Friday, February 15, 2008

Neologisms: Caffeine-American

I've come up with canine-American and feline-American -- and, OK, let's add piscine-American, ferret-American, and feral-American (for now). So, hey, how about caffeine-American?

Neologisms: caffeinato, caffeinate (n.)

Caffeinato is, it turns out, the real Italian word for the noun caffeinate. Everyone uses caffeinate as a verb (action) but how about using it as a noun (thing) -- a synonym for java, joe, or caffeine?

Example: Steve said, "Gotta tank up with a mongo cup of caffeinato."
Example: In grad school, Tony kept going by dint of massive caffeinate intake."

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Press: Kids reading less, and so am I - HC

"I witness a similar edginess from younger readers in the library. 'How long is it?' has replaced 'Will I like it?' The students' finicky inclinations, as well as my own recent hasty approach to reading, bothered me enough to try to trace the root cause. I suspect that the tipping point in information overload has tipped. Students' aversion to reading does not necessarily signal a weakness, much less a dislike of reading. For them, and now maybe for me, moving on to something else is an adaptive tactic for negotiating the jungle that is our information-besotted culture of verbiage.

[...] It's taken them just a few years to arrive at the same conclusion that I've reached after a lifetime of sustained reading: The pursuit of knowledge in the age of information overload is less about a process of acquisition than about proficiency in tossing stuff out."

Monday, February 11, 2008

Musings: Pillows and cushions

As I prepared to leave the public library, the check-in librarian stopped me to ask if I had just returned a book called Pillows and Cushions. No, I replied, and left.

Do I look like the gender of person who would return a book called Pillows and Cushions? Do I, personally, look like someone who would be caught dead with a book called Pillows and Cushions? Because if so, I need a manly-man makeover right away. Gone, wirerim glasses. Goodbye, male-pattern baldness; hello, Bruce Willis chrome dome. Forsake the computer to get me some abs and pecs again. Sunglasses (even at night). Lose the laptop satchel, carry a gym bag with a racquetball racquet. And so on. Oh yeah.

On the other hand, maybe I looked manly enough to be returning such a book for someone else and not feel threatened about my masculinity. Hm...

Holidays: St. Caedmon

Today is the feast day of Caedmon, author of Caedmon's hymn (I'm supplying the Anglo-Saxon from 25 years' memory so the spelling may not be perfect):

Nu sculan herian heofonrices weard
metodes maehti ond his modgethanc
weorc wuldorfathor— swa he wundra gehwaes
ece dryhten or asteldæ
he aerist scop aelda bearnum
heofen til hrofe halig scipend
tha middangeard moncynnæs weard
ece dryhten æfter tidæ
firum foldu frea allmihtig

Now [we] must honor the guardian of heaven,
the might of the architect, and his purpose,
the work of the father of glory
— as he, the eternal lord, established the beginning of wonders.
He, the holy creator,
first created heaven as a roof for the children of men.
Then the guardian of mankind, the eternal lord,
the lord almighty, afterwards appointed the middle earth,
the lands, for men.

Press: Disney or history? - HC

Jonah Goldberg: Disney or history? - Houston Chronicle:

"[W]hen I read that 23 percent of British teens think Winston Churchill is no more real than Spider-Man, it makes me shudder at the voluntary amnesia of society, the wholesale abdication of parental responsibility that represents.

Civilization, at any given moment, can be boiled down to what its living members know and believe. This makes civilization an amazingly fragile thing, and it makes parents the primary guardians of its posterity. Indeed, someone once told me that those who cannot learn from history are condemned to hear George Santayana quoted to them for the rest of their lives. Of course, that joke's only funny if you've heard of Santayana in the first place."