31 October 2009

Winter is here

Modest Celebration for Strunk and White

If you have anything to do with writing -in English, anyway- then you are familiar with Strunk and White's The Elements of Style. It is celebrating its 50th birthday. Or anniversary. Or whatever you celebrate for a book. Mark Garvey has written a tribute to it in The Wall Street Journal (Yes, occasionally I read the red-state rag). You should read it.
Strunk and White perennially remind writers to observe common rules of punctuation and syntax; to be mindful of structure and prefer succinctness to flabbiness; to aim for prose that is concrete, active and clear; and to be sensitive to current word usage. The last chapter of Elements, "An Approach to Style," caps the book's argument beautifully by offering a handful of sensible truths about how writers might achieve a style and voice all their own.

Garvey also points out how odd it is that The Elements of Style, invariably referred to as 'Strunk and White', gets up the nose of snooty academics. Not me, of course. I have it setting on my shelf.

I should read it someday.


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30 October 2009

There goes our Representative Again...

... making Tarheels so proud. Here she is saying something remarkably stupid.

She is even garnering national attention for our fair state. Here is the quote from the Washington Monthly where I got the link.

"Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) has a habit of saying remarkably dumb things."

Oddly, the folks in her home county of Watauge, who know her best, voted for the other guy.

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25 October 2009

Without Comment

Thanks to Andrew Sullivan.

24 October 2009

More Viking Metal

At the request of Big Brother, the Old One, I checked this video.

Nice music. A little Gailic-Norse Rock.

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23 October 2009

Medieval Noir

No, I didn't know there was a medieval version of Sam Spade, nor did I know that murder mystery novels now have movie trailers.

But take a look.

a medievalist I know tore the historical accuracy of this little film to shreds. Oh well.

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21 October 2009

"Toto, we're not in Europe anymore"

Or something like that. The Clemens household is all abuzz with plans for Halloween, mostly revolving around a 'Wizard of Oz' theme. Since I couldn't find a Winkie costume I am thinking of going to the annual History Dept. Gala Halloween Extravaganza and Costume Ball as ... Clemens.

To change the topic back to what the post is really about (what... where are my spectacles .... zzz ... oh!)


It is not Europe. Andrew Sullivan, a non-American American wanna-be has a riposte to Pat Buchanan's latest declaration of the Unbearable Whiteness of Being America, has this to say (along with several other things worth reading):
The English, lulled by their marination in American pop culture from infancy, and beguiled by the same language, can live out their days in this country never actually noting that it is an alien land - stranger than you might have ever imagined, crueler than you realized, but somehow also more inspiring than you ever thought possible. This is the America I am trying to make my home, after 25 years. It is not the America of Pat Buchanan's or John Derbyshire's fantasies.

Derbyshire's latest controversy is due to his claiming giving women the right to vote was a 'bad thing.'

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Medieval news flash!

Vikings could sing.

Of course, they were into Heavy Metal.

ha. bet you thought this was just one more cheap trick to get you to watch this.

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18 October 2009

R. Crumb, r.i.p... ooops

Honest, I thought he was dead. R. Crumb. How many of you remember him? He was an underground comic artist of the late 60s-70s and a very strange man. (See this bio-pic if you have any doubts about that!). His artwork was splendid - he only drew in sharp black and white using India ink in a Rapidograph pen (my hero!).

While I have to admit to a certain influence on the budding Clemens' barely post adolescent mind, many critics have "denounced Crumb's work as socially degrading and emotionally immature misogynistic pornography!" (from a web page devoted to his work)

So imagine my surprise when I see in today's Washington Post that the man has illustrated a complete, unexpurgated, literal, word for word version of the book of Genesis. Complete unto every last 'begot'! Don't know if it is a work of reverence, love, or irony, but there is no doubt that it will be regarded as a work of art.

If you go into that sort of thing.

and I certainly do. Keep on truckin'.

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17 October 2009

Doggy heroism

Watch this little video of a dog trying to save another dog that has been hit by a car.

(I got the link from Andrew Sullivan who makes the observation that the blogger who posts it should chill out about the meaning for religion: Francis of Assisi knew all about this. )

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04 October 2009

Ahmadinejad's family Jewish?

I don't know what to make of this report claiming that Ahmadinejad of Iran's family actually were Jewish and changed their name when they converted.

File it under 'interesting, if true.'

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02 October 2009

A 'Conservative' way to translate

Some conservatives are unhappy with the way the Bible is translated. Here's the whole argument at Conservapedia. Now I thought translating should be a straightforward process of establishing the best text in the original language, and then trying to come up with the most accurate translation, this being the Word of God. I thought it was only liberals who wanted to take lines out of the Good Book, especially some of Paul's more ferocious sentiments.

As usual, I was wrong. Here are three examples of what Conservapedia has in mind:

First Example - Liberal Falsehood

The earliest, most authentic manuscripts lack this verse set forth at Luke 23:34:[6]

Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing."

Is this a liberal corruption of the original? This does not appear in any other Gospel, and the simple fact is that some of the persecutors of Jesus did know what they were doing. This quotation is a favorite of liberals but should not appear in a conservative Bible. [So we should ditch anything that appears in only one Gospel? Interesting - Clemens]

Second Example - Dishonestly Shrewd

At Luke 16:8, the NIV describes an enigmatic parable in which the "master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly." But is "shrewdly", which has connotations of dishonesty, the best term here? Being dishonestly shrewd is not an admirable trait.

The better conservative term, which became available only in 1851, is "resourceful". The manager was praised for being "resourceful", which is very different from dishonesty. Yet not even the ESV, which was published in 2001, contains a single use of the term "resourceful" in its entire translation of the Bible. [ I suppose it would be foolish to ask what the Greek term is - Clemens]

Third Example - Socialism

Socialistic terminology permeates English translations of the Bible, without justification. This improperly encourages the "social justice" movement among Christians.

For example, the conservative word "volunteer" is mentioned only once in the ESV, yet the socialistic word "comrade" is used three times, "laborer(s)" is used 13 times, "labored" 15 times, and "fellow" (as in "fellow worker") is used 55 times. ['Laborer' and 'labored' are Socialistic? Also interesting, but what does the Greek say - Clemens]

Once upon a time, barley 50 minutes from where I live, a preacher was so incensed at a new translation of the Bible that he tried to burn one in public. When he couldn't get it started he said "Just like the Devil, he won't burn either!" Burning Bibles of any variety would seem to be a slippery slope.

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