By Cyberquill • 05/31/2013 •
People often distinguish between so-called “hot” (or “warm”) meals and “cold” meals, a distinction I’ve never fully understood.
For instance, someone will report they generally have their “hot” meal for lunch and something “cold” for dinner or vice versa, or they may evangelize with solicitous mien that everyone needs at least “one hot meal a day”—not one meal a day as opposed to nothing at all, but one hot meal as opposed to nothing but lowly cold fare—implying that hot meals supply us with something we require in a way that unhot meals do not, and that the former are of a somewhat more substantial meal-iness than their algid counterparts, as if only hot food were real food.
At least I don’t remember ever hearing anyone insist with parental inflection that in order to be properly nourished, one needed at least one cold meal a day.
I once overheard the following conversation on a train: … Read More →
By Cyberquill • 05/29/2013 •
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Never having been too ravenous a sampler at the prodigious buffet of TV drama and sitcoms, I had been blissfully unaware of a show called “Arrested Development” until recently, when said chucklefest made the entertainment headlines in the runup of its latest season being released on Netflix.
Clicking on some of these headlines, I expected to read editorial diatribes berating the show’s producers for gross insensitivity and urging the entertainment community to evince a bit more compassion when it comes to selecting titles and tag lines for their products.
Yet in lieu of critical finger-wagging, to my surprise I found nothing but unanimous encomia and no accusations of … Read More →
By Cyberquill • 05/21/2013 •
On 17 March 2013, a boulder-sized meteorite allegedly crashed into Mare Imbrium on the lunar surface and “exploded in a flash nearly ten times as bright as anything we’ve ever seen before,” according to Bill Cooke of NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office.
The moon having been struck by a rock—an occurrence about as common as a sunny day in the Sahara—sounds innocent enough. Although the atypical force of this particular impact may have justified the release of a statement by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration in order to brief amateur astronomers on the precise nature of the brighter-than-usual lunar blast they may have observed that day, why did it take NASA a full two months to do so?
Could it be that something other than a meteorite caused the exceptionally powerful explosion in March? … Read More →
By Cyberquill • 05/17/2013 •
Time of death is easily determined—but when exactly does human life begin?
The other day, I caught an interview with feminist in chief Gloria Steinem, during which she touted her decision to have an abortion at age 22 as the best decision she’d ever made and went on to extol elective pregnancy termination as an act of “liberation” for women.
Surely, though, if a woman elected to decapitate her toddler and bury the remains in the backyard, this would be no less an act of liberation from the trials and tribulations of motherhood as it would have been had she liberated herself a lot earlier in the process, yet we may assume that … Read More →
By Cyberquill • 05/07/2013 •
According to a 2007 Gallup poll, 55% of U.S. adults consider themselves morning people; 15% consider themselves afternoon people; 20% consider themselves evening people; and 6% consider themselves late night people.
Some research suggests that, on balance, self-identified early birds make more money; are more productive, healthier, and happier; and live longer. (If these qualities appeal to you, but you consider yourself an inveterate non-morning person, you can find instructions on how to become a morning person here.)
Although the jury on my personal longevity is still out, my excuse for never having any money is that I reside among the ill-fated 6% that … Read More →
By Cyberquill • 04/28/2013 •
Alright, I made this headline up, but given the propensity of so many followers of Islam for getting their keffiyehs into fiery bunches over perceived slights to their faith, my fictional header may be a trifle less far-fetched than appears at first blush.
If someone, somewhere in the world, deliberately or not, ignites, merely threatens to ignite, or otherwise desecrates or threatens to desecrate, a copy of the Qur’an, embassies go up in flames and people die.
If someone produces content deemed insulting to Islam, such as—the Exceedingly Merciful forbid!—a series of cartoons depicting the Prophet, once again people lose their lives at the hands of frenzied mobs running wild, or must go into hiding for decades in order to escape some silly … Read More →
By Cyberquill • 04/09/2013 •
Jeremy Irons has flung gay marriage proponents into a bit of a tizzy over his announcement—in an interview with the Huffington Post of all forums—that “I don’t have a strong feeling either way” about same-sex wedlock and conjuring up a slippery-slope-style scenario should the traditional definition of marriage be tinkered with in order to accommodate heretofore ineligible types of union.
“I think the lawyers are gonna have a field day with same-sex marriage,” Mr Irons predicted.
As an example of what might happen if “we change what marriage is,” the British thespian floated the hypothetical that a father could be able to marry his son if he wanted to pass on his estate without … Read More →
By Cyberquill • 04/08/2013 •
Arctic temperatures have descended upon your city, the heating is out, and so you light a log in your fireplace.
Now the log burns, and, cuddling up on your sofa with a nice cup of tea, a plate of cookies, and a good book, you enjoy your little fire.
But what exactly does the fire do?
It makes no sense to say the fire “burns.” What burns is the log, not the fire.
Besides, there can be no fire without the concurrent process of burning, which renders the immediate juxtaposition of … Read More →
By Cyberquill • 04/05/2013 •
Doing its part in helping to phase out the practice of labeling human beings, the AP Stylebook has officially mothballed the term “illegal immigrant.”
Henceforth, “illegal” shall be reserved for denoting actions and behaviors: although a person can still immigrate to or live in a country illegally, no person is illegal anymore.
Besides its dehumanizing—and racial—connotations, so the argument goes, when attached to a person the term “illegal” falls untenably short in the precision department, which is why courts and lawyers never use it in that way. In our legal system, after all, a person is innocent (= legal) … no, wait, “innocent” and “legal” are labels, too, are they not? … a person has … Read More →
By Cyberquill • 01/24/2013 •
Owing to the manifest difficulty of procuring objectively verifiable evidence one way or the other and the resultant unfalsifiability of individual claims, a measure of futility invariably attaches to disputes rooted in matters of personal taste.
If you were to insist that Hershey’s kisses are the most delicious candy on the market, I’d have a hard time “proving” to you that Hershey’s kisses pale in comparison to, say, Reese’s cups or Bounty bars. I know they do. I just can’t prove it. Truth, after all, is neither determined by a show of hands nor by unilateral profession of no matter how sincerely held a belief. And in some areas, such as sweetmeats or the arts, universal truths rendering alternative points of view inferior by definition may not … Read More →
By Cyberquill • 12/18/2012 •
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At the time of the founding, “the people” were white propertied males, period. Over the years, the term gradually expanded to include women and persons of color.
Nowadays, every homo sapiens that holds a U.S. passport or has at least one foot on U.S. soil is generally considered one of the people. The only question left to decide appears to be whether the unborn are people, too.
Whoever “the people” may be exactly, rudimentary logic dictates that the definition of a particular term must remain consistent within the four corners of the same document, especially a legal one. A specific word, expression, or phrase cannot merrily mutate in meaning from … Read More →
By Cyberquill • 12/15/2012 •
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Mass shootings by deranged individuals are coming dangerously close to replacing MacDonald’s as the first thing the word “America” brings to mind in the rest of the world.
Many say it’s time now to have a serious debate about gun control—a debate we’re having every other week, it seems, each time kicked off by yet another whackjob playing Rambo at a school, a mall, or a movie theater.
The nature of the debate never changes, of course, with the left calling for for more gun control in order to reduce the number of firearms in circulation, and the right calling for more guns and less gun control, each camp insisting that their respective approach would bring about a reduction in … Read More →