Sunday, March 31, 2019

2019 - Day 90/275 - Sunday...Links...

Happy Sunday everybody. No rain today, but lots of breezes and chillish temperatures. We celebrated Jody's birthday today, his actual birthday is tomorrow, but tomorrow is Monday, and, well, you know. So, we had a great time, lots of friends and family (the families you make, not the families you are born in to, necessarily), and it was a lot of fun. I totally recommend the Central Texas Olive Ranch, just east of Walburg. There could not be a nicer venue or bunch of people than these. This is a group photo of us, minus Jim and Rene who had to leave early to make another gathering. Lots of niceness out here on the Edge of Nowhere. The question is, where's Norm? Enjoy!

Links -- Noun. 1. Scottish: sand hills especially along the seashore. 2. golf course. I met up with my brother and his friends on the links for a round of golf.

Did You Know? The game of golf originated on the sandy hills of Scotland, on a type of terrain known as links or linksland. Eventually, links developed the meaning of "a golf course built on the coastline," which eventually broadened to include any golf course. Links is derived from the Old English word hlincas (the plural of hlinc, meaning "ridge"). Recorded evidence of hlinces (a variant of hlincas) goes back as far as 931, but links in English only  to the 15th century. Britain has a number of old-fashioned links courses (built to resemble the Scottish landscape and located on the coastline), and there are a few in the United States.

Saturday, March 30, 2019

2019 - Day 89/276 - Saturday...Vignette...

I finally got to put my Masters in Engineering degree to some use this morning. Mike and I reworked the former chicken pens in such a way that we could contain chickens in a relatively large space, and hopefully the coyotes would not be able to get at them. If we were to ever get more chickens. Jim and Bonnie came in this afternoon (ahead of Joel's birthday celebration tomorrow) and we went to the Walburg restaurant for lunch. long as we were in the neighborhood (17 miles is in the neighborhood when you live on the edge of nowhere) we went in to Georgetown and bought a dozen chicks. September (or thereabouts) we will have fresh eggs again. Brown, green and chocolate. Not sure if we got any white layers or not, we shall see. So, here we go again. Jody bought a dozen and a half eggs at HEB the other day, for $2.85. By the time this is all done, we figure each egg costs about that much.'s fun, as long as we can keep the coyotes at bay.

Vignette -- Noun. 1. a running ornament or design (as of vine leaves) on the pages of a book. 2. a picture or engraving (as on a stamp). 3. a short descriptive literary sketch or scene. Ralph's friends and family were entertained by the humorous vignette of his travels that he posted on social media.

Did You Know? Vignette comes from the Middle French vignete, the diminutive form of a noun, vigne, meaning "vine." In English, the word was first used in the mid-18th century for a design or illustration that ran along the blank border of a page, or one that marked the beginning or end of a chapter. Such designs got their name because they often looked like little vines. It wasn't until the late 19th century that usage of vignette had shifted to cover a brief literary sketch or narrative, as we commonly see it used today.

Friday, March 29, 2019

2019 - Day 88/277 - Friday...Lucubration...

Absolutely, positively, without hesitation...this is THE MOST FABULOUS men's room I have ever been to IN MY LIFE. And I have to tell you, I have visited a few men's rooms. AND, I have visited this one three or four times, and if you EVER have an opportunity to dine at the Headliner's Club in Austin, go visit the men's room. I don't care what sex you are, this is worth breaking whatever laws might be broken. I think the design of ALL urinals has a fatal flaw; you are standing there, quite vulnerable, with your back to ANYONE that might be approaching, not knowing what kind of malice they might be capable of. Bad design flaw. If there is an architect in my vast legion of journal followers, feel free to reach out (haha) to me, and I will share my vision of a much more appropriate design for urinals in a men's room, which I guarantee will not be a victim of functional obsolescence. Guaranteed!

Lucubration -- Noun. laborious or intensive study; also: the product of such study - usually used in plural. "At a moment when official Washington was casting about for a coherent response to Stalin's bellicosity, Kennan's lucubrations were almost miraculously well timed. Jacob Heilbrun, The Daily Beast, December 9, 2011

Did You Know? Imagine someone studying through the night by the light of a dim candle or lamp. That image demonstrates perfectly the most literal sense of lucubration. Our English word derives from the Latin verb lucubrare, meaning "to work by lamplight." (Yes, that Latin root is related to lux, the Latin word for "light.") In its earliest known English uses in the late 1500s and early 1600s, lucubration named both nocturnal study itself and a written product thereof. By the 1800s, the term had been broadened to refer to any intensive study (day or night) or a composition, especially a weighty one, generated as a result of such study. Nowadays, lucubration is most often used as a plural and sometimes implies pompous or stuffy scholarly writing.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

2019 - Day 87/278 - Thursday...Obnubilate...

It was kind of a long day today, not in the respect that today contained more minutes or hours than any other day, but in the sense that I started early and ended late. I made it to my office in time for my 9 o'clock appointment, then did a little bit of power-real estate. Then it was off to the board, where I met some colleagues for some photo acknowledgements of their TREPAC investments, and met up with my friend Candy who was presenting a class. Then it was back to the office for a little bit more real estate stuff, then Carrie and I went to visit our friend Steve who is convalescing in the hospital. Our friend Mike was to arrive at 2:30 this afternoon, but his flight was delayed (aren't they all delayed these days?), and he arrived at about 6 o'clock this evening. Got home, gathered up Jody and we all went in to Walburg for dinner. Now home, about to go to bed. This is a picture of Candy and Tami earlier today at the board office.

Obnubilate -- Verb. to make cloudy or obscure. "Early street lighting had the disconcerting effect of obnubilating as well as illuminating urban space." Matthew Beaumont, Nightwalking: A Nocturnal History of London, 2015

Did You Know? The meaning of obnubilate becomes clearer when you know that its ancestors are the Latin terms ob- (meaning "in the way") and nubes ("cloud"). The word sounds high-flown, which may be why it often turns up in texts by and about politicians. This has been true for a long time. In fact, when the U.S. Constitution was up for ratification, 18th-century Pennsylvania statesman James Wilson used obnubilate to calm fears that the president would have too much power: "Our first executive magistrate is not obnubilated behind the mysterious obscurity of counselors...He is the dignified, but accountable magistrate of a free and great people."

