Wednesday: January 28, 2009
Until I sat down today to compile a review worksheet on Latin prepositions, I had never noticed an inconsistency or inconcinnity in the names of the parts of the electromagnetic spectrum. If non-visible frequencies of light are seen as metaphorically going beyond or falling short of the visible spectrum, the opposite of ‘ultraviolet’ should be ‘citrared’. On the other hand, if they are seen as metaphorically placed above or below the visible spectrum, the opposite of ‘infrared’ should be ’suprared’. I wonder if other languages are more logical or (if you like) more pedantically Latinate.
Which reminds me: when I first saw the word ‘infrared’ in (I suppose) 5th or 6th grade, I thought it was a disyllable, the perfect passive participle of a verb infrare* that I had somehow never run across before. I wonder if that is a common misapprehension.
And speaking of illogic: why does the spell-checker tell me to write ‘pedantically’ rather than ‘pedanticly’? There’s no such word as ‘pedantical’. I suppose I could research this, but I have more worksheets to put together before I go to bed. I would have thought that two Snow Days in a row would be enough to catch up on my work and my blogging, but apparently not.
Saturday: January 3, 2009
D. A. West, in Horace Odes I: Carpe Diem, Oxford 1995, 6-7:
In Horace the tone is often elusive. Perhaps the nearest thing in English is the parody [of Odes 1.1] by Kipling in ‘A Diversity of Creatures’:
There are whose study is of smells,
Who to attentive schools rehearse
How something mixed with something else
Makes something worse.
Some cultivate in broths impure
The clients of our body; these,
Increasing without Venus, cure
Or cause disease.
Others the heated wheel extol,
And all its offspring, whose concern
Is how to make it farthest roll
And fastest turn.
Me, much incurious if the hour
Present, or to be paid for, brings
Me to Brundisium by the power
Of wheels or wings,
Me, in whose breast no flame has burned
Life long, save that by Pindar lit,
Such lore leaves cold; nor have I turned
Aside for it,
More than when, sunk in thought profound
of what the unaltered Gods require,
My steward (friend but slave) brings round
Logs for my fire.
Friday: January 2, 2009
Another British policeman (Pumphrey) interrogates the headmaster (Crumwallis) of a worse than mediocre private school:
‘Hmmmm’, said Pumphrey. ‘You seem to do a lot of classics.’
It was not the remark Mr. Crumwallis had been expecting, but he perked up, as he frequently did in interviews with parents, when an opportunity for fraudulent self-congratulation presented itself.
‘Yes, indeed’, he said. ‘We lay great stress on them. So sad to see their decline — their so rapid decline — in other schools, elsewhere. But if the private schools will not be custodians of the great classical tradition, who will be?’
Mike Pumphrey did not feel called upon to reply. He wondered whether, in view of the decline of classics elsewhere, classics teachers might not be in a state of glut upon the market, and therefore to be had cheap. He rather thought they might be. He looked cynically at Mr. Crumwallis, swelling with spurious pride.
(Robert Barnard, School for Murder, 1983, ch. 9)
Thursday: January 1, 2009
A British policeman is looking for a millionaire at a posh hotel in Bradford:
It was called the Royal Edward, and for once it lived up to its name. The foyer was all white and gold and plush pink, with spotty mirrors in gilt frames; scattered around were pink and gold velvet sofas, on which one could imagine Royal Edward perching his ample frame, perhaps placing his hand on a not-unwilling knee the while, or pinching a bebustled bottom while whispering an assignation. Through the door to the left I caught a glimpse of an oak-panelled dining-room, where one could imagine him eating one of his piggish meals. It was all rather daunting — as if I’d strayed on to the set of one of those BBC historical serials for television.
(Robert Barnard, The Case of the Missing Brontë, 1983, ch. 8)
Was ‘bebustled’ an attempt to make it into the next revision of the OED?
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