Tatyana Deryugina (Twitter: @TDeryugina)

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Posted 26 Nov 09 by Tatyana in Simply Amusing

I wish I knew who these blog spammers were so I could give them credit for these and write angry emails. For now, I’ll just have to steal their jokes. I’m actually surprised by the quality of the word play. 5 is definitely my favorite.

  1. A joke for you peoples! Did you hear about the butcher who accidentally backed into the meat grinder? He got a little behind in his work.
  3. Wanna joke? What kind of shoes do lazy people wear? Loafers.
  5. I have a joke for you =) Which day of the week is the best for a dental appointment? Toothday.
  7. Good joke :) What did the robot have to do before she wore any earrings? She had to get her gears pierced.
  9. I have a joke for you =) Did you hear about the dyslexic atheist? He doesn’t believe in dogs.
  11. A JOKE! How many letters are in the alphabet? Nineteen. Because ET went home on a UFO and the FBI went after him.

Posted 22 Nov 09 by Tatyana in Musings on Economics

I know this post will make no difference whatsoever, but I just have to get my opinion out there. As much as I think that health care reform is necessary, no bill may be better than any bill. And the more I hear about what the current proposal contains (yes, I haven’t read the bill myself, and neither has anyone except probably 10-15 people), the more I think we’re going to end up with the "any bill” outcome.

If the US passes a bill that worsens the health care system, it’s going to be really hard to undo. First, who’s going to want to revisit something that just passed? We have unemployment, global warming, the financial sector, Guantanamo, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, China, and a million other things to worry about. Unless the reform has DRASTIC negative effects, Congress will likely not address health care again for a while.

Even if the bill creates disastrous consequences which prompt re-regulation, any changes will likely resemble a "kludge", a quick fix which may work for a while but makes the entire system more inefficient in the long run.

It is important to get this right. And right now it seems that we’re mostly getting it wrong.

Posted 21 Nov 09 by Tatyana in Movies

Yes, I admit it. I watched "Twilight Saga: New Moon” last night, and I enjoyed it. It was everything I expected and more. And I expected teen drama, vampires, and hot guys. I did not expect werewolves, so that was a nice little bonus.

I’ve noticed that as I spend more and more time in grad school (or maybe age; I can’t really separate the effects of those two things), I want to do more mindless things when I’m not working. I still have a low tolerance for watching movies which don’t offer much besides pretty people and action, but I definitely need 2-3 a year. Twilight is a great choice for that. I’m not being sarcastic. If you’re finding that you’ve been taking your life too seriously lately, go see it and just enjoy.

Posted 17 Nov 09 by Tatyana in Travels

You know you’ve been traveling too much when:

(a) You see that lady in front of you hand the TSA agent a Massachusetts driver’s license, think "What a coincidence that she’s from Massachusetts as well!”, then realize that you’re at Logan airport and not in SFO.

(b) You scan the departures screen for your flight to Chicago, don’t find it listed, then realize you’re in Chicago on your way to Boston.

(c) Your watch and your computer are set to two different time zones. And neither is set to the time zone you’re in.

(d) You start recognizing flight attendants and flight numbers

I’ve been traveling too much, although I haven’t reached (d) yet.

Posted 28 Oct 09 by Tatyana in Travels

In case you’re wondering why Chicago’s making an appearance all of a sudden, it’s because I’m visiting the University for the semester.

I’m sure everyone’s heard that Chicago is known as the "Windy City” and heard people talk about how windy it is here. A few years ago, someone told me that this is not actually because of the wind, but because of Chicago politics (i.e. politicians bragging and being full of empty talk in general). Since I love "You know, that’s not actually true” moments, I remembered that. This weekend, the tour guide on the architecture tour said the same thing and added that the name originated before the 1893 World Fair when the boasting related to getting the World Fair bid became outrageous.

You know, neither story is actually true. I looked up the windiest US city this morning. There’s some debate as to what the windiest actually is, depending on whether you exclude Alaska (the weather service did when they published their list), but it most definitely isn’t Chicago. It isn’t even in the top 10 (Boston ranks number 9 if you exclude Alaska). You can find this and lots of other "weather lists” here.

As far as the politics, a historian in American slang wrote that he found references to Chicago being called the "Windy City” in 1885, way before the World Fair bid (he also found a reference to it being called "The Garden City”). He couldn’t find the reason for this nickname, however. This USA Today Q&A archive has this and more.

It does feel very windy here though. My own (unverified) hypothesis is that Chicago might have a high variance in wind speeds relative to other places. If there are a lot of windless days in Chicago and a few REALLY windy days, it might feel windier than a city that has steady winds with the same average.