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

2019 - Day 86/279 - Wednesday...Insuperable...

What a beautiful day in the neighborhood! It may have hit 80 degrees today, I'm not sure. What I am sure of is, there is a cold front on the way (tomorrow or the next day) and the high temperature will be in the 60s if it can make it that far. Please make up your mind. Having said that, the flora are beginning to bloom nicely; have you ever seen a weeping red bud? Neither had we until a couple years ago, but this is archival documentation that they exist. I think this will be the third year in the ground, so we hope it will really take off, and that it is well settled in. The wisteria up by the road is lovely and very fragrant, and the iris are beginning to bloom. Poppies are popping up, but have not seen any blooms yet. I went and picked up some geraniums this afternoon, and some more hostas that I will get in the ground tomorrow or the next day. I suspect an armadillo uprooted three of the four sets of bulbs that I put in the ground last Sunday, but they are now BACK in the ground, so we shall see how that goes.

Insuperable -- Adjective. incapable of being surmounted, overcome, passed over, or solved. The city's hope to build a new library faced a number of challenges, including the seemingly insuperable hurdle of securing adequate funding.

Did You Know? Insuperable first appeared in print in the 14th century, and it still means now approximately what it did then. In Latin, superare means "to go over, surmount, overcome, or excel." The Latin word insuperabilis was formed by combining the common prefix in- (meaning "not' or "un-") with superare  plus abilis ("able"). Hence, insuperabilis meant "unable to be surmounted, overcome, or passed over," or more simply, "insurmountable." The word insuperabilis was later anglicized as unsuperable. Related words such as superable, superably, and even superableness have also found a place in English.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

2019 - Day 85/280 - Tuesday...Cockamamie...

Home. A place that it seems I have not been to too much lately. I was off to Lubbock last Thursday, and returned on Friday night. Then Sunday I was off to meetings and things in Austin, and just returned. It is late Tuesday evening, and I am looking forward to a really good nights sleep. Now, the thing is, I have really made a lot of accomplishments since last Thursday, and I really did enjoy being a really small part of those accomplishments, but to tell you all the truth, there really in no place like home. It is where I get my best rest, where I know I am loved and where I am safe and most comfortable. This morning, it was REALTOR® day at the Texas State Capitol (I am pretty sure Capitol is the correct spelling in this case, let me know if I am wrong), and my first visit was with my friend and Representative, the Honorable Donna Howard. The visits (in my case) went on until just a little bit after 3 P.M., and then there was a post Hill Visit Dinner sponsored by the Austin Board of REALTORS® at the Headliners Club. We were honored to have Speaker of the House of Representatives Dennis Bonnen and House Ways and Means Chair Dustin Burrows attend our dinner, along with Representative Bonnens Chief of Staff Gavin Massingill attend the dinner and speak with us all about issues that affect all Texas REALTORS® and property owners. A good time was had by all. Thanks Holly!

Cockamamie -- Adjective. ridiculous, incredible. "Colin Farrell is good in this time-traveling romance, but it's tastefully cockamamie and increasingly gloppy." Hartford Courant, February 20, 2014

Did You Know? By the look and sound of it, cockamamie (also spelled cockamamy) seems like an arbitrarily coined nonsense word -- but a reasonable explanation for its origin exists. Supposedly, cockamamy is an altered form of the term decalcomania, which denotes a process of transferring pictures and designs from specially prepared paper to surfaces such as glass or porcelain. The word decalcomania comes from the combination of the French decalquer, meaning "to copy by tracing," and -manie, meaning "mania." In the 1940s, painted strips of paper with images capable of being transferred to the skin were called decals or cockamanies. They were naturally regarded by many as silly novelties. Hence, in time, cockamamie came to be used as an adjective meaning "ridiculous."

Monday, March 25, 2019

2019 - Day 84/281 - Monday...Cupidity...

I attended a dinner this evening, and this is what I look like when EVERYONE at my table gets up at the same time and calls a ride-share to take them back to the hotel. Without me...if there something I am missing there?

So...this was a long and rewarding day, although, what days do not have their ups and downs. There were successes and there were a couple disappointments, but overall, the successes were much more rewarding and memorable than the disappointments. Generally, if I am given a task, I an a freight train and do not stop until the task has been completed. There are occasional issues with that tenacity, and that is okay. If you want the task completed, just give me the task. And then please stand back. A group I was associating myself with today put a lot of effort into doing something good for folks who are less fortunate than many of us. The experience was really a rewarding one, even though that enthusiasm was not shared by all, and in particular, those who were more interested in judging than in participating. Whatever. What I know is, the beneficiary of these efforts was happy with the end result of our efforts, and that is all that is important.

Cupidity -- Noun. 1. inordinate desire for wealth. avarice, greed. 2. strong desire. lust. Mr. Henderson's cupidity got the best of him; he over-invested his assets in a few risky stocks and lost his fortune when the market crashed.

Did You Know? From its verb cupere ("to desire"), Latin derived three nouns that have passed with minimal modification into English. Cupiditas meant "yearning" and "desire"; English borrowed this as cupidity, which in the 15th century was synonymous with "lust." (The "greed" meaning of cupidity developed very soon after this now-archaic meaning.) The Latin cupido started out as a near synonym of cupiditas, but it came to stand for the personification of specifically carnal desire, the counterpart of Greek eros; this is the source of our familiar (and rather domesticated) Cupid. A strengthened form of cupere - concupiscere, meaning "to desire ardently" - yielded the noun concupiscence, meaning "sexual desire."

Sunday, March 24, 2019

2019 - Day 83/282 - Sunday...Presentiment...

