Tuesday, December 31, 2019

2019 - Day 365/0 - Tuesday...Concinnity...

Well, just to be clear, this is really NOT the last day of the decade. December 31, 2020 is the last day of the decade, if you really want to get technical about it. I am kind of torn about how technical I want to get about it, so I think I will just post this and then you can fight amongst yourselves about it. So...the FIRST year was not year zero, it was year 1, so 2021 is REALLY the start of the next decade. I'm just sayin'. But, the bottom line is, I really don't give a happy shit about it, so you can all do whatever you want, and at this point, I will just nod, smile and do my best to be polite. There is no denying that today is the LAST day of 2019, and we were all looking forward to a better year on the last day of 2018. How did that work out for you all? Just askin'. Whatever. True this: When one fireworks stand blows up and burns down, you just bulldoze the remains and pull another fireworks stand up in front of the burned down one. Y'all be careful out there, and I will see you next year! I LOVE YOU ALL!

Concinnity -- Noun. harmony or elegance of design especially of literary style in adaptation of parts to a whole or to each other. The art direction, cinematography, and score all contributed to the concinnity of the film and made it a classic.

Did You Know? The Romans apparently found perfect harmony in a well-mixed drink. The cocktail in question was a beverage they called cinnus, and so agreeably concordant did they find it that its name apparently inspired the formation of concinnare, a verb meaning "to place fitly together." Concinnare gave rise to concinnus, meaning "skillfully put together," which in turn fermented into concinnitas. English speakers added the word to our mix in the 1500s as concinnity.

Monday, December 30, 2019

2019 - Day 364/1 - Monday...Lugubrious...

I really had to put some thought in to what day of the week this was. I settled on Monday, and that seems to be a unanimous opinion, and so I guess I guessed correctly. Another kind of busy day, mostly worked remotely, isn't it interesting how much we can do with nothing but a cell phone and a pretty good battery? I did not get all the intended errands completed today, but there is always tomorrow, and that will just have to be good enough. I do indeed have a pretty busy schedule already for the last day of this year, and I think the whole thing has gone by pretty quickly. Oh yeah, same window, different view (sort of). It's really the same view, just a different perspective. And that big white blob is really a crescent moon. Not what I saw with my eyeballs, but what the phone camera chose to interpret!

Lugubrious -- Adjective. 1. mournful, especially exaggeratedly or affectedly mournful. 2. dismal. "Most of the interviewees talk in the lugubrious tones of the defeated. We all know the story ends badly." Bing West, New York Post, September 19, 2017

Did You Know? "It is a consolation to the wretched to have companions in misery," wrote Publilius Syrus in the 1st century BCE. Perhaps this explains why lugubrious is so woeful-it is all alone. Sure, we can dress up lugubrious with suffixes to form lugubriously or lugubriousness, but the word remains essentially an only child-the sole surviving English offspring of its Latin ancestors. This wasn't always the case, though. Lugubrious once had a linguistic living relative in luctual, an adjective meaning "sad" or "sorrowful." Like lugubrious, luctual traced ultimately to the Latin verb lugere, meaning "to mourn." Luctual, however, faded into obsolence long ago, leaving lugubrious to carry on the family's mourngul mission all alone.

Sunday, December 29, 2019

2019 - Day 363/2 - Sunday...Restive...

If it is today, this must be Sunday. I am really having a difficult time keeping up with the days. They are all running together, and it is not just because of the Holiday weekend. Yep, it is Sunday, the day before another abbreviated week. I am hoping for the best. I was able to get some chores done today; I made a couple stops here and there for dog stuff and chicken stuff. I got the chicken coop cleaned, rounded up the trash (I will take the can out to the road tomorrow), fed the birds, fed the cat, cleaned the pool skimmer, stuff like that. A chilly front is supposed to be working its way in to central Texas, and we might get to freezing or just below on Tuesday morning. A fifty percent chance of rain on New Years Day. Perfect. Same room, worst view yet!

Restive -- Adjective. 1. stubbornly resisting control. 2. market by impatience or uneasiness. fidgety. "Colin was beginning to feel restive, as he was obliged to remain on his sofa because it was not safe to get up and walk about." Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Gardens, 1911

Did You Know? Restive ultimately comes from the Anglo-French word rester, meaning "to stop, resist, or remain." In its earliest use, restive meant "sluggish" or "inactive," though this sense is no longer in use. Another early sense was "stubborn, obstinate." Specifically, restive often referred to horses that refused to do as commanded. This general application to unruly horses may have influenced the development of the "fidgety, impatient" sense of restive. Some usage commentators have objected to this newer sense, but it has been in use for well over a century  and is now the more common of the uses.

Saturday, December 28, 2019

2019 - Day 362/3 - Saturday...Expunge...

Same window, different day, different sunset. Another busy day, more back-and-forthing. Jim and Bonnie took a detour while driving to Houston from Dallas, and that was a nice visit. I got several chores done around the house, and there will be a few more things to do tomorrow. I need to clean the chicken coop for one thing. Our neighbor Jim put hay out for the cattle on Friday, so I don't need to do that. The cattle appreciate it, and I appreciate it. We got a little bit of rain today, about 0.17", so we will not frown about this. It was not nearly as exciting as the prognosticators had predicted, but in reality, I don't think it ever is. I dined on Jetta's lamb and dressing and cranberry relish. Not sure if relish is the right word. Jody had a veggie burger and chocolate pudding. Tomorrow is another day.

Expunge -- Verb. 1. to strike out, obliterate, or mark for deletion. 2. to efface completely, destroy. 3. to eliminate (something, such as a memory) from one's consciousness. Before we release the documents to the media, any confidential information in them should be expunged.

Did You Know? In medieval and Renaissance manuscripts, a series of dots was used to mark mistakes or to label material that should be deleted from a text, and those deletions dots can help you remember the history of expunge. They were known as puncta delentia. the puncta part of the name derives from the Latin verb pungere, which can be translated as "to prick or sting" (and you can imagine that a scribe may have felt stung when his mistakes were so punctuated in a manuscript). Pungere is also an ancestor of expunge, as well as a parent of other dotted, pointed, or stinging terms such as punctuate, compunction, poignant, puncture, and pungent.

