X is For...
Cugat was born as Francesc d'Asís Xavier Cugat Mingall de Bru i Deulofeu in Girona , Spain. His family emigrated to Cuba when Xavier was five. He was trained as a classical violinist and played with the Orchestra of the Teatro Nacional in Havana. On 6 July 1915, Cugat and his family arrived in New York as immigrant passengers on board the S.S. Havana.
Cugat recorded on Columbia Records (1950s), RCA Victor (1950s) and Mercury Records (1960s). In 1940, his recording of "Perfidia" with singer Miguelito Valdés became a big hit. Cugat followed trends closely, making records for the conga, the mambo, the cha-cha-cha, and the twist when each was in fashion. Several of the songs he recorded, including "Perfidia", were used in the Wong Kar-wai films Days of Being Wild and 2046. In 1943, "Brazil" was a big hit, reaching #17 in the Billboard Top 100.
Cugat did not lose sleep over artistic compromises:
"I would rather play Chiquita Banana and have my swimming pool than play Bach and starve."
X is for Xysticus
Xysticus is a genus of ground crab spiders. Xysticus and Coriarachne are the dark brown or reddish-brown crab spiders often encountered on weeds or trees. While similar to the flower spiders, they tend to have shorter, sturdier legs and more patterned abdomens. They move slowly, and tend to hunt by stationing themselves in a high-traffic area and grabbing whatever arthropod passes close enough.
Of course, I am Cancer the Crab so these are interesting to us!
X is for...
Deus ex machina
deus ex machina (Latin for "god out of the machine"; plural: dei ex machina) is a plot device whereby a seemingly inextricable problem is suddenly and abruptly solved with the contrived and unexpected intervention of some new character, ability, or object.
The Latin phrase "deus ex machina" comes to English usage from Horace's Ars Poetica, where he instructs poets that they must never resort to a god from the machine to solve their plots. He refers to the conventions of Greek tragedy, where a crane (mekhane) was used to lower actors playing gods onto the stage. The machine referred to in the phrase could be either the crane employed in the task, a calque from the Greek "god from the machine" or the riser that brought a god up from a trap door. Although this phrase is somewhat diluted in transliteration as earlier in history, the phrase "god from the machine" implies the old use of mechanical manipulation, i.e. to be made with one's hands. So if there were a more generally accurate way of translating deus ex machina into English, it would be "god from our hands" or "god that we make", implying that the device of said god is entirely artificial or conceived by man.
A deus ex machina is generally undesirable in writing and often implies a lack of creativity on the part of the author. The reasons for this are that it does not pay due regard to the story's internal logic and is often so unlikely that it challenges suspension of disbelief, allowing the author to conclude the story with an unlikely, though perhaps more palatable, ending.
I hope this last X/ex isn't too far a reach but X is hard to find unless you speak Chinese!
Well Talk to You Soon,
Speak when you are angry--and you will make the best speech you'll ever regret.
- Laurence J. Peter