Thursday, February 28, 2019

2019 - Day 59/306 - Thursday...Facsimile...

Hmmm. The last day of February already. So far, the year has been less than satisfactory. Grey, cloudy, rainy, cold, wet, generally not a place one would care to spend a lot of time. We are complaining about it now, and we will be complaining about something totally different in a couple months. Hot, dry, windy, humid, no rain, too much rain, this and that. But for now, we are complaining about the weather that is most recent. 80 degrees yesterday, 40 degrees today. 70 degrees tomorrow, 30 degrees on Sunday. Two days of freezing overnight temperatures, wind-chills in the teens. We don't know how to drive in the rain, and mother nature does not know that it is not really that funny of a joke. Maybe sarcasm, but I doubt it.

Facsimile -- Noun: 1. an exact copy. 2. a system of transmitting and reproducing graphic matter by means of signals sent over telephone lines. For her birthday, Jennie received a facsimile of her hometown newspaper's front page from the day she was born.

Did You Know? The facsimile machine (or fax machine) has been a staple of the modern office for a while now, and its name is much, much older. Fac simile is a Latin phrase meaning "make similar." English speakers began using facsimile as a noun meaning "an exact copy" in the late 1600s. In this sense, a facsimile might be a handwritten or hand drawn copy, or even a copy of a painting or statue. (Today, we also use the phrase "a reasonable facsimile" for a copy that is not exact but fairly close.) In the 1800s, people developed facsimile technology that could reproduce printed material via telegraph, and we usually call the resulting facsimile a fax.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

2019 - Day 58/307 - Wednesday...Tristful...

It was kind of a busy day today, stuff, meetings, hearings on television, hearings on the radio, hearings on the news. Hearings, hearings, hearings. I think I am on hearings overload. Couple that with the fact that it was 80 degrees in central Texas today, and the high temperature tomorrow is going to be 50 degrees, and it is going to rain. Perfect. and next week (Monday and Tuesday) we are supposed to have temperatures below freezing again. Pretty hard freeze, but it should be below freezing for just a few hours. All the spring flora that is already confused may be hit hard. I hate that.

Tristful -- Adjective: sad, melancholy. "I've been dreading the moment when I wake. Waking is a tristful business for the man who reflects." Howard Jacobson, The Independent (London), November 27, 2010

Did You Know? The Middle English word trist, from which tristful is derived, means "sad." Today, we spell this word triste (echoing the spelling of its French ancestor, a descendant of the Latin tristis), whereas tristful has continued to be spelled without the e. Is there a connection between triste ("sad") and tryst ("a secret rendezvous of lovers")? No. Tryst also traces back to a Middle English trist, but it is a different word, a noun that is a synonym of trust. This other trist eventually fell into disuse, but before doing so, it may have given rise to a word for a station at which hunters would convent, which in turn led to tryst.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

2019 - Day 57/308 - Tuesday...Pianistic...

It was a civilized start to the day...I dilly-dallied around and it took a couple hours to get in to the office, but I made it in time for the property management meeting. I didn't make anything for breakfast, and had my usual four cups of coffee between waking up and getting to the office. I am trying to think of something remarkable that happened today, but I am drawing a blank. I got a pretty good number of chores done, got a lot of things on my 'to done' list scratched off, picked up prescriptions, went to Costco and made it home in time to talk with the yard guys. Had a nice dinner (stuffed salmon) and watched Finding Your Roots on PBS. We watch PBS on Mondays and Tuesdays, and enjoy it very much. Other than Big Bang Theory and Dr. Pimple Popper, that is about the total of our (my) must-see TV. Just two more entries in the theme month, I had better make them good. After that, it will be back to wrecks and clouds. I have seen lots of things worthy of journaling, but I have kept true to the cause.

Pianistic -- Adjective: 1. of, relating to, or characteristic of the piano. 2. skilled in or well adapted to piano playing. "In fact, ... he has been bringing his pianistic and composing chops to orchestra gigs for more than a decade." David Weininger, The Boston Globe, May 12, 2017

Did You Know? The origin of pianistic won't surprise you - it's ultimately from piano. But the -istic suffix is less than ubiquitous and bears some attention. It is used from time to time to create adjectives that correspond to nouns primarily in -ism or -ist. (In this case, both pianism and pianist predate pianitsic, although only by a few years.) The pedigree of -istic isn't too surprising; etymologists report that it comes from Middle French (-istique), Latin (-isticus), and ultimately Greek (-istikos). As with words formed from the suffix -ic, words ending in -istic can sometimes find life as nouns - for example, autistic and characteristic. Got it?

Monday, February 25, 2019

2019 - Day 56/309 - Monday...Vade Mecum...

This is the house my parents built in 1961 in Riverview, Michigan. Downriver from Detroit. It is the house I lived in when my father died in 1968. I graduated from high school in 1969. The house is a little bit different than the way it was built. The sidewalk went from the porch in a straight line to the street side walk, now it looks like it goes from the porch to the driveway. The big picture window in the front was just one big (HUGE) pane of glass, now it looks like it is a bow window. I remember the house pretty well, I expect if I were to go back (which I would really like to do), I would think it is smaller than I remember.

