Archive for the ‘Language: It's What's for Dinner!’ Category

While reading, I ran across an archeologist named Oded Lipschitz.  I think it would be great fun to go through life named Oded Lipschitz.


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I just watched President Obama give a speech in North Carolina. He was so good I had to fight back tears as he ended–in part because I admire great oratory but mostly because he touched my heartstrings with his patriotic appeals to the Constitution and to American ideals.

It’s not just any speaker who can reduce a sour old curmudgeon like me to tears and applause.

He took after Republican intransigence, explaining as simply and clearly as he could, with examples, how the gridlock in Washington is NOT the fault of both parties, as the press would have it. He explained how the Thugs are now threatening to block Hillary’s judicial appointments and to investigate her again and again–before she’s even been elected! He went after Thugs who tried to curtail voting privileges in North Carolina, analogizing them to those who had the same desires during the Jim Crow era.

Obama seems to be enjoying this chance to tell the truth about our political situation–finally. He truly has no more fucks left to give.

Watch this speech! You won’t regret it.

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I am a rhetorician, formerly by trade and eternally by inclination. So I loves me some oratory, particularly when it is powerful and persuasive. Because of this I also love political conventions, at least when the speakers are talented. Followers of this blog may recall my ecstatic post about speeches delivered at the Democratic convention in September 2012 (you can look it up in the list alongside).

Democrats tend to be great speakers. Look at the roll call in 2012: Julian Chavez, Bill Clinton, Tammy Duckworth, John Lewis, Barack Obama, Al Sharpton, Elizabeth Warren, and many others.

The other part of conventions I find interesting is the roll call of states, mostly because their representatives usually tell us something interesting or colorful about their state (its champion sports teams, its scenery, or what it produces–Fords, the only drinkable bourbon, the tastiest potatoes).

At the moment I’m watching the Rethug roll call of the states, in the vain hope that something cool might happen–like a no-Trump rebellion. But I forgot–Rethugs fall in line, so it appears there will be no verbal fireworks of any sort. Only the Colorado delegation (so far) has exhibited the tiniest bit of resistance–to no avail, as they were immediately quashed by the chair. My most vivid impression is how white all these people are–even the ones who live in places like California and Guam.



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Bernie Sanders said of his defeat in South Carolina that his campaign was “decimated” among older Black voters. Hillary earned 90% of the votes cast by older Black people in that state.

The Latin word for “ten” was “decem.” Hence, one in ten equals a decimation.

“To decimate” originally meant that one of every ten Roman soldiers was singled out for punishment (usually death) when the legions did not perform up to their commanders’ expectations. As is ordinarily the case with languages, as time passes useful words expand their possible referents. This has happened to “decimate” in English, where it can now be used to refer to any sort of catastrophic damage.

Bernie, however, used it in its original sense. Way to go, classically educated person!

PS: There were only ten months in the Roman calendar before Julius Caesar got around to fixing it. Which is how we got “December.” Sorry–these and a lot of otherwise useless facts are rolling around in my head from all those years of Latin classes.



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An announcer used the phrase “blistering cold” to describe weather this morning.  Is this an oxymoron, strictly speaking?

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So last night Ben Carson referred to the head of the Rethug party as “Reince Pubus.”

Enough said.

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I finally figured it out! To Rethugs, “political correctness” means “a prohibition against saying racist shit.” So if I am”politically correct,” according to Thug doctrine, I refuse to say (or believe in) white supremacist crap.

So go ahead, Donald and Ted and the others–call me PC. And I will call you what you are–racist Thugs.





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