Tag Archives: word of the day

Campcraft – Friday’s Word of the Day

campcraft
Today’s Word of the Day at Dictionary.com is Campcraft, defined as the “art of outdoor camping”. Okay, I have to stop here for a minute…art? Really!? Can you tell that my brow is furrowed right now? Camping as “art”? I think that’s a stretch. Maybe I should look at other dictionary definitions of the word, campcraft.

But before I do that, let’s look up the word “art”. Wow! What a can of worms that is. Suffice to say that there is an entire field of philosophical study, and a good amount of disagreement regarding art and whether it is even possible to define art; whether anyone should even try. There are pages and pages of methodology and reasoning, but nowhere, NOWHERE do I see any reference to campcrafting. Not a one. It may have something to do with the fact that campcraft is a relatively new word. According to dictionary.com: “Campcraft is a straightforward compound noun. Camp ultimately derives from Latin campus “field, plain,” especially the Campus Martius “the field of Mars” (so called from the altar dedicated to Mars), which was originally pastureland between the Tiber River and the northwest boundary of Rome. The Campus Martius was used for recreation and exercise, various civilian meetings, and army musters and military exercises. Craft is a common Germanic word: cræft in Old English, Kraft in German, kraft in Danish, Norwegian, and Swedish. All of the Germanic languages except English have maintained the original meaning “strength, power”; only English has developed the sense “skill, skilled occupation.” Campcraft entered English in the 20th century.”

But I digress. This is the most neutral, reasonable definition I found for the word “Art”: “the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.” See camping in there? uhh hmmm…nope…just as I suggested. 

And about those other dictionaries…The Oxford Dictionary says that campcraft is “knowledge and skill required for an outdoor life lacking modern conveniences”. Thank you Oxford Dictionary! Yes! I can relate to this definition. Merriam-Webster says campcraft is “skill and practice in the activities relating to camping”. Wiktionary says campcraft is “Any of the outdoor skills associated with camping expeditions, such as map-reading.” Ah, map reading, and that word again, skill. I get that. It takes a certain amount of skill to survive on limited resources and no creature comforts in the wild, as it were. 

I suppose I am a bit biased in my aversion to the idea of camping as art. My latest guilty pleasure has been binge-watching a new reality show on the Discovery Channel called “Naked and Afraid”. Its premise is basically this. Teams (a man and a woman, strangers before the challenge) are dropped off in the wilderness. Each person is allowed to bring a tool of their choice and they are given a square canvas over the shoulder bag…and, ahem, the catch…no clothes allowed. Not a stitch. The object of the game, if you can call it that, is to survive the elements and each other for 40 days, while wandering around with wild animals in some of the world’s most dangerous places. (and we’re not talking about Manhattan here…or Chicago…or our southern border…sorry…not sorry). It’s survival at its rawest. And I can tell you, it’s not pretty. It is extreme campcraft, but is it art? For that I must refer back to the definition of art… “the expression or application of human creative skill (…that word again) and imagination (it certainly takes imagination and skill for these people to figure out how to make it without dying or being eaten by predators), typically in visual form such as painting or sculpture (well…nope, that doesn’t fit), producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power”. And with that last part, I may just be talking myself out of my first assumption. Survival is not necessarily beautiful to look it. It is pretty messy, in fact, and scary. But now that I think about it, watching these naked people struggling to survive (believe me, it’s hard to not watch, once you’re hooked…and don’t worry, the producers blur out the sensitive anatomic areas, not that it matters, you really get to know the people. That’s what hooks you in.)…watching them take on the challenge is definitely emotionally gripping and inspirational. When I think of art, however one defines what is or isn’t art, there is a common denominator. It causes us to feel something. 

