Scaevola’s Cat Thought of the Week* (#8)


The Thought

Servus quaerit cur in siccatorio inesses?

Ut signo vestes, efficientius est.


The Meaning

My servant asks why were you in the dryer?

When I mark clothes, it is more efficient.


The Form

ˉ = Full beat
˘ = Half beat
° = Either a full or half beat may be used
ˉ ˘ ˘ = D = Dactyl (a metrical foot)
ˉ ˉ = S = Spondee (a metrical foot)
ˉ ˘ = T = Trochee (a metrical foot)
/ = Separator between metrical feet
|| = A hiatus – a pronounced pause
X = Either a dactyl or spondee may be used
Y = Either a spondee or a trochee may be used

Form = Elegiac Couplet
X / X / X / X / D / Y
X / X / ° || D / D / ˉ


The Scansion

Sērvūs / qu(āē)rīt / cūr īn / sīccā/tōrĭo*-ĭ/nēssēs?
( ˉ ˉ / ˉ ˉ / ˉ ˉ / ˉ ˉ / ˉ ˘ ˘ / ˉ ˉ )

Ūt sīg/nō vēs/tēs, || ēffĭcĭ/ēntĭŭs / ēst.
( ˉ ˉ / ˉ ˉ / ˉ || ˉ ˘ ˘ / ˉ ˘ ˘ / ˉ )

* A note on scansion: if a word ends in a vowel, am, em, or um, AND the next word begins with a vowel (or an h), then the ending vowel (or am, em, um) of the first word is dropped completely (beat value and all) and the two words are joined. This is known as elision.


The Recitation


The Vocabulary and Grammar

Servus = servus (servus, -i), noun, 2nd declension, singular, masculine, nominative, meaning = male servant.

quaerit = quaero (quaero, quaerere, quaesivi or quaesii, quaesitum), verb, 3rd conjugation, 3rd person, singular, present, active, indicative, meaning = he (servus) asks.

cur = interrogative, indeclinable, meaning = why.

in = preposition, indeclinable, modifies siccatorio, meaning = in.

siccatorio = siccatorium (siccatorium, -ii), noun, 2nd declension, singular, neuter, ablative, meaning = drying room (dryer).

inesses = insum (insum, inesse, infui, infuturum), verb, irregular, 2nd person, singular, imperfect, active only, subjubctive, meaning = you were in. (The construction “Servus quaerit cur…,” introduces and indirect question, “My servant asks why…” Verbs in indirect questions are subjunctive in mood.)

Ut = conjunction (temporal), indeclinable, meaning = when, as (just as, at the same time as).

signo = signo (signo, -are, -avi, -atum), verb, 1st conjugation, 1st person, singular, present, active, indicative, meaning = I mark, sign

vestes = vestis (vestis, -is), noun, 3rd declension, plural, feminine, accusative, meaning = clothes.

efficientius = efficientior (efficientior, -ius), adjective (comparative adjective derived from the present participle “efficiens” of the verb efficio, -ficere, -feci, -fectum), singular, neuter, nominative, modifies the impersonal “it” of the verb est, meaning = more efficient.

est = sum (sum, esse, fui, futurum), verb, irregular, 3rd person, singular, present, active only, indicative, meaning = it (impersonal) is.


*  “Week” is a used here as to specify an undefined length of time, possibly at times equal to an actual week.

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Scaevola’s Cat Thought of the Week* (#7)


The Thought

Duplos annos regnavisset Roma quidem si

nutricati essent tigridibus gemini.


The Meaning

Rome would have indeed ruled twice the years if

the twins were reared by tigers.


The Form

ˉ = Full beat
˘ = Half beat
° = Either a full or half beat may be used
ˉ ˘ ˘ = D = Dactyl (a metrical foot)
ˉ ˉ = S = Spondee (a metrical foot)
ˉ ˘ = T = Trochee (a metrical foot)
/ = Separator between metrical feet
|| = A hiatus – a pronounced pause
X = Either a dactyl or spondee may be used
Y = Either a spondee or a trochee may be used

Form = Elegiac Couplet
X / X / X / X / D / Y
X / X / ° || D / D / ˉ


The Scansion

Dūplōs / ānnōs / rēgnā/vīssēt / Rōmă quĭ/dēm sī
( ˉ ˉ / ˉ ˉ / ˉ ˉ / ˉ ˉ / ˉ ˘ ˘ / ˉ ˉ )

nūtrī/cāti*-ēs/sēnt || tīgrĭdĭ/būs gĕmĭ/nī.
( ˉ ˉ / ˉ ˉ / ˉ || ˉ ˘ ˘ / ˉ ˘ ˘ / ˉ )

* A note on scansion: if a word ends in a vowel, am, em, or um, AND the next word begins with a vowel (or an h), then the ending vowel (or am, em, um) of the first word is dropped completely (beat value and all) and the two words are joined. This is known as elision.


The Recitation


The Vocabulary and Grammar

duplos = duplus (duplus, -a, -um), adjective, 1st & 2nd declension, plural, masculine, accusative, modifies annos, meaning = twice, twice as much

annos = annus (annus, -i), noun, 2nd declension, plural, masculine, accusative, meaning = years

regnavisset = regno (regno, -are, -avi, -atum), verb, 1st conjugation, 3rd person, singular, pluperfect, active, subjunctive, meaning = he/she/it would have ruled.

Roma = Roma (Roma, -ae), noun, 1st declension, singular, feminine, nominative, meaning = Rome.

quidem = adverb, indeclinable, modifies regnavisset, meaning = indeed.

si = conjunction, indeclinable, meaning = if – this little word often signifies, as it does here, a grammatical construction known as a conditional statement. The particular conditional in this poem is a Past Contrary to Fact conditional: if X would have happened (but didn’t), then Y would have happened (but didn’t). In the Past Contrary to Fact conditional, the verb in each clause is pluperfect in tense and subjunctive in mood.

nutricati = nutricatus (nutricatus, -a, -um), adjective (past participle of nutrico, -are, -avi, -atum), 1st & 2nd declension, plural, masculine, nominative, meaning = nursed, weaned, reared, raised. *1st part of the compound verb nutricati essent.

essent = sum (sum, esse, fui, futurum), verb, irregular, 3rd person, plural, pluperfect, active only, subjunctive, meaning = they would have been. *2nd part of the compound verb nutricati essent.

nutricati essent = nutrico (nutrico, -are, -avi, -atum), verb, 1st conjugation, 3rd person, plural, pluperfect, passive, subjunctive, meaning = they would have been nursed, weaned, reared, raised.

tigridibus = tigris (tigris, -idis), noun, 3rd declension, plural, masculine, ablative, meaning = by (means of) tigers

gemini = gemini (gemini, -orum), noun, 2nd declension, plural only, masculine, nominative, meaning = twins (in this particular case, Rome’s founders, twins who were raised by a she-wolf, Romulus and Remus).


*  “Week” is a used here as to specify an undefined length of time, possibly at times equal to an actual week.

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Werewolves of Laredo

Before her retirement many years ago, my mother was a professor at an institution of higher learning in Laredo, Texas, teaching Spanish Literature and English as a Second Language. I ended up following her career path, though in a different discipline (History).

Anyone who has worked in academia will tell you of some of the strange and bizarre excuses that students come up with for missing class. My mom, however, encountered one that I doubt I’ll ever top. Once, a female student of hers who was pregnant said she couldn’t make it to class one evening because her parents, who were very superstitious, believed that if she went out during a full moon she would end up giving birth to a werewolf.

I wonder what Warren Zevon would’ve thought…

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Scaevola’s Cat Thought of the Week* (#6)


The Thought

Scaevola nominor, et reliquis pedibus tribus ipsis

contra hostes Romae nunc etiam supero.

Scaevola Cattus Mucius, et pedibus reliquis his

omnia pelliciam pectora vestra mihi.


The Meaning

Scaevola I am named, and with these very three remaining feet

against the enemies of Rome even now I overcome.

Scaevola Cattus Mucius, and with these remaining feet

I will win over to me all of your hearts.


The Form

ˉ = Full beat
˘ = Half beat
° = Either a full or half beat may be used
ˉ ˘ ˘ = D = Dactyl (a metrical foot)
ˉ ˉ = S = Spondee (a metrical foot)
ˉ ˘ = T = Trochee (a metrical foot)
/ = Separator between metrical feet
|| = A hiatus – a pronounced pause
X = Either a dactyl or spondee may be used
Y = Either a spondee or a trochee may be used

Form = Elegiac Couplet
X / X / X / X / D / Y
X / X / ° || D / D / ˉ


The Scansion

Sc(āē)vŏlă / nōmĭnŏr, / ēt rĕlĭ/quīs pĕdĭ/būs trĭbŭs / īpsīs
( ˉ ˘ ˘ / ˉ ˘ ˘ / ˉ ˘ ˘ / ˉ ˘ ˘ / ˉ ˘ ˘ / ˉ ˉ )

cōntra*-hōs/tēs Rō/m(āē) || nūnc ĕtĭ/ām sŭpĕ/rō.
( ˉ ˉ / ˉ ˉ / ˉ || ˉ ˘ ˘ / ˉ ˘ ˘ / ˉ )

Sc(āē)vŏlă / Cāttūs / Mūcĭŭs, / ēt pĕdĭ/būs rĕlĭ/quīs hīs
( ˉ ˘ ˘ / ˉ ˉ / ˉ ˘ ˘ / ˉ ˘ ˘ / ˉ ˘ ˘ / ˉ ˉ )

ōmnĭă / pēllĭcĭ/ām || pēctŏră / vēstră mĭ/hī.
( ˉ ˘ ˘ / ˉ ˘ ˘ / ˉ || ˉ ˘ ˘ / ˉ ˘ ˘ / ˉ )

* A note on scansion: if a word ends in a vowel, am, em, or um, AND the next word begins with a vowel (or an h), then the ending vowel (or am, em, um) of the first word is dropped completely (beat value and all) and the two words are joined. This is known as elision.


The Recitation


The Vocabulary and Grammar

Scaevola = Scaevola (Scaevola, -ae), noun, 1st declension, singular, masculine, nominative, meaning = The Lefthanded – the name given to Gaius Mucius, legendary hero of ancient Rome.

nominor = nomino (nomino, -are, -avi, -atum), verb, 1st conjugation, 1st person, singular, present, passive, indicative, meaning = I am named.

et = conjunction, indeclinable, meaning = and.

reliquis = reliquus (reliquus, -a, -um), adjective, 1st & 2nd declension, plural, masculine, ablative, modifies pedibus, meaning = remaining.

pedibus = pes (pes, pedis), noun, 3rd declension, plural, masculine, ablative, meaning = by means of (my) feet.

tribus = tres (tres, tria), adjective, 3rd declension, plural only, masculine, ablative, modifies pedibus, meaning = three.

ipsis = ipse (ipse, -a, -um), adjective, irregular (1st & 2nd declension-ish), plural, masculine, ablative, meaning = these very (an intensifier).

contra = preposition (with accusative), introduces hostes, meaning = against.

hostes = hostis (hostis, -is), noun, 3rd declension, plural, masculine, accusative, meaning = enemies.

Romae = Roma (Roma, -ae), noun, 1st declension, singular, feminine, genitive, meaning = of Rome.

nunc = adverb, indeclinable, modifies supero, meaning = now.

etiam = adverb, indeclinable, modifies nunc, meaning = even.

supero = supero (supero, -are, -avi, -atum), verb, 1st conjugation, 1st person, singular, present, active, indicative, meaning = I overcome.

Cattus = cattus (cattus, -i), noun, 2nd declension, singular, masculine, nominative, meaning = cat. (There’s wordplay here. Scaevola the Roman hero had the first name Gaius. The Romans abbreviated Gaius with the letter “C,” not “G.” So, Cattus here is used as a fictional Roman name, also fictionally abbreviated as “C.”)

Mucius = Mucius (Mucius, -ii), noun, 2nd declension, singular, masculine, nominative, meaning = the family name of the Roman hero Scaevola.

omnia = omnis (omnis, -e), adjective, 3rd declension, plural, neuter, accusative, modifies vestra, meaning = all.

pelliciam = pellicio (or perlicio) (pellicio, pellicere, pellicui, pellectus), verb, 3rd conjugation, 1st person, singular, future, active, indicative, meaning = I will win over.

pectora = pectus (pectus, -oris), noun, 3rd declension, plural, neuter, accusative, meaning = literally: breasts, figuratively: hearts. In Latin, the seat of emotional love was “pectus,” while the Latin word for “heart” meant the literal organ.

vestra = vester (vester, vestra, -um), adjective, 1st & 2nd declension plural, neuter, accusative, modifies pectora, meaning = a possessive adjective for the 2nd person plural pronoun – of yours (you = plural).

mihi = ego (ego …), pronoun, irregular, 1st person, singular, dative, meaning = to me.


*  “Week” is a used here as to specify an undefined length of time, possibly at times equal to an actual week.

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Russian Rocket Laughs at Lightning

 

Ever since Apollo 12 was struck by lightning shortly after launch, NASA and other western space launch operators have been extremely cautious about launching in weather where there is a risk of lightning—not just lightning strikes in the vicinity of the launch site and ascent trajectory, but anvil clouds and other formations which might contain the charge necessary for lightning discharges.  The exhaust plume of a rocket contains ionised gases, which conduct electricity, and hence can be thought of as a lightning rod hundreds of metres tall.

Russian rockets, by contrast, mostly began their lives as ballistic missiles, where it’s not considered acceptable to say “Bad weather—no World War III today!”, and are famous for launching in blizzards, high winds, and other inclement conditions.

Earlier today (2019-05-27) a Soyuz 2.1b rocket was launched from Plesetsk Cosmodrome in northern Russia into skies which NASA would never have dared.  Sure enough, shortly after launch, it was struck by lightning.  It just kept on going like nothing had happened, and delivered its payload (a GLONASS-M navigation satellite) into the desired orbit with no problems.

Here, for comparison, is what happened when Apollo 12 was struck by lightning.

SCE to Aux.

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Scaevola’s Cat Thought of the Week* (#5)


The Thought

Dormitat servus meus, ast crater eget escā.

Forsitan excitet ut dente pedem capio…


The Meaning

My servant repeatedly sleeps, but the bowl needs food.

Perhaps he may awake as I seize (his) foot with (my) tooth.

(Yes, he does this. It’s gentle and funny, but he does this.)


The Form

ˉ = Full beat
˘ = Half beat
° = Either a full or half beat may be used
ˉ ˘ ˘ = D = Dactyl (a metrical foot)
ˉ ˉ = S = Spondee (a metrical foot)
ˉ ˘ = T = Trochee (a metrical foot)
/ = Separator between metrical feet
|| = A hiatus – a pronounced pause
X = Either a dactyl or spondee may be used
Y = Either a spondee or a trochee may be used

Form = Elegiac Couplet
X / X / X / X / D / Y
X / X / ° || D / D / ˉ


The Scansion

Dōrmī/tāt sēr/vūs mĕŭs, / āst crā/tēr ĕgĕt / ēscā.
(ˉ ˉ / ˉ ˉ / ˉ ˘ ˘ / ˉ ˉ / ˉ ˘ ˘ / ˉ ˘)

Fōrsĭtăn / ēxcĭtĕt / ūt || dēntĕ pĕd/ēm căpĭ/ō…
(ˉ ˘ ˘ / ˉ ˘ ˘ / ˉ || ˉ ˘ ˘ / ˉ ˘ ˘ / ˉ)


The Recitation


The Vocabulary and Grammar

Dormitat = dormito (dormito, -āre, -āvi, -atum), verb, 1st conjugation, 3rd person, singular, present, active, indicative, meaning = he (servus) repeatedly sleeps.

servus = servus (servus -i), noun, 2nd declension, singular, masculine, nominative, meaning = male servant.

meus = meus (meus -a -um), adjective, 1st & 2nd declension, singular, feminine, nominative, modifies servus, meaning = my.

ast = conjunction, indeclinable, meaning = but.

crater = crater (crater, -eris), noun, 3rd declension, singular, neuter, nominative, meaning = bowl.

eget = egeo (egeo, -ēre, -ui), verb, 2nd conjugation, 3rd person, singular, present, active, indicative, meaning = it (crater) is in need (need). (While English may sometimes use the genitive: “is in need *of*,” Latin uses the  ablative for verbs of needing, lacking, etc: “is in need *by means of*”)

escā = esca (esca, -ae), noun, 1st declension, singular, feminine, ablative, meaning = (by means of) food.

Forsitan = adverb, indeclinable, modifies excitet, meaning = perhaps.

excitet = excito (excito, -āre, -āvi, -atum), verb, 1st conjugation, 3rd person, singular, present, active, subjunctive, meaning = he (servus) may awake. (This form and use of the subjunctive conveys the idea of a potential action)

ut = conjunction (temporal), indeclinable, meaning = as (just as, at the same time as).

dens = dens (dens, dentis), noun, 3rd declension, singular, neuter, ablative, meaning = (by means of) tooth.

pedem = pes (pes, pedis), noun, 3rd declension, singular, masculine, accusative, meaning = foot.

capio = capio (capio, capere, cepi, captum), verb, 3rd conjugation, 1st person, singular, present, active, indicative, meaning = I seize.


*  “Week” is a used here as to specify an undefined length of time, possibly at times equal to an actual week.

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