I think (maybe) we are wavering on the era of the chickens. We MIGHT get some more chicks, just not sure at this point in time. I guess only time will tell.

Vade Mecum -- Noun: 1. a book for ready reference: manual. 2. something regularly carried about by a person. "Well into the 20th century, John Barlow's Ideal Handbook, the vade mecum of the rifleman, carried instructions for molding the Keene bullet." Jim Foral, Gun Digest 2012

Did You Know? Vade Mecum (Latin for "go with me") has long been used for manuals or guidebooks sufficiently compact to be carried in a deep pocket, and it would sometimes appear in the title of such works, as with one of the earliest known uses of the phrase in the title of the 1629 volume Vade Mecum: A Manuall of Essayes Morral, Theologicall. From the beginning, it has also been used for things carried by a person, such as gold, medications, and memorized gems of wisdom. But these days, vade mecum is primarily encountered in reference to works that are intended to serve as one-step references of guides to a particular subject, whether or not such a work can actually be carried in one's pocket (a moot distinction, perhaps, in an age when such works can easily reside on a smartphone).

Sunday, February 24, 2019

2019 - Day 55/310 - Sunday...Surfeit...

I am facing the end of an era, and it makes me kind of sad. Since the first of the year, we have lost 13 chickens. It seems the coyotes have figured out where the chickens live. I think we are done. Once these chickens are gone, that is going to be the end. No more chickens. that also means no more chicken poop all over everything, no more cleaning the chicken coop, all kinds of stuff like that. There are pros and there are cons, but it looks like the end of the chicken era is at hand.

I made it back to Austin this afternoon from Palm Springs. This is a little door I went through. On the other hand, the little door made me feel bigger (taller) than I actually am, and it helped to make everyone boarding and walking down the aisle seem taller too. All in all, not a bad thing. I always wanted to be taller.

Surfeit -- Noun: 1. an overabundant supply: excess. 2. an intemperate or immoderate indulgence in something. 3. disgust caused by excess. The prose is weighed down by a surfeit of dense and obscure vocabulary.

Did You Know? There is an abundance of English words that derive from the Latin facere, meaning "to do." The connection to facere is fairly obvious for words such as sacrifice, benefaction, and infect. For words like stupefy (a modification of the Latin stupefacere) and hacienda (originally, in Old Spanish and Latin, facienda), the facere factor is not so apparent. As for surfeit, the c was dropped between Latin and Anglo-French, where facere became faire and sur- was added to make surfaire, meaning "to overdo." The Anglo-French noun surfet ("excess") entered Middle English and went through a number of spellings before settling on surfeit.

2019 - Day 54/311 - Saturday...Gerrymander...

Last day of this conference, and it is going out in style! Great speakers today, and the highlight was a presentation from Condoleezza Rice. Very interesting, very smart, very well presented. Of course, there was a lot of networking and planning for future successes. The meeting next year will be in Miami at the Fountainebleau in Miami. It will probably rain. After the meetings, many of us took naps before the closing reception, and then there were a few of my colleagues that came by for a glass of wine. All-in-all, not a bad way to end a conference. My plane leaves it 10:30 in the morning, so that is kind of a civilized was to travel back t=home!

Gerrymander -- Verb: to divide (an area) into political units that give one group an unfair advantage. The court is expected to rule soon on whether or not the state's districts were illegally gerrymandered.

Did You Know? Elbridge Gerry signed the Declaration of Independence, served as governor of Massachusetts, and was vice president under James Madison. While governor, he tried to change the shape of voting districts to help members of his political party get elected. His system resulted in oddly shaped districts, including Gerry's own, which looked like a lizard. Upon seeing a map of the new divisions, a member of the opposing party drew feet, wings, and a head on Gerry's district and said, "That will do for a salamander!" Another member called out, "Gerrymander!" thereby coining a term for dividing regions based on political favoritism.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

2019 - Day 53/312 - Friday...Rodomontade...

Another good day in Palm Springs. Good speakers, good networking with colleagues from across the country. Good weather. That's important! It was not particularly warm, but the sun was out and there was no rain. An early start (breakfast is at 7 a.m.), speakers, presentations, breaks, a couple business communications, lunch, field trips, excursions, naps, dinner...the usual stuff. Tomorrow is a repeat (kind of) of today, and then the wrap up, and I will leave Sunday morning and head home. Ready to go!

Rodomontade -- Noun: 1. a bragging speech. 2. vain boasting or bluster: rant. Harry's penchant for swagger and rodomontade is in sharp contrast to his brother's modesty and self-deprecating charm.

Did You Know? Rodomontade (which can also be spelled rhodomontade) originated in Italian poetry. Rodomontade was a fierce and boastful king in Orlando Innamorato, Count Matteo M Boiardo's late 15th-century epic, and later in the sequel Orlando Furioso, written by poet Lodovico Ariosto in 1516. In the late 16th century, English speakers began to use rodomont as a noun meaning "Braggart." Soon afterward, rodomontade entered the language as a noun (meaning "empty bluster" or "bragging speech") and later as an adjective (meaning "boastful" or "ranting"). The noun rodomont is no longer used in English, but rodomontade is still with us.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

2019 - Day 52/313 - Thursday...Cohort...

