Sunday, November 30, 2008

drunk over at de beers?

(As seen In my NY Times today, as part of the DB's holiday ad blitz.)

How dumb do they think you are?

Friday, November 28, 2008

so many language books

Books about English are a publishing industry mainstay. Yes, that is a little scary for me, author of a little ditty about spelling. The competition is fierce. On the other hand, it's reaffirming to know that so many authors and readers are eager to embrace, explore and celebrate English words in all their idiosyncratic glory. A quick scan of new titles not called Righting the Mother Tongue that might delight the logophile in your life:

, by the absurdly prolific and always entertaining David Crystal

Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue
, by John McWhorter

The Secret Life of Words
, by Henry Hitchings

Alphabet Juice
, by Roy Blount Jr.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

the friendnet

Sometimes the best thing about the Web is that just-right occasional find, accompanied by a sharp quip, forwarded by a friend you haven't heard from in a while. Here's one from Won in San Francisco, titled "Delicious Semiology."

"Sometimes, a photo captures the imagination with such concision and poetry, that words seem apologetic. If, as the cliche goes, a picture is worth a thousand words, then the attached photo bespeaks the narrative of two millenia. Note the sagging jowels and five o'clock shadow."

Thanks Won.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

You may have seen that Los Angeles recently ran a massive rehearsal for the Big One. The event reminds me of this terrorist attack simulation drill I took part in last year. Eerie and surreal.

Aside from the fact that this image of the fallen books reminds me of John Hersey's masterpiece, Hiroshima, I thought I'd use it to point out an impressive crowdsourcing project that some Palo Alto futurists have put together, code-named After Shock. Survived the earthquake? Congrats. Now how will you and your neighbors survive three weeks without electricity, water or transportation? Oh yeah, and the nearby fires are spreading.

Friday, November 14, 2008

a blue and yellow glimmer of hope

California voters approved a $10 billion bond measure to support a high-speed rail system connecting the state's major cities. It was, and remains, a bold move in dismal economic times. But this kind of long-view planning has the potential to slingshot the state into a brighter fiscal future. Well done CA. It's time now for the rest of the US to get on board. The latest country to push ahead with high-speed rail plans: Vietnam. A $33 billion project will cut travel time between the country's two biggest cities--Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh--from 32 hours to about 10. And of course, it will eliminate so many gazillions of auto emissions.