Sunday, March 28, 2010

Bulvan - Word of The Day

English has a huge lexicon - a nice word in itself. The word lexicon definition   lexi·con (lek′si kän′)
Etymology: Gr lexikon, neut. of lexikos, of words < lexis, a saying, phrase, word < legein: see logic   noun
  1. a dictionary, esp. of an ancient language
  2. the special vocabulary of a particular author, field of study, etc.
  3. a record or inventory a notable case in the lexicon of subversion
  4. Linguis. the total stock of morphemes in a language
But actually,  today's word is  bulvan or bolvan , a Yiddish word meaning dummy. Yiddish is a very colorful language using words from German, Hebrew, Russian and several others.
It means all of these words in English, more or less at the same time:
blockhead,  bonehead, booby, bubblehead, bullhead , cabbagehead, clod [colloq.], dimwit , dolt, dope [colloq.], dummy, dunce, dunderhead [colloq.], fool, , goof [colloq.], loggerhead [colloq.], moron, nerd [sl.], nincompoop [colloq.], stupid
It's quite insulting.  Etymology: From the  Russian болван -  blockhead, booby, chump, dolt, doodle, goon, mutt  and also -  blockhead (noun), dunce, oaf, dolt, numskull, numbskull, booby, imbecile, clodpate, lubber-head , loggerhead , jolterhead , block , blockhead , berk , lunkhead , beetle-head , blunderhead , chuckle-head , chump , pudding-head , mutton-head , doodle , dope , clot , dumbbell , goof , lump , dumbhead , loghead , nerd , lardhead , prat , peahead , numbhead , jackass, cretin, pumpkin, goon , bullhead , chowderhead , woodenhead , leather-head , flat , chunk , beefhead , boob , fathead , airhead , dunderhead , pumpkin-head , blunt , pea-brain , loogan , hardhead , mutt , cheese
As you see there are many words for stupid - not as many for smart.  :) 



Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Akira Kurosawa - Master Film Maker

Akira Kurosawa (黒澤 明 or 黒沢 明, Kurosawa Akira, 23 March 1910 – 6 September 1998)


Akira Kurosawa Biography

An Historical Day for the USA


President Barack Obama signed the landmark health care legislation passed by the House of Representatives on Sunday night. The bill, H.R.3590, Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Passed by Both House and Senate) changes the landscape of health care in the United States. The House also passed H.R.4872, the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act which needs to be passed by the Senate and signed into law by the President.

Health care insurance will become truly portable and not based on the "largesse" of large and small employers. Employer provided health care insurance evolved from a simple perquisite to a mechanism to maintain employee "loyalty". Also called "staff retention programs", employers provide "incentives" to employees keep them from changing jobs. In many cases, these incentives become obstacles to change not rewards for effective work. The lack of insurance portability is a large obstacle to mobility for Americans. The buying power of large employers in the health insurance market is another inequity that will be addressed. For-profit health insurance companies have incentives for weeding out expensive customers and retaining healthy ones. Their rules about "pre-existing conditions" and limits on coverage for those who fall ill while covered are all designed to maintain profitability.

At the same time, the American people have not been able to rationally discuss the limits we must place on health expenditures as a country. This is expected in the climate of fear produced by the lack of universal access to health care and the hidden decision making on costs and benefits. Costs have spiralled as quality has lagged. Huge disparities in quality of care occur based on ability to pay and argue with insurance companies. Some people are too sick to argue and simply die without making a big fuss (these are the ideal customers for insurance companies). The oft repeated mantra, that America has the best medical system, is, simply, a false myth.

This legislation stands with Social Security and Medicare in providing freedom from want and facilitating personal liberty as expressed in the 2nd sentence of the Declaration of Independence -

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.


P. S. At the signing ceremony, Vice President Joe Biden's remark, quietly spoken into Obama's ear, was captured by the sensitive microphones - "...this is a big f!@#$ing deal..." I agree entirely. :)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Hints of Spring

The vernal equinox will arrive in about two weeks - two days after St. Patrick's day. The earliest secular celebrations of Paddy's day happened in the USA - not Ireland as you might suspect. It was in Boston in in 1737 in the form of a public parade and a show of Irish immigrant solidarity. Other early celebrations occured in Montreal in 1759 and New York in 1762. St. Patrick was not a native Irishman - he was brought there as a slave! Although homesick, he fell in love with the Emerald Isle, and tried to civilize the natives using shamrocks .

Utility Pole Replacement in Cambridge (Riverside)

Last night a wooden  utility pole  cracked at the base and fell toward the neighboring pole across the street. This caused the wires to d...