A Grain of Salt (What Does That Mean?!)

Photo found here: http://www.grainofsalt.com/2010/10/what-does-with-a-grain-of-salt-even-mean/

“Take that with a grain of salt,” says your friend regarding somewhat dubious news. “I’d take that draft rumor with a grain of salt,” says the NFL Draft Expert, who says a lot of things. (Most of which apparently need salt…)

But what does it mean? Why do we say that? Where does it come from? What is the origin of that phrase, “Take it with a grain of salt”?

Let’s find out!

Taken With A Grain Of Salt

Apparently, we head (figuratively) all the way back to the first century. In the year 77 AD, a Roman author named Pliny (the Elder) shared the story of a Roman general, Pompey, in his book Naturalis Historia1, which included a “recipe” for an antidote against all poisons. (Impressive!)

In sancutariis Mithridatis, maximi regis, devicit Cn. Pompeius invenit in peculiari commentario ipsius manu conpositionem antidoti e II nucibus siccis, item ficis totidem et rutae foliis XX simul tritis, addito salis grano: ei, qui hoc ieiunus sumat, nullum venenum nociturum illo die.

(After the defeat of that mighty monarch, Mithridates, Gnaeus Pompeius found in his private cabinet a recipe for an antidote in his own handwriting; it was to the following effect: Take two dried walnuts, two figs, and twenty leaves of rue; pound them all together, with the addition of a grain of salt; if a person takes this mixture fasting, he will be proof against all poisons for that day.)2

Since the year 77 AD, some have (wrongly) used the Latin phrase, “cum grano salis”. But as you can see in the text above, Pliny wrote “addito salis grano”. (“With a grain of salt” just sounded better in English, so… we made it say that in Latin, too?)

There are two different views on what Pompey (or P. the E.) meant. One, the salt was an essential part of the potency of the antidote. Two, the salt just made it palatable enough to swallow, and thus receive the antidote’s protection against “all poisons”.

A third take on the usage of the phrase is as follows:

The Latin word salis means both “salt” and “wit”, so that the Latin phrase “cum grano salis” could be translated as both “with a grain of salt” and “with a grain (small amount) of wit”.3

Interesting! So it had a double meaning, as it does now. And, since we use it to mean something like, “this should be understood with some degree of skepticism, or doubt”, one could equate skepticism to wit, no?

Lastly, the first usage of the phrase, “This should be taken with a grain of salt” was found in a commentary on the book of Revelation, by John Trapp, published in 1647.4

And there you have it! But, since all of this information was pieced together from the articles referenced in the footer of this post, well, I think it should probably be taken with a grain of salt.

😉

  1. Read the full Latin text of the story here, if you’re awesome enough.
  2. This Latin/English version was found in an article at WordOrigins.com
  3. Thank you, Wikipedia!
  4. You can find anything online these days!

2014: The Year of Fun Numbers

happy-birthday-girls

We are rounding out the two weeks on the calendar that we call “Birthday Season” here. All three of our girls were born within two weeks of each other. (Two weeks and a day during leap years.) Strangely, they also fall chronologically in age order: Kirstie’s first, then Julia, then Emma.

It’s a fun, full, frenetic two weeks!

Do you remember as a kid looking forward to “big” birthdays? Every birthday is fun when you’re very young, but certain ones, like, turning ten were fun, because your age took up two places—double digits!—and of course it was fun to reach thirteen, then being able to claim the title “teenager”. Special years followed quickly with sixteen meaning you can drive (fifteen in some places!), seventeen and eighteen, twenty, twenty-one… they’re all fun!

Of course, strangely enough, as the birthdays keep coming, usually, rather than looking forward to and celebrating the “big” birthdays, most tend to begin downplaying (or completely ignoring) them. You know, the ones that end in “oh”.

This year in the Campbell home, five of the eight people will be celebrating “big” birthdays! Somehow, 2014 is a magic year for us. Perhaps it’s because the year ends in four, Jen’s favorite number? 🙂

The first to celebrate was our oldest daughter, Kirsten, who recently joined the double-digit club. Ten years old! She’s quite glad to be the elder statesmen of the female children in the Campbell home.

