Thursday, October 31, 2019

2019 - Day 304/61 - Thursday...Noisome...

Let's talk about wrecks. It has been a long time since I bored you with the traffic congestion issues that plague this part of central Texas. In Texas, I-35 is really IH-35, the IH stands for Interregional Highway. Nobody really uses the IH thing, but that is the official moniker. IH-35 goes (I would say non-stop but that is not accurate) from Mexico to Canada. One big, long congested Road. Always under construction, obsolete before the work even starts. This afternoon, I was headed northbound, and there was a wreck on the southbound side. ALL southbound lanes were closed. I wanted to count the number of emergency vehicles on the scene (north and south bound), but that would have meant I would have to take off my shoes and socks. There were lots of them. I counted five vehicles involved, and parts of at least one of them crossed the concrete barriers and landed in the northbound side. It was slow-going, but I finally made it. AND I made a lot of phone calls along the way. Checked my F
acebook messages, Twitter feeds, sent a couple know, the usual stuff.

Noisome -- Adjective. 1. noxious, harmful 2a. offensive to the senses and especially to the sense of smell. b. highly obnoxious or objectionable. "As the light sank into the noisome depths, there came a shriek which chilled Adam's blood." Bram Stoker, The Lair of the White Worm, 1911

Did You Know? Noisome sounds like it might be a synonym of noisy , but it's not. Something noisome is disgusting, offensive, or harmful, often in its smell. Noisome comes not from noise but from the Middle English word noysome, which has the same meaning as noisome. The noy of noysome means "annoy" and comes from the Anglo-French anoi, which also means "annoy." As you may have already guessed, the English words annoy and annoyance are also related to noisome.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

2019 - Day 303/62 - Wednesday...Redound...

I kind of think this day has been TOO long. It started out early and it ended too late. And it is cold. BUT, we got the first load of firewood for the season. I got a call from the guy this morning and he said he would be here with it after 6 o'clock, and he was. That gave me time to get all my stuff done and get home to clear out last years wood (what was left) and so they could stack this years wood. All is well, Jody is enjoying the first fire of the season, and if I am lucky, I will move the plants to keep them from freezing tomorrow afternoon. The lucky part is, if they do not freeze overnight tonight. Fingers crossed...

Redound -- Verb. 1. to have an effect. 2. to become transferred or added. accrue. "It is felt that the traffic from the exhibits and classes will redound to the benefit of downtown restaurants and hotels." Scott Eyman, The Palm Beach Post, November 13, 2009

Did You Know? Although it looks and sounds like a number of similar words (including rebound, resound, abound, and redundant), redound is a distinct term. It developed from the Middle French redunder, which in turn came from the Latin redundare, meaning "to overflow." In its earliest known English uses in the late 1300s, redound meant "to overflow" or "to abound," but those senses are now considered archaic. In current use, redound is often followed by "to," and the effect can be positive (as in the example sentence) or negative ("[It] probably would have redounded strongly to my disadvantage it I had pursued to completion my resolution"-Joseph Heller, God Knows).

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

2019 - Day 302/63 - Tuesday...Basilisk...

The image used to accompany this journal entry has nothing to do with the journal entry what-so-ever. The journal entry has nothing do do with anything of any value either. I have always referred to this journal as the 'Seinfeld' blog, because it is about nothing. The image in this entry is about nothing. The journal entry itself is about nothing. The image in this entry is of no value, and the journal itself (going on eleven years now, EVERY FREAKIN' DAY), is of no relative value, and the fact that you are reading it earns you no knowledge or respite from the crap of which you are surrounded on a daily basis. Its sole intention (today and today only) is to give you a break. I hope you enjoyed the few minutes which you can never retrieve, but could also be the most valuable time you have spent all day long. Even IF all you do is to check this journal religiously to check for spelling and grammatical errors.

Basilisk -- Adjective. suggesting a legendary reptile with fatal breath and glance. baleful, spellbinding. "Allegra Fulton has a spine of steel, a basilisk glare in her eyes and a knowledge of legal loopholes that is superb." Richard Ouzunian, Toronto Star, October 30, 2015

Did You Know? In Hellenic and Roman legend, a basilisk (also called a cockatrice) was a serpentlike creature capable of destroying other creatures by way of its deadly stare. The modern basilisk is a lizard that belongs to the Iguanidae family and supposedly resembles this fabled monster; it has a large, inflatable crest atop its head and is sometimes called a Jesus Christ lizard for its ability to run quickly across the surface of water. The use of basilisk as an adjective occurs most frequently in phrases such as basilisk stare; recalling the notorious gaze of the legendary basilisk, it describes the deep and piercing look of someone who is frightening or seductive.

Monday, October 28, 2019

2019 - Day 301/64 - Monday...Goldbrick...

I don't think this is necessarily a statement that we are an impatient society...running things Friday sales in July, Christmas before Halloween. Nothing like that. I think this guy is adorned perpetually at the Shoal Creek Saloon. He most likely gets a good washing every time Shoal Creek floods, which is about an every-four-year-thing. I assume they have it down to a science, clearing out stuff that could be damaged and tying (is the the proper spelling) down all the stuff that could float away.But they do put on a really good lunch. Today I met a friend of mine and one of his friends to talk some shop stuff, and I had a small fried shrimp plate. I generally (okay, this is the second time I have been there) have the pork chop, but it is a HUGE meal. I went the first time in search of a good pork chop, and this was the place to go for that. I was not disappointed. I saw another friend of mine there while I was having lunch, and that is always fun. Seventy four degrees in central Texas last time I paid attention, and there is a possibility of a freeze overnight Wednesday and Thursday. What to do with all the pot plants? It's a puzzlement...

