M-W.com's Word of The Day


The Word of the Day for July 1 is:
bunkum \BUNG-kum\ noun
: insincere or foolish talk : nonsense

Example sentence:
Vincent thought he had given strong arguments in support of his theory, but Professor Lyons dismissed it as bunkum nonetheless.

Did you know?
Some words in our language have more colorful histories than others, but in the case of "bunkum," you could almost say it was an act of Congress that brought the word into being. Back in 1820 Felix Walker, who represented Buncombe County, North Carolina, in the U.S. House of Representatives, was determined that his voice be heard on his constituents' behalf, even though the matter up for debate was irrelevant to Walker's district and he had little to contribute. To the exasperation of his colleagues, Walker insisted on delivering a long and wearisome "speech for Buncombe." His persistent -- if insignificant -- harangue made "buncombe" (later respelled "bunkum") a synonym for meaningless political claptrap and later for any kind of nonsense.


Where Have I Been?

Sorry for not blogging much, if anyone is concerned. My beloved laptop went to the great Best Buy in the sky a week and a half ago. Hopefully the new one will be coming this week.

Until then, things will be sparse. I am on a friends PC right now, just wanted to put some neat stuff I read recently out there....

A Few Great Sentiments:

LEGEND has it when Henry David Thoreau went to jail to protest an unjust law, his friend, the philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson, visited him and asked, "Henry, what are you doing in here?" The great nature writer replied, "What are you doing out there?"


John Adams and Thomas Jefferson began as friends. The tensions and frictions of the early Republic took care of that. Then, after years of silence between them, a mutual friend persuaded them to write to each other. In 1812, they launched into a correspondence that continued until it was ended by their deaths.

That ending point was on their minds and drove their correspondence. As Mr. Adams wrote Mr. Jefferson, "You and I ought not to die, before we have explained ourselves to each other."


Here is a great editorial on the sacrifices teachers make for their careers. For my money, they are the best deal we as a society have. They catch way too much flack from people.

Here are some facts & figures:

Not counting those who teach summer school, about 20 percent of the country's teachers have second jobs

If you're at the Circuit City in Grapevine, Tex., you might run into Erik Benner, who teaches history and coaches the football team at Cross Timbers Middle School. His work at the school, which averages 60 hours a week, does not come close to paying the way for his family of four, so he moonlights during the year, selling stereos and digital cameras.

If you live in the Bay Area of California, you might find the head of Redwood High School's science department helping customers at the Plumpjack Cafe select a wine to complement the soft-shelled crabs. Skip Lovelady has not missed his Saturday night waiting shift there in 12 years. He can't afford to. If he could get more shifts this summer, he might take them. But they're not available, so he's teaching summer school.

The average salary for a teacher in 2003 was $45,771. A teacher with a master's degree might get an additional stipend of anywhere from $500 to $2,000. Across all professions, however, the average beginning salary for those with master's degrees is $62,820 - about what a teacher might earn with 15 years of experience.

Imagine that scenario in the private sector. A chief executive decides he wants better performance from his company. He issues a mandate that all employees be highly qualified. Then he proposes, as No Child Left Behind does, that the staff members be more tightly controlled, that they conform closely to his top-down directives and that they be tested yearly to keep their jobs. And he wants all of this without raising salaries a penny. Who would want to work for such an outfit?

Is it any surprise that 45 percent of new teachers leave our schools within the first five years?

The editorial end with a suggestion for bonding to increase teacher salaries, just as you would bond to increase physical services. It is an interesting proposition that I think should be discussed. Read it all here: