Some Portuguese people regard desenrascanço as a key Portuguese virtue and a living part of their culture.

desenrascanço – Wiktionary

Disentanglement, the removal of complications or confusion, a hack, a MacGyverism, the ability to find improvised solutions to problems. 


In Brazilian Portuguese an acoustic guitar is called violão, while the electric guitar is called guitarra. The Portuguese guitar is a very different instrument. The rest of the world calls it a Portuguese guitar, but in Portugal it’s simply a guitar. So a different word was used for what the Spanish call a guitar. 

What I find interesting is that the guitar is female in all romance languages and even in German, which tends to try to be different. (the moon is male in German and the sun female. Craziness!!) But while it’s a guitarra (female) it is o violão (male). I supposed this shows that all languages develop around what feels good saying, not around what actually makes sense – as shown by aluminum or critter in American English – and perhaps people found that o violão and a guitarra sounded better. Or perhaps these genders really don’t mean anything… they are simply a way to make language more complicated. It’s something that English has solved beautifully. 

Rain Crow

The yellow-billed cuckoo (Coccyzus americanus) is a member of the cuckoo family. Common folk-names for this bird in the southern United States are rain crow and storm crow.

Yellow-billed cuckoo – Wikipedia

Random slice of newly acquired knowledge. 


I like the word Lush. To me, the word sounds like its meaning. Translations of lush are üppig (German), luxuriante (French), and exuberante (Portuguese) – all quite different. Then it occurred to me, that the word might have developed from the opposite meaning. I learned that this is a common linguistic occurrence.

Lasch is a German word that means weak. Lascher Kaffee = weak coffee. The German Lasch is pronounced almost identically to the English lush. Lasch is lax in English, relâché in French, and relaxado in Portuguese. 

Then I realized that there is an English word, luscious, borrowed from the French language, and I think that’s where lush came from. The English language has a long tradition of shortening everything, so luscious became lush

I looked up lush in the Oxford Dictionary, to see whether I was close, and they write that lush is an alteration of lax by association with luscious.

Little Fish

More water based imagery. I wrote about the plop of the frog in the pond and now I will tell you my favorite  name for a vegetable. It’s a name for the broad green bean that is often battered and fried in Portugal. And which inspired the Japanese art of Tempura cooking. One name for that broad bean is: Peixinho da horta

Peixe is fish and peixinhos are little fish. While a garden is jardim, a vegetable garden is called horta. So the phrase means Little Fish from the Vegetable Garden


I thought about boredom and boring. I think I know how the author of the article I linked to in this post meant the word, and how I also used it, but realize that it may not be the normal usage of the word. Like myself he is a musician, a photographer, and a walker and, I am guessing, that he is used to practicing things. I looked the word BOREDOM up in several dictionaries and found this:

the state of being bored; the feeling of being wearied by dullness, or sameness, or tedious repetition, feeling impatient because one is unoccupied or lacks interest in one’s current activity

To tell you the truth I don’t remember ever being bored in my life. I have been a musician and a meditator for fifty years. We do the same things over and over. It’s called practicing. Tedious repetition does not phase me at all. I have a very good tremolo because I used to spend hours every day practicing it. For years! I’d work on the tremolo at all hours of the day. I’d also do it while reading a book, or watching TV, but mostly it was just me and the guitar. I don’t get impatient when I am unoccupied. I don’t lack interest in any current activity. You want onions finely chopped? I can help because I don’t mind doing it. You need twenty onions chopped? (rolls up sleeves)

That said, I understood boring, as used in that post, to mean time that hasn’t been filled with diversions. To allow oneself not to do anything. One does not pick up a book, endlessly scroll on a screen, or watch TV. Unfilled time. A pause. A pause that is allowed to become a pregnant pause and then, at some point, that pause can birth a new idea. 

When I was raising a child, I told him that I didn’t mind him swearing but the one thing I never wanted to hear was I am bored. 

I remember one time at the Canadian border. In the 90’s, I think. Huge tour, two buses and a 18-wheeler. I said something to an officer that he didn’t like and he put me in a cell–I suppose that’s what it was… four empty walls, no windows, no furniture of any kind–while he interrogated other members of my traveling party. I discovered the acoustics in the room and enjoyed working on my palmas tones. I may even have tried singing, although I am not good at it. After twenty minutes he released me. He almost smiled and said that I was having too much fun in the room. 

Origin of BORE
First recorded in 1760-70, of uncertain origin

Origin of DOM
short for Latin dominus lord, master

Very strange word this, boredom. The literal meaning should be master of drilling? Getting drilled by the repetition? Repetition is power. Repetition is how movements become easy, begin to flow. 

Actually, the more I think about boredom the less I understand it.