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September 29th, 2005

Today

Today is the one-year anniversary of the first official Brigid and Greg fictionlet! Geeze, already? 0.o

In honor of the occasion, here's Today's Forgotten English:

poeticule
A petty or insignificant poet.
--Sir James Murray's New English Dictionary, 1909


Death of William Topaz McGonagall (1830-1902), who was perhaps Britain's worst poet. Born in Edinburgh, he grew up and lived as an adult in Dundee. Like his father, McGonagall earned his living as a weaver but by middle age became convinced he could be a great poet if given the chance. His conviction made him the target of pranksters who would hire him to read his poems as entertainment in small halls, where audiences would ridicule him. His drinks would be spiked with alcohol, further increasing his listeners' levity. But he was a resolute optimist whose love for Dundee could be felt in his sweet but homely poems:

       There's none other town I know of with you can compare
       For spinning mills and lasses fair.
       And for stately buildings there's none can excel
       The Albert Institute or the Queen's Hotel.


In 2002 Dundee observed the centenary of his death with a festival honoring its most famous nobody, as he is sometimes called. More about McGonagall can be found at http://www.mcgonagall-online.org.uk.

Well, he's hardly a vogon...

-The Gneech

Nice Day For It

There are days when "Take Five" (written by Dave Brubeck and performed by Charlie Parker) is the single most apropos thing that could possibly come up in Winamp. And today is one of them.

On an unrelated note, Super Typhoon Longwang??? (Snagged from ramalion.)

My brain hurts.

-The Gneech

EDIT: Hmm, I'm not sure now if this is the Charlie Parker version or the Dave Brubeck version. But they're both good!

Fun With Homophones

...or, what the spell-checker can't tell you!

Lately, I seem to be a grammar go-to guy, so in order to distract myself from being viciously pummelled about the face and neck at work, I'm posting a little impromptu English lesson. Yay?

They're putting their stuff over there.

"they're" is a contraction of "they are"
"their" is a possessive meaning "belonging to them"
"there" is a place (usually) although there are exceptions ;P

(Similarly, "you're" is a contraction of "you are" and "your" means "belonging to you".)

Two other people want to put their stuff there too.

"two" is the number that comes after one
"to" is either part of an infinitive verb (like "to be or not to be"), or a preposition ("going to that place") -- in this case, it is part of the infinitive "to put"
"too" is another word for "also"

It's never too late for a country to follow its principles.

"it's" is a contraction of "it is"
"its" is a possessive meaning "belonging to it"

Note that "its" is an irregular construction, which is one of the reasons people get confused. Seeing a possessive, people think that there should be an apostrophe in there somewhere -- and they get points for thinking that way. But in this particular case, it isn't true. "Its" is like "his" or "hers," and therefore has no apostrophe.

Don't accept anything except the right word.

"accept" means to willingly receive something (or at least be resigned to it!)
"except" means to exclude something from a general statement ("everybody except me got this right") or a conjunction indicating a different condition (which is a hard phrase to parse, I realize -- but this is how it's used above)

FWIW, I'm leaving off "affect" and "effect," because it's such a tangled morass. Stick with "make" and forget using "affect" or "effect," is my advice!

-The Gneech, who is such a nerd that he relaxes with grammar ¬.¬

Heh!

So a day or two ago I get an e-mail informing me that Local Copies is shipping me "printed material." Nothing too surprising there ... Local Copies is mammallamadevil's vendor of choice for Suburban Jungle and other prints, badges, and the like. I figure some Beloved Jungloid has purchased some prints and that they're being shipped to me for autographery before being sent to their final destination.

Turns out, MLD has surprised me with three bound copies of printed up Fictionlets, from the original protofictionlet up to the September 9th entry. I had mentioned to her that I wanted to print them up to give to my parents, so she very sneakily went and did it for me!

So, thanks, Kerry! ^.^

It's a roughly 50-page softcover volume, with each Fictionlet taking a page or two -- with the very short ones obviously having a lot of empty space around them! It reminds me of a self-published volume of poetry more than anything, really, partially because it's all center-justified (which is an odd way to read prose, but works pretty well in this case).

Pretty nifty, in all!

-The Gneech

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