Sunday, June 16, 2013


The word of the day for June 16, 2013 is:  ambulatory


adjective \ˈam-byə-lə-ˌtȯr-ē\

1:  of, relating to, or adapted to walking; also : occurring during a walk

2:  moving from place to place : itinerant

3:  capable of being altered [a will is ambulatory until the testator's death]

4a:  able to walk about and not bedridden [ambulatory patients]
  b:  performed on or involving an ambulatory patient or an outpatient [ambulatory medical care] [an ambulatory electrocardiogram]
[ambulatory theatrical companies that brought live theater to small towns across America]

First Known Use:  1598

16th Green and 17th Tee & Green, Painted Hills Golf Course
Painted Hills Golf Course is open now.  I have been spending the afternoon watching the members pursuing the sport.  As I can see the course best from my Wii and they are mostly using carts, I believe I have been getting more exercise than the golfers.

One group, two men and a boy of about seven, rolled up to the tee area closest to my window in two carts fairly early.  Each of them teed-up two balls.  The adults’ shots both reach the green; the boy’s shots barely reached the “ladies” tee area.  Since I am only able to see three holes (the rest being on the other side of the rise to me) I am wondering if they are going to allow the boy any putting practice.

He reached another of those ambulatory bundles and examined it. It was a cripple with only one leg and one arm, but so legless and so armless that the complicated system of crutches and wooden legs on which he was supported gave him all the appearance of a scaffolding in motion. Grainier, who dearly loved noble and classical similes, compared him in his own mind to the living tripod of Vulcan.


Saturday, June 15, 2013


The word of the day for June 15, 2013 is:  opulent


adjective \-lənt\

:  exhibiting or characterized by wealth, affluence : abundance, profusion :  as (a) : having a large estate or property :  wealthy [hoping to marry an opulent widow] (b) :  amply or plentifully provided or fashioned often to the point of ostentation [living in opulent comfort]

[an opulent upper crust that liked to show off its possessions]
[an opulent mansion filled with priceless art and antiques]

From:  Latin opulentus, from ops power, help; akin to Latin opus work

First Known Use:  1523

The Great Gatsby (2013) Poster
The cinematography of this year’s remake of The Great Gatsby, based on F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel, is certainly evocative of the Jazz Age as the United States of America sees itself.  The image contrast of the wealthy and the poor is quite striking.  Both Vicki and I were a bit disconcerted by the occasional use of contemporary music, although it did seem to point out the similarities of the 1920s with the 2010s.

**Spoiler Alert**  I must have read Gatsby in High School, but I’ve slept since then.  The story seemed familiar and new at the same time.  Several of the characters needed—as my mother would put it—to be put in a sack and shaken.  I did remember that the story ended badly for everyone, including the narrator.

It’s nice to see Leonardo di Caprio as an adult.  In my opinion, he’s beginning to look a bit like Orson Welles and Marlon Brando as they matured:  still handsome yet without the wet-behind-the-ears look of extreme youth.

Lear—  To thee and thine hereditary ever
Remain this ample third of our fair kingdom;
No less in space, validity, and pleasure,
Than that conferr’d on Goneril. Now, our joy,
Although our last and least, to whose young
The vines of France and milk of Burgundy
Strive to be interess’d, what can you say to draw

A third more opulent than your sisters? Speak.


Thursday, June 13, 2013


The word of the day for June 13, 2013 is:  visitation


 noun \ˌvi-zə-ˈtā-shən\

1:  an instance of visiting: as  a :  an official visit (as for inspection)  b :  wake  c :  temporary custody of a child granted to a noncustodial parent [visitation rights]

2  a :  a special dispensation of divine favor or wrath  b :  a severe trial : affliction

3  capitalized : the visit of the Virgin Mary to Elizabeth recounted in Luke and celebrated July 2 by a Christian feast

He has visitation rights on the weekends.
the visitation of a diocese by a bishop
Visitation is from 8:00 to 10:00 a.m.

First Known Use of VISITATION:  14th century

Vicki's Backyard from the Patio 

Tonight I am staying with Vicki, because I am closing on my Wichita house tomorrow.  She apologized in advance for her house being “messy” because she has pictures sitting against the walls.  Not that I mind clutter.  (She hasn’t seen my apartment.  There are pictures stacked against the walls there—for the same reason, we both moved recently.)

