nothing on this day all those years back that I wanted to share with you. I then asked Mrs. Google to search for interesting photos. I then refined the search to locate interesting public domain photos. There were lots, but I chose this one to share with you this evening. It seemed kind of appropriate, but now I am questioning my decision. Perhaps Mrs. Google would have been forthcoming if I had asked for interesting public domain photos January 11, fill in the blank for the year. But I didn't, so this is what you are stuck with.

Eristic - Adjective: characterized by disputatious and often subtle and specious reasoning. The defense attorney tried to convince the jury that the prosecution was using eristic arguments to place her client at the scene of the crime.

Did You Know? Eristic means "argumentative" as well as "logically invalid." Someone prone to eristic arguments probably causes a fair amount of strife amongst his or her conversational partners. (I know that person, and it is a him.) It's no surprise, then, that the word traces its ancestry back to the Greek word for "strife." Eristic and the variant eristical come from the Greek word eristikos, meaning "fond of wrangling," from erizein, "to wrangle," and ultimately from eris, which means "strife." The noun eristic refers either to a person who is skilled at debates based on formal logic or to the art or practice of argument. (It's the latter.)

Thursday, January 10, 2019

2019 - Day 10/355 - Thursday...Beau Geste...

I did not take any photos today for the journal (or for any other reason). I went through some recent pictures, and I did not see anything that I thought was interesting enough, so I thought, let's see what was happening a year ago today. And guess what? A year ago today, I was doing pretty much the same thing I was doing today, but I did not document it for posterity. This morning, I was at the Texas Real Estate Commission. A year ago today, I was at the Texas Real Estate Commission. Same room. Different council/committee/task force/working group. That might be the universe trying to tell me something, but I am not exactly sure what that message might be. If you have any ideas, feel free to let me know. Susan?

Beau Geste (or beau geste) -- Noun: 1. a graceful or magnanimous gesture 2. an ingratiating conciliatory gesture. "While opening his home was a beau geste on your friend's part, closing the door to his boss guest is easier said than done." - Karla L. Miller, The Washington Post, August 3, 2017

Did You Know? Beau geste is a phrase borrowed from French; the literal translation is "beautiful gesture." Beau Geste is also the title of a 1924 novel by Percival Christopher Wren, featuring three English brothers who join the French Foreign Legion to repair their family honor. (That's the one I am familiar with, but I thought Beau Geste was a person.) The novel spawned several film versions, including one starring Gary Cooper. Wren didn't invent the phrase beau geste, which first appeared in print at the beginning ofd the 20th century, but the publicity surrounding the novel and subsequent films likely contributed to the expression's popularity.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

2019 - Day 9/356 - Wednesday...Occam's Razor...

Well, two days of TREPAC planning and training and preparing are done, and it was great. The finale was a briefing from Lt. Governor Dan Patrick on what the upcoming session may (or may not) hold for us. Our legislators meet every two years for about 140 days. The only thing that MUST be done during these sessions is to get a budget approved.Things are not always as they seem, and they don't always get their job done. You had one job... But I digress. Before the update started, Jaime and I tried out the chairs and had a little debate of our own. I lost the debate, but my socks were voted 'most photogenic'. Later that same day...I was taking my friend Melinda to catch her plane back to East Texas, and a call came in from our mutual friend Peter in Maryland. Very, very, VERY cool that he called while we were both in the car. Melinda introduced me and Peter in Boston (I think) but it seems like we have known each other much longer than that. Hard to tell...BUT, it was very serendipitous that he called while we were on our way to the airport, and we all had a chance for a good talk.

Occam's Razor -- Noun: a scientific or philosophical rule that favors the simplest explanation. "Occam's razor applies here. Or, as medical students are taught, when you hear hoofbeats, think horses not zebras." -- Paul Cassel, The Washington Post, February 6, 2017

Did You Know? William of Occam (also spelled "Ockham") didn't invent the rule associated with his name. Others had espoused the "keep it simple" concept before that 14th-century philosopher and theologian embraced it, but no one wielded the principle (also known as the "law of parsimony") as relentlessly as he did. He used it to counter what he considered the fuzzy logic of his theological contemporaries, and his applications of it inspired 19th-century Scottish philosopher Sir William Hamilton to link Occam with the idea of cutting away extraneous material, giving us the modern name for the principle.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

2019 - Day 8/357 - Tuesday...Adust...

So, today was a day full of meetings at the Texas Association of REALTORS®, or as we have been re-branded, Texas Realtors®. It was a really good day, meeting with the TREPAC Leadership and the Sub-Committee Chairs and Co-Chairs. 2019 is going to be a really good year, and we are hitting the ground running! Having said that, we are already into the second quarter of our fiscal year, and there is a lot of work to do. Committee Chairs and Co-Chairs from all across the state (and it is a big state) have converged on Austin, and we are all staying at the AT&T Education and Conference Center on the University of Texas Campus. A day full of meetings and presentations, a quick dinner, and now it is time to call it a day. Breakfast is at 7:30 in the morning, and then one more meeting with one of pur elected officials, and that will be the end of this chapter. More to follow...stay tuned!

Adust -- Adjective: scorched, burned. We drove past abandoned farms where drought had ravaged the land and fire had left the fields adust.

Did You Know? Adust comes from Latin adustus, the past participle of adurere ("to set fire to"), a verb formed from the Latin prefix ad- and the verb urere ("to burn"). It entered the English language in the early 15th century as a medical term related to the four bodily humors -- black bile, blood, phlegm, and yellow bile -- which were believed at the time to determine a person's health and temperament. Adust was used to describe a condition of the humors in which they supposedly became heated of combusted. Adust black bile in particular was believed to be a source of melancholy. The association with melancholy gave rise to an adjective sense of adust meaning "of a gloomy appearance or disposition," but that sense is not considered archaic.

Monday, January 7, 2019

2019 - Day 7/358 - Monday...Analogue...

So, it was a lovely day today in central Texas, and Austin in particular. It was my pleasure to pick up my BFF Melinda (from Longview) at the airport in anticipation of the TREPAC Committee Leadership meetings tomorrow and Wednesday. Melinda does not get a chance to see much of Austin when she is here for meetings (in and out, nobody gets hurt) so it was fun for me to give her the "So you're transferring here from Podunk?" tour of Austin. I like doing that, whenever I get to show transferees around the town, it is like I am getting the chance to see Austin with fresh baby eyes. Wonderful! We went to the board for a quick tour, then to some overlooks, Mount Bonnell, Mayfield Park (free-range peacocks), Laguna Gloria and then down the drag to her hotel. Dinner tonight and early crash, and then meetings tomorrow and Wednesday. I enjoy it all very much!

Analogue - Noun: 1. something that is similar to something else 2. an organ similar in function to one another animal or plant but different in structure or origin. Seitan works as an analogue to meat in many vegetarian recipes.

Did You Know? The word analogue entered English from French in the 19th century and ultimately traces back to the Greek word logos, meaning "ratio." (The word analogy, which has been part of English since the 15th century, also descends from logos.) The noun analogue is sometimes spelled analog, particularly when it refers to a chemical compound that is structurally similar to another but slightly different in composition. Adding to the confusion, there is also an adjective spelled analog, which came into use in the 20th century. The adjective can refer to something that is analogous (as in "an analog part of an animal or plant"), but it is most often used to distinguish analog electronics from digital electronics (as in "an analog computer" or "an analog clock").

Sunday, January 6, 2019

2019 - Day 6/359 - Sunday...Expiate...

I am often smarter than the cattle, although it is not understood that I am, not by the cattle anyway. Generally speaking, I am smarter than the chickens. The chickens think I an God, the cattle generally just think I am an annoyance. The dogs think I am just kept around to make their lives more comfortable, is a servant kind of way. I was able to outsmart the cattle today, for the most part. Most of them (six out of eight) were in the smaller front pasture when I decided it was a good time to take them some hay. Only two were in the pasture where the first bale was going to be put, so I was able to get the hay out, unwrapped, down and rung pretty much before they knew what was happening. That distracted them while I got the other bale and took it to another pasture. As far as I know, they do not even know it is there yet. If you squint, you can see the cattle in the far pasture, happily mis-behaving with the fresh hay. I was a little disappointed with the weather today, it was cloudier and cooler and wetter than I was expecting. I got everything done though, and we have another fire going in the fireplace. Just to take the chill off.

Expiate - Verb: 1. to extinguish the guilt incurred be 2. to make amends for. David volunteered at the youth center partly as a way to expiate his early years as a trouble maker on the streets.

Did You Know? Expiate derives from expiare, Latin for "to atone for," al root that in turn traces to the Latin term for "pious." Expiate originally referred to warding off evel by using sacred rites, or to using sacred rites to cleanse or purify something ("[Epimenides] lustrated and expiated the City," wrote the 17th-century author Thomas Stanley in The History of Philosophy, "rendring the people more obsequious to justice and unity"), but Shakespeare, among others, used it to mean "to put an end to": "But when in the time's furrows I behold, / Then look I death my days should expiate" (Sonnet 22).

Saturday, January 5, 2019

2019 - Day 5/360 - Saturday...Subpoena...

It was a beautiful day on the Edge of Nowhere, the sun was out and the temperature peaked at about 75 degrees. Lovely. Shirt sleeve (and Christmas vest) kind of weather. We let the coals in the stove burn out, I will clean out the ash tomorrow and then we will be ready for the next cold snap. I took the plants out of the garage and the front barn, so it could well freeze overnight. The mice in the front barn do not even pretend to be afraid of me anymore, they just sit there and look at me like statues. I feel kind of bad, but they are due for eradication. We shall see. The chickens are still doing just fine, and the broody girl is still brooding, sitting on a wooden nest egg. Otherwise, it was a relatively unproductive day around the house. I took a couple naps, Jody and I went in to Georgetown for lunch and stopped at Tractor Supply for chicken feed and a flock block. I still want to try to take a couple bales of hay to the cattle tomorrow, we will see how that works out.

Subpoena - Noun: a writ commanding a person designated in it to appear in court under a penalty for failure. "If we have to compel them to come in, then that's what we're going to do.' he said, referring to possible subpoenas." Sandra Tan, The Buffalo News, April 8, 2016

Did You Know? If you think you recognize the sub- in subpoena as the prefix meaning "under, beneath, below," you're on the right track. Subpoena arrived in Modern English (via the Middle English suppena) from the Latin sub poena, a combination of sub and poena, meaning "penalty." Other poena descendants in English include impunity ("freedom from penapenal ("of or relating to punishment"), and even punish. There is also the verb subpoena, as in "Defense lawyers have subpoenaed several witnesses to the crime."

Friday, January 4, 2019

2019 - Day 4/361 - Friday...Foment...

As long as we are on the subject of chickens and all things eggy and feathery, I thought I would show you this photo of one of our broody girls. Brooding hens (this is my interpretation, not Mrs. Google or Mr. Wikipedia) are hens that THINK they are going to sit on their nest until they hatch an egg, even if there is NO egg to be hatched. If you remember back in your high school biology class (or maybe in your health class during PE), you will recall that it takes two to tango...well, the same goes with chickens. And in this case, there is no party of the second part in the hen house. There is plenty of co-habitation, but no copulation. There are no buns in the ovens, and it is not really a possibility. SO, on occasion, one or more of the hens will just sit there and wait. And wait. And wait some more, until they finally get the message that nothing is going to happen, and they give up. At some point during the day, we assume they venture out and eat a bug here and there, and get some water, but they are pretty steadily on the nests.

Foment - Verb: to promote the growth or development of: rouse, incite. The activist group insists that the weekend-long protest was intended to foment debate, not violence.

Did You Know? If you had sore muscles in the 1600s, your doctor might have advised you to foment the injury, perhaps with heated lotions or warm wax. Does this sound like an odd prescription? Not if you know that foment traces to the Latin verb fovere, which means "to heat." The earliest documented English uses of foment appear in medical texts offering advice on how to soothe various aches and pains by the application of moist heat. Wink, wink, wink... But the idea of applying heat can also be a metaphor for stimulating or rousing to actions, and soon after its debut, foment was also being used in political contexts to mean "to stir up," "to call to action," or, in a sense at least figuratively opposite to its original one, "to irritate."

Thursday, January 3, 2019

2019 - Day 3/362 - Thursday...Spelunker...

The rains quit this morning about 9 o'clock. The sun came out about 1 o'clock, but it is still cold outside. I think the high temperature reached 52 this afternoon. It is supposed to be close to 70 over the weekend. The ground all around is still saturated, but the levels have subsided a bit. We still can't get from the house to the chicken coop via the path, it remains flooded. I was not able to check the water meter up by the road yesterday because it was submerged. There is still water in the meter well, but the meter itself is visible. It will be a while before anyone gets their tractors in the fields around here. They may get them IN the fields, but odds are against them getting the tractors OUT. I am going to try and get some hay to the cattle this weekend, I think that will be okay, but you never know. Generally, if I get the tractor stuck, I can use the bucket or the front hay fork to get myself out. The things you learn... The rain really does not seem to have affected the chickens too much. Chickens need sunlight to lay, so I was kind of expecting the production to suffer, but nothing drastic. We got 11 eggs this afternoon, which is pretty much status quo. We are down to 21 girls, and I may (or may not) pick up a few more chicks in the spring.