It was a lovely day in central Texas, and I am pretty sure I made the most of it. I got a days worth of chores done in half a day, and then headed off to Austin to purchase some stuff for my upcoming meetings, then went to the office for some power-real-estate, then to the Hyatt, checked in, went to a business dinner, back to the room, more power-real-estate, and now this. Temperatures in the mid-70s were really pleasant. Among other things, I got some hostas planted, some amaryllis, and a few other things (not sure what they are, but we will see what comes up). I found some bulbs that were a gift at Christmas, so those will be a surprise as well. The iris are beginning to burst forth, and the pastures are going to get fertilized later this week. Rain is expected during the coming weekend, so that will be nice.

Presentiment -- Noun. a feeling that something will or is about to happen. premonition. Pauline had a presentiment that the day would bring new opportunities, and sure enough, by the end of the day she had secured an unexpected promotion.

Did You Know? "Do you ever have presentiments, Mr. Flintwich"' 'I am not sure that I know what you mean by the term, sir,' replied that gentleman. 'Say, in this case, Mr. Flintwich, undefined anticipations of pleasure to come.' 'I can't say I'm sensible of such a sensation at present,' returned Mr. Flintwich, with the utmost gravity." Nothing sensational said here, perhaps, but Mr. Flintwich shows a sensitivity to words that, like presentiment, are related to the Latin verb sentire ("to feel"). The quote is from Charles Dickens's Little Dorrit, and the words are sensible, sensation, sensational, and sensitivity.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

2019 - Day 82/283 - Saturday...Xenial...

The dogwoods are blooming really nicely this year. And the tank up by the road has water in it, so that made for a nice picture for this journal entry. I got the rest of the barn painted today, I was afraid I was going to have to go and get more paint. The south side of the barn was in much worse shape than the other three sides; that side gets the most sun by far. I think the paint job will go a long way in keeping that barn in good shape for another few years at least. I painted it with semi-glass, so I think that will be better than the flat finish that was on it originally and the last paint job it got. I am pretty happy with the way it turned out.

Everybody have a seat; there is a rumor going around that we are going to get more chicks. We are going to rework the pens that we had and keep them confined to the space, no more free roaming chickens. It will mean (I think) more nutritional things, but we will have chickens again, and I am pretty excited about that! I think we will get the chicks next weekend when Mike, Jim and Bonnie are in town for a visit. We shall see!

Xenial -- Adjective. of, relating to, or constituting hospitality or relations between host and guest. Brendan excelled as a greeter for the store because his xenial manner made the customers feel right at home.

Did You Know? On May 28, 1998, 13-year-old Alex Carter stepped to the microphone at the national spelling bee. If he spelled xenial correctly, he would advance to the televised finals. According to his hometown newspaper, Alex didn't recognize xenial, so he asked what language it came from. "It was Greek," said Alex, "so I figured it would be 'xe' instead of 'ze.'" Smart kid! Just remember that xenial derives from xenios (the same thing as xenial), which in turn comes from xenos, meaning "guest" or "stranger." So while xenial may be pronounced with a \z\ sound at the beginning, it is always spelled with an x.

Friday, March 22, 2019

2019 - Day 81/284 - Friday...Langue...

It's dark, but I am home. It was a really great TAR 360 event today in Lubbock. It is only the second time I have been to Lubbock, and there could really not be a nicer place than that. All the people I met were gracious and kind, there is NO TRAFFIC (how is that possible), and everything about the place was delightful. The first time I was there, I mentioned (and have repeated) that it was kind of like the Twilight Zone, and it still is. How can a place be that nice with all the crap that is going on all around the world. It seems they have just chosen not to pay too much attention to all the meanness, and have chosen to take a higher path! Wonderful. The event today was held at the Texas Tech Red Raider Stadium, and it is a beautiful facility. I did not know a whole city could get the memo about wearing their school colors all on the same day, but they got it done.


Langue -- Noun. language viewed abstractly as a system of forms and conventions used for communication. "...the speakers share a common langue...and they are achieving communication by imparting something in common." Julie Tetel Andresen, Linguistics and Evolution, 2014

Did You Know? In lectures delivered at the University of Geneva from 1907 to 1913, Swiss linguist Ferdinand de Saussure set forth his groundbreaking distinction between langue - the systematic, structured language existing at a given time within a given society - and parole, the individual use of that language by a person. In French, langue literally means "language." It was adopted into Middle English with that same general meaning but fell into disuse. Parole is also a French word; it means "speech" and is related to the Late Latin parabola, the base of our English word parable.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

2019 - Day 80/285 - Thursday...Incongruous...

Visiting the lovely city of Lubbock today, enjoyed a nice dinner with colleagues from Lubbock and Amarillo along with some leadership from our Texas Association. Tomorrow will be th first time I have participated in a regional meeting as the State TREPAC representative. It will be a great meeting, and I am very proud to be representing TREPAC here. I have about 45 minutes of information that I will condense down to about 4 minutes. No problemo!

Today was also an interesting day in another way, complete with lots of challenges and opportunities, defeats, successes and just a lot going on. Add to that the fact that I am in the middle of a quick trip to Lubbock, I tried to do as much as I could remotely. All tolled, it will all work out well, and that is the end of that.

Incongruous -- Adjective. lacking congruity: as a. not harmonious: incompatible. b. not conforming: disagreeing. c. inconsistent within itself. The sight of a horse and carriage among the cars on the road struck us as incongruous.

Did You Know? Incongruous is a spin-off of its antonym, congruous, which means "in agreement, harmony, or correspondence." Etymologists are in agreement about the origin of both words; they trace to the Latin verb congruere, which means "to come together" or "to agree." The dates of the words' first uses in English match up pretty well, too, with both first appearing around the beginning of the 17th century. And while the geometrical term congruent can be used synonymously with congruous, its own antonym, incongruent, almost always describes angles and shapes.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

2019 - Day 79/286 - Wednesday...Clarion...

Spring has come the same time this year (calendar wise) as always, but as far as the flora is concerned, every thing is screwed up. Last week we had another hard freeze (was it really only a week ago?), and all the Circadian Clocks of the plants are fouled up. Add to it the Daylight Saving Time, and I am totally out of sync as well. All the plantings are starting over, and it is going to take a while for everything to get back in the groove. Not sure if everything will come back or not, but everything will give it their best, I am sure. The Iris should really be much further along than they are, but we are only getting a few blooms here and there. Today was a beautiful day in honor of the new calendar season, blue skies, temperatures in the middle 70s, all together not too terrible for the middle of March.

