Word of the Day: Moonstruck

The phases of the moon.

The phases of the moon.

Definition: Also moonstricken
(adjective) Mentally deranged, supposedly by the influence of the moon; crazed
Origin: First Known Use: 1674
Synonyms: Crazed, loony, distraught, insane, lunatic
Antonyms: Balanced, sane, sound
Usage: Children will always be afraid of the dark, and men with minds sensitive to hereditary impulse will always tremble at the thought of the hidden and fathomless worlds of strange life which may pulsate in the gulfs beyond the stars, or press hideously upon our own globe in unholy dimensions which only the dead and the moonstruck can glimpse.— H. P. Lovecraft

Word of the Day: Rectitude

Credit:The Simpsons

Credit: The Simpsons

Definition: (noun) the quality or state of being correct in judgment
Origin First Known Use: 15th century (1400-50)
late Middle English, from Middle French, from Late Latin Latin rectitudo, from Latin rectus: straight, right
Synonyms: righteousness, decency, integrity, probity
Antonyms: corruption, dishonesty, immorality
Usage: The mind that’s conscious of its rectitude,
Laughs at the lies of rumor. — Ovid


Word of the Day: Bestride

Red Cloud

Red Cloud, war leader and chief of the Oglala Lakota.

Definition: (verb) to have or put a leg on either side of; to dominate by position
Origin First known use before 12th century;
Middle English bistriden, from Old English bestrīdan : be- + strīdan (to mount a horse)
Synonyms: stride, mount; look down upon, overlook
Antonyms : dismount; surrender, decline
Usage: the bloated bureaucracy that bestrides us all — Edward Ney


[US Politics] Filibuster

James Stewart in "Mr Smith goes to Washington", 1939.

James Stewart in “Mr Smith goes to Washington”, 1939.

Yesterday, my 16 year old son was astonished to read that U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, who recently entered the race to the White House, talked out for more than 21 hours in 2013 on budget compromise against Obamacare.

Such obstruction is called filibustering, also known as “talking out a bill” or “talking a bill to death.”

The origins

A filibuster is a parliamentary procedure where debate is extended, allowing one or several members to delay or entirely prevent a vote on a given proposal. It characterizes as a form of obstruction in a legislature or other decision-making body. The English term “filibuster” is derived from the Spanish filibustero, itself deriving from the Dutch vrijbuiter, meaning “pirate”, “robber”.

The term in its legislative sense was first used by Rep. Albert G. Brown, D-MS, in 1853, referring to Abraham Watkins Venable’s speech against “filibustering” intervention in Cuba.


In the early years of Congress, representatives as well as senators could filibuster. As the House of Representatives grew in numbers, however, revisions to the House rules limited debate. The rules to stop a filibuster changed several times over the time. In 1917, senators adopted a rule (Rule 22) that allowed the Senate to end a debate with a two-thirds majority vote, a device known as “cloture.” Even with the new cloture rule, filibusters remained an effective means to block legislation, since a two-thirds vote is difficult to obtain. Over the next five decades, the Senate occasionally tried to invoke cloture, but usually failed to gain the necessary two-thirds vote. Filibusters were particularly useful to Southern senators who sought to block civil rights legislation, including anti-lynching legislation, until cloture was invoked after a 60 day filibuster against the Civil Right Act of 1964. In 1975, the Senate reduced the number of votes required for cloture from two-thirds to three-fifths, or 60 of the current one hundred senators.

The 5 Most Famous Filibusters

1. U.S. Sen. Strom Thurmond, 1957 — Filibuster length: 24 hours, 18 minutes

Sen. Strom Thurmond, R-S.C. spoke for 24 hours and 18 minutes, reciting the Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights, President George Washington’s farewell address and other historical documents along the way, before concluding with the line, “I expect to vote against the bill.”