It's a ride, not a race. That is what I used to say when I was doing long distance fund-raising bike rides. Those rides (the fun ones) were usually seven-day rides, over hundreds of miles (usually between 6 and 7 hundred miles) and even once in two countries (Canada and the US). That is kind of like the conference I am attending right now. Yesterday was brutal (in first world terms), and today was kind of a slow start. This evening I was kind of getting in to the groove, and I think tomorrow and Saturday will make everything worthwhile. It is chilly (that is kind of an understatement), but tomorrow is supposed to be sunny and warmer, more of what I was expecting from this location. Tomorrow will be a really fun day!

Cohort -- Noun: 1a. a group of warriors or soldiers. b. band, group. c. a group of individuals having a statistical factor (such as age) in common. 2. companion, colleague. The current cohort of graduating seniors is the school's smallest in almost 100 years.

Did You Know? In ancient times, a cohort was a military unit, one of ten divisions in a Roman legion. The term passed into English via French in the 15th century, when it was used in translations and writings about Roman history. Once cohort became established in our language, its meaning was extended to refer first to any body of troops, then to any group of individuals with something in common, and later to a single companion. Some usage commentators have objected to this last sense because it can be hard to tell whether the plural refers to different individuals or different groups. The "companion" sense is well established in standard use, however, and its meaning is clear enough in such sentences as "her cohorts came along with her to the game."

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

2019 - Day 51/314 - Wednesday...Luciferin...

The options for this journal entry were not really all that good. I could do it early or late, and by late I mean that most of you would already be asleep and it would be tomorrow. So I am doing it early. My flight has been delayed again, so I am stuck here until 8 p.m., thena 3+ hour flight. I know, these are all just first world problems, and I agree with that whole-heartedly, so I will get over it. The sun MIGHT come up tomorrow where I am heading, but according to the prognosticators, it is not likely. I would really like to understand the workings of Wi-Fi Hotspots, but I don't, so no need to go further into that. It works, and even I can make it work, so that is enough for me.

Luciferin -- Noun: any of various organic substances that upon oxidation produce a virtually heatless light (as in fireflies). "Luciferins vary in chemical structure; the luciferin of luminescent bacteria, for example, is completely different from that of fireflies." "Luciferin", Encyclopedia Britannica Online, 2012

Did You Know? Luciferin for its name from the Latin word lucifer (meaning "light-bearing"), which also is a source of the word that is sometimes used as the name of the devil. We won't go into how Lucifer came to be called by that name -- suffice it to say that he wasn't always associated with darkness -- but let's look a bit more closely at the Latin word lucifer. It comes from Latin luc-, meaning "light," plus -fer, meaning "bearing" or "producing." Additional relatives include the nontechnical adjective luciferous, meaning "bringing light or insight," and luciferase, the enzyme that catalyzes the oxidation of luciferin.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

2019 - Day 50/315 - Tuesday...Riposte...

Still rainy, cold, dreary, raw. It is almost like it is never going to be warm and sunny again, but I know that is not accurate. People in Teas are not really satisfied unless it is raining and they can driver their trucks 110 miles per hour in a 75 mile zone, and crash in to several vehicles as they are doing it. Traffic delays. Two hours to get in to the office this morning. Repeat after me; I like where I live, and I like where I work. They just don't happen to be that close to each other. Today was kind of an interesting day, leave it be that it was just one of those 'sh*t happens' kind of days, enough said. Then there were a couple meetings, some planning, some declining and some inspiring. Perfect. Now, if the sun would just come out for a while, I would shut up.

Riposte -- Noun: 1. a fencer's quick return thrust following a parry. 2. a retaliatory verbal wally: retort. 3. a retaliatory maneuver or measure. Alexa's quick wit was on display as she countered her opponent's insults and jibes with clever ripostes and rejoinders.

Did You Know? In the sport of fencing, a riposte is a counterattack made after successfully fending off one's opponent. English speakers borrowed the name for this particular maneuver from French in the early 1700s, but the French had simply modified the Italian risposta, which literally means "answer." Ultimately these words come from the Latin verb respondere, meaning "to respond." It seems fitting that riposte has since come full circle to now refer to a quick and witty response performed as a form of retaliation.

Monday, February 18, 2019

2019 - Day 49/316 - Monday...Thew...

President's Day Holiday. Except not for me. Banks were closed, no mail today, but life went along as usual. I would be okay with no mail delivery on Saturday, if anyone thought that would be an okay thing for saving money for that service. I really have no problems with the USPS. Personally, I cannot get a letter from here to there for less than 55 cents. Is that how much a first class stamp costs these days? I know the cost of postage continues to go up, but try to compare that with inflation in Venezuela. Now, quit complaining. There is plenty of other stuff to complain about, but instead, I think I will finish this journal post, get myself three or four Girl Scout cookies, plant myself in the big blue chair and watch Antiques Roadshow. I hope to get this done in ten minutes.

