Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Did you ever know a cow that wasn't?

For those not in the know, Tillamook is a regional dairy company well-known in the Pacific Northwest for very high-quality cheese, ice cream, etc.

My wife was flipping through some advertisements yesterday and said "Oh, Tillamook beef jerky." (Pause) "What we do when the cows run dry."

After picking myself off the floor a minute later and finally getting my laughter under control, I found that, sadly, this was not really their slogan.

What is the proper technique?

For those of you without children, I thought I'd share some of my knowledge and hard-earned experience on what some good ideas and bad ideas are. Check it out.

(Thanks to the ever invaluable Toshi Station.)

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Changes (Maybe)

I'm thinking of locking this blog away so it can be read by invitation only. That way, I can be a bit more frank about some things. (Or so the world at large can't notice that I don't post very often.) Thoughts? Anyone? Bueller?

Pallbearing and other traditions

An excellent post from First Things.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Somehow, I have less time.

I'm not sure what it is about my new job, but it feels like I have a lot less time lately. I read hardly at all, I don't play WoW except a bit on the weekends and I feel tired all the time. It's probably partly a result of changing my schedule rather dramatically, but I wonder if there's more to it.

Holly reminded me in the comments to the previous post but one, that the 22nd marked the fifth anniversary of my starting this blog. It's a nice milestone, I guess, but at the same time I'm not sure that the blog itself has much value, so what does the milestone matter? On the other hand, sometimes things are lent a gravity merely by virtue of their age. On the other hand, ("They gave each other a pledge. Unheard of! Absurd!") five years really isn't all that long. Maybe ten will mean a bit more? We'll see.


Next generation technology... today!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Belated book reviews

I'm falling way, way behind with the book reviews I intended to do. I don't think I've done one since last November or something and I've read quite a few new books since then.

So, with no further ado, book reviews in brief.

The Philosophy of Tolkien by Peter Kreeft was pretty good. It was less about formal philosophy than a look at how Tolkien's Catholicism informed his writing of The Lord of the Rings. It was a good book because Kreeft is an engaging writer and was able to make some good points about how the basic philosophy of Christianity was present throughout the work even if it isn't obvious to the casual reader.

The Mother of the Mountains
is the 21st collection of Stan Sakai's comic Usagi Yojimbo. Honestly, I wasn't enthralled. Sakai added another recurring villain (or two, if you count the evil advisor who appeared in the previous book as well as this one) who survived an enormous explosion against improbably odds and was last seen swearing revenge against our heroes. I dunno, I guess I was happy with the number of unresolved plots and persistent villains already and I don't think adding another one makes it better. I understand that it's a comic book and most comics are predicated around stories that never get resolved, but shouldn't it be possible to have stories that get resolved and just have new ones?

Modern Times by Paul Johnson was probably the best book I read in all of 2007. He did an excellent job of giving a brief history of the world for the past 70 or 80 years. He showed how the various incarnations of totalitarianism that have cropped up around the world got started, and I found it very informative about the rise of Islamic extremism and why the Third World got the way it did. Like all his books it was very clearly written and avoided the dullness that often comes with treating such a topic.

I also read Paul Johnson's Heroes. I had high expectations since I liked the first two books in the "series": Intellectuals and Creators as well as the rest of the books I've read by him. Sadly, this was not nearly up to snuff. He spends the introduction redefining the meaning of "hero" so that he can fit in a bunch of people that wouldn't otherwise qualify. I mean, Marilyn Monroe as a heroine? Hostesses as heroes? Maybe it's just me, but a greater degree of physical or moral courage is necessary to qualify, I think.

The Japanese Navy in World War II is a collection of essays about various battles and aspects of the war written by Japanese naval officers who were involved. It was interesting to read the stories of the war from their perspective and to see the reasons they adduce for why the war was lost. Probably only of interest to the serious history buff, but since I am one, I thought it was great.

I read Fathers and Sons by Turgenev on something of a whim. It was okay. The book was very well-written, but I didn't find it very interesting. Most of the characters weren't amiable though the ending wasn't predictable. It was a short read and I think I might like some of his short stories better. I've always been partial to short stories and Paul Johnson spoke well of them in Intellectuals.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Not a dipthong

I'm particularly fond of words with an "-ish" suffix. They always seem a little less than real and serious to me.

aguish, a.

1. Of the nature or character of an ague.

2. Having a tendency to produce ague.

3. Subject to ague.

4. fig. Resembling an ague, in shakiness or intermittency;    a. quaking, shivering, shaky;    b. coming by fits and starts.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Ain't you never played cricket before?

The second meaning is perhaps a play on the traditional ineptitude of rustic folk. Interesting that this particular word was chosen, I think.

agricultural, a.

a. Of or pertaining to agriculture; connected with husbandry or tillage of the ground.

b. slang. Applied to a clumsy stroke in cricket.

c. agricultural ant: a species of ant, such as the Pogonomyrmex barbatus of Texas, that clears the vicinity of its nest of verdure or herbage except for that on which it feeds.

Monday, January 14, 2008

*mumble, mumble, mumble*

Apropos, I think. The word sounds about what you would sound like were you in this state. From the Greek.

agomphious, a.


Friday, January 11, 2008

Madame Tussaud, please call your office

Another interesting etymology. This word comes from the Greek for leading or guiding.

agogic, a.

1. Of or pertaining to modelling in wax.

2. Mus. [G. agogik (Riemann 1884).] Applied to a kind of accent consisting in a lengthening of the time-value of the note. Also agogical a. So agogics, the use of agogic accents.

Fun pictures!

Admittedly, these will be most interesting if you also play WoW, but it is my blog.

First is a screen cap of the final score in a PvP game in the Eye of the Storm. Behind by a few hundred points most of the game to the stinky hu-mans and their allies we managed to capture three of the four towers near the end and pulled to within a hundred of them. We had been having trouble capturing the flag the whole game, but we got one right at the end and pulled ahead of the allies at the very last minute. How last minute?


The next is from another PvP session, this one in Arathi Basin. Not quite so close. In fact, we rushed the resource points so fast that it was a close thing that they scored AT ALL.

Yeah, that's correct, only 30 points. We bottled them up in their base so fast we were in and out with our victory in a mere 6 minutes. And, do please note, this was with a PuG, not a pre-made.

Lastly, I was involved in a strange zeppelin accident over the mountains of Alterac.

My zeppelin seems to have been involved in some sort of Star Trek-like transporter accident with another zep. It was weird, several times I went to the trip screen and then exited over Alterac on a zep that wasn't moving and was mixed up with another. Very strange.

Listening to: Cake - Comfort Eagle - 03 - Shadow Stabbing
via FoxyTunes

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Chef Boyardee doesn't count

Makes me hungry.

agnolotti, n. pl.

A variety of pasta in the shape of small half-moons or squares, filled with minced meat, and served either in broth or with a sauce. Cf. RAVIOLI n. pl., TORTELLINI n. pl.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Bite me

But are they strictly non-venomous? Or do they merely lack the distinctive teeth?

aglyphous, a.


Of a snake's tooth: solid, without a groove for venom. Of a snake: (belonging to a group Aglypha) having such teeth.

Hence (as a back-formation) aglyph, an aglyphous snake.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

The poet Burns

"Dismiss the poet Burns from your mind, Jeeves."



Asquint, askew, awry.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Piqued my interest

This was one of the first unusual words I learned. I read about this somewhere when I was a child and it opened my eyes to the fact that English has a word for just about everything. I had no idea prior to this that there was a particular name for the ends of one's shoelaces.

aglet, aiglet

1. The metal tag of a lace (formerly called point), intended primarily to make it easier to thread through the eyelet-holes, but afterwards also as an ornament to the pendent ends.

2. Hence, An ornament consisting a. properly, of a gold or silver tag or pendent attached to a fringe; whence b. extended to any metallic stud, plate, or spangle worn on the dress.

c. esp. A tagged point, braid, or cord, hanging from the shoulder upon the breast in some military and naval uniforms. In this sense now officially treated as Fr., and written aiguillette.

3. ‘Still used in haberdashery, and denotes round white stay-laces.’ Drapers' Dictionary 1882.

[So in mod.Fr. aiguillette has passed from the tag to the lace or cord, as point did in Eng.]

4. Herb. Any pendent part of a flower resembling the prec., esp. a. A catkin of hazel, birch, etc. b. An anther (only in Dicts., and perh. erroneous).

5. A fragment of flesh hanging by the skin. Hence, a scrap, a shred. (Cf. Fr. découper un canard par aiguillettes, Littré.) Obs.

