Friday, September 28, 2007

Up, Up, and A Way with Words!

That's right! As subscribers to our newsletter already know, the creative team behind "A Way with Words" has just inked a deal to keep our show on the air. We're so happy we could diagram a few pages of Ulysses!

Thanks for all your emails, letters, and phone calls of support. You made it plain: You care about language, you care about good radio, and you care about having a place to enjoy them together. Our new season starts in late November, so enjoy!

And if you want to talk about it some more, amble on over to the "A Way with Words" Discussion Forum where your fellow word lovers are discussing the show and other matters linguistic.


Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Quote of the Day

“The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a common-place thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow Roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes Awww!”

-- Jack Kerouac

You can say that again! (And of course I'm sure it's no coincidence that the last word also applies to a certain radio show?) Heh.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Finally, A Rosetta Stone for Your Underwear

Liz Morrison has discovered a kind of Rosetta Stone for those odd little tags you find in your clothing these days. Her very funny blog is called I've Got Shpilkes.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

"Digitivity Denizens"? Eeeuw!

Oh, puh-leeze! From an article on MSNBC about an ad agency that's come up with a new term for people whose lives are inextricably intertwined with communications technology:

"We are calling them 'digitivity denizens,' those who see their cell phones as an extension of themselves, whose online and offline lives are co-mingled and who would chose a Wi-Fi connection over TV any day," said Mack.

"This is how they communicate, entertain and live."

Yeah, yeah, I know that pathetically self-conscious, unwieldly coinages die their own rapid death anyway. But please, someone euthanize this expression immediately and put the rest of us out of our misery.

Java Script

Geez, do you suppose there's any connection between the fact that we here at "A Way with Words" are racing to get ready for the show's brand -new season (about which more here), and the fact that both Grant and I are posting this week about various things with lots of caffeine?

Speaking of caffeine, in this International Herald Tribune article by William Safire (in which Safire happens to quote Grant yet again as an expert source), Safire ponders the relationship between Starbucks and the possessive 's.

"Yesterday, I picked up a pamphlet that proclaimed 'Starbucks commitment to social responsibility,' " writes Professor Henry Richardson of Georgetown University. "That's all very nice, but what about their commitment to the apostrophe?"

In the advertising claim "Starbucks commitment," the commitment is the promise that belongs to Starbucks, and its possessive action calls for a punctuation mark that indicates that: an apostrophe. But this clear grammatical requirement runs into the "sounds funny" problem. To make it correct, you would write "Starbucks's," requiring the pronunciation "Starbucks-zzz." Of course, if the name of the chain were Starbuck's, (with an apostrophe, meaning "the place owned by a guy named Starbuck, like the character in 'Moby-Dick,' " then it would get a little tricky: Starbuck's's. That sounds as if you're fast asleep.

Right. But I don't see why you can't just write Starbucks' with the apostrophe at the very end. A lot of authorities make exceptions in this case for certain important names, and punctuate their possessives that way -- including Jesus and Moses and Socrates.

As far as I'm concerned, anyone who supplies me with tasty, sippable caffeine falls into the same category.

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Friday, September 14, 2007

Wake Up and Get Movin'!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Brave New Words

Some thoughts about the unfortunate need for new words in a post-9/11 world.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Win This Book!

Hie yourself on over to the "A Way with Words" discussion forum, where we're trying to come up with some brand-spanking-new collective nouns for the following groups:
  • aliens from outer space
  • tennis players
  • language-loving radio hosts (be nice, now!)
The winner will receive a copy of Jeff Prucher's handsome new book, The Oxford Dictionary of Science Fiction. Check out what your fellow word-lovers have suggested, and see if you can do better.