dd: From Dodgson to Dodo

Electronic dictionaries make it quick and easy to look things up. You don't have to search through thousands of pages to find your word; you don't even have to know the order of the alphabet. Some electronic dictionaries will even correct your spelling if you spell your word wrong. Unfortunately, electronic dictionaries also eliminate the […]

cc: Rat Dreams (Notes)

Here are the originals of the Chaucer and Shakespeare quotations I mangled: Whan that Aprill with his shoures soote The droghte of March hath perced to the roote, And bathed every veyne in swich licour Of which vertu engendred is the flour; Whan Zephirus eek with his sweete breeth Inspired hath in every holt and […]

cc: Rat Dreams

Few modern writers would dream of submitting a manuscript without running it through a spellchecker first. Alas, in olden days, many famous writers had no access to computers, and were thus forced to submit manuscripts rife with typos and idiosyncratic spellings. Publishers were often lax in those days and failed to notice the blatant spelling […]

bb: Ought the Otter to Ott?

In many cases a verb x has a corresponding noun (often formed by adding "-er" or "-or" to the verb) meaning "one who does x." For instance, the verb "to spoil" corresponds to the noun "spoiler," meaning "one who spoils." Thus, it seems reasonable to assume that to find out what a "burglar" does, one […]

aa: Love Letters

It's been a full year since I started doing these columns.... Time flies. To accompany you into the new year, here are a couple of miscellaneous alphabetic amusements. What comes next in the following series of names? Partial credit for getting the initial letter right. Wawona Vicente Ulloa Taraval Santiago Rivera Quintara Pacheco Ortega Noriega […]

Y: Matt Brocchini Explains It All to You

Matt Brocchini searched through two years' worth of his saved email to find all the lines that began with the word "because"; then he arranged those lines in alphabetical order. (Or at least his computer's idea of alphabetical order.) The resulting found art should provide an explanation for any occasion. I have taken the liberty […]