Friday, April 30, 2010

Unlikely Animal Enfranchisement

Also, don't even get me started on alligators vs. crocodiles, sea lions vs. seals, or the whole monkey vs. ape vs. lemur kerfuffle. (Maybe it's really taxonomy I have a problem with. Also, all my friends.)

I can't wait until we can ruin Beatrice's trips to the zoo with our pedantic insistence on taxonomic minutiae. In the meantime at least we can decorate her room with these awesome

I was reminded of this one *(above) when just now I said to Beatrice, "Oh, look, do you want to play with your toy alligator? Well, technically, it's a crocodile."
*When I was in college I hung a small sign that read "Ceci n'est pas un sofa " above our futon. SPRING BREAK!


wherein it's all explained

Dev just sent me a post from one of my favorite blogs, Language Log, that deals with the aforementioned "begging the question" issue.


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Also, this one.

We, all of us, everyone, knows that "begging the question*" doesn't really mean what we all pretend it means.

* See footnote, though the entire post is well worth reading. Also, Alt85, you're awesome and I'm sorry to make an example out of you. It's just that I've spent more than a decade of my life saying, "...but that's begging the question. Well, not technically, but you know what I mean," and damn it, I wish I had those minutes of my life back.


Here are some things we never have to say again.

It's over! We all know! Everyone knows these things! So here are a list of observations no one ever has to make again.

1. The song "Isn't It Ironic?" by Alanis Morisette consistently misuses the word ironic.

2. The word homosexual is a lexicographic heteromorph.

3. Peanuts are not nuts.

4. Tomatoes are not vegetables.

5. Whales are not fish. Neither are starfish or jellyfish.

6. Pandas are not bears.

7. Spiders are not insects.

8. The plural of octopus is not octopuses; it's octopi.

9. The plural of octopus is not really octopi; it's octopuses.

10. The plural of octopus is not really octopuses; it's octopodes.

11. But really, it's octopuses.

12. The word data is plural; the singular is datum.

13. The North American buffalo is actually a bison.

14. Dolphins are not fish; they're legumes.


Thursday, April 22, 2010

Address to the GWC

My very short story "Address to the Greenville Senior Women's Club 35th Annual Pedigreed Dog Show by the Mystery Writer H.L. Lemontre" is up on Improbable Object.


Sunday, April 18, 2010

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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

From the files...

And speaking of crafts - these are a few years old now but I was looking through my old craft photos while working on a new set of party invitations and I found these "welcome baby" cards I made for Mina and Sandy when I was living in China (with limited crafting resources) and I really like them, so there you go. This is me feeling self-satisfied.

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CRAFT jumps the amigurumi shark?*

As Dev said when he sent this to me, "When will it stop?"

You can find out how to grow your own radishes in old manga here.

*Just kidding, CRAFT, I love you - and thank you for publishing me!

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Friday, April 09, 2010

Thank you, Costco


Monday, April 05, 2010

Let's not oversell it.

When you are selling a modestly desirable product or service, the best thing to do is to list that product's advantages and then maybe make it look 10-20% more exciting than it really is. What you do not want to do is try to make it look 300-400% more exciting than it really is. A little more sexiness, a little more oomph sells your product - a lot more sexiness, a lot more oomph makes your ad seem mocking and sarcastic.

Exhbit A: "When I grow up I want to be a CERTIFIED MEDICAL CODER!"

There is nothing wrong with being a certified medical coder. It's a useful job with flexible hours and generous pay. Studying to be a certified medical coder is a reasonable professional decision for many people. But here's the thing: no child has ever said "I want to be a certified medical coder when I grow up!"

Most people have ordinary jobs that pay the bills and hopefully provide them some degree of daily satisfaction. Most people do not have dream jobs and that's fine. Certified medical coder is no one's dream job. But by mentioning that fact in your ad, you're basically reminding potential students of all the better things they once longed to do and that hardly seems like the best way to drum up enthusiasm for your school.

Exhibit B: Awesometown*.

(Thanks to Daily Billboard for this photo.)

Valencia is a planned community about 40 miles north of Los Angeles, most notably home to the Six Flags Magic Mountain** amusement park. And doubtless there are some nice things about living in Valencia: low crime, good schools, affordable housing, plenty of parking.

What Valencia is not, however, is awesome. No one thinks Valencia is awesome. And so by calling Valencia "AWESOMETOWN" all you are doing is reminding people how utterly ordinary Valencia really is.

*Also should be "Awesometowne."

**No connection to Thomas Mann.


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Friday, April 02, 2010

storySouth Million Writers Award

Two of my short stories were included on this year's MWA notable list !

"Hospitality" and "Third Lesson" were both on the list for best short stories published online in 2009.

And thanks to Identity Theory and Wheelhouse for publishing them.

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