Saturday, April 29, 2017


Not kidding. This is 100% what happened. My mom is still taking online classes and won’t leave me alone about it.

I don’t know why she thought I would say yes when that never worked when I asked for help with my homework.

I cannot describe how delicious it was to say no.

Like a cake from the good bakery.


Thursday, April 27, 2017

Language of Confusion: Nearly Next

What’s next? Next, of course.

Next comes from the Old English niehsta/nyhsta/nesta (it’s different depending on which dialect you choose) which means nearest or closest and comes from their word for nigh, neah/neh. I assume you pronounce that like you live in New England.

So it comes from their word for nigh. Gee, I wonder if that’s related? Of course it is. Nigh comes from the Old English neah/neh (it depends on the dialect), which just means nigh or near. And speaking of near, it used to be the Old English…near. See as it turns out, all these words used to be different versions of the same word: nigh. They were like good/better/best, the regular word, its comparative, and its superlative, in this case nigh, nigher (near), and nighest (next). Can’t you hear it? But at some point near and next split off and became their own words that we actually use way more than nigh these days.

Pretty cool one this week. Don’t you agree? No? Just me then?

Tony Jebson’s page on the Origins of Old English

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Getting From Middle To End

I think the middle must be the toughest part of the story. You know, except for the rest of it.

My book is going very slowly (as I’m writing this, my word count is ~45K). It’s kind of frustrating. I used to be able to churn out a rough draft in under two months. Of course, none of those books are even remotely readable, so maybe that isn’t such a bad thing. It’s just hard to keep thinking that way when you live in a world where you’re supposed to do things both quickly and perfectly.

It’s coming along. So I keep telling myself. I really like how this story is shaping up. Sometimes I worry that the main character doesn’t have enough of a personality, that it’s only the things that happen to her that make her interesting, but that’s probably a problem for editing. And I still like her. With all the crap going on her life, she deals with everything as practically as she can. Including the fact that someone almost killed her. She’s definitely someone I’m rooting for. But maybe I’m biased.

Still, there are so many things that I wonder about. Is the story interesting enough? Am I handling it right? Will I ever actually finish? Still having figured that one out. I have an ending in my. It’s getting to it that need to figure out. Yeah, I know this is why people outline but I was afraid if I stopped to do that I’d never actually get to writing. You got to keep up the momentum, you know?

Anyway, that’s what I’m up to. How’s your writing going?

Saturday, April 22, 2017


This is real. The conversation is made up because it was by text, but this actually happened.

Not kidding. A World War II grenade. It was with things belonging to my uncle who died in December, but he may have gotten it from another uncle who died twenty five years ago and just shoved it in the attic without telling anyone. If my grandparents knew about it, they didn’t tell my aunt when she and her husband bought the house from them, which seems really unlikely.

Oh, and the answer to the above question is that you call the police and they call in the bomb squad to get rid of it.

Quite a Wednesday.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Secret Origins: 4

More symbols!  Also kind of a short one. I guess that’s fitting considering how long last weeks was.

The word four comes from the Old English feower, which means four of course. Before that it was the Proto Germanic fedwor and Proto Indo European kwetwer. Yes, originally there was no f in four. One theory is that it’s because of the next number (you know, five). I don’t know how. Maybe people looked at the F in five and were like, whoa. I like that.

The symbol’s history is a lot weirder. Even more so than 3! The Medieval version of it looks like a ribbon, while the Arabic version is more like a backwards 3, or sometimes what looks like a bobby pin. Then the Hindu version is an upside down ribbon. And the Brahmi had a plus symbol. When it wasn’t a kind of loop, which at least might be where the upside down ribbon came from.

There’s…not really much else? Sorry. But I would like to point out that for a while there was this post going around that said that the symbols were all based on the number of corners they had (look at this picture for a better idea). It’s total nonsense, especially since most of the symbols aren’t how we really write the numbers. Especially nine. Come on, who puts a spiral at the end of 9 just so it has more angles to it? Who writes them all blocky ever?

Tony Jebson’s page on the Origins of Old English
Origin of the numerals Zero Concept by Ahmed Boucenna, Laboratoire DAC, Department of Physics, Faculty of Sciences, Ferhat Abbas University

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

From The Spamfiles

Yay! Spam time again! I don’t have to write a real post!

Wow. I did not know this was what Christianity researched. I was way off.

I’m…a little worried about the tasty thing. Please don’t be hiding outside my house with a knife and fork.

I’m insulted that this spam is so lazy that they didn’t either bother to fill in the badly worded template! They could at least put some effort into spamming me!

I MAY have won a Sam’s Club Reward Card! Stop the frigging presses.

It’s almost Christmas! Show off your body! That’s prime body showing off time! Actually it probably is for people in the southern hemisphere. But not here! Cold! Snow!

I have standards, mike. I only date guys who capitalize their first names. And aren’t an awkward amount older than me.

Saturday, April 15, 2017


You know how dangerous magnets are for computers, right?
Okay, maybe they weren’t that high. But you should know by now that I like to be dramatic.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Language of Confusion: Question Words

You know, like who, what, where, when, why, which, and how. Maybe we’ll get an explanation as to why how is the only one not beginning with W. Why don’t we change that?

Who comes from the Old English hwa, which could also mean someone or anyone as well as who. It’s from the Proto Germanic hwas and earlier, the Proto Indo European kwo-, which was the source of a lot of interrogative pronouns, as we’re about to see. No explanation as to why it switched from K to H, but it does seem like the H to W thing is just because the former has softened over the years. And whom is from the same place, just via hwam, which is another version of hwa.

What is from the Old English hwaet, where it could mean what but also who, something...and hark. It’s from the Proto Germanic hwat, which you may recognize as what with the first two letters switched, and the Proto Endo European kwod, which is a form of kwos. Another form for who.

Why comes from the Old English (again) hwi, which was a form of hwaet called the instrumental case. Instrumental is an old grammar form that appeared in Old English (Russian actually still has it) that indicates indirect receivers of action, objects of prepositions, or that a thing is being used. Basically why comes from a form of what that isn’t used anymore and as we all know it comes from the word for who. Although Proto Indo European also had a version of why, kwi, again, another version of kwo.

Okay, you can probably guess at least some of this one. Where comes from the Old English hwaer, which means where. No surprises here. It’s from the Proto Germanic hwar, which is from, all together now, kwo. Are you beginning to see a pattern?

I probably don’t even need to look this one up to guess, but here we go. When is from the Old English whaenne, which means when as a direct question. It’s from the Proto Germanic hwan-/hwa- which… looks very familiar. Dammit, it’s the same one as before and it’s from kwo-.

I’m no longer expecting anything new. Which was hwilc/hwaelc in Old English, and was actually short for hwi-lic, “of what form”. So yeah. Hwi again. And the lic means body (body/form) and is where like comes from. Hwi-lic comes from the Proto Germanic hwa-lik-, and we all should know by now that hwa/hwi comes kwo-.

How comes from the Old English hu, just how. Before that, it’s the Proto Germanic hwo and of course Proto Indo European kwo. No clue as to why this one stuck with H while none of the other ones did. Just weird I guess.

tl;dr: All question words go back to kwo-. It is the one true question.

Tony Jebson’s page on the Origins of Old English

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

293 Keys

I found a game. In it, all you do is search through a pile of keys and try them in a lock until one fits. Then you leave and see how many tries it took you.

That’s it. Seriously.

It’s the stupidest, most pointless game ever. The controls are wonky (don’t knock a key off the cliff before you’ve tried it), it’s not a particularly attractive game, and there’s literally nothing to do except put keys in the lock.

So why can’t I stop playing it??

Have you ever been unable to stop doing anything pointless? What’s the most addictive dumb game you’ve ever found?

Saturday, April 8, 2017


I swear, they weren’t on there until the second the package containing my new comforter arrived.

No, of course I can’t move them myself. I’m not a monster.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Language of Confusion: Reluctantly

Just a short one today, as I’m super busy.

Neither reluctance nor reluctant are very old, both having showed up in the mid seventeenth century. Now reluctant used to mean unwilling, pretty close to what we use it for, but reluctance specifically meant the “act of struggling against” when it first came into being and it wasn’t until a couple of decades later that it meant unwillingness to do something. And also it comes from an awesome word that we don’t use anymore, reluct, which means struggle or rebel against.

Reluct (why don’t we have it anymore??) comes from the classical Latin reluctari, which means to resist, not a huge leap. It’s a combination of the prefix re-, against, and luctari, struggle, so it actually makes sense. And hey, if you’re reluctant to do something you’re definitely going to struggle against it, right? Luctari can actually be traced all the way back to the Proto Indo European lug-to, bent. Okay, that one I can’t figure. Bending something is a struggle? I guess if it’s not very bendable. I don’t know what it could be referring to, though. Not metal, as Proto Indo European is like fifty five hundred years old and that’s way before metalwork was used.

I’m reading too much into this. It went from bent to unwilling. Let’s leave it at that.


Tuesday, April 4, 2017

April Goals

Ugh, this month is going to be busy, isn’t it? Expect posts to get a lot more succinct. Like this.

March Goals
1. Actually write 10K this time. Or, at the very least, finish last month’s 10K.
I did finish the 10K from the last one, but because I got so busy with other stuff I didn’t press it any further.

2. See if I can by that book I want to read for research. And, you know, read it.
Did not get to this, unfortunately. I don’t know when I’m ever going to get time to read again.

3. Try to think up something fun to do. Because we could all use a little fun right now.
…More like the opposite of this.

Okay, this month.

April Goals
1. Get at least 5000 words done. I know that’s not a lot, but I’m so busy!

2. Get to work on my side-blog project. I’m going to need to work super hard to get all this done. Thankfully this might be doable since I have some awesome people helping me.

3. Update my etymology page. I don’t want to put it off too long!

What are you up to this month?

Saturday, April 1, 2017


I hate hate hate this holiday. I am really not one for practical jokes.
Some things you just don’t joke about.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Language of Confusion: -Cence, Part II

And now the conclusion. Of words that end in -cence but aren’t related to essence. I have to be specific because there are a ton of those and none of them are mentioned here.

Convalescence is one of those words that the N was just kind of thrown in there at some point, which seems to be a recurring theme for these words. It’s from the Middle French convalescence and Late Latin convalescentia, regaining of health. It comes from the classical Latin convalescere, recover, the origin word for convalesce, which we don’t really use that much these days. It’s a mix of the prefix com-, although that’s just an intensifier here, and valescere, grow strong. That word is actually related to valere, to be strong/healthy, which just happens to be the origin word for valiant.

Reminiscence first showed up in the late sixteenth century from the Middle French reminiscence and Late Latin reminiscentia, remembrance or recollection. That in turn is from the classical Latin reminiscentem, recollecting and reminisci, also recollecting. The word is a mix of re-, again, and menisci, which is from mens, or mind. So it’s to mind again. Or…remind. Man, you don’t often get one that makes total sense no matter how you look at it.

Reticence showed up in the early seventeenth century from the Middle French reticence and classical Latin reticentia, reservation or silence. The verb form is reticere, keep silent, a mix of re- (I think it’s just intensive here) and tacere, be silent. Which, you know, is where tacit comes from.

Magnificence showed up in the mid fourteenth century from the Old French magnificence, splendor, nobility, or grandeur, and before that, it was the classical Latin magnificentia, which meant splendor or beautiful (something nice, is what I’m getting at). Magnificentia comes from magnificus, majestic, a word that’s a mix of magnus, great, and facere, do or make. Magnificence is something that was made great.

TL;DR: Still none of these words are related. And every other -cence word is related to essence.

Orbis Latinus

Tuesday, March 28, 2017


You know what you should do when you have a million things on your plate? Take on more work!

No, wait. That’s the opposite of what you’re supposed to do.

Liz and I want to do a series of posts next month about a lot of important topics--basically anything that’s been thrown under the bus by the current people in power, you know, like the arts, healthcare, basic human decency. If anyone wants to contribute on a topic or topics they’re passionate about we’d love for you to join in, just let me know.

Anyway, now I have to go off and write about a million posts.

Ha ha, please help me. Send cake.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

The Waiting Room

And people wonder why I hate going to the doctor.
Hey, it could have happened. I had to fast before going in there so I could get my blood drawn. I was ready to bite someone’s head off.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Language of Confusion: -Cence, Part I

There are a ton of words that end in -cense or -cence. Like, this is definitely a two-parter. And we’re not even getting into words like luminescence or iridescence since those are related to essence and a whole other post on their own.