Clarion -- Adjective. brilliantly clear; also loud and clear. "Kansas Citians issued a clarion call to local businesses and government officials this week: Workers should make a minimum of $10 per hour." The Kansas City Star, August 11, 2017

Did You Know? In the Middle Ages, clarion was a noun, the name for a trumpet that could play a melody in clear, shrill tones. the noun has since been used, chiefly in poetic or historical narratives, for the sound of a trumpet or similar sound. By the 1800s, English speakers had also started using the word as an adjective for things that ring as clear as the call of a well-played trumpet. Not surprisingly, clarion ultimately derives (via the Medieval Latin clario-) from clarus, which is the Latin word for "clear." In addition, clarus gave English speakers clarify, clarity, declare ("to make clearly known"), and clear itself.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

2019 - Day 78/287 - Tuesday...Slake...

It seems that, on occasion, justice can be an obstruction. I am not talking about and obstruction of justice. I do not know why this Sheriff could not have asked this guy to pull in to the parking lots (the area was THICK with parking lots), but instead, they successfully obstructed the right lane of a major
East/West thoroughfare at peak commute times. Not sure about this, but it was time consuming to say the least.

I had a choice of photos to post with this entry; tomato and pepper plants that I put in the dirt last night, or a traffic obstruction. I went with the traffic obstruction so as not to lull you all in to a false sense of serenity.

Speaking of Karma: The repair place cannot repair my windshield, it has to be replaced. The repair place puts the cost of the repair at $1957.70. My insurer tells me there general repair payment for that service is $738, take away my $500 deductible, and they will be out $238. First world problems, I understand all that, but this issue is being escalated. I will name names once it is determined who is going to come out ahead in this deal.

Slake -- Verb. 1. satisfy, quench. 2. to cause (something, such as lime) to heat and crumble by treatment with water. "But short visits didn't fully slake Fisher's desire to live in and explore other cultures." Rick Foster, The Foxboro Reporter (Massachusetts), August 24, 2017

Did You Know? Slake is no slacker when it comes to obsolete and archaic meanings. Shakespearean scholars may know that in the Bard's day slake meant "to subside or abate" ("No flood by raining slaketh..." -- The Rape of Lucrece) or "to lessen the force of" ("It could not slake mine ire, nor ease my heart" -- Henry VI, Part 3). The most erudite word enthusiasts may also be aware of earlier meanings of slake, such as "to slacken one's efforts" or "to cause to be relaxed or loose." These early meanings recall the word's Old English ancestor sleac, which not only meant "slack" but is also the source of that modern term.

Monday, March 18, 2019

2019 - Day 77/288 - Monday...Caucus...

UGH! And then this happened. My car has some sort of magnet personality with it comes to flying debris on IH-35. Shortly after I bought it, some type of debris flew out of the back of a pick-up truck and slid across the front end of the car, up the windshield, and across the roof. The service center was able to buff that damage out and all was good. I have been the deflection point of any number of rocks hitting the car, and there are dents on the frunk hood and actually paint chips from rocks. This afternoon, another rock hit the windshield, and I have watched the crack grow from about three or four inches, to now my guesstimation is that the crack is about six or seven inches long. The insurance company says that generally, if the crack is smaller than a dollar bill, they can repair the crack (with some sort of filler I assume) and there will be no deductible. I am pushing that envelope right now, and we will see what the damage is when I take it to the window repair/replace place tomorrow afternoon after 4 P.M.


Otherwise another lively day in central Texas. Spring break, traffic was reasonable, and all is good.

Caucus -- Noun. a closed meeting of a group of persons usually to select candidates or to decide on policy. "New Jersey's freshman congressman has been elected as co-chair of a bipartisan House caucus and will also serve on several financial subcommittees." David Danzis, New Jersey Herald, February 3, 2017

Did You Know? In February of 1763, John Adams reported that the Boston "caucus club," a group of politically active city elders, would meet in the garret of Tom Dawes to choose "Assessors, Collectors, Wardens, Fire Wards, and Representatives." He wrote that at the meetings, those present would "smoke tobacco till you [could not] see from one end of the garret to the other." A similarly opaque smoke screen seems to shroud the history of the word caucus. Linguists can see that it is clearly an Americanism; while evidence of earlier use exists, Adam's use is the first known to link the word to such a political meeting. Beyond that, details are uncertain, but some scholars think caucus may have developed from an Algonquin term for a group of elders, leaders, or advisers.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

2019 - Day 76/289 - Sunday...Natant...

Does anyone really pay attention to the commercials for medical lawsuits? Really? All the drug commercials profess that the maladies that could present themselves as a result of taking the wonder drug could in fact be worse that whatever it is that ails you to start with. Take this particular drug as an example...I believe the drug is to be taken orally, but if, by taking that drug, you run the risk of losing a couple toes or a foot, and/or become afflicted with a "flesh eating genital infection", I think I will just take a pass. Could somebody pass me the placebo, please? I think (according to the Googles) that it is prescribed as a treatment for diabetes. There has to be a better treatment.

Today was a lovely day. Three sides of the barn have been painted, and that was the goal. I also got some plants in the ground, did some touch up paint here and there, and did some this and thats. Overall, not a bad day. Beautiful sunshine, temperatures in the mid 70s, and a light breeze. Perfect.

Natant -- Adjective. swimming or floating in water. The pond was quiet, though occasionally a fish would rise to make a little splash among the natant lily pads.

Did You Know? Natant and the smattering of other words birthed in the waters of Latin natare, meaning "to swim," can sound overly formal in many contexts. Rather than use the work natatorium, for example, you're more likely to refer simply to an indoor swimming pool. Similarly, instead of complimenting a friend's skill in natation, you're probably more apt to tell her she's a good swimmer. As for natant, the common German-derived word swimming suits most of us just fine. Science, though, often prefers Latin, which is why you're most likely to encounter nature words in scientific contexts.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

2019 - Day 75/290 - Saturday...Usufruct...

