It’s like oxygen.

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Today’s Word of the Day is desideratum which means, “something desired as essential.” I would wager that most people consider their iPhones/Android devices to be their desideratum, seeing as they probably can’t go more than half an hour without obsessively checking it for something. As much grief as I give these people, my beloved sister is also lumped in with them, which is part of why it annoys me. I don’t own a smartphone; I’m still limping along with a Motorola flip-phone I got in 2007 or 2008. Part of it is because I don’t have the money for an iPhone, much as I’d like one, and the rest is because I don’t really need one. For me, it would be a nice treat to have, but it wouldn’t be a necessity.

What is your desideratum? Is it a specific food you couldn’t live without or a song you really love?

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“One small step for man…”

50 years ago today, human beings first walked on the moon. It was the greatest technological achievement of modern humanity next to the invention of the Internet. It scares me that people believe it didn’t really happen, that it was filmed on some Hollywood soundstage or out in Area 51 somewhere. I can’t imagine what kind of emptiness of imagination and intelligence one must possess to immediately doubt the veracity of anything that they can’t personally understand. I don’t know how the hell we got to the moon, but we did, and we did it more than once. It’s painful that Neil Armstrong isn’t still with us to celebrate the 50th anniversary of such a monumental achievement, but considering how private and retiring he was, if he was still with us, he wouldn’t want a ton of attention dumped on him. He said back in 1969 that the 400,000 people who got him to the moon were the real heroes, not him. The engineers, designers, mathematicians, even the women who sewed the spacesuits they wore. I know Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins probably feel the same way. At least they’re still here to help commemorate this. Speaking of, if you go to Google, the Google Doodle is all about the moon landing, and it’s narrated by Mike Collins. You should definitely check it out. It was very well done.

We’re changing things up.

Today’s Word of the Day is gnomic which means, “characterized by aphorism.” Hmm. I think this is the first time in Word of the Day history where I’ve had to look up what a word means in the definition of another word. So, aphorism means “a pithy observation that contains a general truth.” The example given was, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Certainly pithy. Definitely true. I’m still not exactly sure how best to use “gnomic” in a sentence, so I’m completely changing tack and dedicating today’s Musical Interlude Friday to three very special and important people. Tomorrow is the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing (I’ll be doing a special about it in the morning), so I thought, in honor of that, I’d play for you my all-time favorite song that has “moon” in the title. Now, you can argue who did it better amongst yourselves, but for me, the answer is clear. Here is “Fly Me to the Moon” by Tony Bennett. Enjoy!

Petites fleurs.

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Today’s Word of the Day is nosegay which means, “a small bunch of flowers.” A bridesmaid’s bouquet at a wedding would be considered a nosegay, though I think traditionally it describes something even smaller than that. I believe Victorian women used to carry them to hold up to their noses as a means of avoiding unpleasant odors whilst out in public. Similar to a posey, perhaps. I think if I had the ability to design my own nosegay, I’d pick a very unique assortment of blooms; lilacs, peonies, roses, and violets. Lots of competing scents, I know, but they’re my favorite flowers. The only one I have growing at my house are peonies. I’d love a rosebush and a lilac tree like I used to have outside our apartment in Chicago, but I have to make do with what I’ve got available.

We’re running out.

Today’s Word of the Day is dearth which means, “scarcity, famine, or lack.” I can think of more than a few things we have a dearth of in this country, sad to say. I was just reading an article this morning about a woman in Pennsylvania telling another woman she heard speaking Spanish, “I hope Trump deports you.” The woman was Puerto Rican; Puerto Ricans have been American citizens since 1917. If she left…she can come back. They have US Passports. That’s on top of the idiocy of assuming someone speaking Spanish must be undocumented. I speak Spanish. Want to throw ME out of the country? Oh wait, I’m white. So, let’s start with a basic sense of human decency. That’s #1 on the list of what this country has a terrifying lack of. Same goes for anyone calling the cops on a black person for no reason. Try not being piss-pants terrified of anyone whose skin color is darker than ecru.

To change subjects, yesterday I had to put my beloved cat Lucky to sleep. She was 19. She’d been fine up until a month ago when suddenly everything started going wrong at once. She was having accidents outside her litter box, her appetite began decreasing, she started losing a lot of weight, she was sleeping a lot more…then yesterday morning while I was trying to give her some water, she began having a seizure. The vet who examined her told us the laundry list of issues she had, telling us that cats have a way of coping so that it doesn’t show to their owners or to other animals; there’s no way we could have known until it tipped over. It was a difficult decision because I’ve had this cat my entire adult life. We took her in as a stray back in 2000 when she was only a couple of months old. So, from the ages of 18 to 37, she’s always been there. It was strange going to bed last night and not seeing her sleeping on my bed waiting for me. I’m dedicating today’s Musical Interlude Friday to her. Here is “Stray Cat Strut” by The Stray Cats. Enjoy!

