Marital Status

I keep opening this book and gems keep falling out.

marital status can be relevant, but no more so for women than for men; if you are doing a profile or takeout on someone, such things are part of the total picture along with her skill at snooker and his superb lemon pies, but avoid gratuitous references like the group is led by Hortense Hamhoks, a divorcee; the rule of thumb is that if you wouldn’t make the reference for a man, don’t make it for a woman; see: SEXISM

Smooth lillies and gilt rainbows

The Toronto Star Stylebook has more to teach me.

It seems that “gilding the lily” is a broken telephone excerpt from Shakespeare’s King John. The actual and perpetually misquoted passage is: “To gild refined gold, to paint the lily“.

As the Stylebook puts it:

gilding the lily is not only overworked, it’s wrong. The quote, from King John, is, ‘To gild refined gold, to paint the lily‘ cited by Shakespeare as examples of wretched excess.”

Here is the full thought on “double pomp” from King John:

To guard a title that was rich before,
To gild refined gold, to paint the lily,
To throw a perfume on the violet,
To smooth the ice, or add another hue
Unto the rainbow, or with taper-light
To seek the beauteous eye of heaven to garnish,
Is wasteful and ridiculous excess.

I think The Bard might agree though, that to explore rainbows, and discover they contain colours beyond easy counting — and beyond us — now that may be a noble and humbling pursuit. See: Radiolab on Colors, and Why the Sky Isn’t Blue

mantis_shrimpMantis shrimp, photo by ursanate/flickr-CC-BY-2.0. This little guy has 16 color receptors. I bet he could write a heck of a poem about rainbows.

“It can be hard to remember what one’s anticipatory image of something was once you’re on the other side. I’m no longer sure exactly what it was I was waiting for, but I do know that it was something wholly unfamiliar and thrilling. Like a new color. Not a mixture, no trace of blue or yellow or red. What would that look like? I have some basic understanding about light — how it can only be broken down and refracted into its seven constituent hues — and even though I know that the physical world makes the existence of such a thing basically impossible, I’d still really like to see that.”

~David Rakoff, in Don’t Get Too Comfortable

Me too David. Me too. Though I am happy with violets unperfumed and lillies unpainted. And when it comes to colour, I’m deferring to the shrimp.

The Toronto Star defines “gay”, in 1983.

Over Christmas a friend of mine gave me a copy of The Toronto Star’s Stylebook from 1983. I started paging through it yesterday. Wherein I learned a new word for stripperecdysiast (from ecdysis, the process of a snake shedding its skin) — and a deeper definition for the word echelon (a military formation where one unit is ahead and to the right of the next one back).

They also have this entry on use of the word gay, a linguistic before-picture. The last line is my favourite.
gay and gays are not yet permitted terms for homosexuals; it is true that homosexuals do refer to themselves as gay, and there is a distinguishable gay community, so the word is in common use; but it’s still not quite accetable to the majority of people who think gay, with its connotation of carefree joy, has been usurped; so don’t, at least not yet, use the word in copy outside of quotes or — and this, admittedly, poses problems — in headlines either; and consider, finally, whether your subject’s sexual orientation is relevant anyway.

You sing your carols, I’ll sing mine.

The first person ready to go in full scarves and mittens at the front door reserves the right to sing distracting songs while the second person scurries around looking for wallets and socks and keys.

There were flurries in Toronto this morning (w00t!!!), so I thought it fitting to sing something “seasonal”. In category, if not spirit. ; )

See this morning’s impromptu lyrical genius below. Sung to the tune of “Winter Wonderland”. If you can’t make the lyrics fit, you’re not squooshing them hard enough.

“In the meadow you will build me a snowman
And I’ll check to make sure you did it right
If you didn’t, I’ll be very an-gry
And teach you about the importance of symmetrical spheres.

Later on, you’ll be cryin’
But it’s meee who’ll be dyin.
Cuz you didn’t do it properly
And I’m ashamed to be seen with you
Walkin’ in a winter wonderland.”

