SHARK: an expert who holds great power and releases it cautiously


There are many definitions for the word shark, beginning with the long-nosed, vicious fish with the sharp teeth that terrorizes swimmers off Cape Cod.  And then, there is of course the wonderful idiom, “jump the shark”  which owes its existence to the personage of Fonzie who waterskiied  over the shark in Hawaiian waters and gave […]

TAXONOMY: the science or technique of classification.


One way to corral and understand complex systems is to break them down into categories which make sense.   For instance, a company that markets a specific product may want to identify the various categories of customers: everyday customers infrequent customers one-time customers special orders In doing this, the marketing techniques employed to reach these various […]

PROTOTYPE: the original model upon which something is based


The term prototype seems to be used most frequently in the automobile industry.   That doesn’t mean anything in terms of rates of favorability.   It is only a commentary on our interest level.   Magazines publish material that they are sure people want to see.   Few of us are interested in the latest prototype, for instance, of […]

PIEDS- A -TERRE [pee-EY-duh-TAIR]: a residence, as an apartment, for part-time or temporary use.

pied a terre

      French words that find their way into English are frequently so obscure as to frustrate readers who stumble upon them.  Not so much with today’s word pieds-à-terre, which (literally) translates as “feet on the ground.” It is not uncommon for management people in business to say they want a company person “on […]

ZEITGEIST [TSAHYT-gahyst] : what’s happening in a specific environment at a particular time

Wikipedia says zeitgeist is “ the general cultural, intellectual, ethical, spiritual, or political climate within a nation or even specific groups, along with the general ambiance, morals, sociocultural direction, and mood associated with the current era.”   That’s a lot of words, but they make sense.   Zeitgeist is a term that comes directly from the German […]

DIURNAL: active during the day (as opposed to nocturnal)

My wife reports that one of the symptoms of dementia may be a confused diurnal/nocturnal schedule.   When this occurs, the patient wants to sleep during the day and to roam and be active during the night.   Light doesn’t seem to matter.  In the confusion of the mind the time clock within the patient/resident is reversed.  […]