Friday, December 27, 2019

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

And ultimately, a room with a view. Another busy day, lots of back-and-forths, and finally, just pretty much the status quo (I almost put 'status crow'). I expect tomorrow will be much of the same, just with rain. There is a 50/50 chance of rain, the last time I looked. BUT, it is Saturday, so that will make lots of things better. But on the other hand, haven't the last several days been Saturdays, too? I think so...

Encomium -- Noun. glowing and warmly enthusiastic praise. also an expression of this. The movie won the encomiums of critics nationwide, but it turned out to be a disappointment at the box office.

Did You Know? "The love of praise, howe're concealed by art / Reigns more or less, and glows in every heart." British writer Edward Young knew how much people love to hear praise-and so did the ancient Greeks, the originators of encomium. They formalized that particular expression of praise and named it enkomion, from their terms en, meaning "in," and komos, meaning "celebration." The original encomiums were eulogies or panegyrics, often ones prepared in honor of a victor in the Olympics. The term was later broadened to refer to any laudatory ode. Since then encomiums have been written praising everyone from Julius Caesar to Elton John, although not all have been entirely serious-one of the best known is satirical Moriae Encomium ("Praise of Folly") by the theologian Erasmus.

Thursday, December 26, 2019

2019 - Day 360/5 - Thursday...Histrionic...

Today was basically a shitty day, although there was a valuable redeeming quality to it, but I am only going to discuss the shitty part. Overnight on Christmas and into Christmas day, the septic system decided not to cooperate. This shit never happens at a convenient time, and we basically kept the challenge to our selves. On the way home from Jetta's lovely Christmas dinner, I e-mailed our septic maintenance company to inquire as to their business hours on today, and if they were indeed going to be open today (or tomorrow depending on when you think the conversation was initiated, which was yesterday). I got a response ON CHRISTMAS DAY that they would indeed be open today (or tomorrow*) but that they were 'backed-up' and not sure when they would be able to get out if at all. But, they did indeed get out at about 4:30, and we are 'flush' with excitement and happy to be able to use the crapper for what it was intended. It's that filter than
g right there that is the whole problem...

Histrionic -- Adjective. 1. deliberately affected. theatrical. 2. of or relating to actors, acting, or the theater. "Rather, it becomes an actor's showcase for histrionic tears or smiling through tears-a good old-fashioned wallow in capital-O Overacting." Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune, January 16, 2015

Did You Know? The term histrionic developed from histrio, Latin for "actor." Something that is histrionic tends to remind one of the high drama of stage and screen and is often stagy and over-the-top. It especially calls to mind the theatrical form, known as melodrama, where plot and physical action, not characterization, are emphasized. But something that is histrionic isn't always overdone; the word can also describe actors, acting, or the theater, and in that sense it becomes a synonym of thespian. The related plural noun histrionics is similarly bifurcated. It can refer to theatrical performances or to a deliberate display of emotion for effect.

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

2019 - Day 359/6 - Wednesday...Munificent...

Merry Christmas!

This happened Monday...I was not a witness to it, but I was there shortly after it happened, and there were fireworks going off all over. It made the television news, too. I have seen stories on the news about it at least three times, which, all things considered, is probably a good thing. It means there have been no mass shootings lately, and there is nothing really to report on. This is the second 'firework incident' to happen out here since we have lived here. The first incident was when a warehouse type building caught fire, and the contents were all the makings for professional fireworks displays. That was a BIG deal, and the occupants of a few nearby houses were evacuated. That doesn't sound too big of a deal, but when you consider that the neighbors are a quarter-mile away, that kind of puts it in perspective. So, I guess we will have to go somewhere else this year to NOT by fireworks for the New Year!

Munificent -- Adjective. 1. very liberal in giving or bestowing. lavish. 2. characterized by great liberality or generosity. "Nurse, to whom I had slipped a munificent Christmas-box, immediately fell into raptures over the pretty dress." Charles Dickens, "Mrs. Lirriper's Legacy," 1864

Did You Know? Munificent was formed back in the late 1500s when English speakers perhaps inspired by similar words such as magnificent, altered the ending of munificence. Munificence in turn comes from munificus, the Latin word for "generous," which itself comes from munus, a Latin noun that is variously translated as "gift," "duty," or "service." Munus has done a fine service to English by giving us other terms related to service or compensation, including municipal and remunerate.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

2019 - Day 358/7 - Tuesday...Demulcent...

It was like I was in a time warp, transported back decades ago. There was hardly any traffic today. I went in to the office (had to be there by 8AM), and I made it in about 45 minutes. At about 9:30, I left there to go to Costco (pie run), and there was very little traffic. I guess everybody left for the Holiday, which is totally fine with me. I left the office around 2 o'clock this afternoon, and there was evidence of traffic (there were the usual wrecks), but all in all, not a terribly bad commute. I had some errands to knock out on the way home, so I made it home by about 4:30. All will be calm for a while now, a couple errands in the morning, and then we have been invited to have dinner with Jetta in Austin. Always fun. Merry Christmas to all y'all!

Demulcent -- Adjective. soothing. "Chickweed (Stellaria media) has a demulcent effect on the stomach, which can help to suppress appetite when prepared as tea." Barbara Fahs, Big Island Weekly (Hilo, Hawaii), January 2, 2013

Did You Know? Demulcent derives from the Latin verb demulcere, meaning "to soothe." Demulcere in turn comes from a combination of the prefix de- and mulcere, an earlier verb that also means "to soothe." As an adjective, demulcent often applies to the soothing nature of some medicines, but you can also use it to describe such things as a soothing voice or a soothing demeanor. The noun demulcent is used for a gelatinous or oily substance that is capable of soothing inflamed or abraded mucous membranes and protecting them from further irritation.

Monday, December 23, 2019

2019 - Day 357/8 - Monday...Fire-Sale...

