Grammar/Usage

Times are changing. We are not.

I saw the subject line of this post on a billboard north of Houston some time ago, advertising a local church, and I’ve continued to think about it since, in terms of the differences between the labels “conservative” and “liberal.” These terms are incredibly loaded, of course. But I want to discuss them first before

Read on »

Wise Men Still Seek Him

Saw this on a church sign this morning; it’s yet another ambiguous entry due to compression. Does it mean: a) Contemporary wise men through history, like the ‘wise men’ of Matthew 2:1 (in Greek, the ‘majoi,’ some sort of magicians or astrologers from the east, perhaps Zoroastrians), seek Jesus just like the magi did, though

Read on »

The ambiguity of signage

I spent a lot of time when driving (and I have done a lot of driving in the last two weeks) looking at signs. A great deal of them momentarily confuse me as they can be interpreted several different ways. For example, on a fast food restaurant, “FOUR MEALS FOR UNDER 4.” Does this mean:

Read on »

Not the method, but the presence

What bothers me about this piece on exam cheating is not the method used by Caveon; it’s the presence of the company as a private for-profit doing the job of teachers. The article doesn’t discuss the ethics of this situation at all, though it sometimes  implies such a critique is forthcoming. American educators have had

Read on »

a slow way to the asylum

There’s a billboard on the way home from work that drives me crazy every time I see it – it’s been there for at least a year or more, an advertisement for some sort of online job search, and consists of the following: What is the better decision? Having the job you want Desiring a

Read on »

the loss, the horror

I’m a big fan of white space, but not so much that I’d feel the burning need to critique the mere appearance of a background image, a technology available for, oh, 15+ years or so, at least since Mosaic.

Read on »

On big fucking deals

Yes, the new health care law is, in fact, a big fucking deal. Fresh off a grammar class yesterday, though, I have to point out that ‘a fucking big deal’ would make the relationships in the noun phrase a bit clearer. ‘Fucking’ seems to be modifying ‘big’, not the other way around; otherwise, Biden is

Read on »

Out of the mouths of babes

It appears the tide is turning against the Heenes, and that the literal meaning of boy’s remark is increasingly likely. I wouldn’t have been surprised if it turned out the other way, though. As with adults, kids can answer questions in a rather tangential fashion. For example, I was talking to a neighborhood kid the

Read on »

You said we did this for a show

The little boy who was not, after all, lost in an errant homemade balloon came up with a zinger in an interview the other day. “You said we did this for a show.” What this line means depends quite a bit on how  ‘show’ is understood. If it means ‘show’ in a general sense of

Read on »

You don’t get my ninja skills

While eating in the UHD cafeteria today (see last post) I saw a student with a T-shirt that said, “You don’t get my ninja skills,” and I wondered about how the verb “get” should be parsed. There are five different possibilities that I came up with immediately: 1) I will not waste my ninja skills

Read on »