Word Smith: Cast
Below are various ways that the word cast (without and with an extra “e”) shows up in our vocabulary today. Not an exhaustive list, these are some of the examples that seem interesting to ponder.
Cast as in a play
- The actors in a film, stage, or show. Our daughters have spent many hours in play rehearsals over the years. Margaret backstage in the crew, Kathleen on center stage. The anxiety around the listing of those in the cast, the ones who make the cut, still bring jitters to their memory bank. When Kathleen was at Jesuit we recall the tears of anguish and shouts for joy, depending on the results of the auditions. The emotions always ran high. Lucky for her, she found several key roles in the cast of her favorite high school plays. Cast as Fantine in the musical version of Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables, her character dies before the battle scene and could not appear in the iconic picture above. So it goes.
Cast as in fishing
- There is nothing like the feel of control with a rod and spinning lure, where you feel you can place the bait right in front of the fish you see through the water. It is much more difficult to do the same with a fly rod and fly, but also more satisfying. It takes the skilled fisherman many hours of practice to learn the art of fly casting.
- One fishing expert, Jim Holland, spends hours per day in his basement practicing. He a lawyer by vocation and a fisherman by avocation. He has written a book on happiness. One of his ideas in his pursuit of happiness is finding your perfect cast and catching that perfect fish. “The muscle memory is absolutely key to learning how to put the fly in the exact location to attract the salmon, tarpon, or steelhead. Without practicing daily, catching a fish is pure luck.”
Cast as in dice
- Never much of a gambler personally, casting the dice for a good crap game is still exciting. The photos of Guy Masterson in Guys and Dolls or scenes as the crap tables in Las Vegas are always accompanied with the pictures of winners and losers in the hurling of dice against the house.
Cast as in broken limb support
- Having broken many bones over the years, I have had plenty of casts: foam ones, hard-shelled, soft-shelled, plaster, and plastic. I am grateful, when I broke my coccyx (tail bone) in wrestling at Yale, however, that no cast was required. I had to sit on an inner tube for my classes. And daily constitutionals hurt like the dickens.
Cast as in poured metal into a mold
- Cast as in sandcast silver jewelry. Over the years jewelers have perfected the art of melting precious metals, and pouring the liquid into molds and casts with different designs. The Navajo Nation has taken the art to the highest level, which has made for some extraordinarily beautiful necklaces, bracelets, and belt buckles, among other hardware.
Cast as in broadcast
- As in planting seeds, the farmer picks up grains of seed in his bag and throws them in such a manner as to get maximum distance and optimal density of seeds across the field.
- Television and radio stations have limits due to their service area, which are dictated by the FCC. The idea of broadcasting remains the same, though, in that the waves spread the news in the optimal pattern for the message they are trying to send. Or so they were designed. Cable seems to have changed all that.
Cast as in stone
- There is a trick to skimming stones, which is to throw the flattish ones at the right angle to the surface of the water. Despite being much heavier and denser than water, the stone will be lifted by the surface tension and ride along on the surface for quite a ways. Sometimes the stones will glide for many yards at the end, until they run out of velocity and gravity takes over, pulling them to the bottom.
- There is also a great lesson that Jesus teaches those around when a woman was accused of being an adulteress. Jesus suggests that those who have never sinned to cast the first stone. The accusers left without throwing rocks to stone her to death: https://henryehooper.wordpress.com/lectio-divina-casting-the-first-stone/
(Vermi)Casts as in worm poo
- Castings, as in worm poo. Worm castings are an organic form of fertilizer produced from earthworms. Also known as vermicast, worm castings manure is earthworm waste. As these creatures eat through compost, their waste creates optimal ingredients to enrich the soil. Worm castings resemble football-shaped particles, and cylanders that improve soil aeration and drainage, as well as increase water retention in the soil. This is a good excuse for keeping those worms in your backyard compost!
Caste (with an “e”) is a system of rank in society
- India seems to have the most entrenched caste system still in existence. The common people are either Sudra or Untouchables and they have no say in their rank in society. One’s voice is determined by birth right. Seems strange in a democratic society, like the US, to have a system of zero meritocracy, but then who are we to criticize? Only when we have been around as long as Indian traditions can be cast aspirations.