We are planning on going to The Great Gatsby tomorrow evening.  Expect a review on Saturday.  Sunday I will be back in KC with the full intention of vegging out for at least—well, Tuesday I’m signed up for the Shamrock Club bus trip to the bakery and then Wednesday, I’m hosting Caitlin and Jenny for lunch, so—36 hours.

Our quote for the day is from The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).  Volume XIII. The Victorian Age, “Part One.  XIII. Lesser Novelists,  14. Mrs. Oliphant”:

Another region which Mrs. Oliphant’s art explored was the unseen world. In A Beleaguered City (1880), with eerie imaginative power she depicted the city of Semur in the department of the Haute Bourgogne, “emptied of its folk” by a visitation of the spirits of the dead, who move about in the streets with a disconcerting purposefulness not to be fathomed by the grosser intellects of men.

Monday, June 10, 2013


The word of the day for June 10, 2013 is:  orogeny


 noun \ȯ-ˈrä-jə-nē\

:  the process of mountain formation especially by folding of the earth's crust

First Known Use: 1890

My sister took me to the Kansas City Symphony yesterday.  It was the finale of the second season in their new building, which has echoes of the Sydney Opera House on the exterior, but the interior has amazing views across the city toward Union Station and the WWI Memorial.  I got to sit between George and Ringo (the next two seats down were labeled Paul and John.)

We heard Mozart’s Symphony No. 40 in G Minor—one of my favorites:  I did not vocalize, though it was a great effort to restrain myself.  Also, we heard Eine Alpensinfonie by Richard Strauss (not the Waltz King).  Strauss got it entirely right.  The opening sequence “Night” leads into “Dawn” so beautifully that one blinks when one realizes they did not actually bring the lights up.  …And the “Thunderstorm” was truly amazing!—wind machine, thunder sheet, extra horns behind the stage, the magnificent organ—WOW!

Afterward we went to Grünauer’s for dinner.  Excellent food—sorry no photos, we were too much in awe to take pictures before we ate.  We got apfelstrudel to take home.  It was also wonderfulness.

Our quote for the day from Sir Walter Scott. (1771–1832).  Guy Mannering:
On the whole, however, the Dominie, though somewhat fatigued with these mental exertions, made at unusual speed and upon the pressure of the moment, reckoned this one of the white days of his life, and always mentioned Mr. Pleydell as a very erudite and fa-ce-ti-ous person.


Saturday, June 8, 2013


The word of the day for June 8, 2013 is:  erudite


 adjective \ˈer-ə-ˌdīt, ˈer-yə-\

:  having or showing knowledge that is gained by studying :  possessing or displaying extensive knowledge acquired chiefly from books  :  profound, recondite, or bookish learning [an erudite scholar]

[the most erudite people in medical research attended the conference]
[an erudite lecture on the latest discoveries in astronomy]

Unexpected Treasure

Yesterday, I talked to Theresa SmithDirector of Family Life Ministries for St. Patrick's Catholic Church—about the various ministries available to members wishing to serve the parish.  We discussed Marian Mantle Group, Lectoring, and Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion.  She showed me around the sacristy and the sanctuary area, and we went over the details peculiar to St. Patrick’s Parish.  Of course, a refresher of the basics went along with this.  I’m going to have to keep in mind the number and depth of steps down from the ambo (reading stand), because it’s not a good idea to pitch headlong into the congregation before reverencing the altar/tabernacle—probably not afterward, either.

Theresa also gave me three books (parish policy, I think):  Made for More by Curtis Martin; The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic by Matthew Kelly; and United States Edition 2013 Workbook for Lectors, Gospel Readers, and Proclaimers of the Word by Mary A. Ehle, PhD and Margaret Nutting Ralph, PhD.  The staff at St. Patrick’s encourage educational reading on a regular basis.  I’m looking forward especially to reading The Four Signs, as Kelly is an engaging writer. St. Anne’s gave his Rediscover Catholicism to us as a Christmas present last year.  It is an excellent resource for both cradle Catholics and fledgling converts. 

Our quote for the day from Sir Walter Scott. (1771–1832).  Guy Mannering:
On the whole, however, the Dominie, though somewhat fatigued with these mental exertions, made at unusual speed and upon the pressure of the moment, reckoned this one of the white days of his life, and always mentioned Mr. Pleydell as a very erudite and fa-ce-ti-ous person.


