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Monday, February 14, 2005

Happy Lupercalia! 

Today while doing research on the origins of Valentine's Day, I found the Roman antecedent, Lupercalia.
As part of the purification ritual, the priests of Lupercus would sacrifice goats to the god, and after drinking wine, they would run through the streets of Rome holding pieces of the goat skin above their heads, touching anyone they met. Young women especially would come forth voluntarily for the occasion, in the belief that being so touched would render them fruitful and bring easy childbirth.
So, in keeping with this grand tradition, I will be sacrificing a goat for my lady-love Diane. (Since we're both animal rights nuts, it'll be a tofu goat.)

Big Beef Language

There are some words and expressions I have a big beef with. In the interest of spreading my pedantic English teacher dogma as widely as possible, here are some tips for people who have the opportunity to write for the general public:
  1. The phrase "perfectly good" is meaningless. If it's good, then it's not bad -- but neither does it stand out. It's just good; a little better than average. To say that something is exactly (which is an approximation of "perfectly" in this sense) a little better than average is ridiculous. I heard this on NPR today.

  2. Putting something in quotation marks does not emphasize it. Using quotation marks around something indicates that the enclosed words are not literal. For instance, many of us referred for some time to "President" Bush, as a way to indicate that he had not been fairly elected.

    If you wish to emphasize something, you should underline it, or italicize it, or make it a larger typeface. Today in the Copps supermarket, I saw a sign reading: If you do not receive a receipt, your purchase is "free". If we don't assume that the person (presumably a freakin' manager) has grossly misused a pair of quotation marks, then the meaning of the sign is that your purchase will not in fact be free.
More of these as I come across them.


Let's see, what else. We're bribing our allies.. And take a look at these creepy people. Goat pic from Marissa.

Diane and I were in NYC for ETAN stuff this weekend. 'Twas a good time. Pics will be up soon. Homer sleep now. (We got in last night at 11pm.)


Well, it depends on whether you like VDay or not. You can choose something sweet or something vindictive. Watch out! That second one is wrong.

Today I'm listening to: The Crystal Method!