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Archive for September, 2008

H.L.Mencken on crooked banks

Posted by Anne on September 30th, 2008

“When five sound banks,” said the Hon. Mr. Landon, “must pay the loss of one rotten one, the drain on the five necessarily impairs their strength. One of them breaks under the strain and the remaining four are weakened by the added strain, and so on.” … The federal insurance scheme has worked up to […]

Things we say wrong

Posted by Anne on September 30th, 2008

Can you pronounce these words and spell them from memory: either, protein, caffein … height … neighbor, weight, freight … foreign … human being? English is hard for native speakers, too. Many Americans, including Bush and Palin, say “nucular” instead of “nuclear”. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. “What you ought to know […]

The truth

Posted by Anne on September 29th, 2008

I’ve been thinking about what makes democracy tick as I read a book by David Foster Wallace, the most brilliant writer of my generation in many ways, who killed himself on September 12th, losing his 20-year fight against depression. This book is called „McCain’s Promise“, and it’s about what makes people care enough to get involved in politics. According to Wallace, it comes down to straight talk.

Paul Newman RIP

Posted by Anne on September 28th, 2008

Grace. Intelligence. Sex appeal. Edge. Humor. Utter physical beauty. He had it. Paul Newman died on Sept. 27 at his home in Westport, Conn., at 83. New York Times tribute page,  New York Times audio slide show Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958) – Maggie and Brick More of Newman’s classic scenes and the […]

Grammarians R Pissed

Posted by Anne on September 28th, 2008

English teachers and writers, this one is for you: From 3:40: “You know, it’s not even a matter of semantics. Using simplistic, good versus evil rhetoric to obfuscate (verdunkeln) really complex situations… I mean, he talks at us like we’re kindergartners. It’s no wonder people misunderestimate (!) him.” Language focus: good language

Holding hands

Posted by Anne on September 27th, 2008

Ze Fred had readers contribute to a collection of videos that make you feel better, and of the beautiful contributions, this one of otters holding hands (Vancouver Aquarium) was my favorite:

Just show up

Posted by Anne on September 26th, 2008

“The golden rule of language learning: Absolutely any method of language learning, as long as it includes regular exposure to the target language, will eventually yield fluency if followed faithfully enough. … Some methods of language learning may be better or worse than others, but there is no “wrong” method. … It’s like the saying […]