28 October 1997: Not resting but nailed to the perch

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I have resented the Monty Python skit from which that title comes for a long time, over two years. I told someone who should've cared that Percy had died and he replied, "I guess it's not the time for the Dead Parrot routine." We haven't been particularly close since then.


I felt under the weather, perhaps literally, yesterday, and today I am indulging my malaise by staying home. I think I had cabin fever, and a woman I work with had the same wishy-washy feeling and we wondered whether to attribute it to cabin fever. So I'm writing, as much as I can with MS Word crashing on start up (how long has it been since I've vented about hating Microsoft? an hour? two?), and tweaking (I never spot errors until a page is posted), and sending cards of one sort and another. I should write to DEW also.

Also I got all the episode synopses of "Northern Exposure"--remind me to find that link--and am considering whether I wish to become a Moose. Is there a parallel for a Northern Exposure Trekkie, or have I made one up with Moose?


Expletive deleted. (Not really, but it's a good censorship phrase.)


In my law class the professor has discussed the role of guardian ad litem, who is hired by either or both parents or by the court to represent the interests of the children in divorce and other cases. Upon first hearing the term, I asked why "ad litem" instead of anything else. She didn't know. She didn't know what ipse dixit meant either. How can you be a lawyer--pass the bar, practice in your state, be a magistrate, and be a professor of law--and know so little Latin? I can't translate the idiom, but ipse is some kind of reflexive pronoun like "himself" and dixit is "he says," third person singular and I think present tense. Hearsay evidence is what ipse dixit implies, but she didn't know. That's what I can translate from one year of Latin in ninth grade fifteen years ago. I had to look up litem (though not ad, thank you so much): it's related to lis, litis, f.: a legal controversy or action; litigo, litigare: to go to law. So again I don't know enough to translate the idiom, and I feel stupid enough for not making the connection between litem and oh, say, litigate or legal, but I can tell you that ad litem means "in the law" or "at the bar" or something like that. Okay, not everyone can be Cassell himself, but did my professor--who has been a guardian ad litem herself--never wonder what the term meant? Apparently not. Whither curiosity?

treeFurther unwitticism

But then again last week I spelled "extension" with a "-tion." And I received email from a professor friend today in which he spelled "cemetery" with a "-tary." This at least reassured me I and the atrophying of my brain are in good company.

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Last modified 29 October 1997

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