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August 10th, 2001 - 10:21 p.m.

I'm Currently Avoiding:

Oh, I don't know if I really have anything to say...the cat finally shut up and stopped merrowing all the time with her butt in the air. That makes me a happy woman. Today,

August 10 is ...... Lazy Day (Perfect for me...I didn't even bother to get out of my pajamas today.)

August 11 is ...... Presidential Joke Day (Wait a minute, with Bush as President, isn't Every day Presidential Joke Day?)

Basically, there's just going to be a big ol' list of words that I haven't been putting up lately...I'm tired of them staring at me accusatively from my inbox. It's just starting to bother me...and I realize it's crazy for e-mail words to bother me, but then again, I never claimed sanity, now did I?

The Big Ol' List of Words

penury (n. PEN-yuh-ree)

1 : a cramping and oppressive lack of resources (as money); especially : severe poverty

2 : extreme frugality

The exact meaning of penury (from Latin penuria, meaning want, scarcity) can vary a bit from context to context. It occasionally has had a broad sense of lack or scarcity, as when one character remarks on another's "penury of conversation" in Jane Austen's _Emma_. It can also mean frugality, as in Edith Wharton's description of an excessively thrifty hostess in _The Age of Innocence_: "Her relatives considered that the penury of her table discredited the Mingott name, which had always been associated with good living." The most common sense of penury, however, is simply poverty, as in Shakespeare's _As You Like It_: "Shall I keep your hogs, and eat husks with them? What prodigal portion have I spent that I should come to such penury?"

prognosticate (v. prahg-NAHSS-tuh-kayt)

1 : to foretell from signs and symptoms : predict

2 : presage

Prognosticate comes to us from the Medieval Latin verb prognosticare, which in turn is ultimately derived from the Greek word prognostikos, meaning knowing beforehand. Prognosticate first appeared in English in the 15th century. It was preceded a century before by the related noun prognostic, which means both something that foretells and prophecy. (The adjective prognostic appeared later. Both words are also related to prognosis, from the Greek prognosis, meaning foreknowledge.) When prognosticate was first used, it essentially meant to predict from prognostics (that is, from signs). Later, it developed a second sense that applied to the signs themselves, meaning simply to give an omen or warning of or to foreshadow.

epigram (n. EH-puh-gram)

1 : a concise, often satirical poem

2 : a terse, sage, or witty saying

Epigram comes from the Greek word epigraphein, meaning to write on, inscribe. Epi means on or upon and graphein means to write. Originally, epigrams were verse inscriptions that appeared on buildings, statues, or tombstones. By about the 1st century BC, the term had taken on its current meaning of a concise poem. Epigrams often deal with a single thought or event and end with an ingenious turn of thought. For example, Martial, a Roman poet and master of the form, wrote: "You puff the poets of other days, / the living you deplore. / Spare me the accolade: your praise / Is not worth dying for." In the late 18th century, English speakers began using epigram for concise, witty sayings as well as poetry.

ubiquitous (adj. yoo-BIH-kwuh-tuss)

: existing or being everywhere at the same time : constantly encountered : widespread

Ubiquitous comes to us from the noun ubiquity, meaning presence everywhere or in many places simultaneously. Ubiquity first appeared in print in the late 16th century, but ubiquitous didn't make an appearance until 1837. (A second noun form, ubiquitousness, arrived around 1874.) Both words are ultimately derived from the Latin word for everywhere, which is ubique. Ubiquitous, which has often been used with a touch of exaggeration for things and people that seem to turn up everywhere, has now become a more widespread and popular word than ubiquity. It may not quite be ubiquitous, but if you keep your eyes and ears open, you're apt to encounter the word ubiquitous quite a bit.

improvident (adj. im-PRAH-vuh-dunt or im-PRAH-vuh-dent)

: not provident : not foreseeing and providing for the future

Improvident comes from Late Latin improvident- (with the same meaning as the English term), which in turn comes from Latin providere plus the negative prefix im-. Providere, which literally means to see ahead, comes from pro-, meaning forward, and videre, meaning to see. Six of the seven words below are also descendants of providere. Can you guess which one is the exception?

provide improvise providence improvement provision prudent purvey

"Provide," "improvise," "providence," "provision," "prudent," and "purvey" all trace back to providere. That means improvement is the right answer to our quiz. Improvement traces back instead to the Latin verb prodesse, which means to be beneficial.

Oooh, so now we finally get to the part of the entry I actually started writing stuff for (took me long enough, didn't it?). And that is...

The Song of the "Day": "Who Needs Sleep?" by The Barenaked Ladies.

This is now my official favorite song. Not only that, but it seems to work well with my personal philosophy...or at least some other people's personal philosophy. Well, maybe not anymore. But still, the song makes sense. And me having it as the song of the day would've made more sense when I first wanted to put up this entry, which was at about 6 this morning. And with that, I'm going away.

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