Saturday, June 7, 2008



transitive verb (the objectionable kind of verb)
Past participle and past tense: mesmerized
Present participle: mesmerizing
Third person singular present tense: mesmerizes

1. to spell bind; enthrall
2. to hypnotize

[After Franz Mesmer (1734 - 1815), Austrian physician.]

Franz Anton Mesmer, a visionary eighteenth-century physician, believed cures could be effected by having patients do things such as sit with their feet in a fountain of magnetized water while holding cables attached to magnetized trees. He then came to believe that magnetic powers resided in himself, and during highly fashionable curative sessions in Paris he caused his patients to have reactions ranging from sleeping or dancing to confulsions. These reactions were actually brought about by hypnotic posers that Mesmer was unaware he possessed. One of his pupils, named Puysegur, then used the term mesmerism (first recorded in English in 1802) for Mesmer's practices. The related word mesmerize (first recorded in English in 1829), having shed its reference tot he hypnotic doctor, lives on in the sense "to enthrall."

Wow. so I'm starting to get a mental image of a future dictionary entry:
To write endless posts on arcane topics, poking fun at English conventions and Latin forms.

Hey! I heard that! It COULD happen.

OK so what mesmerizes me? Well today it has been horse racing in general, Belmont Stakes in particular. I've spent the afternoon on YouTube watching horse races and tributes to great racers such as Secretariat and Man of War. In less than an hour Big Brown will try to add his name to an exclusive list of Triple Crown winners. Only eleven horses have managed to take the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes since 1919 when Sir Barton became the first Triple Crown winner. In my lifetime there have been only three Triple Crown winners; 1973 Secretariat, 1977 Seattle Slew, and 1978 Affirmed. Since then, eleven horses have won the first two legs only to go down to defeat in Belmont's grueling mile and a half.

Half an hour now till the 140th running of the Belmont Stakes. Will we have a new Triple Crown winner this year? I'm at Momma's with no TV but my computer is tuned to ESPN. I'll let you know how it turns out.

1 comment:

Wamblings said...

NEW YORK (AP)—Big Brown failed in his bid to become horse racing’s 12th Triple Crown winner when he finished dead last to Da’ Tara in the Belmont Stakes.

Da’ Tara went wire to wire to beat eight other thoroughbreds over 1 1/2 miles, the longest and toughest of the three classics.

“I had no horse,” said Big Brown’s jockey, Kent Desormeaux.

All week long, Big Brown’s trainer, Rick Dutrow Jr. said the horse’s victory was “a foregone conclusion.” He turned out be wrong.

The bay colt’s disappointing performance followed convincing victories in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness. He failed on the same track where 10 horses had been beaten over the last three decades. The last horse to win the Triple Crown was Affirmed in 1978.