18 December 2008


The effulgent sanctuary of the University Closure is rapidly approaching.

adj. Shining brilliantly; resplendent. See Synonyms at bright.

[Latin effulgēns, effulgent-, present participle of effulgēre, to shine out : ex-, ex- + fulgēre, to shine; see bhel-1 in Indo-European roots.]
(American Heritage)

"Effulgent rays of light." --Cowper.

OK a serious usage of effulgent:
It is a rare day in Arizona that there are no effulgent rays of light.

17 December 2008


Would tasseomancy be considered more or less scientific than astrology?

[;-) JC, you know I don't love you less -- and perhaps more -- because you are interested in astrology.]

Tasseography (also known as tasseomancy or tassology) is a divination or fortune-telling method that interprets patterns in tea leaves, coffee grounds, or wine sediments.

The terms derive from the French word tasse (cup), which in turn derives from the Arabic tassa (cup), and the Greek suffixes -graph, -logy, and -mancy (divination).


We love obscure words that we can use to confound others. *evil, self-aggrandizing laugh echoes hollowly in mad business manager's office* OK. Really how often can one use such words that you read in historical novels.

16 December 2008


When my parents' arrival in town is imminent, worries about solecisms move to the forefront of my mind (and possibly, my sister's though she says she doesn't care).

That is not to say that I don't enjoy either noticing or pointing out the solecisms others utter.

  1. A nonstandard usage or grammatical construction.
  2. A violation of etiquette.
  3. An impropriety, mistake, or incongruity.

[Latin soloecismus, from Greek soloikismos, from soloikizein, to speak incorrectly, from soloikos, speaking incorrectly, after Soloi (Soli), an Athenian colony in Cilicia where a dialect regarded as substandard was spoken.]
(American Heritage)

15 December 2008


In a pugnacious (not a characteristic typically associated with her) tone of voice, Anne stated that if the Dean's office was closing early we would, too.

DEF: adj. Combative in nature; belligerent. See Synonyms at belligerent.

[From Latin pugnāx, pugnāc-, from pugnāre, to fight, from pugnus, fist; see peuk- in Indo-European roots.]
pug·na'cious·ly adv., pug·na'cious·ness, pug·nac'i·ty (-nās'ĭ-tē) n.

CMES staff meeting re: holiday break

12 December 2008


Angela asked the meaning of my email address "duyen_hn" and I told her that Duyen is my Vietnamese name, hn is for Hanoi. Duyen means charming and insouciant.

Part of Speech: adj
Definition: unconcerned, undisturbed; carefree and nonchalant
Etymology: Latin in- + soucier 'to disturb'
(Webster's Millenial)

11 December 2008


Bureaucracy by design is obstructionist not facilitative. We need to keep that in mind when dealing with one.

n. One who systematically blocks or interrupts a process, especially one who attempts to impede passage of legislation by the use of delaying tactics, such as a filibuster.
(American Heritage)

My job.

10 December 2008


At times, the University bureaucracy creates occlusions rather than mere obstacles.

–verb (used with object)
1. to close, shut, or stop up (a passage, opening, etc.).
2. to shut in, out, or off.
3. Physical Chemistry. (of certain metals and other solids) to incorporate (gases and other foreign substances), as by absorption or adsorption.

09 December 2008


Officiousness is the frequent refuge of middle management. It gives me a rash.

  1. Marked by excessive eagerness in offering unwanted services or advice to others: an officious host; officious attention.
  2. Informal; unofficial.
  3. Archaic Eager to render services or help others.
[Latin officiōsus, obliging, dutiful, from officium, duty; see office.]

(American Heritage)

Usage: Impertinent, Officious, Rude. A person is officious who obtrudes his offices or assistance where they are not needed; he is impertinent when he intermeddles in things with which he has no concern. The former shows a want of tact, the latter a want of breeding, or, more commonly, a spirit of sheer impudence. A person is rude when he violates the proprieties of social life either from ignorance or wantonness. "An impertinent man will ask questions for the mere grafication of curiosity; a rude man will burst into the room of another, or push against his person, inviolant of all decorum; one who is officious is quite as unfortunate as he is troublesome; when he strives to serve, he has the misfortune to annoy." --Crabb. See Impudence, and Insolent.

(Webster's Unabridged)

Thanks to the boss of the boss of CMES' cleaner who asked "Has anyone shared with you that bicycles are not allowed in the building?"

08 December 2008


Today's last minute effort reporting reminded me that I am glad that a certain vindictive person no longer makes an "effort" here.

  1. Disposed to seek revenge; revengeful.
  2. Marked by or resulting from a desire to hurt; spiteful.
(American Heritage)

04 December 2008


The recalcitrance of the numerous reports overdue to Financial Services is making me despair that I will ever be free of their overdue-ness.

recalcitrant - adj. Marked by stubborn resistance to and defiance of authority or guidance. See Synonyms at unruly.
n. A recalcitrant person.

[Late Latin recalcitrāns, recalcitrant-, present participle of recalcitrāre, to be disobedient, from Latin, to deny access : re-, re- + calcitrāre, to kick (from calx, calc-, heel).]
re·cal'ci·trance, re·cal'ci·tran·cy n.
(American Heritage)

03 December 2008


This is the time of year, when students (and perhaps others) need to quell feelings of panic.

  1. To put down forcibly; suppress: Police quelled the riot.
  2. To pacify; quiet: finally quelled the children's fears.
(American Heritage)

02 December 2008


NPR considers one of the storylines of Vikram Chandra's book "Sacred Games" to be prescient in light of the Mumbai bombings.

  1. Of or relating to prescience.
  2. Possessing prescience.
(American Heritage Dictionary)

FYI: I prefer the pronunciation of prěsh-ē-ənt.

01 December 2008


There are times when I think I am chaffing people, but to others it comes off more harshly than intended.

To make fun of in a good-natured way; tease.
v. intr.
To engage in playful teasing. See Synonyms at banter.
n. Good-natured teasing; banter.
(American Heritage)