Sunday, June 01, 2008

Honey I'm home.

I had to go dark. In the north country. The last opportunity for the internet was while driving through Iowa where the rest areas have wireless access. But Buffy gets anxious to keep moving so I didn't go rummaging for my laptop.

While in Minnesota I only talked to a few people so I didn't get a lot of data to comment on. But I did some reading and listened to the radio and took some notes.

You might notice that the writing is quite faded. That's proof that I wash my hands at every pit stop. I think I'll start taking notes higher on my arm where they're less likely to get scrubbed. I was able to get some of those entered into the computer as sketches and early drafts.

I'm happy to be back.


  1. I see you recently watched "For Your Consideration."

    From "Best in Show"

    MAX BERMAN: "You know you have a bad day and someone returns a sweater. I have a bad day, lives get lost. People lose their lives. I'm chief hostage negotiator for the Akron and tri-county area and I try to talk people down when they wanna jump from a big building, they call me."

    GERRY FLECK: "How uhhh, how many people, uhhh, have you talked down? I mean it there uhhhh..."

    BERMAN: "Well they always jump. I got news for ya. its a little secret from the trade -- They all jump."

  2. Michael, I have a question: Is it ever necessary to use the phrase "whether or not...?" It seems to me that the word "whether" all by itself implies both possibilities of positive or negative outcomes -- the "or not" shouldn't be necessary and indeed may be redundant. I routinely read memos in which the "Issue for Decision" is "Whether [or not] to approve a contribution of $X million to X organization." Your thoughts?

  3. @Nicole -- how about something like this:

    "They're going to go the movies whether or not we do."

    That "or not" has to go somewhere, and right after "whether" is certainly a valid option, depending on what specifically one wants to emphasize.

    Categorical imperatives about such constructs rarely hold up. Our style guide fudges certainty in such scenarios by simply advising "Avoid." :-)

  4. Mysterious commenter: I loved Best In Show.

    Nicole and WordzGuy: The next post is dedicated to you.

  5. Sometimes the "or not" is an emphatic device - particularly at the end of the sentence. Also, the "or not" seems to me to lean towards expecting the negative, and it's one of the few ways you can get that. "Let's discuss whether we should give them money" and "Let's discuss whether we shouldn't give them money", oddly, both mean the same thing. You can say an emphatic "whether we should NOT give them money" but that's hard to convey in ordinary writing.


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