Archive for the Writing Category

Probing Pithy Pronouncements (January 9, 2023)

Posted in Writing on January 9, 2023 by

. . .

K          “On a lark, I jotted down the name of every writer I could recollect and then surfed the Interwaves looking up and writing down the most celebrated quotations for each individual and then reflected deeply on each quotation.  What a ride.”

J          “Then shuffle over to search for scientists, inventors, astronauts, diplomats, statespersons, entertainers, sports personalities, artists, nurses, butchers, bakers, candle sticker makers and others and then reflect deeply on each quotation.  What a roller-coaster ride.”

. . .    

[Search the e-commentary site for a quotation from your favorite human being.  If someone should be quoted here, send a suggestion.]

Bumper sticker of the week:

It is too cold outside to change this bumper sticker

Editing Editors (July 19, 2021)

Posted in Writing on July 19, 2021 by

. . .

K          “I was astonished.  The results were astonishing.  I was astonished by the astonishing results.  Every word and phrase and syntactic experiment giving the piece verve and vigor and vivacity was stricken and scoured from the draft.  To me, however, the editor’s red pen confirmed the strength of the original unedited piece.  I retained everything that was eliminated and disregarded the additions and almost all of the suggestions.  The review was productive in its own way.”

J          “I do not run anything by anyone any more.  I write.  I edit.  I stop.  I done.”

. . .

J          “That must have been an awkward situation.  Could you explain to the editor that the input is still insightful and helpful notwithstanding the final product?”

. . .

K          “What if the editor is right?  What if I am wrong?”

J          “Could be.  But you must go with what you know.  And what you believe.  I do.”

. . .

[See the e-commentary under the Category “Writing” and you decide where to put the quotations marks.]

Bumper sticker of the week:

Give me coffee to change the things I can change and whiskey to accept the things I can’t.

Locating Those Irascible (But Not Quotidian) Quotation Marks (March 29, 2021)

Posted in Writing on March 29, 2021 by

. . .

K          “The practice perplexes me.  Injecting punctuation, even if it is only the utilitarian ‘full stop,’ (‘full stop’,) inside the quotation marks is misleading, inaccurate and inappropriate.  Quotation marks should bracket only the exact statement and absolutely nothing more.” 

J          “That is not the American way.  That may even be un-American.  For some Brits, that is the British way.  Yet I understand your concern.  However, the convention suffices for almost everyone, so I oblige and abide.”

. . .

[See the e-commentary discussing the disruptions in supplies and supply lines at “Covid-19: BAU v. BAU (February 24, 2020)”, the need for more localized farming and regional manufacturing at “Covid-19 PanICdemic/Plague:  Basically, Back To Basics:  Finding Food; Printing Rutabagas.  Happy Earth Day! (April 20, 2020)” and three perspectives on our current political, cultural, economic and social circumstances at “On Roiling And Rolling Collapse (March 9, 2015)”.]

Bumper sticker of the week:

Where do you locate the “air quotes?”  (“air quotes”?)

“Cacashow”: The 2020 Word Of The Year (December 7, 2020)

Posted in Carbon Surcharge & Dividend, Energy, Writing on December 7, 2020 by

. . .

K          “‘Pandemic’ is an anemic choice.”

J          “Words are not their strong suit.”

. . .

K          “Usually with an exclamation point, it is in the ‘Subject’ line or the first sentence of sooo many e-mails on Covid-19(84).”

J          “On the election.”

K          “On the Vaccine.”

J          “On Trumpi.”

K          “On Fauci.”

J          “On the CDC.”

K          “On the NIH.”

J          “On the WHO.”

K          “On the NHS.”

J          “On the FDA.”

K          “On the MSM.”

J          “On the MIC (Medical Industrial Complex).”

K          “On and on and on.”

. . .

J          “On Dasher.”

K          “On Dancer”

J          “On Prancer.”

K          “On Vixen.”