I got the front of the barn finished, and half of the road side done. The front was the most difficult part because of all the bric-a-brac here and there...too many corners and odd angles. My favorite part of the paint job is looking at it far away. Looks great. Don't pay too much attention to the detail if you get close to it. However, I think it looks very nice, much better than it did. It is kind of a shabby chic, with a lot of emphasis on the shabby part. I was careful to be on guard of the skunk today, but no sign of it, other than the stink from yesterday. Tomorrow I hope to finish the road side and the back side of the barn, then do some prep work on the house side. I have checkin pens to dismantle and stuff like that, so that will take a bit of time. I have some plants to get into the ground, too, so I need to save some time for that. No skunk (as previously mentioned), but you never know what kind of skeletal remains you might find around here. You just never know.

Usufruct -- Noun. 1. the legal right of using and enjoying the fruits or profits of something belonging to another. 2. the right to use or enjoy something. "When there's no will, the state of Louisiana gives the surviving spouse a usufruct on the property." Mary Anna Evans, Plunder, 2012

Did You Know? Thomas Jefferson said, "The earth belongs in usufruct to the living." He apparently understood that when you hold something in usufruct, you gain something of significant value, but only temporarily. The word developed from the Latin phrase usus et frectus, which means "use and enjoyment." Latin speakers condensed that phrase to ususfructus, the term English speakers used as the model for our modern word. Usufruct has been used as a noun for the legal right to use something since the mid-1600s. Any right granted by usufruct ends at a specific point, usually the death of the individual who holds it.

Friday, March 15, 2019

2019 - Day 74/291 - Friday...Bromide...

This is guaranteed to put some stoppage into your giddy-yups. There was no wreck. There was a stalled car on the shoulder of the road, but TWO (not one, TWO) of the Highway Heroes (that's a real thing) blocked the left lane of the Interstate because of that. Beware the Ides of March MY ASS! Beware of traffic in central Texas at just about any time of the day or night. It sounds serious, right? Well, I admit it is a first world problem, but I needed to vent for just a second.

I got home from the office a little bit early today, in anticipation of the traffic we closed the office a little bit early, what with SXSW in town and all... So, since I was home early, I decided to get a head start on painting the front barn. It was/is chilly (high 50s) and breezy, but it was all good until the skunk that lives under the barn decided to return home, much to the surprise of both of us. It could have been a lot worse, but suffice it to say I have no desire to be that close to the rosy (bright) red glow of a skunks butt (and other olfactory glands) ever again. Did I mention BRIGHT red? Really bright!

Bromide -- Noun. 1. a compound containing bromine. 2a. a tiresome person. b. a hackneyed statement or idea. "When things go badly wrong ... some ding-dong will trot out the bromide, 'Oh well: The best-laid plans of mice and men...'" Joe Quennan, The Wall Street Journal, November 26, 2014

Did You Know? After bromine was discovered in 1827, chemists could not resist experimenting with the new element. It didn't take long before they found uses for its compounds, in particular potassium bromide, which was used as a sedative to treat everything from epilepsy to sleeplessness, and by the 20th century, bromide was being used figuratively to apply to anything or anyone that might put one to sleep because of commonness or just plain dullness. Today, bromides are no longer an ingredient in sedative preparations, but we can still feel the effects of figurative bromides as we encounter them in our daily routines.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

2019 - Day 73/292 - Thursday...Effulgence... was another most excellent day. No bad weather, no real traffic problems (going or coming), no real challenges of any kind. Just an overall good day. I had a great time. I presented the second day (of four) for the property management class, and the learners and I all had a good time. I have begun taking the attendees that I present to on a tour of the Board offices, and if I see volunteers walking down the halls, I ask them to come in a say a few words. It really (I think) makes our member colleagues more aware of the complexities of our association, and all the various moving parts that it takes to run that big ship. I have not heard anything negative from any of the colleagues in the classes or any of the staff, and it seems like everyone enjoys it.

Effulgence -- Noun. radiant splendor. brilliance. "But Xavier's natural effulgence (surely a boon in other roles) can sometimes work against this beleaguered character's inner darkness." Nicole Serratore, The Stage, February 10, 2017

Did You Know? Apparently, English speakers first took a shine to effulgence in the 17th century; that's when the word was first used in print in our language. Effulgence derives from the Latin verb fulgere, which means "to shine." Fulgere is also the root of fulgent, a synonym of radiant that English speakers have used since the 15th century. Another related word, refulgence, is about 30 years older than effulgence. Refulgence carries a meaning similar to effulgence but sometimes goes further by implying reflectivity, as in "the refulgence of the knight's gleaming armor."

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

2019 - Day 72/293 - Wednesday...Plenary...

Okay, this is more like it...the day started out horribly, but ended very nicely. Blue skies, lovely breezes, lovely temperatures in the mid-70s. A wonderful, picture perfect spring day. This morning when I left for Austin, the winds were howling (woke us up in the middle of the night), and the rain was coming down in torrential bands. I understand that when you are driving in the rain, it makes it seem worse than it actually is, and that was certainly the case this morning. We ended up with 0.59" of rain, but I would have estimated it at 4 or 5 inches. I tend to exaggerate. But again, it all ended up wonderfully, so all is well that ended well.

I presented the first day of a four day SAE (Sales Agent Apprentice Education) class about property management. I enjoyed the heck out of the day, and by the end of the classes (next Tuesday) we will all be good friends. A great bunch of recently licensed agents/REALTORS®, and it was fun guiding them through the information.

Plenary -- Adjective. 1. Complete in every respect. absolute, unqualified. 2. fully attended or constituted by all entitled to be present. A plenary meeting of the group's 500 members was held last summer.

Did You Know? In the 14th century, the monk Robert of Brunne described a situation in which all the knights of King Arthur's Round Table were present at court by writing, "When Arthures court was plener, and alle were comen, fer and ner ..." For 200 years, plener (also spelled plenar) served English well for both senses that we reserve for plenary today. But we'd borrowed plener from Anglo-French, and, although the French had relied on the Latin plenus ("full") for their word, the revival of interest in the classics during the English Renaissance led scholars to prefer purer Latin origins. In the 15th century, English speakers turned to the Late Latin plenarius and came up with plenary. (Plenarius also comes from plenus, which is the source of our plenty and replenish as well."

