Mashed Radish

Today, millions of be-ghouled kids across North America will be facing the disappointment of “fun size” candy as they trick-or-treat for Halloween. While “fun size” may sour any ghost or goblin, candy makes for a quite the sweet and surprising etymology.

"Candy." Doodle & secret message by @andrescalo. “Candy.” Doodle & secret message by @andrescalo.


Following in the tradition of the Romance languages, the earliest appearance of candy is in sugar-candy in 1390. From the French (sucre candi) and, previously, Latin (saccharumcandi), we can unwrap the Arabic qand, “the crystallized juice of the sugar-cane” (Oxford English Dictionary [OED]). Passing through to Arabic from Persian, the word is connected to the Sanskrit khanda (“piece,” as in “piece of candy”), from the verb khand “to break.” (I think of small chunks of brittle as a visual reference, for whatever it’s worth.) The Online Etymology Dictionary proposes a Tamil root for “to harden.” Tamil…

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Observing a Life


genieWe’ve been hit with some pretty big celebrity deaths during the past five years, and they seem to hit closer and closer to home.

We still download Michael Jackson’s music while we watch Heath Ledger’s memorable portrayal of the Joker on our Macs and iPads that were of Steve Jobs’ genius design.

dead poetsBut most of us found ourselves rummaging through our old DVDs and VHS tapes yesterday, still trying to get over the shock of Robin Williams’ sudden passing.

No one would have guessed he’d be next.

I was at a restaurant when I saw the breaking news pop up on the TV monitor. There was no shortage of gasps. Throughout the rest of the evening I talked with friends and coworkers about his death, and what shocked me was the wide variety of responses I heard.

One guy said, “Just think of the movie marathons that’ll happen this week.”

When CNN erroneously reported…

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3 Quotes – Forgiveness

My train of thoughts on...

When you forgive, you in no way change the past – but you sure do change the future.

Bernard Meltzer, American lawyer
born:  May 2, 1916
died:  March 25, 1998

The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.

Mahatma Gandhi, Indian leader
born:  October 2, 1869
died:  January 30, 1948

It’s not an easy journey, to get to a place where you forgive people. But it is such a powerful place, because it frees you.

Tyler Perry, American actor
born:  September 14, 1969
died:  –


Which are your favourite quotes on ‘forgiveness’?  🙂

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Small Press Shoutout: Owl and Zebra Press!

Small Press Shoutout: Owl and Zebra Press!

Jacke Wilson

Wow, it’s been a while since I’ve done one of these. Longtime readers may recall the Small Press Shoutout series, in which I celebrated those independent, brainy, well-intentioned, focused, even more focusedadorable, craftsmanlike, inspiring, dazzling, successful, friendly, quirky, cutting-edge corporate governance-y small presses. Here’s a list, with links:

You should check them out! One of the impulses behind the series was my own efforts at publishing. It’s not easy! Getting things right is tough, and often frustrating, and often thankless. A labor of love. And small presses have been doing…

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8 Simple Rules for Ghosts

I enjoyed thus post and wanted to reblog it.. Dickens was the first author who inspired me to write about ghosts. He even created a set of rules for the dead in A Christmas Carol..

WD Fyfe

Whether you believe in ghosts or not, you have to admit that there are all kinds of things in this world that we simply can’t explain.  Even the most sceptical of us has a vague sense that maybe, just maybe, that noise, that unexplained shadow, or that feeling, might be something we don’t want to look at too closely.  I have a friend who says and believes, “It’s all a pack of rubbish. There’s no such thing as ghosts.”  Still, I know of one place in particular she avoids, because, she says, “I just don’t like the feel of that place.”  If nothing else, that’s what ghosts are: a feeling.  They’re a sense of something outside our accepted knowledge, a paranormal encounter that defies our know-it-all science — without apology.  That’s the problem: even after thousands of sightings over hundreds of years, and some pretty thorough investigation, there is still…

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