or, stuff that I dragged out of my head

Location: Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada

Friday, December 12, 2008


Usually if the time on one of my postings says 1:44 in the morning or something along those lines, it means that I actually wrote it the day before and then changed the time from, say, 9:44 p.m. today to 1:44 a.m. tomorrow.

Not this time, though. It really is one-whatever. I was working the night, and the store doesn't close until 10 during the holiday season and of course we had to do recovery, so I didn't clock out until 10:55, and I never can sleep right after work, plus I had had a bottle of Diet Coke at around 8, which usually means I'm up for another 5 hours or more, so I stayed up to watch a rerun of Law & Order on Bravo at midnight and I'm still not tired, so here I am.

If you've ever watched CSI or L&O or, I suppose, just about any crime show in the last twenty years, you will have heard the term "petechial hemorrhaging", but, like me, you won't have known exactly what it meant or how it was spelled. (Not having seen it spelled, I would have guessed "patichial": puh-TEE-kee-ul".) Luckily, the captions were on, and luckily, the captioner spelled it correctly, so I made a mental note of it and looked it up after the show was over (the bad guy got his just deserts).

Petechial hemorrhaging is the formation of tiny spots of blood, usually under the surface of the skin or (in the case of victims of strangulation) in the eyes. "Petechial" is the adjectival form of "petechia", plural "petechiae", which means, as you will have guessed, that it's from Latin (filtered through Italian). Petechia, therefore, are tiny purplish spots; the word likely comes from "impeticula", which is the diminutive of "impetix", which is related to--and you will like this, I think--"impetigo", a skin condition caused by a bacterial infection and characterized by small pustules.

It gets better, even. "Impetigo" is pure Latin and stems from the verb "impetere", "to attack", which in turn is compounded from "im-" plus "petere", "to go towards, to seek", and this verb gave English another word: "impetus". (The title of my previous posting, "Repetition", is also coincidentally related to "petere".)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

A post on my birthday? Aww, you shouldn't have!

Friday, December 12, 2008 4:40:00 AM  
Blogger pyramus said...

I aim to please.

Saturday, December 13, 2008 7:00:00 PM  

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