Saturday, February 12, 2005


I subscribe to the Merriam-Webster Word-of-the-Day.
Today's is:

desultory \DEH-sul-tor-ee\ adjective

*1 : marked by lack of definite plan, regularity, or purpose
2 : not connected with the main subject
3 : disappointing in progress, performance, or quality

Example sentence:

"His studies are very desultory and eccentric, but he has
amassed a lot of out-of-the-way knowledge which would
astonish his professors."
(Arthur Conan Doyle, "A Study in Scarlet")

Did you know?

The Latin adjective "desultorius," the parent of
"desultory," was used by the ancients to refer to a circus
performer (called a "desultor") whose trick was to leap from
horse to horse without stopping. It makes sense, therefore,
that someone or something "desultory" jumps from one thing
to another. ("Desultor" and "desultorius" are derived from
the Latin verb "salire," which means "to leap.") A desultory
conversation leaps from one topic to another, and doesn't
have a distinct point or direction. A desultory student
skips from one subject to another without applying serious
effort to any one. A desultory comment is a digressive one
that jumps away from the topic at hand. And a desultory
performance is one resulting from an implied lack of steady,
focused effort.

Besides being interesting, (and having a quote, not only
from, but about Sherlock Holmes!), I feel that my own
education is decidedly desultory. Especially college. But
perhaps, that's what college is for. I'm still so spread
out in life, not sure what to spend my time on. On the one
hand, there is so much interesting stuff out there, on the
other, it is the deep, not the broad that change the world.
Do I want to change the world? No, I don't think so. I
just want to love what I'm doing. I'm not all there yet.

I had an interesting dentist appointment today. I was
getting some fillings replaced. My dentist has a great
bedside manner, looks me in the eye when speaking to me,
always shakes my hand when I come in, etc. He has some kids
on Wall Street that are raking in the dough. (That piqued my
jealousy a bit... Me? Wall Street?) But while he was doing
the filling, he kept chewing out the assistant for not doing
things exactly right. So I was conflicted about this. On
the one hand, he's a totally competent and serious fellow
who knows how to do a great job. On the other had, he was
pretty brutal to her. (Indeed, even I could tell she wasn't
very facile with the tools...grrr...) I just felt really
bad for her. She started to get defensive, which was the
wrong approach, because he is indeed the master of the
situation. I'm just not sure if I like how he handled it,
or not. I wanted her to be doing the right thing, believe
me, so perhaps she needed to be scolded. But I still
squirmed a bit. It was thought provoking anyway.
My teeth feel great too...:)

"In Paris they simply stared when I spoke to them in French;
I never did succeed in making those idiots understand their own
language." -- Mark Twain

The sunrise out my window...

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