Job title of the week

At first I thought this line in a Verge article was a typo: “According to one cryptogopher working at Google,…” I also thought that cryptogopher sounded like a great superhero name. “Look, down in the ground! It’s Cryptogopher!” But it turns out that Filippo Valsorda describes himself as Cryptogopher @Google in his Twitter profile. I […]


Just saw an ad for a laser-engraving product called LaserPecker. I feel like that might not be the best possible product name. Then again, they got me to post about it, so maybe it’s a good choice after all.

AUSTRALIA_HISTORY and other book subjects

I continue to be fascinated by attempts to categorize things. The oddness of category choices in many taxonomies tends to make me think of Borges’s Celestial Emporium of Benevolent Knowledge and Sei Shonagon’s lists of things; for more on those topics, see column vvv: My Favorite Things. Here’s another taxonomy that I find amusing; as […]


I just finished reading Prof. Peter Schickele’s 1976 book The Definitive Biography of P.D.Q. Bach, which I’ve been glancing over occasionally ever since I encountered it on my father’s bookshelf as a kid, but which I had never read in full before. (Even reading just the titles of some of the PDQ Bach pieces—especially the […]

Pots and puns

Edward FitzGerald’s translation of Omar Khayyam’s Rubaiyat includes several verses making an analogy between clay pots and humans, and between the Potter and God. In a note, FitzGerald adds: This Relation of Pot and Potter to Man and his Maker figures far and wide in the Literature of the World, from the time of the […]

Eggcorn: mild

Just saw a commenter on a political article refer to a mild cardial infarction. Pretty sure that’s an eggcorn for myocardial infarction. Seemed especially apropos because I could easily imagine that the commenter was indeed hoping that the heart attack in question would be a mild one.

Personent Hodie, “translated”

I recently encountered the song title Personent Hodie, so I tried to find out what that phrase meant. Google provided me with Latin lyrics for the song, and helpfully offered to translate them for me. Unfortunately, Google’s translation of Latin lyrics appears to be not yet all it could be. But I was amused enough […]