March 7, 2018

Personally, I live the word “drivel.”  However, according to my copy of The Highly Selective Thesaurus for the Extraordinarily Literate, there are several other synonyms or variants (see below) that could be used to represent the word drivel (if you are so inclined for a little variety).  Enjoy!


\ drivuh l \

1.  saliva flowing from the mouth, or mucus from the nose; slaver.
2.  childish, silly, or meaningless talk or thinking; nonsense; twaddle.

 (used without object)
3.  to let saliva flow from the mouth or mucus from the nose; slaver.
4.  to talk childishly or idiotically.
5.  Archaic. to issue like spittle.

 (used with object)
6.  to utter childishly or idiotically.
7.  to waste foolishly.
Other words you may consider using (depending on your context/usage, of course):

Source: The Highly Selective Thesaurus for the Extraordinarily Literate by Eugene Ehrlich. Definitions courtesy of


Yummy Casserole!

March 6, 2018

It never hurts to have a few quick and easy casserole recipes at your disposal (or prepared and in your freezer) for those times when you just need a quick and easy meal. Here’s one with wild rice that you can make with chicken (regular or Cajun-spiced) or shrimp.  Enjoy!

Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole

1 package (2-1/4-ounce) of sliced almonds
2 boxes (6.2-ounce each) of fast-cooking long-grain and wild rice
1/4 cup of butter
4 celery ribs, chopped
2 medium onions, chopped
5 cups of cooked chicken, diced
2 cans (10-3/4-ounce each) of cream of mushroom soup
2 cans (8-ounce each) chopped water chestnuts (drained)
1 container (8-ounce) sour cream
1 cup of milk
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of pepper
4 cups (16-ounces) of shredded cheddar cheese, divided
2 cups of breadcrumbs

1.  Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Bake the almonds in a single layer in a shallow pan for 4-6 minutes or until toasted and fragrant (stir occasionally).

2.  Prepare your rice according to the directions on the package.

3.  While rice is cooking, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat; add the celery and onions and saute for 10 minutes (or until tender).  Stir in the chicken and the next six ingredients, the rice, and 3 cups of the cheese.  Spoon this mixture into a lightly greased 15×10 baking dish and top with the breadcrumbs.

4.  Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.  Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and top with the toasted almonds before returning to the oven for an additional five minutes.

To Make Ahead
Follow steps 2 and 3 above then cover with aluminum foil and freeze for up to one month.  Remove from freezer and allow to stand at room temperature for one hour.  Toast your almonds as directed in step 1, then bake your casserole (covered) at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  Uncover and continue baking for 55-75 minutes (or until thoroughly heated.  Sprinkle with 1 cup (4-ounces) of shredded cheddar cheese and toasted almonds and bake an additional 5 minutes.

Or you can try these tasty variation:

Shrimp and Wild Rice Casserole
Substitute 2 pounds of peeled and deveined , medium-sized raw shrimp (41/50 count) for the chicken; 2 cups (8-ounces) of shredded Monterrey Jack cheese and 2 cups (8-ounces) of grated Parmesan cheese for the cheddar cheese; and 1 cup of dry white wine for the milk.

Cajun Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole
Omit the salt and the pepper.  Reduce the chicken to 2-1/2 cups.  Prepare as directed, sauteing 1 pound of chopped andouille sausage, 1 diced green bell pepper, with the celery in step 3.   Stir in 1 can (15-ounce) of black-eyed peas (drained) and 1 teaspoon of Cajun seasoning into the rice mixture.


Big Ten Tournament Champs, 2018!

March 5, 2018

Congratulations to the Michigan Wolverines who were crowned the Big Ten tournament champions yesterday.    The Spartans won their quarterfinal game against Wisconsin, but lost in their semi-final round to the Michigan Wolverines who then defeated Purdue in the finals to claim the title.    The Big Ten continues to have four teams among the AP top-25:  Michigan State [#2], Purdue [#8], Ohio State [#13], and Michigan [#15].

Next up for the Spartans: the NCAA Tournament.  The brackets and seedings will be revealed on Sunday.  Go Green!