So…okay Dictionary.com, I’ll give you the use of the word, art, in your definition. I admit my first thoughts were of bunsen burners, bug spray, flashlights, tents and sleeping bags, lions, tigers and bears…spiders and snakes. In that context, art is a stretch. Even “Glamping” can’t hold a candle to the Mona Lisa. But there is beauty in the skill and creativity of survival. I still like Oxford, Wiktionary, and Merriam-Webster’s definitions, but I get it now. Campcraft can be a beautiful thing. Maybe even art. It’s all in how you perceive it. 

campcraft is a skill
in the art of survival 
the goal…not dying

~kat


Flexitarian – Friday’s Word of the Day

flexitarian

Today’s word of the day at Dictionary.com is flexitarian. It’s a relatively new word, a portmanteau (remember that word of the day?) created by combining the words “flexible” and “vegetarian”. It was first recorded in 1990 and is defined as a person whose diet is mostly vegetarian but sometimes includes meat, fish, or poultry, or it is also a term relating to flexitarians or their diet: a flexitarian cookbook.

I get it. I’ve been a pescetarian for several years now, which means I eat a vegetarian diet and occasionally I east fish. But if I’m being completely transparent, I suppose what I really am is a pesce-ovo-lacto-tarian since I also eat eggs and dairy. But I am definitely not a flexitarian. I do not eat meat from mammals or poultry.

But I get it. We are all striving to be more health conscious when it comes to our diets. Going vegetarian, or vegan can be a daunting exercise for carnivores. Some people would never consider such a radical approach, especially those who opt for keto (high fat, popularized by Jack Spratt’s wife), low carb, or paleo fare. And then, of course there are is the gluten-free crowd, and the locavores who limit their diet to food that is produced locally. As radical as veganism or vegetarianism may seem, there are the raw diet aficionados, fruitarians (fruit only) and breatharians who believe that food is not necessary for human subsistence. I had never heard of this latter group, but I suspect that they are a dying breed…(Forgive my humor if you are a breatharian. I mean no disrespect. Obviously, if you are, and are still living and breathing, then my humorless assumption is incorrect.)  There are a few other -tarians worth a mention, pollo-tarians (poulty eaters), the faith-based Kosher, Buddhist, and Hindu/Jain diets, and last but not least, diets that relate to specific populations: the Inuit, Mediterranean, and from our friends “down under” the kangatarians. Yep, you guessed it…they eat kangaroo meat to the exclusion of all other meats. Just one more…there is also a diet called the Shangri-La Diet, which involves consuming 100-400 calories of flavorless “food” such as extra virgin olive oil between meals as a way to lose weight. The Shangri-La Diet, when one examines the details, seems like an oxymoron to me. I guess this is a good place to stop.  Though you should know, this is not an exhaustive list. You can find that list at Wikipedia.

All this to say that I think it is safe to say, we like our labels and categories. It makes us feel like we’re special, that we belong, which brings me to our word of the day…flexitarian. Is that really a thing, or is it rather a “non-thing”? Before the age of dietary enlightenment, weren’t we all flexitarians? Like I said, I get it. We like our labels and categories. Flexitarians can have their meat and eat it too.

Does it really matter how we identify our eating habits? Restaurants are catching on, as are food labels, making it easier for us to identify the special foods we choose to consume be it for religious, health, spiritual, or activist reasons. It really shouldn’t matter what we choose to eat. But as an Executive Administrative Assistant, I can tell you catering a nice employee appreciation luncheon can be a nightmare. From the moment the email invitation drops, I can count on being flooded with requests for the precise menu that is being served, and if it does not meet the “needs” of  my invitees, requests for substitutions ultimately follow. The days of employees excited about a box of Krispy Creme donuts in the break room are long over. Believe me, it’s not worth the trouble to offer people free food. When the company asks for cost savings…I have a few ideas.

Before I launch into a rant…let me get to my haiku for the day using our word of the day… because I’m flexible that way I shall not tarry any longer. Have a great weekend and remember to be kind. Eat and let eat…and have the damn cake if you want it. Life is short. 🙂

in the beginning
we were flexitarians
just didn’t know it

~kat

 

 