Goldbrick -- Noun. 1a. a worthless brick that looks like gold. b. something that appears valuable but is actually worthless. 2. a person who shirks assigned work. "[Rita] Braver asked, 'Were you in the military-were you as big a goof-off and goldbrick as Beetle Bailey?'" CBS, November 15, 2105

Did You Know? "The gold brick swindle is an old one but it crops up constantly," states an 1881 National Police Gazette article referring to the con artist's practice of passing off bricks made of base metal as gold. By the time World War I was under way, the word goldbrick was associated with another sort of trickery. The sense of the word meaning "shirker" originated in the slang of the United States Army, where it referred to a soldier who feigned illness or injury in order to get out of work or service. That sense has since expanded in usage to refer to any person who avoids or tries to get our of his or her assignment.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

2019 - Day 300/65 - Sunday...Realia...

This is day 300 of 2019...pretty soon we will be in a new year, but we have to survive the rest of this one first. I was not terribly motivated to do much of anything today, but I did make a few accomplishments. The chicken coop is cleaned, the remnants of the fig tree are gone. I totally expect that sucker to be back in the spring. It has died several times since we have been here, and it just keeps coming back. The tire on the Polaris is still holding air, so that is a good thing. I had a coupon for Tractor Supply that expired today, so we went and I got five pounds of meal worms, two chicken blocks and two cartons of dog food. Who would have ever believed that I would (or could) get excited enough about meal worms to use a coupon to buy them? And the future flashed before my eyes on the way back from Jarrell...what do you think?

Realia -- Noun. objects or activities used to relate classroom teaching to the real life especially of peoples studied. Among the realia used for the class's lesson on World Was II were a helmet and canteen that had belonged to one student's great-grandfather.

Did You Know? Realia, as defined here, was first used in the late 19th century and is still mostly used in the classroom by teachers, especially foreign language teachers. It is also used in library cataloging (in reference to such bizarre things as an author's hair and teeth donated posthumously) and occasionally finds its way into other texts as well. You might, for example, hear of someone putting realia-objects that represent present-day life-in a time capsule. Realia is one of those plural formations without a corresponding singular form. Like memorabilia, juvenilia, and marginalia, it incorporates the Latin plural ending -ia.

Saturday, October 26, 2019

2019 - Day 299/66 - Saturday...Primeval...

Today was an interesting kind of do nothing (much) kind of day. My plan was to see if I could take the front wheel off the Polaris, see where the leak in the tire was, and take it to get it fixed. I found the jack and everything, and managed to get the tire off, pumped it up, found the hole (it was the size of a straight pin or a needle), took it in to Bartlett, got it plugged, got back home, put it back on the Polaris and took a nap. It is still holding air, so that is a good thing. I was worried that the tire had dry-rotted, but apparently not. We took the girls for a ride when we went in to Bartlett, so that was a two-fer. I put some of the plants back in place (after having sheltered them from the gale-force winds of the last couple days), and then I took another nap. Then Jody and I went in to Georgetown to (a). vote, (b). find a new pump for one of the fountains and (c). have lunch. The correct answer is all of the above. And then it was time for another nap.

Primeval -- Adjective. of or relating to the earliest ages (as of the world or human history). ancient. primitive. "Other blasts, quite visible to us today, are the biggest bursts of energy in the cosmos since the primeval Big Bang." Neil DeGrasse Tyson et al., One Universe, 2000

Did You Know? First things first. HAHA. Primeval comes from the Latin words primus, meaning "first," and aevum, meaning "age." In Latin, those terms were brought together to form primaevus, a word that means "of or relating to the earliest ages." Other English words that descend from primus include prime and primary, primordial (a synonym or primeval), and primitive. Primus also gave rise to some terms for folks who are number one in charge, including prince and principal.

Friday, October 25, 2019

2019 - Day 298 - Friday...Impunity...

This images does not look like it is 35 degrees below zero, and perhaps I exaggerate just a little bit (that's an exaggeration), but it cold a hell (how cold is it?) here in central Texas. The cold front came through last night, and we got 0.93" of rain, and the temperature dropped by more than half. Okay, that is an exaggeration, too. Yesterday afternoon on my way home from the office, it was 83 degrees. This morning, on the way to work, it was 43 degrees, and right now it is 47 degrees. The wind is howling from the north at about 150 miles per hour (perhaps another exaggeration), and the wind chill (first time to use that word this season) is about 1,000 degrees below zero. How cold is it, you ask? Just go outside and empty the pool skimmer, and you will figure out how cold it is. So there!

Impunity -- Noun. exemption or freedom from punishment, harm or loss. "We realized we needed to have some sort of penalty or else these landlords would simply engage in this behavior with impunity." David Chiu, quoted in The Washington Post, September 19, 2017

Did You Know? Impunity (like the words pain, penal, and punish) traces to the Latin noun poena, meaning "punishment." The Latin word, in turn, came from the Greek poine, meaning "payment" or "penalty." People acting with impunity have prompted use of the word since the 1500s, as in this 1660 example by Englishman Roger Coke: "This unlimited power of doing anything with impunity, will only beget a confidence in kings of doing what they list [desire]." While royals may act with impunity more easily than others, the word impunity can be applied to the lowliest of beings as well as the loftiest: "Certain beetles have learned to detoxify [willow] leaves in their digestive tract so they can eat them with impunity" (Smithsonian, September 1986).

Thursday, October 24, 2019

2019 - Day 297/68 - Thursday...Edulcorate...

It is not a fit night out for man not beast. At least it is not as bad as Amarillo. I spoke with some friends of mine this afternoon, and it was snowing in Amarillo, and it was 31 degrees. I doubt that the snow would stick, but they were expecting 8 inches of snow, and the images I saw LOOKED like it was sticking. Interesting weather. We are supposed to have some pretty good storms this evening, we have had a half-inch so far, and it is supposed to keep raining. I went out to look at the cover over the chicken sags pretty badly when it rains, and I keep experimenting with ways to keep the cover from sagging. So far, so good. Half-inch of rain and no sag, so maybe my early American engineering (and a couple dozen zip ties) have done the trick.I'll let you know tomorrow. On the way in to the office this morning, there were some interesting clouds, but by the time I actually paid attention, there was not a really good vantage, and this was the best of the lot.