The upsets this week included:
Michigan State (#2) losing to Michigan (#15).
Duke (#5) losing to unranked Virginia Tech by one (1) point.
Kansas (#6) losing to unranked Oklahoma State.
Purdue (#8) losing to Michigan (#15).
North Carolina (#9) losing to unranked Miami by three (3) points and losing to Duke (#5).
Texas Tech (#12) losing to West Virginia (#20).
Ohio State (#13) losing to unranked Penn State by one (1) point.
Auburn (#14) losing to unranked Arkansas.
Rhode Island (#17) losing to unranked St. Joseph’s and losing to unranked Davidson by two (2) points.
Clemson (#18) losing to unranked Syracuse by three (3) points.
West Virginia (#20) losing to unranked Texas.
Nevada (#21) losing to unranked San Diego State by five (5) points.
Kentucky (#23) losing to unranked Florida.
Middle Tennessee State (#24) losing to unranked Marshall.

The close calls this week (won by six points or less [two scores] or in overtime) included:
Virginia (#1) defeating unranked Louisville by one (1) point and defeating unranked Notre Dame by five (5) points.
Michigan State (#2) defeating unranked Wisconsin by three (3) points.
Xavier (#3) defeating unranked DePaul by three (3) points.
Villanova (#4) defeating unranked Seton Hall by one (1) point in overtime.
Wichita State (#11) defeating unranked UCF by four (4) points in overtime.
Texas Tech (#12) defeating unranked TCU by four (4) points.
Michigan (#15) defeating unranked Iowa by six (6) points in overtime.
Tennessee (#16) defeating unranked Georgia by five (5) points.
St. Mary’s (#22) defeating unranked Pepperdine by three (3) points.

Top-25 match-ups won by the higher-ranked team included:
Duke (#5) defeating North Carolina (#9).
Cincinnati (#10) defeating Wichita State (#11) by one (1) point.

Forest in Black and White!

March 4, 2018

SmithSome would call it serendipity, others, just being in the right place at the right time.  Such was my luck during the fall of of 2017 when I happened to be taking a stroll through the halls of the College of Liberal Arts faculty offices (the Languages and Literature department).  I was having a discussion with one faculty member only to discover that another faculty member was an accomplished artist who just happened to be in his office at the time.  A conversation ensued as I was admiring the many of his original paintings that he had adorning the walls of his office.  I left his office thinking that he was an artist worth watching and I immediately added him to my “try to collect from” list.   Imagine my surprise to have a visit from this professor several weeks later bearing this painting as a gift (thank you Ben).  Apparently I ooh-ed and aah-ed over his painting just enough that this professor decided to paint me an original painting very similar to the one that I had enjoyed.    What a great way to start 2018!  The artist: Dr. Benjamin Smith; the title: “The Woods”; the medium: original acrylic painting.  And, it has a very small “footprint” in that it is only 4″ wide by 12″ tall (unframed) which will facilitate its entry into my available wall space (even after it is framed, unless I get really wild in how it ultimately gets framed).   Collecting art continues to bring me a tremendous amount of joy!

“You May Fire When You Are Ready, Gridley . . . !”

March 3, 2018
GeoDeweyThese are the words spoken by Commodore George Dewey on May 1st of 1898, in the Battle of Manila Bay (in the Philippines) during the Spanish-American War to Captain Charles Vernon Gridley.  But were you aware that it wasn’t until March 3, 1899, that George Dewey became the very first person in the United States to hold the distinguishing rank of “Admiral of the Navy.”
“You may fire when you are ready, Gridley.”  ―George Dewey
Source/Notes:  To Charles Vernon Gridley – the captain of his ship – on 1 May 1898 – As quoted in: Washington Post, 3 October 1899.
Photo source:  By Admiral George Dewey, scanned from photogravure from 1899 book in Infrogmation own collection, and uploaded by Infrogmation to en:Wikipedia on 13 November 2002. [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

Fun Fact Friday, Number Sixty-Five!

March 2, 2018

The category for today’s trivial imponderable is “the Bible and religion.”  Do you know where in the Bible is gambling specifically condemned?

The Bible does not actually condemn gambling.  It does condemn the love of money (1 Timothy 6:10; Hebrews 13:5) and counsels against attempts to “get rich quick” (Proverbs 13:11; Ecclesiastes 5:10).