Pellucid – Friday’s Word of the Day

pellucid

Today’s word of the day at Dictionary.com, pellucid, is about as straightforward as words can be…perfectly clear in meaning…in other words, pellucid. A Latin word that entered the English language in the 17th century, pellucid finds its root in the adjective pellūcidus (the usual Latin spelling is perlūcidus) meaning “very clear, transparent.”  The Latin adjective lūcidus is thoroughly naturalized in English lucid, but the Latin prefix and preposition per- is adds intensity to the Latin root of the English word lucid (lūcidusis). Some examples of the prefex, “per” include: perbonus “very good, excellent,” perbrevis “very short,” perbene “very well,” perbellē “very charmingly,” and percelebrāre “to make thoroughly known.”  The Greek prefix and preposition perí serves the same purpose, as in Periklês (c 495-429 b.c.), the Athenian statesman, from the adjective perikleês “very famous.” It is defined as allowing the maximum passage of light, as glass; translucent; clear or limpid: pellucid waters.; clear in meaning, expression, or style: a pellucid way of writing.

So as I said, today’s word is very clear, very pellucid. I found a few references a la Google to this word. There is an eye disorder called Pellucid Marginal Degeneration (PMD) which is a bilateral (both eyes), non-inflammatory corneal disease characterized by severe inferior crescent shaped thinning. There are also a several businesses that use Pellucid in their name. Pellucid Analytics that provides” technologies to improve investment banker workflows.” Pellucid Water is a company that has developed cold plasma technology to treat water without creating secondary waste. Their process, they claim is a cost efficient alternative to multi-process systems currently being used. Pellucid water sounds like a wonderful thing. And there is a company that sells pellucid sound systems…also a wonderful use of the word. And finally, I found an instrumental piece by callasoiled (posted by Elegant Sister) called Pellucid Light. Here’s a link in case you want to have a listen:

Clearly, pellucidly (is that a word? Yes, in fact it is 😊) we are still using this 17th century word in our everyday vernacular. Though I had never heard it before today’s word of the day prompting. Had you? That’s why I do love this exercise (though, admittedly, I had taken a break from it for a few weeks). If this is a new word for you too, I hope you will find ways to insert it into your everyday discourse, as I do here in my haiku for the word of today…pellucid.

Have a great weekend.

I gaze at my feet
submerged in pellucid pools
fish nibbling my toes

~kat


Cordillera – Friday’s Word of the Day


Today’s word of the day at dictionary.com is cordillera; a chain of mountains, usually the
principal mountain system or mountain axis of a large landmass; a series of parallel ranges of mountains. The word originated around 1704, from the Spanish word for “mountain chain,”  from cordilla, in Old Spanish, “string, rope,” diminutive of cuerda,from Latin chorda “cord, rope” (seecord).

When I researched cordilleras, I discovered a new information source, Quora. Here is a nice summary that explains what a cordillera is and perhaps what it is not.

1. Cordillera includes a general highland formed in different periods and by different processes, for example, the cordillera of the western United States and British Columbia.

2. Mountain system refers to mountains formed in a single period and includes many mountain ranges and groups of single mountains, for example, Appalachian.

3. Mountain range refers to mountains formed in the same age and with the same process arranged in narrow and long belt, for example, Himalayan mountain range.

4. Mountain groups are highlands composed of different mountains but with a proper arrangement, for example, Juan mountain group.

5. Mountain ridges are mountains formed due to local folding and faulting and rise abruptly from the adjoining region, for example, Blue Ridge Mountains, USA.

Source-The Earth Dynamic Surface by K. Siddhartha

I live in the shadow of what is defined as a “mountain ridge”. The Blue Ridge Mountains, and specifically the Roanoke Valley is part of the Appalachian “mountain system” that extends from Newfoundland and Nova Scotia in Canada to Central Alabama, which also includes the Catskills in New York, the Allegheny Highlands in Pennsylvania and The Great Smoky Mountains in Eastern Tennessee and western North Carolina. Basically it spans the Eastern portion of North America.

To find a true cordillera in North America you need to trek west to the Pacific coast to the west of The Great Basin. The Pacific Cordillera, also called Western Cordillera, the Western Cordillera of North America extends from Alaska to Central Mexico and includes three main belts: the Pacific Coast Ranges in the west, the Nevadan belt in the middle (including the Sierra Nevada), and the Laramide belt in the east (including the Rocky Mountains) extending to heights of over 20,000 feet at its highest point. This is quite a contrast to the 6,682 ft height of Mount Marshall in North Carolina in the Appalachian Mountain system.

Of course there is much more to know about Cordillera in other parts of the world, including the Andes Mountains, also known as the Cordillera de los Andes that extends over a distance of some 5,500 miles (8,900 kilometres) from the southern tip of South America to the continent’s northernmost coast on the Caribbean. They separate a narrow western coastal area from the rest of the continent and contain the highest peaks in the Western Hemisphere. The highest of them is Mount Aconcagua (22,831 feet). Other notable cordillera include: Alborz Cordillera, Northwest-Northeast Iran (also written as Elburz); Annamese Cordillera (Annamite Range), Laos and eastern Vietnam; Baetic Cordillera, Spain; East Australian Cordillera, more commonly known as the Great Dividing Range; and Zagros Cordillera, Middle East, Southeast of Turkey, Northeast of Iraq, and Northwest to Southeast Iran. From Wikipedia.

All this talk about mountains and cordillera, is making my heart race and my knees weak given my aversion to heights. But I do love the view, my feet safely planted in the valley I call home.

So, There you have it, a high level view that barely skims the apex, giving you a ‘peek’ at all things cordillera.

Here’s a Haiku to wrap this up.

cordillera cusp
grazing heaven’s canopy
air thin, vista sweet

~kat


Sith – Friday’s Word of the Day

May the Fourth be with You! Friday’s Word of the Day at Dictionary.com is sith, and if you’re a nerd it means something entirely different to you that its archaic (dictionary’s word, not mine) definition. It’s an adverb that means “since”. Dictionary says sith (obsolete), originated before 950; Middle English; Old English siththa, dialectal variant of siththan, orig., sīth thām after that, subsequently to that, equivalent to sīth subsequently (akin to Gothic seithus, Old Norse sīth- late, German seit since) + thām, dative of demonstrative pronoun, i.e., “to that”; compare Old Norse sīthan sith.

But the word in today’s vocabulary has gained popularity as a reference to dark forces from the Star Wars sagas. Wikipedia gives a good background for the modern word sith, implying that the word originated in 1976, which lends additional credence to the “obsolete” nature of the original word that is said to have fallen from usage in the 16th Century.

For those of you who are not Star Wars enthusiasts, here is a snippet from Wikipedia: The Sith originated in a species of Force-sensitive warriors who discovered the efficacy of passion as a tool to draw on the Force approximately 6,000 years prior to the events of the first Star Wars film. Fully embracing this approach, they became defined and corrupted by it.

The Sith are major antagonists in the space opera franchise Star Wars. They are depicted as an ancient monastic and kraterocratic organization of supernaturally gifted warriors driven by an agenda of galactic domination and revenge against their predecessors, the Jedi.


Darth Sidious

There are several theories regarding how George Lucas came to call this evil side of the force, the Sith. Some believe it is a combination of names Darth and Sidious, for the Emperor Palpatine/Darth Sidious. Scheming, powerful, and evil to the core, Darth Sidious restored the Sith and destroyed the Jedi Order. Others believe it was chosen for its snakelike sound, Siithththth. But it is clear that no reference was ever made to the original word sith.

On that note, back to our word of the day and its former use. Here are a few examples:

They said it was a great matter, sith I had risked mine own life.” Emily Sarah Holt, Clare Avery

“Sith Alwyn vails of himself, it is thine, by might and by right.” Edward Bulwer-Lytton, The Last Of The Barons, Complete

“Why, I reckon it cannot be over nine days sith thine were writ.” Emily Sarah Holt, Joyce Morrell’s Harvest

“Here’s twentye groates of white moneye, Sith thou will have it of mee.” Various Authors, A Book of Ballads, Volume 3

So there you have it. Sith, an obsolete, resurrected word that is now the stuff of legends. “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away….” A sith once meant since, and is now the name for dark forces that resulted from a passion for power run amuck!

I’m afraid today’s Haiku is a jumble. But here it is!

sith it is the fourth
a day we honor the force
not for Sith…Jedi

~kat


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