Sunday, November 30, 2008

Smartest State

The state rankings were announced in the "Education State Rankings 2006-2007," released by Lawrence, Kan.-based Morgan Quitno Press, an independent research and publishing company.

Vermont retained its title as the nation's smartest state for the second year, while Arizona held the title of being the lowest-ranked of the 50 states.

The Smartest State Award is based on nearly two dozen elementary and secondary education indicators from Education State Rankings, an annual reference book comparing the states in education-related categories. The 2006 award measured states in areas as instruction expenditures, teacher-pupil ratios, graduation and dropout rates, and proficiency in reading, writing and math, the publisher said.

Top states after Vermont, which earned the title for a second straight year, were Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey and Maine, the publisher said. Arizona was preceded by Nevada, Mississippi, California and Alaska in the bottom tier.

Saturday, November 29, 2008


Friday, November 28, 2008


Esperanto was developed by L. L. Zamenhof in the late nineteenth century as a universal second-language. His idea was that everyone would benefit if Esperanto were to be adopted by all as a second language so that people who did not speak each other's national language could communicate easily with each other. In this way, scientists, artists, diplomats and merchants could make their ideas and needs known to each other without the aid of translators.

Esperanto is easier to learn than a national language and efforts are made to keep it from changing much so that users can communicate well regardless of their own cultures. As to the number of fluent Esperantists, estimates vary widely from about 250,000 to 2 million. There has been some energy devoted to getting the United Nations assembly to adopt Esperanto so as to save millions of dollars on translations. Some interest has been shown by the U.N. but people think highly of their own languages and don't want to go international, even though they belong to an international organization.


Janet Napolitano is currently the democratic governor of Arizona, a
conservative state which voted for its own senator John McCain for
president. Napolitano is being tapped for the leadership of Homeland

Upon her departure, Jan Brewer, republican secretary of state, will
assume the governorship. Napolitano has had her finger in the dike of
conservative legislation. With Brewer in the saddle, that flood will
likely flow. There are democrats in the state assembly but not enough
to prevent the right from flowering. It has been suggested that Barack
Obama offer Jan Brewer a spot in his administration, thereby showing
bi-partisanship and freeing state attorney-general Terry Goddard, a
democrat, to fill the governor's chair for the remaining two years of
the current term. This should be enough to keep the balance till the
next election, at which time, Goddard would be a likely candidate.



Once upon a time there was a planet in a distant galaxy whose inhabitants all had perfectly proportioned bodies. Everyone was beautiful and had all the curves in the right places, but no one was happy because they longed to meet people who were different. So they sent to earth for men and women to bring back to their planet to marry. But these people on earth who were not perfect became perfect as soon as they landed on the magnificent Planet Xanadar.

So the Xanadarians could only find imperfect people if they came to earth to live. Many of them did that and they became movie stars and rock stars and fashion models and they all married imperfect people and lived happily ever after. Well, not the movie stars.

So if you want to be happy, either you go to Planet Xanadar and become perfect, or send the person who wants you to be perfect there and he or she will see how unhappy the perfect people are and will come back and fall madly in love with you.

Thursday, November 27, 2008





Until recently I have seldom heard the word substrate used in speech; now it is common.; how did we say it before?


Definition: ▸ noun: any stratum lying underneath another.

How did we say it before?


Is there another word for synonym?

Wednesday, November 26, 2008



Definition: Unusual-looking brass musical instrument used in bands for mid-range tones similar to the french horn. Its forward-facing bell made it ideal for marching bands. It was famously used by Stan Kenton in a brace of four, adding considerable volume and excitement, not to mention visual interest, to the band's expression.



Tongue-twisting nickname of Los Angeles disc jockey, Alex (pickupacoupleabucks) Cooper.

Try saying it very fast 10 times in a row.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008



Definition: A term previously not needed, created because of the
existence of a later word.

Example: Acoustic guitar. Before electric guitars came to pass, all
guitars were acoustic so the term was not needed; "analog watch" and
"film camera" are retronyms.

What is your favorite retronym?

(Thanks to Ed Kearns for the suggestion)





Definition: Acceptable, conforming to norms.

Adjective used by a teacher in a Simpsons episode to indicate that an unfamiliar word (embiggen) was a genuine word.

Anyone can make up such a word easily. Pick an ending that indicates the part of speech; in this case, ‘ent’, an adjectival ending, and add some nonsense syllables that sound plausible.

If you come up with any interesting ones, post them along with a definition and any other information you think interesting.


-insegrevious. (aka insegrievious)

Adjective coined by Los Angeles radio comedian and disc jockey Gary Owens in the 1960’s.

Definition: Negative exclamation.

Example: What a perfectly insegrevious bowl of mashed potatoes..

Monday, November 24, 2008


How did we say it before the pundits on television and elsewhere starting using the word "infrastructure"?

I don't remember ever hearing or seeing this word until perhaps a decade ago and now it is hard to think of a sentence that involves the idea described by the word without using it. Is there a single word to use instead?

Here is a definition from

noun: the stock of basic facilities and capital equipment needed for the functioning of a country or area
noun: the basic structure or features of a system or organization

How did we say it before?