It was one of those days. A day that every step forward was met with a step or two backwards. Not a terrible day, just a day of small inconveniences. Here is an example: Last week we switched our telephone system to a cloud based system. No more physical land lines in the office. I had to call our security monitoring service today to tell them they needed to know for monitoring purposes. The first person said there would be a one time $100 charge (plus applicable taxes) for that service. The second person said there would be a one time charge of $218 (plus applicable taxes) and that our monitoring expense would increase by $19.95 (plus applicable taxes), per month. At that point, I asked them if I were contractually obligated to maintain that service, and they said 'no.' At that point I asked why the one time fee had more than doubled within a five minute time frame. The call was escalated. The next person (so far three) said he was authorized to waive all the fees, period, and that the call was being recorded, and he was going to follow up with me by e-mail, but that he wanted to read what the e-mail would say...and during that time, there was some verbiage about this agreement would constitute a 60 month contract period, during which time the rate would be 'locked in.' He asked if I agreed, and I told him I thought ADT was sneaky, and that he thought I was a dumb-ass, and that I was not going to agree to that and that I WOULD agree to a 12 month agreement. He started to negotiate with a 36 month agreement and I said I really was NOT a dumb-ass, and that is when I got to talk with the fourth person. Bottom line, I did the 12 month agreement, and then it took another 25 minutes for them to tell me what day/time they could come out and make the change to the service. Now I have to be in the office tomorrow morning at 8AM for my 8-12 appointment window. Everyone in the world is a con-man, except me, of course! On the bright side, traffic on the way in to town this morning did not suck.

Fire-Sale -- Adjective. heavily discounted. "Almost all the major air carriers offer transatlantic trips at fire-sale rates: London for less than $400, Dublin with a companion for $500!" Gary Lee, The Washington Post, November 12, 2000

Did You Know? The term fire sale flared up in the late 19th century as the name for a sale of items damaged by fire. As you can imagine, much of the merchandise at a fire sale was sold at very low prices, which fanned the flames of the use of fire sale for any sale with discounted or low price tags. The extended meaning of the term sparked an adjectival use that had burst into a full-blown blaze by the mid-20th century. Since then, people have embraced "fire-sale prices" in the marketplace, well aware that they won't get burned. UGH!

Sunday, December 22, 2019

2019 - Day 356/9 - Sunday...Dreidel...

The sun came out this afternoon, and I went out and did some shredding in the front pasture. I got about a third of the front pasture done, and that was where the grass was the tallest. Over the long upcoming Holiday weekend, I will get the rest of it done, although we have some pretty good rain chances on Friday and Saturday. That leaves Thursday, so that looks like the day it will happen. Otherwise, I get get in a couple naps, and we had been invited to dinner with friends of ours (Michael and Lynda) who met us in Georgetown. Very nice dinner at a restaurant we had not been to before. Georgetown is becoming quite cosmopolitan, very very. Before dinner, I took this picture of me and Jody, and a good time was had by all.

Dreidel -- Noun. 1. a 4-sided toy marked with Hebrew letters and spun like a top. 2. a children's game of chance played especially at Hanukkah with a dreidel. During the Hanukkah celebration at Rachel's house, the adults chatted in the living room while the children played dreidel in the kitchen.

Did You Know? On each of the dreidel's four sides is inscribed a Hebrew letter, and the four letters-nun, gimel, he, and shin-stand for Nes gadol hayah sham, "A great miracle happened there." It refers to the miracle of the oil-enough for one day-that burned for eight days in the Temple of Jerusalem. When playing dreidel, the letters have a more utilitarian significance. The spinning dreidel lands, and, depending on which letter is on top, the player's "currency"-be it pennies or candy-is added to or taken from the "pot." The word dreidel was borrowed into English early in the 20th century from the Yiddish dreydl (from the word dreyen, which means "to turn").

Saturday, December 21, 2019

2019 - Day 355/10 - Saturday...Hard-Boiled...

You have to be careful what you say when you are with a crowd of people. I know that because I am always saying stuff that OTHER people are sorry for. I am very seldom sorry for anything that I say, because I know there is no malicious intent. BUT...last Friday (a week ago) when I was having breakfast with some friends in Longview, I mentioned a new crave that I have, Little Debbie Christmas Tree Cakes. I have been stalking HEB in Georgetown for them, and they finally arrived a couple weeks ago. I bought two packages, one chocolate and one vanilla. In my opinion, the chocolate ones taste like chocolate, and the vanilla ones taste like spice cake. Fast forward to yesterday. I got home from the office and there was a box waiting for me. A mysterious package. Six packages of Little Debbie Christmas Cakes, with no notes about who sent them. I have my suspicions, and I texted the (apparent) guilty party (could be parties). There has so far been no confession, but there has been no denial either. Well, at least I know where I will be having desserts for the foreseeable future!

Hard-Boiled -- Adjective. 1. devoid of sentimentality. tough. 2. hardheaded, practical. "Gene Hackman, as the hard-boiled cop Popeye Doyle, has been taken off his big drug-dealer case, and he's heading home to his Brooklyn apartment dejected." Tom Breihan, Deadspin, April 16, 2015

Did You Know? As a writer of local color, Mark Twain often used colloquialisms and regionalisms that were unfamiliar to many of his readers. For example, he is credited with the first printed use of blow up ("to lose self-control") in 1871, of slop ("effusive sentimentality") in 1866, and of the phrase sweat out ("to endure or wait through the course of") in 1876. Hard-boiled is documented as being first used by Twain in 1886 as an adjective meaning "hardened." Apparently, Twain and others saw the boiling of an egg to harden the white and yolk as a metaphor for emotional hardening.

Friday, December 20, 2019

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

Well, it seems we are back to wrecks. In the rain. Rain Wrecks. Today started off just fine, and it went downhill just a little bit, but as usual, everything works out just fine. Part of the problem was that it began to rain just about noon. That made a mess of everything! AND...we had a new phone system installed at the office today. It will all be fine, but I am not the best at learning new technology. New phone system, new cable television system, new internet stuff. Everything is in the cloud now, but I do not know where in the hell the cloud is. I have a new VOIP phone at home, and it is working, so all is not totally messed up. Traffic was a total mess, and I needed to get my hair cut this afternoon too. I was (of course) late for that, and she was late, but it all worked out. Just little, nagging first world problems getting all out of proportion (my fault).

Flatfoot -- Noun. 1. a condition in which the arch of the instep is flattened so that the entire sole rests upon the ground. 2. slang; a. a police officer usually walking a regular beat. b. sailor. The neighborhood flatfoot knew that Carla opened her store at 6:00A.M. every morning, so he was concerned when she hadn't shown by 7:00.

