Thursday, July 29, 2010

Sigh...That's My Congressman

I don't have enough information to evaluate the ethics charges against Charles Rangel. I do find the whole think depressing, though...

Rangel to Stand Trial on Ethics Violations -

Coming Soon! (...well, eventually)

From the people who brought you
absolutely nothing until now
comes the only deathstyle magazine you'll ever need!

EXPIRE Magazine

Keep watching this blog for details! 

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Guild Is Back -- and Bollywood's Got 'Em

<a href="" target="_new" title="Season 4 - Music Video - "Game On"">Video: Season 4 - Music Video - "Game On"</a>

Will Someone With Musical Talent PLEASE Do a Rap Version of This Song?

The Battle of New Orleans

A rap version could be a complex, contradictory wonder to behold, handled skillfully.  I certainly don't command such skill.  Does anyone else out there know how to pull this off?

Is Google about to move into social gaming?

If so, this is an area where "Don't Be Evil" could have a significant impact.

Google social gaming service reportedly in the works

R.I.P. Maury Chaykin

Obituary: Maury Chaykin, Canadian actor who played studio exec on 'Entourage,' dies at 61 -

Karen Sandler Thinks She Should Have Access to the Code That Regulates Her Heart

Karen Sandler has an implanted heart device.  She thinks she should be able to examine the software that runs it.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Debra Dickerson Is "on the knife edge of homelessness"

Debra Dickerson, an author of books and articles over the last fifteen years,  appeared on Michel Martin's Tell Me More yesterday.   A bitter and drawn-out divorce (which lasted longer than the marriage) has left her and her children destitute, homeless.  She is staying at a friend's house for now but that can't last...

She's chronicled a lot of this in her blog, starting here.

She has also set up a site where you can contribute money to get her next book going.  Be part of the crowd that crowdfunds Debra Dickerson's project!

I'm Curious About "curious to know"

A few hours ago I posted a link on the Wall of a FaceBook friend which read, in part, "I'm curious to know how you feel about this..."  Shortly thereafter I added this comment: "Actually, I am both curious and want to know...I hereby retract curious to know...".  My reason wasn't because I thought it was ungrammatical to say "curious to know" but because I have a certain sense of trying to maintain a particular written style online and I felt that "curious to know" failed to conform to that style.  I have nothing against Stetson's but I really prefer not to be seen in one.

This reaction was, of course, pretty much intuitive (even visceral).  It occurred to me that my use of "to know" in the phrase had seemed, somehow, like a verbal tic on my part -- that it didn't really convey any necessary or useful information.  Let me reiterate:  there is nothing inherently wrong about including words which don't convey useful information -- they can be decorative or simply stylistically appropriate.  It just didn't feel like me.

This raised the question:  Just why did I not like using the phrase?  Turning to Google I found that searching for the phrase (in quotation marks) yielded no fewer than 110 million hits .  On page 58 of the results I was told that Google had "omitted some entries very similar to the 573 already displayed".  Since, as far as I could see, the first 573 results used the term in exactly the manner I expected I declined their offer to take the search further.  Instead I searched for any instance of anyone complaining about the phrase "curious to know", searching for it in conjunction with such terms as "bad grammar", "bad English", "grammatical", "improper", etc.  I could find no complaints about it.  So I turned to Merriam-Webster's online, whose second definition of "curious" is:
2 a : marked by desire to investigate and learn  b : marked by inquisitive interest in others' concerns 

it later notes, in its synonym section:
curious, a neutral term, basically connotes an active desire to learn or to know 

So, okay, Webster's confirms my feeling that "to know" is somewhat redundant and explains my gut instinct that to use it was to be unnecessarily verbose.

Another question emerges for me, however.  In a networked world, where anyone feels free to comment on the writing of just about anyone else, why has "curious to know" NOT emerged as a grammatical faux pas (or, at least, annoyance)?  If there is any consistency to the rampant grammatical peevology abroad in the universe shouldn't it have found its way into some cross-hairs by now?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

...But I Get Up Again

I've been falling down lately. My right knee just buckles under me and sometimes I cannot regain my balance...and down I go.

It happened once in a Starbuck's (where I was taking advantage of their newly free WiFi) while I was getting off a stool. Everyone in the place gathered round convinced that the morbidly obese guy had suffered a heart attack. I embarrassedly assured them otherwise but they were not convinced until I got up on my own steam, after about two minutes of just lying there.

It happened once as I walked from the 34th St. A train to the Pennsylvania Hotel (to do tabling for and at the Hackers On Planet Earth conference). A cop came over to see if I was alright and, again embarrassed, I assured him I was. He insisted on giving me a hand up, for which I was grateful. I wouldn't have asked for the help on my own but I was glad to have it; I was still a little wobbly. I'd tried to bolster myself with a plastic cone next to a parked Con Ed van and had come down on the cone, banging my head in the process.

It all has to do with my weight. After having been losing it over a period of months I began gaining it all back over the last three. My weight-loss had relied on long walks every day and I somehow (playing Wii Fit, I think) injured my ankle, preventing me from walking so much. I don't find that I can easily adjust my food intake -- my appetite -- to compensate for lost exercise. So here I am, 323 pounds again, having to start all over. Only my right leg (my ankle and my knee) hurts whenever I take a step.

I wish to hell my insurance company would pay for bariatric surgery. I'm pretty sure it would save them a bundle in the long run.

Meanwhile, I have a cane at the ready.