Words & Numbers


In addition to Xy’s birthday, we’re also celebrating Persephone’s 25,000th hour of life today; but how to explain this number to a toddler?


Persephone is a thousand today. It’s her thousandth day of life. It seems like the sort of thing that should be celebrated, and I’ve had it marked on my calendar for a while. But time got away from me, and now it’s here, and I haven’t a clue what to

Maximal Realization

I’m quoted in this Gambit article by Sarah Eddington. I use big words like “maximal” and “expeditiously” and “stuff.”


Generated by Wordle from a poem by Krystal G., a sixth-grade girl in downtown Indianapolis. Here’s a couple other Wordles I made:

Vernix Colostrum Meconium

Here are three words I learned over the past days and weeks, which I can now promptly forget. Vernix: waxy white coating that’s all over a newborn’s body as he or she emerges from the womb. It comes not from the amniotic fluid but from the fetus’ own sebaceous glands.

If the Good Lord Is Willing

For various reasons I’ve made an effort over the years to eliminate God-talk from my everyday speech. I try not to make casual reference to God. For example, I don’t say “God bless you” or “Thank God.” If I hit my thumb with a hammer I may make a spontaneous

6 > (11.5/2)

Xy & I have been living in New Orleans for six years now. But we’ve only been married for eleven and a half years. That means that more of our married life has been here in New Orleans than in Bloomington, Indiana. And somehow that seems very strange to me.

Two Words

David and I were discussing an NPR story about untranslatable words this morning, and it reminded me of two words from Norden that I hadn’t thought about for a while: the Finnish word sisu and the Swedish word lagom. They’re both reputed to be untranslatable, so you’ll pardon me for

Customer ID Verified — Not

At the grocery store this afternoon, I picked up a six of Sapporo and a bottle of Samuel Smith’s Oatmeal Stout. The cashier did not ask for my ID; they are required to enter a birthdate, however, and I noticed she’d put me down for January 23rd, 1945. Jesus. Do

Scrabble Days 4 & 5

Mike finished his 30th round of Scrabble yesterday. His final standing for the tournament: He’s ranked #118 in Division 1, having won fourteen games and lost sixteen. That’s all for Mike. He and Susie hit the road back to Bloomington this morning. I enjoyed their visit. Of course XY found

Scrabble Day 3

Miike won five games and lost three today at the Scrabble Championship. One of his opponents scored a triple triple with the word defiling. A triple triple is a word that stretches over two triple word scores. 13 (for defiling) * 3 * 3 + 50 (for playing all seven

Scrabble Day 2

Mike, my father-in-law, didn’t do quite as well today at the National Scrabble Championship. He won two games and lost five. Joey Mallick, whom I met briefly on Saturday, beat him 488 to 269, throwing down gantlope, nabe, smothery and peridia. Mike puzzled over all these, only challenging the last,

Scrabble Standings

My in-laws are in town, and Pops is playing in the National Scrabble Championship, which started today. I just checked the Web and saw his standings. He’s in the top division, and as of today he is #60 out of 173. He said his best word of the day was

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