Edulcorate -- Verb. to free from harshness (as of attitude). soften. George's efforts at flattery did nothing to edulcorate his boss, who remained in a bad mood for the rest of the day.

Did You Know? An old saying advises giving sweets to the sweet, but pragmatic types may feel it's better to use them to edulcorate the sour. Edulcorate derives from the Latin root dulcis, which means "sweet." Dulcis is also the source for several terms related to soft, sweet music (such as dulcet and dolce) and an instrument that produces it (dulcimer).

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

2019 - Day 296/69 - Wednesday...Pathos...

For the most part, the new iPhone is up and running. There are some quirks, and there are some things that will take some getting used to, but overall I am pretty sure all the data and contacts and images got uploaded to the new camera. I am pretty sure all the apps are there too, so I am overall pleased with the new consumer electronic device I am now the proud owner of. This is the first image taken with the new device...Barney getting a drink of water on the patio while we were having dinner. It was a really busy day today, and there was a lot of catching-up to do, but I made a really nice dent in everything on my desk and actually got some stuff cleared out. Progress is positive!

Pathos -- Noun. 1. an element in experience or in artistic representation evoking pity or compassion. 2. an emotion of sympathetic pity. "My books are a mixture of humor and pathos, and I hope they provide some comfort." Elizabeth Berg, Chicago Tribune, September 3, 2011

Did You Know? The Greek work pathos means "suffering," "experience," or "emotion." It was borrowed into English in the 16th century, and for English speakers, the term usually refers to the emotions produced by tragedy or a depiction of tragedy. Pathos has quite a few kin in English. A pathetic sight moves us to pity. Empathy refers to the ability to feel the emotions of another. Though pathology is not literally "the study of suffering," it is "the study of diseases." You can probably guess at more relatives of pathos. Sympathy, apathetic, antipathy, sociopath, and psychopath are a few.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

2019 - Day 295/70 - Tuesday...Incumbent...

In the past five days, I have spent NO LESS than 10 hours with AT&T, just trying to get a better rate and a new phone. It culminated in a (almost) four hour visit to the AT&T store in Georgetown. I have a new phone, a new cell plan, a more expensive monthly fee, and a new iPhone 11Pro Max that I cannot make a telephone call on. That is all supposed to be corrected tomorrow. We'll just see about that. was (otherwise) another successful day. Life is good in me-ville, and I am the luckiest man in the world.

Incumbent -- Noun. 1. the holder of an office or ecclesiastical benefice. 2. one that occupies a particular position or place. The two candidates for the mayoral seat each met with the incumbent, who would be leaving his position when his term ended in January.

Did You Know? When incumbent was first used in English in the 15th century, it referred to someone who occupied a benefice-a paid position in a church. This was often a lifetime appointment; the person could only be forced to leave the office in the case of certain specific legal conflicts. In the mid-17th century, incumbent came to refer to anyone holding any office, including elected positions. These days, in the American political system, incumbent generally refers to someone who is the current holder of a position during an election to fill that position. Incumbent came to English through Anglo-French and derives from the Latin incumbere, meaning "to lie down on."

Monday, October 21, 2019

2019 - Day 294/71 - Monday...Ebullient...

It was another long but incredibly productive day. There was some rain overnight, tornados in Dallas, terrible reports of damage (not sure of any injuries). Jody reported we got 0.35" on the Edge of Nowhere. We could use another ten or twelve days of that kind of rain. We were ensconced in a room for most of the day, and will continue tomorrow with planning for the next year. We all wore our Bucee's t-shirts, and we were the talk of the conference center. We were in disguise as Bucee's Management team,. We ended the night with a nice dinner, great conversations and could hardly take a breath between laughs! Fun group, it will be a great year.

Ebullient -- Adjective. 1. boiling, agitated. 2. having or showing liveliness and enthusiasm. exuberant. "Keegan, effortlessly ebulliant even on his worst days, is probably the easiest person in the history of civilization to have a conversation with." Jay Martel, The New Yorker, September 9, 2015

Did You Know? Someone who is ebullient is bubbling over with enthusiasm, so it shouldn't be much of a surprise that the adjective ebullient derives from the Latin verb ebullire, which means "to bubble out." (The stem bullire is an ancestor of our word boil and derives from bulla, the Latin word for "bubble.") In its earliest known uses in English in the late 1500s, ebullient was used in the sense of "boiling" or "bubbling" that might have described a pot simmering on the stove. Only later did the word's meaning broaden to encompass emotional agitation (particularly of the exuberant kind) in addition to the tempestuous roiling of a boiling liquid.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

2019 - Day 293/72 - Sunday...Objet Trouve...

Just how many great days does one person deserve? This was a really great day for me. I got back home yesterday about 4:30, and I left again today at about 1:30. The leaving part is not the good part, but the time at home with Jody is great, and my time with my volunteer colleagues is also great. Today, and for the next couple days, I get to laugh and cut-up with some great people, and get some really hard work done at the same time. We all made it to Lost Pines in time for a 4 o'clock team building exercise. That included bow and arrow stuff (I hit the targets a couple times), throwing axes and hatchets at targets (I came close a couple times), and shooting shot guns at clay pigeons (I hit at least one, maybe two out of about two dozen shells). I have a shotgun that was my fathers, but I have never shot it. I have three pistols, and I do not think I have ever fired any of them. I have my concealed hand gun license, but I used one of the instructors guns to qualify for that. Part of the team building also included a trip to Bucee's, and that is where we REALLY got to know each other. TOO. MUCH. FUN! Thanks to all of you, this is going to be a GREAT YEAR!

Objet Trouve -- Noun. a natural or discarded object found by chance and held to have aesthetic value. Meredith's sculptures were made from interesting objets trouves including old automotive parts and metal lunch boxes.

