Just one letter

Have you ever played crossword constructor, Jeopardy champ and Harvard brainiac Joon Pahk’s Guess My Word?  One letter can change the outcome of the game, and stump you but good. You could be going from immunity – protection, or exemption from an obligation or penalty. Immunity, first used in the 15th century, is a Middle English word rooted in the Latin word for munia (services) and munus (services).   Switch one letter around, and suddenly you’ve got impunity – exemption from punishment or freedom from the injurious consequences of an action.  Taken from Middle French or Latin, this word draws from impunitas (without punishment), rooted in poena, punishment.  While both words employ the negative prefix, im-,  their roots are quite different – service versus punishment. Continue reading “Just one letter”


Say you find yourself in Florence for about 36 hours. Art, architecture, gardens, libraries and specialty shopping abound in what National Geographic calls a “city-size shrine to the Renaissance.”    A city with Roman origins that flourished during the Middle Ages, Florence, “the Athens of the Middle Ages” has been ruled by Medici, served as the capital of the Kingdom of Italy and continues to serve as the capital of Tuscany and the providence of Florence. It is a majestic city lying in the basin of the Arno and three other rivers between seven hills – Rome has nothing on this place. Continue reading “Firenze”

The Biographizers

Lauren Green, on Fox News during her discussion with Reza Aslan, mentioned to preposterous idea of a democrat promoting democracy by writing about a republican.  The badly done infographic (the good version has disappeared, I’ll be recreating it this weekend) below lists a random grouping of Republican Presidents from the most famous (Lincoln) to the un-famous (Coolidge), based on the top three rated books on Amazon, and a look at who wrote them. Continue reading “The Biographizers”