Category “Misc”

Caffeinated Hummingbird Feeder

WP_20130723_001 (1)This is a Grindmaster Airpot. It has revolutionized my coffee routine. Here’s how: In the background of the picture you can see a Cuisinart Grind and Brew coffee maker. I received this coffee maker as a gift and I like it because it makes coffee made with beans that are ground immediately before being steeped. The problem with this coffee maker is that it has to be cleaned after every use and cleaning it is a lot like cleaning a gun, with the exception of having to oil it once I’m finished. Usually I forget to clean it, so the next day I have to waste paper towels drying the parts after I rinse them, or the grounds will stick in the works instead of going into the basket.  What does this have to do with the Airpot? Well, as soon as I make coffee I pour it in the Airpot. That way I can immediately disassemble the Cuisinart and leave the wet parts in the drain rack to dry. Even better, the coffee isn’t sitting on a burner for 2 hours. This thing keeps coffee hot ALL DAY. Seriously, it’s still quite warm at 6pm. And it doesn’t have that burnt taste from sitting on the burner. This coffee thermos has turned into my own little caffeinated hummingbird feeder which I visit throughout the day for regular sips of hot Eight O’Clock coffee.

If you want one, search for a 2.2L Airpot, lever or push. 2.2L is 74 oz., so it will hold a regular 12 cup pot (72 oz.) with a little room to spare. I purchased mine at a yard sale for 5 dollars, but if you want one new you can buy it online for less than 50 dollars.

Tablet of Babel

While I was in Canada I started coming down with a cold. I’ve used Zicam zinc tablets to good effect in the past, so I found a Canadian substitute from a brand called Jamieson. In typical Canadian fashion, the packaging was bilingual. LozengeThe description read, in English and French, “Lozenges / Pastilles.” Now I’ve always associated lozenges with semi-opaque hard candy, like cough drops, so I was surprised to find fast dissolving tablets in the package. This made me curious about the definition of lozenge, so I looked the word up.

Early 14c., from Old French losenge, “windowpane, small square cake,” etc., used for many flat quadrilateral things (Modern French losange). Probably from a pre-Roman Celtic language, perhaps Gaulish lausa, “flat stone” or “tile.”

Originally in English as a term in heraldry; meaning “small cake or tablet (originally diamond-shaped) of medicine and sugar, etc., meant to be held in the mouth and dissolved,” from 1520s.

Well, that’s interesting. The English word has a French origin. On a package that also has the French word. This made me check up on the origin of the French word for tablet, pastilles.

From Latin pastillus small loaf, akin to Latin panis bread – first use 1658

Well, that’s kind of boring and anti-climactic, but due to the murkiness of etymology there’s another possible source. Via Elizabeth Abbott of Canadian news outlet The Globe and Mail:

Marie de Medici was married off to France’s Henri IV, who hated his homely blond wife and presided over a court whose courtiers mocked her as “the fat banker.” Marie escaped the tribulations of her hostile marriage and surroundings by comforting herself with food, especially sweets. She brought Giovanni Pastilla, the Medici clan’s confectioner, to the French court, where his concoctions delighted the French as much as their queen. The term bonbon – good good – originated from the royal children’s nickname for his wares, as did the word pastille, the small, sugared fruit tablets Pastilla specialized in.

So the English word lozenge comes from French but the French word pastille may have an Italian origin. I know it’s trivial, but I find it humorous.