Thew -- Noun: 1a. muscular power or development. b. strength, vitality. 2. muscle, sinew - usually used in plural. "As soon as his right arm received thew and sinew he learned to draw the long bow and speed a true arrow." J. Walker McSpadden, Robin Hood and His Merry Outlaws, 1923.

Did You Know? In Middle English, thew carried a number of meanings, referring to a custom, habit, personal quality, or virtue. The word began to tire in the 16th century but was soon revitalized with a new meaning: It began to be used specifically for the quality of physical strength and later for the muscles demonstrating that quality. In time, the word buddied up with sinew in both literal and figurative turns of phrase, as in "the thews and sinews of my body ached" and "their love affair was the thew and sinew of the story."

Sunday, February 17, 2019

2019 - Day 48/317 - Sunday...Devotion...

I got most of the chores done or at least started today. I deferred in washing the car, there is a place in Austin, close to the office that I will take it to in the morning. I got the chicken coop cleaned, and the cattle fed, and then Jody and I went in to Georgetown. Three stops; Target, Walmart and Tractor Supply. The dogs have PLENTY of food for the next decade or two, an Barney the barn cat has a fresh bag of cat food, too. I did cut a bunch of grass today too. At least it looks like someone lives here again, instead of looking abandoned. The grass, and I say that with tongue-in-cheek, has really grown, and there is a new invasive something (weed) that has pretty much taken over. It looks like dandelions on steroids, and you have to go over it with the mower three or four times to make it look like you meant it. The one thing that still needs to be done is the fountains in the front need to be cleaned. Maybe in a couple weeks.

Devotion -- Noun: 1a. a religious fervor: piety. b. a religious exercise or practice for private use. 2a. the act of devoting. b. the fact or state of being ardently dedicated and loyal. He was remembered for his commitment and unswerving devotion to his family.

Did You Know? When we take a vow, we pledge our devotion. It should be no surprise, then, that devotion and its related verb devote come from the act of taking a vow. Both words originate from the Latin devotus, which is the past participle of devovere, a union of the prefix de- )"from") and the verb vovere ("to vow"). Devote was once used as an adjective that could mean either "devout" or "devoted." While devout often connotes faithfulness of a religious nature, the adjective devoted conveys the sense of commitment to another through love and loyalty (as in "a devoted husband and father" or "the singer's devoted fans").

Saturday, February 16, 2019

2019 - Day 47/318 - Saturday...Gloaming...

It was 91 degree in central Texas yesterday. The best it got to today was 48. No sun. We are sick of no sun. I did figure out why I could not get warm. I forgot to check the thermostats after the cleaning lady came this week. The thermostat on one side of the house was set at 63. Good for conservation, not so good for trying to stay warm. I had considered building a fire in the stove, but decided against it. I did get some things done today that helped to keep me cold. I power washed the front porch this morning. Not too bad, took about an hour. Then later on I gave the dogs a bath. They are both pretty good about that, although Callie is not really that keen on it. Lexie does pretty good when I an trying to give her a little trim. I think she is pretty used to it. We expect they were both groomed more before we got them than they are now, BUT I am getting pretty good at the bathing thing. It is supposed to be a little bit warmer tomorrow, so I would really like to wash the car. Then of course there is the chicken coop to be cleaned and I would like to take some hay to the cattle. I think the cattle would like that too! I am not too sure about cutting any grass...

Gloaming -- Noun: twilight, dusk. "Nighttime, not the late hours but the gloaming,...that's when the loneliness settled in like the ache in her hip on a rainy day." Lisa Unger, Fragile, 2010

Did You Know? If gloaming makes you think of tartans and bagpipes, well, lads and lasses, you've got a good ear; we picked up gloaming from the Scottish dialects of English back in the Middle Ages. The roots of the word trace to the Old English word for twilight, glom, which is akin to glowan, an Old English verb meaning "to glow." In the early 1800s, English speakers looked to Scotland again and borrowed the now-archaic verb gloam, meaning "to become dusk" or "to grow dark."

Friday, February 15, 2019

2019 - Day 46/319 - Friday...Appellation...

I think I should be more excited that it is Friday, but I have a whole list of chores to try and get accomplished this weekend. Just to be clear, 'a whole list' is different than 'a-hole list.' Just to be clear. Power wash the porch, clean the fountains, clean the chicken coop, take hay to the cattle, bathe the dogs, wash the car, cut grass and make an airline and hotel reservation. Stuff. And I fully expect that, due to my short attention span, there will be lots of distractions along the way.

Appellation -- Noun: 1. an identifying name or title. designation. 2. archaic: the act of calling by a name. 3. a geographical name used to identify wine. Despite, or perhaps because of, Dave's small stature, some of his friends began to refer to his as "Big Dave," and the appellation stuck.

Did You Know? Ask a Frenchman names Jacques his name, and you may very well get the reply, "je m'appelle Jacques." The French verb appeler means "to call (by a name)," so Jacques's answer literally translates to "I call myself Jacques." Knowing the function of appeler makes it easy to remember that appellation refers to the name or title by which something is called or known. Appeler and appellation share a common ancestor -- the Latin appellare, meaning "to call or summon," formed by combining the prefix ad- ("to") with another verb, pellere ("to drive"). Appellare is also the root of our word appeal (by way of Anglo-French and Middle English), as well as appellate, referring to a kind of court where appeals are heard.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

2019 - Day 45/320 - Thursday...Profligate...

Happy Valentines Day! Three pieces of chocolate in one of those little heart shaped boxes from CVS is allegedly a serving, and it is about 240 calories. You're welcome!

A door is a door is a I presented a class on Service animals via broadcast from the Texas REALTORS® mother ship in Austin. I have done broadcast classes before, and this one was by far the best in terms of my technological acuity. It was MUCH simpler this time, and I am not sure if it was because the association has new hardware or what, but I did not find myself making apologies because I could not generate questions from one of the remote locations. There were two issues that were out of my control; one of the locations had themselves on mute so I could not get their audio and another location had a computer decide to update their program in the middle of the presentation. Not in my silo! I took this photo about 15 minutes before the presentation started...I should have taken another during the presentation...

Profligate -- Adjective: 1. Wildly extravagant. very wasteful. 2. abandoned to vice and corruption. shamelessly immoral. H earned quite a bit of money as a professional athlete but squandered much of it on his profligate lifestyle.

Did You Know? When a royal record keeper reported the "profligation of the knights" almost five centuries ago, he didn't mean that the knights were wildly indulging in excesses; he meant that they were thoroughly defeated in battle. There's nothing etymologically extreme there; the Latin verb profligare, which is the root of both profligate and the much rarer profligation (meaning "ruin"), means "to strike down," "to destroy," or "to overwhelm." When the adjective profligate first appeared in print in English in the 1500s, it meant "overthrown" or "overwhelmed," but over time the word's meaning shifted to "immoral" or "wildly extravagant."

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

2019 - Day44/321 - Wednesday...Unctuous...

Speaking of doors, it seems I am taking a trip down the paths of my childhood. I've only got about two more weeks to go with this theme month, and it is kind of interesting, if only to me. I grew up in the suburbs of Detroit, and there were ice cream trucks that visited the neighborhood in the summers. I don't remember if they worked on the weekends or not, but I don't think they did. That was when the dads were home, and there was other stuff to do. The guy that ran the ice cream truck in our neighborhood was named Earl, and he would let us ride in his truck every now and then. I don't think that would be legal today, and I am certain that it would be frowned upon by parental units. For the longest time, I thought Earl's name was Joe, because the owner of the franchise had his name on the side of the truck, and the owner's name was Joe. For a couple years I would great Earl and say "Whaddaya know, Joe?" After a couple years, other kids in the neighborhood asked me why I called him Joe, and that was another mystery solved.

Unctuous -- Adjective: 1a. fatty, oily. b. smooth and greasy in texture or appearance. 2. plastic. 3. insincerely smooth in speech and manner. Anna was thankful that the unctuous man who first greeted her at the modeling agency was not the person she would be working with.

Did You Know? Nowadays, unctuous usually has a negative connotation, but it originated as a term describing an act of healing. The word comes from the Latin verb unguere ("to annoint"), a root that also gave rise to the words unguent ("a soothing or healing salve") and ointment. The oily nature of ointments may have led to the application of unctuous to describe things marked by an artificial gloss of sentimentality. An unctuous individual's insincere earnestness can leave an unwelcome residue with others, much like some ointments.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

2019 - Day 43/322 - Tuesday...Balletomane...

Finally home after several days of meetings and overnights in Austin. Several days ago, Jody reported a stray dog absconded with a chicken...not sure how many and if there was more than one dog. When I went to put the girls to bed this evening, I took a count and we are down three chickens. That is what happens out here on the edge of nowhere. Otherwise, life is good. The sun came out today for the first time in almost two weeks. I was really interesting to have to deal with the glare of the sunshine on various objects, but I quickly got used to it. Happily so, too.

Balletomane -- Noun: a devotee of ballet. (DUH!) "Balletomanes can look forward to the Royal Ballet's production of George Balanchine's opulent 'Jewels.'" Carrie Seidman, Sarasota Herald-Tribune (Florida), May 14, 2017

Did You Know? If you suspected that balletomane originated with the idea of a mania for ballet, you are correct. What you may not have guessed is that the language that inspired English speakers to borrow the word in the 1930s was Russian. Balletomane derives from the Russian noun baletoman, which in turn combines the word for "ballet" (balet) and the suffix -man, from maniya ("mania"). The English words mania and ballet did not, however, come from Russian. Mania comes from Greek, by way of Latin, and ballet comes via French from the Italian balletto. Balletomane is therefore somewhat unusual, both for its Russian origins and for the fact that it does not follow the more traditional -phile model for words meaning "someone who likes a specified thing."

Monday, February 11, 2019

2019 - Day 42/323 - Monday...Penitence...