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

2019 - Day 71/294 - Tuesday...Halcyon...

This photo does not at all represent the crap that we all had to drive through this morning. It was the start of YET ANOTHER grey, crappy day. The sun has a habit of making itself known just about time for bed, which is not the best use of its skill. It was another two-hour drive in to the office this morning, and there were more unfortunate than myself folks involved in commuter challenges which may (or may not) have been avoided if they had either started out earlier or driven more slowly. You just can't fix stupid or impatience. You would think that, if they can come up with a pill for flatulence, they should certainly be able to do something about stupid, but no...

Halcyon -- Adjective. 1. of or relating to the kingfisher. 2. calm, peaceful. 3. happy, golden. 4. prosperous, affluent. "Sadly, the halcyon days of Chinese karaoke, with its legendary free buffets and private rooms ornately decorated to resemble gingerbread houses and outer space, are no more." Dan Levin, The New York Times, December 26, 2017

Did You Know? According to Greek mythology, Alkyone, the daughter of the god of the winds, became so distraught when she learned that her husband had been killed in a shipwreck that she threw herself into the sea and was changed into a kingfisher. As a result, ancient Greeks called such birds alkyon or halkyon. The legend also says that these birds built floating nests on the sea, where they so charmed the wind god that he created a period of unusual calm that lasted until the birds eggs hatched. This legend prompted people to use halcyon both as a noun naming a genus of kingfisher and as an adjective meaning either "of or relating to the kingfisher or its nesting period" or "calm."

Monday, March 11, 2019

2019 - Day 70/295 - Monday...Derrick...

This in NOT a photo of a Mountain Laurel out here on the Edge of Nowhere, this is a photo of some Mountain Laurel I saw last week in Austin. I went out to check on our Mountain Laurel this afternoon, and I can't tell if they are just getting ready to bloom or if they were getting ready to bloom and the last frost (last week) killed off the blooms. I fear it is the latter. Speaking of killing plants, Mikey, pack some frangipani if you have room in your suit case.

Today was a busy day, kind of. Jody to a doctors appointment in Austin, which meant the dogs go in with us, and they get kind of nervous on long car trips. Interesting. Thunderstorms, winds, rain, hail and lightning do not bother them in the least, and a ride in the car (more than 15 or 20 minutes) makes them (Callie especially) really anxious. Whatever. BUT, there were considerable accomplishments, so that was a good thing, and now we are all home and just finished dinner.

Life is good!

Derrick -- Noun. 1. a hoisting apparatus employing a tackle rigged at the end of a beam. 2. a framework or tower holding the drilling machinery over an oil well. The oil field was dotted with derricks, each holding a drill that bored into the ground.

Did You Know? During the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, London was the home of a notorious executioner named Derick. Among those he beheaded was the Earl of Essex, Robert Devereus, who according to a street ballad of the time had once saved the life of the ungrateful executioner. While members of the nobility were accorded the courtesy of beheading, it was the lot of commoners to be hanged, and the gallows at Tyburn were soon bestowed with Derick's name. Throughout the 17th century, derick was used as a name for both hangman and gallows. After the days of public hangings, the word derrick was adopted as a name for a number of less ominous frameworks or towers.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

2019 - Day 69/296 - Sunday...Gormless.

There is a new boy on the Edge of Nowhere. We're gonna name him Spot. Looks to be solid black with one spot (and just a spot, really) on his forehead. He's probably about a week old and seems to be pretty healthy. His mama is a small longhorn named Violet. Violet has always been a good mama, and she is really small for a longhorn, but all is well.

I am grumbling about the time change. I am not a fan of Daylight Saving Time. I think I (maybe) used to be kind of fond of it, but that was before I started going to bed at 8:30, and now it is still daylight outside in the summer and I am snoozing.

I got a few things done around the house today. Cut some grass, cleaned and started three fountains, got the trash out to the road, went to Homo Depot and bought some paint. I am going to paint the front barn, it really needs it. I got paint that has a primer in it as well, so I hope that will be a good long lasting paint. It had better be. They don't make stuff like they used to Martha!

Gormless -- Adjective: lacking intelligence. stupid. The gormless sound engineer couldn't figure out how to work the new mixing board, so the production was sloppy.

Did you Know? Gormless began life as the English dialect word gaumless, which was altered to the modern spelling when it expanded into wider use in the late 19th century. The origins of gaumless are easy to understand; the word derives from a combination of the dialect noun gaum, meaning "attention" or "understanding," and the suffix -less. Gaum also functions as a verb in some dialects, where it means "to pay attention to" and "to understand." An unrelated verb gaum means "to behave in a stupid or awkward manner." There's also a noun gaum, meaning "a stupid doltish person."

Saturday, March 9, 2019

2019 - Day 68/297 - Saturday...Froward...

It was a lovely summer day here on the Edge of Nowhere. Tomorrow, it is supposed to be a little bit cooler, which will count (I think) as a spring day, and that will mean that, in the last seven days, we have experienced all four seasons here in central Texas. I did a little bit of stuff outside this afternoon, nothing serious. A little of this and a little of that. The neighbors cattle were laying close to the fence, so that was a good opportunity for a photo. It seemed like I did something else worthy of reporting to you, but whatever it was, it has slipped my mind. Tomorrow I am thinking of going to Georgetown to see if I can find any hostas for the shady side of the house. I am thinking that, since the chickens are no longer in residence, some planting like those might have a better chance of growing. You never know.

Froward -- Adjective: habitually disposed to disobedience and opposition. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the person I had once known to be a sassy, froward adolescent boy had grown up to become an upstanding young man.

Did You Know? In the days of Middle English, froward and toward were opposites. Froward meant "moving or facing away from something or someone"; toward meant "moving or facing in the direction of something or someone." (The suffix -ward, is from the Old English -weard, meaning "moving, tending, facing.") Froward also meant "difficult to deal with, perverse"; toward meant "willing, compliant, obliging." Each went its own way in the end: froward lost its "away from" sense as long ago as the 16th century and the "willing" sense of toward disappeared in the 18th century.

