Tuesday, June 22, 2010

David’s Definitions for August 2010


Laughable, but in a negative sense. You wouldn't call a comedian's jokes risible if you liked them. If he was a painfully bad comedian, you could say that his attempt at comedy was risible. This is not a common word in modern English. It usually only shows up in pompously written book or movie reviews or political essays - the sort of thing written by people who can't see that their stuffy prose isn't admirable but is instead risible. The word appeared in English in the 1500s. Back then, it meant able to laugh, capable of laughing. By the 1700s, it had come to mean evoking laughter, laughable, but it didn't have a negative connotation yet. That's more modern. The root is the Latin word ridere, to laugh. Our word "deride" comes from the Latin combination de (down) combined with ridere. Someone who uses "risible" in ordinary speech is likely to encounter derision.

(Will be published in the August 2010 issue of Denver's Community News.)

I'm collecting all of these at:

Saturday, June 19, 2010

But doctors urge caution blah blah alcohol blah blah

Last night, TV news carried yet another story about the benefits of alcohol. This one concerned the new Dutch report of a correlation between moderate alcohol consumption and reduced risk of several types of arthritis.

After the teaser for that news item, I said to Leonore, “I bet they’ll quote doctors warning people solemnly about the dangers of alcohol.” Of course I was right. Doctors caution against blah blah blah. Because of course if they didn’t give us those warnings, we’d all rush out and drink ourselves into the gutter and divorce and bank robbery and liver failure.

I’ve seen articles about the benefits of tea and coffee, and those lacked solemn warnings against taking up tea and coffee drinking. Yet historically tea and coffee houses have led to far more revolution than alcohol ever did. Possibly to more social unrest and planning of bank robberies, too, but I lack solid data regarding those.

Only when it concerns alcohol does the medical establishment – or maybe it’s the medical journalism establishment – feel the need to moralize, the conviction that without their stewardship we’d all go to Hell. Twits.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Great review of Dawn Crescent

The book was published a few years ago, but this review seems to have just shown up on the Joe Bob Briggs Web site.

I’ve just reissued the book as an e-book via Smashwords, so I hope this will do some good.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Forgive my indignation

Latest version of the Nigerian scam came in e-mail today:

Compliments of the season

Forgive my indignation if this message comes to you as a surprise and may offend your personality for contacting you without your prior consent and writing through this channel. When I was searching for a foreign reliable partner I assured of your capability and reliability to champion this business opportunity. I Request you to partner with me in order to finish a transaction worth 18,500.000.00 USD and transfer from here to your country. Your share would be 30% of the mentioned amount above. If you are interested, then reply me with your Full Names,Address,Age,Occupation,Phone,fax/nofor instructions :

Monday, June 07, 2010

Interview version of the school dream

I have a phone interview scheduled for this afternoon. Last night, I dreamed that I had decided to call it off. No idea why; it’s one of those things that make sense inside the dream.

Because Leonore and I were planning to go for a walk, and because the company was located near our house (in the dream, not in the real world), I said let’s just walk over there and I’ll cancel the interview and not bother calling or e-mailing to do it. We left the house with me wearing jeans, a t-shirt, and flip-flops with white socks. Yes, the socks made that uncomfortable. Leonore said, “Maybe you should wear business clothes, just in case someone there wants to talk to you.” I said, “Nah, I’ll just tell the receptionist.”

The actual company is small and headquartered here. The dream version was a minor branch of an international giant. Fancy waiting room full of suited people filling out application forms. I identified myself to the receptionist, who immediately pulled out a bunch of forms for me to fill in and said that as long as I was there, they’d just do the interview in person.

Cowed, I said nothing, went to a seat between two men in suits and ties, and started filling out the application form. Leonore was right, I thought. I should have worn business clothes.

It was really cold in there, too.

And then the dream ended. I bet I got an F in the course.