By Bob Curtis, Local Secretary

April 2014

Winter is past; the vernal equinox has come; it is Spring. April, the name of this month is of uncertain origin. The Romans gave this month the name Aprilis. Some say from the verb aperire, "to open," since it the month when trees and flowers begin to "open." Others suggest that some of the Roman months are named in honor of divinities, and as April was sacred to the goddess Venus, her Veneralia being held on the first day, April was her month Aphrilis, from her equivalent Greek goddess name Aphrodite (Aphros), or from the Etruscan name Apru. The Anglo-Saxons called April Oster-monath or Eostur-monath. The Venerable Bede says in The Reckoning of Time that this month Eostur is the root of the word Easter. He further states that the month was named after a goddess Eostre whose feast was in that month. April's birthstone is the diamond. (Thanks to Wikipedia for most of this information.)

The new television series COSMOS began on the Fox Network on Sundays at 9:00 pm. This program is modeled on Carl Sagan's program of the same name but produced in the 1980s. The narrator is Neil deGrasse Tyson, Director of the Hayden Planetarium, who does an excellent job of guiding the viewers on our journeys through the cosmos. I highly recommend this series to you.

My Pet Peeves of the month are two, both having to do with television newscasters. The first is the announcers who do not know how to pronounce the noun "route" but seem to think it must be pronounced differently from the noun "root" since it is spelled differently. My second are the announcers who do not recognize the logical fallacy of "begging the question" known popularly at least since Aristotle's time, and use that phrase when they merely mean "asks the question" or "raises the question." Begging the question is assuming to be true what it is that you are trying to prove. In Latin it is called "petitio princippi."