6. Comb. aglet-babie, ? A doll or (grown-up) ‘baby’ decked with aglets. (Explained by some as an aglet shaped like a human figure. Johnson defines aglet as ‘A tag of a point curved into some representation of an animal, generally of a man,’ but no quotations have been found bearing out this statement, which was perhaps merely hazarded as an explanation of aglet-babie); aglet-headed, having a head resembling an aglet; aglet-hole, a hole for passing a lace through, an eyelet-hole.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Here's another such.

Another installment in the "Words You Didn't Know Had Feminine Suffixes" series.


A female agitator.

Sugar and Butter

They are two of the foundation ingredients in holiday goodness. We're a little late getting around to it, but my wife and I made baklava tonight as well as an extra batch of buckeyes. (Well, mostly. The buckeyes still need to be dipped in chocolate.)


This is my kind of holiday. I'm certainly going to celebrate.

Listening to: The Academy Of Ancient Music - The Academy Of Ancient Music - 06 - Suite No. 1 in C major, BWV 1066, I. Overture
via FoxyTunes

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Making it easy

Interesting that this meaning arose from a word in Italian meaning "ease".


1. The percentage of charge made for the exchange of paper-money into cash, or for the exchange of a less valuable metallic currency into one more valuable; hence, the excess value of one currency over another.

2. loosely, Money-changing, exchange-business.

3. Comb. agio-jobber.

Samuel Johnson said:

"Every man thinks meanly of himself for not having been a soldier, or not having been at sea."

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Double mystery

An unknown word for items of unknown provenance.

aggry, aggri

A word of unknown origin and meaning, applied to coloured and variegated glass beads of ancient manufacture, found buried in the ground in Africa; they closely resemble the glain neidyr or adder stone of the Britons.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Gain it, hold it.

I wouldn't have guessed that this word would have the implications that it does. Interestingly, there isn't any mention of the common usage I see in World of Warcraft which sticks much more strictly to the very first part of the definition. Perhaps there will be an addition later if the word persists in the gaming vernacular.



Aggravation, aggression; deliberate trouble-making or harassment (esp. formerly by skinhead gangs: see BOVVER), violence, trouble; annoyance, inconvenience.

Okay, here's the deal.

I'm way behind, yes, I know. But I'm not going to give in. I'm going to start trying to post two or more words a day until I catch up. That's the plan. I'm really unwilling to give this up or have it be a really sporadic blog. It's time-consuming, but I do enjoy it so. Right then.

EDIT 03/03/08: I've been working on this for a few days, and now my link to the OED is broken. Events conspire against me.

Listening to: The Jelly Jam - The Jelly Jam, The - 09 - You Don't Need Me Anyway
via FoxyTune

Life, Stuff and Books

The changes I referred to in the immediately previous post have to do with books both directly and indirectly. Directly: I am now a librarian! Well, okay, it's merely an unpaid, volunteer librarian of my church's small library, but let's not quibble over such a beauteous thing, neh? A month or so ago, the current church librarian passed the baton (late-stamp? card catalogue?) on to me since he was ready for a break after having overseen the library for a decade. About the next thing that happened was that much of our church was re-carpeted and so all the books got mixed up and out of order in being moved out of the library and then back in. Rather than being depressed by this, I look on it as being a marvelous opportunity to do a catalogue of all the books and then get them on LibraryThing. After that, I'll worry about setting up some policies to see if I can't get materials returned in a more timely manner. (Some things have been checked out for more than ten years. Truly, it takes faith to believe that we're getting that stuff back, heh.)

The other change, which will affect my reading indirectly, is that I was given a promotion at work to a new job. I'm really excited and pleased about it, and I think it will be good in just about every way. I think the work will be more challenging, more rewarding, the pay is better, the hours will allow me to more easily manage the church library, spend more time with my family on weekends, start attending one of my church's weekly Bible studies, etc, etc. There are a lot of benefits to it, but the one downside will be that I'll probably end up with less free time to devote to reading. On the other hand, there may be some other low priority things I could cut back on: this blog, movies, WoW, sleep....

Anyway, I'm full of excitement at the start of this year. May it unfold with the fullness of the promise it now has and may the year also be prosperous and full of God's blessings for all of you.

Listening to: Metallica - Metallica - 01 - The Ecstasy Of Gold
via FoxyTunes

One more year and I'll have trends

Some (very minor) stat-geekery on my 2007 booklist.

82 of 161 were books I had read previously.
122 of 161 were fiction.
A mere 3 of the non-fiction books were books I had read previously, though this is 3 more than last year.
And thus 79 of the 122 fiction books were re-reads.

