Tuesday, February 24, 2009


I heard this last night on NYC just after the Alice Tully Hall rededication concert. It was used in reference to the sounds whales make.

OED describes it as the kind of thing, in colloquial usage, that a Moaning Minnie does.

Sunday, February 15, 2009


The lachrymal duct is an excretory duct.

Thursday, February 12, 2009


Looks Welsh.

As typed on a piece of paper many years ago by a friend who admired (then, at least) Virginia Woolf. Formatting is my friend’s.

I wouldn’t call this a design for living in peace. For one thing, it’s possible to stop hating and simply not forgive. Stopping loving is another matter. A love that’s past ossifies, or recedes; something. They have different afterlifes.

What is meant by "reality"?
It would seem to be something very erratic, very undependable--now to be found in a dusty road, now in a scrap of newspaper in the street, now in a daffodil in the sun. It lights up a group in a room and stamps some casual saying. It overwhelms one walking home beneath the stars and makes the silent world more real than the world of speech--and then there it is again in an omnibus in the uproar of Piccadilly. Sometimes, too, it seems to dwell in shapes too far awy for us to discern what their nature is. But whatever is touches, it fixes and makes permanent. That is what remains over when the skin of the day has been cast into the hedge; that is what is left of past time and of our loves and hates.


OED says: A familiar term for the diligence or public stage-coach of former days. Obs.

1798 J. W. FRERE Loves of the Triangles (Anti-Jacobin) 179 So down thy hill, romantic Ashbourn, glides The Derby dilly, carrying Three Insides.

[Frere’s middle name, as far as I know, is Hookham. No idea what the W. stands for.]

OED also says, for diligence: A public stage-coach. (Now used only in reference to France or other continental countries.)

Monday, February 9, 2009


The musician Bj√∂rn Ulvaeus, who was paying tribute today at a memorial for Gerald Schoenfeld, recalled Mr. Schoenfeld’s “dear, familiar, slightly creaky voice.”

Several admirers imitated the vocal signature of the man who helped A Chorus Line and Passing Strange onto the Broadway stage.

Friday, February 6, 2009


From The New York Moon’s January 2009 Blueprint, about Flatpack Fish.

“The ads re-envision New York as a hyper-efficient shanty metropolis, in which principles of Scandinavian design renovate soon-to-be-crumbling civic infrastructure into a rectilinear, modular and recyclable space.”

To see the schematics by Zack Sultan, link here:

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


From the January 22, 2009, issue of The Economist. The article is titled “Bend me, shape me, anyway you want me.” Bendy is a much older word than I would have guessed, 1486 according to the OED.

“By using flexible components, these screens will also become bendy.”

A reader in the comments section repeats the word.

“January 27, 2009 18:20
Dear Economist 3.5-4 pages about bendy screens is too much. Whatever happened to your reports about antimatter, black holes, and all the interesting physics?”

Sunday, February 1, 2009


From Chip McGrath’s acknowledgment of John Updike, in today’s Week in Review section of the Times. Updike used to hand-stamp his name and address, as well as the address of his publisher, Knopf. Updike died on Tuesday.

“There was something endearingly quaint about those little inky imprints—a legacy perhaps of a Depression boyhood and a lifetime habit of efficiency—but they also reflected his enduring fascination with the magic of print.”

A man I know once told me that Updike liked women, and so, from Rabbit, Run, some sentences for contemplation: A barefoot Du Pont. Brown legs probably, bitty birdy breasts. Beside a swimming pool in France. Something like money in a naked woman, deep, millions.