Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

David's Definitions for September 2008


(Will appear in the September 2008 issue of Community News)

An eponymous person is the person something is named after. For example, Hamlet is the eponymous protagonist of Shakespeare's play of the same name. Queen Victoria is the eponymous monarch who reigned during the Victorian age. Andrew Jackson is the eponymous American president whose political philosophy is known as Jacksonian Democracy. The practice of using a famous name to refer to something is ancient, but the word eponymous only dates to the middle of the 19th century. What's curious is that in recent times, the word has begun to be used to refer to the thing being named, instead of to the person. If opera singer John Hugevoice puts out a CD named John Hugevoice, you might hear the CD referred to as eponymous. But that's hugely wrong. It's the man who's eponymous, not the CD.

I'm collecting all of these at:

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Zombie Harmony

There really is a site for everyone on the Wonderful World Wide Web.

Even zombies looking for love.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

It's not an ethnic pejorative

It's the very odd nickname for a piece of electronic equipment.

For uncounted ages, a microphone was commonly called a mike. Some time during the last few years, everyone started spelling that short form mic. I don't know how that slipped by me. (It's my fault! I was asleep on guard duty!)

Why the change? It makes no sense. Mic should be pronounced mick, whereas mike is a sensible phonetic spelling. Did someone decree that mike was out out because the full word isn't spelled mikerophone? If that's the argument, then why don't people ride bics instead of bikes?

("Because if they did they'd risk getting burned in an awful place" is not an acceptable answer.)

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Every presidency begins with an affront to the Constitution

The presidential oath of office is specified in Article II, Section of the Constitution: "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

Article VI, Section 3 decrees that "[N]o religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States."

Yet we can be sure that whoever wins the upcoming election, on January 20, 2009, he will place his hand on a copy of the Bible (the press will make much of the history of that particular Bible; if the winner is Obama, rumors will circulate that a Koran was used instead) and will repeat the above oath, adding to the end of it, "so help me God," a phrase that the framers of the Constitution were careful not to include. The cheering of the crowds will drown out the sound of the Founding Fathers rolling over in their graves.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Countdown to the end of the world!

With the skeery Large Hadron Collider activation counter.

Except that the date they were assuming when they set that up turned out not to be the actual date for activation of the LHC and Destruction of THE WORLD! That was delayed. But stay tuned, because the counter will be updated. Thus you will be kept informed and will have time to get all your affairs in order.

On second thought, why would you bother?