Monday, December 21, 2020

Things I Learned Recently

I didn't mean to take off much of last week, but I got involved with two days of snow removal, finally decorating the tree, a bit more Christmas knitting, and a lot of reading. I've got ideas for posts for at least today and tomorrow, so I better write them before I forget. 

Today is about some things I learned recently. Nothing earth-shattering, and maybe they are things you already know, but when I first heard them I was surprised and intrigued.
  • Decarcerated is a word. Of course, this makes complete sense, but when I heard it on Friday I thought it had to be a mistake. If I hadn't been listening to NPR, I would have been sure it was an error, but I looked it up anyway. I couldn't find an entry in Merriam-Webster or, but Oxford Reference defines it as "the process of removing people from institutions such as prisons or mental hospitals—the opposite of incarceration. Another linked concept is transcarceration, in which people are moved sideways from one kind of institution to another."
  • I've always heard and spoken the idiom as "the devil is in the details" but while listening to NPR on Saturday, I heard an interviewee say "the angel is in the details". John was talking at the time and didn't take kindly to my shushing, so I can't tell you who said this. I've tried to find a clip online but wasn't successful. Wikipedia tells me that the idiom was derived from "God is in the detail", and has been attributed to German architect, Mies van der Rohe. This seems closer to angel than devil. Nancy Pelosi said, "The devil and the angels are in the details." when discussing the Covid-19 stimulus package, so I may have to consider angels rather than devils. 
  • I don't remember exactly how we started the conversation, but John told me that he just learned that roads, streets, avenues, boulevards, drives, and lanes were not just arbitrary names but actually meant something. This was news to me also, so of course, we had to look them up. 

Road: Can be anything that connects two points. The most basic of the naming conventions. 

Street: A public way that has buildings on both sides of it. They run perpendicular to avenues.

Avenue: Also a public way that has buildings or trees on either side of it. They run perpendicular to streets.

Boulevard: A very wide city street that has trees and vegetation on both sides of it. There’s also usually a median in the middle of boulevards.

Drive: A long, winding road that has its route shaped by its environment, like a nearby lake or mountain.

Lane: A narrow road often found in a rural area. Basically, the opposite of a boulevard.

Most of the local examples we could think of seemed to hold true to these naming conventions, except for one. We live on an Avenue, and it is parallel to Main Street. Main Street may be an outlier because our avenue is also perpendicular to a street. I grew up on Oak Lane, and it was a one lane dirt road in a rural area.

So am I the only one who didn't know about decarcerate, "the angel is in the details, and street naming conventions? What have you learned recently? Please educate me!


  1. Now I feel like I've been educated and can go back to sleep (except I have to go to the office). Interesting stuff Bonny - and none of which I knew! We live on a Boulevard, but it is not anything like the description you shared!

  2. How much snow did you get? The deer look a bit challenged. All new information to me, Bonny. I grew up on a lane which ran perpendicular to an avenue. It was a short dead end. I'm going to have to share this with my husband; interesting stuff! Have a wonderful Monday, Bonny.

  3. Wow! I did not know decarcerate, but I like the term and think we should do it more! Likewise, I did not know about the naming of streets, roads, lanes, etc. I love this little bit of trivial knowledge! Nor have I heard about angels in the details. The devil yes, but angels... that is a curious way to think of it! Thank you so much for sharing these tidbits!

  4. I love the various road definitions! I live on a drive and it is definitely a DRIVE around the obstacles of the landscaping.

  5. I have learned new things, too, today! I had no idea about the road/street/avenue/etc. naming conventions. What is the definition of "Place"? I live on a "Place" and we're a dead-end street, so I'm wondering if that is part of the meaning (many of the other dead-ends around us seem to be Places or Courts).

  6. I have not heard the word decarcerate and have never heard "angel in the details. I love that way of looking at details. The naming of streets vs. blvds or avenues is something I knew a little about as SLC is a city with wide streets. All the main streets are wide and the city is laid out in a grid. It's fairly easy to find an address in our valley. We use the street/avenue/blvd designations loosely.

  7. Oh oh Oh I LOVE the Deer in the snow! so Much! Ive learned that blinking is important if you are doing screen work or your eyes feel dry. I've learned that mediation and breathing are difficult for me. I actually think, IS THIS OVER OR WHAT

  8. I definitely did NOT know that about roads and streets, etc but your descriptions definitely fit with my vision of each of them.

  9. What a fun post, Bonny - I love to learn new things like this! "Angels in the details" makes me smile so much ... as one who tends to spend time there :-)

  10. I love the word play here. I prefer to think of "Angels in the details" so I am glad to read that one. As for the roads and streets words, very informative. I often think we would all be better off if we knew the definitions of the words we use.


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