Saturday, October 30, 2010

Headline of the Month (and a good article, too!)

Dear, Gentle Reader(s), it comes from Andrew Sullivan’s The Daily Dish,  and here it is, in toto:

Killing Two Turds With One Stone

30 Oct 2010 02:14 pm

Alex Goldmark reports on Micromidas, a company that has a variety of bacteria that eat poop and poop plastic. The technology may help with sanitation and reduce the amount of plastic in our landfills:

[The people at Micromidas] take sewage and feed it to bacteria. “The bacteria store the organics as a bio-polymer ... ” Just like when we eat sugar and, through a series of metabolic processes, turn that into a fat, those little micro-buggers turn sewage into plastic in their bodies. ...[T]he end product is a high-value, low­-cost plastic resin ready to be sold off, and it biodegrades in under 18 months once disposed of.

It that great, or what?

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Friday, October 29, 2010

Andrew, Andrew, Andrew…alas

Ah, Dear Gentle Reader(s), Andrew Sullivan has posed, I think, a conundrum in a posting today on The Daily Dish.

What to do when English language writers, acting in the Germanic manner of stringing a lot of words together-schauspielhaus (show talk house)=theatre, come up with neologisms such as Sullivan’s “faux-bullshit-science” as an adjective for political science.

How do we call BS on him?

What, really, is “faux” bullshit?  False bullshit? Does that make political science “real?”

Mightn’t Sullivan have meant faux science with a little bullshit science thrown in for, um, flavor?

Andrew, next time use commas.  After all, you’ve been doing a meme on the final comma for a few days now.

Faux, bullshit science” reads clearer than “faux-bullshit-science.”  More American, don’t cha know.

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Wednesday, October 27, 2010


One has to smile, Dear Gentle Reader(s).

Andrew Sullivan, he of the plummy English voice, wrote this while being slightly critical of MSNBC:  “But the bias is pretty overwhelming nonetheless - and sometimes veers into suffocating smugness.”

When on his high horse, the nicest thing which can be said about Sullivan is his smugness.

Love him when he isn’t on a bender about some obscure item (Truly, isn’t Trig’s birth record so last year?!?), and refresh his page several times a day, but the last word he should use in criticizing anyone is any permutation of smug.


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Sunday, October 24, 2010

Whence the editor?

What does it do to you, Dear Gentle Reader(s), when you run across a possible editing error on the first page of a new book?

For instance, on the first page (not numbered—what’s that about?) of the narrative of Red Rain, by Bruce Murkoff, published by Knopf, you will find, in the middle of the second paragraph, this sentence:  “Now, as the sky began to lighten, the stars faded away and the moon moved eastward.”

When does the moon move eastward?  What time of the year?  Here, in California, the recent full moon has been rising in the east and setting in the west.  Is it different in New York’s Hudson River area, the scene of the first page?

Does, perhaps, the moon seem to move eastward while sailing up the Hudson? 

How much money did Murkoff or Knopf pay whoever edited this book?

We might never know.

There’s no editor in the acknowledgement paragraphs.


Perhaps I just answered my own question.


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Friday, October 22, 2010

Merci, Ciel

Thank heavens for the wit of Bill Maher via The Huffington Post.


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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Mary Whitaker-Bono-Baxley-Mack

Some fun facts about Mary Whitaker-Bono-Baxley-Mack:

Born  on October 24, 1961, married Sonny Bono 1986, widowed 1998, married Glenn Baxley in 2001, divorced Glenn Baxley in 2005, married Connie Mack in 2007.

Other trivial facts:

Sonny Bono was born in 1935.  Mary was his fourth wife.  Sonny’s first daughter, Christine, was born on June 24, 1958.  His second daughter, Chastity (Chaz), was born on March 4, 1969.

Famous line uttered by Mary Bono during the Clinton impeachment hearings, “What do we tell the children?”

Hmmm.  Good question.  Start with, perhaps, “trophy wife.”  Continue then with serial monogamy, May-December romance, and lessons learned therefrom.

Should be a great family meal discussion.

I kid Representative Bono-Mack, R-Palm Springs.

God bless America.

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Dr J (Joyce, that is)

Doctor Joyce Brothers’ on television in an ad.

Lookin’ her years.

(Aren’t we all?)






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Sunday, October 17, 2010

Devaluation of the Mother Tongue?

Ah, Dear Gentle Reader(s), what is one to do?

This from the 10/17/10 print edition of The Desert Sun, p.A6: 

Investigators in New Mexico say a Chaparral man who was cleaning his handgun Saturday morning accidentally shot his four-year-old son the the bullet passed through the boy and hit the man’s mother.

Dona Ana County Sheriff’s Department investigator Bo Nevarez says both are in critical condition but their wounds aren’t believed to be life-threatening.

The problem is:  the condition is critical but not life-threatening.

One must ask, then, just how does one describe a condition which is life-threatening?  Or, just how does a serious condition differ from a critical condition?

Back to work, English teacher colleagues (and, most importantly, editors).  Words should have meaning.

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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The last prime time Republican to say, “I am not…”?

Tricky Dick Nixon said, “Your President is not a crook” in the ‘70s; now Christine O’Donnell is saying, “I am not a witch.”  Separated at birth?

Turned out Nixon was, ahem, fibbing (albeit never proven in a court of law).

Now, the question is, will history repeat itself?

Trust, but verify.

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Saturday, October 02, 2010

Is this really what God had in mind?

Try this one, Dear Gentle Reader(s).  Andrew Sullivan has this little gem on his Daily Dish blog included in a bit titled, “How To Write About Pakistan”:

If woman [sic] are on the cover, then the two possible Pakistans are expressed through choice of clothing: is it bridal wear or burkhas?

On the subject of women, they never have agency. Unless they break all the rules, in which case they’re going to end up dead. I don’t think there’s anything else to be said about them, is there?

The author, one Mohammed Hanif, is being facetious one hopes.  Even in jest, though, given what we’ve been told about the treatment of women in that area, this is harsh.

An anthropology professor once warned about “arrogance” which sometimes infected the biases of one culture’s observations of another’s. 

Keeping in mind the dangers of hubris still allows, I hope, the observation that this attitude towards women cannot be what the Creator worshipped by this culture, and similar cultures, had in mind.

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