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Rumilluminations Now
By: Esther M. Powell
Posted on: Mon, February 01 2016 - 1:34 pm



February 7, 2016
Madison, IN

Wow. I saw white crocuses blooming in a garden today.

White for the snow that's coming tomorrow night, I guess.

Poor babies. Four days of highs in the twenties will provide a challenge to those blossoms.

The cold will also challenge us.

I hope the bread I baked today will help fight the cold. It's a rich loaf made with ground millet and sesame seeds. Just another Tassajara bread variation, except I used all whole wheat flour - no white at all.

Since I started using powdered milk in every loaf and beating the sponge not one hundred but one hundred and fifty strokes it seems to hold together better and has a finer grain.


February 5, 2016
Madison, IN

What's in a name?

Well, Trump is a trumpet, Rubio is a rube, Cruz is a Cross - hopefully not for us to bear.

Jeb Bush is in the shrub family, probably an enemy like the rest of them.

Fiorina comes from ancient Latin flower, and might be just as out of date and transitory.

Speaking of names, yesterday we saw a documentary called

*Unbranded  
about a group of young men who adopt wild mustangs and take them from the border of Mexico to the Canadian border, after three months of training and conditioning. The problems they encounter are sometimes surprising and unpredictable. The wild lands of the United States however are predictably gorgeous. Contains opinions about both sides of the conflict about wild horses on public lands.

February 4, 2016
Madison, IN

Last night I was reading an Edmund Crispin novel when he used an unfamiliar word. Well, that is not unusual with him. He often uses words that are archaic or coined by Crispin himself.

Since I was reading this book on my Kindle, I waved my magic wand (in this case my forefinger) and touched the word, "paraleipsis."

Like magic a Wikipedia entry appeared on my screen. To see the meaning of paraleipsis, it said, I should go to "apophasis." Blase, I waved my magic wand again, and the meaning of apophasis became clear.

Apophasis, the article stated, also goes by the names paraleipsis (alternatively spelled paralipsis or paralepsis) occupatio, praeteritio, preterition, cataphasis, antiphrasis, and parasiopsis.

I eagerly seized on the word, preterition. I knew that one! I learned it in Latin class, and knew what it meant. In fact I have taken pleasure in intoning that wonderful word when I hear a speaker using the technique.

Imagine my horror to discover that there were eight other words in existence that I could have used equally appropriately and thus added the spice of variety to my commentary!

Apophasis (AKA as preterition) Wikipedia, said, "is usually employed to make a subversive ad hominem attack....The device is typically used to distance the speaker from unfair claims, while still bringing them up."

The article goes on to give example after wonderful example of why a person might use this rhetorical device - and not always for an attack.

Isn't it a pity that someone didn't take those eight different words and apply them individually to eight subtly different uses of the verbal technique, thus giving them more importance and meaning? No AKAs needed! It would have legitimized them all.

Instead most of those poor neglected words, the bastards, will probably disappear from our language completely, only manifesting to us when and if we are sixty-eight years of age or rhetorical scholars, if at all.

Or in Wikipedia articles.

It's a crying shame.




February 3, 2016 
Madison, IN

Men are traditionally seen as really wanting a son. Is that the compulsion of the Y chromosome, which is replicated from father to son?

What about mitochondrial DNA, which is passed from the mother to children of both sexes, but only passed on to grandchildren through daughters? We don't hear so much in literature or history about women passionately determined to have daughters.

Is that because mitochondrial DNA originally came into our cells via microbes from the outside?

Now, a year after my latter of two DNA tests, I have realized my mother's mitochondrial DNA, the DNA that has gone consistently from mother to daughter through millennia of generations, may have ended with my mother's granddaughters. Sure, one of them may yet have a daughter, but that is beginning to seem increasingly unlikely.

I think that's rather sad.

What an unintended (and kind of silly!) consequence of taking a DNA test.

P.S. a few days later, I am reminded that there were seven women who provided all the mitochondrial DNA that women in the world today. So I have a lot of "sisters."


*Trash  Three Brazilian boys surviving by combing the Rio city dump are thrown into the middle of a nasty situation involving a local politician. Kind of loosey-goosey but the film comes off in the end.

February 2, 2016 
Madison, IN

The Internet information highway is definitely a mixed bag.

Sure, a wealth of fact is available, but sometimes you need to know a technical buzzword to have the magical " open, sesame!"

Sometimes the specific fact you want just doesn't seem to be available (e.g. today we are trying to find out the number of Democratic voters in Iowa 2012 caucuses and can't find credible numbers.)

The "facts" as listed on one day may be different from "facts" at the same site on another day. Of course efforts to increase accuracy and precision are appreciated but the disappearance of data and statistics might just as well be due to a desire to hide or obfuscate them.

The truth on the information highway, unfortunately, might often come in the form of roadkill.

 


*Swordfish  To tell the truth, some of the transitions lost me, but not my partner. Good thing we can pause and restart here at home. Still, in spite of my obvious inferiority in understanding I think it would probably be considered great entertainment by teenage boys. Not by me. Action-packed, I grant. Fun in a bloody brutal kind of way.

February 1, 2016 
Madison, IN


My partner is, as soon as possible, cutting back on his hours at work again.

Folks at work say, "But what are you going to do?"

He answers, "What do you do on your days off? I'm going to have more days off."

He thinks, "Oh, I don't know. Start checking out nursing homes, funeral parlors, cemeteries...."

Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!

Talk about deadpan humor.


*Contre Enquete  Oh, we promise you twists and turns in this police procedural - or whatever.

Highlighting below unintentional. When will I ever learn?

*Straight Time  The anti-hero in 1978 perhaps hit a new low. Young Dustin Hoffman and other familiar faces.

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