Did You Know? In 1899 the police officers of Akron, Ohio, climbed aboard the first police car (a patrol wagon powered by an electric motor). In that same year the noun flatty was first used in print with the meaning "police officer." Mere coincidence? Maybe, but consider that quite a few similar words have been used over the years to distinguish pedestrian officers from mobile ones, including flat, flat arch, flathead, and today's word, flatfoot. Other notable (and more comical) descriptors are pavement pounder and sidewalk snail. The "police officer" sense of flatfoot dates from 1913. It is especially used regarding those on foot patrol who keep our cities safe, but it can also refer to police in general.

Thursday, December 19, 2019

2019 - Day 353/12 - Thursday...Heterodox...

It is about that time of the year. This time next week, Christmas will have come and gone, and we will be worrying about something totally different. We have really short term memories. But that is okay, for now, let's just talk about today. I got lots of running around and chores done. This evening, we had our annual office party, and it was really fun. I was not in favor of doing a boat thing on Lady Bird Lake, but (as usual) it was nicer and much more fun than I expected. I am usually the pessimist when it comes to group activities, and I am usually the one that enjoys the whole thing when I am confronted with it. I had nothing to do with the planning, so hats off to Carrie and Tosalyn, always the great coordinators. I think the photo accompanying this journal entry really shows Austin off at a great perspective. Everybody should come visit, but two weeks, that's it. Then you have to go back where you came from! Whatever...

Heterodox -- Adjective. 1. contrary to or different from an acknowledged standard, a traditional form, or an established religion. unorthodox. 2. holding unorthodox opinions or doctrines. "I do not support elite censorship or the suppression of heterodox points of view." Stephen H Schneider, Nature, May 30, 1996

Did You Know? "Orthodoxy...is my doxy-heterodoxy is another man's doxy," quipped 18th-century bishop William Warburton. He was only punning, but it is true that individuals often see other people's ideas as unconventional while regarding their own as beyond reproach. The antonyms orthodox and heterodox developed from the same root, the Greek doxa, which means "opinion." Heterodox derives from doxa plus heter-, a combining form meaning "other" or "different"; orthodoxy pairs doxa with orth-, meaning "correct" or "straight."

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

2019 - Day 352/13 - Wednesday...Disputatious...

This was my buddy this afternoon at the bank drive through. We kind of had a staring contest and the dog won. There was no reward, just the knowledge that the dog could hold a stare without blinking longer than I could. When I drove off, dog a human were still there. I got there after them, and left before them. They must have been doing some real banking, like cashing a check or something. I wouldn't try that if I were you, not at University Federal anyway. They do not really like doing actual stuff for their depositors. It's just not what they do. But now that I have started this, I am just going to stop it right there. Today was an interesting and busy day. Jody had a dental appointment in Austin, so we all (me, Jody and the girl dogs) went in to Austin. I wish they were 1.) smarter than they apparently are or 2.) better leash trained. I had intended to put their harnesses on them, but I could not find them, even after looking in all the more obvious hidey holes. They pull and drag on the leashes, and they end up choking themselves to a state of asphyxiation. I am not kidding. You would think they could put two-and-two together and figure it out, but nope...

Disputatious -- Adjective. 1a. inclined to dispute. b. marked by disputation. 2. provoking debate, controversial. The columnist was known for expressing disputatious and contrarian opinions that rankled readers of all political persuasions.

Did You Know? Disputatious can be used of both people and things. Disputatious people like to provoke arguments or find something to disagree about. In the "things" category, the word can apply to both situations and issues. For example, court trials are disputatious; that is, they are marked buy disputation, or verbal controversy. An issue or matter is disputatious if it provokes controversy. However, if a matter, such as an assertion made by someone, is open to question rather than downright controversial, it's merely disputable. In any case, there's no arguing that both disputatious and its synonym disputative have changed their connotation somewhat from their Latin source, the verb disputare. That word means simply "to discuss."

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

2019 - Day 351/14 - Tuesday...Marshal...

Everybody passed, and everybody learned stuff! Yesterday was the last day of the 30 hours SAE Property Management class I presented at the Austin Board of REALTORS®. The course, presented over four days, took three weeks to complete because of the presenters complicated schedules. BUT, it all turned out just the way it is supposed to, and everybody is happy. Mainly that the course is completed! Today was a good day, no cattle got loose, no tragedies occurred, nothing but good stuff. It was a day in and out of the office, kind of like a normal day.

Marshal -- Noun. 1. a person who arranges and directs the ceremonial aspects of a gathering. 2. a high-ranking military officer. 3. a federal official having duties similar to those of a sheriff. "Thank you to the parade marshal for keeping all of us in our place for the parade and ensuring that the ceremony proceeded on time." Pat Strack, Borehamwood & Elstree Times (UK), November 20, 2014

Did You Know? Although most French words are derived from Latin, a few result from the 3rd-century Germanic occupation of France, and the early French mareschal is one such word. Mareschal is related to the Old High German marahscalc, formed by combining marah ("horse") and scalc ("servant"). Our marshal, which comes from mareschal, originally meant "a person in charge of the upkeep of horses" when it was borrowed into Middle English, but by the 13th century it described a high royal official as well. Eventually it came to have other meanings.

Monday, December 16, 2019

2019 - Day 350/15 - Monday...Lacuna...

I thought I was hallucinating. Several years ago, our friends Carolyn and Joe Mac brought us a metal sculpture of a longhorn that resides out on the circle of the driveway. We have one drive way camera that reported 'animal detected on the driveway cam.' Usually there is an animal detected on the porch cam, and usually that animal is Barney. I thought that was unusual, and saw nothing in the first video, but on the second video, I thought I was hallucinating and that the metal longhorn sculpture had taken like and was walking across the driveway. As it turned out, it was not the metal sculpture; eight of the nine cattle had escaped. Escape was, after all was said and they were all herded back to their pasture, not really a good descriptive. Somebody (not me) left the gate open in one of the pastures and they all decided to see if the grass was indeed greener on the other side of the fence. There are all kinds of actions that get initiated when you find out the cattle are loose, and probably one of the most important is to make sure they cannot get out on the road. In my opinion, if that happens, all is lost. Luckily, that did not happen, and tonight all is well in cowville, and all the cattle are accounted for. It does, however, make for an interesting evening.