Source: Sorry, Wrong Answer: Trivia Questions That Even Know-It-Alls Get Wrong, by Dr. Rod L. Evans.

Necktie of the Month – March 2018!

March 1, 2018

Necktie_March2018Happy Thursday!  This month’s necktie was a gift from my financial planner this past Christmas (thank you Dean).  And, while I am not entirely certain of the pattern, my best guess is that they appear to be headphones.  The dark maroon background coupled with the hint of pale blue (almost “Carolina blue,” yikes!) and beige would make this necktie a favorable pairing with beige, brown, maroon, pale blue, and white dress shirts.  I don’t generally have a lot of “maroon-toned” clothes (I prefer the bright reds and pinks compared to the muted maroons), but perhaps having a necktie or two in this color will allow me to expand  my wardrobe to include more of these earthy-red tones.  I do have another (an M.C. Escher patterned necktie) that utilizes this similar maroonish-red coloring, so I probably should address this gap in the wardrobe (sooner rather than later).


February 28, 2018

Discouragement_51279547-3d37-4e08-806e-b21344883a96_largeYes, we all can fall victim to discouragement from time to time but there are a few easy things that one can do to fight back a bit (and buying into this particular demotivator is not one of them).

1) Get a good night’s sleep (being well-rested and not fatigued can go a long way).

2) Schedule some exercise and get your endorphins working for you.

3) Set some goals (make sure they are small and achievable).

4) Commit to a random act of kindness (get your serotonin working).

I’m sure there are many more techniques or things you can do, but these four should be a great starting point.


Amazing Adjective, Number Thirty!

February 27, 2018

Here is a word from the Latin marmoreus, meaning “of marble, like marble”; from Greek mármaros, meaning “marble.”  As exemplified in The Highly Selective Dictionary of Golden Adjectives for the Extraordinarily Literate.

“After we enjoyed the marmoreal pleasures of the Greek galleries, we sampled the armoreal offerings of the medieval rooms.”


\ mahr-mawr-ee-uh l, –mohr– \, adjective;

1.  of or like marble.
2.  of the nature of down; downy.

Source: The Highly Selective Dictionary of Golden Adjectives for the Extraordinarily Literate by Eugene Ehrlich and

College Basketball 2018, Week Sixteen!

February 26, 2018

The Big Ten conference regular season has officially come to a close and the Spartans are the conference champions; and March is right around the corner.   The Spartans finished the season this week with wins over Illinois (at home) on Tuesday and then over Wisconsin (on the road) on Sunday and will enter the Big Ten Tournament later this week as the top seed.    The Big Ten continues to have four teams among the AP top-25:  Michigan State [#2], Purdue [#9], Ohio State [#16], and Michigan [#17].

Next up for the Spartans: the Big Ten tournament where they earned a double-bye and won’t play their first game until Friday against the winner of Thursday’s game featuring Maryland (#8 seed) versus Wisconsin (#9 seed).

The upsets this week included:
Villanova (#3) losing to unranked Creighton by six (6) points.
Texas Tech (#6) losing to unranked Oklahoma State and losing to Kansas (#8) by two (2) points.
Auburn (#12) losing to unranked Florida by six (6) points.
Arizona (#14) losing to unranked Oregon by five (5) points in overtime.
Clemson (#15) losing to unranked Virginia Tech.
Houston (#23) losing to unranked Memphis by six (6) points.
Florida State (#25) losing to unranked North Carolina State.

The close calls this week (won by six points or less [two scores] or in overtime) included:
Michigan State (#2) defeating unranked Wisconsin by five (5) points.
Gonzaga (#6) defeating unranked San Diego by five (5) points.
North Carolina (#10) defeating unranked Syracuse by four (4) points.
Wichita State (#13) defeating unranked SMU by six (6) points.
Ohio State (#16) defeating unranked Indiana by two (2) points in double overtime.
Rhode Island (#18) defeating unranked La Salle by two (2) points.
Tennessee (#19) defeating unranked Florida by five (5) points.

Top-25 match-ups won by the higher-ranked team included: