Con-fuschias says…


No, not really. Confucius says:

A man who has committed a mistake
and doesn’t correct it
is committing another mistake.

{ via Quotes of the Day on twitter }

So contextually adapted, the Ancient Chinese wisdom is this: No blame will be apportioned to those who misspell and make typos, for it happens to us all (and some are too busy to proof, and some just don’t know ‘their’ from ‘there’). But those who recognise said error — and just leave it there to fester — are guilty of editorial negligence and ought to be ashamed of themselves.

PS. Is it terribly wrong that in my mind, ‘Confucius’ looks less like this…

{ via Pegasus News }

…and more like this?

{via and Rolawn }

Err, yes, that’s Con[man]…fuschias.
What can I say? A rebus is a terrible thing to waste.

* Post-it photo — and the Post-it party from whence it came — courtesy of my sister.

Shrove Tuesday: The fowl truth

Shrove Tuesday, it would seem, is not just about atonement, pancakes and merriment:

{ Oxford English Dictionary Online }

Let us not forget that this is also day for flogging roosters and gifting hens:

{ Oxford English Dictionary Online }

How very glad I am that times have changed.
Pancakes are such a victimless treat.

PS. Lard by any other name… Shrove Tuesday is, of course, Mardi Gras. Fat Tuesday. And no prizes for guessing why: in Hawaii and Lithuania it’s a feast-before-fast of donuts; in German American communities, fried potato dough with corn syrup (hmm, wholesome); in Sweden, pastry filled with marzipan and cream; in Iceland, salt meat and peas (?)… [ Wikify for more detail ]. Of course, if you have theistic reasons for marking the occasion, all that Gras has to keep you going through until Easter-Egg Sunday.

{ Pancakes via Toronto Island Community }

Polarity, Bipolarity and Sea butterflies

I’m backtracking here, but within the bounds of last week, I encountered two completely unrelated items, united by their bipolarity:

Exhibit A: Your OED Word Of The Day is… Meronym

A word denoting the midpoint between two polar opposites. As in North Pole> Equator <South Pole*.

More importantly, the OED WOTD came several days before Exhibit B…

Exhibit B: Odd, identical species found at both poles:

{ National }

And yes, that would be ‘species’ plural. At least 234 species have been found to exist in both the Arctic and the Antarctic. Which in technical terms (if high school Biology and Wikipedia serve me correctly) means that a Limacina helicina from the Arctic could mate with a Limacina helicina from the Antarctic (supposing they found some way to consummate such a very long-distance relationship), to produce fertile offspring. Take that, established theories of biogeography!


Exhibit A and Exhibit B lead me to wonder firstly, whether last week’s recency illusion really was working towards the theme of ‘polarity’ (or if it was just me); and secondly, where the baby Arctic/Antarctic sea butterflies** would live. Certainly not in Kenya

…that’s for sure.

* Or as in Hungry> Satiated <Full…  Happy> Meh <Sad…  Awake> Daydreaming <Asleep… MSNBC> CNN <FOX.  I realise the OED would never punctuate it like this, but it seems so right that it can’t hurt to do so.

** Sea butterflies? How lovely. Actually, I think whoever wrote the Wiki entry for Limacina did a particularly charming job: …The shells of these sea butterflies are well developed, sinistrally coiled, turret-like and unpigmented”

Friday [spoon]feed treats: ALL NEW Silhouette Masterpiece Theatre!

(Not to mention Dandy-Lion, Seal Clubbing and Hiber-Nation.)

I really do love Silhouette Masterpiece Theatre. And here’s proof: my interface with the internet this morning proceeded thusly…

  1. Plug computer IN. Turn computer ON.
  2. Firefox: click. Hi there, CNN! Fun before news. iGoogle: click.
  4. Tweet accordingly.
  5. Change fakebook status accordingly.
  6. Send emails to potentially interested parties.
  7. Blog.

Well done, Friday. I like the way you’re doing things.

Related posts: Idiom Masterpiece: Two birds, One stone

Being a Snark (and some shameless self-promotion)

Word Nerds of the Web, Unite!

Why The Internet Could Be the Best Thing That Ever Happened To The English Language: Online epiphanies of an inveterate grammar snarkBy Olivia McDowell.


Snarks are not alone. Hence the above article (read it all here), which I wrote last year as part of my Online Journalism course. And now my little rant has been published in No·men·cla·ture, the online fruit of that course, and I feel duty bound to spread the word: Snark is cool! So please, read on.

Haters of lolcats and lovers of grammatical perfection, you will not be disappointed.

A bit more about snark…

  • The word ‘snark’ — which began life as a portmanteau (snide + remark) — now also refers to a nark (informer) with snarking tendencies: see detailed etymology here.

  • Lewis Carroll — widely credited with having invented the portmanteau during Alice’s second trip, Through The Looking Glass — also wrote the fabulous nonsense poem, The Hunting of the Snark.

  • It’s been said that Snark is the language of losers. Witless, angry, petulent and belittling. That it wishes it were Jon Stewart (who is just awesome, by the way), when it fact it’s more like, well, Bill O’Reilly.

  • To me, a snark is someone with a pedantic eye for detail, and a penchant for picking out minor details — right or wrong — then waffling on about them for no other reason than pure self-indulgence. A snark is cheerily particular: specific, but never angry.

  • ‘Snark’ is also another name for the Irony Mark (؟).

Sh*t (disemvowelling in action)

Disemvowel (v.)

  1. To hack the vowels out of a written expletive and replace them with asterisks, thereby rendering said expletive less offensive, while not expurgating it entirely. Most commonly employed in the moderation of discussion boards and blog comments, to assuage the censorphobia of potty-mouthed commenters, and leave shrinking violet blog readers with their delicate sensitivities intact.

    There are even guidelines for bloggers on the moderator’s rights and responsibilities re: disemvowelling user comments and the like (recently updated). I must admit that I don’t understand those who take umbrage at being disemvowelled. If the reader has enough imagination to fill in the asterisks, then the asterisks will have next to no effect. And as for readers who lack that imagination (ie: the very, very young), who would object to protecting their innocence?

  2. To write txt mssgs wtht vwls, thereby saving time and mkng shrtr txts. As demonstrated, this form of disemvowelling is far more irritating than it is useful.

  3. To talk like a Kiwi. Contrary to popular belief, New Zealanders don’t say “fush and chups”, they say “fsh n chps”. Think about it: you know I’m right.


Not so gory after all.

Happy Darwin Day!

{ via Students For Freethought }

To kill an error is as good a service as, and sometimes even better than, the establishing of a new truth or fact.
— Charles Darwin

Was he referring to his own task correcting an errant belief in Lamarkian evolution — or to the need to proof his own thesis drafts? Either way, I thank Mr Darwin, on the bicentenary of his birth, for reminding me that ‘proofreader’ is a fine and worthy career aspiration.

Happy belated Darwin Day!

Home again, Home again.

Not surprisingly, the snow was too much fun. I’m hardly ashamed to say that  when it comes to trawling the intermesh and sifting out the good bits, I’d rather glide knee-deep through champagne powder, surrounded by a swift-moving miasma of snowflake-shaped snowflakes.

That said, the intermesh did spawn some pretty neat stuff while I was otherwise occupied with colder things. Which just means that I’ve come home to a fresh backlog of intricate online oddments. And lacking the time or inclination to blog at length about all of them, here is a condensed version. Condensed as in milk: sweeter and denser, and thusly suitable only for direct ingestion (NOT as a coffee additive).

  • Kumi Yamashita via Fubiz

    Profile, 1994. the number and alphabet blocks, lit from the left, cast a silhouette of a man’s profile.

    Exclamation Point, 1995. (A shadowy interrobang).

  • Yes We Kern.

    { by Stefano Joker Lionetti on Behance Network }

    And yes, I spent January 20 in a frenzy of Inauguration Watching. That is to say, a frenzy of lying on the sofa watching CNN (falling in love with Anderson Cooper and laughing at the doom-and-gloom on FOX), eating Reece’s Pieces, drinking Krug champagne, cooing over the new first family, and generally celebrating the momentousness of the occasion, the American-ness of the day, and the luck of my being in such (relatively) close proximity to it all.

  • The Cardboard Kitchen on The Trendy Girl:

    As if I needed another reason to crave stationery supplies.

  • Alphabird by Marcus Fisher, the dust breeder.

    (It’s a black capped chickadee)

  • To Do: Post-it notes left to their fate in public places.

    This one was affixed to the window of a DVD store).

    I really enjoy post-it notes. And I wish someone would litter my daily path with meaningfully-placed memos.

  • PANTONE® T-Shirts from Gap { via lintcoat and notcot }.

    And we all know how much I like PANTONE® stuff.

  • We also know how much I like paperclips:

    { Destination Seoul: Fairytale Bookmark Set by Jin Sun Suh at the MoMA store }

  • I confess, I really like this Christoph Niemann manifesto:
    (Click thru for less squinting/more detail).

    … but nowhere near as much as I love (and identify with) Mr Niemann’s observations on coffee

    (click thru for more, including a very astute graph on coffee preference/bagel fancying).

    …and his incredibly witty retelling of New York, in lego:

    You don’t need to have been to NY to love (lego) this. I haven’t, and I do. Thanks ultimately to FFFFOUND! for directing me towards this. I suggest you immediately RSS Niemann’s Abstract City blog for the NY Times. It’s awesome.

  • Save your page.

    Print your own ‘Save’ bookmark by icoeye { via Inspire me, now! }. Go ahead, it’s free! And look, it’s being demonstrated in a book of Magritte prints! Doubly wonderful.

  • And… February 6 was Semicolon Day in Sweden.

    { via Below The Clouds }

    Pause for celebration?