Lacuna -- Noun. 1. a blank space or a missing part. deficiency, inadequacy. 2. a small cavity, pit, or discontinuity in an anatomical structure. The decoding of the writings on the stone tablets filled in many of the lacunae in historians' knowledge of the ancient civilization's culture.

Did You Know? Exploring the etymology of lacuna involves taking a plunge into the pit-or maybe a leap into the lacus (that's the Latin word for "lake"). Latin speakers modified lacus into lacuna and used it to mean "pit," "cleft," or "pool." English speakers borrowed the term in the 17th century, adapting it to refer to a gap on a page or in a field (such as the night sky). It is usually pluralized as lacunae, as in the example sentence, though lacunas is an accepted variant plural. Another English word that traces its origin to lacuna is lagoon, which came to us by way of Italian and French.

Sunday, December 15, 2019

2019 - Day 349/16 - Sunday...Dally...

I can certainly understand this little guy's confusion: It is 81 degrees in central Texas, so it must be spring. Or maybe winter. Who knows. I expect everything will be verklempt again, just when things are budding out, we will gat a hard freeze, totally messing everything up. A cold front is supposed to come in overnight, and we will have low temps in the 30s (maybe even a light freeze) for a couple nights, but nothing really serious. Just enough to confuse everything and everybody. Jody and I have a new ritual on the weekends. We get up in the morning, and then we go down for a nap. We don't even wait for breakfast. Just get up, let the dogs out, and then go back to sleep. It is a tradition I whole-heartedly agree with. You should try it. I did get the plants watered. They are all in sheds or barns, since it is supposed to be below freezing another couple nights this week. Chicken coop was cleaned, the neighbor took hay to the cattle since he was taking hay to his cattle. I threatened to shred some of the pastures, but I did not get to it. Maybe over the long Holiday break. We are planning on five days off in a row, that will be totally fun!

Dally -- Verb. 1a. to act playfully, especially to play amorously. b. to deal lightly. toy. 2a. to waste time. b. linger, dawdle. "Voters don't elect leaders to dally, stall, drag their feet and excel at the art of delay." Daily Chronicle (DeKalb, Illinois), December 31, 2015

Did You Know? English speakers have been playing with different uses of dally since the 14th century. They first started using the word with the meaning "to chat," but that meaning fell into disuse by the end of the 15th century. Next, dalliers were amusing themselves by acting playfully especially in amorous ways. Apparently, some dalliers were also a bit derisive, leading dally to mean "to deal with lightly or in a way that is not serious." By the mid-16th century, dally was weighted down with its "to waste time" and "dawdle" meanings, which in time, gave way to the word dillydally, a humorous reduplication of dally. Personally, I like to dillydally.

Saturday, December 14, 2019

2019 - Day 348/17 - Saturday...Portentous...

Barney uses the truck more than we do, so we are thinking of taking him down to apply for his driver's license. In the evenings (before we feed him), he can usually be found on the truck (somewhere), or on the tractor or on the Polaris. He gets a good view from either of those, and he is protected from some of the elements. There have been no elements lately that he needs to be protected from, just a nice place to lay in the sun and he is fine. A pretty typical Saturday, nothing extraordinary to report. Breakfast, several naps, a trip to Taylor for a catfish lunch, a stop at Tractor Supply and then back home. Nothing unusual...

Portentous -- Adjective. 1. being a sign or omen. 2. eliciting amazement or wonder. 3. self-consciously solemn or serious. "It's so tempting to kick off a consideration of Twin Peaks: The Return by quoting one of its more gnomic and portentous lines of dialogue." Laura Miller, Slate, September 5, 2017

Did You Know? It's easy to see the "portent" in portentous, which comes to us from the Latin noun portentum, meaning "portent" or "omen." Indeed, the first uses of portentous in the 15th century did refer to omens. The second sense of portentous, describing that which is extremely impressive, developed in the 16th century. Centuries later, Webster's New International Dictionary added a third definition, "grave, solemn, significant," which has since been refined to include the suggestion of a pompous attitude. We are not sure just when the third sense arose, but our evidence goes back to the beginning of the century.

Friday, December 13, 2019

2019 - Day 347/18 - Friday...Amicable...

There are always bumps along the way, it is just a fact of life, and we deal with it. I bragged a lot about my flights from Austin to Longview, and I fear that cursed it. Or maybe it was just because today is Friday the 13th. Whatever the reason, the flight from Longview to Dallas was about a half hour delayed, which is no big deal. By the time we landed in Dallas, I had a notice on my phone that the flight from Dallas to Austin was delayed about an hour and a half. It got worse from there, but I am home now, and all the inconvenience will be nothing more than an afterthought in a couple days. I had a great late breakfast this morning with Steve, Melinda, Annice, Sharon and Debbie before I headed out to the Longview Area Association of REALTORS® just to say hello. Whenever I visit somewhere, I like to stop by the board office, just for the hell of it. You could not expect a nicer group of people than those in Longview. On the drive home from the airport, the moon was HUGE (HUGE I SAY), and really kind of a blood orange color. The higher it got in the sky, the smaller it got and the whiter it got. Now it just kind of looks like a full moon, even though it was actually full a doy or two ago.

Amicable -- Adjective. characterized by friendly goodwill. peaceable. Leaders from both nations returned from the summit and said that their trade talks were amicable and productive.

Did You Know? Amicable, which derives from the Late Latin amicabilis, meaning "friendly," is one of a set of English words used to suggest cordial relationships. Amicable, neighborly, companionable, and friendly all mean "marked by or exhibiting goodwill and an absence of antagonism." Amicable implies a state of peace and a desire on the part of the parties not to quarrel ("they maintained amicable relations"; "the amicable process of bargaining"). Neighborly implies a disposition to live on good terms with others, particularly those who are nearby, and to be helpful on principle ("neighborly concern"). Companionable suggests sociability and companionship[ ("a companionable dinner with friends"). Friendly stresses cordiality and often warmth or intimacy of personal relations ("a friendly correspondence").

Thursday, December 12, 2019

2019 - Day 346/19 - Thursday...Forebear...

