ROSH HASHANAH: a new year for humans, animals and contracts

The ram’s horn is sounded and the annual observance of the beginning of a new year is announced by Jews throughout the world.  The shofar is an ancient instrument removed from the head of a ram and sounded after some practicing to gain the skill of breath-creating sound. Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year has […]

NUTS!: an expression demonstrating surprise and displeasure

I’m disappointed, discouraged, and crestfallen (see yesterday’s blog.)  The Red Sox came sooooo close to pulling off a victory over the Orioles last night and working their way into the playoffs.  It came down to one pitch in the bottom of the 12th inning.  Unfortunately (for the Red Sox and their fans) it didn’t go […]

CRESTFALLEN: sad because of a recent disappointment

Literally the term crestfallen harkens back to Medieval times in England and Europe when a horse would be seen, following a defeat at battle, with its head hanging in apparent discouragement.  Its crest, or chest, would be seen as dragging, perhaps more out of exhaustion than anything else, but depicted by spectators as grieving a […]

RE-PURPOSING: repeating a previous posting

Someone online the other day was critical of Martha Stewart for repeating a column and illustration she had prepared a year or so ago.  The gist of the criticism was that it was disingenuous of Ms  Stewart to repeat a previously-published piece without identifying it as such.  Hmmmm.    That’s an interesting way of taking a […]

SKUNKED TERM: a phrase disputed due to changes in its meaning/use over time

The poor skunk gets a bad name everywhere despite the fact that it is one of the most beautiful animals around.  Its markings are distinctive and remarkable. But that’s not what I’m posting about today.  It just happens to be the word incorporated into a language note I discovered when researching the word flaccid.   I […]

PROTEIN: any of numerous, highly varied organic molecules constituting a large portion of the mass of every life form and necessary in the diet of all animals and other non-photosythesizing life forms*

STOP!  Don’t click off, thinking this is going to be a boring science posting.   I only use the definition and the illustration to be clear about what the word means.   That’s not the purpose of this posting. Rather, I want to share a dispute that floats around my family about the way that I pronounce […]