"You have a point. An idiotic one, but a point." (from "All About Eve," 20th Century Fox, 1950)

Catcalls, Evolution, and Online Anonymity

By Cyberquill 10/30/2014Leave a Comment

Pounding the New York City pavement while tailing her undercover DP for ten hours, a callipygian young lady named Shoshana, garbed in formfitting black T&Jeans, reportedly scored a total of 108 catcalls (“This doesn’t include the countless winks, whistles, etc.”) from male strangers she encountered during her marathon stroll.

In general, catcalls are perceived as an unwelcome annoyance, but in this particular case they obviously were desired, the more the merrier, for the purpose of producing … Read More →

Why Forewords Belong in the Back

By Cyberquill 10/28/20142 Comments

Call me Ishmael.

American literature connoisseurs, whale aficionados, and those unable to disremember random factoids they picked up in high school or on Jeopardy!, will recognize the above request to be addressed in a certain manner as the opening line of a famous work of fiction.

That’s how the novel begins, and that’s how any book that says “Moby Dick” and “Herman Melville” on its front cover ought to begin.

Immediately following the obligatory front matter (publisher’s name and logo, copyright notice, if-you-purchased-this-book-without-a-cover disclaimer, etc.) the reader should encounter, without further ado, the first line of the material advertised on the cover, be it of the first chapter, or of some preface or … Read More →

The Fearsome Amphibrach

By Cyberquill 10/20/20142 Comments


Describing the inadvertent albeit colonialization-facilitating import of infectious diseases to the Americas by the European invaders in the wake of the New World’s official discovery by Christopher Columbus, a 2002 article in The Atlantic, titled 1491, provides this somewhat disquieting observation in light of the current Ebola situation:

Brought to Mexico apparently by a single sick Spaniard, [smallpox] swept south and eliminated more than half the population of the Incan empire.”

So is karma being a bitch by having brought … Read More →

Blaming the Victim (Pt. 2)

By Cyberquill 10/18/2014Leave a Comment

Blaming the Victim

Suppose a woman asked you whether there was anything she can do to lower her chances of experiencing sexual assault—what would you say?

Would you tell her that the odds of her falling prey to some creep with impulse control issues are always 100% the same, regardless of her surroundings, behavior, physical appearance, or intoxication levels?

Or would you list one or the other factor within her control that might indeed skew the risk matrix toward … Read More →

The Modern Enemy

By Cyberquill 09/29/20142 Comments


Had the word been en vogue back in the 18th century, what would the British government have labeled the rebels in the American colonies?

Terrorists, of course.

Had George III ever delivered a televised BBC address on the American insurgency following the adoption of the Declaration of Independence by the Continental Congress, he would have explained that he had given orders to crack down on terrorists in the New World, using … Read More →

Condemn or Look Like a Loady

By Cyberquill 09/23/20142 Comments


Nearly a century of marijuana prohibition and stigma have stained America, the land of the free and home of the brave.”

This according to Ms Charlo Greene, the former KTVA reporter who, upon outing herself as the moonlighting owner of the Alaska Cannabis Club her station had just broadcast a segment on, has risen to national notoriety by having tendered her on-air resignation using “Fuck it, I quit” as her parting words to the audience before traipsing off the set, determined henceforth to devote her energies full-time to the cause of … Read More →

Who Cares What George Clooney Says?

By Cyberquill 09/17/20147 Comments

George Clooney

Well, it depends on what he says. Or she. This has nothing to do with George Clooney per se. I just pulled his name out of a stovepipe. Feel free to substitute any celebrity, male or female or other, from A-list to F-list.

The question is this:

Should celebrities speak out on political and social issues, i.e., on matters that, technically, do not reside within the ambit of their professional expertise? And if they do, does … Read More →

WARNING: This Post Contains Language

By Cyberquill 09/15/201410 Comments

Literally doesn’t literally mean literally anymore.

