Horace and Me, subtitled Life lessons from an Ancient Poet, is a recent book by Harry Eyres (Farrar, Strauss & Giroux, 2013) about his efforts to connect the dots of his modern life to meaning via the ancient circuitry of a classical Latin poet. It attracted me because these past few years I have been . . . → Read More: Scripturient: Horace and him. And maybe me, too.
On the desk of every writer, every reporter, every editor, every PR director and every communications officer is a small library of reference books. A good dictionary (Oxford, American Heritage, Merriam Webster, Random House but gods forbid, never a ge… . . . → Read More: Scripturient: Fowler for the 21st Century
I spent my years learning French in Highschool(and now forgotten). Now with double the disappointment as I realize how word-awesome German is. Consider this small list: Weltschmerz – world weariness. Schadenfreude – a feeling of enjoyment that comes from seeing or hearing about the troubles of other people Backpfeifengesicht – It describes someone who you […] . . . → Read More: Dead Wild Roses: A Word for Everything – German Envy – “Politikverdrossenheit”
Type crime is the term author Ellen Lupton uses in her book, Thinking With Type, to describe egregiously bad typography. That description came to mind as I perused the latest fluff mailer from our MP; the so-called “Tax Guide.” So-called be… . . . → Read More: Scripturient: Type Crimes and Taxes
Yes, it is best to be cordial, courteous, friendly and respectful, and to avoid harsh words and harsh speech, generally speaking. But when it comes to confronting power, when it comes to addressing the power elite and their willing vassals, servants, p… . . . → Read More: Writings of J. Todd Ring: Confronting Evil: Not with a bang, but a whimper? Neither, I say
I suppose it’s crotchety of me, but whenever I hear the term “herbal tea” used to refer to an infusion of leaves or fruits that contains no actual tea, I get shirty. They’re actually not tea at all, they’re tisanes, a plea… . . . → Read More: Scripturient: Teas or Tisanes?
People say that what we’re all seeking is a meaning for life. I don’t think that’s what we’re really seeking. I think that what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the physical pl… . . . → Read More: Scripturient: Myth and Meaning
Spoiler alert: the secret to writing well is…. (insert drum roll)… writing. Writing a lot. Every day. Every possible minute you can spare. Writing and writing more and then writing even more. But doing so within a pre-specified limit. Oops̷… . . . → Read More: Scripturient: The Secret to Good Writing
The Washington Post has started the apocalypse. Yes, they have. And the whole world is about to go to hell in the proverbial handbasket because of it. The maw of Hell has opened… The Post has decided after decades – centuries? – of e… . . . → Read More: Scripturient: Grammatical Hell in a Handbasket
After watching Collingwood council meetings on Rogers again, I felt I should re-post a link to a piece I first wrote several years ago, then again in 2014, then re-wrote in April of this year: Me, myself and I Every time I watched the meetings, I als… . . . → Read More: Scripturient: Moved by myself…
I share one of Steven Pinker’s passions: I like to read style books, grammar books, language books. To me, they’re like literary chemistry sets. When I was young, getting a chemistry set for Christmas or a birthday opened a whole world to … . . . → Read More: Scripturient: A Sense of Pinker’s Style
Heroes, it sometimes seems, have been relegated to legend and myth. There are none left, none of the sort I used to associate with the name. Not in the media, anyway. The word has been so abused in the media over the last century, tossed about in such a cavalier manner that it has lost . . . → Read More: Scripturient: Where Have The Real Heroes Gone?
I never read The Decameron in any original, or complete translation. I have a bowdlerized edition I read in part some time ago, perhaps the 1970s. I recall seeing an art film based on the book, in the 1970s (directed Pier Pasolini). But I can’t recall it in any detail, except that it was subtitled. . . . → Read More: Scripturient: Boccaccio’s Decameron
The Venereal Game is the provocative subtitle of James Lipton’s 1968 classic, An Exaltation of Larks (reprinted in 1977, and later expanded in the 1993 “ultimate” edition). Venereal, in this sense, comes from venery which in turn comes from the Latin venari, to hunt or pursue, rather from the sexual connotation.* The collective nouns in much of . . . → Read More: Scripturient: The Venereal Game
I was surprised to read a recent piece in the New York Post that suggests a poem I have long loved was actually not what I thought it was about. It was one of those epiphanies that made me reassess my attitude not only towards the poem but towards what I had assumed it meant. . . . → Read More: Scripturient: The Road Not Taken
PHOTOS: An offensive symbol on the front of a Canadian truck, right here in Alberta. The Old Copy Editor reminds readers that this is not the Stars ’n’ Bars. Below: HMCS Iroquois back in the day when she still had a gun on her foredeck. The Old Copy Editor reminds readers that there is no . . . → Read More: Alberta Politics: Memo from The Old Copy Editor: The offensive flag in question is not ‘the Stars ‘n’ Bars’
Last term, when council sent out community newsletters to keep residents informed, the illiterati screamed these were ‘propaganda’ and a waste of tax dollars.* Now this council has done the same thing and these nattering nabobs of negativity have raised their voices and screamed… nothing. Their silence is deafening. Well, they wouldn’t want to embarrass . . . → Read More: Scripturient: Propaganda?
Four hundred years after he wrote them, we still use in everyday speech the many words and phrases Shakespeare coined. He gave us so many, it would be difficult, if not impossible, to list them all here. But two words he wrote have stopped us dead: prenzie and scamels. What do they mean? Were they . . . → Read More: Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Prenzie Scamels
I’m not a graphic designer. I was not formally educated in that art. However, over the years, my jobs in editing and writing for books, newspapers, magazines and publishers have required me to learn the rudiments of layout, typography and design. I am the first to admit my design talent is merely adequate. Despite that, . . . → Read More: Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Bad Designs
At Collingwood Council meetings, you will always hear someone say “Moved by myself…” when presenting a motion at the table.* Argh! Where did these people go to school? Clearly our education system has failed us if people were raised to say that. And this is in the public record, too. To me it’s like nails . . . → Read More: Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Me, Myself and I Redux
I listen to classical music a lot, even more than before since the arrival of the new classical FM station in Collingwood. But while my listening at home is through a selected collection of CDs, the content played on radio – internet radio included – is more eclectic. Airplay often includes soundtracks, music from musicals, . . . → Read More: Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Defining Classical Music
No new horror can be more terrible than the daily torture of the commonplace. Ex Oblivione, 1921. Along with Edgar Rice Burroughs, my teenage reading covered a lot of genres, but I gravitated to scifi and fantasy. Fantasy in those days didn’t offer the same overflowing bookshelves of cookie-cutter tales we find in today’s bookstores. . . . → Read More: Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Lovecraft’s Tales of Terror
Books of James Thurber‘s cartoons and writing were always on the shelves at my grandparents’ home, as well as on my parents’ bookshelves. I read them, as I did everything else on those shelves, when I was quite young. I still remember his odd, eccentric cartoons with their primitive lines but sharp and bizarre wit, . . . → Read More: Scripturient: Blog & Commentary: Thurber’s Writings & Drawings