ETA: Husband’s reaction? “Oh yeah, you’re definitely not allowed to have kids.”

What lies abajo

When I did spanish language layouts, the word for beneath (abajo) seeped into my brain. (Photo captioning).

Which just paid off, when I understood (without translation) my sister’s response to my question: “Si un capybara no es un carpincho, y cae en el bosque, ¿hace ruido?”

Her reply?: “Si hay un mono abajo, si”.

Qué manera de morir.

How to decomission a super sekkrit agency, 101.

There must be a class at scriptwriting school. Where you get to write a “super secret government agency has a committee meeting where they shut down a disastrously failed super secret project” scene.

I wanna take that class.

Buffy Season 4: Primeval

CLOSE ON WARD (the “suit” from the Ep. 20 teaser) sitting at the head of the conference table. He reports to an assemblage of SHADOWY SUIT HIGHER-UPS. Everything is quiet, no movement – in contrast to the intercut images of carnage and such.

This was an experiment. The Initiative represented the government’s interest in not only controlling the Otherworldly Menace, but in harnessing its power for our own military purposes. It is the considered opinion of this council that the experiment has failed.

Maggie Walsh’s vision was brilliant, but ultimately insupportable. The demons cannot be harnessed, cannot be controlled.

It is therefore our recommendation that this project be terminated, and all records concerning it expunged. The soldiers will be debriefed, standard confidentiality clause. Civilians will be monitored, and we have the usual measures prepared should they try to go public. We don’t think they will.

The Initiative itself will be filled in with concrete. Burn it down, gentlemen. Burn it down and salt the earth.

Bourne Identity

MARSHALL at the head of the table. A cadre of INTEL HONCHOS.

The Treadstone project has actually already been terminated. It was designed primarily as a sort of advanced game program…

ABBOTT in the hot seat. ZORN right there beside him.

…We’d hoped it might build into a good training platform, but quite honestly, for a strictly theoretical exercise, we thought it was far too expensive. The cost-benefit ratio was just too high. It’s been all but decommissioned at this point.

If my day job(s) ever fall through, I’m going to write these.

Scanning my spam folder before I dump it, I once again can’t help but notice that the subject lines of my porn-based spam are surprisingly woman-pleasure-centric.

A few examples:

  • “Want to see her happy tears?”
  • “Did she say that she loves you?”
  • “Your insatiable chick will be full of pleasure”
  • “Your hot-rod will bring happiness” (<-that’s sort of beautiful.  I think it’s the alliteration.)
  • “Dream to be a hero in her bed?”
  • “She comes so easily now”

And my personal favourite (of all time?):

  • “Wizard of her amorous dreams.”

“Hey baby?  If we’ve got time tonight, do you want to be the wizard of my amorous dreams?”

Yep.  That works.

Unrelated and a propos of nothing

I think that “belly” may be one of my favourite words.



Can you say “belly” and be in a foul mood? I mean, when I’m in a foul mood, I am pretty committed to it. And still, I wonder. If were to say “belly” whenever I was angry…

My love for this word has unfortunate consequences for a friend of mine. As I regularly message her during the day with little nonsensical rhymes on her name.

Her name is Michelle. So while she is at work, diligently managing her team and solving big consequential problems, she regularly gets little “boop-beeps” as a chat window opens up with “Shmolelly lelly bo belly!”, or “Felly felly molelly banana shmelly belly!” or possibly “Mashalelly chellypants belly!”

Notice a theme?

This would be an appropriate moment for you to be thankful you’re not on my chat list. 😉

Clarity of speech to make it does.

I’m toying with the idea of taking some continuing-ed copy-editing courses.

Researching my options, I am browsing the course catalogue at a reputable university (which shall remain nameless), when I find this.

This is the /first line/ in the description of their copy-editing course:

“Copy editors edit above all to communicate to readers.”

Do they?  How many copy editors were harmed in the construction of that sentence?