2. U.S. Sen. Alfonse D’Amato, 1986 — Filibuster length: 23 hours, 30 minutes

U.S. Sen. Alfonse D’Amato of New York spoke for 23 hours and 30 minutes to stall debate on an important military bill. It was but one of D’Amato’s most famous and longest filibusters, though. In 1992, D’Amato held forth on a “gentleman’s filibuster” for 15 hours and 14 minutes, and quit his filibuster only after the House of Representatives had adjourned for the year, meaning the legislation had died.

3. U.S. Sen. Wayne Morse, 1953 — Filibuster length: 22 hours, 26 minutes

U.S. Sen. Wayne Morse of Oregon spoke for 22 hours and 26 minutes to stall debate on the Tidelands Oil bill, according to U.S. Senate archives.

4. U.S. Sen. Robert La Follette Sr., 1908 — Filibuster length: 18 hours, 23 minutes

U.S. Sen. Robert La Follette Sr. of Wisconsin spoke for 18 hours and 23 minutes to stall debate on the Aldrich-Vreeland currency bill, which permitted the U.S. Treasury to lend currency to banks during fiscal crises, according to Senate records.

5.  U.S. Sen. William Proxmire, 1981 –Filibuster length: 16 hours, 12 minutes

U.S. Sen. William Proxmire of Wisconsin spoke for 16 hours and 12 minutes to stall debate on an increase of the public debt ceiling. He was concerned about the nation’s rising debt level. The bill he wanted to stall action on authorizing a total debt of $1 trillion. His detractors in the Senate pointed out that taxpayers were paying tens of thousands of dollars to keep the chamber open all night for his speech.

And now we can add U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, who on September 23, 2013 vowed to “speak in support of defunding Obamacare until I am no longer able to stand.” His 21-hour and 19-minute filibuster allowed him to enter at the fourth rank of the most famous and longest filibusters!

Source: United States Senate

Word of the Day: Downswing

Definition: (noun) A downward trend in business activity, birth rate, etc.
Origin First known use in 1895-1900 ; down+swing
Synonyms: worsening, downspin, downturn
Antonyms : improvement, ascent, rise, increase
Usage: Panicked investors scrambled to secure their assets as the market took a severe downswing for the third time in a month.


Word of the Day: Lummox

Definition: (noun) A stupid, awkward person.
Origin: Unknown. First known use, circa 1825. East Anglian slang, perhaps from dumb ox, influenced by lumbering; or from East Anglian dialectal form of verb lummock “move heavily or clumsily”
Synonyms: dub, butterfingers,clod, gawk, klutz.
Antonyms: brain, genius
Usage: You, silly lummox!

Word of the Day: Wherefore

Definition: (noun) The cause or intention underlying an action or situation.
Synonyms: why
Usage: We know the how, but to catch the killer, we must ascertain the wherefore.

French Spice Miami 2012

French-Spice-MiamiFans of French gastronomy living in South Florida will want to attend French Spice Miami 2012. This event is part of French Week Miami, launched by the French-American Chamber of Commerce of Miami and organized in collaboration with the Consulate General of France in Miami.

Do not miss the occasion to (re)discover French cuisine, with 2, 3 and 5-course meals, served with French wines!

Bon appétit!

October 27 – November 30, 2012
Miami, Fl
Info: www.frenchspicemiami.com

Happy Labor Day!

Labor Day is an American federal holiday observed on the first Monday in September that celebrates the economic and social contributions of workers.

Labor Day pays tribute to the contributions and achievements of American workers. It also symbolizes the end of summer for many Americans, and is celebrated with parties, parades and athletic events.

A bit of history

Labor Day parade, marchers of Russian Labor Assn., New York (1909)

Labor Day parade, marchers of Russian Labor Assn., New York (1909)

The first Labor Day was held in 1882. Its origins stem from the desire of the Central Labor Union to create a holiday for workers. It became a federal holiday in 1894. It was originally intended that the day would be filled with a street parade to allow the public to appreciate the work of the trade and labor organizations. After the parade, a festival was to be held to amuse local workers and their families. In later years, prominent men and women held speeches. This is less common now, but is sometimes seen in election years. One of the reasons for choosing to celebrate this on the first Monday in September was to add a holiday in the long gap between Independence Day and Thanksgiving.