License is kind of funny. It showed up in the early fifteenth century as a verb that meant to grant authorization to do something. No big surprises there. But it comes from a noun that’s spelled licence, with two C’s (which, frankly, just accentuates how stupid and redundant C is). Apparently there were tons of spellings for the word in Middle English, including lisence, lissens, and licance, which exemplifies why we had to start formalizing spellings. Anyway, licence is spelled that way because it comes from the Old French licence, liberty, freedom, or permission, which in turn comes from the classical Latin licentia, which means the same thing, in other words, a license. The verb form of it, licere (to allow) can be traced back to the Proto Indo European leik-, to offer or bargain. Which…makes sense, I guess.

Innocence showed up in the mid fourteenth century meaning specifically the “freedom from guilt or moral wrong”. It comes from the Old French inocence, innocence, and classical Latin innocentia/innocens, which are just innocence and innocent. When you break up the word and look at its roots, it gets seven better. The in- means not in this case, while the centia/cens part of the word comes from nocere, hurt. That fits since innocence is non-harming, right? Well, nocere comes from the Proto Indo European nek-, which means…death. It’s where necro- comes from!

Incense first showed up in the late thirteenth century meaning something that gave off a sweet scent when burned. It comes from the Old French encens, from the Late Latin incensum, that which is burnt. That in turn is from the classical Latin incendere, to burn, which might sound an awful lot like incendiary to you. And it should, since that word is from the same place. This time the prefix in- means in while the rest is from candere, shine, glow, or be on fire. And of course that’s where candle comes from. It can also be traced all the way back to the Proto Indo European kand-, glow or shoot out light. So light = fire = stuff burning.

TL;DR: None of these words are related. Like, at all.

Orbis Latinus

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Web Comics I Like

I’m going to post about some of the web comics I’ve been reading lately because I have nothing else to post about and this is more positive than me ranting about how people are ignoring racism.

Sarah’s Scribbles by Sarah Andersen
A woman’s observations on being an awkward introverted worrier. I…identify with her A LOT. Her second book just came out and I’m hoping to pick it up soon.

Poorly Drawn Lines by Reza Farazmand
Various random jokes. The most popular recurring characters are the bear Ernesto and his friend Kevin the bird, as well as Trash Bird, who is just Trash Bird. Look, it’s really hard to explain and totally ridiculous. Just check it out.

Apparently the creator just wanted to use the longest name she could find. In any case, she’s hilarious. Her creature “selfie bee” is a kind of author avatar that reflects her often ridiculous reactions (like promising not to buy more books and then leaving the bookstore later wearing a sash that says “Mayor of Failuretown”). Also, for Harry Potter fans, she does tons of spoofs of the series, especially of Dumbledore being just the worst person to be in charge of children.

Books of Adam by Adam Ellis
Things that happen to Adam totally overdramatized, flamboyant, and hilarious. I think my favorite is the one where the cat is asleep all day, until three a.m. when he’s going totally crazy. It’s very relatable.

Another comic where the typical things that happen to the creator are exaggerated to hilarious levels. I think that might be my favorite type of comic. The best ones to check out is the comics she drew while staying up for thirty two hours in order to fix her sleep schedule. It’s basically a decent into madness.

Anyway, that’s what I read all day. I like comics. What about you?

Saturday, March 18, 2017


There’s a rat or a mouse or something in the attic right above my bedroom. It likes to chew on wood. Loudly. While I’m trying to sleep.

I’m not sure how I expected her to get the thing. It was three a.m. I was tired. Leave me alone.

And no, I can’t get the other cat to do it. Veronica is fourteen years old and fat. The only thing she can catch is sleep.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Language of Confusion: Where Music And Biology Collide

Organ…it can be something you play, or a part of your body that keeps you alive. Why is that?

Organ is actually a fusion—seriously. The Old English organe and Old French orgene came together to form a stronger, more powerful word than either could be separately. Both words had the same meaning, a musical instrument, and both come from the classical Latin organum, instrument. Latin stole it from Greek, where it’s organon, which means instrument in a very general sense, not just musical. And back then it could be a tool or a body organ, which means that over the years it changed from having several definitions to only meaning musical instruments and then went back to having several definitions, including one very specific musical instrument. I think it’s funny that organon comes from the Proto Indo European werg-ano-, which comes from werg-, to work, because that makes way more sense as an origin for these words.

And it’s not the only word originally music related. Take organic. It showed up in the early sixteenth century meaning serving as a musical instrument, coming from the classical Latin organicus and Greek organikos, and while both mean organic, both also originally had to do with instruments, not what we think of organic as. In fact, it wasn’t until the late eighteenth century that it applied to living beings (although they used “organical” for that before, and tell me that word isn’t funny).

Finally today we’re looking at organize. It showed up in the early fifteenth century meaning construct or establish, which makes it weirder that organized originally specifically meant “furnished with organs”. It came from the Middle French organizer and Medieval Latin organizare, which in turn is from our old friend organum. Okay, I can almost get how it went from construct to put into order, but I have no idea how we’re supposed to get from instrument to construct/establish. Makes. No. Sense.

Tony Jebson’s page on the Origins of Old English

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

More Weird Searches

There is nothing weirder than trying to look something up and have Google autofill something that you’re afraid will get you arrested for looking at it. Seriously, why do people ask these questions?

At first I was laughing, because it’s really easy to stop singing, but then I remembered that there are things like Tourette’s where people can’t help it and I felt like a jerk.

…Maybe the internet isn’t the one you should be asking why you got married. Maybe if you are, your marriage is in serious trouble.

Now, this one we can all laugh at. Also, asparagus.

Your goldfish didn’t die of natural causes. It was murder!

Obviously therealreal is legit. It has two reals in it.

You ever search and wind up stumbling over something funny?

Saturday, March 11, 2017

The Important Thing

A couple of years ago, I talked about how there was a blood drive where they gave away Girl Scout cookies to anyone who donated. Obviously I was all over that. And they do it every year, so of course I’ve been there each time. But there was a slight problem this time.
Because honestly, what else matters?

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Lost In Translation: July

We’re in the second half of the year now. I wonder what I’ll look at when I’m finally done. Maybe we should add more months because I have no ideas.

July is kind of an easy one since it was named for Julius Caesar because whoop-die-doo, it was the month he was born in. It was actually the fifth month in the Roman calendar, which is why before that it was called Quintilis, which means fifth and honestly is just a way cooler name. I think it’s the Q.

Anyway, it was Iulius in Latin, then Juil/Jule in Old French and Julie in Anglo French before English picked it up. Funnily enough, we in English used to spell it with an I, like in Latin, and pronounce it with the accent on the first syllable, making it something like “YU-lie”. And there is no reason for why it changed other than the Oxford English Dictionary calling it “abnormal and unexplained”, the most accurate description relating to etymology that I’ve come across.

And there’s a little more to the story than that since we had to have a name for the month in Old English before we started using the one passed down by the French. July used to be liða se aefterra, which is something like “later mildness”. I wish I could have found out more about this, but unfortunately it seems like most places are only interested in the Roman origins rather than the English ones. Which seems kind of ironic considering that English is the language we’re supposed to be speaking here.


Tuesday, March 7, 2017

March Goals

Well, February managed to be surprisingly bad. I was so stressed through most of it that I couldn’t concentrate and didn’t do a very good job on my goals. Also I went to go give blood and they told me I’m anemic and now I have to take iron. That at least explains why I’m tired all the time.

Anyway, goals.

February Goals
1. Another 10K. I will write this or die trying.
Sadly, I failed on both counts. I got 5K done, which isn’t the worst, but I’m disappointed that I wasn’t able to die trying for the rest :P.

2. Read some new books.
Well, it wasn’t anything new, just some old favorites. This would probably be easier if I had tons of money to spend on books.

3. Organize all my stick figure comics. This is kind of hard to explain, but because it’s mostly copy and paste, I have tons of different images that I could reuse. If I was able to find them.
I actually managed to do this! It’s a miracle! And wasn’t terribly difficult. I’m hoping it being more organized will make creating those silly comics easier.

Kind of disappointing, but February was exhausting. It is truly the Monday of the months.

March Goals
1. Actually write 10K this time. Or, at the very least, finish last month’s 10K.

2. See if I can by that book I want to read for research. And, you know, read it.

3. Try to think up something fun to do. Because we could all use a little fun right now.

So hopefully, that’s what my March will be like. What do you want to do this month?

