Thursday, November 29, 2007


Perhaps some of you have not heard that I am planning on going to Isreal in the summer. It will be a two week trip with one of my teachers. I am getting really excited. I am planning on spending my Christmas working to save for the trip. I am actually looking forward to that because I will be working with my brother James in St Louis.

I along with 14 other students will be traveling together. When we leave for Israel we will fly to London where we will visit the British Museum. That is going to be a real nice bonus to the trip since there is a lot of artifacts in the musem that were taken from Israel. Then we will leave for Israel itself and spend 14 days traveling around visiting the sites. We visit tels from Dan to Beersheba, we will tube down the Jordan River, and we will get to walk the hills and
valleys where David walked.

I really cant wait. I need to do some research on the different places that we will visit so I may post them to the blog when I type them up.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Mazal Tov

I have always known that the english language yet I didn't realize how much of our slang comes from Yiddish. Yiddish is a mix of German and Hebrew. It is actually more than just a mix of the two but for my understanding that is what I have reduced it to. Yiddish was a very common language before the two world wars since then it has decreased significantly.

In my search I found that I have been speaking yiddish all my life and I didn't even realize it, and for some words I feel a slight embarrassment now that I know the root. Some of the common words that I use are: tush, tuchus, schnook, schmo (I knew a girl who called herself this, it means stupid person), putz, glitch (a common computer term), klutz and even bagel is yiddish.

It is not all that thrilling to find out that words that you know are from another language, since almost all the words I know are from another language. What I like is learning new words from that language. So here is what I found
boychik : boy, young man.
noodge : to pester, nag, whine;
nosh : snack
nudnik : a pest, "pain in the neck";
nu : multipurpose interjection often analogous to "well?" or "so?"
zaftig : plump, chubby, full-figured, as a woman

Well there is my yiddish lesson for the day. I find that most of the yiddish words we took mean something along the lines of a stupid person. I guess we never have enough words to describe stupid people and to laugh at them in our turn. 
Yet on closer inspection I would suggest avoiding the word schmuck.

Today is greet your friends in Yiddish day. Mazal Tov! 

Monday, November 26, 2007


Today I came accross lalophobia which is the fear of speaking. There are a few people who I am convinced have this but I am not naming any names. This is not to be confused with glossophobia which is the fear of public speaking and this the quite common in my opinion. These sent me on spiral into the world of phobias and I fear I shall never return.

We have androphobia the fear of men and Venustraphobia the fear of pretty women. The Ephebiphobiacs are afraid of youth while the Gerontophobiacs fear old people in return.

My personal favorites are:
Aibohphobia — a joke term for the fear of palindromes, which is a palindrome itself.
Arachibutyrophobia — fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of the mouth.
Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia — fear of long words.

This sent me on a quest to come up with my own phobias and so I declare this to be make up your own phobia day.

Here is what I got:
Mordwixedophobia- the fear of spoonerisms.
Enderophobia- the fear of being a third.
Comeuppancemasticagumaphobia- the fear that if one throws their gum on the ground they will inevitably step on gum in the near future.

There you have it. If you happen to come up with some clever phobias send me a letter because I have come down with a sever case of technophobia.

Johnny Bloom
2570 Asbury Rd
Dubuque, IA

Friday, November 23, 2007

Table Talk

I really enjoy watching people who are good at what they do. There is this kind of pleasure that goes with seeing someone do something that has a high level of difficulty while making it look easy. This is why I like to watch sports, or even a carpenter or an artist. Skilled labor, like my brother who sets tile, is impressive when done by someone of his ability. Yet there is one trade that is often overlooked but is very impressive when done by a skilled person, talking.

We all can talk, and most of us can communicate but there are some people who can "talk". I am not talking about those people who chatter on and on. I am talking about the people who have refined their skills in the area of communication and can lead a conversation or host a dinner. These people are professionals, they are deipnosophists. For those academicians out there, deipnosophist is derived from two Latin words meaning "dinner" and "a wise man".

The art of talking at one time was recognized as a skill more than it is now and often that skill was employed around the dinner table. My mind turns to the many Jane Austin stories I have read or heard in which people had form and structure to their dinner parties and the weight of the conversation was to be carried by the host. So while passing judgement on a party, not only the food and accommodations were taken into account, but also the conversation.

I dont know why we have lost this respect for the deipnosophists among us. Maybe it is the technological age which allows people to live and form relationships without ever talking. Or maybe it is the degeneration of the family and the loss of the traditional family dinner. Whatever the case may be, I respect those who have honed their skills of communication and have become professionals of table talk. I have also made it my endeavor to sharpen my skills in this area though I am but a novice in this lofty profession.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

New Computer

I am still alive here in Dubuque. I just got a new computer and it happens to be a really nice one. I bought it used but like new, it still had all of the original in store stickers on it. It has a 3 year warrenty which means that I will be able to hold on to it for a while, until it is obsolete. I will also be blogging a little bit more now that I have my own computer.