"The word Christmas originated as a compound meaning "Christ's Mass". It is derived from the Middle English Christemasse and Old English Cristes mæsse, a phrase first recorded in 1038. "Cristes" is from Greek Christos and "mæsse" is from Latin missa (the holy mass). In Greek, the letter Χ (chi), is the first letter of Christ, and it, or the similar Roman letter X, has been used as an abbreviation for Christ since the mid-16th century. Hence, Xmas is sometimes used as an abbreviation for Christmas."According to the "On-line Etymology Dictionary" Christ Mass was first written as one word around the mid-14th century (1300's).
Saturday, December 25, 2010
It's interesting that the earliest record of the use of the term Christ Mass comes more than a millenium after the putative birth of Jesus.
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
The four kittens -- Tippecanoe, Tyler Two, Eli and Samantha -- born earlier in the spring, having grown up together are more oriented towards each other than they are to snuggling with the humans (not that they never do it). Little Alice, separated from her siblings does play with the older kitties, but is strongly oriented towards me in a very companionable way. She reminds me very strongly both in looks and temperament of my Cricket cat, who was my companion for twenty-one years . Hope Alice has as long and healthy a life as Cricket did.
Sunday, December 5, 2010
This morning, as I often do while waiting for all my programs to load first thing in the morning, I play some games of solitaire, rather than just sit there and stare at the screen. Suddenly I was struck by the idea that there were important life lessons to be learned from computer solitaire.
- Some days you lose more than you win, but you can always start over and the next game may be a winner.
- When you reach a dead end, its best to stop fruitlessly trying the same thing over and over, and start afresh.
- Sometimes the end isn't the end -- you just have to be willing to give up some of what you've already gained, take a few steps backward and head in a different direction. You'll lose points that way, but you will accomplish your goal.
Of course one more important lesson from solitaire is:
- Sometimes, when you've taken some steps backward, and tried a new direction, you still end up losing. Then its time to dust oneself off and start anew.