Saturday, May 26, 2007

Critter Blogging

You need to click on this picture to see the detail. The light-colored duck has a sort of ruff of feathers on the back of its head - a deformity that is apparently bred for by some duck fanciers. Odd, but no harm to the duck if it has the gene from only one parent. If it has the gene from both parents, it will die in the egg stage and never hatch. The picture was taken in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, fall 2006.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Grammar Czarina

I'd been musing about a post on bad spelling, punctuation, and grammar when I found this link, thanks to Twisty:

The "Blog" of "Unnecessary" Quotation Marks

Making Fun of Bad Punctuation since 2005.

My own pet peeve is the misuse of the apostrophe, not just the ubiquitous confusion of it's and its, but the random sprinkling of apostrophes like parsley on mashed potatoes. Or should I say, the random sprinkling of apostrophe's like parsley on mashed potatoes'.

My grammar alarm was set off by a particular blog writer who posted a snivel (not up to the rate of a rant) about those nasty, snobbish guidelines for good writing. His/her blogulation in general is rather muddy, and shows a need for those aforesaid nasty guidelines. Reading the rambling sentences, illogical topic jumps, poor proofreading, and misused apostrophes made this English major's head hurt. (I'm not linking to the post, since it is by just one poor writer on an otherwise excellent blog.)*

So, to keep me from getting the vapors, remember these simple rules:

its is a possessive pronoun; it's is the contraction for it is
• plural nouns do not use apostrophes: books, not book's
• singular verbs do not use apostrophes: Poor grammar bothers me, not Poor grammar bother's me

Of course, by the Murphy's Law of Blogging, there will be at least one egregious misspelling or grammatical error in this post, and Wild Roses will finally get a hit.

*Yes, I know I tend to use a lot of comments in parentheses and dashes, but this is informal writing meant to more-or-less sound like conversation. I am much more persnickety in formal writing.

Monday, May 21, 2007

David Brooks, Bobo for Hire

Some of the leftish blogs I read take pot shots at obviously loony, deservedly obscure wingnuts. Alicublog takes on David Brooks, who inexplicably has a column in the New York Times. There's so much wrong with Brooks' May 18 column that it boggles the mind. I'll only mention a couple of main points. (Sorry the column is behind the paid wall, but read Alicublog and you'll get the gist of it.)

(1) "Compassionate conservatism" was never meant to be any more than a political slogan. Pretending otherwise after six years of CC is disingenuous at best. A few bucks were tossed at the marriage initiative, faith-based programs, and abstinence education to con voters; the only beneficiaries of the programs were Republican candidates and cronies.

(2) Brooks, as usual, devolves into delusion.

(2a) He sees nothing wrong with a system that provides obscene rewards to "the top 0.01 percent," whose taxes must be kept low to provide "opportunity" to the remaining 99.99%. That 99.99% must be in hiding, by the way, because we have a shortage of people to invest in.

(2b) Brooks' human capital agenda simultaneously cuts across left and right, and exploits the divisions between left and right. And spins plates on a stick while riding a unicycle, no doubt.

(2c) The measures Brooks favors are weighted toward Republican shibboleths: low taxes, school choice, and encouraging marriage. How are we going to pay for investing in a human capital agenda, if we can't tax wealth? School choice is a meaningless concept, unless parents have quality schools to choose from in the area where they live. How do you encourage marriage? By making divorce harder? Americans of all classes and religions have voted with their feet on that issue - they want to be able to end failed marriages. Woman have the economic freedom to choose marriage or not, and the social freedom to have families without the consent of the patriarchy. We're not going back.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Critter Blogging, Cats Past

This is the late, great Mu, a non-pedigreed Siamese with true Siamese personality. Leaping from unexpected places, a voice like a baby being scalded, and a serious cuddler.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Falwell Still Dead

A plain reading of the new testament tells us that Jesus taught his followers to disdain riches and to help those less fortunate. Anyone who uses the pulpit to amass riches is not a christian. If a religious person lives plainly and does good to others, I respect them and their acts. If they flit about in private jets and live in mansions, well, no. I hope Falwell's last thoughts were about camels and needles' eyes.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Critter Blogging

Critter blogging was delayed on account of Mother's Day. Here are the remains of dinner.