Monday, January 27, 2014

They Don't Report, You Decide

Tonight, NBC news is reporting that Republicans are planning on attacking Hillary Clinton if she runs for president because four people were killed in Libya while she was Secretary of State. Oddly, they didn't report that Republicans are going to attack the NRA even though 32 people are shot to death in this country, every day.

Sunday, January 26, 2014


The author of the The Professor and the Madman, Simon Winchester, must have done a lot of research that didn't make it into the first book about the origin of the OED, because he has written a follow-up book, The Meaning of Everything. This appears to be a modus operandi, because in finding a link for those two books, I see that he has written other books that are followed by similar books. Waste not, want not, I guess. I'm not one to cavil, especially since I'm enjoying the book and the price was right, free, for an audio version through Overdrive.
One of the things that makes the OED different from some dictionaries is that it's descriptive as opposed to prescriptive. That is, they describe how people use and have used words instead of telling them how they should use them. That's a characteristic of the language itself, unlike say, French where the Academie Francaise specifies what is French and what is merely American or gibberish. So, in that spirit, although I used to cavil, I'm going to try and let it go. If enough people think that "begging the question," means "inviting the question," then it does. If people want to use, "me," and "myself," interchangeably let them. And adverbs, why do we even need them? Slow children at play can look out for themselves. If I'm my own Boswell, having to tell you myself every little bon mot I think of, then we've all become our own Humpty Dumptys:
 "I don't know what you mean by 'glory,' " Alice said.
    Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. "Of course you don't—till I tell you. I meant 'there's a nice knock-down argument for you!' "
    "But 'glory' doesn't mean 'a nice knock-down argument'," Alice objected.
    "When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less."
    "The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things."
    "The question is," said Humpty Dumpty, "which is to be master—that's all."
    Alice was too much puzzled to say anything, so after a minute Humpty Dumpty began again. "They've a temper, some of them—particularly verbs, they're the proudest—adjectives you can do anything with, but not verbs—however, I can manage the whole lot! Impenetrability! That's what I say!"
So, that. In other news, the media are filled with stories of the Polar Vortex, but here it has been ridiculously warm. I suppose the fact that the news is making such a big deal of winter weather, in the winter, is a sign that climate change is really happening. If it was always cold in the winter, like it used to be, it wouldn't be news.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

The Zombie Apocalypse Is Like Charity: It Starts At Home

Today, as I was helping Karen get dressed, she said, "When you retire, we should write a book about living with RSD to help other people." I told her that I didn't really have any good advice, but maybe I do.
I recently read an article from NPR, and an e-book from a New York Times health reporter called A World of  Hurt. Here's an excerpt from the book,
"Instead of helping patients resume active lives, the widespread use of these drugs, experts say, has created a nationwide legion of listless, narcotized zombies. Recent findings have tied the long-term use of narcotic painkillers, particularly at high doses, to addiction, psychological dependence, reduced sexual drive, extreme lethargy and sleep apnea as well as increased falls and fractures in the elderly." 
So, yeah, my advice would be, if you're in pain, take two aspirin and don't call your doctor in the morning.

Monday, January 13, 2014

You're Doing It Wrong

I'm posting this link here so I'll know where it is. If you think you're doing anything right, you're welcome to watch these  videos and find out just how wrong you are.

Thursday, January 09, 2014

"The Logical Outcome Of Republican Policies Is To Turn Us Into North Korea, Another Country With An Entitled 1%," Is An Example Of What I'm Talking About

The following tweet started out life as a blog post, but it became so overwrought that it had to be forced into 140 characters to see if it could calm down.

Sunday, January 05, 2014

Step By Step

As I understand it, the ancestors of whales had first crack at coming up out of the ocean but took a look around and went back in the water. "Support your own weight? Suckers!" I thought of that the other day as I was leaning on a bookcase way out over our stairs and felt a rib sort of crack. I was replacing the light fixture over the stairs, and it looks nice, so I guess there's trade-offs in everything. I may have broken a rib replacing a light fixture, but the whale would have been electrocuted.

Speaking of stairs, I just reread the terrifying Nancy Drew mystery, The Hidden Staircase. It was the original 1930 version, which, based on the summary has very little to do with the dumbed down 1959 version. I'm not sure which I read originally back in about 1962, but I can report it's a lot less terrifying if you don't have an older sister spookily whispering, "hidden staircase," every time you go down in the dark unfinished basement  to fetch a can of corn.

That was about the time that John Glenn first went into space. He went up again in 1998 at age 77. The most memorable thing about the second trip is his quote that I just made up, "I've gone up and I can't fall down."