Ipse Dixit pointed me to this Houghton-Mifflin list of "100 words that all high school graduates and their parents should know." I'm stunned that the editors of this list think that orthography (the art or study of standard spelling) is a useful word for anyone other than orthographers. Or editors. That's what dictionaries are for, people. To look up words like orthography.
Jejune? I've always taken that to be a word affected by those fond of affectations, not a word for common English usage. Moiety? Ahhuh? How many times am I going to use that in conversation? "May I have a moiety of your cake, please?" Respiration? Are there truly high school graduates out there that don't know what respiration means? Quotidian: Another word found in the daily patter of the average American high school student. Unctuous: Dictionary word. Ziggurat: Ditto. And what was with all those math terms? I think a person could go blithely and successfully through life without knowing what a parabola is. (I wish I had.) In the definition it says "See parable." Now that would have been a good word for the list.
Don't get me wrong. I am all for continuous education, and I believe reading and vocabulary skills are a large ingredient of a person's success. But the people who make lists like these never seem to be living in the same world as the rest of us.
Then again, having worked in the New York publishing industry, and knowing the background of many of the editors in that industry, I'm wondering right now why I'm so surprised to be seeing ridiculous words included on what is evidently considered an important list.
Let me illustrate. Many of the assistant editors of women's magazines in New York City that I met were graduates of a Seven Sister college, and quite likely received plentiful assistance from their parents concerning the rent of their West Village or Upper East Side apartments, and the everyday expenses of living in New York. They were very sweet people, mind you. I don't mean to impugn (word not on list) their persons. But they don't live in the workaday (word not on list) world, and I found that out the summer I started a Lotto pool at the particular New York woman's magazine I worked at the time. With the exception of the Production Editor, who, like me, had worked for a living all her life, all of the editors I asked "Would you like to join the Lotto pool?" stared at me uncertainly and asked, "What's a Lotto pool?"
Of course, the fact that I got even the editor-in-chief, who lived in a fabulous apartment on Central Park West, to throw in a buck to the pool amused me no end. I liked her a lot. I wonder if she'd even remember me if we ran into one another today. I wonder if she'd go in on another Lotto pool. (We never did win.) permalink
Oh, I dunno. A dictator who started two regional wars, gasses his own people, puts the children of his political enemies into a special jail for, well, children of his political enemies, writes romance novels in his spare time, and basically seems ready, willing, and able to destroy any who get in his wayyeah, I think he's insane. If you mean in the clinical sense of the word, yeah, probably that, too.
By the way, fourteen. Search functions are neat little things, aren't they? permalink
Wow. It's the 21st century, this is supposed to be a grown man and his teenaged son, and the best excuse they can come up with for jumping out of the stands and trying to beat up a first base coach is, "He started it!"
Children, cover your ears, because I feel a swearing fit coming on.
What kind of fucking morons are these people? Gamboa flipping them off is a legitimate reason to jump out of the stands and attack him? Here's a clue, assholes: Even if he did flip you off, which is doubtful, it ain't a good enough reason to start a fight. But let's look at this bozo's record:
So let's see. This guy has been convicted of burglary and battering his wife, and Gamboa "got what he deserved." Well. Evidently Mr. Asshole has learned nothing from his convictions from beating his wife. Perhaps the anger-management classes he was assigned weren't strong enough.
I hope they throw the book at him and his son for this one. Schmucks. permalink
I told you I'd be doing that today. She has something to say about this:
I've heard a lot of euphemisms for penis, but "little machine-gun" is a new one on me. (And I'm thinking "little" is right, but "machine-gun" is wishful thinking.)
Ladies and gentleman, the bitch will be here all week. permalink
Tim Blair got a Nigerian scam letter thatI swearacknowledges Nigerian scam letters. And Karl Martino sent me one that tries to play on your sympathies in just the most horrible of ways. Check this out:
So here you have the appeal to fellow Christians, the sympathy plea for a victim's relative of the Egypt Air crash, and a dead mother, leaving the poor guy an orphan at the age of 26 (it's later in the letter). Someone should tell these idiots that if he'd made himself a teenager, he might actually have caught a fish or three. (Although I dunnothose typos. "Beloved onces?" "carring mother?" The one who died of "hypertenson," which leads one to think her hyper son killed her.)
