Archive for February, 2008

Blinded Me with Science

February 21, 2008

I like when song lyrics can be aptly trotted out on singular occasions. Last night, at the height of the lunar eclipse, I received a text message from a friend: “I’ll see you on the dark side of the moon.”

I think it would be fun to go through an ordinary day and try to work as many appropriate song lyrics into conversation as possible.


Strange Semicolon Sighting

February 19, 2008

The semicolon, what Frank McCourt calls the yellow traffic light of punctuation, is common in literature but rarely appears in advertising copy. Which is why the sight of it in a public service ad on the New York subways is striking to grammar groupies. The ad beseeches riders to take their newspaper with them when they leave the train: “Please put it in a trash can; that’s good news for everyone.”

The subterranean resurrection of the semicolon prompted Sam Roberts to reflect semihumorously on the period hovering over the comma. His essay quotes Kurt Vonnegut: “When Hemingway killed himself he put a period at the end of his life. Old age is more like a semicolon.” Read what Roberts has to say; you’ll enjoy his essay; I know you will.

Chess Admits a Prospective First Lady and a Serial Killer

February 17, 2008

Two people in the news this past week were revealed to be practitioners of the royal game. The New York Times reported that Michelle Obama and her brother played chess as children. Their mother prohibited them from watching more than an hour of television a day, and so they “were expected to fill their time with books, chess, sports….”

Michelle Obama is an illustrious addition to the gallery of chess players. Not so for the other addition, Steve Kazmierczak, who shot up Northern Illinois University. In high school, the Times revealed, Kazmierczak “was a B student with a baby face who was active in chess club….”