Next up will be Alex. He will be a teenager this coming October. Teenager?! Crazy. Alex is such a fun person, it’s hard to believe that he’ll be thirteen. He’s much more of a “kid” than his older brother when he entered his teens. But who knows what the next seven months will do to our second son. Deeper voice? Bigger muscles? OR… just the same, fun-loving, fun-making Alex, with a ‘teen’ at the end of his age?

After Alex, the next “big” days belong to Mom & Dad. Both of us being born in a year that ends in four will be celebrating an age that ends in zero this calendar year—40! I think I can recall, perhaps as a teenager myself, looking ahead to the year I would turn forty. It seemed quite distant. Silly, even. Now that time has slowly brought me here, with all that has been part of those decades, I actually embrace the official entry into my fourth decade. (In some ways I already feel like I’m there!) Jen may feel slightly differently, but we’ll both begin checking the 40s demographic boxes by this fall!

Rounding out the “big” year celebrations in 2014 is our oldest son, Ian. Born in 1998, this boy will be giddy on Christmas morning as he’ll wake up a sixteen-year-old! He can’t wait to be a driver, but he’ll have to wait until the 26th, since I’m sure the DMV will not be open on the 25th. 🙂 I’m excited for Ian. He’s a good kid, and we’ll be celebrating this fun milestone marker in his life for that day and probably the week or so after. (AND, we’ll see what it’s like to RIDE in the car that your son is driving. Yikes? Or, Awesome! … we’ll see!)

So, twenty-fourteen has the markings of a banner year for the Campbell family. Who knows what life will bring along the way, but if God gives us breath through all of these days ahead, we’ll be celebrating the passing of time on all these “big” days.

Do you have big days coming up this year? Enjoy! And celebrate the life God gives you. Each day is definitely special, and worth celebration.

Some numbers are just more fun than others. 🙂

Tappin’ Time!

collecting-sapIt’s almost time to start tapping our maple trees! March is just around the figurative corner. The days are getting a bit longer, the weather a bit warmer—right? It is, isn’t it?—and with all of that comes maple sugaring season!

Last year was our first attempt at the art of maple syrup making. Much was learned—more by error than success—and we are excited to give it another go in 2014.

We are waiting for the temperatures to be above freezing in the daytime, and still below freezing overnight. These are the optimum conditions for good sap flow. Thanks to this very cold winter, we’re pretty late in the calendar year for the first steady string of those type of days to begin.

But it should start soon. The end of next week, maybe?

So we’re gathering supplies (like empty milk jugs to collect the sap, glass containers for the completed product, etc) and we’ll be cleaning the reusable supplies, while also brushing up on the techniques of the process from recommended books and online resources. We have friends “in the business”, so we’ve gathered some tips from them and will be trying a few new things—like not boiling down many dozens of gallons of sap on our kitchen stovetop!—and I am hopeful that this year’s result will be thick, sweet, delicious, golden maple syrup!

As an avid fan of all things winter, it is rather surprising how the prospect of harvesting maple sap to make syrup has actually made me eager for the arrival of spring. (I know, right?! What is WRONG with me?!) I know that really makes me like the other 99% of folks who eagerly await spring’s arrival, but… I do still need (want) it to be below freezing at night. So… I’m not that normal. 😉

Do you have a favorite tradition—new or old—that begins with the advent of spring? Are you a “tapper” like us?

Hang in there! We’re just a few weeks away!

[Football Friday] Wait… What Day Is It?

Today is actually Thursday, but since the Buffalo Bills play their weekend game tonight, my Football Friday post—a preview of the next game—will publish on a Thursday!

It’s very confusing…

Hopefully the BILLS will not be as confused! Though, as I heard pointed out this week, the Thursday Night Games so far this season have been very sloppy, hard-to-watch football games. The short week of practice, and less time to recover from any injuries are probably two of the main factors contributing to a lesser version of NFL football.

Perhaps tonight the two young, up-and-coming franchises will break from that pattern?

And… perhaps not.

