Alana doesn’t like this word, but I do.

What does it signify, bezelless? Is it a cross between a gazelle, a wildebeest, and a lioness? (No… and I’m not sure how that would work… sounds like a gory scene in the Okavango delta.) Is it a busy buzzy little demon, a minion of Beelzebub? (…n… …o…) Is it your friend’s German friend who joined you for the local Oktoberfest and was unimpressed? (Probably not… and that might seem a transgression of Gesellschaft.) Is it the word bevel as seen reflected in a pond with ripples from a dropped stone? (Well… maybe…)

What it is for sure is the kind of sports watch I prefer.

No, it’s not a brand. It’s just that I used to have a sports watch with an angled metal edge that was responsive to touch, but it was also responsive to any moisture that got on it, which made it pretty annoying under a great variety of sportsing circumstances. I got a new one without that angled metal edge and it’s waayyyyy better. Not just because it’s bezelless, but that sure helps.

Bezelless? Yeah. It doesn’t have that angled metal edge. Which is a bezel. A touch bezel, in this case. So it’s bezel-less because it has one less bezel than a watch that has one. Bezel-less? Bezelless.

Look, it looks cool, OK? Of course it’s open to misreading. I wouldn’t use bezelless if I were being paid. But I’ll use it for free!

A bezel is an angled edge, as on a chisel or a diamond; it’s like a bevel, and the word bezel is very much like the word bevel, but they’re not related. In fact, it’s not quite certain where bezel comes from. French, yes, and the modern equivalent in French is biseau. But before that? There are ideas. One is that it’s a variant of bijou, ‘jewel’, which in turn was quite possibly embezzled from Breton.

Oh, embezzled. That’s another similar and unrelated word. It’s formed from bezzle, a word we get from French and don’t use in raw form anymore, but it meant to abscond with a large quantity of property or especially food and drink. You know, to guzzle someone’s booze until you’re sozzled. Until “bezelless” is how you say business.

And regardless of embezzlement, that’s likely the only bezelless you’ll encounter in business, especially if Alana is editing. This word may be a diamond in the rough, but some kinds of writing need more polish… and less runaround or vexation for the reader.


Sometimes rectitude gives way to what-the-hecktitude. There are times when you just can’t even. Your even-canning factory has burnt down to the ground. You don’t want this, don’t want that, especially don’t want that other thing. When the world’s pain-in-the-necktitude has raised your calling-for-the-chequetitude, when your attitude has no more latitude for platitude, you have had a peak in your nectitude.

If this word leaves you fit to be tied, well, that’s fair and square. There’s a connection, you see, between knots and nots. The nect in connect comes from Latin necto, ‘I tie, I bind, I join, I connect, I knot’. But meanwhile there’s nec, which is a shortened version of neque, which means ‘neither, nor, not either, not even’. It shows up in a lot of fixed phrases in Latin that relate to negation: nec procul ‘not far’, nec opinans ‘not aware’, nec recte dicere ‘not speaking politely’ (or ‘not speaking appropriately’ or, basically, ‘shooting one’s mouth off’ – I think the diplomatic euphemism is ‘frank and honest’).

So nectitude may have started life as ‘knotness’, but since knotty can be naughty and not all ties that bind are blest, it burst Hercules-style from the roped tying it and shifted to ‘notness’ – not mere negativity, but frank and honest rejection. What, therefore, is its proper etymology? Well, it’s not really properly formed from nec, but that’s neither here nor there. It is what it is now, and so we may as well cut the Gordian knot and say it’s both one and the other. Because when you’re at peak nectitude, you have no time for nice distinctions.

Also because this is a new old word. You have just been present at its inception. And it has come into the world fully formed at a time when it is much needed.

The Good Neighbour (Dovercourt & Argyle)


Hello, neighbours

A good neighbour makes a good neighbourhood. Right?

Well, this Good Neighbour is in a good neighbourhood, anyway. Especially if it’s a summer day and you feel like sitting outside. You can plant yourself at one of the six little round metal tables on the patio and watch the world go by at Dovercourt and Argyle, just a short walk west of the hippest part of Ossington. The other three corners are taken by an old brick apartment building, an old brick church (Romanesque style), and an old brick house (three storeys, flat roof). Bicyclists sail by, cars and trucks roll up to the four-way stop and then roll on, pedestrians and their dogs and kids come and go as they please.


No vegetables anymore. I think.

This used to be a corner grocery store. You can tell that by the Coca-Cola and Pepsi stickers that still decorate the windows, and also by the door right on the angle of the corner, which no one ever does for a house. Inside, it’s a bright, white, airy space with a blonde wood floor, four square stone tables along a wall bench, six modern metal wire-bucket stools up at a shallow counter at the window, and the service counter and area taking up a big square in the corner opposite the door.


So clean and airy and spacious (the washroom is in a former broom closet behind that back wall)

There are steps up to the front door, giving the barista a good place to sit and watch the world (or their phone) on an unbusy day. If you have mobility restrictions, your only choice is the patio – just an extension of the sidewalk – and someone will have to get you your coffee. But no one with anyparticular restrictions can manage to use the washroom: even though it’s on the level with the rest of the place, it’s the smallest damn washroom I’ve ever seen in a coffice space. It does work, though, and it’s not nasty.

This is a lovely, calm, neighbourhoody place, with birds and bikes and brick buildings and all that. But you probably won’t stay here all afternoon. Why not? They have no outlets, outside or in. Once your battery drains out, you’ll have to move on. I recommend going over to Ossington; there are a couple of places there you can sit down and plug in at, like I did last time I was here. Or you can do as I did today, and hit one of them first, and then come here to round out the afternoon.


A good neighbourhood to reflect on


Today I had to fix something that was cracked, so I used Krazy Glue. Which, depending on how you see it, is either ironic or apposite. Continue reading


“I know you’re lying. You’re talking funny.” Continue reading


No matter where I see it, when, or how, this word will always make me think of Asterix and Obelix. Continue reading


August 16, 1977. A summer day 42 years ago. The King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley, was found dead in his bathroom. He was 42 years old. Continue reading