Anyway, here's the serious side of these letters: Send them to [email protected] and add "No financial loss - for your database" to the subject line. (Thanks, Cato.) People have actually been killed over these scamsthe ones dumb enough to actually go to Africa. Go to the Secret Service website and learn more. People have died trying to get rich with these schemes:
Of course, my cold, inner bitch says that the above is social Darwinism in action, but then my softer side says nobody deserves to die for being stupid and greedy. Then my cold, inner bitch says, "Yes they do." (I have the feeling I'm going to be channeling my inner bitch today. Must have been that brief sojourn into MB territory.) permalink
On the anniversary of the undeclared war
So I'm sitting here tonight trying to think of something to write, and a dozen topics keep running in and out of my head, but none of them stays long enough to formulate a coherent essay. Well, except for one.
I could write about how the night before last I had another nuclear-bomb-end-of-the-world nightmare. It used to be a recurring nightmare theme of mine. Those dreams had actually stopped for several years after the fall of the Soviet Union. The nuclear nightmares started up again even before 9/11, when the world seemed to be getting more filled with terrorists and Jew-haters. Last night's dream was an interesting morality play: Heading to a Price Club-like store to get a VCR and DVD player to bring into the secret, deep cave structure that I and select friends and family were preparing for The Bomb. I was trying to avoid the mob while not letting on that I had a secret hiding place that would guarantee my survival, and woke up from the nightmare to puzzle over how selfish and consumer-driven was the act of getting a brand-new VCR and DVD player while knowing full well that the people in the store where I got the electronics would all be dead soon. There's no accounting for the dreamstate, but it sucks to have a conscience while analyzing said dream.
I've had recurring nightmares my whole life. In fact, I remember distinctly one of my earliest nightmares. I was less than five years old at the time. It involved the Frankenstein monster. I was terrified of him at first, until he made it clear to me that he was actually a friend, and we traveled through my Newark neighborhood thereafter, I on the shoulders of my new protector, my enemies running in fear from us. How very golem-like, in retrospect. Perhaps that's why I love the Hulk so much.
Monsters inhabit many of my nightmares. Sometimes they are literal monsters, like Godzilla and King Kong. Those are the chase nightmaresthe ones where I run and hide, and they always find me. I wake up, heart pounding, just before I'm about to be devoured.
Sometimes the monsters are human, or at least, supposedly human. Nazis have figured in my nightmares for decades. Those scenarios alternate between chase nightmares and resistance nightmares. I have fought the Nazis many times in my dreams, and fallen to them every single time. Betrayal plays a large part in those dreams. There's one for the therapist.
During my teenaged years and early twenties, vampire nightmares were common. Those were the most paranoid and annoying of all my nightmare stages. They always started with a single vampire and ended with everyone in the nightmare having been turned into one, except, of course, for me. The most vivid of those nightmares was the one where I fled, frantic, to the safety of my mother, only to see her sprout fangs and aim for my neck. I woke up at that point, but I'm not sure I've ever forgiven her for that. Another one for the analyst's couch. Thankfully, I haven't had a vampire nightmare in ages. Here's hoping they're gone for good.
Are you ever afraid to go to sleep? For a very long time, the night was no friend to me. I worked night shift for over ten years. I thought it was because of the industry I chose, where the bulk of the work is done at night, but I later came to believe that it was to avoid sleeping in darkness. I still believe that. And I still have a hard time going to sleep from time to time. I'll stay up until dawn, or nearly dawn, reading, watching TV, writing, surfing the net. It takes me a while to figure out what's bothering me, and afterward I can sleep at night again. Sometimes it takes a few days.
To sleep, perchance to dream, Shakespeare wrote. No. To sleep, dreamlessly. That's what I hope for on nights like these. permalink
Glenn Reynolds calls it like it was:
And the link that Glenn was pointing to: Dahlia Lithwick, making all kinds of sense about the lack of free speech on college campuses in North America, from Concordia College to SFSU:
Dahlia, bubelahyou have just flown to the top of my list of great journalists. Slate continues to excel, even while Salon has dropped from my reading list. permalink
Yes, the Buffy Blogburst is a go. Participants should all be receiving email about it later today; if you don't get a letter by tomorrow, email me and I'll add you to the list. (And no, I haven't decided if Blog Burst should be one word or two. I'm thinking it should be one.) And I'll be blind carbon copying everyone involved, so if you've got your filters set to oust anything with a bcc: you'd best send me a letter yourself. I don't like my email address going on other people's cc: lists, and I don't care to give out yours. Please title your letter "Buffy Blogburst." Thanks.
Somebody shoot me now. For months, Laurence Simon has had this solution for one-click pinging of Weblogs.com for people like him and me, who don't use Blogger or Moveable Type or make our own PHP scripts. And what did I do? Glance at it instead of read it through, so for the last couple of months, I've been laboriously entering my website name and URL each time, submitting the page each time, and downright doing it the effing hard way every single effing time instead of breezing through the one-click Simon routine. Shoot me. Please. Now.
Jonathan Lichterman sent me the URL to this site, which lacerates the SuperFriends (among other things) and is absolutely one of the funniest damned sites I have ever seen. Just look around the site, and be prepared to laugh your ass off. Drinking of any kind is strongly discouraged while reading this site. Failure to heed my warning will result in destruction of your monitor and keyboard. And be sure to click on "Bat. Lube. Bat Fucking LUBE" on the Solomon Grundy page. You really need to see it to believe it. Sean's hilarious. Abso-fraggin-lutely hilarious. And we can always use a few good laughs. (I really liked the homemade fireworks page, too.) permalink
There were, of course, detractors:
Well, heck, Professor Heck, you're a professor of philosophy. Didn't anyone ever tell you that life is unfair? And often disappointing, too. (That was a very polite way of saying, "Neener, neener, neener!")
Go, Harvard! permalink
At least, I'm assuming she's young. She reminds me of someone else who folded her tent a while back, though that one was American. This one is a Brit, I think. Among other things, she blamed President Bush for her getting soaked in a rainstorm (that is one creative blame binge). Her response to this article: "Parents to outlive obese children" is a pithy remark: "Good news at last."
Ya know, I said above that Green Fairy reminds me of someone else. That would be the Misanthropic Bitch, a woman who strikes fear into the very heart ofwell, lots of people. I thought she'd retired from blogging, but then I found MB on Green Fairy's blogroll. She's back. And you'll just have to go over to GF's to find her. permalink
Hesiod shows his true Hulk colors, and they're not green. First he quotes the line from the movie trailer ("You won't like me when I'm angry.") Then he links to Bill Bixby for his Hulk reference.
Just as I thought. In spite of having copied a Hulk gif onto his site, Hesiod's Hulk meter runs near empty. You, sir, have been exposed for the Hulk poseur that you are. Take two Peter Davids and call me in the morning.
Hesiod says I won't like him when he's angry. Someone ought to inform him that he's laboring under the misconception that I like him when he's not angry. (Not that I've ever seen any evidence of him in that state.)
Messing with the Hulk. Nuh-uh, that is not something that I would do. Messing with a blogger, nowthat's a different story. permalink
(Read it bottom to top.)
Oh, yeah, I almost forgot these:
Like I said yesterday: It's not just the big blasts. The terrorists haven't stopped trying for a second. The "lull" you've been not reading about is due to the hard work of Israeli intelligence and IDF forces clamping down on murderers. The stories you've been reading since yesterday are the inevitable result of an culture of murderers attempting to destroy their neighbors. When the Palestinian Authority condemns the bombings only because "they harm the Palestinian cause," and not because they are the loathsome deeds of murderers and maniacs, it's obvious they're not going to stop anytime soon.
Spare me the cries of the Terje Roed-Larsens of the world. They can shed all the tears you want about the Palestinians. Until they stop shedding crocodile tears about the suffering of Jews, I won't care about the suffering of Palestinians.
Hard way of looking at it? Insensitive to the Pals?
That's how long I've had this on-again, off-again cold thing. I couldn't sleep last night, and woke up early this morning, but I was in rather a wonderful mood for most of the day, and, in fact, spent it most enjoyablymostly hanging with Heidi. And although I watched in vain to see the two Ridgebacks go at mock-fighting in the garage (Heidi swears that they're far more interesting on the cement floor, where they can get traction while on their hind legs, instead of the wood floors throughout the rest of the house), it was still pleasant to be annoyed by all three dogs at various points throughout the day.
The most interesting fact of the day: Heidi's ancient IBM clone, which has not been turned on since before last Christmas, if not last September, got put back together today. And worked. Perfectly. Windows 3.1, Stacker and all. She finally got around to setting up her office. I figure it'll only be a couple more months before I inherit her bookshelves and get around to setting up my office as a result.
Anyway. Today, when I woke up, I finally realized that the roaring in my right ear has ceased. It had gone on long enough and loudly enough that I was going to head to the doctor's today. Thankfully, I will not have to be prodded and poked and bored out of my skull while waiting my turn, and it's probable that I will be stuck with tinnitus only in my left ear, which has had a high-pitched siren-type noise in it since my first serious attempt to quit smoking many years ago, which coincides with the last time I ever chewed gum on a regular basis. I'm quite sure the gum-chewing led to TMJ, which gave me my tinnitus.
And this long, wandering post is just a way of saying: I'm done here until after I wake up in the morning. Go check out Charles or Damian for some up-to-date news. Damian is particularly good today. Laurence Simon wants to be my bitch, so you can help him out by seeing what he has to say and sending my referrers his way. Mac Thomason has another Captain Euro post, which he said was the longest and stupidest one ever, but don't take his word for it. I'll sum it up for you: It has the three medical students from Florida, Captain America, the Hulk, Noelle Bush, and Aquaman. What, no guest-spot by Space Ghost at the end? Mac must be saving him for the Buffy Blogburst.
I'd point you to Bruce Hill, but my ex-fiancé is going through some tough times right now. He may be writing some guest posts soon, so stand by for yourish.com to get a bit of a Kiwi/Ozzie flavor. And someone remind me to fix the next links on my archive pages; a few of them haven't been updated. (Not you, Steven, I'm keeping you in reserve for the errors that I miss, and don't think for a moment that I don't appreciate having typos pointed out to me. It's that perfectionist/OCD thing I mentioned.)
I'd actually like to give a shout-out to some region of the country that I've noticed via my Webtrends stats, but I can't. Effing Webtrends changed their stats, and I no longer get cities and states broken down. Only countries. Big yawn to that; I can do that via IP addresses. Hmph. Double hmph. Probably got tired of my complaining about their misspellings. (I'd link that for you, but it's 11 p.m. yesterday and I'm exhausted and my throat is starting to get all scratchy and it's time for bed.) permalink
Funny how differently you can look at things, isn't it? Ari Fleischer said after today's suicide bombing in Israel:
A long period of calm. The Jerusalem Post says this:
Let's take a quick tour around recent stories in the Israeli papers, shall we?
Or just take a quick look at this post from August 26th, which contains a summary of the peace and quiet that has enveloped Israel for the past few weeks. Scroll down to the end. It's there. Or just search on the phrase "bomb explodes." In fact, if you search on that phrase in the Israeli media, you're guaranteed to get dozens of articles that begin, "IDF sappers blew up an explosive device found..."
Yeah. Peace. Quiet. Two words not synonymous with Israel these days, alas. permalink
Frank Martin agrees with my take on NJ and crooked politics, but he points out that I was wrong to say that Republican presidents carried NJ in the last few elections. I guess I was thinking pre-Clinton, when the Repubs carried from Ford forward, I believe. I sit corrected, Frank. permalink
When last we left our intrepid new teacher, she was stunned and exhausted at the results of her first day of teaching eleven fourth graders. The first battle: Lost. Some ground regained ere the end of class. But the result of the first day: The kids essentially won.
Round Two: Meryl enters the classroom an hour and a half early, determined to set the scene, the mood, and the afternoon's agenda. Up goes the Mensch Code poster. Folders and name cards are set neatly in place. The lesson plan has been finished and printed out for hours. The land mines are set; the borders prepared. All that awaits is the participants.
Okay, I'll stop with the war talk. The first thing we did after taking attendance was set the rules, and the way I did that was by discussing the "Mensch Code," which is pretty much the same rules as every public school has. You have to respect each other, not make fun, yadda yadda, etc., etc. This led me to explain my rules, which were (in addition to respecting one another and never running on the stairs) that if you interrupt the teacher once, you get a warning. Twice, you get sent to the principal. It actually worked this time. I did have to ask them to settle down a few times but overall, it was quite a satisfactory day. They're a good bunch of kids, and I've almost gotten their names right, and they read Hebrew a lot better than I'd thought they would. In fact, I'm kinda wishing we had the books my grandfather taught me with. They probably aren't even in print anymore. Oh, lovelyanother sign that I'm getting long in the tooth.
Anyway. Andy and I had dinner tonight and compared notes again, but this time, it was quite cheerful and positive.
I'm thinking I definitely won this one, as the girl who was the the biggest handful the first week gave me a big hug goodbye. Yup. I think I'm getting the hang of this teaching thing. permalink
That's right. I received a new letter today, informing me that I have won over a million dollars. And so, of course, I must share it with my readers. The letter, not the money. Get your own damned spam scam millions. Once again, see if you can pick out the real letter from my comments. (I'm thinking the only people who can't are the ones who will actually call that number to claim their US$1,050,000.00 cash.)
I look at these letters and I laugh. But what astonishes me is that there are actually fools out there who fall for this crap. They call the numbers and send their bank account information to scam artists and lose their life savings, or even lose their lives. So perhaps it's not a bad thing to spread the word about how ridiculous they are.
There are two rules of thumb that I have always followed when it comes to somebody offering me a product or service: You don't get nothin' for nothin'. And if it seems too good to be true, it is. They've never failed me. permalink
All right, so when I wrote this song parody the blog world didn't exactly sit up and take notice. But it's aggravating me again, because many of the warbloggers have been posting about how Samizdata wants your blogging terms so they can construct a blogger dictionary. Well, there's been one in existence for months, and I emailed the folks at Samizdata with the URL, and because IIPM (see the Blogicon, which originated on Shelley Powers' weblog) I am going to take the time to do a mini-rant about it. (Those of you who are not bloggers may skip the next paragraph.)
Dammit, people, there are more things out there than just your little corner of the Blogiverse, and you ought to surf Weblogs.com to find out a little bit more about it! Dave Winer adjusted Weblogs.com so that your Blogger, Moveable Type, and independent blogs get put on the same lists as his Radio Weblogs. That's what "pinging" Weblogs.com means. That's why you get referrers from Weblogs.com. That's why you get referrers from blogrolls of people you've never heard of, but who take the Weblogs.com list and run it on their blog. (That's that neat RSS thing that nobody outside the techblogs wants to hear about.) Where do you think I get half my new blogs from? (Hint: It isn't Glenn Reynolds.)
Razzafrazza razzafrazza. I feel like I'm in high school again, watching the kids in the cliques ignore everyone but the members of their own cliques. Bah. This is the Internet. Open borders. No walls. Free movement.
Cliques. Bah. permalink
Some people are confused at the attitude of both NJ Democrats and the NY Times at Robert Toricelli's candidacy in spite of having had his hand slapped by the Senate Ethics Committee. Susanna, sweetie, it has nothing to do with income level. Trust me, the lower-income Dems in Montclair will be voting for the Torch come November, too, and they don't read the Times.
See, here's how it works in NJ. There are precious few naifs who believe that there are honest politicians. We do believe that some are more honest than others, and we don't believe that those that are more honest are Republicans. Just less well known. Ever hear the expression, "Yeah, he's a crook, but he's our crook"? That may very well have originated in New Jersey, or, okay, across the Hudson. But my fellow native New Jerseyans pretty much take it to heart. We sure do love movies like "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington," but we're not naive enough to believe that Mr. Smith ever existed, or ever could exist. So our choices are as follows: Re-elect the guys we know are pretty shady, but who work their asses off for NJ's best interests, or toss 'em out and see what Forrester will do for our state.