J          “On Comet.”

K          “On Cupid.”

J          “On Donner.”

K          “On Blitzen.”

. . .

[See the e-commentary at “Carbon Fee And Dividend Imagined.  Oh, And Happy Saint Nicholas Day! (December 3, 2018)” and “Coal (December 2, 2013)”.]

Bumper sticker of the week:

Carry on

Buy A Book? I’ll Pass. Read A Book? I’ll Play. Oh, And Happy National Book Month! (September 30, 2019)

Posted in Analog Knowledge Devices, Book Reference, Writing on September 30, 2019 by

. . .

K          “I passed on the purchase.  Getting it autographed did not make it real or personal or real personal.  At program after presentation after conference after low residency MFA discussion group, the honest and candid authors, sometimes fueled with spirits, concede that they are not writing a work sharing their musings with other kindred spirits, they are manufacturing a product for a specific targeted market.  The gauntlet and assembly line of editors, reviewers, focus group coordinators and MBAs hone and hammer the finished product to close the deal.”

J          “They are not saying ‘this is what I think and feel and believe’, they are saying ‘this is what I think and feel and believe you want to read and buy’ right now.”

. . .

J          “Look at the big picture.  They write in a country not on a blank slate.  But America is not a country, it is a country club with very few admitted members.  Everyone else is a consumer – not a citizen – who survives by treating everyone else like a consumer to be plucked and plundered.  We don’t even realize it.  We don’t even get it.”

K          “A Racket not a Republic.  I get that everything from the cover to the concluding line is cunningly and carefully calculated to close the deal.”

J          “I don’t want to deal.”

. . . 

K          “A number of musicians in the 60’s who penned songs of rebellion later admitted they were only writing and singing and foisting a product that would sell to a receptive market.”

J          “At least at one point in their lives they are revealing themselves to their audience, albeit at the terminus.  Of course, it you really write what you think and what you feel and what you believe, you are not likely to be read and may be banned if you stumble upon or dabble with the Truth.”

K          “There is always that.”

. . .

J          “Used books start out as new books.  Someone does have to buy the new ones to create the used ones.”

. . .  

J          “I wonder how many folks develop their weltanschauung based in part not on what an author says but on what the ‘Couloir Notes’ say the author says.”

K          “A friend’s mom asked her son to deliver one of the legal ‘Cliff’s Notes’ on ‘Property Law’ in a brown paper bag after hours so that she would know what her students were really studying and ingraining.”

. . .

K          “With a book in hand, the content cannot be changed.  With a collection of electrons in space, the content cannot be protected.  I remain a big fan of the Analog Knowledge Devices despite the inherent limitations.”

J          “The AKD is number one in my AKD.”

. . .

[See “Paging Big Brother:  In Amazon’s Bookstore, Orwell Gets a Rewrite” in “The New York Times” by Cave Streitfeld dated August 19, 2019 and “It’s a Fact:  Mistakes Are Embarrassing the Publishing Industry” in “The New York Times” by Alexandra Alter dated September 22, 2019.]

[See the e-commentary at “Artistes And Integrity (July 29, 2013)”, “Writin’ (February 17, 2014)”, “So Many Words, So Few Ideas (Sept. 21, 2009)”, “‘Analog Knowledge Devices’ (‘AKD’):  The Next ‘Currency’ (July 10, 2017)”, “Writing The Long Song (September 26, 2011)”, “On Writin’ And Livin’ And Laborin’ (September 4, 2017)”, “On Standards & Quality (July 20, 2015)” and “Brave 1984 Farm: The Best Of All Possible Worlds (March 19, 2012)”.]

Bumper stickers of the week:

October – National Book Month

You can judge a book by its cover!

Judge a book by its cover!

Judge a book by its content!

