Apparently the English language has a lexical gap – it has no good term for ‘the end of a hiatus’ (‘resumption’ and ‘recommencement’ hardly suffice semantically), but, in any case, my apologies for having been largely absent here the past couple of months. Our department of nine full-time faculty has just finished three simultaneous job searches, which for those of you in academia, will give you a very good sense of what I’ve been up to.
And a very happy Pi Day (3/14) to all of you who celebrate! I didn’t do much special at 1:59 pm – perhaps I should have toasted Archimedes or something like that. I’m fonder of Pi Approximation Day anyway (July 22), since 3 1/7 is much closer to pi than 3.14.
This week’s World Wide Words (the e-magazine authored for 15 years by the inestimably talented lexicographer, Michael Quinion) featured one of my favourite numerical words, chronogram, meaning number-riddles in which a date is encoded in text using Roman numerals. Quinion mentions in passing the “three big books” of James Hilton from the 19th century, but this does little justice to the 1500+ pages of chronograms Hilton compiled over two decades. The first two volumes available for free download from Google Books (vol 1 – 1882; vol 2 – 1885; vol 3, 1895, is inexplicably only in ‘snippet view’).
Lastly, here is some good advice for those who are (rightly) considering charitable donations in support of victims of the Sendai earthquake.