hhh: Nitpickers R Us

"Proofreading is an art and a craft." —The Chicago Manual of Style, 14th ed., example in Fig. 3.2 For the past few months I've been acting as a volunteer proofreader for a Web-based magazine. We need a way to keep proofreading consistent from story to story, for all proofreaders; the obvious solution is to create […]

ggg: Rhyme Sightings

Some time ago, Dominus pointed out to me that "singer," "finger," and "ginger" look like they should rhyme but have entirely different pronunciations. I was amused but didn't know what to do with that information until Jim sent me a forwarded version of the following poem. That version was titled "English Is Tough Stuff" and […]

fff: Dance, Dance, Wherever You May Be

(I was going to include a gratuitous photo of a fox trotting in this column, but the picture in question was too blurry. Instead, here's a gratuitous photo of a fox sitting still.) While doing some research on the gaits of horses recently, I came across the term "fox-trot," referring to a particular slowish gait […]

ddd: Di-Dah, Dah, Dit

The characters of a writing system can be represented in many ways—not only in a variety of fonts and lettering styles, but in any agreed-upon symbolic form: as Braille letters, as flags in Semaphore, as hand-signs, or as strings of dots and dashes... Two weeks ago, Morse Code was officially retired as the language of […]

ccc: Shaggy Boxes

Some say a "shaggy-dog story" is a short amusing story-joke ending in a pun (usually a Spoonerism). There are many such stories (sometimes known as "feghoots") extant, including the vast collection of Alan B. Combs. I admit to an intermittent fondness for such stories, and they can be a useful part of one's joke repertoire. […]

bbb: Rhyme-Time Chime

There's a musical group called the Pomo Afro Homos. A couple years back Kam, Mykle, and I starting riffing on that theme and ended up deciding that a black gay deconstructionist obnoxious Beatnik vagrant clown who works in a certain hotel in San Francisco (having moved there from New York) is an: Afro homo pomo […]