Monday, September 27, 2010

word of the day :: felicitous

[fi-lis-i-tuh s]

1.  well-suited for the occasion, as an action, manner, or expression; apt; appropriate: The chairman's felicitous anecdotes set everyone at ease.
2. having a special ability for suitable manner or expression, as a person.
1725-35;  felicit(y)  + -ous

"A true poem is distinguished not so much by a felicitous expression, or any thought it suggests, as by the atmosphere which surrounds it. Most have beauty of outline merely, and are striking as the form and bearing of a stranger; but true verses come toward us indistinctly, as the very breath of all friendliness, and envelop us in their spirit and fragrance."

* Definition from

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Banned Books Week

September 25 through October 4 is Banned Books Week! This celebration is 28 years old and is the only one that celebrates the freedom to read. Since 1982, more than 1000 books have been challenged for various reasons (sexual explicitness, violence, profanity, racism, etc.).

Here are the top ten most frequently challenged books in 2009:

Friday, September 24, 2010

National Punctuation Day

Today is National Punctuation Day (NPD). The NPD website is full of interesting and fun tidbits and resources about punctuation. There's even a listing of punctuation products--including t-shirts, mugs, greeting cards, and posters. They have a free newsletter called The Exclamation Point!

Not sure how to celebrate NPD? I sure wasn't. The NPD web site offers the following suggestions:
  • Sleep late. (I've already messed that up...)
  • Take a long shower or bath. (...and this one too...)
  • Go out for coffee and a bagel. Or two. (Does making my own coffee at home count?)
  • Read a newspaper and circle all the punctuation errors you can find (or think you find) with a red pen. (A whole newspaper?!)
  • Take a leisurely stroll, paying close attention to store signs with incorrectly punctuated words. (Such as the place near my old apartment complex with menu on the door offering both egg rolls and egg rools...)
  • Stop in these stores to correct the owners. (Ha!)
  • If the owners are not there, leave notes. (Ha ha!)
  • Visit a book store and purchase a copy of Strunk & White's The Elements of Style. (Please, of course I already have this book. You should too!)
  • Look up all the words you circled. (The dictionary is a great friend.)
  • Congratulate yourself on becoming a better written communicator. (Good job, self.)
  • Go home. (If only...)
  • Sit down. (Maybe on the bed?)
  • Write an error-free letter to a friend. (Because snail mail is better than e-mail.)
  • Take a nap. It has been a long day. (I wish.)
Hmm. Apparently, in or order to properly celebrate NPD, it is essential to take a holiday from work. Mental note to self for next year!

from Ralph

"What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us."

Monday, September 20, 2010

word of the day :: austere


1.  severe in manner or appearance; uncompromising; strict; forbidding: an austere teacher.
2. rigorously self-disciplined and severely moral; ascetic; abstinent: the austere quality of life in the convent.
3. grave; somber; solemn; serious: an austere manner.
4. without excess, luxury, or ease; simple; limited; severe: an austere life.
5. severely simple; without ornament: austere writing.
6. lacking softness; hard: an austere bed of straw.
7. rough to the taste; sour or harsh in flavor.
1300-50;  ME (< AF) < L austērus  < Gk austērós  harsh, rough, bitter

"Come now, let us go and be dumb. Let us sit with our hands on our mouths, a long, austere, Pythagorean lustrum. Let us live in corners, and do chores, and suffer, and weep, and drudge, with eyes and hearts that love the Lord. Silence, seclusion, austerity, may pierce deep into the grandeur and secret of our being, and so diving, bring up out of secular darkness, the sublimities of the moral constitution."

* Definition from

Friday, September 17, 2010

from Robertson

"A truly great book should be read in youth, again in maturity, and once more in old age, as a fine building should be seen by morning light, at noon, and by moonlight."

Monday, September 13, 2010

word of the day :: spurious


1.  not genuine, authentic, or true; not from the claimed, pretended, or proper source; counterfeit.
2. Biology (of two or more parts, plants, etc.) having asimilar appearance but a different structure.
3. of illegitimate birth; bastard.

1590-1600;  L spurius  bastard, perh. < Etruscan; see -ous.

"Happy is the novelist who manages to preserve an actual love letter that he received when he was young within a work of fiction, embedded in it like a clean bullet in flabby flesh and quite secure there, among spurious lives."

* Definition from