Fun times; this year's books will give me a third data point and we'll see if I continue to trend towards fewer books with more of them being fiction and that I have read previously. My guess is that trend will continue. I think I'll have less time to devote to new non-fiction this coming year for several reasons which I'll make known in the not-too-distant future. (For those who know me well, it's nothing you haven't already heard. I'm not about to become a father a third time over.)

Listening to: Gilbert and Sullivan - Mikado - 17 - Substitute
via FoxyTunes

Books read in 2007

Italicized titles are first time reads, of course. Some analysis and further figures to come in the next post.

1. Golden Fool by Robin Hobb
2. Fool's Fate by Robin Hobb
3. Aunts Aren't Gentlemen by PG Wodehouse
4. The Hell Stick by Kazuo Koike
5. Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
6. Persepolis 2 by Marjane Satrapi
7. Vile France by Denis Boyles
8. The Asimov Chronicles by Isaac Asimov
9. Asterix and the Soothsayer by Rene Goscinny
10. The Mansions of the Gods by Rene Goscinny
11. Asterix and the Black Gold by Albert Uderzo
12. World's Worst Historical Disasters by Chris McNab
13. Ship of Magic by Robin Hobb
14. Mad Ship by Robin Hobb
15. Portrait of Death by Kazuo Koike
16. Ten Fingers, One Life by Kazuo Koike
17. Shnko the Kappa by Kazuo Koike

18. Ship of Destiny by Robin Hobb
19. The Far Side of the World by Patrick O'Brian
20. Farewell, My Lovely by Raymond Chandler
21. Baseball Between the Numbers by Baseball Prospectus
22. The Ring of Words by Peter Gilliver, Jeremy Marshall and Edmund Weaver
23. Facing Life and Death by Kazuo Koike
24. A Couple of Jitte by Kazuo Koike
25. Post Captain by Patrick O'Brian
26. H.M.S. Surprise by Patrick O'Brian
27. The Bamboo Splitter by Kazuo Koike
28. The Death Sign of Spring by Kazuo Koike
29. The Ionian Mission by Patrick O'Brian
30. James A. Garfield by Ira Rutkow
31. Treason's Harbour by Patrick O'Brian


32. Jill the Reckless by PG Wodehouse
33. Epic Legends of the Magic Sword Kings by Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik
34. American Caesar by William Manchester
35. Do Butlers Burgle Banks? by PG Wodehouse
36. Money in the Bank by PG Wodehouse
37. Clutch of Constables by Ngaio Marsh
38. The Truelove by Patrick O'Brian


39. Dice: Decption, Fate, and Rotten Luck by Ricky Jay
40. Piccadilly Jim by PG Wodehouse
41. Very Good, Jeeves! by PG Wodehouse
42. Ideas Have Consequences by Richard Weaver
43. Freakonomics by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner
44. The Heart of a Goof by PG Wodehouse
45. Hot Water by PG Wodehouse
46. The Commodore by Patrick O'Brian
47. The Hundred Days by Patrick O'Brian
48. Half-Magic by Edward Eager
49. Magic by the Lake by Edward Eager
50. The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club by Dorothy Sayers
51. Clouds of Witness by Dorothy Sayers


52. Gaudy Night by Dorothy Sayers
53. Busman's Honeymoon by Dorothy Sayers
54. Summer Lightning by PG Wodehouse
55. Me, Myself and Bob by Phil Vischer
56. Summer Moonshine by PG Wodehouse
57. The Warsun Prophecies by Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik
58. Heavy Weather by PG Wodehouse
59. Murder Must Advertise by Dorothy Sayers
60. Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
61. A Gentleman of Leisure by PG Wodehouse
62. Going Postal by Terry Pratchett
63. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen


64. Pyramids by Terry Pratchett
65. The Case of the Blonde Bonanza by Erle Stanley Gardner
66. Two Clues by Erle Stanley Gardner
67. The Case of the Borrowed Brunette by Erle Stanley Gardner
68. The Case of the Fan-Dancer's Horse by Erle Stanley Gardner
69. The Case of the Crimson Kiss by Erle Stanley Gardner
70. America Alone by Mark Steyn
71. A Word or Two Before You Go... by Jacques Barzun
72. The Case of the Angry Mourner by Erle Stanley Gardner
73. The Case of Amorous Aunt by Erle Stanley Gardner
74. The Case of the Calendar Girl by Erle Stanley Gardner
75. The Letter of Marque by Patrick O'Brian
76. The Nutmeg of Consolation by Patrick O'Brian
77. The Reverse of the Medal by Patrick O'Brian
78. Objections Sustained by Phillip E. Johnson


