Wednesday, November 18, 2015


Washington bureau chief and Lexington columnist of The Economist. Ex-corr in Beijing, Brussels, London, Sydney. So thoughts on Asia-Pacific, EU, UK too

Does this matter?

 Soon afterwards, former president and chief content officer Joel Cheatwood also exited to join Balfe in the venture.

Glenn Beck's TheBlaze downsizes in New York

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

The Beginning of Sound

Toyplayer chose the "Website" category in 2012 to present his topic, Silent to Sound: How Sound Revolutionized the Movie-Going Experiencein the National History Day competition in Washington, D.C.

Toyplayer's mom found an “interesting Jacksonville connection” when helping him do the research for his project that NHD wasn't even going to consider but did only because his mom made them as he had won the year before in a different category.

The interesting Jacksonville connection isn't that Toyplayer's mom asked me to critique his website about 10 times because I couldn't tell her that his website is just not that interesting.

I assume Toyplayer didn't win anything because the topic was "too ambitious" for the category he chose in which to present it.  

Photo credit: Toyplayer's Directors page  

Cemetery Flowers

Sorry Toyplayer no NHD award for you.  

Your mom knows more about 
Thaddeus Stevens. 

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Chapter Three

Milne and the tonstant weaders: 



Monday, November 9, 2015

Dream Vacation: Unfriended!

1600 Silver Springs Boulevard. 
Between Ocala and Silver Springs Park 
under the orange trees - America's most unique parking lot

Pinned Post Card

1960s Retro

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Damn you Hugo Lindgren!

Last weekend the arch-nemesis Johnson presumably featured my comment (below) on account of his "reason to rely" verbiage on On Language: switched off, a post of several years ago concerning the New York Times magazine's new editor Hugo Lindgren's mistake to cut the "On Language" column, which, before being taken up by a linguist named Ben Zimmer, was authored by the late, great William Safire.

Johnson, in dismay, directed his readers to "like" the Keep "On Language" in the New York Times Facebook page started by irate NYT readers to convince Hugo Lindgren to keep "On Language" in the NYT.

Sadly, I didn't like the Facebook page itself but, instead, liked Johnson's post on the page. In the end it couldn't be said that the 866 page-likers were of enough influence to sway the direction that Hugo Lindgren was to take the magazine despite Johnson's best effort.

To this day, though, that Facebook page is still in existence; the last entry, dated November 11, 2013, is titled simply: The end of the Lindgren era, with a link to a POLITICO media entry.

As far as I know, Lindgren is still Acting Editor for The Hollywood Reporter. 

Michael Fassbender plays the iGenius

The chunking express

After all these years (damn you Hugo Lindgren!) Johnson still finds reason to rely on Ben Zimmer's "On Language" blog.

But let’s not be misleading. You’ve cited Michael Swan’s quote out of context. He acknowledged in 2010 the need to teach important formulaic expressions, just without forethought to the age of big data.

Here is Zimmer’s full passage containing the graphic inspiration for this weekend’s post:

Though he (Swan) acknowledges, as he told me in an e-mail, that “high-priority chunks need to be taught,” he worries that “the ‘new toy’ effect can mean that formulaic expressions get more attention than they deserve, and other aspects of language — ordinary vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation and skills — get sidelined.”

In thanking me for his featured comment Johnson might have noted that one of my sentences (embolden for emphasis) needed a copy edit:

He acknowledged in 2010 the need to teach important formulaic expressions without forethought to the age of big data. [strike: (,) just]

There is normally a red ribbon tied to a featured comment which I couldn't grab in my copy and paste. The graphic inspiration for his post was a picture of Lego construction workers.

The graphic inspiration for my post is a @lanegreene tweet in need of a copy edit.


The 2013 biopic "Jobs" starring Ashton Kutcher grossed only $36m worldwide whereas the unsympathetic "Steve Jobs" should be a box-office hit. 

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Vigorously omitted words

As a long-time reader of, I took great interest in, and in fact commented upon, the most recent Johnson post at the Prospero blog. The subject was brevity. The same brevity found in Cornell University professor William Strunk, Jr.’s usage textbook, Elements of Style, which he had written himself. Strunk’s “little book,” as he referred to it, would later be revised by E.B. White, a former student.

As I know, the reason I took interest in Johnson’s post, Briefly, is this blog’s post, The Case for Brevity, written exactly one year (less one day) ago. Johnson explained that he had begun a new editing job and caged his post as a lesson suggestion in copy-editing to teachers of rookie writers.  

Which further reminded me that I had re-admitted to the College of Arts and Sciences at University of North Florida to finish my communications degree shortly before “Subject – Verb – Object” was my reply to Strunk’s 59-word essay that would change the nature of E.B. White’s world (see "The Case for Brevity" for full context).

At any rate, “Briefly” is a 639-word essay, which I’ll cut to 345 words (apologies to George Orwell) as an exercise in creating blog content:

EVERYONE knows tweeting is ruining kids’ writing.

Or is it? Structuring sentences into 140 characters might be teaching young writers one of the most cherished virtues among those who deal professionally with writing: brevity. Johnson has just changed jobs, from reporting to editing. Before, copy went from my hands to another's, and it was their job to query, reshape and trim it—difficult work that inevitably made it better. Now I am on the other end of the exchange, and much of my first week was spent merely making pieces shorter.

Editing for print means not only making sure a piece is interesting and accurate, but also meeting a space-limit tightly defined by the size of a page. Online, when an editor asks for 650 words and a writer sends 1,100, the result is a groan.  When this happens in print with a deadline looming, the result is panic. The piece simply must fit.

Why do people write more than they should, when most people find writing difficult? This may be because during their education, young writers are given a kind of assignment that may do lasting harm: they are told to write papers to minimum lengths.

Why do more teachers not, instead, give students an appreciation for brevity? William Strunk, one of the authors of the American usage guide “Elements of Style”, was said by his student (and later editor) E.B. White to grip the lectern in his writing class and say “Omit needless words! Omit needless words! Omit needless words!”

A rule should not, of course, become a compulsion. Strunk did not need to say “Omit needless words!” three times, but it is more memorable that way. Anyone snipping every needless word from our style guide would turn its attempts at gentle humour into relentless hectoring.

As for teachers, try the following trick: assign students a paper of ten pages, and then tell them the real assignment is to trim it back to five in class, with the clock ticking. Then send the student who completes the assignment fastest to our internships page. 

As for UNF, I’ll be extremely annoyed in two weeks if I can’t get into my last class because I’m wait-listed.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

August dogs

Obviously not a snapshot with a smartphone but a tie-in with Elliott Erwitt at Flipped Again.

Elliott Erwitt: New York City 2000

Elliott Erwitt: Dog Show, Birmingham 1991

I assume blog followers have no objection to bulldogs or poodles.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Dog day of August

Southside Animal Clinic sent a Happy Birthday e-card to Jorja. We must have told them she was born today. I think she's seven. 

"Yo... what's up with that?" 

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Don't go there...

NOTE (to marine biologists without artistic license) -- 
The crustacean featured here is, obviously, a lobster.

  Cancer. Salvador DalĂ­ 1967