Archive for the ‘Literature and the Arts’ Category
Slate is featuring a story about word aversion titled, “Why Do We Hate Certain Words,” and the word, “moist,” seems to near the top for a lot of people, at least among those few who have stewed so much on the topic that they have actually created a list. I too am not a fan of “moist.”
Some people actually loathed certain words so much that uttering them made them physically sick. One person, for instance, had a particularly strong aversion to “meal” and doubly so when coupled with “hot.” I can’t say that I hate any word with quite as much zeal as some folks, but here are a few words that make me cringe when I hear them ring in my ears:
- Anathema, appropriately.
- Gyrate and pretty much any word beginning with “Gy.”
- Scuttlebutt is so unnecessarily clunky when “rumor” will do every time.
- Clack is bad, but so are “cluck” and “click.”
- Elongate and most words ending in “- gate”
- Ergonomic, nothing efficient about this word.
- Ungulate, just an ugly three syllables.
- Apropos, a word people use to make themselves appear more intelligent than they actually are.
- Approximately, I find that many use this clumsy word rather than the more succinct “about.”
- Indubitably, indubitably this word doesn’t exactly roll off the lips
Maybe if I give it some more thought, I’ll come up with a more extensive list of loathsome words, as well as some favorites. Just off the top of my head, I give early nods to keepers like “albatross,” ”seismic” and “mettle.”
Purchased at McKay Used Books, CDs, Movies, and More.
Here are some new renders:
Here are the top posts for 2012. Each title links back to the full post, and a pull quote is added on each. I didn’t count them this year, but they are presented more or less in chronological order from January-December, with about two posts from each month.
The presidency changed neither Ulysses S. Grant’s approach to leadership, nor his character. In the White House, Grant exhibited the same even-tempered ability to guide the nation through eight years of tensions after the Civil War as he did in his most important victories on the battlefield at Fort Donelson, Vicksburg and Appomattox. …
God did not live up to this promise. The lands in and around “Canaan” were in those early epochs and still are contested territories, as evidenced by the constant strife in the Middle East between Israel and Palestine. Of course, “Canaan” encompassed more than just Israel and the West Bank to include parts of modern-day Jordan and Syria and other areas, so God is still far from living up to his long-past promise to Abram and the tribes of Israel. Christians here will say that in Christ, a new Covenant was formed by which Christ will reconcile Jews and Gentiles and allow everyone who believes to be saved through Jesus. …
Please read here for some interesting correspondence between myself and a fellow blogger named, David Smart, aka, Ryft, who challenged a comment I made on one of his posts. I invite you to read his original post(too long to quote here), and what follows is my initial comment to it, which was chided for its brevity (didn’t know that was a bad thing). Here is the paragraph to which I responded: …
I listened to most of Bach’s Brandenburg concertos this afternoon and got to thinking again about the argument for beauty.
This fellow blogger raises a concern that the argument, which is articulated this way
- Beethoven’s quartets, Shakespeare’s sonnets, etc., are beautiful.
- If there were no God, then there would be no beauty (and thus no beautiful things).
- Therefore, there is a God.
may not be a legitimate argument for the existence of God in the first place and that Richard Dawkins’ only reference to the argument in “The God Delusion” is anecdotal. The writer also claims that Dawkins dismisses the argument for beauty by committing the begging the question fallacy because he asserts “without argument, that beauty doesn’t depend on God.” …
The following video has been making the rounds in various freethinking circles lately to varying degrees of praise and criticism. In this lecture, author and neuroscientist Sam Harris delivers a lecture arguing against the notion of free will based on his book of the same name. …
Here, Harris puts forth a deterministic view of the human experience in which we are obviously not free to choose our genes, our backgrounds, our places of birth or control other factors that will eventually lead to our fully developed, adult selves. While some, through any number of variables, become “good” people and generally strive to improve the lives of the people around them, others, due to different and more malignant factors, are decidedly unlucky and become sociopaths and/or killers. …
Here is an intriguing look at the Book of Revelation that claims that the writer of the book, emphatically not John the Apostle, wasn’t writing about the end of the world, but rather about the collapse of the Roman empire, with Nero as the one stamped with the numerals 666.
I don’t know what John Milton’s personal interpretation of the Revelation might have been other than what he wrote in Paradise Lost, but it seems at least plausible to me that Milton, as ever, was onto something revolutionary. …
… Writers (and readers, I guess) apparently don’t have the attention span to follow the sentence throughout its entire construction, so they sometimes forget where previously placed commas occurred. This is easy to track in your head as you reread or edit a story, but problems such as this crop up time and time again. And for people who care about the language, it’s a distraction. As a colleague has often said, “Journalists are the keepers of the language.” That’s not to suggest that I won’t have typos myself, but the will for perfection is there. This is apparently not the case with many who haphazardly throw in or leave out commas seemingly at random. …
If the word has not already been coined, I’ll do the honors.
