1. AOTW: A woman is walking her two little white dogs (loosely leashed) across the Hudson Green on the sidewalk; I am approaching her. She is not paying attention (on her cell). As I pass them, one of the little critters leaps at me, tiny fangs flashing. He (She?) misses. Barely. I silently confer the AOTW Award.
2. This week, reading, I came across a locution that was once far more common: normal school. I'm guessing that lots of Younger Folk don't really recognize the term? It was once the name for schools that specialized in preparing teachers (often a two-year program). Here's the origin of the name:
C19: from French École Normale: the first French school so named was intended as a model for similar institutions
Kent State University, by the way, was once Kent State Normal School.
3. I finished a couple of books this week.
- The Millionaire and the Bard (2015, by Andrea Mays) is the story of the passion for Shakespeare that animated the vast collecting of Henry Clay Folger (1857-1930), a passion that resulted in his accumulation of the greatest collection of Shakespeare-related material in the world, a collection that now resides in the Folger Library (behind the Library of Congress). Although I enjoyed the story of Folger's growing mania, I was struck how the author periodically wrote in support of the Standard Oil Company (Folger was an officer) and even suggested that the anti-trust suit against them was probably not all that good a thing. Anyway, I've been to the Folger several times--used to take Harmon School kids there, too, now and then. Inside, under glass, for the public--a copy of the most expensive book in the world, the First Folio of Shakespeare (the collection of 36 plays, 1623, assembled after his death by his friends and colleagues). Folger owned more of them than anyone else on earth.
- I realized one recent day that I've not ever read much Wallace Stegner (1909-1993), one of the most honored writers in the twentieth century. So ... I acquired a paperback copy of his first book, the novella Remembering Laughter (1937). It blew me away. It takes place on an Iowa farm, where a husband and wife welcome into the family the wife's sister. Things happen. And a psychological iceberg forms in the house. (Don't want to spoil it for anyone who might want to read it.) Anyway, I've started to march through the other Stegner titles I can find. Next up? The Big Rock Candy Mountain (1943).
4. Last week I biked home from Starbucks one afternoon, and, arriving, I found my cell phone was no longer on the clip attached to my belt. Joyce offered to drive over there to see if I'd left it--or if someone had turned it in. Nope. She called, and we decided we'd walk toward each other, following my route. She kept calling my cell as she walked, and when I saw her in the car down near Ravenna Street, I had hopes. And, yes, she'd found it. I'd somehow dropped it near some landscapers. They'd heard it ringing. Kept it until someone showed up to get it. Whew.
5. Some words I thought about this week.
- skedaddle = to retreat, get-the-hell-out The OED is not certain about the origin of this. Some had said that it was Swedish or Danish, but ... nope. Perhaps English or Scottish dialect? No one's sure.
- savvy = n. common sense; shrewdness; practical intelligence; v. to know or understand something Probably from pidgin and creole versions of English.
6. I bought a bottle of One-a-Day vitamins the other day. Opened it. Saw that, as usual, it was not even half-full. What is up with that? Do they use bigger containers to make us think we're getting more?