Tag Archives: language

Possum Mechanics

Max Planck invented the term “quantum,” writes Deepak Chopra, a professor of family medicine and public health, in a letter to the NYTimes. He quotes a 1931 interview with The Observer of London in which Planck said, “I regard matter as … Continue reading

Posted in Commentary | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

When Is Kill Not “Over”?

The illustration made me read this essay by Michelle Goldberg (“Margaret Atwood’s Dystopia, and Ours,” NYTimes, 9-14-19). On first glance, the picture’s Dairy Queen Blizzard ™ of cartoon imagery made me grumpy. Whatever it purports to symbolize, I thought, this … Continue reading

Posted in Commentary | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Sashaying Words

As a linguist I collect jargon from exotic domains such as counterpoint, quantum mechanics, cricket — and now, children’s drag. The topic has surfaced in a current article by Alice Hines: “Sashaying Their Way Through Youth,” NYTimes, 9-8-19. I’m currently … Continue reading

Posted in Anthology, Commentary | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Nearly Inexplicable Love

I used to think that her Professional Texan act was just that, but I see now that it was also a way to show that we Texans were all in it together, and that the things that united us — … Continue reading

Posted in Anthology, Quotations | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Arcadia for Straw

One can understand a place by what its people make… Locals [from Orkney] have a special relationship with straw, which they have long used for everything from roofing and bedding to shelving, rainwear and furniture. Perhaps the most famous local … Continue reading

Posted in Quotations | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Ambiguous Freedom

Film maker Gus Van Sant is known for “Drugstore Cowboy,” “My Own Private Idaho,” and “Good Will Hunting.” I didn’t know he also painted. Watercolor on linen is an unfamiliar combination for me. I’m not sure I would look too … Continue reading

Posted in Commentary | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Young Bashi-Bazouk

“Mr. Cummings is a bashi-bazouk,” said [Dominic] Grieve, citing the Ottoman Empire’s shock troops, who were renowned for their ferocity. “It is going to be a very difficult period because Cummings doesn’t respect any rule at all.” (Benjamin Mueller and Stephen Castle, … Continue reading

Posted in Commentary | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment