Since I’ve probably been all these things this weekend, here’s a definition of who’s who and why.

Gourmand – a person who is devoted to eating and drinking to excess

Glutton – a person who eats or consumes immoderate amounts of food and drink

Epicurean – a devotee to sensuous and luxurious living

Gourmet – a connoisseur of fine food and drink


On the flight from Phoenix to Las Vegas, I sat in the window seat aft of the wing. I got to see the flappy things move up and down. In fact, when they are totally up, you can see all the working stuff underneath them. And guess what, they are not called flappy things!

aileron – Either of two movable flaps on the wings of an airplane that can be used to control the plane’s rolling and banking movements. (


Here’s a word you find in crossword puzzles a lot. E-t-a-i-o-n are the most commonly used letters in English words and this word has most of them. But did you know that it also carries along the Mother’s Day theme of today’s blog?

enate – A relative on one’s mother’s side.


For some reason which neither of us can remember, John and I were talking about iniquities this morning. He pointed out that if there is iniquity or wickedness then there should be iquity or righteousness. This being the kind of conversation we love to beat to death, I looked up iniquity on It seems that iniquity comes from the Latin in (not) and aequus (equal, just). While iniquity does mean a gross injustice, most people think of it as wickedness. Taking this one step further, why do we have the word inequity when we already have a perfectly good meaning in iniquity? The reason for this, I think, is that we have the word equity and to make the opposite somebody stuck “in” in front of it.


Actually, when I was thinking about why I got bit so much by mosquitos, I originally thought it was because I gave off pheromones which were attractive to them. But my pheromones wouldn’t attract a mosquito, hopefully they would attract John.

pheromone – A chemical secreted by an animal, especially an insect, that influences the behavior or development of others of the same species, often functioning as an attractant of the opposite sex. (


There are two chain grocery stores that you can go to here on Marco Island. One is Winn-Dixie and the other is Publix. We often go to the Winn-Dixie because the Publix is really crowded. Maybe this is the reason why. As we approached the Winn-Dixie checkout, I noticed that the bagger was busily removing the gum from her mouth, saving it in one of her hands and then putting it back in her mouth. Then she continued to bag groceries. Yuck. The cashier was using her knot of hair as a receptacle for the pen she handed to customers to sign credit card receipts. Yuck again. I used my own pen and washed off a bunch of stuff that the bagger touched. It’s Publix for us even though it’s crowded.

fastidious – Possessing or displaying careful, meticulous attention to detail.

I expected the bagger and cashier at Winn-Dixie to be fastidious in their hygiene.

Flying Persiflage

Have you ever noticed that as the sound level goes up in a room, people keep talking more and more loudly, driving the noise level even higher? Yesterday, in order to be heard to his seatmates on the plane, the guy behind me kept talking really loudly about everything from social security to sushi. I think he thought he was very entertaining.

Frivolous or bantering talk; a frivolous manner of treating any subject, whether serious or otherwise.

Et tu, Brute

Conundrum would have been a good choice for the word of the day since it was in the title of Zuckerman’s article but I’ve already used it. So here’s something completely different. Anyone who has read Julius Caesar by Shakespeare knows that Caesar was killed on the ides of March. But is that a plural noun? Is there such a word as ide?

Ides – The 15th day of March, May, July, or October or the 13th day of the other months in the ancient Roman calendar.

So the ides of May are coming up a week after Mother’s Day.

Computer Jargon

I’ve been noticing that more and more computer jargon and abbreviations have been creeping into the New York Times Crossword puzzles. Here are a few –

ISP – Internet Service Provider
LAN – Local Area Network
URL – Uniform Resource Locator
and of course…
blog – We-b log – A blog is basically a journal that is available on the web. The activity of updating a blog is “blogging” and someone who keeps a blog is a “blogger.”