Illegal Private Stealth Drone Delivers Hot Latte to Local Committee at Unposted Secret Meetings With Reptilian Shapeshifter String-Pullers
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Even casual readers know that “The Colonel Carries On” deals in “small bore” journalism, i.e., small boring items. Formal readers know the same thing.
The radio show “Car Talk” is in reruns, but still has staff like limo driver Pickup Andropov and statistician Marge Inovera. Another goodie is credit manager Helen Waite (“if you want credit, go to Helen Waite”).
“But bridge mirrors life, which means that even though you might have done nothing wrong in the bidding, the final contract often turns out to be a shaky proposition.” --Steve Becker, in Bridge (a newspaper column). Know the feeling? Me neither.
Ludlow’s Prayer: “Save me, O God, from people with no sense of humor.” --Ludlow Porch. Makes me wonder: can Putin take a joke or not?
“Sadly, most Americans believe equality means simply that everyone is at least as good as everyone else. That won’t do. We must keep plugging till everyone is better than everyone else.” --someone named George
One of my friends has a bumper sticker saying, “No Farms, No Food.” I told her I understood why she opposed farms -- all the rubes, I get it -- but what’s her beef with food?
“Those who forget the past thereby forget the future, because history’s, like, cyclical.” --History Major
Everybody asks “Where’s Waldo?” No one asks, “How’s Waldo?” Poor Waldo.
“‘Cathy, I’m lost,’ I said -- Ianucci was sleeping.” --Paul Simon in a Tide-eyed tee shirt
“’Scuse me,” said Lady Mondegreen, “while I kiss this guy.” --English Major, Hendrix Minor
“Will you look at the ding on Zeke?” --Philosophy Major
“When I saw the collision was inevitable, I vowed that if I survived it, I would never write sober again. And difficult as it has been, I’ve kept my vow. But it’s a daily struggle.” --Roy Marshrigger, writer
“The difference between a memoir and a ‘memoir’ is that they’re both fiction.” --Ed McKeon, writing anonymously to astonish one and all yet again
“Our citizens may be deceived for a while, and have been deceived; but as long as the presses can be protected, we may trust to them for light.” - Thomas Alva Jefferson, inventor, after many false starts, of the Electrication of Independence
A learned friend takes me to task for pronouncing “eschew” as “S. Chew” instead of “S. Shoe.” The latter seems to me to require a response of “Gesundheit.”
“What we meant in going for those red-coats was this. We had always governed ourselves, and we always meant to.” Levi Preston, a surviving Minute Man, at 91 years of age. That's pronounced "Minnit," not "My Newt."
“Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it good and hard.” --H.L. Mencken
Romans said it first. “It’s a human trait to hate whom you’ve hurt.”
(Proprium humani ingenii odisse quem laeseris.)
“Little things capture little minds.” (Parva leves capiunt animas.)
“Small cares find voice; great griefs stay mute.” (Curae leves loquuntur; ingentes stupent.)
“Make hay while the sun shines.” “When opportunity knocks, answer the door.” “Sow your wild oats when you’re young.” “Plenty of time to sleep when you’re dead.” (Carpe diem. Lit., seize the day. Also: Non semper erit aestas. Lit., it won’t always be summer.)
“Hands up, don’t shoot.” (I invite you Latinists to translate it.)
Conventional wisdom is not always readily distinguishable from conventional foolishness. Common sense has no protective coloration to tell it from common nonsense.
New game: short version, long version.
Short version: “It was a dark and stormy night.” --Bulwer-Litton
Long version: “It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents — except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness.” --Id.
Short version: “Beauty is a simple passion.” --Ann Sexton
Long version: "Beauty is a simple passion,/ but, oh my friends, in the end/ you will dance the fire dance in iron shoes." --Id.
Short version: “Yadda, yadda.”
Long version: [varies; see Seinfeld episode].
Tales are told of the comma or the absent comma that cost or won someone an inheritance or other fortune. Here’s a similar tale of an apostrophe in a hymnal that turns the world from a peaceable kingdom into a war to replace its King: “All on earth thy sceptre ’claim.” With the apostrophe, the word is short for “acclaim” (hail). Without the apostrophe, the word is “claim” (assert ownership of).
Some versions of “Holy God We Praise Thy Name” sidestep the problem by singing “all on earth Thy rule acclaim.” Another way to save the original is to elide “sceptre” and “acclaim” and sing “all on earth Thy septraclaim.” Kinda kludgy, though. In fact, the word “septraclaim” sounds like a miracle toilet bowl cleaner.