Dial it back a notch.

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Today’s Word of the Day is ostentatious which means, “overly elaborate or conspicuous.” I think at one time in our lives, all of us have seen something or someone we would consider was decorated or dressed in an ostentatious manner. You know, in a way to deliberately provoke attention because of how gaudy or tacky it is. Black velvet paintings of dogs playing poker with Elvis would be ostentatious. So would Comrade Combover’s solid gold toilets. I’ve always had very simple tastes, so when things are too over the top it just turns me off. One look at my closet would bear that out. Lots of solid colors or basic prints, like stripes or polka dots. I sometimes wonder if people whose tastes run towards the eccentric are like that because they genuinely like it or because they like the attention it’ll bring them. Something tells me it’s more the latter than the former.

Heavenly bodies.

Today’s (well, Saturday’s) Word of the Day is planet which means, “a large body that revolves around the sun.” This is probably one of the easier Words of the Day I’ve written about in the last year or so. I think we all know what a planet is. We’re currently sitting on one. Oh, and for the skeptics out there, no, it’s not flat. The Earth is very much round. Well, it’s not perfectly spherical, it does bulge out a little at the Equator, but that’s because of the planet’s forward rotation on its axis. When I was younger, I was into all things astronomy. So was my sister. She even begged my father to buy a telescope for her for Christmas one year, which he did. I don’t know what happened to it, that was 20 years ago now, but we both got a lot of use out of it…when the weather allowed for it. Unfortunately, living in a large urban environment like Chicago, light pollution is a problem, so it’s difficult to see things with as much clarity as we can now that we live in a semi-rural area. The telescope wasn’t powerful enough to pick up deep space, so I never did to get see Saturn’s rings, but maybe one day.

BTW, in case you were ever curious — if you look up at the sky at night and see a bright point of light and it appears to be twinkling, that’s a star. If it isn’t twinkling, it’s a planet.

A new one on me.

Today’s Word of the Day is inkhorn which means, “ostentatiously learned.” This is another word to add to the “I’ve Never Heard of This Before” file. I actually had to look it up a second time just to see some examples of its usage so I had a better idea of what it meant. From what I’ve been able to learn, inkhorn words are words of a foreign borrowing used by English speakers that come across as pretentious or overly obnoxious. So, using the word “contrafibularities” when a more sarcastic sounding “congratulations” would do. I thought about what I could choose for today’s Musical Interlude Friday selection, and it dawned on me just as I was turning on the radio. Here is “Words” by The Monkees. Enjoy!

Happy Independence Day!

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No matter how much I may hate the direction this country is going, and no matter how much I may hate who 62 million idiots thought should run it, I would never want to live anywhere else. I want my country to do better, to be better.

Today’s Word of the Day is girandole which means, “a radiating and showy composition.” Now, I’ve only ever heard this word used to describe a pair of earrings, which I will link an image to here. I was curious as to why Merriam-Webster would choose this as today’s word, considering it’s the Fourth of July, and it turns out that the word comes from the mid-17th century (so the 1600s) and denoted a revolving cluster of fireworks. We got it from the French, who stole it from the Italians. It has Latin roots (gyrare), so it’s an old word. I always enjoy learning new things, and I bet you do too.

I hope for all my American readers, this is a happy and safe Fourth of July for you. Don’t drink and play with fireworks/sparklers. Don’t burn whatever you’re grilling today, and if the weather by you isn’t going to allow for outdoor fun, don’t burn anything on the stove. And as always, fuck Donald Trump, that worthless piece of shit.

On automatic.

Today’s Word of the Day is volition which means, “the power of choosing or determining.” You normally see this word used in the expression “of its own volition”, which describes something happening without any kind of influence or third-party interference. For example, one might say that our eyes open of their own volition in the mornings or that our heart beats rapidly of its own volition when we’re scared. We’re not telling our eyes to open or our heart to beat fast, it happens automatically. It’s one of those fancy words that aren’t really fancy but it makes you sound smart when you use it. I tried to think of a song that would work really well with this for Musical Interlude Friday, and I have to admit — it was hard. This isn’t a word or even concept that lends itself to lyrical genius, at least not that I’ve found. So, I opted for the tried and true method of picking a song randomly. I’m going to turn on my radio to our local Oldies station (WTOB 980) and post the first full song I hear. This should be fun.

Ah! Here is “Black is Black” by Los Bravos. Enjoy!