Did You Know? Objet trouve comes from French (duh), where it literally means "found object." The term entered English during the early 20th century, a time when many artists challenged traditional ideas about the nature of art. Surrealists and other artists, for instance, held that any object could be a work of art if a person recognized its aesthetic merit. Objet trouve can refer to naturally formed objects whose beauty is the result of natural forces as well as to man-made artifacts (such as bath tubs, wrecked cars, or scrap metal) that were not originally created as art but are displayed as such.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

2019 - Day 292/73 - Saturday...Devolve...

I'm home! YAY! And I was greeted by some blood lilies that had a delayed reaction. Usually, the blood lilies (or rain lilies) pop up a day or so after a rain, but there has been no rain for five or six days, so they are a little bit late. They do look like they have been blooming for at least a couple days, so maybe it is me that is late and not the lilies. I hope to be back in sync with my circadian clock soon. That was the most trouble with the trip to Phoenix, getting used to the time change, or not getting used to it, whichever the case may be. But, I am really glad to be home, and having a chance to get a good nights sleep, and making a big pile of eggs in the morning, and then taking a nap. I am a happy creature of habits, and I like that just fine!

Devolve -- Verb. 1. to pass to another (something, such as a tradition or responsibility). 2. to degenerate through a gradual change or evolution. "With whiplash speed, this heart-warming tale has devolved into an internet-fueled soap opera." Craig Schneider, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, July 31, 2016

Did You Know? Devolve evolved from the Latin volvere, a word that means "to roll." The prefix de- means "down." (The five other words containing -vol- found in this bit also revolve around volvere.) Knowing which preposition to use with devolve can seem a bit involved, but it's not all that convoluted. Responsibility or rights devolve on, upon, or to someone. When something comes into a present state by flowing down from a source, either literally or figuratively, we say devolve from, as in "customs that devolve from old beliefs." And when the devolving is a downward evolution to a lower state, we say devolves into (or something devolves to), as in "order devolves into chaos."

Friday, October 18, 2019

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

The NARPM Conference is over, it has been a long week, and I will be happy to be home tomorrow. Phoenix is nice if you like beige, but I think the best thing it has going for it is the low humidity. The temperatures have been unseasonably high (I think), but it is low humidity, so it is not oppressive. I did, however, really like Sedona. Very nice, I liked it a lot. I assume there is a lot to like about desert life, but not sure. There is not a lot of water conservation, but there is a lot of talk about it. It is kind of an oxymoron. The image included in this post is one of the more beautiful things I have witnessed while I have been here. A lovely exterior corridor at the hotel. The hotel itself was nothing really exciting, a gathering of old buildings, badly maintained with inadequate electrical service. But there were interesting nooks and crannies, you just had to seek them out.

Grok -- Noun. to understand profoundly and intuitively. Nancy read the article three times and still couldn't quite grok what the author was getting at.

Did You Know? Grok may be the only English word that derives from Martian. Yes, we do mean the language of the planet Mars. No, we're not getting spacey; we've just ventured into the realm of science fiction. Grok was introduced in Robert A Heinlein's 1961 science fiction novel Stranger in a Strange Land. The book's main character, Valentine Michael Smith, is a Martian-raised human who comes to Earth as an adult, bringing with him words from his native tongue and a unique perspective on the strange ways of earthlings. Grok was quickly adopted by the youth culture of America and has since peppered the vernacular of those who grok it.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

2019 - Day 290/75 - Thursday...Synecdoche...

Another day of interesting sessions her in Phoenix, and another field trip to something of alternat interest here in the Arizona valley. Carrie (the field trip planner) and I went to Taliesin West, recently named a World Heritage Site (named recently, don't remember exactly when). There are twelve ceramic Chinese theater scenes embedded in concrete posts outside various building at the site. The guide said that Wright had a dislike for anything that was not useful, so these twelve scenes are particularly interesting. I have always liked Chinese art of many kinds, and I had no idea that Wright was a fan. BUT, it was a happy realization. The twelve  scenes represent the 12 dramas of the Chinese Imperial Theater. An extra nice surprise, and part of anothe
r really good day.

Synecdoche -- Noun. a figure of speech by which a less encompassing term is put for a more encompassing term or vice versa. Shakespeare's Macbeth employs synecdoche when he orders a servant out of his presence with the command "Take thy face hence."

Did You Know? If you are a budding author (or blog master), synecdoche, from the Greek syn- ("together"), and ekdoche ("interpretation"), is a good word to know. Writers, and especially poets, use synecdoche in several different ways to create vivid imagery. Most frequently, synecdoche involves substituting a part for the whole(fifty sail for fifty ships). Less commonly, it involves putting the whole for the part (society for high society), the species for the genus (cutthroat for assassin), the genus for the species (a creature for a man), or the material for the thing made (boards for stage). Synecdoche is similar to metonymy, the use of the name of one thing in place of something associated with it (such as Shakespeare for the works of Shakespeare). I will try my best not to incorporate this.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

2019 - Day 289/76 - Wednesday...Gnomic...

Today was a pretty good day, even though there have been several disappointments. The disappointments are mainly because of the venue for this conference. It is (allegedly) a really fancy hotel and conference center, but the facility is inadequate, the service is poor and the staff is totally unprepared to handle a group (or several) that is here. As a rule, the staff is caring and apologetic, but there is only so much apologies can do for you. Apologies cannot make the eggs better. I have to admit, while we have been here, there have been lots of things comped; Uber rides, breakfasts, and a few other things. I would rather pay for what is advertised than to get something that was not really adequate for free. Does that make sense? However, some of the free things I have received while here is lovely vistas, extraordinary rock formations, and beautiful sights. I documented lots of stuff yesterday, but I think this is one of my favorite images. I have taken (probably) hundreds of images, and I have narrowed those down to three of four favorites. This is one of them, and I have always been really attracted to cactus blossoms.

Gnomic -- Adjective. 1. characterized by aphorism. 2. given to the composition of aphoristic writing. The young artist has drawn attention for her gnomic utterances, but some critics argue that her sayings are simply pretentious rubbish.

