Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Place Your Bets

The Super Bowl is coming up. Honestly, I could care less but as I’ve told you, I seem to have some sort of magic power that can change the outcome of games. It’s happened four times now, all when the Patriots have played. Look, I’ve chronicled it using stick figure comics!



It also means I have an incredible—and mostly pointless—super power. I turn on the game once, the Patriots lose. Twice and they win. Will this be the fifth year that it happens? We shall see.

Honestly, I should totally be using this for personal gain. If anyone wants to Paypal me money to influence the game, have at it. We’ll have an auction.

Bids start at a hundred bucks.

Trust me. There are fans rabid enough to pay it. 

Saturday, January 27, 2018


I am the opposite of graceful. I will smack into a wall at least once a day every day in the place I’ve lived for years. Sometimes with less than pleasant consequences.
 In real life it actually happened months apart but STILL.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Language of Confusion: Legs, Part III

Another big one today, this one with a bunch of words with -lect them.

We’ll start with dialect, since it’s not all that different from last week’s dialogue. It showed up in the late sixteenth century from the Middle French dialecte, classical Latin dialectus, and Greek dialektos, the latter two of which are both just dialect. The dia- again means across (related to the word origin for two but still separate), and the lektos is just from legein, speak or converse. The only thing really different between dialogue and dialect is the k sound.

Now for something different. Collect showed up in the early fifteenth century from the Old French  collecter and classical Latin collectus, gather or collect. That word is the past participle of colligere, to gather, a mix of the prefix com- (together) and -legere, to gather or choose. Of course that’s from the Proto Indo European root word leg-, the originator of all of these words. Plus we also have recollect, which showed up in the mid sixteenth century. Here the re- means again, meaning the word is “to gather together again”. I’m going to go out on the limb here and say that’s metaphorical.

Select showed up in the mid sixteenth century from the Latin selectus, select, which is from seligere, to select. Now we know legere means to gather, but the se- is a prefix meaning apart, meaning this word is to gather apart. I guess that’s what you do when you select.

Elect showed up in the early fifteenth century from the classical Latin electus (chosen) and eligere, to choose. The e- is from ex-, meaning out, and the ligere is just from legere. So it’s to choose out? I guess that fits. A similar lect word is eclectic, which showed up in the late seventeenth century meaning “not confined to or following any one model or system” and originally in reference to philosophers who “selected doctrines from every system”. Anyway, the word comes from the French eclectique (eclectic) and Greek eklektikos, selective. That ek- also comes from ex-, so once again the word means to choose out! It comes to us with a slightly different origin and the meaning is totally different. Except not…I almost understand it…

Okay, that’s when I know it’s time to stop for the day. There are still a ton more -lect words to go!


Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Writing Update

I guess I’m a little hard up for blog ideas because I’m writing about writing. Which, I mean, initially that was what this blog was about. I guess the topic got kind of boring for me, which isn’t to say that writing is boring for me. But yeah, sometimes talking about it is.

I still don’t write as much as I should. When I’m finally done with all the other things I have to do each day, I don’t have that much time left. Sometimes it’s only ten or twenty minutes and that isn’t enough time for me to get into it without being interrupted to go do something else. It’s frustrating. Maybe if I didn’t have to sleep I’d actually have some free time.

Part of me feels weak about this. So many of you guys have kids and a bunch of things going on and still you manage to write! I’m so impressed! And envious! How do you find the time and energy? But I’m not going to blame myself for not being able to do it, too. Okay, maybe a little. I am still me, after all.

I like my new story idea and while that’s good, I wish I still had the motivation to write last year’s story. I don’t know what’s up with that. I feel stuck on it even though I know what needs to happen. It’s frustrating. I look at it with my hands on the keyboard and nothing comes out, so I leave before the block gets any bigger.

So it goes. That’s what I’m doing. I’m still adding things to my shiny new idea in hopes of keeping it fresh and interesting. You guys up to anything good?