Spelunker - Noun: one who makes a hobby of exploring and studying caves. An expedition of spelunkers was credited with discovering the fossil buried deep inside the mountain.

Did You Know? Spelunker sounds like the noise a pebble makes when you drop it down a deep hole and into dark, hidden water far below. But there's nothing dark or obscure about the etymology of the term. We borrowed spelunker from the Latin spelunca, which derives from the Greek spelynx. When you get to the bottom of things, you find that both the Latspelunker is fun to say, be careful: some cave-exploring enthusiasts prefer the term caver.
in and Greek words mean "cave." Although

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

2019 - Day 2/363 - Wednesday...Fustian...

I half-way expected this to be the beginning of the end. It started raining last night, and it has not quit, not even briefly, since. Since yesterday's journal entry, we have recorded 2.57" of rain, and it is still raining. It is supposed to rain all night long, and quit about mid-day on Thursday. They are threatening that a little bit of sunshine may peek through just about the time I get home tomorrow night. Everything out here is standing in water. EVERYTHING! We will be remembering this later on in the summer when we are in the middle of another drought. We had earlier said that these rains would be good for the wild flowers in the spring, but I am no longer certain of that. They may all have been washed out by this time. Traffic was not terrible on the way in or on the way home, in spite of all the rain and the crazy drivers. This photo is of a teeny-tinee wreck on the way in to the office this morning. No real challenges at all. On New Year's Day, there was a wreck on SH-130 (the one where the speed limit is 85 MPH) involving 32 vehicles of all shapes and sizes (including a Sheriff's SUV). No one seriously injured. I don't know how that is possible, but it was. Anyway, we shall see what tomorrow brings.

The trending story of the day is BEVO v. UGA. Not a real even match there, but interesting and kind of entertaining!

Fustian - Noun: 1: A strong cotton and linen fabric 2: High-flown or affected writing or speech (see above); broadly: anything high-flown or affected in style. "He had a way of stripping period fustian from Wagner operas and Mahler symphonies..." -- Ivan Hewett, The Telegraph (Lindon), January 6, 2016

Did You Know? Fustian has been used in English to denote a kind of cloth since the 13th century, but it didn't acquire its "high-flownDoctor Faustus when Wagner says, :Let thy left eye be diametarily [sic] fixed upon my right heel, with quasi vestigiis nostris insistere," and the clown replies, "God forgive me, he speaks Dutch fustian." English picked it up from Anglo-French, which adopted it from Medieval Latin, but its original roots are a subject of some dispute.
" sense until at least three centuries later. One of the earliest uses of the "pretentious writing or speech" sense occurs in Christopher Marlowe's play

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

2019 - Day 1/364 - Tuesday...Paragon...

Ugh. A new year. And the beginning of the eleventh year of this journal. This is the 3,561st post. I have no idea what will go on this year, but the odds are the really interesting stuff will be documented much less than the really dull and uninteresting stuff. There is a lot to be said for consistency, but not necessarily in relation to this blog. Whatever. It is cold here today on the edge of nowhere. The temperatures were consistently in the 40s, but it was grey and cloudy and windy, which has led me to declare that it is f*cking freezing outside. We have has a fire in the stove for the last couple days now, and I expect we will keep it going at least through the weekend. Barney the cat (the barn cat) is still going strong. We feed him every evening, and we suspect that what he doesn't eat is consumed by raccoons. He has been hanging around for several years, but he is still shy and skittish. He has secret hiding places (we know where a couple of them are), and we guess he is happy to be on his own. We also expect he is a 'he', assuming that if he were a she, there would have been baby Barney's at some point along the way. If you look closely, behind the truck tire, you can see his head and tail. Maybe you need to squint a little bit too!

So, Happy New Year to you all, and I hope if you made any resolutions that you can keep them for as long as you like. I have not made any resolutions for the last couple years, and that suits me just fine.

I am crazy enough as it it!

Paragon - Noun: a model of excellence or perfection. "What a piece of work is a man! apprehension how like a god! the beauty of the world, the paragon of animals!" -- William Shakespeare, Hamlet, 1600-1601

Did You Know? Paragon derives from the Old Italian word paragone, which literally means "touchstone." A touchstone is a black stone that was once used to judge the purity of gold or silver. The metal was rubbed on the stone and the color of the streak it left indicated the metal's quality. In modern English, both touchstone and paragon comes from the Greek parakonan, meaning "to sharpen," from the prefix para- ("alongside of") and akone, meaning "whetstone."