Monday, May 31, 2010
And each year for Memorial Day, someone, quietly and dutifully and anonymously, makes sure that there is a flag in each flowerpot on either side of the monument, and red and white nasturtiums in the flowerpots, and red begonias in the flowerbed in front of the marker with two or three dozen names of the fallen.
I may be wrong as to what kinds of flowers those are, but I am not mistaken regarding the devotion of this person or these persons.
Sunday, May 30, 2010
Space on walls in a gallery, allowing room for the paintings to live and breathe, as it were, or as it is.
The space between words or sounds, which call silence.
Oddly, he spoke of John's Gospel and the Word. And the Silence eternal before the Word. Then, curiously, the eucharistic prayer said something like, "Your Word has never been silent."
My lawyerly mind (I'm not a lawyer, though) said to myself, which is it?
Why can't my zen mind say: why does it have to be either/or (the title of a Kierkegaard work)? Why can't it be both?
(Grammar purists might tell you that the slash, or virgule, is used improperly above.)
Sunday, May 23, 2010
It is clarion clear now, yellow letters on a green background, a tocsin call to cordiality, a welcome, a radical hospitality.
The welcome sign of Tipperary Hill has been spruced up, freshened.
You are welcome.
Thanks. And when you think of it, there is nothing more gratifying than acceptance, nothing more welcoming than your being greeted and warmly regarded just as you are.
Friday, May 14, 2010
Report from Week 865 of The Style Invitational
in which we sought yet more Googlenopes -- phrases that still yielded that "no results found" icon when you offer them to the Universe's Biggest Search Engine. Once again, some of the thousands of 'Nopes submitted were just convenient misspellings of names. For all the results below -- which were still unique at press time -- the phrases were entered within quotation marks. Capitalization didn't matter in the searches.
Several entrants noted to the Empress that they were more amazed by the phrases that did produce a few hits, such as "National Beet Day" (discovered by Tom Kreitzberg) or "the wisdom of Tom Cruise" (noted by Russell Beland). These have been called Googleyups, and yes, we'll have to get to them. (We have already done Googlewhacks, in which there is exactly one hit.)The winner of the Inker
Both "Nobody understands me like my husband" and "Nobody understands me like my wife" (Mark Richardson, Washington)
2. the winner of the nine-inch-long black gummi rat:
"I was persuaded by the picket sign" (Dan Steinberg, Silver Spring)
3. "President Obama wigs" (Mike Turniansky, Pikesville, Md.)
4. "I lost lots of weight by eating better and exercising" (Sheri Tardio, Prince Frederick)None: The Less -- Honorable mentions
"Lady Gaga wore a modest" . . . (Jeff Contompasis, Ashburn)
"Muhammad Halloween masks" (Kevin Dopart, Washington)
"I always lift the toilet seat for my husband" (David Thorne, Washington, a First Offender)
"Now I understand all of 'Lost' " (Craig Dykstra, Centreville)
"He's so spacey his brain farts cause global warming" (Roy Ashley, Washington)
"We've decided to name our baby Eyjafjallajökull" (Dan Gordon, Arlington)
"The Vatican reversed its policy on" . . . (Dan Ramish, Washington)
"How to style your hair like Rod Blagojevich" (Steve Offutt, Arlington)
"Hiking the Appalachian Trail with your wife" (Steve Offutt)
"Find me an Amway dealer" (Russell Beland, Fairfax)
"The GOP leadership sought a compromise" (Anne Paris, Arlington)
"The Yiddish word for 'splurge' " (Rick Haynes, Potomac)
"I wish Bush were still in the White House" (Dan Ramish)
"They filled the pothole right away" (Ben Aronin, Arlington)
"Our priest is celibate" (Kevin Dopart)
"My ex-husband is an angel" (Kathy Bacskay, Lorton, a First Offender)
"Brief remarks by the House speaker" (Jeff Contompasis)
"I was outraged by that 'Family Circus' cartoon" (Julie Thomas and Will Cramer, Herndon)
"If wishes were horses, birthday parties would reek." (Rachel A. Bernhardt, Silver Spring)
"employed in Novi, Mich." (Judy Blanchard, Novi, Mich.)
"Kitty Kelley's balanced portrayal of" . . . (Drew Bennett, West Plains, Mo.)