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Told You So

Sometimes they don’t understand no matter how many times you try to explain it.
Not pictured here is her going out and hiding under a table and then whining desperately to try to get me to go out and carry her back inside so she doesn’t have to touch the snow.

She’s a delicate flower.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Language of Confusion: Legs, Part II

This week, the -logue words.

Dialogue showed up in the early thirteenth century as “a literary work consisting of a conversation between two or more persons”. An entire literary work! Not just one conversation. It comes from the classical Latin dialogus, dialogue, and before that the Greek dialogos, which is also just dialogue. The logos obviously comes from, well, logos, which we learned last week means word, discourse, or reason and comes from the Proto Indo European word for collect or gather. The dia means across here and may be from the Proto Indo European dwo-, which is the origin of two. This means the word is discourse across. I guess that follows. And let’s not forget monologue, which showed up much later in the mid seventeenth century. It’s a mix of the Greek monos, single (from the PIE men-, which means to think (don’t think too much about why that is (we’ll get to it someday (lets see how many layers of nested comments I can do! (five))))). So it’s one across instead of two across…I think.

Catalogue showed up in the early fifteenth century as cathaloge, from the Old French catalogue (how is the French closer than its original English form?) and Late Latin catalogus (catalogue), from the Greek katalogos, list. The kata/cata part means down and with logos…it’s word down. Makes sense!

Here’s a couple I’m sure you’re all familiar with. Prologue showed up in the early fourteenth century  from the Old French prologue, classical Latin prologus, prologue, and as usual the Greek prologos, once again prologue. The pro- means before, so it’s the word before. And there’s epilogue, which showed up an entire century later. This time it’s from Middle French, the word epilogue, which is from the classical Latin epilogus and Greek epilogos, both just epilogue. You get the drill. The epi- means in addition here, so it’s the additional word!

Now for analogue. It showed up in 1826 from the French (modern French, that’s how recent it is) analogue, similar. In Latin it’s analogus (analogous) and in Greek it’s analogos, which means considering. The ana- means throughout or according to, making it the word according to? The reason according to? This one’s a little hard to follow.

Whew! That’s all for this week!


Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Weird Searches

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these, right?

Ask your dog if it burns when he pees. Then you’ll know.

The sleeping habits of snails are important to know!

The ones about how to get taller may be because of my own personal search history.

If google knows what those things are called just from you typing those things” you may need to adjust your privacy settings.

Because you have a fungus! Get some athlete’s foot powder! Yes I know you don’t work out it’s just the name! 

Saturday, January 13, 2018


Isn’t that a cool word? That’s what they were calling the big storm from a couple of weeks ago. The name literally means “generation of bombs”, but I don’t think it was the worst storm we’ve ever had. Still, it had its moments.
I forgot. This is New England and the weather here operates on cartoon logic.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Language of Confusion: Legs, Part I

Not like legs, but logos. Except legs. You’ll see what Im getting at in a minute.

Logo, like what businesses use, is (probably) just short for logogram, which meant a sign or a character representing a word when it showed up in 1840 (it didn’t mean what we call a logo until a century later). It’s a combination of logo- and -gram…so yeah, kind of recursive there. So what is logo-? Or, before vowels, log-?

Logo means speech or word, coming from the Greek logos, word, discourse or reason. It can be traced all the way back to the Proto Indo European leg- (hence the title), which means collect or gather and is one of those words with a huge amount of offshoots.

First, the suffix -logy, which is part of words like apology, anything that ends in -logue, and pretty much every field of study (biology, geology, etymology, for crying out loud). Which makes sense since it means discourse, theory, or science. It came to us from the Medieval Latin -logia and the Greek -logia, from legein, to speak. Then there’s words with lect in them, and…

The point is, this is going to be a loooooooong series.


Tuesday, January 9, 2018

January Goals

Oh man. I can’t believe it’s January again. A whole new year. Is it too much to hope that it’ll be a good one for once?

