Monday, September 30, 2019

2019 - Day 273/92 - Monday...Modicum...

This is archival proof that it rained in Austin today. A couple times. But it did not rain on the Edge of Nowhere. Jody said there was a little mist of something, so we are going to count it as a trace of rain, just for the record. Other than the fact that there was no rain, it was not a bad day for a Monday, the last Monday in September. It seems like this has been a long month, but very soon I expect that I will believe the month has just flown by. I was fortunate to get an extraordinary amount of work done, and I expect to get more done the rest of the week. I hope I get enough done to last a couple weeks, because this is going to be a pretty busy travel/meeting month. We are counting down to the end of the year, and the last quarter is always busy with planning for the next year. When one door closes, another door opens. I expect there will be plenty of doors opening in 2020.

Modicum -- Noun. a small portion. a limited quantity. The small park provides a modicum of peace and quiet in the midst of the bustling city.

Did You Know? What does modicum have to do with a toilet? It just so happens that modicum shares the same Latin parent as commode, which is a synonym of toilet. Modicum and commode ultimately derive from the Latin noun modus, which means "measure." Modicum (which, logically enough, refers to a small measure of something) has been a part of the English language since the 15th century. It descends from the Latin modicus ("moderate"), which is itself a descendant of modus. Modus really measures up as a Latin root-it also gave us mode (originally a kind of musical measure), modal, model, modern, modify, and modulate. More distant relatives include mete, moderate, and modest.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

2019 - Day 272/93 - Sunday...Boilerplate...

This guy commandeered the newspaper this morning and hijacked it to the garage, without me even knowing. He stayed right there for most of the day, until I unceremoniously evicted him from the premises. Not sure what his fate held for him, but he is out of the garage. Most of the day was spent napping, a new custom for Sundays. Naps, chickens, chores and just general catch-up stuff. Unfortunately, I am also a victim of Madison Avenue: Applebee's has been advertising a variety of hamburger meals, and I fell for the hype. Sadly, the Impossible Burger at Burger King was better than the entree I chose this afternoon. When will I ever learn?

Boilerplate -- Noun. 1. syndicated material supplied especially to weekly newspapers in matrix or plate form. 2a. standardized text. b. formulaic or hackneyed language. The contract includes page after page of dry boilerplate that few customers actually read.

Did You Know? In the days before computers, small local newspapers around the United States relied heavily on feature stories, editorials, and other material from large publishing syndicates. The syndicates delivered that copy on metal plates with the type already in place. Printers apparently dubbed those syndicated plates boiler plates because of their resemblance to the plating used to make steam boilers. Soon boilerplate came to refer to the printed material on the plates as well as to the plates themselves. Because boilerplate stories were often filler, the word gained another meaning: "hackneyed or unoriginal writing."

Saturday, September 28, 2019

2019 - Day 271/94 - Saturday...Belfry...

In deference to my friend Erica and her son Brandon, who happen to be close by today from Pennsylvania and with whom Jody and I lunched at the Schlotzsky's in Georgetown this afternoon, I asked Mrs. Google to show me 'public domain images pennsylvania,' and this is what I got. I have to say, I don't know what dead guys (they look dead to me) spinning around on a horizontal wheel looking object have to do with Pennsylvania, but maybe Erica (or Brandon) know, and they will perhaps enlighten others of us who share the same lack of historical of that rectangular state up there that is really cold in the winter. And the word Pennsylvania has a lot of letters in it, too. Otherwise, it was a good Saturday, I showed a property for lease this afternoon, and then bought and installed a new mailbox out at the road. The old one was tired and the flag had lost its ability to stand at attention. It is hell getting old.

Belfry -- Noun. 1. a bell tower, especially. one surmounting or attached to another structure. 2. a room or framework for enclosing a bell. 3. head. "The three-bay building features ornate brickwork [and] a mansard roof topped at its front facade with a belfry." Anthony Musso, Poughkeepsie Journal, September 5, 2017

Did You Know? Surprisingly, belfry does not come from bell, and early belfries did not contain bells at all. Belfry comes from berfrey, a medieval term for a wooded tower used in sieges. The tower could be rolled up to a fortification so that warriors inside could storm the battlements. Over time, the term was applied to other types of shelters and towers, many of which had bells in them. Through association, people began spelling berfrey as bellfrey, then as belfrey and later belfry. Someone who has "bats in the belfry" is crazy or eccentric. This phrase is responsible for the use of bats for "crazy" and the occasional use of belfry for "head."

Friday, September 27, 2019

2019 - Day 270/95 - Friday...Fete...

I don't always want to get slapped around, but when I do, I prefer that it be done in a room full of friends and colleagues. Not really. I was not slapped around today, but I was in a training class for Professional Standards, and I decided to share with the room that I was not the smartest person present. That was not a difficult achievement, but that is okay with me. What I have learned in my profession, and I learned it four or five years in, is that, if you don't know what the hell someone is talking about, you need to say "WHAT?" Not asking questions and not asking for clarification is probably the worst thing you can do. It doesn't make you look stupid, and at least half the room (a broad generalization) is glad that you put yourself out on that ledge. I am not always right, somedays are better than others, but I just have to keep working towards perfection. It is going to be a long road!

Fete -- Noun. 1. festival. 2a. a lavish often outdoor entertainment. b. a large elaborate party. "The clocks struck and the bells tolled midnight; people were leaving fast: the fete was over; the lamps were fading." Charlotte Bronte, Villette, 1853

Did You Know? Fete is a word worth celebrating. It's been around since Middle English, when it was used in a manuscript to refer to "fetes, spectacles and other worldly vanytees." Since the 19th century, it has been doing double duty, serving both as a noun (as we've used it here) and as a verb meaning "to honor or commemorate with a fete." You can honor fete by remembering that it entered English from Middle French, and that it derives ultimately from the Old French feste, meaning "festival"-a root that, not surprisingly, also gave English the word feast. Because of its French ties, you will sometimes see fete spelled with a circumflex (fe^te).

