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Increase Your Word Power

picture of eschew obfuscation

Since my last post was about mathematics, I thought we'd work on our active vocabulary in today's post. I have a fun list of two dozen common sayings expressed with high falutin words. Some people take a special ghoulish delight in using big words that others don't know. For instance, the saying "Pulchritude possesses solely cutaneous profundity" is more commonly known as "beauty is only skin deep." See how many of the sayings below you can figure out.

The first two were written by Frank and Lillian Gilbreth — of Cheaper by the Dozen fame — to assist their children in increasing their vocabulary. They were able to get them to rhyme.

A futile superfluity of culinary aid destroys nutritious liquids of osseous tissues made.

Never enumerate ere fractured are the shells of bipeds gallinaceous, lest suddenly thy calculations prove utterly fallacious.

Now on to my list:

1. Members of an avian species of identical plumage congregate.

2. Selecting on the part of mendicants must be interdicted.

3. Surveillance should precede saltation.

4. That prudent avis that matutinally deserts the cosiness of its abode will ensnare a vermiculate creature.

5. It is fruitless to become lachrymose over precipitously departed lacteal fluid.
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Are You “Mathematically Challenged?”

picture of binary Sudoku

Some people have a great mind for math, and some don't. Until my last year of high school, I enjoyed my math classes very much and even did math problems from old textbooks from the late 1800's, just for fun. (So I was a nerd, okay?) :-) The further I went in math in high school, though, the less enjoyable it became to me. When Algebra 2 and Math 4 started going towards trig, sines, cosines, and calculus, it was beyond my interest and abilities and was really no longer fun. Now, besides grades for classes, the most I do with numbers is my game or two of Sudoku every evening. I loved base 2 in junior high, but I'm not sure how to solve the Sudoku puzzle from http://xkcd.com on the right.

I recently saw a pie chart that was an encouragement me for having abandoned Algebra, once I got deeper into it.

picture of pie chart

All joking aside, there really are many jobs that require one's being able to work accurately with numbers. For instance, if an engineer's calculations are off even slightly, the results can be disastrous, as seen below.
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Bad Jobs

picture of no to bad jobs

About a year and a half ago I did a post called Is a Bad Job Better than No Job? The responses in the comments to that post were interesting. Since unemployment is still a huge concern, I thought we could look at this issue again. Has your work situation changed since then? Does a bad job look better than it did a year and a half ago?

Some people are employed, but they don't take pride in their work — they do a bad job. They leave some things undone, saying "it's not my job." Here are several examples that are variations on a theme.

picture of not my job

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Christopher Columbus, the First Italian-American?

picture of Christopher Columbus

Happy Columbus Day! Though the only thing exceptional about today for most of us is receiving no bills in our mailboxes, I have one reader for whom the day holds special meaning ... and she knows who she is.... :-) Columbus Day, the anniversary of Columbus's 1492 landing in the Americas, is observed October 12 in Spain and the second Monday of October in the USA. Some don't realize that, though financed in his explorations by Isabella I of Castile (north-central Spain), Columbus was Italian, born in Genoa, which is in modern-day Italy. Some now seek to vilify Columbus, but his coming to the Americas may give him the distinction of being the first Italian-American.

With that in mind, today I'm posting a list of ways you can know you're from an Italian background. If you're not, you might at least recall observing some of these behaviors in people you know with an Italian heritage.

DISCLAIMER: Since my background is French, there are some aspects of the following that I don't understand and pass on with a bit of trepidation. I asked an Italian student of mine about several, and he assured me they're okay. Just don't send the Mafia after me!

picture of flags

You know you're Italian-American when...

You can bench press 325 pounds, shave twice a day, and still cry when your mama yells at you.

Your mechanic, plumber, electrician, accountant, travel agent, and lawyer are all blood relatives.

When you were growing up, you had five cousins all living on the same street.

All five of those cousins are named after your grandfather or your grandmother.

You have many relatives named either Joe or Mary, and you have at least one brother named Joe.

Your two best friends are your cousin and your brother-in-law's brother-in-law.
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Bodacious Bonza Bottler Day

picture of Bonza Bottler logo

Sunday, October 10, 2010, is one of the three remaining "Bodacious Bonza Bottler Days" we will see in our life time, and so it is fitting that I should do a special, albeit short, blog post about it. Bonza Bottler Day is when the number of the month and the day of the month are the same — for instance January 1 (1-1), February 2 (2-2), and so on. February 2, Groundhog Day in the USA, gives the monthly holiday its mascot and logo. If you want to know more about the history and purpose of the holiday, you can read more on the official website. A Bodacious Bonza Bottler Day is when the number of the month, day, and year are the same. Tomorrow is 10-10-10, next year November 11 will be 11-11-11, and then in 2012, December 12 will be the final Bodacious Bottler Day of this century. Since my lifetime friend Scott will be 59 on that day, I hope it will be a great celebration for him and his family. (Start planning, Cathy!)

If you do anything special to celebrate on 10-10-10, please let us know in the comments.


"Search others for their virtues, thyself for thy vices." - Benjamin Franklin

=^..^= =^..^=

Misers aren't much fun to live with, but they make great ancestors.