This year, I unequivocally became a Lostophile, that is, a person with a deep affinity for the philosophical nuisances of the television series, “Lost.” Granted, the TV show went off the air in 2010, but I only came toThe Island, so to speak, this past fall (October 2011) when I began watching the series from start to finish on Netflix.
OK, that’s not quite accurate. My initial engagement with the show was so intense that I watched the first three seasons, started right back at Season One and then watched the whole way through. I recently finished Season Six a couple weeks ago. …
Christians arguing with other Christians about the “true” nature of Jesus and the church always makes for entertaining reading, but even more so when it comes from an openly gay Catholic whose own intellectualism should undercut his own faith in the first place.
In his new essay for Newsweek, “Christianity in Crisis,” Andrew Sullivan says that we should eschew the influence of politics and power that has crept into religion and get back to the “radical ideas” that spring from what Jesus did and said, including loving both our neighbors and enemies, turning the other cheek, giving away all material possessions and loving God the Father, whom Sullivan calls “the Being behind all things.” …
… So, if the people commit acts such as sleeping with their relatives or with people of the same sex, the earth will regurgitate them. In what “historical contexts” are we supposed to read these passages? I can maybe grant his point about Sodom — those guys were clearly out of line wanting to have sex with the angel-men! — but his blanket statement about homosexuality in the Bible is patently false. The passages above sound like pretty firm prohibitions to me, and not just of the acts themselves, but of the ideas of homosexuality, bestiality and incest, all of which are lumped together in two separate chapters.
Another tragedy, more crazy talk to boot. Former Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee recently said America’s “sin problem” was behind the Aurora movie theater shooting, while Rep. Louie Gohmert has said the nation was no longer under God’s “protective hand.” …
The above passage seems to summarize the general error of history that Andrew Burstein and Nancy Isenberg address in their colossal, that is to say, towering work on a friendship between James Madison and Thomas Jefferson that endured for half a century.
Madison, as history has recorded, has been judged as the mostly quiet and stoic political thinker and constitutionalist, while Jefferson is widely thought of as the passionate, if not hyperbolic, consummate republican, always heralding the interests of the Virginian farmer against a potentially overbearing federal government that is always in danger of overextending itself. …
Here we deal with one of the most well known, and by that I mean notorious, verses in the whole Old Testament.
The passage in Genesis 22 begins with God deciding, for whatever capricious reason God decides to do anything, to test Abraham by asking him to sacrifice his son as a burnt offering to him: …
Continuing with this series, we now turn to Genesis 18-19, in which Abraham and Sarah in the first part of Chapter 18 learn from God that she, now at an old age, will bear a son. The passage begins with the Lord appearing to Abraham under some trees, as well as three “men,” presumably angels. …
I took a long drive today — specifically eight hours round trip from Tennessee to South Carolina and back — and had some time to think about exactly why I can’t, under any circumstances, morally or intellectually, understand or support the conservative program of the last, well, 32 years since I’ve been old enough to be cognizant of it.
I concluded that it is this: while progressives, Green Party members, some Democrats and others, have been champions of people — you know, human beings with pulses and feelings and a pitiable capacity for suffering under immense physical, emotional or financial stress — Republicans more or less have mostly been concerned with A) protecting the rights of inanimate religion in all its forms, squashing gay rights, squashing all abortion, sometimes even in cases of rape or incest, and protecting the right of prayer in the public square, and B) protecting the rights of inanimate state governments and inanimate corporations. …
Jen McCreight over at Free Thought Blogs has created quite a stir in the atheist/freethinking community with a post titled, How I Unwittingly Infiltrated the Boy’s Club & Why It’s Time for a New Wave of Atheism, which has garnered in the neighborhood of 500 responses thus far.
In the post, McCreight laments her experiences with some of the more brutish individuals within the movement and said she was “welcomed with open arms” into the atheist and skeptic community until she started discussing feminism. Perhaps her first mistake was to create “Boobquake,” which was a day (April 26, 2010) for feminist supporters to protest Hojatoleslam Kazem Seddiqi‘s odious comment that women who dressed immodestly were the cause of earthquakes. …
Welcome to the second part of this 16-part series on Lee’s Strobel’s “The Case for Christ.” If you missed it,here is Part I.
