josh blog

Ordinary language is all right.

One could divide humanity into two classes:
those who master a metaphor, and those who hold by a formula.
Those with a bent for both are too few, they do not comprise a class.

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16 Aug '12 12:57:58 AM

Emerson begins keeping a journal (Jan. 25, 1820) while at school; his first entry is a little burst of epideixis, running down the tropes of benefit and purpose and genre and issuing formulaic entreaties to fantastic, mythical, imaginary, or elemental figures cast mainly as sources of the writing he will do. It's fitting that he identifies two of the journal's purposes—a record of reading and an aid to memory—as being 'usually comprehended under that comprehensive title Common Place book', since nearly the whole entry is populated by commonplaces. But the other specific purpose he identifies is attractively plain: 'a record of new thoughts (when they occur)'.

15 Aug '12 06:26:44 PM

Sidewalk sign, outside an insurance firm: 'Let us quote you!'

15 Aug '12 05:10:31 PM

Or a computer programmer, using it as a verb.

15 Aug '12 05:10:00 PM

You shouldn't need to say 'unquote', ever, unless you're an editor or talking to one.

15 Aug '12 09:20:14 AM

I hate it when people try to read quote marks aloud.

15 Aug '12 12:55:50 AM

'Let us consider the praying mantis, a formidable, voracious insect. These creatures have a nature fascinating to many people. Mating is part of their self-realization, but some males are eaten when performing the act of copulation. Is he happy; is he having pleasure? We don't know. Well done if he does!'

13 Aug '12 09:27:33 PM

'I asked him if he ever wished to write his thoughts. He said that he had read and written letters for those who could not, but he never tried to write thoughts, —no, he could not, he could not tell what to put first, it would kill him, and then there was spelling to be attended to at the same time!'

12 Aug '12 10:53:33 PM

Hollering and children go together.

If you don't holler much you will learn to when you have kids.

12 Aug '12 09:33:14 PM

Charitably, one might think of a speaker's attachment to his script, to the paper resting on the podium, in terms of a wish to let him put forth only his best thoughts.

But one might also think about unscripted conversation, real talking, in terms of our wish to hear his best thoughts, and not the best thoughts that someone or other came up with before appearing before us in the guise of the author of a paper.