Have I mentioned lately that I am the luckiest man in the world? I thought not. Today, a class I authored was named a "Program of the Year, Legal Category" by Texas REALTORS®. It's a class on Service Animals and Emotional Support Animals, and it is really a topic that is important to our profession. Many of you know my company has a niche in Property Management, and the need for this program hit me based on my own lack of information and bias about the topic. What I tried to do was to make a balanced and thought provoking presentation on the topic, and to let my colleagues walk away with the notion that there are legitimate and necessary reasons for them to become more knowledgable about the topic. Thanks to all the people and judges that believed this was a worthwhile topic.

Penitence -- Noun: the quality or state of being penitent. Sorrow for sins or faults. "What is the purpose of prison? Public safety and punishment or also penitence and rehabilitation?" Steve Haynes, The Commercial Appeal (Memphis, Tennessee), July 18, 2017

Did You Know? There are plenty of words for saying you're sorry in English, and although they all express regret for sins or wrongdoing, each offers a distinctive way to rue past mistakes or personal shortcomings. Penitence, which derives from a Latin word meaning "regret" (paenitentia), conveys a sad and humble realization of regret for one's misdeeds. Repentance usually indicates regret combined with determination to change, while contrition adds to penitence a sense of unworthiness, pain, and grief. Remorse and compunction both imply a painful sting of conscience but don't necessarily connote humility or hope of forgiveness. Remorse often implies long-lasting regret for past wrongs.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

2019 - Day 41/324 - Sunday...Meliorism...

Still cool (not really cold), still drizzly, still cloudy and grey, still at the Texas REALTORS® Winter Meeting. This is the door of a house my parents bought new in about 1955 or 1957. $12,700. Three bedrooms, one bath, no garage. One living, one dining, full basement (not finished). I went through fourth grade in that school district, and really have no idea about what happened to any of the folks that lived around us. I still know many of the neighbors names, and I have connected with one of the neighborhood kids from that time. Interesting how things work out, how lives change, and how life goes on, even surviving all the changes. From the look of those bricks, I had not yet developed my CDO affliction.

Meliorism -- Noun: the belief that the world tends to improve and that humans can aid its betterment. "Among the pleasures of Thomas's writing were not only the style but also a reassuring meliorism." Michale Skube, The Washington Post, May 31, 1992

Did You Know? In 1877, British novelist George Elliot believed she had coined meliorist when she wrote, "I don't know that I ever heard anybody use the word 'meliorist' except myself." Her contemporaries credited her with coining both meliorist and meliorism, and one of her letters contains the first documented use of meliorism, but meliorist had been around for 40 years before she started using it. Whoever coined it drew on the Latin melior, meaning "better." It is likely that the English coinages were also influenced by another melior descendant, meliorate, a synonym of ameliorate ("to make better").

Saturday, February 9, 2019

2019 - Day 40/325 - Saturday...Bereft...

Another relatively gloomy and rainy and COLD day. I doubt that the temperatures got out of the 40s today, and it was (almost) the feeling of bitter cold. We are not used to it being cold AND grey at the same time. Cold and sunny we can handle, but cold is not something we are happy to experience for more than a day or two. The same thing applies to not being able to experience sunshine. We need it. And just so you know, Bruce, I feel for you...

And, it was another day of the Texas Association of REALTORS® Winter Meeting. When it was named the 'Winter Meeting,' I don't think it was intended to be assumed that it would 'literally' include winter weather.

Bereft -- Adjective - 1: deprived or robbed of the possession or use of something 2: lacking something needed, wanted or expected. 3: bereaved. Although he is clearly a very intelligent man, Professor Gray seems to be surprisingly bereft of common sense.

Did You Know? In Old English, the verb bereafian meant "to plunder or rob." The modern equivalent of bereafian is bereave, a verb that implies you have robbed someone of something, often suddenly and unexpectedly. Bereft is the past participle of bereave, and it sometimes functions as a verb, as in Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice, where Bassanio tells Portia, "Madam, you have bereft me of all words." But by Shakespeare's day bereft was also being used as an adjective, as in The Taming of the Shrew, when Katharina declares, "A woman mov'd is like a fountain troubled -- muddy, ... thick, bereft of beauty."

Friday, February 8, 2019

2019 - Day 39/326 - Friday...Volet-Face...

This was a really LONG and COLD day in central Texas. I think it ended up being a little bit colder that was anticipated, which is never a good thing. I think the overnight temperatures may go down below freezing for an hour or two overnight, so there is no bread left on the shelves, and wine is going for a premium. I actually did leave the hotel this afternoon for abou
t 45 minutes; just long enough to get into a car, drive to our association headquarters, tape a quick video and return. I was greeted back by a few friends and colleagues, had a glass of wine and then headed back to my room. My first meeting in the morning starts at 6:45. You read it here first, 6:45. Good night!

Volte-Face -- Noun: a reversal in policy: about-face. The mayor's abrupt volte-face on new town zoning regulations made some of his critics wonder if he was being persuaded by special-interest groups.