Choose books not bigotry

“You cannot alter a printed book without the reader knowing.  A missing page, a changed word will all be revealed.  Not so with digital books.  They can be altered without a trace.”  Isaac Asimov

“Orwell warns that we will be overcome by an externally imposed oppression.  But in Huxley’s vision, no Big Brother is required to deprive people of their autonomy, maturity and history.  As he saw it, people will come to love their oppression, to adore the technologies that undo their capacities to think.  What Orwell feared were those who would ban books.  What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one.  Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information.  Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism.  Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us.  Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance.  Orwell feared we would become a captive culture.  Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with some equivalent of the feelies, the orgy porgy, and the centrifugal bumblepuppy.  As Huxley remarked in Brave New World Revisited, the civil libertarians and rationalists who are ever on the alert to oppose tyranny “failed to take into account man’s almost infinite appetite for distractions.”  In 1984, Orwell added, people are controlled by inflicting pain.  In Brave New World, they are controlled by inflicting pleasure.  In short, Orwell feared that what we fear will ruin us.  Huxley feared that what we desire will ruin us.”  Neil Postman

On Writin’ And Livin’ And Laborin’ (September 4, 2017)

Posted in Book Reference, Society, Work, Writing on September 4, 2017 by

. . .

W2       “Seems to me that one is best advised to ‘Live life’ first and foremost.  If the writing thing does not work out, then one has lived life.  If the writing thing does work out, then one can write about the life one has lived.”

W1       “And about the things that terrify you and satisfy you and mystify you and pacify you.”

. . .

W2       “Live and write.  Write and live.  Works for me.  Plays for me.”

W1       “Is writing also living?  . . .  He not busy writing is busy dying?”

W2       “Works for me.”

W1       “Play is for me.”

. . .

[Labor Day]

[See the e-commentary on the art and craft of writing at “Writin’ (February 17, 2014)”, the longing to write at “Writing The Long Song (September 26, 2011)”, the absence of standards and quality today at “On Standards & Quality (July 20, 2015)”, the love of ideas at “A Nerd You Know You Are (June 7, 2010)” and the role of the thinker/writer at “Contrarianism, Revisionism and Iconoclasm:  On The Path To Truth Or Trailing The Truth? (September 19, 2016)” among other e-commentary.]

Bumper stickers of the week:

Live life; life lived

Live Life and Die Death;

Don’t Live Death and Die Life.

Live to learn; learn to live

“The fear of death follows from the fear of life.  A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.”  Mark Twain

“Not being heard is no reason for silence.”  Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

A “Journalist” Declares War On Journalists . . . And Journalism (November 28, 2016)

Posted in Blog, Cyberactivities, Digital, Facebook, Google, Internet, Journalism, Newspapers, Press/Media, Truth, War and Wall Street Party, Writing on November 28, 2016 by

. . .

K          “The article may be the single most outrageous and egregious defamatory screed in the history of American journalism.”

J          “And it is irresponsible, inaccurate, unfounded, unfair and wrong.”

. . .

J          “The corporate media are now at war with independent commentators.  It is all about money and power.  The corporate players see a growing challenge to their hegemonic control of opinion and the profits that flow from purveying and controlling opinion.” 

K          “He indicted 200 sites on the basis of a website that is dubious at best.  I doubt he even uploaded a dozen of the sites. Review a few of them.  Charles Hugh Smith over at ‘Of Two Minds’ ventures trenchant commentary with supporting graphs and tables and light asides about life in Hawaii.  Chris Hedges and the folks at ‘Truthdig’ provide more substance and depth than ‘Newsweek’ and ‘Time’ in their prime and actually ferret out the Truth.  Yves Smith and the ‘Naked Capitalism’ team offer thoughtful and thought-provoking essays and commentary and have supplanted the ‘Wall Street Journal’ as America’s leading financial news source.”

J          “And interject cute pictures of puppies and other critters.  However, the ‘Tyler Durden’ chap at ‘Zero Hedge’ is the edgy and enigmatic bad boy who must be sampled cum grano salis.  The motley assemblage occasionally strays near the truth, yet there is a dark and disturbing undertone.  The right-leaning websites are also under assault.”