Did You Know? A gnome is an aphorism-that is, an observation or sentiment reduced to the form of a saying-that is particularly common in Old English verse. Gnomes are sometimes couched in metaphorical or figurative language, they are often quite clever, and they are always concise. We borrowed the word gnome in the 16th century from the Greeks, who based their gnome on the verb gignoskein, meaning "to know." (That other gnome-the dwarf of folklore, and the one I am familiar with-comes from New Latin and is unrelated to today's word.) We began using gnomic, the adjective form of gnome, in the early 19th century. It describes a style of writing (or sometimes speech) characterized by pithy phrases, which are often terse to the point of mysteriousness.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

2019 - Day 288/77 - Tuesday...Vaunted...

Even though I am in (or near) Phoenix, I got an amazing amount of work done today. I am really not sure where I am...maybe I am really in Tempe, but not sure. I am pretty sure I am not really in Phoenix. I am relatively confident that I am in Arizona, but I did get pretty close to California this afternoon as well. We (Carrie and I) played hooky today, and rented a car and went to Sedona. Lovely vistas, beautiful sights, lots of red rocks. Sedona is a really nice place, I think I could probably get used to it. We made it back to the hotel about 5:15, registered for the conference, talked with some friends, rested for a few minutes, then went to the opening reception for just a little while. I am having M&Ms and diet coke for dinner. No real food at the reception, under-staffed in the hotel dining room, nothing appealing on the room service menu. M&Ms and diet coke it is. I was playing in one of the fountains (they do not practice what they preach here) on the way to dinner (that did not happen), and here is the documentation to prove it.

Vaunted -- Adjective. highly or widely praised or boasted about. "The vaunted school for years has sent its best students to the nation's top conservatories." Ericka Mellon, Houston Chronicle, June 8, 2014

Did You Know? The verb vaunt has been used since the 15th century with the meaning "to make a vain display of one's own worth or attainments"-in other words, "to brag or boast." Over time, vaunt developed the meaning "to boast or (something)," as in "the promotional flyer vaunts the natural beauty of the area," and gave rise to the adjective form vaunted. The history of vaunt and vaunted leads back to the Latin word vanus, meaning "vain" or "empty." (The word vain itself is also a descendant of vanus.)

Monday, October 14, 2019

2019 - Day 287/78 - Monday...Funambulism...

I made it to here for several days. Got in to the office pretty early and did some power real estate, then off to the airport. Conducting business in the airport, in the bathroom (you guys have a dirty mind), in the restaurant, on the plane, in the was kind of a crazy day. Met some friends and we walked about thirty miles to a restaurant (all uphill). When we got the the restaurant, our table was 'downstairs,' and you could go down the stairs or down the slide. There was really no question about the path I would take, and here is the documentation of the event! It is warmish here, dry compared to Austin, the hotel has signs everywhere about water conservation, but the sprinklers have been running ever since I got here. Don't needlessly ask us to wash your towels, but by God the grass is going to be green!

Funambulism -- Noun. 1. tightrope walking. 2. a show especially of mental agility. As a game-show contestant, Brenda amazed us all with her funambulism, answering every question correctly to win the $20,000 first prize.

Did You Know? Back in ancient Rome, tightrope walking was a popular spectacle at public gatherings The Latin word for "tightrope walter" is funambulus, from the Latin funis, meaning "rope," plus ambulare, meaning "to walk." It doesn't take any funambulism on our part to see how the word for an impressive act of physical skill and agility came to mean an impressive act of mental skill or agility. That extended sense of word, describing acts of agility that are either impressive or occasionally horrific, has been around since at least 1886, when British academic and writer Augustus Jessopp described the act of diagramming sentences as "horrible lessons of ghastly grammar and dreary funambulism." I couldn't agree more, I was never good at diagramming sentences.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

2019 - Day 286/79 - Sunday...Diffident...

We believe Joe Mac has solved the egg mystery. He said they are gecko lizard eggs. They may be the same thing that I call 'newts,' but I am not sure. Whatever they are/were, there were plenty of them. Otherwise, today was a really good Sunday. I went and bought yet ANOTHER GFCI plug, and that one doesn't work either. SO, tomorrow I will put a call in to the electrician and see if we can get that mystery solved. I got the chicken coop cleaned out, and a couple other weekend things done, but generally, it was just a day of enjoying the cooler weather and taking naps. We did watch a movie after the afternoon news, and now it is time to call it a day. This is an image of the lovely evening moon out here on the Edge of Nowhere. This image does not do it justice, but I hope you can get the drift!

Diffident -- Adjective. 1. hesitant in acting or speaking through lack of self-confidence. 2. reserved, unassertive. "Wilson...would explain her lack of feeling with a diffident shrug: 'I felThe Supremes, 2009
t like I'd said goodbye already.'" Mark Ribowsky,

Did You Know? Diffident and confident are antonyms, but both have a lot to do with how much trust you have in yourself-and, fittingly, both trace to the Latin verb fidere, which means "to trust." Diffident arose from a combination of fidere and the prefix dis-, meaning "the absence of," and it has been used to refer to individuals lacking in self-trust since the 15th century. Confident arose from confidere, a term created by combining fidere with the intensifying prefix con-. That term has been used for self-trusting souls since at least the late 16th century. By the way, fidere puts the trust in several other English words too, including fidelity and fiduciary.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

2019 - Day 285/80 - Saturday...Simon Pure...

Okay, geniuses, here is your next test. The GFCI breaker in the laundry room is not functioning, but that is not the test question. It is true that, even after purchasing a new GFCI and installing same, it is still not working. On to the electrician. Here is the challenge: see image attached to this journal entry. When I took the cover plate off the GFCI, the space behind was FULL (or practically full) of these egg-things. They are about the size of a pencil eraser, maybe a little bit bigger. Very fragile, easily shattered. I think they are some kind of snake egg or lizard or iguana egg. That's where you guys (those of you that consider yourselves geniuses) come in. What are they. Surely (don't call me Shirley) one of you will have the answer. and...GO!...