Did You Know? Volte-face came to English by way of French from the Italian voltafaccia (from voltare, Italian for "to turn," and faccia, meaning "face"). It has existed as an English noun since at least 1819, making it just slightly older than the more English-sounding about-face. Although foot soldiers have been stepping smartly to the command "About face! Forward march!" for centuries, about-face didn't appear as a figurative noun meaning "a reversal of attitude, behavior, or point of view" until the mid-1800s.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

2019 - Day 38/327 - Thursday...Facile...

As a matter of fact, I have been through most of the doors in this photo. The church and the Capitol. So there! It is kind of appropriate (in my opinion), that a lunch meeting I attended today was held in a place that overlooked these buildings. And that later this afternoon, I checked in to the Texas Association of REALTORS® (Texas REALTORS®) Winter Meeting. My first meeting was at 6:30 PM, and it is now 10:30, and that meeting just concluded. It is going to be several long and informative and productive and deliberately fulfilling days. I could not be more proud of my profession, and for what we, as a group, stand for.

Facile -- Adjective: 1a. easily accomplished, handled, or attained. 1b. shallow, simplistic. 2a. ready, fluent. b. poised, assured. The author has been criticized for offering facile solutions to a set of very complicated problems.

Did You Know? Would you have guessed that facile and difficult are related? They are! Facile comes to us through Middle French, from the Latin word facilis, meaning "easy," and ultimately from facere, meaning "to make or do." Difficult traces to facilis as well, but its history also involves the negative prefix dis-, meaning "not." Facile can mean "easy" or "easily done," as befits its Latin roots, but it now often adds the connotation of undue haste or shallowness, as in "facile answers to complex questions."

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

2019 - Day 37/328 - Wednesday...Spurious...

The low temperature today was 68 degrees, the highest low temperature recorded in February, EVER...I think. Not sure...but that is what I think. It is supposed to start raining over night, and temperatures are to PLUNGE (PLUNGE I TELL YOU), for the next couple days. There is a chance of a light freeze, but we happen to be in a warmer spot than others in the area, so we are generally a couple degrees warmer in the 'winter' than the reporting stations around us. I left the house this morning at 6 o'clock, and got to my assigned glass location at 8:35. It was dark, it was foggy, the roads were wet, traffic was traffic. BUT, it was a good class, and tomorrow is another day!

Spurious -- Adjective: 1. of illegitimate birth. 2. not genuine: false. The lawyer told the press that the accusations against her client were spurious.

Did You Know? The Classical Latin adjective spurius started out as a word meaning "illegitimate." In the days of ancient Rome, it was sometimes even used as a first name for illegitimate offspring - apparently with no dire effects. There was a certain Spurius Lucretius, for example, who was made temporary magistrate of Rome. In less tolerant times, 18th century English writer Horace Walpole noted that Henry VII "came of the spurious stock of John of Gaunt." Today, we still use spurious to mean "illegitimate," but the more common meaning is "false: (a sense introduced to spurious in Late Latin). Originally our "false" sense emphasized improper origin, and it still often does ("a spurious signature"), but it can also simply mean "fake" or "not real."

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

2019 - Day 36/329 - Tuesday...Sockdolager...

It was 78 degrees here in central Texas today, and there is a freeze warning issued for the day after tomorrow. Two days of worrying about the plants and making sure there is a fire in the stove. It kind of makes you wonder if it is all worth it, but I have messed with them this far, I can still do it for another couple of weeks. This time. Then there will be the next time. Whatever.

Today was one with lots of ups and downs, lots of challenges, lots of distractions, and lots of accomplishments. If I can get through the next seven days, it will be time for a little bit of a break. The TAR (Texas REALTORS®) Winter meeting starts on Friday. I am presenting a quick class tomorrow, a little bit of this and that on Thursday, and my meetings start on Thursday evening. Then co-presenting an all day class on Friday, then meetings all the way through until a week from today.

Give me strength!

Sockdolager -- Noun: 1. something that settles a matter: a decisive blow or answer: finisher. 2. something outstanding or exceptional. "Because we've had a sockdolager of a winter...most of us are feeling a little cabin feverish." Clay Jenkinson, The Bismarck Tribune, (North Dakota), April 12, 2009.

Did You Know? The verb sock ("to punch") and the noun doxology ("a hymn of praise to God") may seem like an odd pairing, but it is a match that has been promoted by a few word mavens when discussing the origins of the Americanism sockdolager. Don't be too quick to believe the hype, however. When a word's origin is simply unknown, as is the case with sockdolager, there's a tendency for folks to fill in the gap with an interesting story, whether or not it can be verified. In the case of sockdolager, the sock part is plausible but unproven, and the doxology-to-dolager suggestion is highly questionable. The theory continues to have many fans, but it can't deliver the knockout punch.

Monday, February 4, 2019

2019 - Day 35/330 - Monday...Gravamen...