The Good Stuff

There is actually a bunch to like from both of these teams coming off their last games. (OK, not the Bills game in New Jersey against the Jets. There’s hardly anything to like about that one!) But other than that game, the Browns have won two in a row after their quarterback change. Brian Hoyer is 2-0 as the starter, and even though their season starter, Brandon Weeden is healthy again, Hoyer will play in this next game against the Bills, too.

fred-jackson-bills-ravens

The Bills are fresh off their win at home against last year’s Super Bowl Champions, the Baltimore Ravens. Impressive! And more than just because of their title. The Ravens were #4 in the league in run defense, and the Bills ran for over 200 yards against them! The Bills defense had four sacks and five INTs on Super Bowl MVP, Joe Flacco. Very impressive!

And don’t forget their two games prior to the NY Jets debacle were a comeback win against a pretty good Carolina Panthers team (they beat the Giants 38-0 the week after losing to Buffalo) and leading the New England Patriots until the very last minute, when they took the lead on a late field goal.

Other than the game against the Jets, EJ Manuel has looked at least reliable, and even exciting. I’d say especially the game against Carolina—the long, comeback, last-minute drive for the go-ahead touchdown—but he also hit some throws last week for scores, including one that didn’t count (but should have!) near the end of the game. Also, Manuel has greatly limited any mistakes, and the Bills’ future does look promising with him at the helm!

INJURY UPDATE!
Bills FS Jairus Byrddead to many Bills fans, thanks to his non-chalant, flippant attitude in most (all?) interviews since signing with the team in the pre-season—fully participated in practice earlier this week. That’s a really good sign that he might indeed return … even as early as this week! Other Bills are greatly on the mend as well, including super-speedy rookie WR Marquise Goodwin, who will probably be back for the Bills’ next game, Sunday Oct. 13th, at home against the Bengals.

The Scary Stuff

Let’s not forget what I highlighted last week: INJURIES ABOUND!

That hasn’t really changed, outside of the update directly above. But now, players like CJ Spiller can be added to the not-likely-to-be-seen-on-the-field-in-any-meaningful-way list. (If there isn’t such a list, there should be!) Fred Jackson is also hurt, but nearly guarantees he’ll be out there. Thirteen players are officially listed on the Week 5 injury report at BuffaloBills.com, and four of those are definitely out.

STATS DON’T LIE… USUALLY
Last week the Bills were able to overcome a top-notch run defense. Well, way more than “overcome”. They put up over 200 yards. So how about this week? Tonight, the Bills take on the #1 rush defense in the NFL, the Cleveland Browns. Can the Bills—perhaps minus their top two running backs, due to injuries—work similar magic this week? Not likely. The Browns defense is younger, faster, and crazier (in my opinion).

One strength the Browns possess that the Ravens do not necessarily is their “shut down” corner, Joe Hayden. He should effectively remove whichever receiver they put him on. (He shut down a pretty great receiver, AJ Green of the Bengals, last week.) The good news for the Bills is, they have many more than just one receiver!

Speaking of receivers, the Browns have a TE (Jordan Cameron) who has been somewhat dominant through the first quarter of the 2013 season. I believe he has five touchdown receptions now, including a game where he posted three? Those are Rob Gronkowski, Jimmy Graham, and Tony Gonzalez numbers. The Bills are faster this year, and prepared to cover guys (or attempt to) like Gronk … Cameron will be a good test of that.

Prediction

So far, in my illustrious, two-part, Football Friday predictions I am an astounding… 0 for 2. 🙂 The game I thought the Bills would win, they lost. When I thought they were just too injury-depleted to compete, they won, and it seemed rather “easily”.

So… I’m a little afraid to proceed here, as a Bills fan, but …

With a defense that leads the NFL in interceptions, going up against a relative no-name QB in Brian Hoyer, a “vintage” RB, former Bill, Willis McGahee, and… who? at receiver? (Other than their TE, Cameron) …

AND, with an offense that, even injured, has a multiplicity of potent targets …

BUT, it is a road game, on national television…

Still, I must stick with my gut and say that, in a defensive struggle, the Bills will pull out the (much-needed) road victory:

Final score: 19-12, Buffalo.

(Yes, lots of field goals. Excited now?) 🙂

The Bills will benefit greatly by beating a team that is similarly (but lesser) talented than they are, on the road, and picking up a conference win, against a team that their division rival, Miami, has already beaten. (Record against common opponents is a tie-breaker later on, should one be needed…)

We’ll see tonight if this team of youngsters is up to the task!

Go Bills!

[Football Friday] On The Road

alex-at-a-football-game

It’s Friday, and that means another weekend of football is here! A week ago, Alex and I attended a high school football game here in our town. First time ever, actually! It was fun… except for the constant rain, on a cold night, and the college-ready, MJD-bodied running back on the other team… Still, it really was quite fun! We look forward to doing it again soon.

But, as you are likely well aware, this is a Buffalo Bills household. High school football is fun—I enjoyed playing for my high school several decades ago—and every once in a while we’ll tune in a Michigan State football game (and on rare occasions, a different college game) … BUT…

It’s pretty much Buffalo Bills, and NFL football around here.

(Oh, and for the next couple weeks, our football weekends culminate with our own Monday Night (flag) Football games! Those are great fun, too!)

On The Road

So this week, the very promising, young Bills get to play their first game away from The Ralph.

In two games at home, they have performed admirable, and at times, messily. Penalties, turnovers, dropped passes, missed passes, and in Week One, a CJ Spiller who forgot he was good. That has led to a 1-1 record, thanks to EJ Manuel and company pulling it together on the final drive. And also, thanks to a defense that looks… impressive. Even missing two of its best players: CB Stephon Gilmore and FS Jairus Byrd.

Will that continue on the road? How much does the raucous crowd in Orchard Park aid this team? Can this young team with a rookie QB, and a rookie Head Coach, have the same—or better—success on the road???

We’re about to find out!

The Opponent: New York Jets

The Jets are favored by 2.5 points. That actually means that Vegas thinks the Bills will win the game. (Home teams are given at least three points, just for hosting the game.) The line makes sense, based on their records through the first two weeks: both teams at 1-1, both wins being last minute, come from behind wins. (The Bills loss to the Patriots was much closer than the Jets loss to the same team, though, as the Jets were never really in that game, despite the appearance on the score board.)

Such a tough game to figure out. It would seem that the Bills have the edge in talent, and they have performed overall much better than their division counterparts. But both teams are young. The Jets have an established, veteran (mostly respected) head coach… but the Bills have the Jets’ former Defensive Coordinator! Ha!

Really, should be an interesting matchup. Can’t wait to see it!

Prediction…

Buffalo Bills QB, E.J. ManuelI really think the Bills defense is improved. Six sacks last week. The backup corner backs are playing MUCH better than anticipated. Rookie LB Kiko Alonso was overshadowed last week by fellow rookie, EJ Manuel’s last minute drive to win the game. (And Stevie Johnson FINALLY catching the big pass!) Alonso is pretty great so far, actually. He ended the game by sacking Cam Newton, when they still had a (very small) chance to win that game. He also had an interception early in the game.

Look for Mike Pettine’s defense to continue improving, and confuse Jets QB Geno Smith, and shut down whomever else they have on their offense. (Who do they have?)

And on offense … with a steady young, unflappable QB, a really talented group of wide receivers, and um… CJ Spiller and Fred Jackson? If they don’t hurt themselves with penalties and turnovers, this should be a comfortable win for the Buffalo Bills.

Final score: 27-13 Buffalo.

Hooray! 🙂

The Bills, if they really are improved, and “heading the the right direction”—as most Bills fans think they are—really need to win this game. It’s against a division opponent, that has befuddled and annoyed them for years.

This Sunday we could start to see that turning around.

Go Bills!

Enjoy your football weekend!

A Visit to the 2013 Buffalo Bills Training Camp

For a decade now, in what is certainly an annual tradition for the Campbell family, we welcome each new Buffalo Bills season by attending the first (and several more) training camp practices.

The practices are held at St. John Fisher College (our old stomping grounds … Ian was practically born there!) and are full of so many fun things to do and see—all for only a couple bucks!1

Buffalo Bills Training Camp 2013 - St. John Fisher College

The allure of this event is not just football. Sure, that’s the main draw, and we Campbells are always excited about Buffalo Bills football. (It’s true. We may have a problem…) But beyond watching the players practice in groups and as a team, sometimes only a few feet away from you, there are activities galore!

ej-manuel-bills-training-camp

buffalo-bills-qbs

The Campbell kids (and many others) love the Interactive Zone. This is a section of the campus dedicated to inflatable, football-themed fun! You can run through inflated obstacle courses, kick field goals through photographic goal posts, throw touchdowns into giant images of CJ Spiller and Stevie Johnson, and many more super-fun activities. (We often end up spending as much time here as we do watching football!)

cam-em-bills-camp

There are several other vendors at the Training Camp, also, and most of them have some sort of giveaways. One of our first stops every year is the “Plinko”-style game at the Verizon booth. Some of their prizes include mini-footballs (handy for autographs!), stickers resembling “eye blacks”, and this year, bead necklaces in the Bills’ team colors.