Simon-Pure -- Adjective. of untainted purity or integrity; also, pretentiously or hypocritically pure. "We certainly are not simon-pure when it comes to making mistakes; we've had a few doozies." Nick Vlahos, Peoria Journal Star (Illinois), December 28, 2017

Did You Know? British dramatist and actress Susannah Centlivre (1669-1723) introduced the character of Simon Pure in her 1718 comedy A Bold Stroke for a Wife. In that play, Colonel Fainall wants to marry Anne Lovely, but to do so he must win the consent of Anne's guardian, a Quaker gentleman named Obadiah Prim. Fainall tries to gain the needed approval by impersonating a Quaker preacher named Simon Pure. Unfortunately for the scheme, the real Simon Pure appears and proves himself to be the genuine article. People adopted the phrase the real Simon Pure (which in turn gave rise to the adjective simon-pure) from the play to refer to things true or genuine. I'm no Simon-Pure!

Friday, October 11, 2019

2019 - Day 284/81 - Friday...Omnium-Gatherum...

I got back in to the office just a little bit after noon, and managed to get my desk essentially cleared before my 2 o'clock appointment arrived. A little more power real estate, and then headed home. I left the office about 3:30, and traffic was basically gridlocked. Today starts the second weekend of the Austin City Limits fest. Last weekend was the hottest weekend for ACL, and today is the coldest weekend for ACL. Yesterday it was 97 degrees, and today was about 40 degrees cooler. We got a little bit of rain overnight, so far about an inch-and-a-half. Not complaining, grateful for what we get. Did I spell grateful correctly? Looks weird.

Omnium-Gatherum -- Noun. a miscellaneous collection (as of things or persons). An omnium-gatherum of celebrities and personalities were on hand for the legendary singer's 90th birthday celebration.

Did You Know? English abounds in Latin phrases. They roll off the learned tongue like peas off a fork. Tabula rasa; ab ovo; a posteriori; deus ex machina; ex cathedra; mea culpa (I know this one); terra firma (this one too); vox populi (kind of); ad hominen; sub rosa. Omnium-gatherum surely belongs on that list too, right? Not exactly. Omnium-gatherum sounds like Latin, and indeed omnium (the genitive plural of the Latin omnis, meaning "all") is the real thing. But gatherum is simply the English gather with -um tacked on to give it a classical ring. We're not suggesting, however, that the phrase is anything less than literate (I might be). After all, one of the first writers known to have used it was John Croke, a lawyer educated at Eton and Cambridge in the 16th century.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

2019 - Day 283/82 - Thursday...Aggrandize...

Well, I hardly know where to begin. This was a truly incredible day. I could go on and on about the penultimate day of the TREPAC Orientation/BOLC, and that was all great, but the icing on the cake for this day was a recital at Bates Recital Hall on the UT campus, featuring Greg Anderson and Elizabeth Joy Roe, aka Anderson & Roe, Piano Duo. Look them up, it is totally worth the effort. I have always been attracted to piano, and it is the only real disappointment of my childhood. But, it is what it is. I haven't been to any live performances lately, and I want to thank my friend Jo Ann from Houston for accompanying me. It was great...

Aggrandize -- Verb, 1. to increase or enlarge. 2. to enhance the power, wealth, position, or reputation of. Looking at my resume, Keith said I shouldn't be afraid to aggrandize my skills and experience instead of selling myself short.

Did You Know? Aggrandize has enhanced the English vocabulary since the early 17th century. English speakers adapted agrandiss-, the stem of the French verb agrandir, to form aggrandize and later used the French form agrandissement as the basis of the noun aggrandizement. (The root of agrandiss- is Latin; it comes from grandis, meaning "great.") Nowadays, both noun and verb are regularly paired with the prefix self- to refer to individuals bent on glorifying themselves, as in the following sentence by Catherine Texier that appeared in The New York Times in 2007: "In spite of a tendency to self-aggrandize, calling attention to his own talent as a publisher, art director and writer...Picano has assembled a tremendously entertaining collection of anecdotes."

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

2019 - Day 282/83 - Wednesday...Quietus...

Day two-and-a-half is in the books...for many, there is one more day, for me there is another day-and-a-half. But it will be worth it in the end. An early day, some technical difficulties but nobody knew it, so it was not a tragedy. We will make a few adds/deletes tomorrow, and this part will be done after lunch. And then, the Governmental Affairs part starts and goes through noon on Friday. There was a TREPAC reception this evening, and I am about ready to go to bed. This is an image of the TREPAC Leadership Team, taking one for the team.

Quietus -- Noun. 1. final settlement (as of a debt). 2. removal from activity; especially death. 3. something that quiets or represses. A weekend of rain put the quietus on plans to stage an impromptu concert in the park.

Did You Know? In the early 1500s, English speakers adopted the Medieval Latin phrase quietus est (literally "he is quit") as the name for the writ of discharge exempting a baron or knight from payment of a knight's fee to the king. The expression was later shortened to quietus and applied to the termination of any debt. William Shakespeare was the first to use quietus as a metaphor for the termination of life: "For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,...When he himself might his quietus make/With a bare bodkin?" (Hamlet). The third meaning, which is more influenced by quiet than quit, appeared in the 19th century. It often occurs in the phrase put the quietus on (as in "The bad news put the quietus on their celebration").

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

2019 - Day 281/84 - Tuesday...Contemn...

Oh my, it was another long day, but also a pretty rewarding day as well. Just because you do not go to the office, it does not mean you are not doing office work. You are just doing office work along with the stuff you are doing as a volunteer servant. SO...a little of this and a little of that. It all gets done. The next two days will be the biggest event days of this orientation year. This is a photo of me and Melinda. We have been good friends for several years, and along with many MANY other Trustees, I have been really fortunate to make lasting friendships within this group of dedicated, hard working TREPAC Trustees.