Thursday, September 26, 2019

2019 - Day 269/96 - Thursday...Bower...

I have done my part to end the drought in central Texas. I took the car to the car wash this afternoon. So far, it has not produced the expected results. Rats. I am at a loss. I also went to Costco this afternoon, just for the usual monthly things. I think I will go back tomorrow to see if there was anything I missed. While sitting at the breakfast room table this evening, Barney came to have a drink. Not only are Joel and I victims of our habits, so is Barney. Even the chickens have their habits. They know that when I go out there during the afternoons, there is going to be something good for them to eat. Carrots, meal worms, various chicken treats. The hummingbirds grace us with their presence, too. They are really interesting to watch. Life is good (but dry) on the Edge of Nowhere.

Bower -- Noun. 1. an attractive dwelling or retreat. 2. a lady's private apartment in a medieval hall or castle. 3. a shelter made with tree boughs or vines twined together. arbor. At the edge of the garden there is a vine-clad bower that looks over an expanse of lawn that slopes down toward the pond.

Did You Know? Bower derives from the Old English bur, meaning "dwelling," and was originally used to describe attractive homes or retreats, especially rustic cottages. In the Middle Ages, bower came to refer to a lady's personal hideaway within a medieval castle or hall-that is, her private apartment. Today's "arbor" sense combines the pastoral beauty of a rustic retreat with the privacy of a personal apartment. Although its tranquil modern meaning belies it, bower is related to the far more bustling bowery, the name of a high-rise district in New York City. The Bowery got its name from a Dutch term, bouwerij, for a dwelling or farm. Bouwerij is ultimately derived from the Dutch verb bouwen, which like the Old English bur is akin to the Old High German buan, meaning "to dwell."

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

2019 - Day 268/97 - Wednesday...Crabwise...

I went to a couple meetings at the Austin board today, one this morning and one this evening. The evening gig included a 70s theme, and this was the best I could do. At least I didn't have to go and buy the shoes, they were in the office from past fundraising efforts. Never throw away a good pair of shoes, you never know when you will need them again!

Crabwise -- Adverb. 1. sideways. 2. in a sidling or cautiously indirect manner. "Buffeted by swirling winds, the helicopter slid crabwise as the pilot struggled to land on a tine sloping field." John Lancaster, The Washington Post, October 18, 2005

Did You Know? The meaning of crabwise is directly related to that sidling creature, the crab. If you live near the shore or have visited a beach near the sea, you have probably seen crabs scuttling along, often moving sideways and not taking what humans would consider the most direct route. The modern meanings of crabwise were definitely inspired by the crab's lateral or oblique approach to getting from one place to another. The word crept into English in the mid-19th century and has been sidling into our sentences ever since. Not my sentences. The musical term cancrizans, related to the Latin cancer ("crab"), describes a musical sequence repeated backward note for note.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

2019 - Day 267/98 - Tuesday...Soporific...

I did nothing to document the day image-wise, so I went to the googles and asked Mrs. Google to display public domain pictures for today. I scrolled through hundred of images and settled on this one. It has something to do with Psychology Today, but that should not lead anyone of my loyal readers to believe that I am any more crazy today than I am on any other given day. For some reason, this image 'spoke' to me...not like the voices some of you hear that no one else does, it just appealed to me. Whatever. It has been a long day, and now it is over, and soon I will have some celery and hummus, and all will be right (again) with the world!

Soporific -- Adjective. 1a. causing or tending to cause sleep. b. tending to dull awareness or alertness. 2. of, relating to, or marked by sleepiness or lethargy. "The prose sparkles at every turn, but that's not to say it's without flaws. Some entire chapters...struck me as wholly soporific." Andrew Ervin, The Washington Post, September 13, 2016

Did You Know? "It is said that the effect of eating too much lettuce is 'soporific.' I have never felt sleepy after eating lettuces; but then I an not a rabbit." In The Tale of Flopsy Bunnies by Beatrix Potter, the children of Benjamin Bunny were very nearly done in by Mr. McGregor because they ate soporific lettuces that put them into a deep sleep. Their near fate can help you recall the history of soporific. The term traces to the Latin noun sopor, which means "deep sleep." That root is related to somnus, the Latin word for sleep and the name of the Roman god of sleep. French speakers used sopor as the basis of soporifique, which was probably the model for the English soporific.

Monday, September 23, 2019

2019 - Day 266/99 - Monday...Peregrinate...

I bought a couple tomato plants yesterday, and stuck them in the dirt where the other tomato plants had been. This is the first year that we have EVER actually had home-grown tomatoes from our own plants. I assume these tomatoes are for fall/early winter (haha) planting in central Texas, or why would they be selling them? I have a new strategy for planting tomatoes next year...each plant is going to get its very own, personal big black bucket. Maybe that will work better, we will just have to wait and see. Today is the first day of fall, as I am sure you all know. It was 100 degrees in central Texas today, so I am not sure what all the Fall hoopla is about. Nothing has changed here...

Peregrinate -- Verb. 1. to travel especially on foot. walk. 2. to walk or travel over. traverse. "All my traveling life, 40 years of peregrinating Africa, Asia, South America and Oceana, I have thought constantly of home." Paul Theroux, Smithsonian, September, 2009

Did You Know? The narrative of the linguistic travels of peregrinate begins with the Latin word peregrinatus, the past participle of peregrinari, which means "to travel in foreign lands." The verb is derived from the Latin word for "foreigner," peregrinus, which was earlier used as an adjective meaning "foreign." That term also gave us the words pilgrim and peregrine, the latter of which once meant "alien" but is now used as an adjective meaning "tending to wander" and as a noun naming a kind of falcon-the peregrine falcon, so named because it was traditionally captured during its first flight, or pilgrimage, from the nest.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

2019 - Day 265/100 - Sunday...Flagitious...

