Link Log for November 13

Categories: Animals, Boys & Girls, Censorship, Movie Stars, Politics, Writing. Some links and comments about Gardening & Farming are being scheduled for Sunday.


This reminds me of Heather’s half-grown son Elmo, who shouldn’t be at the Cat Sanctuary any more, but he is…his coat’s much redder than this cat’s coat appears to be on my screen, but he has the same kind of mackerel stripes, the same kind of adolescent look, and the same kind of attitude. (Elmo aged past being adopted by one permanent home and has yet to be claimed by another permanent home.)

Thanks to Mei/Poke for this:

Boys & Girls 

Some men, young sisters. Only some men. I’ll never dispute that being willing to kill the rotten ones is an asset when it comes to finding the precious ones. (And curbing the rotten ones, too–some of them may eventually outgrow their current rottenness.) Women should, like men and like the United States, not start a fight and not lose a fight. But seriously…I’ve met a few jerks too, but what I really wish were different about men is that the good ones are so fragile. They die so young. They’re so precious that even if they’re ninety-nine years old, when they die, that’s still far too young.


I agree with Jason Howerton, and apparently many of the students: hatespeech is not a crime, and shouldn’t be treated like one. However, in view of the crimes that were probably triggered by hatespeech and have been reported at this campus…is it appropriate to summon the campus police to watch in case a crime does occur?

In my home town, Gentle Readers, you can be arrested for “public drunkenness and disorderly conduct” for using, on the street, some Washingtonians’ favorite words. The assumption is that if a Virginian is in mixed company and uses the F-word or the S-word, or arguably even “Hell” in a sentence that does not refer to Michigan, he or she is probably drunk. And y’know, although I oppose censorship… not only do I not feel that this needs to change, I feel that printable-but-obnoxious words like “honey” and “lousy” should be added to the list.

Movie Stars 

I think Billy Hallowell posted this one just for us old ladies who’ve never really got into Denzel Washington’s guy-oriented movies or adult-content soap opera:


Lots of working people have violent fantasies about their bosses. If the said bosses ever go into politics, nobody is surprised when the said working people declare their support for the opposition…or even for the said bosses. Well, I voted for Ralph Nader, and people who’ve worked with him campaigned for Terry Kilgore, but they are men you don’t meet every day. So I wasn’t terribly upset to read that a former employee of hers said he wants to strangle candidate Carly Fiorina. Or that opposition candidate Hillary Clinton laughed, even. But Jason Howerton has a point here. Remember how the Democrats screeched and carried on when Republican candidates said much less inflammatory, nonviolent things…?

This one is long, serious, recommended to policy wonks and Washingtonians…Charles Cooper argues that Justice Thomas has come into his own, in recent years. (For a while there he was perceived as Justice Scalia’s shadow.) Thanks to Patricia Evans for sharing:


This cartoon post is about drawing, actually, but it’s relevant…When I get halfway through writing something and realize that I’m bored, I take that as an indication that other people might agree that it’s boring. It might need revising, or re-thinking, or recycling into the compost of my mind.

This, of course, is a useful policy only for the more “creative” type of writing. Fiction readers might not want to read a story about a four-year-old watching baby chickens scratch in the yard. Blog readers might not want to read a post about an old textbook I have for sale, even though somewhere out there is somebody who used that book in college, lost or sold it, misses it, and wants it back. But no matter how boring a post about reviews of baby buggies on Amazon may be, the only reason why I started to write such a thing is that somebody out there is paying for it. So, while trusting my intuition that most people would agree with me that that post is painfully boring, I just push on and finish it…and the handful of people who wanted it to be written are delighted.

Now about grammar…I saw another example of comma confusion more recently. Apparently a Catholic author wanted to dedicate a book to three separate sources of inspiration, and had been taught that it’s acceptable to omit the comma before “and” or “or” in a list that ends with an “and” or “or” phrase. So the book was dedicated “To my parents, the Pope and Mother Teresa.” (I’ve not seen the book, but have read reports that it was printed that way.)


Link Log for October 8

Categories: Books, Christian, Communication, Funny, Pictures, Politics, Race, What?.