Why are you all looking at my shoes? Honestly, I have NEVER been more warmly welcomed than I was today at the Longview Area Association of REALTORS®. I got there early to make sure everything was working for their Installation and Awards Ceremony. The staff was nothing but kind and helpful, and we had a blast. Ultimately, it was great, all the members that attended the function were gracious and welcoming, and it was a great evening. A great association, a great group of colleagues, and there will be great things happening at this association in 2020 and for many years to come. I was surprised at how many people attending the dinner that I knew, and we all had a great time. Disclaimer: They were all looking at my shoes because I was standing on my tippy toes, trying to look tall. Thanks very much for inviting me, I was honored to be there and honored to have been asked!

Forebear -- Noun. ancestor, forefather, also precursor. "Our superstitious forebears used to say: Don't get up on the wrong side of the bed." Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA), April 28, 2011

Did You Know? Forebear (also sometimes spelled forbear) was first used by our ancestors in the days of Middle English. Fore- means "coming before," just as in forefather, and -bear means "one that is" (not to be confused with the -bear in the unrelated verb forbear, which comes from the Old English beran, meaning "to bear or carry"). The be- of -bear is from the verb to be (or, more specifically, from been, an old dialect variant of be). The -ar is a form of the suffix -er, which we append to verbs to denote one that performs a specified action. In this case the "action" is simply existing or being-in other words, -bear implies one who is a "be-er." Got it? I always thought it was 'forbearer,' so what do I know?

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

2019 - Day 345/20 - Wednesday...Disaffected...

I spent most of the day at the Texas REALTORS® office, and only did stupid stuff two or three times. It will all work out, everybody was still breathing when I left. A great new pledge class of TREPAC Trustees, and they are going to do great things. It was a nice day in Austin, I think the temperature made it into the 50s. Even thought there was a threat of freezing temperatures over night last night, it only went down to 41 according to all the electronic weather stations we have. I have always said that this particular piece of the edge of nowhere is in a high spot, so we always stay a little bit warmer than other areas in the winter. While I was at the board office, I took advantage of the chance to get a shot of the Capitol from the association office...not too shabby!

Disaffected -- Adjective. discontented and resentful especially against authority. rebellious. As a former juvenile probation officer, the novelist was well versed in the voices and frustrations of disaffected youth.

Did You Know? When we speak of the disaffected, we usually mean those whose affection or loyalty has been undermined, such as citizens disillusioned with their government ("disaffected voters"), disgruntled employees ("disaffected former CIA agents"), or kids in revolt against their parents ("disaffected teenagers"). The word, which derives from affection, thus denotes unrest, discontent, or rebellion.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

2019 - Day 344/21 - Tuesday...Flaneur...

And the tradition continues! At about this time last year, I was serving as the Second Vice Chair of TREPAC, and I had attended a day of training at the Texas REALTORS® headquarters. Fast forward one year, today was the first day of training for new TREPAC Trustees, but I had to miss this day of training. Previous obligations. I will attend the spokesperson training tomorrow, and that will be a blast. Texas is chocker-block full of talent, and this class of new Trustees is testimony of all the excellent volunteer servants we have in this great state. So, a year ago (os so), the Leadership Team walked from the restaurant to the Capitol, and we had our picture taken in from of the Texas State Tree. And we did the same thing tonight with a great group of incoming Trustees, along with our newly appointed Vice President of Governmental Affairs. I hope that is the correct title. Things are better in Texas!

Flaneur -- Noun. an idle man-about-town. "The flaneurs of centuries past made Paris the literary capital of their world, in part through their stories of roaming its desperately romantic streets." Sasha Abramsky, Sacramento Magazine, August 25, 2017

Did You Know? The flaneur is a familiar figure in literature. The word flaneur inherited connotations akin to dandy and fop from its French forebear flaneur, meaning "idler." The poet Gerard de Nerval, who is said to have occasionally done his wandering with his pet lobster in tow (on a blue ribbon lead), is sometimes cited as a flaneur of this ilk. But Charles Baudelaire, another writer with whom the word is often associated, had a quite serious take on flaneurs: "For the perfect flaneur...it is an immense joy to set up house in the heart of the multitude, amid the ebb and flow of movement, in the midst of the fugitive and the infinite" (from "The Painter of Modern Life").

Monday, December 9, 2019

2019 - Day 343/22 - Monday...Keelhaul...

This was one of those days that I felt as if I was over scheduled. Everything worked out wonderfully, but I have a tendency to stress and get just a little bit manic. But again, everything always works out. I presented a class at the Austin Board today, then off to a TREPAC Leadership planning dinner. The picture that accompanies this journal post shows the team, getting ready to call it a night. A lot of planning goes in to making a program and/or an event look effortless, and we do a lot of work behind the scenes. I cannot think of a better group to be locked in a room with, or stuck on a deserted island with. No matter what, we all start laughing. Many of us laughed again tonight until tears were running down our cheeks. Work Hard, Present Hard, Play Hard, Laugh at EVERY Opportunity!

Keelhaul -- Verb. 1. to haul under the keep of a ship as punishment or torture. 2. to rebuke severely. "A French sailor struck a British officer, and for this he was keelhauled by his own crew." Therese Oniell, The Week, August 13, 2013

Did You Know? In the mid-1600s, British monarchs were intent on using their powerful navy to expand their empire. Insubordination was not tolerated, and mutinous sailors were disciplined severely  to discourage others from similar rebellion. Keelhauling was one of the worst penalties that could befall a renegade mariner. Although they definitely practiced the gruesome punishment, the British did not invent it-the Dutch did. Keelhaul is a translation of the Dutch word kielhalen, which means "to haul under the keel of a ship." Even after the practice was banned on European naval vessels in the mid-1800s, the word keelhaul remained in English as a term for a severe scolding.

Sunday, December 8, 2019

2019 - Day 342/23 - Sunday...Jeunesse Doree...

I think it must be tough to be Santa Claus these days, with everything being done on the Interwebs. I went to Kohl's this afternoon to make an exchange, and poor Santa was stuck between the bed sheets and Customer Service. He was literally begging (begging I say) for people to stop and say hello to him. So, of course, I stopped, squeezed in next to him, and did this selfie. When I got in line, I tried bribing people to go have their picture taken with Santa; go get your picture taken, and I will let you in front of me in line. Nobody fell for the bribe. Poor Santa! But otherwise, I did have a nice day. I got some things done around here and there, and finally got the rest of the lights up by the road. All in all, not a bad day. Plus, it was 80 degrees outside, so that did not hurt. We are expecting two days this week with the temperature getting below the freezing mark for a few hours...