What in the hell was I thinking? I decided to give the girls a bath today. Lexie (the white Maltese) is kind of a high-maintenance girl, and we have never had high-maintenance dogs before. She needs more grooming than any other dog we have ever had. She gets all that crap from her eyes into her hair, she gets most of her food in her hair, and her hair needs to be trimmed up between trips to the beautiful parlor. Callie is really no trouble at all, she just needs a bath or two between visits. SO, I got Lexie up on the counter with a pair of scissors, a beard trimmer and Jody (he wasn't on the counter). I have new regard for dog groomers. I am certain that they must give the dogs valium or something, because I could hardly get a snip in without having to wrangle her down. Eventually, I got some (most) of the offensive hair trimmed up and gave her a bath. I am pretty sure I was just as wet as she was, but it is over now, and no more trauma until the next time. Callie got a bath as well, but it was relatively trauma free.

Flagitious -- Adjective. marked by scandalous crime or vice: villainous. "The flagitious crimes of these mindless ignoramuses beggar description and challenge credulity." Jonathan Wells, The Daily News of Newburyport (MA), October 8, 2012

Did You Know? Flagitious derives from the Latin noun flagitium, meaning "shameful thing," and is akin to the Latin noun flagrum, meaning "whip." Flagrum is also the source of flagellate ("to whip" or "to scourge") and the more obscure verb flagitate, meaning "importune." But it is not the source of flagrant, which means "conspicuously bad." Flagrant and its cousins derive from the Latin flagrare, meaning "to burn." Flagitious first appeared in the late 14th century, and it was originally applied to people who were horribly wicked. These days, it can also describe intangibles, such as actions, ideas, and principles.

Saturday, September 21, 2019

2019 - Day 264/101 - Saturday...Alembic...

My advice to you, is to NOT try to come between a chicken and their meal worms. There is just no sense in it. Why would you want to do that. Chickens do not ask for much, but just don't try and deprive them of their meal worms. Or their shredded carrots. Or any other treat you might consider giving them. For the most part, chickens live a quiet life, and they have, as a general rule, very little to look forward to. But, near the end of the day, when I go out to check on them and give them a little something extra, they are all over it like a hobo on a ham sandwich. Stay out of the way! Let me be clear about this; it rained here for about eleven seconds this morning. By the time I knew it was raining, it had quit. I had to go to Liberty Hill earlier this morning, and there was evidence of some rain on the roads not far from us, but only eleven seconds worth here on the edge of nowhere. BUT, it was not 100 degrees to day, only 99.

Alembic -- Noun. 1. an apparatus used in distillation. 2. something that refines or transmutes as if by distillation. "Historic wooden mash turns...and copper alembics provide touchstones for the process of making whiskey." Patricia Harris and David Lyon, The Boston Globe, March 15, 2015

Did You Know? The alembic is a kind of still that has been used since the third century BCE (Before Common Era) and is used today in the production of cognac. In ancient times, this apparatus was called al-anbiq, a word that means "the still" in Arabic and can be traced to ambix, meaning "spouted cup" or "cap of a still" in Greek. When the apparatus found its way into medieval European laboratories, texts first transformed the Arabic word into Medieval Latin as alembicum, and some also dropped the initial a. That change led to limbeck, a standard variant still in use today.

Friday, September 20, 2019

2019 - Day 263/102 - Friday...Aleatory...

If you thought lunch was good, you should have hung around for dessert! I am pretty sure that, after the first wax job, I would not want another one, so I am guessing there is a catch there somewhere. Probably like a gym membership, first month free, then it is $24.95 a month for the rest of your life, and you never went back after the first three visits. No thanks. I am also kind of sure that there is not enough wax in this storefront to do the job on me. Just sayin'. And how many people do you think walk out of Mandola's after a giant Italian lunch or dinner and think, 'Yeah, I've been meaning to have a wax job, I'll just roll in there and check that off my list!' Probably not happening, but just in case you need more information, let me know and I will direct you to the place.

Aleatory -- Adjective. 1. depending on an uncertain event or contingency as to both profit and loss. 2. relating to luck or chance. "This writing technique is aleatory...What's produced as a result of the technique is completely random." Brian Burlage, The Michigan Daily, July 30, 2014

Did You Know? If you are the gambling type, then chances are good you've come across aleatory in your travels. Deriving from the Latin noun alea, which refers to a kind of dice game, aleatory was first used in English in the late 17th century to describe things that are dependent on uncertain odds, much like a roll of the dice. The term now describes things that occur by sheer chance or accident, such as the unlucky bounce of a golf shot or the unusual shape of an ink blot. Going a bit further, the term aleatoric music, or chance music, describes music in which certain aspects of the composition or performance are determined by chance.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

2019 - Day 262/103 - Thursday...Tergiversation...

It rained in Austin this afternoon, places got a nice little downpour. I got in it on my way to Rollingwood, and it lasted until I got onto North MoPac. Not a drop at the Edge of Nowhere. Not. A. Drop. There was some interesting lightning, though. I was on my way out to the chicken coop, and I thought I was about to get struck. But, just the loud, not the strike. I have friends in East Texas (Houston, Beaumont and points further east. Everything is flooded, there are places that have received over forty inches of rain in the last 24 hours. Bush Intercontinental Airport got as much rain yesterday, in an hour-and-a-half, as they get in the entire month of September. Austin in the rain may as well be Austin in an ice storm. I am pretty sure the groceries are cleaned out of milk, twinkies, beer and wine. This is the view, forward and back, on Capital of Texas Highway at the Pennybacker Bridge at about 3:30 this afternoon. Crazy!

