Surprising Words

One of my daily emails comes from the good people at Merriam-Webster and their “Word of the Day.” The definitions are good, but it is the etymology of the words that I find fascinating. Who knew “desultory” was connected to the circus.

“The Latin adjective desultorius, the parent of desultory, was used by the ancients to refer to a circus performer (called a desultor) whose trick was to leap from horse to horse without stopping. It makes sense, therefore, that someone or something desultory “jumps” from one thing to another. (Desultor and desultorius, by the way, are derived from the Latin verb salire, which means “to leap.”) A desultory conversation leaps from one topic to another and doesn’t have a distinct point or direction. A desultory student skips from one subject to another without applying serious effort to any one. A desultory comment is a digressive one that jumps away from the topic at hand. And a desultory performance is one resulting from an implied lack of steady, focused effort.”  [Merriam Webster]

Just a little something interesting on a Friday afternoon after Christmas.

The Light Shines in the Darkness

Easter Vigil at Sacred HeartWhen I was in Kenya, everyone looked forward to getting their hands on Time Magazine’s Year in Review and Life Magazine’s The Year in Pictures. Given the mail in Kenya we would receive these two magazines, along with the Christmas cards – all about 4-5 weeks after Christmas. I have to admit we would dive into the magazines to see what had happened in the world that somehow never quite made it to the slums where we lived. I always went to the back of the magazines to see what famous person had passed away and to see what other key news there was to glean – oh man!, the Doobie Brother’s broke up! Continue reading