K          “The title of the ‘Ron Paul Institute For Peace and Prosperity’ directly challenges the one political party system in America – the ‘War and Wall Street Party’ system.  Wall Street is precluding and preventing Americans from achieving prosperity.”

J          “Both Paul Craig Roberts and David Stockman held positions in Republican administrations and now challenge the neo-liberal economic policy and neo-conservative foreign orthodoxy strangling the Republic.” 

K          “The author of the article goes for the throat and challenges each author’s patriotism.”  

. . .

K          “Ben Norton and Glenn Greenwald cogently and succinctly characterize the assault in their observation that the ‘Washington Post Disgracefully Promotes A McCarthyite Blacklist From A New, Hidden And Very Shady Group.’  The paper I delivered has so deteriorated over the decades.”

J          “Yet something funky and disturbing is going on out there.  We are in a new era of ‘antisocial media’ concocted by admixing Facebook and Google into a vile and evil brew dispensed anonymously.  A journalist getting it fundamentally wrong does not aid in getting it right.”

. . .

Bumper stickers of the week:

So many words, so little Truth

Facebook + Google = Trouble

Mass Media Breeds Mass Deception

Blogging Bloggingly About Blogs:  A Thing In Search Of A Name (October 31, 2016)

Posted in Blog, Cyberactivities, Journalism, Newspapers, Press/Media, Writing on October 31, 2016 by

. . .

L          “Anything that flashes on the handy dandy device is assigned the moniker by default.”

M         “Some things called ‘blogs’ that inhabit the thing called the ‘blogosphere’ have become nuanced enough to require another name.”

. . .

L          “‘Blog’ like ‘smog’ is a portmanteau created from ‘web’ and ‘log’ and characterizes most personal doodlings presented on the w. w. web.  A log simply collects basic information such as the ‘miles per gallon’ of one’s De Soto or the ‘average temperatures in June’ for the last ten years in De Soto County.”

M         “The thing styled a ‘blog’ is also threatening for some in the traditional media.  ‘Things have expanded so much,’ Dennis Ryerson, the editor of ‘The Indianapolis Star’, said on June 17, 2010 or thereabouts, I believe.  ‘Forty years ago, newspapers ran opinion pieces by a lot of columnists, most of whom were in Washington.  They had a good following and were widely respected.  But now anyone with a cheap computer can become a columnist or a pundit.  The definition has changed.  More people are in the game right now.’  However, the universe of products on the screen is much more promising than he laments.”

L          “He is right that a person with a modicum of talent may attract a viewer who will click on the site for fifteen seconds, if the site continues to confirm the viewer’s worldview.  On the other hand, so many voices that are silenced by the overriding economic concerns of a newspaper or magazine are provided a venue.”

. . .

M         “The typical blog is raw information sans analysis.  What happens when there is the pretense of analysis?  And what if the pretense is realized?” 

L          “Calling it a ‘log’ or a ‘blog’ or ‘smog’ is no longer correct or helpful or insightful.  So what is it?”

M         “A contest.  On the world wide web.  For a new word or phrase.  That’s what we need.  There is enough talent to come up with a workable word or phrase.  The effort will also generate interest.”

. . .

L          “How about ‘blogotrapezoid’?”

. . .

[See the e-commentary at “The Great Google Wall (June 27, 2016)” and other e-commentary on the Internet, etc.] 

Bumper stickers of the week:

Have a contented Halloween

Today the lint was different than yesterday and at the same time it was the same.

Contrarianism, Revisionism And Iconoclasm:  On The Path To Truth Or Trailing The Truth? (September 19, 2016)

Posted in Truth, Writing on September 19, 2016 by

. . .

