Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Useless weights and measures.

Today's installment of "Useless Weights and Measures" is brought to you by Abraham J. Simpson, who reminds you that "The Metric System is the tool of the Devil!"

This word is another that seems only to exist in dictionaries. But it's not obsolete, archaic or rare. Odd.


‘A chymical weight of four pounds.’ Phillips 1678.

Words, Wordes

While working on catching up my other blog (and I'm almost there!), I ran across a mention of Wynkyn de Worde in one of the quotations. After a little research, I found that he was one of the first printers in England and was an apprentice to William Caxton who is credited with standarising English via his adoption of the printing press. De Worde was also the founding printer on Fleet Street in England, which is most likely why (and now we come to the reason that I was so intrigued by the mention of this name) Terry Pratchett borrowed that name for the protagonist (William de Worde) of his novel The Truth, which deals with the printing press and newspapers coming to his Discworld. I never guessed it was based, however loosely, on a real person.

The polls are closed.

Okay, just the first poll. And the final results, on the question of how cool the polling feature is...

6 people think it "Cool as the other side of the pillow"
2 people think it "Not as cool as me"
2 people think it "Why can't you make it a post instead of in the sidebar?"
1 person thinks it "Supa-fly"
But no one thought it was "This is D-U-M, dumb"

I think I'll hold off until next Sunday to create the next. That will give me time to think up a question of more moment than this and allow the poll to run for a week and not end at an odd time like late Tuesday night.

I can't say it any better.

A leader of the Democrats says it is in his party's best interests for the US to lose in Iraq. I'm dead serious.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Why this word?

Because after reading through about 30 variations on the word "adopt", I was ready to choose anything remotely interesting or out of the ordinary. Deal with it.


The grain used in sacrifices, spelt.

Okay, last baseball post today.

I find myself often wondering about unlucky pitchers. They are so often tagged for things that aren't really their fault. Pitchers are the only players who have the team's wins and losses as an integral part of their stats. For example, Randy Johnson had about 5 of the unluckiest games in a row in 1999.

I did a search to see if a team has ever lost a game after its starter had thrown at least 7 innings without allowing a hit or a walk. Not in the last 50 years. Okay, how about 6 innings. Nada. 5 innings? Nope. 4 innings? Yes, but only one. (And he was a Mariner, wouldn't you know it?) The box score information doesn't say if he was hurt or if he had a high pitch count already, but Matt Young was lifted after 4 innings on October 1st, 1983. Despite not allowing a walk or a hit, he ended up with the loss because the M's were down 1-0 at that point. How?

In the top of the 4th, after getting the first batter to ground out, Carlton Fisk reached on an error by the third baseman. He then went to third when the next play was also an error on the third baseman. After a strikeout, Fisk scored on a passed ball by the catcher, and hey presto! Down 1-0 on no hits, no walks and no ER. Young struck out the next batter to get out of the inning, but the M's went on to lose 9-3. The lesson here? You won't lose if your pitcher can keep from giving up a hit or a walk for at least the first 4 innings. Unless you're the Mariners.

Take yer base!

Not that it will do you any good. Mel Stottlemyre walked 11 through 8 and a third and still recorded, not just the win, but a 2-0 shutout! Only 11 times since 1957 has a team walked 9 batters or more and still shutout the opposing team in 9 innings.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

They scored how many?

I was playing with BR.com's Play Index and decided to find out what the worst loss was in a game where a team only surrendered unearned runs. I figured it wouldn't be too high, 6 or 7 runs. Nope. The worst loss a team has suffered while having its pitchers improve it's ERA is 16-4. The Mets clobbered the Astros on July 27, 1985. Yes, that's right. 16 unearned runs. Not only that, it's only one of four games with more than 7 unearned runs. The Yankees once beat the Twins 10-6 on only unearned runs, Seattle beat Oakland 9-6 and the Indians beat the White Sox 8-4. Crazy. Interestingly, Houston has also given up the greatest number of unearned runs while giving up no earned runs and still managing to win. They won 9-8 over San Francisco in 1981.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Mmmmm... Ethnic food.... *drooling noise*

Oh, man. I'm not even hungry right now and this stuff sounds good.

adobo, n.

1. In Filipino cookery: a spicy stew, typically consisting of pork, poultry, or seafood cooked in a vinegar-based sauce, seasoned with garlic, soy sauce, bay leaves, and peppercorns.

2. Chiefly in Latin American cookery: a piquant spice mixture, marinade, or sauce. Also attrib., esp. in adobo sauce.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Seems rather pointless, I do confess.

As rah-rah! as I am for feminine forms of words to get more use, I have to say this one doesn't seem like it would be terribly useful.


A female admonitor; a monitress.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Maybe I've never understood it properly.

But it seems to me that Ephesians 6:4 has a different sense for this word than those listed in the OED. What do you think?


1. The action of admonishing; authoritative counsel; warning, implied reproof.

2. An act of admonishing; a warning, reproof; an utterance or statement of grave counsel or censure, esp. of ecclesiastical censure.

Two down, one to go.

I recently watched The Hidden Blade, the second of three samurai movies from director Yoji Yamada. The first, Twilight Samurai, was an excellent film. The second was also good, but it didn't strike me as forcefully as the first. I'm not certain exactly why that was, but I have several ideas.

I recall the main character in Twilight Samurai to be a better person, more worthy of respect and emulation. (Though I only saw the movie once and it was some time ago.) He behaved consistently throughout the film, whereas the protagonist of The Hidden Blade seemed to jump out of character near the end. There also seemed to be some very similar elements in both movies, though a lot of that may have been deliberate, since although the movies are not exactly a trilogy, they are all made to be part of a "set", if you will.

Overall, though, it was a very good movie and dealt well with the period and characters. I hesitate to say too much about it because I wouldn't want to spoil it for anyone. I'd recommend it to anyone who likes good movies, it's not what one might think of when one thinks of samurai movies. It's no Zatoichi film, that's for sure. Little fighting, a lot of character development and a definite, believable love interest. My only real regret about these movies? That Love and Honor, the final film released in 2006, isn't available in the US yet.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Forget this "-ed" nonsense.

I like words like this which seem that they ought to be one way, but in fact would be incorrect if spelled in the conventional and expected manner.

admixt, ppl. a.

Mingled with; added as an ingredient.

Century mark.

I have made my century (ooh, cricket lingo!) in books for the year now. Book 100 is Neuromancer by William Gibson. It was pretty forgettable, but it was a short and quick read. Borrowed it from a friend who had pretty much the same opinion, I think. And this is the perfect occasion to compare the first 100 books this year to the same thing last year.

Last year, 53 of the first hundred books I read were books I had not read before. This year, the number is 51. That's pretty close, but interestingly I have read the exact same proportion of fiction and non-fiction in the first hundred books: 83 fiction to 17 non-fiction.

I'm reading just shy of 16 books a month on my current pace whereas last year through the end of July I was reading 13 books a month. This means I'm currently on pace to read 180 books this year which would only be two more than last year. Something odd there? Yeah, it means I picked up the pace dramatically last year starting in August. The last five months of 2006 I read better than 17 books a month. If not this year, than one of these years I'm going to read 200 books in a year.

(And by the time I've gotten around to posting this, I've finished book 101.)


Blogger has finally gotten with the times (for they are a-changin') and added polls as a feature on blogs. Sadly, they can only be placed on the periphery of the blog instead of in posts. That means that if I want old polls to persist, I have to leave them up... forever! Or cut and paste their results into a post. Extra clicking? Unacceptable! Still, I don't see why posts can't have polls in them. Surely it's not that hard. LiveJournal does it. Anyway, go ahead and vote. (And yes, I wrote the questions before I realized I could move it from the sidebar to the top of the blog, so you don't have to point out to me that it's not actually in the sidebar. I know already. Thank you.)