Friday, June 7, 2013


The word of the day for June 7, 2013 is:  hirsute


adjective \ˈhər-ˌsüt, ˈhir-, ˌhər-ˈ, hir-ˈ\

1:  hairy
2:  covered with coarse stiff hairs hirsute

mask as part of his werewolf costume>

Latin hirsutus; akin to Latin horrēre to bristle — more at horror

First Known Use: 1621

The new hat, which is white, not pink
as it appears under the flash.
I had my hair cut by a new (to me) stylist yesterday.  She got enthusiastic and cut too much off the crown for my liking.  It isn’t really that bad; it will grow out nicely in a couple of days.  Also, it’s a great excuse to buy a new hat.

All my broad-brimmed, summer hats are in sad shape.  They should probably be destroyed—except for the one that I never wear because it doesn’t go with anything else I own, probably because it’s light blue and lacy and not my usual style.

Our quote for the day from William Makepeace Thackeray, (1811–1863),  Vanity Fair:

When Amelia stepped forward to salute him, which she always did with great trembling and timidity, he gave a surly grunt of recognition, and dropped the little hand out of his great hirsute paw without any attempt to hold it there.


Wednesday, June 5, 2013


The word of the day for June 6, 2013 is:  natal
adjective \ˈnā-təl\
1:  native
2:  of, relating to, or present at birth; especially:  associated with one's birth natal

Middle English, from Latin natalis, from natus, past participle of nasci to be born—more at nation
First Known Use:  15th century

Dad: Ralph Agar
My dad was born on June 6, 1919.  Had he lived, he would have been 94.  His generation managed to grow up without television or computers, but they knew how to create their own fun.  He was always coming up with something to entertain us and/or keep us occupied—either cheerfully or otherwise.

He was the one that got us started using waxed paper bread wrappers to make the playground slide more slippery.  One time he made spinners out of coat buttons and string.  Coat buttons work best because they are about one inch in diameter.  The best string was the heavy-duty sort used to tie packages—about twice the length of one’s outstretched arms.  He would thread the string through the button twice and tie it, making a continuous loop with the button in the center.  Holding the loop on either side of the button, one would spin the button; then, pull on both sides to make the button wind and unwind on the string.  This could go on for hours—we were easily amused.

Mother usually enjoyed Dad’s inventions, even the spinners, until the day we were all down on the floor of the living room running spinners on both hands and feet and from hand to foot like little starfish opening and closing with the tide, when the Methodist minister came to call.  Mother was mortified; Dad just handed Dr. Long one of the spinners.  We children scattered.

Our quote for the day from George Meason Whicher, "For the Eighth of December (The Birthday of Horace)":

This festal day, two thousand times returning,  Should light fresh fires on all the altar-sods.His natal day! we should set incense burning,
  And call—if gods there were—upon the gods.We, his good friends, right joyous should demean us,Like Horace on the birthday of Mæcenas


Tuesday, June 4, 2013


The word of the day for June 5, 2013 is:  decorate

dec·o·rate   transitive verb    \ˈde-kə-ˌrāt\

1:  to add honor to
2:  to furnish with something ornamental
3:  to award a mark of honor to
I always enjoy decorating the Christmas tree.
I decorated my apartment in dark colors.

Latin decoratus, past participle of decorare, from decor-, decus ornament, honor — more at decent

First Known Use:  1530

Picture Positioning Paper Pattern Production
The walls of my apartment are concrete.  This has advantages in high winds or the presence of noisy neighbors.  A disadvantage is in hanging pictures.  The management wants me to decide where the pictures will go; then, I am to write a work ticket for the maintenance crew to come drill holes.  A new friend among the residents suggests I get some of those sticky hangers.  Maybe I will try that, but I still have to decide where the pictures belong.

As part of my house-selling venture, I took all the pictures and wall-hangings down.  Many of them, I gave to the Knights of Columbus for use as bingo/door prizes.  Some of them I gave to my children or threw away.  Family photos came out of the frames (which went to the Disabled American Veterans) and are in my file drawers, waiting for me to scan them.  The plan is to make digital albums for the children.  I imagine they’ll be done about the time we find the missing text of the Force of Nature Cookbook.

From Maria Gowen Brooks (“Maria del Occidente”), “Zophiël” Palace of the Gnomes:
But whether in the sunbeam formed to sport,  These shapes once lived in suppleness and pride,And then, to decorate this wondrous court,
  Were stolen from the waves and petrified,
Or, moulded by some imitative Gnome,  And scaled all o’er with gems, they were but stone,Casting their showers and rainbows ’neath the dome,  To man or angel’s eye might not be known.