If you liked The Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap, pre-order now…

Congratulations are in order to historian/dramatist Svetlana Alexievich:

The funniest thing about this comparison of gender references in different novels is that, in Chesterton, I don’t mind. He lived in a Victorian gender-segregated world, and wrote about men living in that sort of world, with only an occasional passing reference to Father Brown hearing an occasional female confession. That we don’t have equally good novels by and exclusively about women (Alison Bechdel is not, in my judgment, equally good) indicates an imbalance, although anybody might correct it any day. That all the characters in Chesterton’s novels are male, and/or that all the novels are more about human activity than about human personality, tells me something about Chesterton, and it makes some of the novels less enjoyable than others, but it doesn’t offend me.


As a professional hack writer I usually mention what I’m writing for paying customers, at this web site, only when there’s a possibility (however remote) that a piece might be appropriated without payment. Hack writers’ contributions to magazines, newspapers, blogs, and web sites are traditionally anonymous, subject to such massive revisions that what’s published may in fact be the work of a client who’s taken our ideas and research as a suggestion for his or her own. But I have to note a personal milestone: After ten years of full-time writing, during which at most I’ve been paid pennies for mentioning Christian writing or speech, I’ve finally been commissioned to contribute an anonymous page to a devotional. The text is 2 Corinthians 1:4–an encouraging opportunity to write about encouragement. Before running on further, I’d prefer to read yourall’s thoughts:


Uh-oh. I don’t text often, and when I do it’s usually to people at least as old as I am, so I doubt this has become a problem. However. For the record. I am a writer. I think in complete sentences. If those sentences don’t end in question marks or exclamation marks, they end in periods. (Online, they may also end in smileys, winkies, or frownies.) When I add a period in a text message, the meaning is “Yes, I finished what I was saying before pressing ‘send’ and/or starting another sentence.” I don’t think text messages are good ways to express emotions, but if I were to send a ticked-off text, the expressions of anger would be ALL CAPS and/or exclamation marks and/or frownies and/or expletives (e.g. “dang”) identifying what I’m most angry about.

* “I m here. WHERE R U?”

* “We never buy anything from sales pests. Don t call here again!!!”

* “GBP still has blasted pneumonia :-(”

And if I don’t see a period at the end of your message, the interpretations that come to mind are (1) “I was running out of space,” (2) “I either haven’t found the punctuation characters on my phone keypad or didn’t want to take the time to type one,” or (3) “I hit ‘send’ before I finished the message.” If I texted with someone younger or foreign, the absence of a period might suggest “I didn’t learn the rules of English punctuation.”


Thanks to Natalief for sharing:


More hide-and-seek graphics: The Language Log captured this photo of William Campbell’s paintings of pathogenic microorganisms. The actual story is at Reuters but, when I read the story, I don’t see the photo.


If there are any circumstances under which you’d vote for Ted Cruz (my reservations are based on (1) the “birther” faction and (2) my Carson/Paul preference), you might want to take this survey.

President Obama made another serious mistake…and it’s possible that somebody at has finally got the point; for the first time in years I was actually able to read a story there, online, firsthand.


It’s not racism as such…it’s just the way Caucasian-types do think (in spite of good intentions) unless, and until, they’ve lived in places where Whiteness is not the norm. (And sometimes it’s the way militant spokesmen for other ethnic groups have told us to write, draw, and stage, as well–the assumption that we wouldn’t know how a major character who wasn’t White would think. Shakespeare could imagine a Black man in Italy because he could count on any non-British members of his audience to be quiet if Othello seemed too easy for Brits to relate to.) I spent a long time in the non-federal parts of Washington, D.C., where the default assumption is that Blackness is the norm, so I believe that simply taking it as understood that all the interesting characters are going to look like you is a human imperfection rather than an act of hate. (When I write fiction that’s set in a place like Washington, if a character’s physical look is not specified, you may visualize the character as you like.) But in a story about a modern U.S. city, if the story goes on very long or has more than two or three characters, making them all the same color is a way a story loses credibility. At school, at work, in an apartment building, there’d be a mix.


Actually, for many things posted at , about all there is to say is “What?” (Or, in my idiolect, “Whaaat?”) So “What?” is the category for posts like this one (mostly shorter):