Friday, March 8, 2019

2019 - Day 67/298 - Friday...Chin-Wag...

It's happening. SXSW. When in Austin, do as the crazy people do. I had a few things (actually business stuff) that needed to get accomplished today, and I actually got all that stuff accomplished! I totally expected traffic to be a nightmare this morning, but apparently all the warnings from everyone on the radio and television got through to many folks, and they decided to 1: Stay home, or B: Evacuate. I think many decided to get out of town and make their houses available on AirBNB. It does cut down on cars a bit, the only reliable transportation for the next two weeks will be Lyft or scooters. I had to go meet some people at one of our storage spaces, which just happens to be where Bird stores their scooters, so I got a free demo. Pretty fun although I did not leave the parking lot, and they go fast as hell. Or maybe not, maybe it just seemed like they were fast.

Chin-Wag -- Noun, Slang: conversation, chat. As the sole employee at the airport coffee shop, George enjoyed having chin-wags with travelers ho were waiting to board their flights.

Did You Know? In English, phrases about wagging tongues have suggested the act of speech since at least the late 1500s. The pairing of chin with wag didn't occur until several centuries later, but when it did, chin took on a life of its own as a term for idle chatter. Other chin expressions for loose lips include chin music (a noun meaning "idle talk, chatter"), chinfest (another noun synonymous with "chat"), and chin itself (which can be used as either a verb meaning "to chatter" or a noun meaning "a chat").

Thursday, March 7, 2019

2019 - Day 66/299 - Thursday...Esemplastic...

This morning, I walked out into the garage and discovered I had not plugged the car in. I was heading to a Texas Senate Panel sponsored by Texas REALTORS® downtown, and had about 140 miles of charge. All is good, I stopped at one of the new superchargers in Austin and got an extra hundred miles of juice in about 30 minutes. Still, no range anxiety, all is good.

I set off an alarm at the same house twice today, and almost a third time. It is not my first rodeo, so all there is to do is wait for the cops to show up, and try not to look suspicious. Once again, all seemed to go okay, no issues, and I did not even get patted down. Some days you just can't win.

Esemplastic -- Adjective: shaping or having the power to shape disparate things into a unified whole. "The prison walls of self had closed entirely round him; he was walled completely by the esemplastic power of his imagination." Thomas Wolfe, Look Homeward, Angel, 1929

Did You Know? "Unusual and new-coined words are, doubtless, an evil; but vagueness, confusion, and imperfect conveyance of our thoughts, are a far greater," wrote English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge in Biographia Literaria in 1817. True to form, in that same work, he assembled esemplastic by melding the Greek phrase es hen, meaning "into one," with plastic to fulfill his need for a word that accurately described the imagination's ability to shape disparate experiences into a unified whole (e.g., the poet's imaginative ability to communicate a variety of images, sensations, emotions, and experiences in the unifying framework of a poem). The verb intensify was another word that Coleridge was compelled to mint while writing Biographia. Coinages found in his other writings include clerisy and psychosomatic, among others.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

2019 - Day 65/300 - Wednesday...Oneiric...

This was almost too easy. This wreck was just about a block from the office, and let me tell you, it caused a MAJOR traffic disruption. This photo was taken before the EMS, Fire and Police responders arrived on the scene. South FIrst Street is already a major North/South corridor in the city, and this did not help things, AT ALL! not sure how it happened, but it happened, and I hope no one was injured. The front end of this car does not look great however.

Today was a pretty good day, better than pretty good really. I left REALLY early so I could make sure I got to FAR south Austin for a nine o'clock class. Made it with time to spare. Class started at 9, I got there about 8:30. Sweet. It was a good class, mostly really experienced (old) brokers, of which I include myself in that description. Lots of good names, and particularly a good friend and colleague of mine, Jim. A good time was had by all, and everyone (including and especially me) walked out of the class knowing something we didn't know when we walked in. That is my barometer of a good class.

Oneiric -- Adjective: of or relating to dreams. dreamy. "Most of the actors here are double and triple cast, and if they barely differentiate among their roles, that just adds to the oneiric effect." Jeffrey Gantz, The Boston Globe, March 12, 2012

Did You Know? The notion of using the Greek noun oneiros (meaning "dream") to form the English adjective oneiric wasn't dreamed up (get it?) until the mid-19th century. But back in the early 1600s, linguistic dreamers came up with a few oneiros spin-offs, giving English oneirocriticism, oneirocritical, and oneirocritic (each referring to dream interpreters or interpretation). The surge in oneiros derivatives at any time may have been fueled by the interest then among English-speaking scholars in Oneirocritica, a book about dream interpretation by 2nd-century Greek soothsayer Artemidorus Daldianus.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

2019 - Day 64/301 - Tuesday...Popinjay...

Oh that this were our yard/garden. It isn't, but if my gardening skills were better, I guess it could be. Oh, and if the temperatures never exceeded 75 or 80 degrees, that would be helpful as well. This lovely bed of flowering ground covers was photographed a couple weeks ago when I was in Palm Springs. I am relatively certain that these annuals are not summer hardy on the middle of the desert, but during their tepid winter season, they do very nicely! Last night, we experienced the hardest freeze in the area of the last four years or so. One more overnight with temperatures below freezing, and the weekend is supposed to bring temperatures in the low 80s and the possibility of rain. I will be better able to report on the state of the local flora over the weekend, but it looks like what I would have expected to be fragile have weathered the storm.

Popinjay -- Noun: a strutting supercilious person. "There was a tiny popinjay of a man with a Windsor know and a pink tie." Jon Robin Baitz, quoted in Vanity Fair, January 21, 2017

Did You Know? Popinjays and parrots are birds of a feather. Popinjay, from the Middle French word papegai, is the original name for a parrot in English. (The French word in turn came from the Arabic word for the bird, babgha. Parrot, which English speakers adopted later, probably comes from the Middle French perroquet.) In the days of Middle English, parrots were rare and exotic, and it was quite a compliment to be called popinjay after such a beautiful bird. But by the 1500s, parrots had become more commonplace, and their gaudy plumage and vulgar mimicry helped popinjay develop the pejorative sense we use today.

