First, I want to thank everyone who wished me a happy birthday last week. I appreciate all the kind comments.  Some people asked if I was “really” 29.  The answer is yes.  I am 29 mentally, but 46 physically.   Actually, some people say I am nine mentally, but that is another story (that’s a different question or issue)!

Today’s post is called potpourri, which means a mixture of different things, sometimes used in talking about music or literature, but more generally about a set of topics that are not necessarily related to each other.  This post is a potpourri, since the paragraphs do not related to one another very well – it’s a mix of ideas.  I confess that it has been a really busy week for me, so I’m going to talk about some recent headlines in the news for today’s post, mostly for some of the difficult vocabulary that sometimes appears in newspaper headlines (story titles).  All of these are from today’s New York Times online edition.  Here goes (here we go, now we will begin):

Bernanke, in Nod to Critics, Suggests Board of Regulators

Bernanke refers to Ben Bernanke, who is head (leader) of the Federal Reserve, sort of like our national bank (or at least, it has become one in recent months).  To nod means to acknowledge someone else’s idea by agreeing to do it, even though you didn’t like the idea initially (at the beginning).  Often the verb is used to show that the person is trying to make his critics happy by doing something they suggest.  Bernanke is “nodding” to his critics by taking up one of their suggestions: That there be a board of regulators (government officials who make sure companies are following the law) for the control of US banks and financial institutions.

Fossil Skeleton From Africa Predates Lucy

Fossils are the remains of some animal or human body part that are found in rock, usually hundreds of thousands of years old.  A skeleton refers to the bones of a human or animal.  To predate means to come before.  Lucy is not our own Dr. Lucy Tse; it refers to a famous skeleton found many years ago named Lucy.  The story is that scientists have dated (determined the age of)* a skeleton that is 4.4 million years old, older than the skeleton named Lucy, which is “only” 3.2 million years old.  This new skeleton is being called Ardi (which is short for the technical name, Ardipithecus ramidus).  It is considered the oldest skeleton from the human “branch” or part of the primate family (which includes apes, monkeys, and my neighbor).

Curling Up With Hybrid Books, Videos Included

To curl up means to sit with your legs up against you for warmth or comfort, sort of like a ball.  There is an expression “to curl up into a ball” for this reason.  To curl up with a book means to sit down to read a book in a comfortable chair.  A hybrid is a mixture of two different things.  We now have hybrid cars that use both electricity and gasoline for power, for example.  Here is what this headline is all about: With the changes in technology (iPhones, Kindles, e-book readers), some publishers are now starting to include videos with the books they are releasing in electronic format (such as for the iPhone).  “Readers” will read the text and can also watch videos in some chapters of the book that are related to the story.  These “vooks” (video + book) are still very new, but many think that these multimedia (more than one media, such as sound, text, video) “vooks” will become more and more popular.

This post does not include any videos, sorry.


* = To date can also mean to go somewhere romantic with your girl/boyfriend or spouse.  Scientists did not actually go to dinner with the skeleton, however, since it appeared to be rather hungry and they didn’t want to pay for a big meal (scientists can be rather cheap (unwilling to spend money), I guess).

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24 Responses to Potpourri

  1. emiliano says:

    Potpourri, we use that word “popurri” for music, but it´s nice the use you did Jeff and we have again lots of new words and expressions that improve our Knowledge
    about English and news.
    I didn´t know that Lucy was so old, I thought she was only 25 years old, but 3,2 millions?.
    Ah, yes, it is another Lucy.
    But, that name, why?. Did you know Jeff, if know it please tell us?
    A busy week Jeff?. Sure, having a lot of happy birthdays of all your friends in L.A., and opening so much boxes with the gifts you have received by your 29 years
    And Peter, what have you done in Paris?. We all want to know something about your trip to that beautiful city.

    For us, spaniards and madrileños, tomorrow is our hope day. We need to be chosen by the next Olympic Games, and I´ll be watching the tv., a thing that I usually never
    use to do, to see if our Kings, President Zapatero, Mayor Madrid City, and the President of Madrid Comunitty do something about the matter.

    But Obama and Michel are going too, and President Lula Da Silva, and First Minister of Japan……..I don´t really know how much is depending of this election.
    Only that neve I have been so much interest in “llevarse el gato al agua”…..(textually in English..taking the cat into the water, I think this means nothing in this
    lenguage), I do´t know the right English phrase.

    Vooks?….it looks very interesting. But here we don´t have Kindles and would like to have.
    Bernanke?…..I think this is a very strange man who may have something to say about the big Crisis.

    Yes, I have made a potpourry too, I´m sorry but actually I don´t know how to say but I like to write as ever.

  2. Alireza says:

    You know the vooks (video+book) idea is pretty interesting, but kind of strange for old story readers, too. I mean for those who are very much used to reading novels, fictions, or even short stories. You ask me why? Well I refer you to the main difference between learning about an adventure on films and reading it on paper in a book. While you read it on the book, you can imagine the book characters, the environment in which the story takes place, even what might the people in the story feel under various circumstances, and that’s so interesting! Now imagine the video added to the book, you imagine sth, and you have to thoroughly forget about it as soon as you visually see the contents brought to you by the moving pictures!!! Isn’t it bizarre?!
    I’m not against the usage of the new technology, especially in the field of books and reading, but I personally believe that such modern technologies is better to be used for scientific books, and specialist magazines rather than Stories and novels, Where most readers appreciate their own imaginations!
    After all, Tnx Dr Jeff for letting us to know about it!
    Can’t wait to read your further posts.

  3. Julio says:

    In Spain we usually use the word popurrí (not potpourri) when talking about a CD of music (or long ago a LP) in which there a mixture from differents authors and groups or singers. But also, as in the pieces of information provided by Dr. Jeff, sometimes for naming an anarchical set of styles which have been put together in a given structure of items.
    Older Disc Jockeys used to have a previously recorded cassette of very well-Known and demanded music for putting it in the Discos instead of putting differents songs one after another.
    At least, it is my interpretation.
    Best regards from Spain.
    I have just taken into account I am looking forward to going to the Disco straight away. I will tell you all.
    Julio (Jack).

  4. peter says:


    I had you peged as a 19 year old in heart and an 80 year old in mind.

  5. daniele says:

    primate family (which includes apes, monkeys, and my neighbor)
    Ha! ha! That was funny.

  6. emiliano says:

    Today, our hope day for “all madrileños”…….and now, just in this moment Rio de Janerio and Madrid are the two final cities.

    My heart is pop pop pop……only half and hour…..

    Crossing my fingers I am waiting……
    Madrid, we belive.
    I belive in my city.

  7. emiliano says:

    Congratulations Rio of Janeiro, I wish the best to your Olimpyc Games, but now as madrileño I am really very sad.
    It was our chance but it hasn´t been possible, Rio is a beautiful and marvellous city and hope the best to all Braziliam people.

  8. peter says:

    Dear Jeff,

    Today,on my way to work, I read this interesting article about the fossil Ardi in Toront star. It took my interest merely because earlier today, you discused it over on the blog. As it turns out,the aritcle per se was very apealing. The article looks at the whole concept in a totaly doferent angle. it dicuses how the recent discovery affects the theory of evolution set forth I believe by Darvin. The article says the recent discovery may leads to a new theory that Man didn’t descend from apes. What is closer to the truth is that our knuckle -dragging cousins ( funny) DESCENDED FROM US ,and further down ,or further along ,in the same parageraph, it indicates that the new theory may answer missing link question because it is closer to what anthropologists call ” Missing link” than anything ever been found. It is huge ,isn’t it? And ,the rest of article is commited to analysing the whole Idea.

    P.S. My birthday is comming up my friend. in very near future ,I will turn /turn to 34. Unlike Jeff ,I don’t feel 29 inside ,in fact I feel more 89 simply because i never had even one oat or wild oat ,if you will ,to sow(LOL) ,over my entire adult life . Pretty shocking ,isn’t it.

  9. emiliano says:

    Sorry for sharing my feelings that has nothing to be with our blog, but this afternoon I was really without air awaiting the result from Copenhagen.
    Cuca was so calm that I can´t understand her and from the begining, long time ago, she said that Rio was the most appropiate city to win the election.
    She was right, never South America has an Olimpyc Games and this has been a good selection despite my heart desires.

    Alireza I agree with you absolutely, nothing most better than imagination reading the pages of a book, and you have explained it perfectly well.

    Now that all is over i am in a perfect relaxed mood and I think it is as good election as it could be Chicago or Tokyo also.
    Jeff, all I have been writing till this moment has been a perfect potpourri (as a matter of fact I prefer the spanish word…popurrí ) and I have to
    ask for everybody tolerance, also yours. Thank you.

  10. Tania says:

    Hi ! An inspired topic “Watching Competitive Sports ” as most of us were watching awarding the Olympics . I am sorry for Chicago lost bid for 2016 Summer Olympics Games and of course for you Emiliano .I was rooting for Madrid , too . Rio defeated Madrid . But taking into account Rio de Janeiro is the first South America Olympic host and a very , very nice place it deserves to win . We have to give a chance for everyone .
    Very difficult to use “to root for ” and especially ” underdog” . I thought it means”under dog ” . But I was pride to understand when I heard this word at the
    awarding the Olympics .
    Don’t be sad , Emiliano ! Next time .

    All the best for you all ,


  11. emiliano says:

    Thank you Tania, I would like to be at Rio de Janerio that marvellous town at the sea side taken a bath in CopaCabana beach and watching the Games far on the
    2016 year. Who knows?. We can dream about this idea.

    Yes, I think it has been a good chance for South America, it has been it´s time already and hope they can do a Good Olimpyc Even.
    If you could see the madrileños faces who where in Plaza de Oriente, near the Oriente Palace…….? It was really sad to see thousands and thousands of people
    crying, tears falling from their eyes, the children, everybody. I was so sorry for all of them…….but people of Rio where really happy. Even some Brasiliams
    who were also in the Oriente Square were jumping happyly, it was amazing to see them sourrended by spaniards who were so sad and they, the Brazilian, were shouting
    aloud and singing with Brasil´s flag.
    It was really crazy.
    What I knew yesterday was that in Madrid there are living people from 128 different nations, what is really incredible. I know that the city has changed a lot, and you
    can see people from everywhere but 128 nations, who are living here with us?. Yes, I like this matter because in future we´ll be like New York, a great melting pot.

    I liked to see Michele Obama and also I could understand what she said about her life in Chicago, it was very emotive to me what she said about her father.
    Nice, very nice and inteligent woman. I like her very much.

  12. emiliano says:

    MADRID — After dancing and singing for hours, thousands of people held hands in front of the royal palace here hoping their hunch would magically come true. But in its second consecutive attempt to host the Olympics, Madrid fell short again.
    “I’m going to have to wait to get home and cry because I can’t do it in public,” said Roberto Carlos Dieguez, 26, who was draped in Spain’s bright red flag. “You can’t imagine how painful this is.”
    He added: “We always end up touching glory with the tips of our fingers, and — puff — it slips from our hands.”
    The mood changed suddenly on Friday from celebration to deflation in the Plaza de Oriente, located between Madrid’s opera house and royal palace. Officials estimated that more than 7,000 people squeezed into the space to follow the coverage of the bid announcement from Copenhagen on large television screens.
    While some enthusiastic residents took their place soon after sunrise Friday, the square did not start filling up until 90 minutes before the final announcement.
    People climbed trees, while others stood on the 19th century fountain to get a better look, biting their lips, praying, waving Spanish flags and singing. Others looked down from the balconies surrounding the plaza.
    People were in a partying mood for a couple of hours. Songs blared over speakers and chants of “Madrid, Madrid!” bounced off the walls.
    In the run-up to the decision, optimism was palpable, despite Madrid’s being considered a long-shot. Madrid’s bid carried the slogan “I have a hunch,” and that feeling brewed into unexpected excitement after Tokyo and Chicago were eliminated in the first two rounds of voting.Most of those who ventured downtown either wore a shirt with the hand logo or waved plastic hands with the Madrid logo. People danced the flamenco tune from Madrid’s presentation and clapped cheerfully. They hugged and clutched their fists close to their hearts.
    Every time Rio was mentioned, the crowed hissed. When Rio’s victory was finally declared, the crowd stilled. Tears fell from many faces, and people stood in silence.
    Then, in the main deck filled with photographers and camera crews from around the world, the presenter tried to cheer up the crowd.
    This news are from n.y.times, but it is what I saw yesterday…I felt more or less like all these madrileños in the Orient Square.

  13. ivan rivera says:

    Rio is the most cheerful city in the world,

    Congratulation Rio de Janeiro

  14. Tania says:

    Hi ! Exciting your article Emiliano . As I told you , I am sorry …

    A real potpourry of music in Roumania : last week Anastacia sang in our capital Bucharest and last night Kevin Costner .
    Anastacia was quoted by our critics like Madona … she did all the best . Unfortunatelly we cannot watch their concerts on TV .

    All the best for you all ,


  15. Tania says:

    Hi ! Sometimes it is difficult to understand you , Peter . Maybe because you live in Canada where you speak English every day .
    For me , oat is a plant and I do not understand you . Last month I ask you to explain me LOL . I do not know if you did it as I could not contact the blog .

    All the best for you all ,


  16. peter says:

    Hi Tania,

    I am so sorry if I trubled you. I didin’t mean it. honest,all I am trying to do is contribute to the whole tune of the blog. It is true that I live in an English-speaking city ,but it does not mean that I stumbled on( fiound by chance) the whole concept of English language simply beacause I have been living in Toronto for a little while. Believe you me my friend, I went true the hell to get a hang of(learn) the Language.you don’t breath English here in Tornro my friend. YOu must learn it word by word. this is the way it is ( the only way). you know ,it is a known fact that the whole purpose of this blog is educational.By that I mean we are all here to pick up on ( learn terms and expresions that are hard to come by ( learn) and that we need the assistance of reliablr sources such as Jeff ans LUcy to learn them).

    Don’t get this the wrong way, I am not saying that I am a wiz at English like Jeff and Lucy.I m still paying my dues( a student) hoping one day get a better hang.

    LOL means Laughing ( like smiling ) very loudly so every body can hear you.

  17. peter says:

    Dear tania The expresion originally goes like :

    SOW ( plant) YOUR WILD OATS :in a way means no exciting things has happened for a while. Very common by the way

    but it is commonly used as One had no wild oat to saw ( over a period of time)

    I avoid to use it directly to avoid using any suggestive tone on the blog

    It was funny though

  18. Peter says:

    Good show Emiliano, Very well-put in deed

    You have described the whole function so vividly that at this very moment ,I have tears welled up in my eyes.

    Thanks for the beautifuly crafted story .you moved me into tears ( Thanks to Lucy)

  19. Tania says:

    Hi ! Thank you Peter .

    Emiliano , you know F.C. Sevillia played football with F.C. Urziceni Roumania in Sevillia last month . Urziceni is a very , very small town but its team is very good in Roumania . I watched the game . When I saw how large is the stadium … the players like some ants … so many , many people …
    We fought like lions … but of course you won 2-0 . We knew we cannot win but it was an honour to play with F.C. Sevillia in Sevillia .

    All the best for you all ,


  20. Tania says:

    Hi again ! I think I have to write “how large the stadium is …”


  21. Tania says:

    Hi ! Golden Age of Hollywood … Taking into account the technique level of the 20’s – 50’s I think it is the Golden Age indeed . And all actors and actresses … so nice , so charming , so talented …
    And “Gone with the Wind” … with Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable . They move me into tears . In Roumania , the novel written by Margaret Mitchell is well known
    and appreciated . It is an honour to keep this novel in your own book-case . In my opinion the story , the life of Scarlett O’Hara would be a good topic for us .
    But of course , “tomorow is another day ” .

    All the best for you all ,


  22. Laura says:

    Hello, I´ve been looking for the origin of the name Lucy for an Australopithecus affarensis, and I´ve found two interesting things:
    1. She (the skeleton) was christined Lucy as nickname during a celebration the same day that scientifics found many bones of the skeleton. And it was because the Beatles song “Lucy in the sky with diamonds” was being played loudly and repeatedly on a tape recorder in the camp. Her legal name is AL 288-1. Of course, I prefer Lucy.
    2. Lucy has another name in Amharic, the language spoken in Ethiopia (where Lucy comes from). The Amharic name,”Dinqineš”, means “you are beautiful” or “you are wonderful”.

    Wikipedia dixit

  23. emiliano says:

    Thank you Laura for your so good information, more even thinking the let motive of the name. I like the song of “Lucy in the
    Sky with Diamonds” and I have listened to the song so many times as long as all from Beatles. Paul is about my own age
    more o less and the other were the same.

    In fact calling the skeleton of the Aust….Aff… AL 288-1 has to be too much scientific, I think Lucy is perfect.

    Having in mind the other meanings of the Amharic language Lucy you have to be proud of you name and I am sure it means
    exactly what you are: beautiful and wonderful,

    Thank you so much Laura, it seems to me you are a good specialist in the matter.

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