New Jersey's a pretty moderate state. We tend to like Democratic Congresses (especially our Senators) and Republican heads of state. Been doing that in NJ a lot lately, and carrying the Republican prez consistently for the last few elections. (I know, I know, I'm a Virginian now, but I still know my native state, so bear with me and shaddap.)
So. It will be no surprise to me to see Toricelli re-elected. Paul Mulshine will whine and bitch about it for the next six years, but hey, all he ever does is whine and bitch about the Dems and Springsteen (puh-leeze get a life!) and how evil they are and how bad they've been for NJ. So it'll give him more fodder for his wheezes. And yeah, if I still lived there, I'd probably vote for the Torch, too. So he's a crook. Find me an honest politician, and I'll find you a small-town councilperson who will never go on to county office, let alone statewide or national. The West Wing is fiction. And yeah, my cynicism is out in force today. permalink
Wading through my email has given me a crisis of conscience. There's this guy Al Barger, you see, and he has a weblog. But he's an Objectivist (God help me) and has a link to Ann Nutcase Coulter on his sidebar. I mean, some of his stuff is wholly agreeableI like his taste in music, for instancebut Ayn Rand as the voice of God? If that were the case, I'd be an atheist. But then he links to H.L. Mencken's "In Defense of Women," and I realize this is a man of many facets. So I can forgive him his fondness for That Nutcase. (And Al, tell Satan' s Attorney that there's no "z" in "exercise." The devil's in the details, dontchaknow. Yeah, that was awful, and no, I couldn't resist. Last paragraph.)
I really like this Mark Steyn column on "sustainable development." The man can really turn a phrase.
There's a group blog out there called Common Sense that's apparently just passed its three-month anniversary, which, if we count blog years as dog years, makes them about a toddler. Dudes, come talk to me after you've been around a year before you start bragging. (Please don't anyone dig back in my archives to find me bragging about my 100th post.)
Anyway. It seems to be a compendium blog. Here's their mission statement:
It has some interesting links, and in the spirit of my linking policy, here you go. Check 'em out.
I'm agreeing with Jason Kenney again. Is it Leap Year already? He says Senatory Leahy is nuts for suggesting that West Nile Virus is a terrorist plot. He's dead right. Jason also calls Leahy a moron. Yeah, I second that one, too. Now let's even the scales and find a recent nutty remark by a Republican senator.
The American Zionist Information Network asked me for a link. Their views are farther to the right than mine, but hey, it's another informative site. I like to look at the issues from as many sides as I can. It makes it easier to determine the truth.
Yikes. I forgot to mention my name-twin's weblog. So now I'm mentioning it, and I'll do even more: Meryl writes a great blog that covers all kinds of tech, and she makes it extremely simple for the non-techies among us. You can find the neatest things through her site (I can't believe there's an elgooG.) So there, her point has been taken, and she may even start speaking to me again. permalink
It's Erev Yom Kippur, the Eve of Yom Kippur, and I still haven't kicked my cold or sinus infection or stomach thing or whatever it is. And since I will be alternately fasting, worshipping, and swearing at my ailment for the next 26 hours or so, here are the latest links to the discussion on sexism in the blogosphere. And I think that Megan McArdle said it best with this:
Ginger has an amazing series of excerpts from the dialogue.
Lynn is a sexist, Lynn is a sexist!
Samantha Veneruso adds literary criticism to the list of fields where women need to be twice as good to get half the credit:
She follows that post with this one:
That ought to hold you all until after I break my fast tomorrow night. permalink
Last week's blogs are archived. Here's the Blogathon. The Superhero Dating Ratings are here. If you're looking for something funny, try the Hulk's solution to the Middle East conflict, or Yasser Arafat Secret Phone Transcripts. Iseema bin Laden's diary and The Fudd Doctrine are also good bets if you've never been here before.