As a serial abuser of parentheses, I warn you against their overuse, particularly in the conveyance of elbow-nudging joshingness. One too many coy asides and you, in the person of your writing, will seem like a dandy in a Restoration comedy stepping down to the footlights and curling his hand around his mouth to confidentially address the audience. One rather needs a beauty mark and a peruke to get away with that sort of thing.—Benjamin Dreyer
—from Dreyer’s English : an utterly correct guide to clarity and style (2019)
apotropaic /ap-ə-trə-PAY-ik/ /apətrəˈpeɪɪk/. adjective. Something that prevents—or is intended to prevent—evil influence or bad luck. From Greek apotropaios (averting evil), from apo (away) + trepein(turning).[Read more…]
- The discovery that a microbe involved in gum disease is the cause of Alzheimer’s not only might yield treatments, but could lead to a vaccine → We may finally know what causes Alzheimer’s — and how to stop it
- Cal Newport, author of the insightful (and admittedly imperfect) book Deep Work, has a new book out (Digital Minimalism: On Living Better with Less Technology) that is interesting and a little maddening. This interview captures the gist → Why We’ll Look Back at Our Smartphones Like Cigarettes
- If great scientists had logos…
- I lean heavily away from prescriptive grammar books, but occasionally a titles comes along that manages to avoid off-putting pedantry and show a deep love of words in happy order. Benjamin Dreyer’s Dreyer’s English: An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style is one of those rarities → Meet the Guardian of Grammar Who Wants to Help You Be a Better Writer ※ See also: The Hedonic Appeal of “Dreyer’s English”
- Digitizing the vast ‘dark data’ in museum fossil collections
- Hyperlocal, micro-publishing, “pomenvylopes” and postcards…the delights of small-scale, under-the-radar publishing are myriad → A Writer’s Choice to Be Borderline Invisible [Thanks, Reader K.!]
- Owen Earl, of indestructible type*, wants to (and does) “make high quality, versatile, modern typography that’s accessible to everybody.” And he’s just released *another* amazing “pay what you want” (all the way down to zero), open source, meticulously detailed and documented font → Indestructible Type Bodoni*
- A film trope I hadn’t thought about before → The Art (or Non-Art) of the Cinematic Dictionary Open
- An essential quiz → Tolkien Character or Antidepressant?
- Today is Setsubun, the day before the first day in Spring in Japan. Though the name literally means “the division between seasons” and is more properly called Risshun, Setsubun is celebrated as part of the Japanese Spring Festival. Celebration of Setsubun is accompanied by mamemaki, a ritual of throwing roasted soybeans (“fortune beans”) out the door, warding off evil spirits—sometimes impersonated by mask wearing family and friends—and initiating a fresh Spring start to the year. Modern Setsubun celebrations, naturally, sometimes involve televised festivities with celebrities tossing not just soybeans, but also peanuts, candy and even envelopes of money. Other Setsubun practices include silently eating futomaki (“fat” sushi rolls) while facing in that year’s lucky direction, drinking ginger sake, and putting up small decorations of holly and sardines above doorways to prevent bad spirits from entering.
The making is beautiful; the results-in-motion are mesmerizing → ► Trepō – Zoetrope Pottery