Tergiversation -- Noun. 1. evasion of straightforward action or clear-cut statement. Equivocation. 2. desertion of a cause, position, party, or faith. "The fluctuations, tergiversations and retractions of English Marxists...are also looked at with deadly effect. Julian Symons, The New York Times Book Review, June 4, 1989

Did You Know? The Latin verb tergiversari means "to show reluctance," and it comes from the combination of tergum, meaning "back," and versare, meaning "to turn." Tergiversari gave English the noun tergiversation and the verb tergiversate ("to engage in tergiversation'). Tergiversation is the slightly older term, having been around since at least 1570; the first known use of tergiversate dates from 1590. There's also the much rarer adjective tergiversate ("tending to evade"), as well as the noun tergiversator ("one that tergiversates").

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

2019 - Day 261/104 - Wednesday...Corrade...

I can neither confirm nor deny if there were secret goings-on at the Austin Board of REALTORS® this afternoon, but just stay tuned. I can say that, the last few days have been pretty fun, combined with a lot of effort and good things happening. This afternoon, on my way home, I stopped at the Williamson County Association of REALTORS® Bowling for TREPAC event. I thought the event was from 4 til 6, but it was from some other time until 5:30. I got there just a little bit before the event was over, but just in time to join some of my Williamson County colleagues for a glass of wine in the bar. It was a fun, good time!

Corrade -- Verb. to wear or crumble away through abrasion. Over the years, the rushing waters had corraded the riverbanks.

Did You Know? In Latin, rodere means "to gnaw" and radere means "to scrape." The latter word is at the base of both abrade and corrade. Corrade, which carved its niche in the English language during the mid-17th century, is used when something, such as moving water, rubs or scrapes something else away. In contrast, the word corrode, derived from rodere, is fitting when something "eats away" at something else, especially by chemical action. Erode shares that meaning but can also be used to describe abrasive action, much like corrade. As an aside, the gnawing of small animals, such as mice and squirrels, influenced the formation of the noun rodent through rodere.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

2019- Day 260/105 - Tuesday...Littoral...

I was at the Board of REALTORS® today, and it rained for about a minute...maybe less than that, and while it was encouraging, all it really accomplished was to make things even more steamy that it already was. The weather news this evening said the high temperature in Austin today was 91 or 92 degrees, so just a little rain to moisten things up was not really beneficial to anything, unless you were the guy that decided it was time to replace his windshield wiper blades. But after the brief event, there were some lovely clouds as evidenced by these in this image. I love clouds. There was a guy on the news last night that said 'clouds are lakes,' but I am going to stick with the notion that clouds, by volume, weigh about the same as an elephant.

Littoral -- Adjective. of, relating to, or situated or growing on or near a shore especially of the sea. "Generally, water movement in the Gulf follows the littoral current, which runs northward from the Bay of Campeche." Rick Kelly, The Brownsville Herald (Texas of course), June 29, 2017.

Did You Know? You're most likely to encounter littoral in contexts relating to the military and marine sciences. A littoral combat ship is a fast and easily maneuverable combat ship built for use in coastal waters. And in marine ecology, the littoral zone is a coastal zone characterized by abundant dissolved oxygen, sunlight, nutrients, and generally high wave energies and water motion. Littoral can also be found as a noun referring to a coastal region or, more technically, to the shore zone between the high tide and low tide points. The adjective is the older of the two, dating from the mid-17th century; the noun dates from the early 19th century. The word comes to English from the Latin litoralis, itself from litor- or litus, meaning "seashore."

Monday, September 16, 2019

2019 - Day 259/106 - Monday...Cat's-Paw...

Bubble gum and wine...that is all it takes right now to make me really content. It has not been a particularly difficult day, but I am having real concerns about traffic going in to Austin. Today made the second (out of three) days that I was late for my class, and I am supposed to be a know, of efficiency and REALTOR® values...not of Speedos or Calvin Klein jeans. So, I will leave EVEN EARLIER tomorrow and see if I can make it to the board on time. Tomorrow is the last day of the class, so I am keeping my fingers crossed. I did get to spend some time outside this evening when I got home, watering plants, communing with nature, that sort of thing. I missed doing that while I was out of town over the last several days, and I think the plants missed me too. The chickens did not miss me, they do not really care who is paying attention to them, as long as there is shredded carrots or meal worms in the giving.

Cat's-Paw -- Noun. 1. a light air that ruffles the surface of the water in irregular patches during a calm. 2. one used by another as a tool: dupe. "You're no one's cat's-paw. Quit worrying that people are trying to use you for their own purposes." Jeraldine Saunders, San Jose Mercury News, March 27, 2013

Did You Know? Being made a cat's-paw may not only be embarrassing-it can leave you with singed fingers (or paws, as the case may be). The "dupe" sense of cat's-paw comes from an old fable in which a monkey uses flattery to trick a cat into taking chestnuts out of the fire where they are roasting. The cat succeeds in removing the chestnuts but also burns his paw in the process. And when the unsuspecting feline turns around, he discovers that the monkey has cracked and eaten all the nuts!

Sunday, September 15, 2019

2019 - Day 258/107 - Sunday...Backstairs...

He can neither confirm nor deny that the included image pertains to the "mount" or the "dismount." Use your own judgement, and make up your own story for all I care! This was taken during the TREPAC fundraiser last night in Fort Worth. Everyone had a good time...there was line dancing, corn-holing, mechanical bull riding, auction bidding, food and beverage, but mostly there was a lot of fun being had by a lot of great friends and colleagues from across the state. This morning was a pretty early start; packing, breakfasting, meeting, driving, catching up, and getting ready for the coming week.

Backstairs -- Adjective. 1. secret, furtive. 2. sordid, scandalous. "During the protracted balloting,...backstairs talks began, aimed at stopping Jackson, according to operatives." Jeff E. Schapiro, Richmond Times-Dispatch, May 22, 2013

Did You Know? When Roger Boyle, 1st Earl of Orrery, wrote in 1654 about leading someone "down a back-stairs," he wasn't referring to anything scandalous. He simply meant "down a secondary set of stairs at the back of a house." However, Boyle's contemporary, Sir Edward Dering, had used the phrase "going up the back-stairs" to suggest an approach that was not entirely honest. The figurative use likely arose from the notion that the stairs at the rear of a building are less visible and thus allow for a degree of sneakiness. By 1663, backstairs was also being used adjectivally to describe something done furtively, often with an underhanded or sinister connotation.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

2019 - Day 257/108 - Saturday...Saxicolous...

Another busy day, but at the end of the day, I think this image puts things clearly into perspective. We work really hard as volunteer servants, BUT, at the end of it, we try to play really hard too. I doubt we could really play as hard as we work, but by the time we get a chance to play, we are really appreciative for the opportunity to release. And so...we play. There are any number of images I could attach to this journal entry, including a few of me falling off a mechanical bull, but there are some things you cannot 'un-see,' and I think something like that would qualify. Another half day of meetings, and then I will be heading back home and back to what it is I do when I am not volunteering and doing things for my profession that i really love.

Saxicolous -- Adjective. inhabiting or growing among rocks. "The white-ankled mouse is a saxicolous (rock-loving) species that favors limestone slopes.: Terry Maxwell, San Angelo Standard-Times, July 24, 2016

Did You Know? Saxicolous is not exactly a word that rolls off the tongue, but it's a useful designation for botanists and zoologists. The word is from Latin, naturally. Saxum is Latin for "rock," and -colous (meaning "living or growing in or on") traces back to the Latin-cola, meaning "inhabitant." Other -colous offspring include arenicolous ("living, burrowing, or growing in sand"), cavernicolous ("inhabiting caves"), and nidicolous ("living in a nest" or "sharing the nest of another kind of animal"). All these words were coined in the late 19th and early 20th centuries to describe the flora and fauna of our world.

Friday, September 13, 2019

2019 - Day 256/109 - Friday...Inoculate...

The war continues. The war of the toilet paper. It is an ongoing thing, every time I stay in a hotel. I am old. I am not a contortionist, nor am I a member of a traveling road show of Cirque du Soleil. I am just old. I cannot twist and turn myself to reach the toilet paper while attending to other personal details in a seated position. The placements of the toilet paper rolls, in an effort to save space (or maybe there is some other reason), makes it impractical for me to leave the toilet paper in its assigned space in the hotel bath room. Therefore, I remove the paper from the roller, and make it more convenient to my reach by placing it atop the roller. See image attached. And every time I do that, the room attendant believes it is his or her job to replace it to the inconvenient place that is prescribed in the room attendant manual. It is me against them. And I will win this war.

Inoculate -- Verb. 1. to introduce something into; especially to introduce a serum or antibody into (an organism) to treat or prevent a disease. 2. to protect as if by inoculation. "Introducing children to wine at dinner does not acclimate them to alcohol nor inoculate them against alcoholism." Jennifer Michaels, The Recorder (Greenfield, MA), September 21, 2017

Did You Know? If you think you see a connection between inoculate and ocular ("of or relating to the eye"), you are not wrong-but both words look back to oculus, the Latin word for "eye." But what does the eye have to do with inoculation? The answer lies in the original use of inoculate in Middle English: "to insert a bud in a plant." Latin oculus was sometimes applied to things that were seen to resemble eyes, and one such thing was the but of a plant. Inoculate was later applied to other forms of engrafting or implanting, including the introduction of vaccines as a preventative against disease. Evans note: That is not the way I would have spelled it.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

2019 - Day 255/110- Thursday...Consternation...

This day is almost over with. It was an early start, a late finish, but tomorrow will be a little bit more comfortable. I can get about an extra hour of sleep tomorrow, but there are no available nap times. A lot of incredible work accomplished today. I had an interview for continuing down the TREPAC leadership path, took a six hour class to be re-certified as a Texas REALTOR® Mediator, made a presentation to our Political Involvement Committee, attended the Opening Session of the Conference, a quick reception and then a Trustee Alumni Dinner at the Ashton Depot. This image is from the Ashton Depot, which I understand is a piece of property owned by the Texas A&M System. A very nice venue, obviously part of a former railway station. Good night...

Consternation -- Noun. amazement or dismay that hinders or throws into confusion. To the consternation of her students, Mrs. Jennings gave a pop quiz on the first Friday of the school year.

Did You Know? Wonder what the seemingly dissimilar words prostrate ("stretched out with face on the ground"), stratum ("layer"), and stratus ("a low cloud form extending over a large area") have in common with consternation? They are all thought to share the Latin ancestor sternere, meaning "to spread" or "to strike or throw down." Much to our consternation, we cannot make that connection definitive: While prostrate, stratum and stratus are clearly the offspring of sternere, etymologists will only go so far as to say that consternation comes from the Latin consternare-and that they have a strong suspicion that consternare is another descendant of sternere. Evans note: I am always embarrassed to get prostrate and prostate confused in conversation.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

2019 - Day 254/111 - Wednesday...Hinterland...

