Friday, January 7, 2011

Untitled, Again . . .


Last night I stayed up later than usual to watch a fascinating movie. It was titled Starting Out In The Evening and starred Frank Langella. Fascinating is not really the word to describe my reaction to this film, but it'll have to do for now.


Ellie Garratt is a writer who lives in Southwest England. Her blog is one I have bookmarked and one I frequently visit. Not because she writes as I write (Good God, no) but because she does not write as I write. She is so painfully young. Much of the writing by young people, I find, is both boring and often atrocious. Why then do I read Ellie's blog? Because I have found that I can learn from her. Her delightfully open mind is often frequently exposed (laid bare) by her charming choice of simple words and by her easily understood phrasing. Ellie fascinates me.


Wikipedia's List of Common Misconceptions is a good site to stay away from. It might make you begin to doubt the 'truths' you have always believed in. Such as:

In ancient Rome, there was no wide-spread practice of self-induced vomiting after meals, and Romans did not build rooms called vomitoria in which to purge themselves after a meal. Vomitoria were tunnels underneath the seats of a stadium, through which crowds entered and exited.


Searing meat does not "seal in" moisture, and in fact may actually cause meat to lose moisture. Generally, meat is seared to create a brown crust with a rich flavor via the Maillard reaction.


As hard as it might be for you to accept, sugar does not cause hyperactivity in children. Double-blind trials have shown no difference in behavior between children given sugar-full or sugar-free diets, even in studies specifically looking at children with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder or those considered "sensitive" to sugar. The difference in behaviour proved to be psychological.

There are a helluva lot more. So, if you have a few hours to spare, you might want to take look at the list.


Are birds falling from the sky examples of pareidolia, eschatology, or something else?

Even bats are falling dead in Tucson, Arizona.

Natural phenomenon? Nefarious, covert scientific experimentation? Or perhaps some government conspiracy?


Word Of The Year

American Dialect Society
2010 Words of the Year
NOMINATIONS to be voted on by
the American Dialect Society
Jan. 7, 2011, Pittsburgh


How much do you know about bedbugs? How much do you want to know There is a fairly comprehensive article about these creatures for the curious reader (like me.) Below is the first paragraph:

Bedbugs never went away. DDT gave them a hard time in the 1940s and for years afterwards, until Rachel Carson’s campaigns outlawed it, but resistant strains survived. Other insecticides -- synthetic organophosphates and pyrethroids -- have come and gone, but none has been a challenge for the bugs’ versatile genomes. Blood is their only food. The bug explores the skin of its victim with its antennae. It grips the skin with its legs for leverage, raises its beak, and plunges it into the tissues. It probes vigorously, tiny teeth at the tip of the beak tearing the tissues to forge a path until it finds a suitable blood vessel. A full meal takes 10 to 15 minutes. A hungry bug is squat and flat like a lentil. When replete, its distension shapes it like a long berry. A bug will feed weekly from any host that is handy.


To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism.
To steal from many is research.

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