Archive for August 2006

28/Aug/2006 – Poetry Corner   3 comments

Web Magnet Poetry

Have fun —

Posted Monday, August 28, 2006 by Grant in Random

26/Aug/2006 – Pluto, What Are You?   7 comments

Pluto—A Planet No More

Does it matter what they call it?

Image of Pluto and its moon Charon

Pluto and its moon Charon.

You already may have heard that Pluto has been reclassified and is no longer considered a planet.

“Pluto, beloved by some as a cosmic underdog but scorned by astronomers who considered it too dinky and distant, was unceremoniously stripped of its status as a planet Thursday.”
Yahoo! News

This news item is hardly as tragic as some others, but it made me a little melancholy, nonetheless. Astronomy was one of my childhood interests and I feel a sense of loss, I suppose. Muted, but there.

It seemeed that a haiku might be in order:

Stripped of planethood.
Cold and distant, but unchanged.
Pluto—it’s still there.

In deciding what to do with Pluto’s classification, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Chairman of the Board of The Planetary Society, said, “The more we learned about Pluto, the more it did not fit any reasonable classification scheme that applied to the other planets.”

I don’t doubt it. Yet, I like the way Pluto’s discoverer, the late Clyde Tombaugh, put it: “It’s there. Whatever it is. It is there.”

Posted Saturday, August 26, 2006 by Grant in Random

24/Aug/2006 – Affect vs. Effect   4 comments

Words and Expressions Commonly Misused

Affect. Effect.

By request.


transitive verb

  1. to produce an effect upon, as
    1. to produce a material influence upon or alteration in
      <paralysis affected his limbs.>
    2. to act upon (as a person or a person’s mind or feelings) so as to effect a response


transitive verb

  1. to cause to come into being
    <effect a settlement of a dispute>
  2. to bring about often by surmounting obstacles; accomplish; to put into operation
    <the duty of the legislature to effect the will of the citizens>

These two words are often confused because of their similar look and sound.

Affect denotes having an effect or influence <the weather affected everyone’s mood>. The verb effect goes beyond mere influence; it refers to actual achievement of a final result <the new administration hopes to effect a peace settlement>
Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary

What about the two words as nouns? Though there is a noun version of affect, it is uncommon. The noun you’ll want is effect <the weather had an effect on everyone’s mood>.

Having said that, however, effect is a timid, evasive noun. Why not choose vigorous, succinct expressions ?

Posted Thursday, August 24, 2006 by Grant in Random

22/Aug/2006 – Dancing Robots   2 comments

Dancing Robots

Courtesy of Yahoo’s The 9 for August 22, I bring you QRIO, the dancing robots.

Too bad I can’t buy you one. 🙂

See the nine other coolest robots at OddPeak.

Posted Tuesday, August 22, 2006 by Grant in Random

21/Aug/2006 – Farther vs. Further   4 comments

Words and Expressions Commonly Misused

Farther. Further.



  1. at or to a greater distance or more advanced point
  2. to a greater degree or extent

I can’t read any farther tonight.



  1. Farther
  2. going or extending beyond; additional

She pursued her further education in another state.

As you can see from the definitions, the two words, as adjectives, are often interchanged. However, there is a distinction. Farther serves better for distance, further for time or quantity.

Further is also used as a sentence modifier <further, the workshop participants were scarcely optimistic — L. B. Mayhew>, but farther is not.
Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary

Posted Monday, August 21, 2006 by Grant in Random

20/Aug/2006 – Aggravate vs. Irritate   6 comments

I felt lke passing along some tips that I discovered. I’ll add another entry every day or two.

I hope these will improve my writing.

Words and Expressions Commonly Misused

Aggravate. Irritate.


To make worse, more serious, or more severe; to intensify unpleasantly.

The situation was aggravated by the neglect of those watching.


To provoke impatience, anger, or displeasure in; to annoy

Her brother’s constant teasing irritated her.

Example of incorrect usage:

“Are you trying to aggravate me with that racket?”
Use irritate instead.

Posted Sunday, August 20, 2006 by Grant in Random

18/Aug/2006 – Cottage Vacation, part 3   4 comments

Cottage Vacation

Part 3

Thursday, July 27, 2006

It is already Thursday afternoon and we have to leave in a few days. Today has been overcast and rainy. Plans have been altered. Still, these days of reading, writing, puzzles, and naps are just as much a part of the cottage experience as are trips to Mistassini for ice cream or to Mistouk for cheese.

Yesterday, after breakfast, we made our way to Alma with some errands to run. Our first stop en route was the bank in Saint-Coeur-de-Marie to get some cash and pay some bills. Next was Uncle Boris’s to say, “Hi” and check out his very impressive garden. Unfortunately, he didn’t see us arrive and, as we were poking around the “back forty,” he scurried off on some errand of his own. C’est la vie (that’s life) as they say.

The next whistle stop was about three hundred yards up the road at Babushka’s (Grandmother’s) house. She passed away some twenty-seven years ago and the house is now rented as two apartments. Lydia’s dad wanted to check the property to see what maintenance might be needed. Interestingly, the tenants in the first apartment, Benoit (pronounced: ben·waw´) and Heather, are Witnesses who we had met on Sunday, so we popped in on them. During our chat, I found out that Benoit, for their honeymoon, had taken Heather on a motorcycle trip from Montréal, Québec to Vancouver, British Columbia, crossing the United States. The trip took nine days. Such romance!

We couldn’t linger, however, and soon said our goodbyes. We still had not arrived in Alma, even. Our next stop was the public library to use their Internet access to check our geocache coordinates. It turned out, however, that they were spot on. This left the blame to lie elsewhere, but certainly not on our ‘caching skills. I helped Dad with his email and made sure to clear the browser’s temporary files before logging out.

As Dad and I moved to the library exit, we joined up with Lydia and her mother coming back in. They had been at the Dollar Store. Unanimous consent was that we were hungry. This had us soon walking to nearby restaurant, “Mario Tremblay,” which is owned by the local hockey legend of that name. The food, beer and service were quite good.

Several stops yet awaited us, so there was neither dillying nor dallying for us. Our trip out of Alma and back towards the cottage took us to a few more stops for food staples and, of course, beer. A beer peddler near home recommended a particular brew from Québec, La Fin du Monde (The End of the World.) We pulled into the driveway at the cottage close to four o’clock. Lydia changed into her swimsuit and headed down to the lake. I read.

After dinner, we took in a couple more episodes of “The House of Eliott” and got ready for bed. I had trouble sleeping, so I got up and wrote for a while. As I typed away, a couple of small flying insects were attracted to the light of my laptop screen and chilled out with me for a while.

This morning was slow, due to the drenching weather. I helped Dad with his laptop while others read and puttered. And, naturally, naps were had.

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

Image of a fountain

Dad’s homemade fountain.

Posted Friday, August 18, 2006 by Grant in Random