Friday, January 30, 2015


I had errands to do today which required being out and about in my vehicle.  Our city fathers have seen fit to place traffic signals at most of the intersections on the streets I traveled. As my luck would have it, I spent quite a bit of time waiting for lights to turn green so that I could proceed.  During one of those waits, I idly observed the vehicles passing on a particularly busy cross street.  After watching dozens, if not hundreds, of cars, trucks, and buses pass by, it suddenly occurred to me that white-walled tires seem to have disappeared. I paid more careful attention at subsequent stops and can report that (at least today), on the possible thousand vehicles to which I paid attention, I did not spot a single one (white wall tires, that is. I did spot the vehicles.)

Sic transit gloria tires.

Tomorrow is also a day.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

The Oxford English Dictionary

As is my wont, when there are not pressing matters that must be attended outside my home at an early hour, I start each day playing games on the computer.  Free Cell and Bookworm are my go-tos, both of which are my homemade tests for judging my present mental acuity.  I am convinced that if I can make it through Freecell and make a decent score on Bookworm, my mind is working reasonably well and I can proceed with the day.  If I have difficulties, I convince myself that another cup of coffee will sharpen my mind to the point that I can make it through the day without doing myself any major damage.

This morning, as I was playing Bookworm, I marveled again, as I have literally hundreds of time in the past, at the richness of the English language.  So many words; simple, complex, beautiful words! As I posted early in my blog, I have been in love with words since I was a teenager, inoculated with the love of words virus by my high school English teacher.

I discovered the Oxford English Dictionary when I was a freshman in college. Having been exposed to dictionaries only the the form of the latest Webster's,  I was amazed at the wealth of information on word roots and origins and the first use of words in the English language contained in the OED.  As I was not very socially inclined at that time in my life, I spent many, many hours in the college library, where the 20 volumes of the OED sat on top of one of the long tables. I spent hours perusing those books.  I'd like to be able to say that I had read the entire OED, but I fear that, even at my advanced age, I might have made it through, perhaps, a dozen volumes by now.

[Wikipedia information on the OED, may be found here:]

A book that has managed to stay for over 30 years in my sadly diminishing personal library is the story of the creation of the Oxford English Dictionary. It is a biography of James Murray, editor of the original OED, written by his granddaughter, K. M. Elizabeth Murray, and first published by Yale University Press (1977). My well-worn paperback copy was published by Oxford University Press in 1979.  Oh... it's title?  CAUGHT IN THE WEB OF WORDS. If you love words, or simply have a curiosity about the OED, I highly recommend it to you.

It's bitterly cold here today.I left my taps dripping last night, and was pleased to have both cold and hot water this morning. Although the weather is not as brutal as it is in some parts of the U.S., it's more than cold enough for us southerners. If there is a good side to it, it's cold enough to kill the remaining mosquitoes and, hopefully, most of the ticks and chiggers. Fortunately, it is just cold; no precipitation.  That's due to move into our area on Saturday evening.  I expect icy roads  at church time on Sunday.  We shall see what we shall see.

Tomorrow is also a day.