Having had its literal meaning habitually perverted by children and illiterates (i.e., the same segments of society that, as per Prof. William Strunk of The Elements of Style-fame, are apt to think inflammable means not combustible) over so many years, dictionaries, always struggling to strike a balance between their prescriptivist vs. descriptivist inclinations, have begun to cave to popular usage and list “figuratively,” “virtually,” and “in effect” among the definitions of literally. Not merely introducing a heretofore unrelated line of meanings, these novel definitions represent the very concept the term literally was intended to contrast with, thus turning literally into a contranym, a word with at least two meanings that contradict one another.

Words often change meaning over time, a process known as semantic drift. Sometimes, a word loses its original meaning in favor of a new one, as was the case with … Read More →

The Belief-Conduct Dichotomy

By Cyberquill 09/04/20142 Comments

Your beliefs don't make you a better person. Your behavior does.

According to the blackboard, your behavior is king. Sounds reasonable—for what good are your most laudable beliefs and attitudes if they’re never put into practice?

What does it matter what you say if you then turn around and do the opposite?

No matter how sincerely you may believe in generosity, if you never give or share, how generous are you?

No matter how ardently you may advocate courage, if, at the first inkling of danger, you’re invariably the first one to seek shelter under the nearest sofa, how courageous are you?

You may say you love dogs, but the sight of your beaten and half-starved pet spaniel tells … Read More →

What’s in YOUR smartphone?

By Cyberquill 09/01/20142 Comments

Jennifer Lawrence

It has been more than four hours since Jennifer Lawrence’s nude pictures were leaked, and millions of of panicked men have started calling their doctors.

If I were an agent or publicist in the entertainment field, I’d be advising my clients (at least the physically attractive ones among them) to always keep a suite of alluring nude selfies stored in their phones in hopes that a savvy and ruthless hacker with zero regard for other people’s privacy will find them and … Read More →

Unarmed But Armed (and Dangerous)

By Cyberquill 08/23/20145 Comments


Last month, 43-year-old African-American Eric Garner died in consequence of a chokehold applied by a NYC police officer.

Mr Garner was unarmed.

Although the police officer who killed him was armed (in the sense of carrying a firearm), he never pulled his weapon but instead used his arms (= his upper limbs) to deal death, inadvertent as the fatal outcome may have been in this case.

So as far as is relevant regarding the termination of Mr Garner’s life, his killer was … Read More →

The Value of Black Life in America

By Cyberquill 08/18/20142 Comments

Ferguson, MO

What is the value of one black human life in America?

Judging from the reactions by the African-American community to the untimely and violent termination of such a life, one might get the impression that its value hinges primarily on the identity—that is, on the race—of its terminator.

When an unarmed black teenager gets fatally shot by a white police officer, as was recently the case in Ferguson, MO—or by a “white-Hispanic” civilian, as was the case in Trayvon Martin situation—the outrage and the public protestations of grief by African-Americans over such tragic … Read More →

Broken Chandeliers ♫

By Cyberquill 08/02/20148 Comments


This is my new song. The lyrics are posted here. It has a very long intro, which is nice, because that way my singing doesn’t start ruining the tune until about a minute into it:

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The State of Nagi Tanka

By Cyberquill 07/25/20142 Comments

Native Americans

Once upon a time, the area that these days comprises the United States was populated by people(s) now collectively referred to as Native Americans.

As is common knowledge, once the Europeans splashed ashore and set about establishing their shining city on the hill, the curtain inexorably began to ring down on the indigenous population, a process poetically styled “Manifest Destiny” by the newcomers.

Eventually, its most resilient and shrunken remainder ended up stashed away into so-called “reservations,” a term at the mere sound of which one can hardly imagine anyone … Read More →

The Universal Right to Choose

By Cyberquill 07/20/20144 Comments

Barack Obama

Speaking on what appears to have been the accidental downing of a Malaysian passenger jet over the Ukraine by Russian separatists that had skipped over the part in their mobile missile launcher’s manual where it said that all large aircraft look alike on the target acquisition radar, President Obama outlined general U.S. policy thus:

The United States of America is gonna continue to stand for the basic principle that people have the right to live as they choose, that nations have the right to determine their own destiny, and that when terrible events like this occur, the international community stands on the side of justice and on the side of truth.”

The president, of course, omitted to append to this basic principle the qualifiers “within reason” and … Read More →

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