Jeunesse Doree -- Noun. young people of wealth and fashion. The gossip blogger wrote about sightings of the city's jeunesse doree at the hottest galleries, night spots, and restaurants.

Did you Know? French revolutionary leader Maximilien Robespierre and his allies, the Jacobins, gained many enemies for their role in the Reign of Terror. One of their fiercest opponents was Louis Freron, a former Jacobin who played a key role in overthrowing their government. On July 27, 1794, counter-revolutionaries toppled the Jacobin regime and had Robespierre arrested and executed. The jeunesse doree-literally, the "gilded youth"-was the name given to the gangs of fashionably dressed young toughs who terrorized the remaining Jacobins.

Saturday, December 7, 2019

2019 - Day 341/24 - Saturday...Collogue...

When you are towing your plane behind your car, you might want to check to make sure you can get out of where you got in. Just sayin'. I can't remember too many times (my memory is not as good as it used to be) seeing a car being towed anywhere, let alone out of a parking lot at a country club. When I first saw it (taking up several valuable parking spaces) I thought it was some kind of a racing boat, but I was quickly corrected by one of the locals. I, not being a local, went with the correction, and on closer inspection determined that, yes, indeed, it is an airplane. Which leads to the next question; why would someone want to TOW an airplane. It seems more logical to FLY the airplane to the intended destination, and if in fact that answer to that supposition is that there is no adequate landing strip at the final destination, then why in the hell to you want to take a plane there to begin with. You will just have to tow the plane to another destination if and when you want to fly it someplace, so why not just fly it someplace to begin with, which would also save the expense of the fancy-schmancy trailer that was (apparently) custom built to accommodate an airplane that should not be on a trailer in the first place. My head hurts...

Collogue -- Verb. 1. intrigue, conspire. 2. to talk privately. confer. "We shall be pisoned wi' lime an' plaster, an' hev the house full o' workmen colloguing wi' the maids, an' makin' no end o' mischief." George Eliot, Scenes of Clerical Life, 1857

Did You Know? Collogue has been with us since the 17th century, but beyond that little is known about its origin. In Samuel Johnson's 1755 dictionary, he defined collogue as "to wheedle, to flatter; to please with kind words." The "intrigue or conspire" meaning of collogue was also common in Johnson's day, but Johnson missed it; his oversight suggests that sense of the word was probably part of a dialect unfamiliar to him. The earliest known use of the "confer" sense of the word is found in an 1811 letter by Sir Walter Scott: "We shall meet and collogue upon it."

Friday, December 6, 2019

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

I cannot be around these people (there are a few missing, and I HOPE they know who they are) without breaking out in uncontrollable laughter. We all work our collective butts off (I still have a ways to go), but we also know what our jobs are and we make sure we get our jobs done. AND we have each others backs (butts?), and make sure we just do what needs to be done. And then there is the laughing parts. The past year has been a laugh riot for me. These people all make me see the joy in life, the joy in hard work, the joy in volunteer servitude, the joy in nurturing and helping others, the joy in setting and achieving high standards and even higher goals. These people just give me joy. I could not be who I am at this juncture of my life without these people. I love these people. All of them. Unconditionally.

Quiescent -- Adjective. 1. marked by inactivity or repose. tranquility at rest. 2. causing no trouble or symptoms. "Measles made a modest comeback around 1990, and then fell quiescent-until the recent outbreak of measles cases at Disneyland." Richard A Epstein, Defining Ideas, February 2, 2015

Did You Know? Quiescent won't cause you any pain, and neither will its synonyms latent, dormant, and potential-at least not immediately. All four words mean "not now showing signs of activity or existence." Latent usually applies to something that has not yet come forth but may emerge and develop, as in "a latent desire for success." Dormant implies a state of inactivity similar to sleep, as in "their passions lay dormant." Potential applies to what may or may not come to be. "A potential disaster" is a typical example. Quiescent, which traces to the Latin quiescere (meaning "to become quiet" or "to rest"), often suggests a temporary cessation of activity, as in "a quiet disease" or "a summer resort quiescent in wintertime."

Thursday, December 5, 2019

2019 - Day 329/36 - Monday...Untoward...

Okay, it is finally here. Today is the blog reconciliation day. This entry says it is day 329, when in reality it is day 339. I posted day 339 on day 329, so today says Day 329 when it is really day 339. Got it? It was a really good day for a couple reasons, too. The day started with some state political challenges, then there was a wrap up from our NAR President Vince Malta, preceded by a pretty witty comedian of some renown (his last name is Mecurio, but I can't think of his first name), and he was really pretty good. The finale was capped by confetti cannons, and not just a little bit of confetti. A LOT OF CONFETTI! I am pretty sure the association lost their cleaning deposit after this, there was confetti EVERYWHERE. During the morning, I received a very nice friend request from someone I went to high school with, Phil. He included a very kind message, and his words were very nice. I shared it with Deborah, and she thought it was lovely, too. Anyway, I will be checking out Phil on his Facebook page in the near future! Then it was off to the office for some power real estate, and then I was off to the Highland Lakes Association of REALTORS® and their Installation Banquet. I love what I do, all of what I do, and I am the luckiest man in the world!

Untoward -- Adjective. 1. difficult to manage or work with. unruly. 2a. marked by trouble or unhappiness. unlucky. b. not favorable or propitious. adverse. 3. improper, indecorous. The auditor did not find anything untoward about the company's financial records.

Did You Know? More than 700 years ago, English speakers began using the word toward for "forward moving" youngsters, the kind who showed promise and were open to listening to their elders. After about 150 years, the use was broadened somewhat to mean simply "docile" or "obliging." The opposite of this toward is froward, meaning "perverse" or "ungovernable." Today, froward has fallen out of common use, and the cooperative sense of toward is downright obsolete, but the newcomer to this series-untoward-has kept its toehold. Untoward first showed up as a synonym of unruly in the 1500s, and it is still used as it was then, though it has since acquired other meanings as well.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

2019 - Day 338/27 - Wednesday...Megillah...

