By Cyberquill • 09/15/2014 •
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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 →
By Cyberquill • 09/04/2014 •
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 →
By Cyberquill • 09/01/2014 •
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 →
By Cyberquill • 08/23/2014 •
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 →
By Cyberquill • 08/18/2014 •
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 →
By Cyberquill • 08/02/2014 •
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:
| External Player →
By Cyberquill • 07/25/2014 •
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 →
By Cyberquill • 07/20/2014 •
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 →
By Cyberquill • 07/16/2014 •
Pope Francis has denounced “racist and xenophobic” attitudes directed at migrants around the world.
Regarding the present surge of undocumented immigrants, primarily minors, across the southern U.S. border, the pontiff says that these children must be “welcomed and protected.”
Exercising principal legislative, executive, and judicial power over the State of Vatican City, the pope governs what is probably the only nation in the world encircled in its entirety by … Read More →
By Cyberquill • 07/14/2014 •
Homeopathy keeps getting hammered as a form of quackery.
Simplified, the controversy plays out something like this:
A mainstream physician/scientist examines a homeophathic remedy under the microscope and sees nothing but water (or alcohol, or whatever medium the healing substance—often a potent poison of some sort, like belladonna or poison ivy—has been diluted in to a point where virtually no detectable traces of that substance are left), whereupon he dismisses this supposed “remedy” as a placebo and homeopathy at large as … Read More →
By Cyberquill • 07/05/2014 •
Two-thousand and some odd years ago, the Star of Bethlehem revealed the birth of Jesus to the Three Magi.
Last week, this curious star (see picture above) had suddenly materialized in the sky over my house. No doubt, God—having availed Himself of man-made aviation, as He is known to conscript temporal phenomena into His causes—put it there to reveal something to somebody.
It was about time.
Better late than never.
By Cyberquill • 06/30/2014 •
The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled in yet another one of these annoying 5:4 decisions—where the conservative wing collectively just happens to come down on the conservative side of an issue and the liberal wing on the liberal, and we’re supposed to believe that personal druthers and ideology never factor into the rulings of these people as if each one of them weren’t smart enough to present an erudite and compelling argument in favor of any side of any issue in perfect accordance with his or her preferred outcome—that for-profit corporations may, on religious grounds, opt out of the Affordable Care Act’s mandate to … Read More →
By Cyberquill • 06/19/2014 •
I have a website, which probably comes as no surprise to you, since you’re here—most likely because you took a wrong turn somewhere on the Information Superhighway, and now you’re staring at the screen with a mildly annoyed “WTF???” forming on your lips, wondering how the blazes you ended up in this godforsaken virtual one-horse hamlet and, more importantly, where exactly you will have to click in order to exfiltrate and proceed to more alluring locales.
As to its genesis, I didn’t buy—nor filch—my website off the rack but took it upon myself to code and build the darn thing from scratch, a few subsequently inserted prefab … Read More →
By Cyberquill • 06/16/2014 •
Call me aberrant, but when someone has crossed into the undiscovered country (the one from whose bourn no traveler returns), my grief—the extent of which, in general, is governed by the nature and depth of my personal relationship with the deceased—primarily extends to feeling sorry for that person.
After all, it is that person that has died, not me.
Not that there’s anything wrong per se with missing a loved one spirited off to Elysian Fields by the Grim … Read More →
By Cyberquill • 06/14/2014 •
Research has shown that, on average, hurricanes with female names “cause significantly more deaths, apparently because they lead to lower perceived risk and consequently less preparedness” than do their masculine-named brethren.
So when hurricane Penelope approaches, people will intuitively deem her to be weaker—more incompetent, as it were, in terms of discharging her demolitionary duties as a cyclone—which leads to fewer hatches getting battened down than … Read More →