What people do on Labor Day?

The form for the celebration of Labor Day was outlined in the first proposal of the holiday: A street parade to exhibit to the public “the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations”, followed by a festival for the workers and their families. This became the pattern for Labor Day celebrations.

The holiday is often regarded as a day of rest and parties. Speeches or political demonstrations are more low-key than May 1 Labor Day celebrations in most countries, although events held by labor organizations often feature political themes and appearances by candidates for office, especially in election years. Forms of celebration include picnics, barbecues, fireworks displays, water sports, and public art events. Families with school-age children take it as the last chance to travel before the end of summer recess. Similarly, some teenagers and young adults view it as the last weekend for parties before returning to school, although school starting times now vary.

Retail Sale Day

Labor Day has become an important sale weekend for many retailers in the United States. Some retailers claim it is one of the largest sale dates of the year, second only to the Christmas season’s Black Friday.

End of summer

Labor Day has come to be celebrated by most Americans as the symbolic end of the summer. In high society, Labor Day is (or was) considered the last day of the year when it is fashionable to wear white or seersucker.

In U.S. sports, Labor Day marks the beginning of the NFL and college football seasons. .

In the U.S., most school districts that started summer vacation in early June will resume school the day after this, while schools that had summer vacation begin on the Saturday before Memorial Day in late May will have already been in session since late August. However this tradition is changing as many school districts end in early June and begin mid-August.

Happy Independence Day!

Independence Day is annually celebrated on July 4 and is often known as “the Fourth of July”. It is the anniversary of the publication of the declaration of independence from Great Britain in 1776.

A bit of history

The Declaration of Independence

The Declaration of Independence

In 1775, people in New England began fighting the British for their independence. On July 2, 1776, the Congress secretly voted for independence from Great Britain. The Declaration of Independence was first published two days later on July 4, 1776. The first public reading of the Declaration of Independence was on July 8, 1776. Delegates began to sign the Declaration of Independence on August 2, 1776. In 1870, Independence Day was made an unpaid holiday for federal employees. In 1941, it became a paid holiday for them.

The first description of how Independence Day would be celebrated was in a letter from John Adams to his wife Abigail on July 3, 1776. He described “pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations” throughout the United States. However, the term “Independence Day” was not used until 1791.

Interestingly, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, both signers of the Declaration of Independence and presidents of the United States, died on July 4, 1826 – exactly 50 years after the adoption of the declaration. It is also important to note that Native Americans lived in the country and each tribe had its own nation and government prior to the European settlers.


What do people do on July 4th?

Children at a parade on Independence Day

Children at a parade on Independence Day

It is a day of family celebrations with picnics and barbecues, showing a great deal of emphasis on the American tradition of political freedom. Activities associated with the day include watermelon or hotdog eating competitions and sporting events, such as baseball games, three-legged races, swimming activities and tug-of-war games.

Many people display the American flag outside their homes or buildings. Many communities arrange fireworks that are often accompanied by patriotic music. The most impressive fireworks are shown on television. Some employees use one or more of their vacation days to create a long weekend so that they can escape the heat at their favorite beach or vacation spot.

Independence Day is a patriotic holiday for celebrating the positive aspects of the United States. Many politicians appear at public events to show their support for the history, heritage and people of their country. Above all, people in the United States express and give thanks for the freedom and liberties fought by the first generation of many of today’s Americans.


Symbols of July 4th

Fireworks over downtown Miami

Fireworks over downtown Miami

The most common Independence Day symbol is the American flag. Its design is displayed in all possible ways on July 4 and can be seen in front of homes and buildings. Other symbols associated with Independence Day are the Statue of Liberty on Ellis Island in New York and the fireworks viewed all over the United States.