"The Manischewitz's refined bouquet" (Mike Gips, Bethesda)
"French spam recipes" (Craig Dykstra)
"beloved Redskins kicker" (Ward Kay, Vienna)
"tattoos your mom will love" (Judy Blanchard)
"Scranton getaway vacations" (Kevin Dopart)
"I don't know, so I'll say nothing." (Tom Kreitzberg, Silver Spring)
"unwanted strip of bacon" (Russell Beland)
"My cat really cares about me" (Dan Klein, McLean)
"the world's second-largest microbrewery" (Russell Beland)
"Facebook: A better mousetrap" (Ben Aronin)
"the best of the feel-good Russian novels" (Michael Woods, Arlington)
"Three animals were harmed in the making of this movie" (Russell Beland)
"The Amish Justin Timberlake" (Craig Dykstra)
"I laughed at The Style Invitational" (Kevin Dopart)
Next week: Natalie Portmanteau, or Overlappellations
© 2010 The Washington Post Company
You see the gateway sign to Tipperary Hill, at the near crest of a hill in front of All Saints Elementary School and Saint John the Baptist Ukrainian Catholic Church. The sign is a few yards in front of that Taras guy (whose last name escapes you and thank God his name is not in Cyrillic), the Ukrainian poet. Yes, Tipp Hill: not just for Irish-Americans. Ukrainian-Americans too. The letters forming "Welcome to Tipperary Hill" (were those the words?) are faded from the sign. In fact, only your memory or your expectations fill in the gestalt emptiness of the sign, which has only faded traces of letters. Fill in the blanks, the sign seems to command you. And is such a ghostly sign a challenge or statement or reflection or editorial? And what is the content of that less-than-minimalist message? If the medium is the message, what is the medium? What sign is this? You wonder: is it burnishing or memory or loss or faded glory or clean slate or buffing or distillation aiming toward perfect clarity? Fill in the blank becomes a blanket statement. Saying what? If signs are sacraments, or sacraments signs, what does this implore us to conclude regarding Tipperary Hill in Syracuse, New York, in May 2010?
Thursday, May 13, 2010
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Ever see it?
Alan Arkin. Rita Moreno.
Touching, funny, sentimental, gritty.
I don't know. I have not seen it in several years; maybe I'd find it dated now.
But I'm dated now too.
Monday, May 10, 2010
Sunday, May 09, 2010
But, hey! What about some real-life names! Or at least ethnic-sounding names that are slightly more in tune with today's demographics:
Schwartz & Hurwitz!
Rodriquez & Espinoza!
Gagliardi & Dilorenzo!
Czerzxczinski & Kuciniwicz!
Ibrahim & Abdullah!
Don't anyone get all lathered up over this.
Saturday, May 08, 2010
Wednesday, May 05, 2010
The vocabulary of "investment" and "opportunity" drowned out, by far, the drumbeat of me, me, me, lower my taxes, hear my anger, dissent, etc.
People were overwhelmingly positive and supportive of their community, with caveats for elected officials.
People -- perhaps 47 out of 50 -- said: raise taxes if you must, but do it to help kids and their education (and to maintain excellent fire and police services, too, as two representatives of those servant leaders robustly noted).
Syracusans said yes.
Syracuse said yes.
Did official Syracuse listen?
Tuesday, May 04, 2010
I have long argued this was inevitable.
Yes, there are, and will be, holdouts. Maybe forever. (Right now: The New Yorker, New York Times, and a plethora of others insist on "Web site.") (As you all know, I can be stubborn about such things. I did not become a Serial Comma Commando for nothing!)
I have pushed for this change with particular clients I have worked with (yes, yes, yes, of course you can end a sentence with a preposition! Or even a proposition!).
The organic and natural evolution in American English is for compound forms to go from two words to hyphenated forms to solid, one-word configurations.
Be organic linguistically! Go organic!
After all, we don't use "tele-phone" anymore. We don't write "tele-vision." At least I don't.
Back in my linguistics course in 1968-69, I learned that such linguistic contraction is a mark of a language's sophistication.
Just as Thoreau said.
Zen masters too.
By the way, my friend Mark Murphy alerted me to a fantastic resource if you are into this sort of esoteric stuff:
Awesome. I salute its creator and maintainer.
Monday, May 03, 2010
Sunday, May 02, 2010
-- Avigdor Arikha, 1929-2010
This is also true in writing.
And living, too.
Saturday, May 01, 2010
Fresh from a stay at the Williams Club, walking down West 31st Street, on the shaded side, they saw a hotel, the Herald Square Hotel, with the word "LIFE" not interrupted but decoratively carved into the concrete face of the building in three different places, as if warding off suicides or affirming an existential state or simply dancing the good ol' joie-de-vivre, and then, several floors higher than those facades of LIFE (and we know how much life can be a facade sometimes), surprise! look! the word LIFE spelled out again in sure declaration, triumph, or inspiration, take your pick.