Cross-eyed bears and friendly ants

My late mother thought Gladly was rather a nice name for a bear, but as a child she could never imagine why they were singing about it in church, or…

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Cover creation gone weird

This seems appropriate after yesterday’s Isaac Asimov quote since Asimov cut his teeth writing for pulp magazines with covers like this … OK, maybe not exactly like that … I…

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The 8 longest words in English

The longest word in the English language is a whisker under 190,000 letters long and would take over an hour to say out loud. Excuse me if I don’t reproduce…

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Real words: anatidaephobia

“Anatidaephobia: the fear that somewhere in the world, a duck or a goose is watching you. Not attacking or touching, just watching you …” The word first appeared in a…

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5 Rules to Remember

1. Money can’t by happiness, but it can make misery a lot more comfortable. 2, Forgive your enemies, but remember the bastards’ names. 3. Help someone when they’re in trouble…

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Using two words instead of one

Benjamin Dreyer has compiled a list of redundancies, surplus words to delete from your writing where you’ve used two words when one would do. Some are rather arcane (the word…

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12 Odd Idioms

Some years ago, a German friend – who speaks very good English – was visiting New Zealand and boarded a tour bus. The driver called, “How ya going?” to which…

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Remember the rules!

I before E except after C … … or when your foreign neighbour Keith receives eight counterfeit beige sleighs from feisty caffeinated weightlifters. WEIRD!

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Classic Literature as Fortune Cookie Fortunes

A Christmas Carol: You will become better acquainted with a coworker. Frankenstein: A friend is a present you give yourself. Metamorphosis: A dream you have will finally come true. More…

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Kicking whales and waving dead chickens

The Jargon File, also known as The New Hacker’s Dictionary, is a window into a golden age of computing. I still have a copy the latter (a third edition), and…

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