Updated: 8/16/15; 18:43:05

pedantic nuthatch
Life in a Northern Virginia suburb of Washington, D.C. B.M.A.T.C., and Etruscan typewriter erasers. Blogged by David Gorsline.

Saturday, 13 March 2004

Oh, dear. I scored 15 (out of 160) on the Libertarian Purity Test.

6-15 points: You are starting to have libertarian leanings. Explore them.

posted: 11:40:16 PM  

Gorgeous museum of drafting leadholders. A few of the internal links are a bit spazzy, and the images can cause some bandwidth suckage, but gorgeous.

(Thanks to Netsurfer Digest.)

posted: 11:23:08 PM  

This evening presented an exercise in concentration.

Jennifer and I were standing at the upstage left entrance ready to go on for our first scene, when we heard a rumbling, grinding, clanking sound working its way across the ceiling, as if the cockroaches were riding around in a tiny Abrams tank with one tread missing. I whispered to her, "vacuum cleaner," and it was time to go.

The extra sound effects, skittering above our heads, persisted through our scene about our exciting news, and into the scene that Leta calls the March of the Sullen Children. Surprisingly, we stayed in the scene and got through it, even though a slice of my attention was thinking, "this will make a good story."

The Stage is in the basement, and the cleaners were running a vacuum sweeper in the offices upstairs. Usually they do it during the Sunday matinees, when our audience is dozing anyway. Never has it been so loud: it sounded like someone was picking up pea gravel with the sweeper in order to give the roller brushes a good scrub.

posted: 10:44:14 PM  

My friends Sally and Laurie have started a new non-profit professional theater company! (The web site is a little spartan yet.) The '04 season opens on March 24 with four comic one-acts.

posted: 5:43:26 PM  

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. calls out George Bush for his bad science. At the same time that the right wing clamors against moral relativism, it is working towards a scientific relativism.

Science, like theology, reveals transcendent truths about a changing world. At their best, scientists are moral individuals whose business is to seek the truth. Over the past two decades industry and conservative think tanks have invested millions of dollars to corrupt science. They distort the truth about tobacco, pesticides, ozone depletion, dioxin, acid rain and global warming. In their attempt to undermine the credible basis for public action (by positing that all opinions are politically driven and therefore any one is as true as any other), they also undermine belief in the integrity of the scientific process.

posted: 5:37:41 PM  

Scott Rosenberg gets it wrong when he jumps on a Wall Street Journal reporter for parsing Bono's "effing brilliant" (or words to that effect) as adverb + adjective. Rosenberg claims that the present participle is used as an (attributive) adjective, so "effing" must be an adjective. Alara Rogers in his comments section writes:

In English any part of speech can, in theory, behave as any other part of speech. If a participle, normally adjectival, is used to modify an adjective, then it's an adverb. Nouns can magically transform into adjectives (an Internet romance, for instance), verbs (I'll text you later), possibly into adverbs though I can't think of an example. Participles do it too.

Other examples offered or suggested by Rosenberg's commenters: "stinking drunk," "barking mad."

Wilson Follett and Jacques Barzun write in Modern American Usage (1966) (entry for "adverbs, vexatious," item 3):

Idiom occasionally embalms a word having adverbial force though it may be anything but adverbial in itself. Such idiomatic words—usually nouns—had better not be tampered with. The listener to broadcasts of baseball games is distressed to hear the words crystally clear in a singing commercial about beer—a piece of corruption doubtless brought into being so as to companion icily light, which immediately precedes it. It has not yet occurred to the author of this jingle to write razorly sharp, diamondly bright, or ovenly fresh.

There's not much written online about adverbial participles in English, idiomatic or otherwise, but they turn out to be important in Lithuanian, which has thirteen participles (counting the infinitive), among them the past frequentative active adverbial participle and the participle of necessity.

posted: 4:41:02 PM  

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