Feetish or Fettish?

I was surprised to recently read in David Crystal’s book, The Story of English in 100 Words, that fetish – which I pronounce “feh-tesh” –  was once pronounced “feetish.” In fact, in the 1920s, Crystal writes, the BBC had that pronunciation in its guide for radio broadcasters.* It makes sense, of course, when you think about it. Usually when there is a single consonant … (more)

The ethics of politics via Aristotle

Politics, Aristotle wrote in the Nicomachean Ethics, is the “master science of the good.” The good of which he wrote is the greater good, the “highest good” that benefits the state, not the personal. For even if the good is the same for the individual and the state, the good of the state clearly is the greater and more perfect thing to attain and … (more)

The late March breads

A couple more loaves were made this month and a third will be started later this week. Both were made in the oven, not the machine, at 425F for roughly 35 minutes. Neither rose very high, but both were edible and tasty. Only about a third of the second loaf remains, so I will start a poolish today for baking a new loaf tomorrow. First … (more)

Getting solid numbers makes sense

I recently was directed to read a statement that I had “…put forward a notice of motion calling on the municipality to spend the money to put a concrete floor in the building, without any kind of business case …” That is incorrect. The notice simply asked the town to put out a ‘request for proposal” (RFP). If the writer had asked me about … (more)

Thinking about a new ukulele

I’ve been thinking seriously of adding another ukulele to the herd. A tenor resonator, or resophonic, like the Kala shown above. That’s the re-designed 2014 model. I’ve played earlier models, including the 2013 version with the strings attached to a tailpiece (see photo below, left). The 2014 design (shown above) anchors the strings back into the cover plate, which I expect will be a … (more)

Marcus Aurelius

I continue to be profoundly moved by the wisdom of the classical authors. It’s often hard to accept that some of them were writing two or more millennia ago: many seem so contemporary they could have been written this century. Of late – within the past year or so – I’ve been reading Lucretius, Aristotle, Horace, Cicero, Seneca, Pliny the Elder*… and more recently … (more)

CPLUG songs and more

CPLUG – the Collingwood Public Library Ukulele Group – has so far proven a very popular group. We started with 17 people at our first monthly meeting and more have attended each time: 34 people came out last month! I’m hoping to continue this trend and see as many this week at our next meeting (March 19). You can read about our group in … (more)

Machiavelli and the Elizabethans

In 1555, Bishop Stephen Gardiner wrote a treatise to King Phillip II of Spain, in which he borrowed (aka plagiarized) extensively from Machiavelli’s The Prince and The Discourses. Gardiner did not credit Machiavelli or attribute any of his quotes, but rather copied some of Machiavelli’s content verbatim or very closely. This was less than two decades after Machiavelli’s works had been first printed, and … (more)

What’s in a missing word?

There’s a line in one of Horace’s epistles that really caught my eye. In Latin it reads: Utque sacerdotis fugitiuus liba recuso, pane egeo iam mellitis potiore placentis Horace: Epistles, Book I, X No, I can’t translate it.* However, I was reading David Ferry’s 2001 translation and he renders it like this: I’m like that slave who ran away because They fed him honey … (more)

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