Another really good day at the REALTOR® Party Training Conference. Lots of political updates, behind the scene stories, insider jokes and bonding with our colleagues. True dat! there was time between meetings to also get a little bit of work done. The afternoon was devoted to planning for the upcoming year of advocacy and political action. I am the 2020 Vice-Chair of the Corporate Investor Council, and we have a really dynamic group of power-hitters on the council. It is going to be a great year, and we are going to exceed all expectations that are put before us. We are all motivated and happy to be participating. Then it was off to dinner with a bunch of our Texas peeps, and home (hotel) kind of early. Tomorrow is another early day, but it will be great!

Megillah -- Noun. slang. a long involved story or account. The best man's speech was long and included the whole megillah of how he and the groom met and became best friends as teenagers.

Did You Know? Although megillah is a slang word in English, it has perfectly respectable Hebrew origins. Megillah derives from the Yiddish megile, which itself comes from the Hebrew word megillah, meaning "scroll" or "volume." (Megillah is especially likely to be used in reference to the Book of Esther, which is read aloud at Purim celebrations.) It makes sense, then, that when megillah first appeared in English in the mid-20th century, it referred to a story that was so long (and often tedious or complicated) that it was reminiscent of the length of the megillah scrolls. The Hebrew word is serious, but the Yiddish megile can be somewhat playful, and our megillah has also inherited that lightheartedness. Sheesh.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

2019 - Day 337/28 - Tuesday...Saturnine...

Today is my birthday-I am overwhelmed by the number of greetings I have received from my friends and colleagues across the country. AND...it seems that I blinked, and Austin became a big city. Austin is hosting the National Association of REALTORS® RPTC (REALTOR® Party Training Conference). I didn't want to use the word REALTOR® too many times in one sentence, but it seems that I failed in that. Hosting a bunch of REALTORS® for a national conference is a pretty big deal, and I am happy to be a part of it, and happy that we are experiencing such nice weather. And at the same time, I am a year older; on the downhill side of 70, and every now and then I feel it. Not often, but occasionally. When I fall asleep in the big blue chair while the news is on, it makes me think of my dad. That was what he did every night. Fun and fond memories when reflecting back.

Saturnine -- Adjective. 1. born under or influenced by the planet Saturn. 2a. cold and steady in mood. slow to act or change. b. gloomy, surly. c. sardonic. "How evil he looked! The face was saturnine and swarthy, and the sensual lips seemed to be twisted with disdain." Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray, 1890

Did You Know? The gloomy, cynical character of Eeyore from A A Milne's Winnie-the-Pooh tales typifies the personality type the ancient Romans ascribed to individuals born when the planet Saturn was rising in the heavens. Both the name of the planet and today's featured adjective derive from the name of the Roman god of agriculture, who was often depicted as a bent old man with a stern, sluggish, and sullen nature. The Latin name for Saturn was Saturnus, which is assumed to have yielded the word Saturninus (meaning "of Saturn") in Medieval Latin; that form was adapted to create the English saturnine in the 15th century.

Monday, December 2, 2019

2019 - Day 336/29 - Monday...Fiduciary...

Not a bad day for a Monday; I spent the day presenting a class to a bunch of colleagues at the mother ship, all day class. First of four classes for the same group between now and the next two weeks. It is the first time we have tried this kind of a schedule, and we will see how that works out for everyone. I just need to make sure they remember the course materials over a three week period. It turned off chilly again overnight, really started yesterday afternoon, but the low temperatures are now in the 40s, with highs in the 60s, moving up to the 70s later in the week. Luckily, no threats of freezing temperatures in the near term, extended forecasts call for warmer than normal temperatures (that is the new normal), and higher rainfall than normal. That is exciting! This is all leading to the fact that Barney has been more visible lately...he does not typically run off when he sees us anymore. Last night, I was out by the chicken coop and he was out there being nosey about what I was doing. Patiently waiting for me to go back to where I was supposed to be, so he could be where he was supposed to be. Is it just me, or does he have a 'leave me alone' look on his face?

Fiduciary -- Adjective. 1. involving a confidence or trust. 2. held or holding in trust for another. "While bank trust departments have a fiduciary duty to file claims on behalf of their clients, many are overworked and understaffed." Business Wire, September 17, 2010

Did You Know? Fiduciary relationships often concern money, but the word fiduciary does not, in and of itself, suggest financial matters. Rather, fiduciary applies to any situation in which one person or group justifiably places confidence and trust in another and seeks the other's help or advice in some matter. A board of directors, for example, will typically have a fiduciary relationship with its organization's members, because the members trust the board to act in the best interest of their organization at all times. Fiduciary can also be used as a noun for the person who acts in a fiduciary capacity, and fiduciarily or fiducially can be called upon if you are in need of an adverb. The words are all faithful to their origin: The Latin fidere, which means "to trust." I say this word A LOT!

Sunday, December 1, 2019

2019 - Day 335/30 - Sunday...Animus...

He who is (allegedly) of a superior intellect, has been woefully outwitted by multiple strands of multi-colored Holiday lights. I have screwed around with them for several days, and finally admitted defeat, and went out and bought multiple sets of NEW multi-colored lights. But, I was too morose to attempt to get them to work, so I just set them all aside, and will worry about them another day. Jody and I did manage to take the girls for a ride this morning, and when going past the Crossroads Cafe, noticed that they were all decked out for the Holidays. Really interesting longhorns in the corral where the gas pumps used to be. I did manage to get a few things done around the house today, so that is good. I threatened to go to one of the many urgent care facilities today; my right leg has been giving me fits for about ten days, and last night I could hardly walk. Today, it was much better (just the threat of medical care seems to have fixed it), but I am still holding out the possibility of going to see about it. I am considering the urgent care route, since (A). I don't know what kind of doctor specializes in leg pain and (B). if I knew, I expect I would not be able to get an appointment this year. SO, we will just wait and see...

Animus -- Noun. 1. a usually prejudiced and often spiteful or malevolent ill will. 2. basic attitude or governing spirit. disposition, intention. Jane insisted that she harbored no animus toward Michelle and Fred, despite not inviting them to her holiday party.

Did You Know? Animus has long referred to the rational or animating components of a person's psyche (it derives from the Latin animus, which can mean "spirit," "mind," "courage," or "anger"). Since a key component of personality can be temper, the word came to mean "animosity," especially ill will driven by strong prejudice. The term is also used in the analytic psychology of C G Jung in reference to an inner masculine part of the female personality. Animus is closely related to words such as animosity, magnanimous, and unanimous.