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Language of Confusion: Pants

We’re looking at pant, and also pants, because seriously what the hell is up with that? Am I the only one that wonders why the word for the thing you wear on your legs is related to a word for heavy breathing? I am? Oh well, it’s my blog.

Pant showed up in the mid fifteenth century, believed to be from the Old French pantaisier, which basically means pant. It’s believed to come from the Vulgar Latin pantasiare, to struggle with a nightmare. Uh, you breathe heavily during a bad dream I guess? And that word just happens to be from the Greek phantasioun, imaginary, the origin word for phantasm.

Yes, you read right. Pant and phantasm are related. Man, this post couldn’t get any weirder.

Pants showed up in 1840. That’s about it, because it comes from the ridiculous word pantaloons, which actually does have a history. It showed up in the mid seventeenth century where it just meant a kind of tights. Apparently it’s related to a sixteenth century character in an Italian comedy called Pantaloun who wore tight trousers and whose name actually comes from San Pantaleone, a Christian martyr.

Okay, I spoke too soon earlier because seriously. What. The. Hell.


Tuesday, February 28, 2017

A Goal I Might Be Able To Keep

Of all the yearly resolutions I made, meaning able to leave the planet is the one I wanted to keep the most but never thought I would.

There are seven planets circling this tiny little barely bigger than Jupiter star, including three that could possibly support life! Plus it’s only forty lightyears away. Which is 235,100,000,000,000 miles. Someone really needs to get to work on making Warp Drive.

Not that living there will be entirely perfect. They might be tidally locked to the sun, like the moon is to the Earth, which means the same side is always facing it. So on one side it’s day all the time and the other is night all the time, with perpetual twilight around the middle. That actually makes for extreme weather conditions, plus the three planets that possibly have water are so hot that they probably don’t have much. Still sounds better than Earth right now, though.

These planets are so cool. All seven of the orbiting planets are closer to their star than Mercury is to the sun, so close in fact that their orbits are mere Earth days. They’re also so near each other that you can see the other planets like we see the moon. Well, probably. They don’t know what the atmospheres are made of. For all we know they’re impossible to see off of.

What do you guys think about the new planets? Any sci-fi-y ideas about what they might be like?

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Language of Confusion: I Am Error

Today we’re looking at error, inspired by Liz’s comment last week. For the record, no, it’s not related to extraterrestrial in any language. Really not sure why the teacher let that one go.

Err is the root word here, so we’re looking at that first. It showed up in the fourteenth century, coming from the Old French errer, which could mean a mistake or also to lose one’s way. It comes from the classical Latin errare, which had pretty much the same meaning, and even earlier it’s the Proto Indo European ers-, to wander around.

A lot of different words spawned from ers-. There’s obvious ones like error, but others that you’ll be going, like, whoa. First of all, error (which was also spelled errour up until the eighteenth century) showed up around the same time as err, the fourteenth century, where it meant a mistake. It comes from the Old French error and classical Latin errorem, which means error as well as going astray, meandering or doubt, and is related to errare. This one actually makes sense since that was kind of ers- literal meaning.

Next, erratic. It showed up in the late fourteenth century meaning wandering or moving, not taking on its modern definition until the seventeenth century. It’s from the Old French erratique (the q makes it sound cooler), wandering of vagrant, and classical Latin erraticus, erratic or wandering. And of course that’s from errare. So is errant, kind of. It’s really confusing, but apparently there were two Old French words spelled errant and one comes from the above mentioned errer while the other is actually related to the Latin ire, to go. Which is not related to the other ire that means anger. Anyway, the two errants, despite having differing origins, got fused together even though they started out completely different. People really should have been more careful about that.

There are several other words related to err in some way, as well as a few that aren’t even though it would make sense. Like errand. You’d think it would have something to do with that wander, but it doesn’t. It’s from the Old English aerende, message or errand, which is Germanic in origin. On the other hand, aberration is from err. It showed up in the sixteenth century meaning a wandering/act of straying and comes from the classical Latin aberrationem, which could mean aberration or go astray. The ab- part means away from and the rest is from errare. Finally, the word race. Yes, it’s from err. At least the kind you run is. However I think that word should probably make up its own post on another day : ).

Tony Jebson’s page on the Origins of Old English

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

From The Spamfiles

Spam time!

This woman was married to a shipping tycoon! You don’t see many tycoons these days. Too bad. It’s a fun word to say. How does one get to be a tycoon anyway? I don’t think this counts as a cancer widow, though, since she just has “a very critical health challenges”.

FUBAR! Also I love the emojis.

I won the Asian Google Sweepstakes again. How do I keep getting entered in this thing?

A Work-load part time job, as opposed to a non-Work-load part time job. Get $350 a week! You’re not using both kidneys, right?

Damn my Nigerian partners. I told them to kill this guy after he transferred the money to my account. Doesn’t anybody listen anymore?!

It’s been so long since I’ve gotten one of these pills-from-a-Canadian-pharmacy messages filled with random words that form nonsensical sentences. I still find them hilarious.

Please matt shook his attention on them.

Saturday, February 18, 2017


I can’t remember why this subject came up in the first place, just that it ended with my mom admitting I was right. That doesn’t happen often.
For those keeping track, that’s the year I was born.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Language of Confusion: Tactful

I can’t believe I haven’t done the word tact before. Not that it’s some major important word or anything. It just really feels like I’ve done it. Is this déjà vu? Déjà écrit?

Just plain tact showed up in the mid seventeenth century as a sense of touch or feeling, more literal as opposed to the more figurative sense it has today. It comes from the classical Latin tactus, touch, so no big surprises there. It does come from tangere, to touch, which is the origin word for tangent which was kind of surprising. There’s no real reason as to why tangent changed so much, but apparently tangentem also means tangent so that weirdness goes all the way back. Tactile also comes from this line, via the French tactile and Latin tactilis, of touch. Since something that you can touch is tangible, that’s where we get that word. Damn, this makes tangent mean even less sense.

There are plenty of other tact words out there. Tactics showed up in the early seventeenth century, a hundred and forty years before tactic. They both come from the Latin tactica, which comes from the Greek taktike techne, which literally means regular art. I’m not even sure how to react to that. It is related to taktikos, regular or arranged, which can relate to war tactics, so that’s where that comes from. In any case, you’ll notice that tactic doesn’t come from the same word as tact. At least, not in Latin. They are related earlier, in Proto Indo European, where taktikos and tangere come from tag-, to set in order. Well, that’s where the regular part comes from.

Finally, there are the words that end in tact. Like intact. I didn’t mean to do that, it was just a coincidence. It showed up in the mid fifteenth century coming from the classical Latin intactus, untouched. That’s because in- is a weird prefix that can mean not, like it does here, or into. Since tactus is touched, then we have untouched, and something intact is I guess at least metaphorically untouched. Next is contact, which showed up in the early seventeenth century from the Latin contactus, which means touching. Or, you know, contact. Con- means together here, so touching together. Yeah, kind of ended on a well, duh note here.


Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Spam Senses

I got a weird email the other day:

Personally, I have no trouble with being more accessible to people who need it. If there was an actual problem with my blog, then I would work on fixing it. But!

My spam senses were tingling when I read this, for several reasons. First of all, this person mentioned that this was a follow up to a message I don’t remember seeing before, a trope so common that I put it on Spam Bingo. Next is the fact that I don’t actually have a link to that website. Hell, that link to my archive they have doesn’t even exist because I never posted on June 1, 2015. Unless they’re talking about January 6, 2015, which I did post on, although I never use that date format. And also does not have any calendar links on it. (It was actually my resolutions post for the year)

So, yeah. Pretty suspicious, “Amanda Soriano”. I didn’t click on the links they included (who knows where they really led), but I did look up the places they linked to. WebAIM is a real thing to check web page accessibility and The Time Now is a digital calendar. I guess this was some sort of campaign to get people to use one or the other. Or both. If so, it was a very poor one because it is very scammy in nature. The only thing less trustworthy is a robo call from the IRS asking you to pay an overdue tax bill with Best Buy gift cards.

That actually happened. It was reported in the paper. People fell for it, so maybe this isn’t so far off the mark.

Anyway, keep an eye out for scams and don’t ever click on any links in an email even if it looks like it’s to a legitimate site. This has been a public service message brought to you by scammers and the fact that I had nothing else to post about.

Happy Valentine’s Day! Eat lots of candy.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Thursday, February 9, 2017

The Language of Confusion: Ultima

Ultimate showed up in the mid seventeenth century, coming from the Late Latin ultimatus and its verb form ultimare. Before that it’s from the classical Latin ultimus, last, which is related to ultra, more. You might not believe this, but that word happens to be the origin word for ultra. I know. It’s pretty tough to believe.

I know you can’t see it, but I’m rolling my eyes.

We can go even further with ultra, all the way back to the Proto Indo European ol-tero-. The ol- gives us the beyond part as it comes from al-, which has given us words like alias and else. Yeah. Ultimate is (distantly) related to else and alias. Who knew?

Of course, there are a few other ultimate words in English. Did you know there used to be a “yesterday” for months? It was the word ultimo, coming from the Latin phrase ultimo menses, or last month. It was in use from the sixteenth to nineteenth centuries and then…I guess we got bored of it? That happens sometimes. There’s also penultimate, which comes from penultima, a word that showed up in the late sixteenth century and means the next to last syllable in a word. It’s from another Latin phrase, penultima syllaba, literally penultimate syllable. The ultima comes from ultimate, while the pen is from paene, almost. Penultimate is…almost last.

Orbis Latinus

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

February Goals

It’s February. The world is marching towards oblivion. I blame Dicaprio winning that Oscar. That was when everything started going downhill.

Anyway, goals or whatever.

January Goals
1. 10K more. Keep up the pace!
10K down. It’s definitely weak in some places, though. I’d feel better about my slow output if it was better written. I don’t know, I just have to find a reason to be depressed about it.

2. Update my etymology page again. I don’t want it to get out of hand!
Yes, it’s up to date as of the 26th. Mostly because I put it off until then :P.

3. Do all the stupid adult crap I have to do. I hate being an adult.
UGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH this sucks. The worst part is that I screwed something up and it’s taking a while to fix and I’m super stressed out about it…

I managed to do everything. It’s more impressive when you remember that I’ve been hiding under the bed for the last two weeks in preparation of the coming apocalypse. Anyway, this month!

February Goals
1. Another 10K. I will write this or die trying.

2. Read some new books.

3. Organize all my stick figure comics. This is kind of hard to explain, but because it’s mostly copy and paste, I have tons of different images that I could reuse. If I was able to find them.

Anyway, that’s the plan. Unless a meteor comes crashing down and destroys the world. Fingers crossed!

Saturday, February 4, 2017


Two cat comics in a row. They’ve been very entertaining lately.

For the record, she was fine.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Language of Confusion: Variable

Today we’re looking at vary and all its…variations. Sorry. Couldn’t avoid that pun. And didn’t want to.

Vary showed up in the fourteenth century from the Old French variier, change or alter, and classical Latin variare, to change. So yeah, vary always meant change. It’s believed to be related to varus, which has definitions like different, bent, and knock-kneed (-_-). It’s from the Proto Indo European wer-, a bodily infirmary, usually a raised spot on the body. You know, like a wart. Which makes sense because wer- is the origin word for wart.

This post took a very strange turn, but it can’t be helped. Keep in mind that wart has a completely different origin after wer-. It was warton in Proto Germanic and waert in Old English afterwards. Verruca, another word for wart, is actually closer to vary, and not because it starts with the same letter. Other distantly related words include varicose, which comes from the Latin varicosus, which actually means multicolored in addition to dilated veins. It’s from varicis, which also means wart and is probably related to the aforementioned varus.


Tony Jebson’s page on the Origins of Old English

Tuesday, January 31, 2017


Please look at these actual factual reasons people were committed to an asylum in the late nineteenth century.

I’m not even sure where to begin. First of all, how many of these are just being a woman who’s in her husband’s way? Female disease and woman trouble, ill treatment by husband (like, you know, being involuntarily committed), imaginary female trouble, hysteria. And of course rumor of husband murder. And maybe it’s my uterine derangement talking, but isn’t involuntary confinement what being committed to an asylum all about?

Plus there’s things beyond that that are totally objective. Politics, political excitement, religious enthusiasm, superstition, over action of the mind, and about a million other things that you can claim of anyone you don’t like. You better not study hard because if you do, bam, you’re getting committed. Don’t read any novels, either.

In truth, it’s actually a list of why some people were committed, i.e. their relatives said these were symptoms of their mental illness. Still though. People pretty much used anything as an excuse. Although shooting your daughter is a pretty good reason for being locked up.