Monday, March 4, 2019

2019 - Day 63/302 - Monday...Pedagogical...

March: In like a lion, blah, blah, blah... I made it past four (count 'em, FOUR) wrecks this morning on my way in to the office. This one was the most photographic of the bunch, and what you cannot see is the three cars involved, and the car in the middle had some extensive damage. Think accordion. I do not think, though, that there were any serious injuries. Auto engineering has taken on some great leaps forward in passenger safety, and it always amazes me to see people walk away from bad wrecks. The weather was frightfully cold this morning, but there were no slick streets or anything like that. It seems people in central Texas can neither drive in snow, rain, sunshine or cold weather. I think we just need to hang it all up and call Lyft. I am not a fan of Uber.

Well, lots of stuff made it through the freezing temperatures last night. So far the only obvious deaths are in the canna beds. Much of the spring flora seem to be doing nicely. I have not been up in to the front barn, we have a couple heat lamps going in there to try and keep those things from freezing. Another couple nights and we should be over the freezing temperatures for the year. I think tonight will be the worst of it.

Pedagogical -- Adjective: of, relating to, or befitting a teacher or education. "The report suggests that the exam be multidimensional and include subject knowledge as well as pedagogical knowledge." Donna Krache,, December 4, 2012

Did You Know? Pedagogical, which has the somewhat less common spelling variant pedagogic, was coined in the early 17th century from a Greek adjective of the same meaning. That adjective, paidagogikos, in turn derives from the noun paidagogos (teacher), combining the Greek words for "child" and "leader." The English word pegagogue (which can simply mean "teacher" but usually suggests one who is particularly dull) derives from the same root. Though the words educational and teacher make the grade in most contexts, pedagogical and pedagogue are useful additions to the class.

Sunday, March 3, 2019

2019 - Day 62/303 - Sunday...Perfidious...

Overnight, we should have temperatures below freezing for eight or nine hours. I think it will be the same thing overnight tomorrow night as well. All the plants are inside and hopefully protected. I may go out to the front barn later and put some kind of cover over those and maybe turn a heat lamp on them, just to do what I can to keep them from freezing. Hopefully the stuff in the garage will be okay. I think the iris will survive with no problem, but I have some concerns about some of the other stuff, particularly the palms. It is really kind of late in the season for those things, but it will be what it will be. All the pipes are covered and protected, so I am pretty sure all that stuff will not be a problem. Now if I could just find some chocolate!

Perfidious -- Adjective: of, relating to, or characterized by faithlessness or disloyalty. treacherous. It was revealed that a perfidious employee in the senator's office had leaked campaign strategies to the senator's opponent.

Did You Know? I won't lie to you about the history of perfidious - even though the word suggests deceit. The Modern English meaning of perfidious remains faithful to that of its Latin ancestor, perfidus, which means "faithless." English speakers have used perfidious to mean "treacherous" since at least the 16th century. One of the earliest known uses of the term can be found in Shakespeare's All's Well That Ends Well: the "perfidious slave" Parolles is thought to be an unreliable witness; he'll say whatever suits his purpose. In contemporary usage, perfidious implies treacherousness and an inability to be reliable or honorable.

Saturday, March 2, 2019

2019 - Day 61/304 - Saturday...Katzenjammer...

I am sad. The girls have been adopted out. It is for the best. At the beginning of February, we had 21 chickens. As of last night, we were down to seven. There were all kinds of possibilities to make them a larger pen that would contain them, but that is not how they were raised. I could see no reason to let the lone grey coyote pick them off one at a time. That lone coyote knows where they were, and it would be just a matter of time before they were all gone. This way, they will have land to roam on, and a better chance than they had here. They have gone to some friends of our a mile or so away, who have lots of chickens, and have not had any coyote problems, although they know exactly which coyote is the problem. They have seen him around, and it is odd to see a coyote roaming round during the day. I am sad.

I looked at the photo I posted in the journal last night, and I have come to the conclusion that I have the ears of my great-grandfather. I never knew either of my grandfathers, but I remember my great-grandfather very well, and I would recognize those ears anywhere.

Did I mention that I am sad?

Katzenjammer -- Noun: 1. hangover. 2. distress. 3. a discordant clamor. "I drank too much that night and woke up submerged in a post-wine katzenjammer the next morning." Mac Lethal, Texts from Bennett, 2013.

Did You Know? Have you ever heard a cat wailing and felt that you could relate? Apparently some hungover German speakers once did. Katzenjammer comes from the German Katze (meaning "cat") and Jammer (meaning "distress"). English speakers borrowed the word for their hangovers (and other distressful inner states) in the 19th century and eventually applied it to outer commotion as well. The word isn't as popular in English today as it was around the mid-20th century, but its' well-known to many because of the Katzenjammer Kids, a long-running comic strip featuring the incorrigible mischievous twins, Hans and Fritz.

Friday, March 1, 2019

2019 - Day 60/305 - Friday...Demiurge...

Can you believe it is March already? It seems like just yesterday it was February. I can remember when I was a little kid, my mother would say wait a minute...', and I would count to one and then I would be out the door. I had no concept of time then, and I thought the hours and days just dragged by. Now the hours and days are just passing in light-speed. I stayed in Austin last night, got up at my usual time and headed to the airport for a quick trip to Dallas/Lewisville for the Greater Lewisville Association of REALTORS® TREPAC Major Investor event. In and out quick at the Top Golf venue there. Not sure exactly where the Top Golf venue was, not sure exactly where Lewisville is, but I know that it is up around Dallas/Frisco/Fort Worth. Presented information to the association about state results and goals, and was joined by David Alan Cox and Jo Ann Stevens. A lot of fun!

Demiurge -- Noun: one that is an autonomous creative force or decisive power. As a writer, you get to be the demiurge, having control over the fate of each and every character and the universe in which they reside.

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