Contemn -- Verb. to view or treat with contempt. scorn. "Topsy was at first despised and contemned by the upper servants. They soon found reason to alter their opinion." Harriet Beecher Stowe, Uncle Tom's Cabin, 1852

Did You Know? Contemn is derived from the Latin verb contemnere, a word formed by combining con- (meaning "with" or "thoroughly") and temnere ("to despise"). Surprisingly, our verb may have come within a hair's breadth of being spelled "contempn." The Middle French word contempner arrived in Middle English as contempnen, but that extra "p" disappeared, leaving us with contemn. You may be wondering about the connection between contemn and contempt, and not surprisingly, they are related. Contempt comes from the Latin contemptus, which comes from contemnere.

Monday, October 7, 2019

2019 - Day 280/85 - Monday...Mordant...

Oh my, it has been a long day, but a lot was accomplished. It was an early wake up this morning, because I had to pack to go to a series of meetings in Austin. I got to the office right at 9 o'clock, did some work, ran a few errands, made it to the airport to pick up a friend, and then on the the hotel. A diet coke later and I was in a meeting until about 9 this evening, and now I am ready to call it a night. The nice thing about this is, my first appointment is not until 8 o'clock tomorrow morning, so I get to sleep in. There was a cool front that came through last night, which made the day really pleasant. Back up to above normal high temperatures for several days to come, and then I think there is another cold front coming through, so I think that will be the official end of the oppressive heat for this year. Fingers crossed,

Mordant -- Adjective. 1. biting and caustic in thought, manner, or style. incisive. 2. burning, pungent. The writer's acute insights and mordant wit have made her posts a must-read for many fans.

Did You Know? The etymology of mordant certainly has some bite to it. That word, which came to Modern English through Middle French, ultimately derives from the Latin verb mordere, which means "to bite." In modern parlance, mordant usually suggests a wit used with deadly effectiveness. Mordere puts the bite into other English terms, too. For instance, that root gave us the tasty morsel ("a tiny bite"). But nibble too many of those and you'll likely be hit by another mordere derivative: remorse ("guilt for past wrongs"), which comes from the Latin remordere, meaning "to bite again."

Sunday, October 6, 2019

2019 - Day 279/86 - Sunday...Handsel...

This is what is left of the church in Bartlett that Joe Mac and Carolyn and I visited a couple months ago when they were visiting. A woman from Huntsville finds old properties like this and rehabs them and resells them. She was close to being done with this one and it burned one night. there was a big old two story house net to this church, and the paper said there was suspicion that someone set fire to the house and embers caught the church on fire. The church was (I think) over a hundred years old. What a shame.

The back is still not 100%, but it is better. It only really hurts when I try to get up. However, that did not stop me from getting most of the things on my list done today. I do have a new helper from Bartlett, so that is a good thing. His name is Armando, a very nice man, ready to help out, and that is great for me. The only thing I did not get done was power washing the Polaris. I/we did manage to drive over something in the Polaris, and now one of the front tires is flat. It's always something!

Handsel -- Noun. 1. a gift made as a token of good wishes or luck. 2. money given by a buyer to a seller to bind a bargain. After moving into their new home, Jason and Sarah were delighted to find a handsel, in the form of a gift basket, left on their porch by their REALTOR®.

Did You Know? According to an old custom in the British Isles, the first Monday of the new year is Handsel Monday, a day to give a small gift or good luck charm to children or to those who have served you well. As long ago as the year 1200, English speakers were using the ancestor of handsel for any good luck charm, especially one given at the start of some new situation or condition. By the 1500s, traders were using handsel for the first cash they earned in the morning-to them, an omen of good things to follow. Nowadays, it can also be used for the first use or experience of something, especially when such a use gives a taste of good things to come.

Saturday, October 5, 2019

2019 - Day 278/87 - Saturday...Extricate...

It was a quiet day on the Edge of Nowhere. We did set a record high temperature today, 97 degrees. The old record was set in 1925. Today was the hottest October 5th in almost 100 years. Something is going on with the weather, and I am not the smartest man in the world, so somebody had better get this figured out. Somehow, I have thrown my back out, not sure how, I just did. SO, I am creeping around like a REALLY old guy, and that makes for two old guys in one house. Nothing happy about that, I can tell you for sure. PLUS, someone hacked me and is sending messages to people I know asking them to go to a convenience store and buy gift cards. I hope nobody falls for that. Enjoy this image of the sunset this evening.

Extricate -- Verb. 1. to distinguish from a related thing. 2. to free or remove from an entanglement or difficulty. After making too many commitments, Dennis had to use tact to extricate himself from his promise to volunteer at the charity fundraiser.

Did You Know? It can take an ample amount of dexterity-manual, verbal, or mental-to free yourself from a tangled situation. This can be seen in extricate, a word derived from the Latin extricatus, which combines the prefix ex- ("out of") with the noun tricae, meaning "trifles or perplexities." (The resemblance of tricae to our word trick is no illusion; it's an ancestor.) While a number of words (such as disentangle) share with extricate the meaning of "to free from difficulty," extricate suggests the act of doing so with care and ingenuity, as in "With careful budgeting, she was able to extricate herself from her financial burdens."

Friday, October 4, 2019

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

I will be delighted to turn in for the night tonight and wake up tomorrow morning. Not there was anything particularly wrong with this day, I just felt anxious most of the day, and I don't like feeling that way. perhaps my meds need to be adjusted or something. Maybe I need to double up on the baby aspirin, not sure. But, the real problem today, in my opinion, was caused by the traffic. Wrecks all over, aggressive drivers making me become aggressive. It is enough to make a person anxious. BUT, it is almost over, and tomorrow will be another day. I have chores to get accomplished tomorrow, and naps to take. I did have a chance to get the truck inspected this afternoon, and then got the truck AND the trailer registered for new tags. I beat all the old guys in Georgetown at their own game! I expect they will be lined up black-socks-and-bermuda-shorts deep at the inspection place, but I will not be there!