X          “The orthodoxy often if not usually serves the interests of those with money and power.  The orthodoxy often if not usually needs to be confronted and challenged.  Simply asserting a contrary argument is often a step somewhat toward the right direction somewhat on the right path yet is often incomplete and inadequate.”

Y          “Contrarianism, revisionism, iconoclasm, you name it, are part of the counter narrative, yet they may be counterproductive if they lead one to conclude that there are only two opposite and opposed arguments.  Truth may be found somewhere along the continuum.”

X          “An argument that inserts ‘not’ in one sentence and deletes the ‘not’ from another sentence is not complete and adequate.”

Y          “Unless it is?  Yet when you need to generate a Ph.D. thesis, you may be able to get away by inserting ‘not’ in one sentence and deleting the ‘not’ from another sentence.”

. . .

X          “Take an extreme position and then get cited and booked by those ostensibly providing a balanced presentation.”

Y          “Take an extreme position in a negotiation and possibly move the final outcome closer to your position.”

. . .

X          “Some synthesis replete with nuance, condition and reservation is necessary to stray near the resolution.”

Y          “Sounds . . . so nuanced, conditional and reserved.  And yet unnatural for humans.”

. . .

X          “You need to inject the word ‘Manichean’ into the mix to sound like you know what you are saying.”

Y          “Or ‘paradigm’ to sound sufficiently pedantic.”

. . .

Y          “But what if the truth is not found along the conventional continuum.”

. . .

X          “A little balance of light and dark as we approach the Equinox is appropriate.”

. . .    

[See the e-commentary “On Standards & Quality (July 20, 2015).”]  

Bumper sticker of the week:

The Middle Way may not have as much traffic at this hour

A Decade Of Fun (January 5, 2015)

Posted in Blue States / Red States, Writing on January 5, 2015 by

. . .

S          “Accuracy, Brevity and Clarity. Guidance from the handbook for ham operators.”

J          “Abstruse, Bloviated and Cryptic.  . . .  On occasion?”

S          “Hamming it up.  On more than one occasion.”

. . .

S          “One week a law review, the next an economic journal, followed by a foreign policy tract and then a social discourse.  And every week, ‘e-commentary’ aspired to be a weekly literary adventure.”

. . .

S          “Tom Clancy observed that most military and defense secrets are publicly available in ‘Aviation Week & Space Technology’ magazine and other sources.  He stirred plot and characterization into the mix to cook a potboiler with insight.”

J          “An international thriller every few weeks this year?  That should be thrilling.”

S          “Every week is a thriller.  First understand the ‘Box.’  Assemble all the available and inscrutable and obscure and arcane information in a pile.  Connect two dots cautiously and carefully pencil in to craft the first line.  Proceed with caution and care to connect a third dot and proffer a plane.  Pen the right lines, erase connections between the wrong dots, and then distill, titrate and edit to craft a convincing and compelling production.”

. . .

S          “If I could see the bar, I raised it.  And then raised it again for good measure until it was out of sight.  And measured twelve times, wrote once.  The final product may be . . . measured and out of sight?”

. . .

S          “After ten years of careful observation, ‘blue’ and ‘red’ not only cannot see eye-to-eye, they cannot see each other and cannot stand each other and cannot sit down together.”

J          “They just do not play well with others.”

. . .

J          “Forget it.  ‘Conservatism-cum-a-four-digit-I-Q’ as a political, economic and social movement will never catch on.  You only get one word.”

S          “That gets one back to the fundamental challenge.  Why even try?  They say there is nothing that one can do.  They are right.  Yet I write.  Is that absurd or insane?”

. . .

S          “And a lot of fun.”

. . .

[See the discussion at

[See the e-commentary at Writin’ (February 17, 2014) and So Many Words, So Few Ideas (Sept. 21, 2009).]

Bumper stickers of the week:

investigate, interpolate, extrapolate; titrate, distill, edit

Measure twelve times, write once

Peg it, and peg the fun meter.