(note spelling updated from “cutellation”)

Word of the Day


1 approaching the complicated, in small steps
1.1 the act of dealing with an overwhelming or difficult task by breaking it down into smaller, more manageable parts. ( May 1, 2020)

(This is potentially a neologism for English. It isn’t listed at or elsewhere as an English word.)

From Larousse, the French dictionary:

“Cultellation – Chaînage opéré sur un terrain très en pente à l’aide d’une fiche plombée qu’on laisse tomber de l’extrémité de la chaîne tendue horizontalement.”

Chaining operated on a very sloping ground using a leaded plug which is dropped from the end of the chain stretched horizontally.


Today, I had the opportunity to apply this term, cultellation, while explaining some concepts in electronics…amazingly, just before encountering the word in a poem on social media. I was immediately down the rabbit hole of Internet research to chase down the term and understand how I might fit it into my life…not to mention here in the WotD forum!


[Some people are prone to complain about social media, but maturity (maybe just old age) has provided me the tools (which I don’t always use) to filter the dreck from the value as the stream flows by.]

[[Today’s word, illustration, etc. does not represent the effort involved in every post. This one occupied overlapping efforts which involved almost four cumulative hours. Some days, with re-use of part of an older illustration, it may be a 20 minute process.]]


Those diplomas we put upon the wall
Might just as well hang in a commode stall
For all the value they provide
When facing the real world outside.

True learning is all personal.
Don’t just rehash or rehearse and all.
It’s not bestowed to us by others
No matter what our wishful druthers.

So, attend the university
That others your degree may see
But please take these words to heart
And realize, that is just the start.

Down the Rabbit Hole

Once begun, an Internet search is difficult to end.

Armed with a large, strong cup of coffee, I sit down to begin the day. Since it is earlier than usual, I take my time, reading last night’s email, answering a few.

But before I hit SEND, I check my understanding of my facts…Maybe an hour later, I surface from the Internet Rabbit Hole, edified, but noting that I have forgotten to click send.

Stylized light gray rabbit headed down into a black hole on a green background with the text "Down the Rabbit Hole" in white letters.

I checked the Internet’s understanding of the phrase, of course. One resource:



/ˈdalɪəns/ [dally-ance]
1 A casual romantic or sexual relationship.
1.1 A period of brief or casual involvement with something.

Middle English (in the sense ‘conversation’): from dally+ -ance.


Ron’s brief dalliance with college physics was quickly replaced with a study of Spanish and rowing for the school’s crew.



When you loan someone money,
Some will say you are “funny”.
Your grammar may be wrong,
But you know what, honey.
Either lend or loan your cash
The borrower’s gone in a flash!


Dear friends, help me scour
Through the world of books
That I can then devour
In many cozy nooks,
At least one, every hour.

At the risk of being a lout,
I ask before you shout.
That the books you recommend.
Be short ones, my reading friend.
Encyclopedic tomes…beyond my power.

To let you know what I intend.
I’ll not spend money on this.
I’ll ask a library to me lend
The writings I just “can’t miss”
Which you’ve recommended I devour.

Right Answers

The skill of the author
If they shall bother
Is never to lead her.

To interpret the lines
As the mind inclines,
It’s the work of the reader.


This rhyme was inspire by an article about poetry used in a Texas standardized test.

I am a retired teacher. I started doing that job long before standardized testing became prominent in the K-12 grades. I admit that I struggled with the sanity of their implementation.

Learning is a response to challenges given to students. “Right answers” sidestep reality, making it seem that, in education, one size fits all.

I must ask, “What shoe size ‘fits all’?”




Creativity is a self-filling pitcher. No matter how often we pour our ideas onto the page, the blog, the fediverse, new ones or, at least, provoking variations fill the temporary void.

As a corollary, avoiding the step of pouring out the ideas can have the effect of merely bottling and capping the output, trapping the creative process itself.

Moral: Don’t hold it in. Pour your ideas freely. Who cares if nobody else cares! And there’s a chance someone will make something useful in the end!


Weed/Wildflower Wednesday

One of the skills for gardeners to develop is recognizing weeds and intentional plantings apart, long before the flowers show. Young shoots are much easier to remove than well-established weeds.

Likewise, pulling out young fall-flowering New England Asters like these would not be my personal preference. This is a well-established plant with last year’s stalks still poking through. Elsewhere beside my house, there are more, new asters coming in for the first time. Fall glory!




(chiefly of minerals)
having a shape reminiscent of a cluster of grapes.

Late 18th century: from Greek botruoeidēs (from botrus ‘bunch of grapes’) + -al.


The geode cracked open to reveal a bunch of botryoidal agate crystals looking like a cluster of grapes. I’m guessing that might be the origin of the shooter marble known as the “aggie” (which early on was actually made from agate mineral).



I was born in Texas, in a house my parents had purchased for a retirement home. We occasionally traveled back and forth from there to Chicago where my parents ran a china, glassware and tableware (knives, forks, spoons, etc.) store. When I was still very young, still not speaking full sentences, my mom and I returned from a trip to Chicago. My mother told me this story.

As soon as we got into the house, I rushed to the living room, repeating “mambluche, mambluche” over and over again. Mom, naturally didn’t understand. She wondered if I needed to go to the bathroom and forgotten where it was. Directing me there, against my childish wishes, she heard me continue the insistent “mambluche, mambluche”. I succeeded in dragging her back to the living room and pointed to the closet there. “Mambluche, mambluche!”

She opened the closet door and I pointed up to the upper shelf above the coat space and I danced about. “Mambluche! mambluche!”

Still puzzled, she reached up and realized I was after the cake tin. She pulled it down, opened it and set it on the floor. Immediately I got to work pulling out the marbles and pushing them gleefully around the floor.

Kids may not know the right way to say what they want, but they do KNOW what they want.