Solecism -- Noun. 1. an ungrammatical combination of words, also, a minor blunder in speech. 2. something deviating from the accepted order. "For that matter, it's equally common to clean up quotes from native speakers, which is why the quotes you read...aren't filled with tics and solecisms." Tom Ley, Deadspin, May 6, 2016

Did You Know? The city of Soloi had a reputation for bad grammar. Located in Cilicia, an ancient coastal nation in Asia Minor, it was populated by Athenian colonists called soloikos (literally "inhabitant of Soloi"). According to historians, the colonists of Soloi allowed their native Athenian Greek to be corrupted, and they fell to using words incorrectly. As a result, soloikos gained a new meaning: "speaking incorrectly." The Greeks used that sense as the basis of soloikismos, meaning "an ungrammatical combination of words." That root in turn gave rise to the Latin soloecismus, the direct ancestor of the English word solecism. Nowadays, solecism can refer to social blunders as well as sloppy syntax.

Thursday, October 3, 2019

2019 - Day 276/89 - Thursday...Chapter and Verse...

I could provide you with a veritable plethora of accident images for this journal entry, but this one is the most interesting in my opinion. There were no less than four wrecks encountered on my way in to Austin this morning, and a couple more on the drive home. I was stopped at a traffic signal for this image. First there was an ambulance passing by on my left, but I was not thinking quickly enough to get the phone camera readied for the documentation. BUT...being an experienced commuter, I know that where there is an ambulance, there will most likely be a cop car or a fire truck, so I was laying in wait for them. It is kind of like, when you are on one of our roads out here close to the Edge of Nowhere, and a deer runs across the road, you need to exercise caution, because more likely than not, there will be another deer or two following close behind. This is just crap you learn (but frequently cannot remember) when you achieve the advanced age that I have.

HI MELINDA! So happy to get to spend some time with you this morning!

Chapter and Verse -- Noun. 1. the exact reference or source of information or justification for an assertion. 2. full precise information or detail.

Edward had lived in the town all his life and could give you chapter and verse on the histories of its buildings and landmarks.

Did You Know? To the biblically inclined, citing the exact chapter and verse of a biblical quote adds substance to the quote (and allows others to look it up for themselves). Such a precise reference inspired English speakers in the 18th century to use the phrase chapter and verse to refer to a source of information or authority even when there was no actual chapter and verse involved. Sometimes this "chapter and verse" involved slightly lengthy justifications ("She cited chapter and verse to prove her point"), so after a while people started thinking of any kind of detailed recitation as "chapter and verse" ("He could give chapter and verse of all the office goings-on"). The phrase can also be used adverbially ("Jane recited chapter and verse all her complaints").

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

2019 - Day 275/90 - Wednesday...Fourth Estate...

Exactly what in the hell is going on in Williamson County, Texas. First, we got the road re-done. We have lived here almost eleven years, and it has been a dirt road the entire time. I have a new burden now, that I am not sure I am ready for, and that burden is getting the car washed on a regular basis. I have been roundly insulted on many occasions because of the exterior of the car, and the response has always been "I live on a dirt road!" Can't do that anymore. NOW, as if turning our road into a REAL road was not enough, they have replaced an electric pole up by the road. NO, we do not have underground utilities at the Edge of Nowhere. We have electric poles up and down the roads. It is not exactly like a developing country kind of electric pole...there is only one wire on the pole. The one wire goes a long way, and it occasionally detours to (in this case) a single house, maybe a couple houses. BUT, bottom line, I am not sure I can cope with all this change. Next thing you know, we will have cable television. Ugh!

Fourth Estate -- Noun. the public press. "We should all be concerned," the senator asserted, "about the plight of newspapers and the consequences of a weakened fourth estate on our democracy."

Did You Know? It might be news to you that the term fourth estate has been around for centuries. In Europe, going back to medieval times, the people who participated in the political life of a country were generally divided into three classes or "estates." In England, they were the three groups with representation in Parliament, namely, the nobility, the clergy, and the common people. Some other group, like the mob or the public press, that had an unofficial but often great influence on public affairs was called the "fourth estate." In the 19th century, fourth estate came to refer exclusively to the press, and now it's applied to all branches of the news media.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

2019 - Day 274/91 - Tuesday...Tremulous...

Great Googley-Moogley! We recorded 0.07" of rain overnight. It was like a monsoon, except without the monsoon  part. The grass was actually damp this morning, and so were portions of the driveway. It was odd...the grass was more humid than the air for the first time in recent memory. And then that was it. No more, just the little bit as reported a few sentences back. Just to prove the point, here is an image of the new mail box and the newly resurfaced road. It only took them about three years to complete it. Okay, in reality, it took them about five months but it seemed like forever. Overall, the improvement is like a million times better than it was, but I still think they should have put another layer of gravel on it. But...for the immediate future, I can, in good conscience, get the car washed and it looks red for more than the afternoon. I can avoid dust from Austin to the Edge of Nowhere with some planning and thought. So there is that. We had an office meeting today (at Alamo Draft House) and saw the newly released movie JUDY. It was good, it made me anxious, it was sad, we all cried, and it was sad. What a life!

Tremulous -- Adjective. 1. characterized by or affected with trembling or tremors. 2. affected with timidity. timorous. 3. exceedingly sensitive, easily shaken or disordered.

"Today, two decades after his son's death, Holgado looks younger than his 73 years, but talks with the tremulous voice of an old man." Matthew Bremmer, The Guardian, September 28, 2017

Did You Know? Do you suspect that tremulous must be closely related to tremble? If so, there is no need to be tremulous in voicing your suspicion: Both those words derive from the Latin verb tremere, which means "to tremble." Some other English offspring of tremere are tremor, tremendous (originally, "able to excite trembling dread or awe"), temblor (another word for earthquake), and tremolo (a term that describes a vibrating and quavering musical effect, one form of which was particularly popular for electric guitars and organs in the 1970s).