Strobel now gets to the meat of the book designed to investigate the trustworthiness of the New Testament authors and their accounts of the life of Jesus.
In Chapter 1, Strobel interviews Christian apologist Craig Blomberg and asks him how we know that the Matthew, Mark and Luke are the actual authors of the first three gospels. Blomberg then points, not to two sources outside of the church who can vouch for the authorship or the validity of the claims, but to two early church bishops, Papias (70 to about 155 A.D.) and Irenaeus (130-202 A.D.). …
At the expense of repeating myself, I’ll take some time here to explore some of the other components, criticisms and responses to Atheism+ that were not covered in this post. I have wanted to write a follow up post on this for quite a few days, but it has taken awhile to gather my thoughts.
Here I will show in fuller detail why Atheism+ is not only redundant but why it’s actually corrosive to the legacies of atheists and freethinkers who have done important social work under the old banners and who did so bravely and under conditions that were far from friendly or accepting. …
In a video series YouTube user Mike Winger calls, “Things Atheists Should Never Say,” he claims that nonbelievers should never ask this question to believers: “Can God make a rock so big He can’t lift it?”
I believe the typical phraseology goes like this: “Can God create a rock so heavy that even he cannot lift it,”with the common perception being that if God is all-powerful, he could, in theory, create an object bigger than his omnipotence will allow him to lift, thus hurling his supposed nature into logical entropy. This is called theomnipotence paradox.
Now, I’m not going to write a long essay defending this question. I and fellow nonbelievers don’t need this question, as it were, to tear holes through Christianity and religion in general, but I will add a few words in reference to some comments made over in Mike’s comments section on YouTube. …
As a number of folks on Tweeter had posted a link to the Salon.com article, “Atheism’s growing pains,” particularly because it referenced Atheism+, I thought I would have a look. I skimmed half of it because it just summarized the rise of atheism (I won’t call it a “movement”) and later, the prominence (or notoriousness) ofJen McCreight and her ill-named “Boobquake.” I wrote about Boobquake briefly here, but Adam Lee’s statement here is too good to bypass:
At first it seemed like lighthearted fun in support of a good point, but she (McCreight) wrote that it had encouraged some men in the atheist community to view her as a sex object, rather than a person with ideas worth taking seriously …
Again, I ask: ya think? …
Michael Tomasky with The Daily Beastargues that supply-side economics, as well as its ugly stepsister,Reaganomics, died on Election Day when Americans largely rejected the general economic platform of Mitt Romney in favor of a “middle-out” philosophy trumpeted by Barack Obama.
Tomasky makes a good case, but I would suggest that Americans began pulling the curtain on Reaganomics earlier in 2008. …
… I enjoy exploring questions in religion and philosophy because it’s intellectually stimulating. As a churchgoer, I used to compose whole essays about certain passages in theBible and how modern believers could find relevance from them and come away with some kind of moral lesson. I could still do this if I so desired.
Nowadays, I find that a better use of my time is to expound, not only on the many logical inconsistencies with the Judeo-Christian belief structure, but on the dangers of belief itself. And these are not just the intellectual perils. Religion has plenty of that to go around. No, I mean physical danger: parents who believe so much in prayer that they fail to take their sick children to the doctor when illness strikes, and when the kid inevitably succumbs to the illness, the words, “God‘s perfect plan,” shamefully spills from their lips; young men who fly planes into buildings for Allah and the promise of a reward in some long-hoped for paradise; Catholic priests who use the shroud of religion to coax small boys into back rooms of a sanctuary, strip away their innocence and then threaten them with more villainy if they say a word. And all of this just in modern times. This speaks nothing of the hundreds of years of oppression, violence, slavery and misery that religion has heaped on mankind, a misery that is flippantly and ludicrously explained away by the notion of original sin. …
Twas’ 11 days before Christmas, around 9:38
when 20 beautiful children stormed through heaven’s gate.
their smiles were contagious, their laughter filled the air. …
Since my responses were becoming a little long, I decided to make a new post to address a few of the comments I received on my criticism of “Twas’ 11 days before Christmas.” …
How to describe this “new wave” of hypersensitive, reactionary, dogmatic and witch-hunt brand of feminismthat has surfaced in the last year, with Ophelia Benson, Jen McCreight, Rebecca Watson and others carrying the banner? As I’ve said before, I think the term neofeminism is about right. …
Warren seems to be attempting to make a resurgence by taking advantage of the 10-year anniversary of the work’s publication, which outlines the five “purposes” that people, specifically Christians, have in life. He is releasing a new edition of the book with a couple new chapters and well as some accompanying links to extra audio and video content, no doubt hoping to add more millions of dollars to the surge of book sales (and related instructional material) that he got from the first publication. …
It’s not hyperbole to say it: One year ago today, we lost one of the most profound thinkers and eloquent writers the human species will ever know:
Here is a slideshow of some of my favorite fractals rendered in Apophysis or Manelbulb 3D. And I finally figured out the correct dimensions for the opening signature. Success! [Background music credit: The Album Leaf, "Wet the Day."]