Speaking of autographs, certainly one highlight for the older boys is flagging down players and coaches to sign anything and everything they can think of. The players will often come over to the fences where the eager fans are lined up with their Sharpees and jerseys, footballs, programs, and every other sign-able thing.

Bills Rookie QB, E.J. Manuel signs Cam's blue football—with a personalized birthday message!

Bills Rookie QB, E.J. Manuel signs Cam’s blue football—with a personalized birthday message!

The Bills also have a tent set up where three or four lines are formed for scheduled autograph sessions for specific players. This year the Campbell kids got photos and autographs of the QBs and some of the DBs in the Autograph Tent.

Bills DB, Leodis McKelvin, posing for a photo with Alex (and signing his autograph book)

Bills DB, Leodis McKelvin, posing for a photo with Alex (and signing his autograph book)

It’s not just limited to players, though. This year the boys even managed to flag down Peter King of Sports Illustrated (and a few other publications/media outlets) and get him to sign an item or two. Bills reporter, Chris Brown, and a few other lesser-known media members have also penned their names to one or more of the Campbell brothers’ possessions!

campbell-kids-bills

Bills Training Camp is definitely one of the highlights of the summer for us. It also signals the end of summer, and the beginning of fall. (The best season of them all!)

What will 2013 hold for this Buffalo Bills team? Not sure. There’s been so much change here. (Did you read my post from early July about this year’s Bills team?) It really does seem promising. At least it will be different.

In the end, it’s just fun. Like training camp. Fun!

Kirsten said today, “Sports are weird. They just… try to get this ball across these painted lines…”

Yep. Pretty much. 🙂

But we still find the fun.

Go Bills!

buffalo-bills-offense-training-camp

  1. The event is free, but you have to be shuttled there on busses. Adults (12 and up) pay $1 each to ride the bus. Not too bad!

It’s Time for the County Fair!

Cotton Candy at the County Fair

The Wayne County Fair opened up today, and we were there! We do enjoy our annual trip(s) to the fairgrounds, especially since it’s only a few blocks from our house! Being so close, we usually make a couple trips up there during the week of the fair, making sure to take advantage of any free admission times (like today).

We mostly enjoy seeing the animals. Emma loves horses, and there are plenty of those there! We visit every stall, cage, barn, tent—anywhere there’s an animal, we’re there!

Last year we enjoyed a concert by a friend of ours and his band. Sometimes we’ll even ride the rides and buy some over-priced food and drink and enjoy the experience.

Sheep sleeping on sheep

And that’s what it is—an experience.

We go to enjoy the experience. Now today, some of the experience was less than enjoyable! Pigs pooping on each other, sheep peeing on each other… these were not enjoyed by all (or, by any!)

Other experiences were even better than usual: our good friends were in town for a visit, and they joined us for a quick visit to the fair. Most things are even more fun shared!

We plan to go back a night or two this week and find our favorite animal, see our favorite sight, or even enjoy that special treat.

Cam loved the fluffy bunnies

One thing I noticed and loved today was the simplicity of it. (You’ll recall, my heart is currently longing for simple.) I found Simple in animals being animals, and, being a fairly small fair, the pace is a bit slower. And we even learned a lesson from the goats. (Nearly every goat was sticking its neck uncomfortably through the wire fence of its pen to reach the hay on the other side—which was identical to the hay it was standing in. Even goats are fooled into thinking the “grass is always greener…”)

July and August mean County Fairs all over these United States. Have you already been to your county’s fair? Will you go if it’s still upcoming?

We Campbells always try to find time for a visit to the fair. Hope you can, too.

Farmer Cam on his Tractor