British and American punctuation are much alike. Here are some differences:
✋ Americans put post-quotation commas and periods inside the quotation “marks.” Brits put them “outside”.
✋ Americans use “double quotes,” Brits ‘inverted commas’.
✋ Americans put periods in e.g. and i.e. and a comma after each, Brits omit both: long-reigning monarchs, eg Elizabeth II of England, are rare. British usage is not as uniform on this point as American.
American exceptionalism. The U.S. is the only country to use the date format mm/dd/yy format, in which 11/07/15 means “November 7, 2015.”
In much of the world, 11/07/15 means July 11, 2015, as Bill Flood knows.
I am wedded to the ISO-recommended yyyy/mm/dd format, but for additional information and a small accuracy check, I add a single-letter abbreviation for the weekday (MTWRFAU). So Saturday, November 7, 2015 comes out 2015-11-17-A.
Apparently nowhere do folks use 2015-11-07 to refer to July 11, so in practice the ISO format is unambiguous.
I remember receiving letters from Europeans using the format 7.xi.15.. I wonder how many Europeans today know roman numerals. If they routinely master the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA -- something to do with beer), they are probably fluent in roman numerals, too.
Google helps. Just enter 2015 in roman into the Google search line, and it promptly replies, MMXV. Credit: Pogue’s Basics: Tech.
The reverse works less efficiently. Enter a Roman numeral like MMXV into the Google search line, and you get many search results that offer to translate it, but it takes a whole nother click to get the answer. In today's busy world, who needs the extra work?
“Strike while the irony’s hot!” --Roy Marshrigger
“We do not share definitions, sir, so we cannot profitably argue, but we can still exchange unpleasantries.” --Sir Harry O. Triggerman
In its non-sexual sense, “gay” has the following synonyms and antonyms:
Synonyms: active, airy, animate, animated, bouncing, brisk, energetic, frisky, lively, jaunty, jazzy, kinetic, mettlesome, peppy, perky, pert, pizzazzy (or pizazzy), racy, snappy, spanking, sparky, spirited, sprightly, springy, vital, vivacious, zippy.
Antonyms: dead, inactive, inanimate, lackadaisical, languid, languishing, languorous, leaden, lifeless, limp, listless, spiritless, vapid.
In the unending struggle for concision (monosyllables department), I clap both hands at finding brisk and pert as synonyms, and dead and limp as antonyms. Who cares that they’re not dead right? They’re short and to the point. In Twitter times, that’s the prize.
For very long, I thought thesauri useless. Now they are a good source of short words.
The actual difference between brevity and concision? Long story.
The actual difference between brevity and concision? Long story.
“Roget-ing” is a trick to beat plagiarism checkers. It’s the wholesale swapping of synonyms for words in stolen work to hide the theft. But it can produce bizarre results, like “sinister buttocks” for “left behind” and “Herculean personalized liturgies” for “more powerful personalized services.”
Another technique is for the plagiarist to make a PDF of the paper that looks fine, but the, um, metadata that get fed into the plagiarism checker are gibberish instead of a true digital rendition of the paper. The checker reports "no match."
Watching Beyond the Fringe in 1962, the Queen declared that her favorite comedian was "the one with the silly face," believed to be Jonathan Miller.
Skillful contract drafters don’t use paired party-name defined terms that differ only in the endings. The following are out:
- Acquirer, Acquiree
- Appellant, Appellee
- Assignor, Assignee
- Bailor, Bailee
- Covenantor, Covenantee
- Donor, Donee
- Employer, Employee
- Endorser, Endorsee
- Farmor, Farmee
- Grantor, Grantee
- Guarantor, Guarantee
- Indemnitor, Indemnitee
- Lessor, Lessee
- Licensor, Licensee
- Mortgagor, Mortgagee
- Obligor, Obligee
- Offeror, Offeree
- Optionor, Optionee
- Payor, Payee
- Transferor, Transferee
- Vendor, Vendee
- Warrantor, Warrantee
Yes, “Farmor, Farmee” is a thing; it involves oil and gas leases.
Here’s another pretty list from the Quality Nonsense people. You’ll want to keep the word “back-formation” in mind.
Burner, Bernie (feel it?)
Hightor, High Tea
Manticore, Mantichee (the latter has the head of a lion and the body of a man)
O’er, ore, oar, E
Sharpurr, Shar Pei
Tipper, Tippi, tipi, T.P.
“We are children of God now, but what we will be has not yet been revealed.” --Saul of Tarsus
“The American economy is so strong it would take a genius to wreck it.” --Richard M. Nixon
"It's over." --Yogi Berra, tombstone