Okay, I was channelling my inner Titanic wannabe. The Texas REALTORS® Annual Conference began for me this afternoon. Fort Worth. Texas. Meetings this evening until 10, tomorrow my first is at 8:30. But, that really means that I get to sleep in a little bit later tomorrow morning, so that is not a terrible trade off. I drove in to Austin this morning to take s=care of some real estate stuff, then headed north to Fort Worth. All-in-all, it was a pleasant drive. The Waco-bits were a little bit challenging, but otherwise, it was good. On the way out of Austin, it rained like hell, but that was okay too. Eventually, there was a little bit of rain that fell on the Edge of Nowhere, but nothing really substantial according to Jody. It was a lovely day in Fort Worth, we have had three really good meetings so far, I have been able to meet-up with several colleagues, and it is going to be a great four more days of work...

Hinterland -- Noun. 1. a region lying inland from a coast. 2a. a region remote from cities. b. a region lying beyond major metropolitan or cultural centers. The enormous Greenland Ice Sheet covers most of the hinterland of the world's largest island.

Did You Know? When you are dealing with geography, it helps to know your hinterland from your umland. In the late 19th century, geographer George Chisholm took note of the German word Hinterland (literally, "land in back of") and applied it specifically to the region just inland from a port or coastal settlement. (Chisholm spelled the word hinderland, but English speakers eventually settled on hinterland.) Early in the 20th century, another geographer adopted the German Umland ("land around") to refer to territory around an inland town. What hinterland and umland have in common is a reference to a region economically tied to a nearby city. But nowadays hinterland has a less technical use as well; it's used for land that's simply out in the sticks.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

2019 - Day 253/112 - Tuesday...Scilicet...

I left the house this morning at 6:45, and I was late for my class that started at 8:30. Not terribly late, just a few minutes, but I was LATE. I don't like being late, but during the long frustrating ride to go less that 45 miles, I had plenty of opportunities to document wrecks and no wrecks, just a bunch of stoopid people on the interstate. I was going to share one of those images with you in this journal post, but something came up. Or more correctly (is that proper), something came down. RAIN. We got rain here on the edge of nowhere. The first measurable rain since August 4th. And on August 4th, we received 0.04" of rain. Hardly enough. So far, we have recorded 0.90" of rain in the gauge, and there are still a few little dribbles falling now and than. Hopefully, there will be some additions in the gauge when I empty it tomorrow. In the meantime, I will not need to be watering for the next day or two, at least!

Scilicet -- Adverb. to wit, namely. "Their objection-they claimed-was to the parcelling out of the top state jobs among the political (scilicet: the other political) parties." The Economist, January 13, 1979

Did You Know? Scilicet is a rare word (duh) that most often occurs in legal proceedings and instruments. It is from the Latin scire ("to know") and licet ("it is permitted"), which is also a root of videlicet-a synonym of scilicet. Licet in turn, descends from the Latin verb licere, which means "to be permited" and is the ultimate source of the English word leisure and license. Scire has also made other contributions to English, giving us such words as conscience, conscious, and science.

Monday, September 9, 2019

2019 - Day 252/113 - Monday...Belle Epoque...

I hope this sage (and the other sage that is blooming in the back) are not lying to me like they did the last time. I checked with the Googles, and there is no mention that it is supposed to rain when the sage is blooming. That is what I have always heard, and that is what a lot of people in this area believe. I never heard that until I moved to Texas, an it has been a pretty good indicator of reain to come, but lately it has not been really reliable. The 'cold' front has come through, it is pretty darned windy outside, and it is supposed to lower our temperatures into the high 90s instead of the low 100s. We have had about 45 days with temperatures at or above 100 degrees, and we are ready for some coolness. Problem: with the 'front,' the humidity is supposed to go up, making it feel hotter, so I do not see any 'win' in the near future.

Belle Epoque -- Noun. a period of high artistic or cultural development; especially  such a period in France around the end of the 19th century. "I grew up in Beirut during its belle epoque, the late 1950s and early 1960s." Anissa Helou, Gourmet, June, 2002

Did You Know? In the years before World War I, France experienced a period of economic growth that produced a wealth of artistic and cultural developments. That era has been described as excessive, glittering, gaudy, and extravagant, but the tumultuous days of war that followed it inspired the French to call that productive period belle epoque-literally, "the beautiful age." By the mid-1950s, the term belle epoque had found its way into English, where it came to be used to refer not only to the glory days of the late 19th-century France, but to any similarly luxurious period. It is now used to more elegantly convey the sentiments of another nostalgic expression, "the good old days."

Sunday, September 8, 2019

2019 - Day 251/114 - Sunday...Dicker...

As much as I was a slacker yesterday, I was not one today. I did not even get a nap until 4 o'clock this afternoon. I did all the around the house stuff, cleaned the chicken coop, took hay to the cattle (even though they did not really need hay). BUT, we have hay and only nine head of cattle, so I treated them. I had to go in to the office this afternoon, and Jody went with me. On the way home, we stopped at Burger King for one of the Impossible Whoppers. I have to say, Madison Avenue did not let me down this time, as far as I am concerned, it was really good, and Jody liked his, too. The fries actually had a potato taste to them, too, and Jody said they were creamy. The chickens liked those that we had leftover, too. So, that is about it for today, I am ready for the new week to get me all backed up with too much to do in one day.

Dicker -- Verb. to bargain. We dickered over the price of the house for a few days before finally settling on an offer that they would accept.

Did You Know? Etymologists aren't exactly sure of the origins of the verb dicker. It probably arose from the bartering of animal hides on the American frontier. The basis of that theory is founded on the noun dicker, which in English can refer to a quantity of ten hides. That word is derived from decuria, the Latin word for a bundle of ten hides, and ultimately from the Latin decem, meaning "ten." In ancient Rome, a decuria became a unit of bartering. The word entered Middle English as dyker and eventually evolved to dicker. It has been posited that the verb emerged from the bargaining between traders over dickers of hides, but not all etymologists are sold on that idea.