Posted 28 Jul 09 by Tatyana in Vocab

I can’t believe I keep finding words that I don’t know, especially since they seem common enough…

  1. Ret – "to soak (as flax) to loosen the fiber from the woody tissue” (ok, that one’s not so common!)
  3. Pylon – "a post or tower marking a prescribed course of flight for an airplane” (it has a LOT of other meanings, but this is the one from the crossword puzzle)
  5. Newel – "an upright post about which the steps of a circular staircase wind”
  7. Campestal – "of or relating to fields or open country”, rural
  9. Argot – "an often more or less secret vocabulary and idiom peculiar to a particular group”
  11. Awn – "one of the slender bristles that terminate the glumes of the spikelet in some cereal and other grasses”
  13. Schlemiel – "an unlucky bungler”, chump
  15. Paradiddle – "a quick succession of drumbeats slower than a roll and alternating left- and right-hand strokes in a typical L-R-L-L, R-L-R-R pattern” (I like this one!)
  17. Tantara – "the blare of a trumpet or horn”
  19. Coot – "a harmless simple person”

All definitions are from Merriam-Webster online.

Posted 06 Jun 09 by Tatyana in Vocab

I’ve still been solving crossword puzzles religiously – at least one a day. I’ve just been lazier about noting the words I didn’t know. And I now know slightly more words :) Enjoy!

  1. Chancel – "the part of a church containing the altar and seats for the clergy and choir”
  3. Flimflam – "deceptive nonsense, deception, fraud”
  5. Bugbear – "an imaginary goblin or specter used to excite fear”
  7. Teetotalism – "the principle or practice of complete abstinence from alcoholic drinks”
  9. Druthers – "free choice”, "preference”
  11. Wimple – "cloth covering worn over the head and around the neck and chin especially by women in the late medieval period and by some nun”, "a crafty turn” (Scottish)
  13. Ungulate – "having hooves”
  15. Farrier – "a person who shoes horses”
  17. Cruse – "a small vessel (as a jar or pot) for holding a liquid (as water or oil)”
  19. Palliate – " to reduce the violence of (a disease) ; also: to ease (symptoms) without curing the underlying disease”

All definitions are from Merriam-Webster online.

Posted 28 Apr 09 by Tatyana in Poetry

Inspiring thoughts, inspiring moments -

Then all is lost under a train of random worries

The bigger questions put off by another chore

But once again I find the time to write some more.

I write about the love that doesn’t come;

About the wild dreams that roam my mind;

About the sadness, the occasional unwelcome guest;

About my daily trials, my constant quest

To find serenity amidst the hurricane of fears;

About the times I laugh, the times I burst in tears,

The instances I fall in love and out of love,

The scenery around me and the stars above;

My jealousy, my hopes – how to describe a life?

How to present myself and my eternal strife?

To some a student, daughter, friend…

Perhaps somewhere around the bend,

I’ll have a student and a daughter of my own

Who’ll both know more than I have ever known.

But passage to the future is forbidden yet.

I’m living in today with no regret

Of what has passed, no prescience of tomorrow,

And whether faced with joy or sorrow,

I try to take what comes, for all shall pass.

I do not try to look for greener grass.

Though sometimes its bright hue will catch my eye,

A thought will cross my mind, "Why don’t I try?”

And I will walk across a well-worn path

To ascertain the sameness of the grass

Then make fun of this silliness of mine,

Rest in the sunshine and compose a rhyme.

Posted 27 Mar 09 by Tatyana in Vocab
  1. Cryosurgery – "surgery in which usually diseased or abnormal tissue (as of a tumor or wart) is destroyed or removed by freezing (as by liquid nitrogen)”
  3. Jabberwocky – "meaningless speech or writing” (invented by Lewis Carroll!)
  5. Schuss – "to ski directly down a slope at high speed”
  7. Pontificate – "to speak or express opinions in a pompous or dogmatic way”
  9. Cloister – "a monastic establishment”
  11. Shirr – "to bake (eggs removed from the shell) until set”
  13. Auger – "any of various tools or devices having a helical shaft or member that are used for boring holes (as in wood, soil, or ice) or moving loose material (as snow)”
  15. Persnickety – "fussy about small details”, "having the characteristics of a snob”
  17. Clink – jail or a prison cell (slang)
  19. Corpulent – "having a large bulky body”, obese
  21. Pauchy – "having a potbelly”
  23. Creedal – same as "creed”

All definitions are from Merriam-Webster’s online. Please note that some of these words have more than one meaning – I just pick the more fun/interesting one.

Posted 08 Mar 09 by Tatyana in Vocab

Two vocabulary posts in a row – a sign of how hectic my life has become! So many exciting things happening that I don’t even have time to write about them.

  1. Mudder – "A racehorse that runs well on a wet or muddy track” (American Heritage Dictionary)
  3. Palliate – " to reduce the violence of (a disease) ; also: to ease (symptoms) without curing the underlying disease”, "to cover by excuses and apologies”
  5. Marl – "a loose or crumbling earthy deposit (as of sand, silt, or clay) that contains a substantial amount of calcium carbonate”
  7. Chalcedony – "a translucent variety of quartz of various colors and waxy luster”
  9. Odium – "hatred and condemnation accompanied by loathing or contempt”
  11. Betel – "a climbing pepper (Piper betle) of southeastern Asia whose leaves are chewed together with betel nut and mineral lime as a stimulant masticatory”
  13. Wherry – "any of various light boat” (see M-W for more!)
  15. Abattoir – slaughterhouse
  17. Proscription – "an imposed restraint or restriction”

All definitions are from Merriam-Webster online dictionary

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