Anyway, here’s what I was supposed to do last month:

1. Update etymology page. I think it’s been a few months and those words add up.
Hey, I did this, for all your etymology needs.

2. Hopefully write something.
Meh, kind of. It’s been hard to find any motivation lately. You know what with the world being such a dumpster fire.

3. Christmas. Yeesh.
I survived. And more surprisingly, so did everyone else.

So what should I do this month?

1. Find a better way to keep track of my goals and resolutions, even if I have to staple a paper to my computer to remember.

2. Write! Something! Anything!

3. Do all the stupid adult stuff I have to do. Ugh, I hate being an adult. Everything has to be difficult.

That’s what I want to do for January. What are you up to this month?

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Christmas Shopping

This…yeah, it’s pretty much what happened back on Christmas. My mom’s really weird sometimes. All the time.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Language of Confusion: Joking Words

First etymology post of the new year. Yay? Anyway, I’ve picked light-hearted words for this post. But not joke, as I already did that one.

Zany is an adjective, but it used to be a noun, showing up in the late sixteenth century as a word for a comic performer. It comes from the French zani, taken from the Italian zani/zanni, which basically means zany or a clown. Funnily enough, zanni comes from Gianni, which is a nickname for Giovanni. Zany was taken from the equivalent of Jack.

Kid, as in joke around, is fairly recent, having shown up in the mid nineteenth century (1839 to be specific). It’s believed to come from the other kid, you know, the one that can mean either a young goat or a human child for some reason. That word is much older, having showed up in the early thirteenth century only meaning a goat. It comes from a Scandinavian source, possibly the Old Norse  kið (which would be kith with a very soft h), and before that it was the Proto Germanic kidjom. It started referring to human children in the late sixteenth century as slang. So don’t let anyone tell you that slang words can’t become real words.

Tease first showed up as a word meaning separating wool or flax fibers (weirdly enough, so did heckle) before transforming to mean annoy in the seventeenth century. It comes from the Old English taesan, pull apart or comb, which makes sense for its original meaning, and before that it was the Proto Germanic taisijan. I guess teasing is still to pull something (or someone) apart, just not literally.

Gag, like a joke, showed up in 1863, while the choke version showed up four hundred years earlier. The joke one is thought to come from the other one; see, before it meant a joke, it was a theatrical term meaning “matter interpolated in a written piece by the actor” (from 1847) and before that, a made up story (1805), as in the late eighteenth century it also had the meaning to deceive with talk. Which…I don’t really see how it relates to choking, although the Etymology Dictionary says it’s from the notion of “stuff/fill”. This was a weird one.

Jest first showed up in the early thirteenth century as geste, a “narrative of exploits”, before morphing into what we know it as three centuries later. It comes from the Old French geste, action or exploit, from the classical Latin gesta, events. That word is from the verb gerere, to act, wage, or conduct. I guess it just took on a less serious connotation over the years. And apparently there’s also the word “gest”, which I never heard of but is related and also gesture. Plus more which will make a good post on their own.

Tony Jebson’s page on the Origins of Old English

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Resolutions 2018

It’s that time of year again. Might as well make a bunch of resolutions. It’s not like I have any better ideas planned for today.

1. Figure out some way to better keep track of my goals and resolutions. I used to use a sticky note on my desktop, but I hate it looking cluttered…

2. Write a new book.

3. Actually finish a book this year!

4. Once again, try to eat better. Cut back on sugar, and whatnot.

5. Takeover/destroy the world. Which it’ll be will probably depend on my mood.

6. Find something fun to do in my spare time. I need more fun. We all need more fun.

7. Write something every day. Well, at least this will be easy.

This is my plan for this year. I like plans. It makes me think I know what’s coming. Of course, it’s that much more crushing when everything gets destroyed.

Aw, I bummed myself out.

What do you want for this year? Any plans of your own?