Saturday, September 7, 2019

2019 - Day 250/115 - Saturday...Flibbertigibbet...

Today was flu shot day. All the news outlets have been mentioning that they are seeing cases of the flu already, so we all might as well go and get our shots. Jody and I get flu shots every year. If there is any other kind of shot we can get, we get those too. We are both personally lucky because neither of us get sick very often. Me, once every couple years, but you can guarantee that I am NOT a good patient. I do not care for any part of being sick. For the past several months, I have been ingesting that Emergen-C stuff every day as well, this is getting to the season that I will be travelling for this conference or that conference, and I would just as soon be prepared. We got nine eggs yesterday, which means there is a possibility that three of the girls are still holding out. We won't really be able to tell for sure if all the girls are laying until the day that we get an even dozen. And I think the eggs are getting a little bit bigger, too. The first egg I cracked open this morning was a double yolk, too, and that is not very common at all!

Flibbertigibbet -- Noun. a silly flighty person. She plays a flibbertigibbet on the sitcom, but off the set, she is a no-nonsense woman in full control of her career and family.

Did You Know? Flibbertigibbet is one of many incarnations of the Middle English word flepergebet, meaning "gossip" or "chatterer" (others include flybbergybe, flibber de' Jibb, and flipperty-gibbet). It is an onomatopoeic* word, created from sounds intended to represent meaningless chatter. Shakespeare apparently saw a devilish aspect to a gossip; he used flibbertigibbet in King Lear as the name of a devil. This use never caught on, but the devilish connotation of the word reappeared when Sir Walter Scott used Flibbertigibbet as the nickname of an impish urchin in the novel Kenilworth. *Using or related to onomatopeia**. **The formation of a word from a sound with what is named (e.g. cuckoo, sizzle). Good grief.

Friday, September 6, 2019

2019 - Day 249/116 - Friday...Bibliophile...

Today was a busy day, or maybe it just felt busy because I was up WAY PAST my bedtime last night. I made it in to the office by about 9 o'clock this morning, and did some power real estate stuff. Then it was off to a TREPAC meeting at ABoR, then back to the office and then BACK to ABoR for a meeting with friends and colleagues and Representative Michael McCaul. Overall, not a bad day, except for the traffic part, and I actually got a lot accomplished. We will b heading off tomorrow to, among other things, get our annual flu shots. No comments will be greatly appreciated.

Bibliophile -- Noun. a lover of books especially for qualities of format; also: a book collector. Lana, a bibliophile with an appreciation for physically well constructed and carefully designed books, has never been particularly interested in e-books.

Did You Know? Mary McCarthy once observed tartly that a bibliophile is just an art collector with a slightly unusual specialization. If this is a bit harsh, it is nonetheless true that a bibliophile appreciates books for their physical qualities (such as binding, paper, ink, and typography) or rarity at least as much as for their content. McCarthy would hardly have been displeased, however, if she'd known that some collectible first editions of her own books would be today fetching over $300.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

2019 - Day 248/117 - Thursday...Persiflage...

Just to be clear, if the PVC pipes from the pool 'disengage,' there is a pretty damn good chance that the water level in the pool will suffer. Oddly, for the first time in a LONG time, I worked from home today. It was a really productive day, and the commute did not suck. Today was the regular day for the pool service guy, and he was here with no issues. There was a valve (coupling?) that connects the Polaris to the wall of the pool that needed to be replaced. He replaced it. About an hour later, there was another guy from the pool service here; I did not go outside to see what he was doing (I was working), Jody was taking a nap and if I went outside, that would have aroused the suspicions of the girl dogs, and they would have fended off all aggressive pool service people with their loud defense of the property. So I ignored him. A couple hours later, I was sitting at the breakfast room table, and notices that the pool was gasping for life. I went outside, and the water level had dropped about seven inches. I turned everything off and that was when I found the PVC pipe had come unglued. It must have been having a really bad day. Anyway, the pool guys came back out but not before I had to leave to go to Bryan-College Station for a TREPAC event. Bottom line, all is well, expect another extraordinary water bill, and it is time for me to retire for the evening!

Persiflage -- Noun. frivolous bantering talk: light raillery. Since the final round ended sooner than expected, the quiz show host engaged in persiflage with the contestants until it was time to sign off.

Did You Know? Unwanted persiflage on television might provoke an impatient audience to hiss or boo-and from an etymological standpoint, no other reaction could be more appropriate. English speakers picked up persiflage from French in the 18th century. Its ancestor is the French verb persifler, which means "to banter" and was formed from the prefix per-, meaning "thoroughly," plus siffler, meaning "to whistle, hiss, or boo." Siffler in turn derived from the Latin verb sibilare, meaning "to whistle or hiss." By the way, sibilare is also the source of sibilant, a word linguists us to describe sounds like those made by s and sh in sash. That Latin root also underlies the verb sibilate, meaning "to hiss" or "to pronounce with or utter an initial sibilant." Good grief...

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

2019 - Day 247/118 - Wednesday...Irrefragable...

This bastard! Sometime between 11 and midnight last night, the keypad on the security system started beeping. Nothing shrill, just a "hey, you need to pay attention to me" kind of a beep. I eventually got up, reset the keypad, and looked at the couch. It was beckoning to me. We have some of those battery operated candles on either end of the couch, and in my sleep-aid induced state, I can clearly remember that it looked like a funeral home, so I decided to lay down on the couch instead of going back to bed. I woke up a few hours later (it was around 2:30 a.m.), because I was cold, and decided to go back and get in the bed. I was not in the bed two minutes before THIS BASTARD started beeping. It was not close to the bedroom, and I could cover my ears with the pillow and ignore it (not really, but kind of). Whenever I moved, I could hear it beeping. Then I would start to count to see how far apart the beeps were. Thirty seconds. Sometimes I would make it to 36 or 37, but I am pretty sure the beeps were thirty seconds apart. I finally got up about 4:30, discovered where THIS BASTARD was exac
tly, and waited for Jody to get up so I could change the battery. There have been no further beeps reported during the day, and I intend to sleep tonight. I hope.

Irrefragable -- Adjective. 1. impossible to refute. 2. impossible to break or alter. "It is an irrefragable truth that each human life has its special needs and unique giftedness." Ramnath Subramanian, El Paso Times, June 2, 2011

Did You Know? Since at least 1533, irrefragable has been used as an English adjective modifying things (such as arguments or date) that are impossible to refute. It derives from the Late Latin adjective irrefragabilis (of approximately the same meaning), which is itself derived from the Latin verb refragari, meaning "to oppose or resist." Irrefragable rather quickly developed a second sense referring to things (such as rules, laws, and even objects) that cannot be broken or changed. There was once also a third sense that applied to inflexible or obstinate people.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

2019 - Day 246/119 - Tuesday...Amity...

I am being stalked by a blue-footed booby. Carrie (my work wife) and another friend Janis returned from the galapagos and Machu Picchu over the weekend. Carrie brought me back this little booby that now proudly sits on my desk.It is interesting that we now can share some memories from places we have both been. It was a great trip back (a long time ago) when Jody and I did a similar trip, only in reverse to the one that Carrie and Janis did.

Welcome to the work day after a Holiday. Traffic SUCKED this morning, it might tie for the longest commute ever with no evidence of a wreck on the way. Just traffic, and lots of it. Ugh. I am resolved to leave earlier in the morning.

My count on the buzzards is 24. See the entry from yesterday if you have no idea what I am talking about.

Amity -- Noun. friendship; especially: friendly relations between nations. "Cousin friendships really are special. They provide an unmatched level of amity...without rivalries that often exist between siblings." Helaine Becker, Today's Parent, June 2006

Did You Know? Amity has been used in English to describe friendship or friendliness for well over 500 years. It is derived from the Latin word for "friend," amicus, and has come to be used especially for relationships between political leaders and nations in which goodwill is shown despite differences that might exist between the two parties. Amicus is also the root of the adjectives amiable and amicable. Amiable implies having qualities that make one liked and easy to deal with-for example, "The owners of the bed-and-breakfast were very amiable." Amicable is closer in meaning to amity: It implies friendliness and politeness with the desire to avoid disagreement and argument. A relationship between coworkers might be described as amicable. Other family members of amicus are the Spanish amigo ("friend") and the antonymous enemy, which developed from the Latin combination of the prefix in- ("not") with amicus.

Monday, September 2, 2019

2019 - Day 245/120 - Monday...Cogent...

If you can enlarge the image, see if you can count the buzzards on this power tower. I have a number, but let's just see how many others come up with the same number. We saw these buzzards when we were taking the girls for their ride this morning. I did a little bit of office work in the home office this morning, and then headed off to the real office to get a few things done. On the way home, I did a little bit of shoe shopping, but nothing really struck my fancy, and what I saw and went to find specifically, did not live up (in person) to the advertisements I had seen previously. Oh well, I have plenty of shoes, so I expect I will survive. Otherwise, I did very little of anything today. I am trying to think of something industrious that I got accomplished, but I am at a loss...

Cogent -- Adjective. 1. having power to compel or constrain. 2a. appealing forcibly to the mind or reason. b. pertinent, relevant. Ms. Johnson's presentation to the board offered a cogent analysis of the challenges currently facing our organization.

 Did You Know? "Trained, knowledgeable agents make cogent suggestions...that make sense to customers." It makes sense to include that comment from the president of direct marketing consulting company because it provides such a nice opportunity to point out the etymological relationship between the words cogent and agent. Agent derives from the Latin verb agere, which means "to drive," "to lead," or "to act." Adding the prefix co- to agere gave Latin cogere, a word that literally means "to drive together"; that ancient term ultimately gave English cogent. Something that is cogent figuratively pulls together thoughts and ideas, and the cogency of an argument depends on the driving intellectual force behind it.

Sunday, September 1, 2019

2019 - Day 244/121 - Sunday...Susurrous...

I think it was Mark Twain (or it might have been Samuel Clements) that said "You can't trust a fu*king weather man," but I might be wrong about that. All I know is, we got a weather alert on the phone, and there was NOTHING happening. It looked promising a couple times, and we got a few drops on the car when we went in to Taylor this afternoon, but nothing here. I have chosen not to water, thinking we MIGHT get a little bit of rain (the sage are blooming nicely out in the back), but so far there has been nothing. Nada. I was able to get a few things done around the house today, but there is still tomorrow, so I am good. The girls are laying bigger eggs, too, so that is good. We are not buying eggs at HEB anymore, since we think the girls will fulfill their obligations from this point forward. We shall see. Tomorrow is the official Holiday, but I expect I will go in to the office for at least a few minutes, just to check on stuff.

Susurrous -- Adjective. full of whispering sounds. "The Colonel raised his Dixie beer to the ladies, still chatting comfortably in the soft, susurrous Vicksburg night." Paul Kennedy Mueller, The Pandemonium Bar & Grill, 2010

Did You Know? Susurrous derives from the Latin noun susurrus, meaning "a hum" or "a whisper," and may be a distant relative of swarm (think of the hum of a beehive). Susurrus also occurs as an English noun, with the meaning "a whispering or rustling sound." The noun form is older (it debuted in 1826); susurrous came about thirty years later. Both of these were preceded by the noun susurration, which appeared in the 14th century and means "a whispering sound" or "murmur." Today susurrous is used to describe any sound that resembles a whisper: a light breeze through a tree, perhaps, or the murmurs of intrigued theatergoers.