Simanaitis Says

On cars, old, new and future; science & technology; vintage airplanes, computer flight simulation of them; Sherlockiana; our English language; travel; and other stuff


BACK WHEN I started my R&T “Tech Tidbits” column in 1992, I was worried that one day I would run out of things to write about. A similar worry surfaced in August 2012 when SimanantisSays made its debut as a fine retirement hobby.

Ha! I should worry. Topics abound. Here’s a look at some of my favorites that appeared here in 2019.

Oranges and Lemons. This tour of London’s churches originated from leafing through my Baedeker’s London and its Environs and encountering St. Clement’s. As in “Oranges and lemons, say the bells of St. Clement’s.”

Ah, but which St. Clement’s? Baedeker’s lists two of them. Had there been only one, I may not have embarked on an Internet search. The sleuthing resulted in a two-parter here at SimanaitisSays.

This is St. Clement’s Eastcheap, the one in the song. Image by Steve Cadman.

Etymology for our Times. I realize my political views have won some readers and lost a few. I’ve enjoyed digging into politically associated word origins. In 2019, these have included cozen, peevish, petulant, rackettering, scoundrel, and thug.

Why ever do these come to mind?

This is my favorite presidential portrait appearing here at the website in 2019. Actually, the image is from Business Insider, July 2015. “Four Adjectives in Search of a Typographer” also has a good portrait from November 2018.

Old English. Why does Jedi Master Yoda speak in his charming way? “What’s That in Old English Part 2” noted that Old English was less pesky about word order than modern English usage.

Jedi Master Yoda. Image from

Thus, “When nine hundred years old you reach, look as good you will not.”

Knoxville, May of 1982, Summer of 1915. Knoxville was featured in two items here in 2019, both based on fond remembrances.

In 1982, this Tennessee city held an International Energy Exposition. And Peugeot celebrated it by inviting me to drive Vera, a Vehicule Econome de Recherche Appliquee, from Detroit to Knoxville at an average 91.2 mpg.

This mpg was all the more astounding in that Vera was a Peugeot 305 diesel sedan only moderately modified for the trip. Aerodynamic refinements reduced her drag (a funny term in this context, eh?) from 0.44 to 0.32. Her powertrain was a 1306-cc, 62-hp inline-4 turbodiesel propelling the compact sedan through gearing not all that tall.

Vera and I, accompanied by my Peugeot engineer radioman, averaged 91.2 mpg—back in 1982. Image from

We traveled at an average 33.1 mph (around Vera’s most economical speed) in a non-stop drive of 15 1/2 hours, but for a single 30-minute break in the middle of the night.

Samuel Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915. Samuel Barber called his Knoxville: Summer of 1915 a “lyric rhapsody.” First performed in 1948, Barber based its lyrics on a James Agee work, a preamble to the latter’s 1938 autobiographical A Death in the Family. Both the book and its preamble are elegiac celebrations of gentle life in Knoxville, the place of Agee’s birth.

Leontyne Price Sings Barber, Leontyne Price, Thomas Schippers conducting the New Philharmonic Orchestra, 1994.

My favorite Knoxville is sung by Leotyne Price. There’s a posting of it at YouTube.

May you have a gentle life and a Joyous New Year. ds

© Dennis Simanaitis,, 2019

3 comments on “2019 IN REVIEW

  1. Michael Rubin
    December 31, 2019

    For your entymological studies, consider “Trumpschmerz,” offered as a word for the times by a New Yorker magazine columnist. Wishing you a safe and sane 2020, Dennis, and thanks for this “little retirement hobby.”

  2. Robin Reid
    December 31, 2019

    Thank you Dennis for your erudite and always interesting articles, my first read of the new day. May 2020 bring you and your country peace and wisdom. Happy New Year.

  3. Peter Ginkel
    December 31, 2019


    Keep up the hobby! Happy New Year!

    Pete Ginkel

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