As if I needed more books that I may never get around to reading:
The literature anthology at the top and “Perspective on Culture” were in the free bin. The others were no more than $4 apiece. Thank you, McKay Used Books, CDs, Movies, & More, and of course, my obscure reading tastes.
We’ll still call this year’s friendly reading competition an “office” read-off, even though Blake and I are unfortunately not in the same office anymore since I changed jobs in February and moved to another state. In any case, I’m way behind so far this year after getting a little bogged down in “Madison and Jefferson,” the review of which you can read here.
I’m at 3,265 pages so far this year, which I think is a little behind this point last year. He’s way above that, so yeah, the situation on my end is a bit grim at this point. I’m trusting that he might get bogged down later this year, but if things progress as they are right now, I will get smoked.
Here are the books I’ve finished thus far in 2012:
- “Grant” by Jean Edward Smith, 628 pages, finished late January (minus 200 pages read in 2011)
- “The Killer Angels” by Michael Shaara, 374 pages, finished Feb. 12
- “General Lee’s Army: From Victory To Collapse” by Joseph Glatthaar, 475 pages
- “This Mighty Scourge” by James McPherson, 272 pages
- “State of Denial” by Bob Woodward, 491 pages, finished April 2
- “The Greatest Show On Earth” by Richard Dawkins, 437 pages, started late March, finished May 13
- “Madison and Jefferson” by Andrew Burstein and Nancy Isenberg, 644 pages, started May 16, finished July 21
- “From the Temple to the Castle” by Lee Morrissey, 144 pages, started May 13, finished July 22
Total: 3,265 pages as of July 23.
I’m a little behind on the page count from last year at this time, but I’m pretty confident that I can have a strong rest of the year. “Madison and Jefferson,” which was very good, but to me, it was a bit longer than it needed to be and kind of dragged me down. I’m excited about the books that I have in the works.
Several members of the 7th, including Abolt, said this story is not only important in American history, but also a story that must be passed on.
A comma is used to separate two independent clauses (clauses containing a subject and verb). The last part of the sentence would only be a complete sentence if it read: “history, but it also is a story that must be passed on.”
Meadows expressed his thanks to the hundreds of people involved in the project, and said a burden had been lifted off his shoulders as a result of the home, which has three bedrooms, three bathrooms and a wrap-around deck.
For this to be a complete (in italics), the clause should have read “project, and he said a burden had been lifted …”
The CEO duties will be assumed by John R. Ingram, chairman of the division of Nashville-based conglomerate Ingram Industries Inc. that provides books, music and media content to more than 35,000 retailers, libraries, schools and distribution partners.
This is an example, along with the comma splice issue, that Yagoda mentioned specifically. Here, a comma is required after “Inc.” because a comma was used before “chairman.” An argument could be made that the word “that” continues the phrase through until the end of the sentence, but introducing Ingram as the chairman of Ingram Industries Inc. still requires a comma in the middle of the sentence to set off the attribution. Or, to avoid the problem altogether, the paragraph could read:
The CEO duties will be assumed by John R. Ingram, chairman of the division of Nashville-based conglomerate Ingram Industries Inc. The company provides books, music and media content to more than 35,000 retailers, libraries, schools and distribution partners.
Writers (and readers, I guess) apparently don’t have the attention span to follow the sentence throughout its entire construction, so they sometimes forget where previously placed commas occurred. This is easy to track in your head as you reread or edit a story, but problems such as this crop up time and time again. And for people who care about the language, it’s a distraction. As a colleague has often said, “Journalists are the keepers of the language.” That’s not to suggest that I won’t have typos myself, but the will for perfection is there. This is apparently not the case with many who haphazardly throw in or leave out commas seemingly at random.
By the way, I’m a big fan of banning commas before the word “because” in almost every case, except in cases where a comma could avoid confusion or misreading. Why is that? Nearly all sentences with “because” in the middle are essential clauses, thus taking no comma. Sentence that begin with “because” do take commas.
Call me a punctuation Nazi all you like.