Ramblings & ephemera

Things to say instead of cussin’

“Dear heavenly day in the morning!” “Ye gods!” “Oh fudge!” “Dirty words!” “Cheese and crackers!” “Gee willikers!”

Protected: Why we cuss

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Why David Foster Wallace used footnotes

From D. T. Max’s “Notes and Errata*: A DFW Companion Guide to ‘The Unfinished’” (The Rumpus: 31 March 2009): He explained that endnotes “allow . . . me to make the primary-text an easier read while at once 1) allowing a discursive, authorial intrusive style w/o Finneganizing the story, 2) mimic the information-flood and data-triage […]

Why we can easily remember jingles but not jokes

From Natalie Angier’s “In One Ear and Out the Other” (The New York Times: 16 March 2009): In understanding human memory and its tics, Scott A. Small, a neurologist and memory researcher at Columbia, suggests the familiar analogy with computer memory. We have our version of a buffer, he said, a short-term working memory of […]

Word of the day: Sitzfleisch

From Wiktionary: Sitzfleisch: From German Sitzfleisch, from sitzen (“‘to sit’”) + Fleisch (“‘flesh’”) … The ability to endure or carry on with an activity.

A one-way ticket to crazyville

Image by rsgranne via Flickr Image by rsgranne via Flickr Image by rsgranne via Flickr From Dave Alan’s “Interview with Alex Christopher” (Leading Edge Research Group: 1 June 1996): Legend: DA [Dave Alan, Host] AC: [Alex Christopher] C: [Caller] … (Note: according to former British Intelligence agent Dr. John Coleman, the London-based Wicca Mason lodges […]

Protected: Students, schools, civil rights, & the f-word

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One group files 99.9% of all complaints about TV content

From Christopher M. Fairman’s “Fuck” (bepress Legal Series: 7 March 2006): The PTC [Parents Television Council] is a perfect example of the way word taboo is perpetuated. The group’s own irrational word fetish – which they try to then impose on others – fuels unhealthy attitudes toward sex that then furthers the taboo status of […]

Protected: American courts and government and the f-word

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Protected: Taboo acts and language and how they work together

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Protected: Etymologies & the dictionary definitions of the f-word

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Protected: FCUK, a special trademarked logo

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Why people “friend” others on social networks

From danah boyd’s “Facebook’s ‘Privacy Trainwreck’: Exposure, Invasion, and Drama” (8 September 2006): Why does everyone assume that Friends equals friends? Here are some of the main reasons why people friend other people on social network sites: 1. Because they are actual friends 2. To be nice to people that you barely know (like the […]

Richard Stallman on why “intellectual property” is a misnomer

From Richard Stallman’s “Transcript of Richard Stallman at the 4th international GPLv3 conference; 23rd August 2006” (FSF Europe: 23 August 2006): Anyway, the term “intellectual property” is a propaganda term which should never be used, because merely using it, no matter what you say about it, presumes it makes sense. It doesn’t really make sense, […]

Chinese folklore and the colors green, white, red, yellow, and black

From Allen Abel and Madeleine Czigler’s “Ireland, Islam and envy” (National Post: 24 June 2008): According to a Chinese folk tale, there once was a turtle whose wife fell in love with a snake. Too humiliated to watch their pan-reptilian canoodling, the turtle pulled a large green leaf over his eyes. Hence the usage, still […]

Denise-ism #95

The phone rings. Denise picks it up. “Hello? Yes. Yes, I support MoveOn.org. What? Yep! I’ve got my MoveOn dot shirt on right now!”

Denise-ism #62

Last night Denise was speaking to my Blogs to Wikis class about the legal implications of social software. She was going over exceptions to the 1st Amendment and was discussing obscenity and child pornography. “Child pornography is a completely different animal altogether. Especially if you’re using animals.”

John Berryman’s suicide note

From Steve Marsh’s “Homage to Mister Berryman” (Mpls St Paul Magazine: September 2008): Berryman’s last words to Kate came on that January morning—he told her he was going to campus to clean his office. He had never said that before, she says, but Kate, who was attending Al-Anon meetings at the time, was trying “not […]

A grammarian’s haiku

So my friend Carrie is helping me edit my latest book in progress, and we got into an email discussion about the way I write & the edits she made. She sent me this haiku, which I thought was great: I cannot abide a run-on sentence, ever. Sentence fragment, yes.

Robin-ism #6

Scott: Pronounce this word: A – G – I – N – C – O – U – R – T. Robin: Why? Scott: I just want to hear you pronounce it. Robin: Welllll … I would pronounce it the way it’s spelled: Again-kort. Scott: (starts laughing & snickering) Haha! Robin: I *knew* that would […]