Monday, July 23, 2007

Encompassing multitudes

Perhaps I'm not understanding it properly, but sense 1c seems a bit broad to me.

admit, v.

To let come or go in, (1) willingly, as a person does, (2) by physical capacity as a thing. The secondary meanings are earlier in Eng. than the primary, for which native words were in use.
I. As the action of a voluntary agent.

1. To allow to enter, let in, receive (a person or thing). a. (to or into a place, real or ideal).

b. into any office, position, or relation; spec. in Law, into the possession of a copyhold estate.

c. to do anything.

d. into the number or fellowship of. Obs.

2. fig. To allow a matter to enter into any relation to action or thought. a. To consent to the performance, doing, realization, or existence of; to allow, permit, grant.

b. To allow or receive as valid or lawful; to acknowledge.

c. To accept as true, or as a fact, to concede.

d. With subord. clause. To allow, concede, grant (either from conviction, or for the sake of argument).

¶In these senses admit is sometimes followed by of.

e. admit to (something): to acknowledge (a weakness, etc.); to confess to (doing or being something).

II. As the action of an involuntary agent.

3. trans. To be the channel or means of admission to; to afford entrance, let in. Also absol.

4. To have the capacity to allow to enter, to have room for.

5. To allow of the co-existence or presence of; to lie open to, be capable of, or compatible with. a. trans. Obs. or arch.

b. with of.

Friday, July 20, 2007

I'm probably going to point out most of these.

I am fond of words that have forms that are specific to each sex. Too often, in a misguided attempt to efface as many differences between men and women as possible, masculine forms of words are used to apply to women when perfectly serviceable feminine forms exist. To call attention to them is my way of fighting back in small measure.


1. gen. A female administrator; an administratress.

2. spec. A woman appointed to administer the estate of an intestate.

¶The special meaning is the earlier; and it is due to its technical use as a legal term that the Latin form of the word has been retained, rather than the still earlier administress, and the later administratress and administratrice.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

I've got your back.

This puts me in mind of boats, simply because the sound and form remind me of "coracle", I think. Thank you, CS Lewis. Even though the most recent example is over 100 years old (1872) the word is not listed as archaic, obsolete or rare. From what I've been able to divine just from reading entries instead of looking for the precise definitions, as long as a word has been in use as late as the 19th century, it is considered a modern, current word. There may be other caveats about number of citations or something, but that's how it seems.


1. Anything that aids or supports; an auxiliary.

2. Law. Supporting or corroboratory evidence; that which, without forming complete proof in itself, contributes to prove a point. In Sc. Law, Any document or writing tending to prove the existence and tenor of a lost deed, which if it existed would have been full evidence.

3. Archæol. In pl. Ornaments which surround the figure on a medal or coin.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Why do people do this?

If you ever want to borrow one of my books, you must never, NEVER do this.


admarginate, v.

To add or note in the margin.

Baseball-y Goodness

My wife, for my birthday, generously gave me a subscription to Baseball Reference's Play Index. It's a neat database that has just about all play-by-play data for baseball games from 1957 to yesterday. You can search stat totals for seasons and careers back as far as when stats started being kept; that is to say, about 120 years. It's updated each day with the previous day's stats so it is almost truly up-to-the-minute. What good is it? For example, I was with my friend the other day and was showing it to him and pointed out that it allowed one to quickly find such things as "From 1957 to 2007, Most IBB in a single game". Andre Dawson was intentionally walked 5 times in 8 plate appearances to top the list, but that took 16 innings. Only Barry Bonds has had 4 IBB more than once, and he's the only one to have 4 in a 9 inning game. No one who's had 4 IBB in a game has only had IBB for their plate appearances. My favourite part of this query, however, is that Gary Templeton racked up 4 IBB from the 8th spot in the batting order, everybody else was batting cleanup. (He's also the only non-outfielder or DH on the list.)

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Wingin' it.

I've wondered about the original meaning of this phrase. Latin, obviously, but what did it literally mean? Now I know.

ad lib.

abbrev. of AD LIBITUM advb. phr.

B. adj. Extemporized, improvised, spontaneous, unrehearsed. orig. U.S. Also as n., something spoken or played extempore (chiefly U.S.).

ad libitum, advb. phr.

At one's pleasure; to the full extent of one's wishes, as much as one desires. In Music opposed to obbligato.

Hence as adj.

Book Update

I didn't do a mid-year reading review as I had intended. I've been playing a lot of WoW, and that honestly is what does the most to prevent blogging. A lot of the time I'm on the computer, I'm adventuring in Azeroth.

I have other excuses too, in case you're interested. I changed shifts at work and start nearly 7 hours earlier than I used to. "I ran out of gas. I, I had a flat tire. I didn't have enough money for cab fare. My tux didn't come back from the cleaners. An old friend came in from out of town. Someone stole my car. There was an earthquake. A terrible flood. Locusts. IT WASN'T MY FAULT, I SWEAR TO GOD!" Ahem. Yes, well. This also means that I haven't been keeping up with my other blog hardly at all either. Which is too bad, since I was going to celebrate having 100 posts there, but then I kinda stopped posting (see above) and then it seemed tacky to make a big thing out of the 100 posts.

Right, so... books. Halfway through July I've read 96 books, which is ahead of where I was at the end of July last year. Unfortunately for my efforts to keep pace with last year, I really went on a tear in August and September and even with being five books ahead of the pace at the moment with the potential to get farther ahead by the end of the month, from here I'll need to read 46 books in August and September just to stay even with last year. I don't know if that's going to happen. A big part of why I've been able to read so many books this month is because I took a week off of work and so I won't have to be back at work again until Sunday.

Monday, July 16, 2007


Such an interesting system. It would be like allowing each state of the US to have a seat at the table for treaty and trade negotiations. Chaos would ensue. It's a wonder the German Empire lasted as long as it did.


The right formerly claimed by the states of the German Empire of associating delegates or ambassadors of their own with those of the emperor in treaties and negotiations relating to the public concerns of the empire; hence distinguished from legation or the sending of envoys on the private affairs of each state.

Friday, July 13, 2007


Here's a fun word. It started out as a corruption and misspelling of another word and then gained use with a meaning derived from the etymological construction of the word as it had been misspelled!


lit. A helper, an assistant.

As first used in 1647, only a bad spelling of AGITATOR, originating with soldiers familiar with adjutants (often pronounced and occas. written AGITANT) and the adjutors of 1642. But writers unacquainted with the function of these ‘agitators,’ mistook adjutator (understood in its etymological sense) for the proper form. Hence, it has been occas. used in the general sense of ‘helper.’

Thursday, July 12, 2007

You thought it was just a "nozzle".

Interestingly, though both this word and "adjust" are derived from the French this one retained a spelling reminiscent of French and a specialised usage.

adjutage, ajutage

lit. An adjustment, adaptation, or addition: hence in Hydraulics, A tube adapted or adjusted to a pipe or aperture through which water passes, so as to determine the character of the jet; the efflux-tube or mouthpiece of an artificial fountain.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Oaths and Curses

But not profanity!

A word we could use nearly everyday, really. We don't think of it that way, but people often say "Promise me that..." I don't know about threatening them with curses though.

adjure, v.

1. To put (one) to his oath; ‘to impose an oath upon another, prescribing the form in which he shall swear,’ J.; to bind under the penalty of a curse. Obs.

2. To charge or entreat (any one) solemnly or earnestly, as if under oath, or under the penalty of a curse. Const. inf. or subord. clause.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Justice is served.

This word always has an ominous sound to me. Like it should be a pro wrestler's stage name. "Undertaker vs. Adjudicator! Live Sunday in from the Monster Dome! In a Steel Cage!" Don't forget the fried chicken.