It was 75 degrees here in central Texas today, and just a little bit of sunshine. The newscasts are asking if the viewers are feeling particularly morose, and what to do about the lack of sunshine. I would certainly prefer the sun to be shining, but I will take the clouds over the 'arctic vortex ( on the right side) and/or the massive rains, floods and landslide events  on the left side. All things taken into consideration, we are pretty darned lucky here where the sun don't shine. Coming Thursday to a farm near us, the threats of freezing temps, no sun and rain. Oh for Pete's sake!

Gravamen -- Noun: the material or significant part of a grievance or complaint. "What mattered, Chief Justice Roberts wrote, was the core, or gravamen, of the lawsuit." Adam Liptak, The New York Times, December 2, 2015

Did You Know? Gravamen is not a word you hear every day, but it does show up occasionally in modern-day publications. It comes from the Latin verb gravare, meaning "to burden," and ultimately from the Latin adjective gravis, meaning "heavy." Fittingly, gravamen refers to the part of a grievance or complaint that gives it weight or substance. In legal contexts, gravamen is used, synonymously with gist, to refer to the grounds on which a legal action is sustainable. Gravis has given English several other weighty words, including gravity, grieve, and the adjective grave, meaning "important" or "serious."

Sunday, February 3, 2019

2019 - Day 34/331 - Sunday...Deke...

One of my habits is to watch the CBS Morning News on Sundays. This morning, there were technical difficulties with the transmission from CBS HQ. The commercials worked, but the actual news programming didn't. I wonder if this is a trend we can expect in the future? Generally speaking, I think many of us find the commercials to be more entertaining than the actual programming. Hmmm.

This is the front door of (what used to be) my grandmother's house, the house where my mother grew up. This is the house where I got my arm caught in the washing machine wringer. I don't really remember the incident (I was about 4 I think), but I can show you the scar, and I have a great story about it. Zillow says the house should sell for a little over $21K, and you could rent it for $650 a month. I should go buy it, what do you think?

Deke -- Verb: to fake (an opponent) out of position (as in ice hockey). Jason deked the defender and slipped past him to take a shot on the goal.

Did You Know? Deke originated as a shortened form of decoy. Ernest Hemingway used deke as a noun referring to hunting decoys in his 1950 novel Across the River and into the Trees ("I offered to put the dekes out with him"). About a decade later, deke began appearing in ice-hockey contexts in Canadian print sources as both a verb and a noun ("the act of faking an opponent out of position"). Today, deke has scored in many other sports, including baseball, basketball, football, and soccer. It has also occasionally found its way into more general usage to refer to deceptive or evasive moves or actions.

Saturday, February 2, 2019

2019 - Day 33/332 - Saturday...Epigram...

Blechhh. Yep, that is the day today. Let me repeat, just to be clear: BLECHHH. The sun did make a few brief appearances today, about ten minutes each, two or three times. Jody and I drove in to check our the Garey Community Park in Georgetown. $10 entry fee, so we turned around and left. The land was donated to the city with a ten million dollar endowment for maintenance, but I guess that is not enough. The park has been open for about a year, and we just wanted to go take a look at it, but I guess we will wait until they offer a free entry. Just another way to reinforce my reputation as the curmudgeon of record.

Epigram -- Noun: 1. a terse, sage, or witty and often paradoxical saying. 2. expression in the manner of such a saying. "But this is a work that tends to rely on pithy epigrams, rather than build a sturdy narrative are about a young artist's awakening." Kerry Rein, Chicago Tribune, February 13, 2015

Did You Know? Ancient Greeks and Romans used the word epigramma (from Greek epigraphein, meaning "to write on") to refer to a concise, witty, and often satirical verse. The Roman poet Martial (who published eleven books of epigrams between 86 and 98 C.E.) was a master of the form: "You puff the poets of other days, / the living you deplore. / Spare me the accolade: your praise / Is not worth dying for." English speakers adopted the "verse" sense of epigram in the 15th century for a concise poem dealing pointedly and satirically with a single thought or event. In the late 18th century, we began using epigram for concise, witty sayings.

Friday, February 1, 2019

2019 - Day 32/333 - Friday...Brachiate...

Welcome to February everyone, and the disclosure of the February Journal Theme. This year's February theme is: Doors. Generally, they will be doors I have gone through on the day of the post, and I may or may not include any editorial comment on the door. I think my comment about a specific door may (or may not) stifle the imagination of my legion or followers, so I will decide on a daily basis. It should be more fun than it sounds! We shall see.

Brachiate -- Verb: to progress by swinging from hold to hold by the arms. Zoo-goers watched as the gibbons scurried and brachiated around their habitat.

Did You Know? Certain members of the ape family, such as the gibbon, have the ability to propel themselves by grasping hold of an overhead tree branch (or other projection) and swinging the body forward. (Chimpanzees, gorillas, and orangutans are less likely to travel in this manner, due to the weight of their bodies; when they do, it is only for very short distances.) The word for this action, brachiate, derives from Bracchium, the Latin word for "arm." Brachiate shares etymological ancestors with such words as bracelet (an ornamental band or chain worn around the wrist) and brachiopod (a category of marine organisms with armlike feeding organs called lophophores). Another relative is pretzel. That word's German root, Brezel, is related to the Latin brachiatus, meaning "having branches like arms."