79. My 50 Most Memorable Hands by Doyle Brunson
80. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
81. The Blonde in Lower Six by Erle Stanley Gardner
82. The Case of the Backward Mule by Erle Stanley Gardner
83. The Case of the Black-Eyed Blonde by Erle Stanley Gardner
84. Jingo by Terry Pratchett
85. The Bell Curve by Charles Murray and Richard Herrnstein
86. Flight 714 by Hergé
87. Red Sea Sharks by Hergé
88. Tintin in Tibet by Hergé
89. Destination Moon by Hergé
90. Explorers on the Moon by Hergé
91. Men At Arms by Terry Pratchett
92. Red Rackham's Treasure by Hergé
93. Interesting Times by Terry Pratchett
94. Small Gods by Terry Pratchett
95. Tintin and the Picaros by Hergé
96. The Calculus Affair by Hergé
97. My Man Jeeves by PG Wodehouse
98. Cigars of the Pharaoh by Hergé
99. Best Things In Life by Peter Kreeft
100. Neuromancer by William Gibson
101. Reaper Man by Terry Pratchett
102. Letter From a Christian Citizen by Douglas Wilson
103. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
104. The Little Nugget by PG Wodehouse
105. Letter to a Christian Nation by Sam Harris


106. The Coming of Bill by PG Wodehouse
107. The Inimitable Jeeves by PG Wodehouse
108. Uncle Dynamite by PG Wodehouse
109. Bilbo's Last Song by JRR Tolkien
110. The Annotated Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen and David Shapard
111. Damsel in Distress by PG Wodehouse
112. Thief of Time by Terry Pratchett


113. Witches Abroad by Terry Pratchett
114. Going Postal by Terry Pratchett
115. Our Culture, What's Left of It by Theodore Dalrymple
116. Star Wars On Trial by David Brin
117. Romancing Opiates by Theodore Dalrymple
118. The Immortal Game by David Shenk
119. The Nine Tailors by Dorothy Sayers
120. Life at the Bottom by Theodore Dalrymple


121. From Darwin to Hitler by Richard Weikart
122. In Defense of the Religious Right by Patrick Hynes
123. Crossing the Line by Alvin Kernan
124. Shadow Divers by Robert Kurson
125. Honor: A History by James Bowman
126. Submarine Diary by Corwin Mendenhall
127. The Horse and His Boy by CS Lewis
128. Battleground Atlantic by Richard Billings
129. Post Captain by Patrick O'Brian
130. H.M.S. Surprise by Patrick O'Brian


131. The Maruitius Command by Patrick O'Brian
132. Desolation Island by Patrick O'Brian
133. The Fortune of War by Patrick O'Brian
134. The Surgeon's Mate by Patrick O'Brian
135. Between Heaven and Hell by Peter Kreeft
136. The Ionian Mission by Patrick O'Brian
137. Geisha by Liza Dalby
138. Treason's Harbour by Patrick O'Brian
139. The Far Side of the World by Patrick O'Brian
140. The Reverse of the Medal by Patrick O'Brian
141. The Letter of Marque by Patrick O'Brian
142. The Thirteen-Gun Salute by Patrick O'Brian
143. The Nutmeg of Consolation by Patrick O'Brian
144. The Truelove by Patrick O'Brian
145. The Baseball Economist by JC Bradbury
146. The Wine-Dark Sea by Patrick O'Brian
147. The Commodore by Patrick O'Brian
148. The Yellow Admiral by Patrick O'Brian
149. 1920: The Year of Six Presidents by David Pietrusza
150. The Hundred Days by Patrick O'Brian
151. Making Money by Terry Pratchett

152. The Philosophy of Tolkien by Peter Kreeft
153. The Mother of the Mountains by Stan Sakai
154. The Blue Lotus by Hergé
155. The Shooting Star by Hergé
156.The Crab with the Golden Claws by Hergé
157. The Black Island by Hergé
158. Sam the Sudden by PG Wodehouse
159. Big Money by PG Wodehouse
160. Modern Times by Paul Johnson
161. The Japanese Navy in World War II edited by David C. Evans

Listening to: Tabor, Ty - Tabor, Ty - 02 - Better to be on Hold
via FoxyTunes