Wednesday, August 29, 2012


Like Old French.

From the name Glorie Farm Winery, in Marlboro, N.Y. No glory here (in terms of language--I haven't visited the winery).

Monday, August 20, 2012


I don't know that I've seen this kind of warning before, exactly.

It reminds me a little of the signs that began to show up more and more in the wake of superridiculous lawsuits, possibly in the 1990s. Signs like, "If you climb on this wall and fall, we cannot be held responsible" or "If you ski off-trail, you may encounter any of the following: trees, wildlife, rocks, ice ... ." Signs like that.

From the website of Ten Thousand Waves (apparently more commercialized than it was at the outset), in reference to its communal bath.

If you are sensitive to nudity, we strongly suggest trying a private bath instead.

Miles beyond the communal bath, in Yufuin
[photo from TTW tours archive]

Friday, August 17, 2012


From "History Geeks," the May 9, 2012, post (with illustration) by Nick Record, on the blog Seascape Projects, which is's blog:

Having difficulty reading the digital version, we decided to dig up the original paper from Jeff's old bound copies of Limnology and Oceanography, which he inherited from another zooplankton ecologist.

Any regular reader of Michiko Kakutani's column would think limnology is a reference to her penchant for the word limn.

Below is the Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography's definition of the word (without a mention of ASLO's August 26 - September 1 workshop "Aquatic Flowering Plants of North America, with a Special Focus on the Potamogetonaceae and Hydrocharitaceae," in Steuben, Maine).

Limnology is the study of inland waters – lakes (both freshwater and saline), reservoirs, rivers, streams, wetlands, and groundwater – as ecological systems interacting with their drainage basins and the atmosphere. The limnological discipline integrates the functional relationships of growth, adaptation, nutrient cycles, and biological productivity with species composition, and describes and evaluates how physical, chemical, and biological environments regulate these relationships.

The word limnology is derived from the Greek limne –  marsh, pond, and the Latin limnaea – thing pertaining to a marsh. Stated simply, limnology is the study of the structural and functional interrelationships of organisms of inland waters as their dynamic physical, chemical, and biotic environments affect them.

The end of Mr Record's post reads: "Jeff kindly allowed me to keep this priceless historical artifact."

Paper can really come in handy. How much fun can it be to click into a past document, anyway?

There are of course about a billion other reasons why paper is the bees' knee socks.

Saturday, August 11, 2012


Maybe I'm writing this because I'm sitting in a comfortable chair and the view of the Empire State Building is making me not want to rise (I miss the way the lights used to be flicked off at midnight--watching for that was one of my favorite New York things to do.)

From the standard warning you see on construction sites all over the city, this one is from the two-lot site next to the building known as The Helena (past CBS's studios, almost to the Hudson), where Durst Fetner is digging the foundation for a residential property that's supposed to be pyramidal in shape. These architects . . .

In all capitals and with close kerning, so that the words are hard on the eyes:


A charming, charming typing error, and the word could be broken up into two people: Anony and Mousy.

Friday, August 10, 2012


From the mouth of a friend, Adam. We saw each other at "Into the Woods" (my first time, and, yes, Sarah Stiles as Red Ridinghood delivered the roundest characterization, with wolf Ivan Hernandez as an insta-oval). I remarked that he (Adam) was quite tan; he returned something about being

swarthy and Semitic.

Don't hear swarthy (or even swarty) much these days.

Friday, August 3, 2012


A word as good as one of Franny's y words (syntaxy, for instance), ettigency was minted by my friend's daughter Eleanor.

The moment I saw it (on Facebook), a chair came to mind. The postcard is from many years ago, the shop at the Neue Galerie.

Dagobert Peche (1887-1923)
Boudoir Chair for an Elegant Lady, 1912
Pencil, India ink, gouache, and gold pigment
11 3/8 x 9 in. 

See how the chair is partially made of fresh flowers? That's what it looks like to me. It's a chair that can never be an actual piece of functioning furniture. Even if there were tiny sconce vases for the flowers, that's not the point.

Ettigency  is a form of ettigent, which, according to Eleanor's father, is "a word she made up, means something like serene and buoyant. 'He's an unstoppable beagle, an ettigent soul.'"

Eleanor's mother asked her what, if anything, I needed to know about the word, and Eleanor wanted me to know that beagles are ettigent. Noted.

The word has a unique sense of proportion. It doesn't lean too heavily upon any one word that could be associated with it--neither Etta nor elegant nor agency nor majesty. It has wonderful ear sense and quite pleasing (but not cloying) eye sense.

A keeper.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


I don't know, maybe it's just Tavet's (former student) sense of humor. Maybe it's the exclamation point.

From the website of Tavet Gillson. You'll have to trip the link yourself.