One who adjudicates; who settles a controverted question, or awards the prize in a competition.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Mmmm, so tasty it's... it's....

Sounds kinda like a Homer Simpson word to me.

adjectitious, a.

Of the nature of adjection or addition; additional.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Stupid Blogger!

I rarely say anything nice about Blogger, and the reason is that I'm a selfish, evil man. No, it's actually because I take it for granted. Sure there are things that could be modified that would make it better, but not too many really. Usually it works pretty smoothly, it's available whenever I want it to be and so I only really think I need to say something about it when something is wrong.

Like now. When I go to create a new post, I tried to click in the "Title" box to get the cursor there. It didn't work. After fiddling with it for a while, I found that the space that is clickable has been shrunk down to near non-existence and so one has to move the mouse just so to get the cursor there. Or hit Tab 21 times. Yeah. Stupid Blogger.

A little something for you.

This is for you. But everyone else might be interested too.

Friday, July 06, 2007

We're at it again.

Everyone loves a pun, neh?


1. An approach; spec. a horizontal opening by which a mine is entered, or drained.
2. The action of approaching or coming to; access, entrance, approach.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

This is my readership, apparently.

I am forced to this conclusion since I had no responses to my query a few days previous.

adiaphorist, n. and a.

A. n.

1. One indifferent about points of theological discussion; an indifferentist, or latitudinarian.

2. Eccl. Hist. A member of a sect so called; moderate Lutherans, who held some things, condemned by Luther, to be indifferent or non-essential.

B. adj. Theologically indifferent.

Think you have a bad tan line?

It's nothing. Check this guy out.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Finland, Finland, Finland!

"The country where I want to be!" Finnish has about 56 different cases in its language. Well, perhaps not 56, but some substantial number at any rate.

Happy Independence Day!

adessive, a.


Denoting the case used (in Finnish, etc.) to express position in or presence at a place.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

A new movie review? No! Really?

Okay, so it's the review that's new, not the movie. I have a two year-old and a 6 month-old. I don't go to movies at the theater. It just doesn't happen, man. And, in fact, it took two separate viewings over two different evenings to get through this one film. Ah, life as a parent.

I finally got to see The Illusionist, which was out in theaters close to a year ago now. (The Prestige, which came out around the same time, will probably take close to another month to arrive from on hold at the library.) It wasn't a bad movie. I don't think Jessica Biel is a great actress, and I don't think she's stunningly beautiful either, but I am a fan of Paul Giamatti and Edward Norton who figured largely in the film and I think Rufus Sewell has been quite good in the few films in which I have seen him. He seems to get typecast as a villain, unfortunately, because his turn as the hero was interesting in the under-appreciated Dark City (which also featured Kiefer Sutherland in a role very unlike that of Jack Bauer).

The Illusionist wasn't a bad film, as I said, but it suffered from what I thought was a weak plot and ill-defined characters. The actors mentioned above did the best they could, and the magic was enjoyable (particularly in that it wasn't all just explained away, I do like not knowing how the tricks are done, for the most part), and the twist might have surprised me more if I hadn't had time between seeing the beginning and the end to puzzle out what was going to happen. It's worth a rental for the fun of the movie, but it isn't worth adding it to your shelf.

Do you have any flaws?

"I cried aloud with mirth and merriment." (Or, "LOL", as the kids say.)

Getting into the weeds.

I won't pretend to be familiar with the various theological arguments involved here, but this seems reasonable to me on first blush. Though I don't know that I think it a terribly important doctrinal issue. Perhaps someone can enlighten me on the debate over this topic?


Eccl. Hist.

One who held the real presence of Christ's body in the Eucharist, but not by transubstantiation.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Known Unkowns

Not unknown unknowns. Or even unknown knowns or known knowns. And now that word looks really bizarre.

adespota, n. pl.


Literary works not attributed to (or claimed by) an author.
Orig. used as a title of collections of anonymous Greek poetry.