Friday, November 25, 2005

I'm a grouchy old man
And as such, Ned Crabb's column in today's WSJ, as well as suiting his last name amazingly well, fits my sensibilities perfectly:

I can stay my pen no longer. Solecisms that are becoming common in written and spoken English must be dealt with firmly. Two are dreadfully ignorant and unacceptable, while another usage is forgivable though nonetheless wrong. Today, with this column, I'm going to halt the use of the worst two and force a general acknowledgment of the third. Tomorrow, I'm going out to Jones Beach on Long Island and command the waves to cease rolling in to shore.

Well. That's the way it is. You do your best. Perhaps a smattering of librarians will agree. Or just maybe a bunch of guys and gals in a holiday-bedecked tavern somewhere out in the heartland, boozing merrily and reading The Wall Street Journal, as I'm sure they are wont to do in such places, will wonder, by God, isn't good grammar a pillar of our beautiful English language? And are we going sit idly by and watch it knocked down by clumsy use?

"No!" they'll shout. And the cry will be raised and the word will spread from that tavern.

And I'll be crowned king of Uzbekistan right after Christmas.
While his particular examples seem rather tame to me the sentiment does not. I'll add one of my own:
Everyone is not in the room.
Think about that sentence. What do you think it means?

Many people use it to say that there are people missing who are supposed to be in the room. What it actually says is different. Literally, that sentence means that there is no one in the room. [UPDATE (11/28/2005 - 11:35): As I mentioned in this comment, I was mistaken in my initial definition of this sentence. It does not mean that there is no one in the room, it means that no members of a specific group are in a room. "Everyone" refers to some subset of humanity, and by saying "Everyone is not in the room," you assert that no one of that subset is present. "Not everyone is in the room," instead allows for the possibility that some portion of the specified subset is present although at least one member of said subset is absent. Feel free to dispute this, but I'm pretty sure I'm right this time.]

The hypothetical person in question intended to say "Not everyone is in the room." People who say the former, incorrect phrase butcher the English language.

Yeah, it's minor, but, well, I'm a crotchety old man. Yes, I know I'm only 22—imagine what I'll be like at 60.

UPDATE [11/25/2005 - 0:50]: I just thought of another one what needs mentioning:
I could care less.
The very nature of that statement, in the context it usually takes, contradicts itself. People use it to mean that they do not care about something. However, saying "I could care less" means that there is a possibility of caring less (duh), and therefore that you care on some level. One should instead say, "I couldn't care less."

If I think of any more, I'll add them. Feel free to place your own in the comments below.

I bought an Xbox today
Not one of those stupid 360 things. I have no need to spend, nor interest in spending, several hundred dollars for another game system.

Instead, I spent just over a hundred for the previous generation of Xbox on eBay. Looks to me like it was a good idea.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Giving Thanks
Well, I can't buck the blogger tradition and ignore the fact that it's a holiday, so here's my Thanksgiving post.

First, I want to reiterate all of the things I said last year: we, as a nation, have a lot to be thankful for. We are truly blessed to be Americans, and must never forget how lucky we are. Once again, I invite you to visit a charity of your choice (again recommending Heifer International) and give a little something for people who aren't lucky enough to be Americans.

Also remember those less fortunate Americans who cannot enjoy today as a day of rest with family and friends.

And by reflecting on those less fortunate than we, let us give thanks for the things with which God has graced us. Personally, I'm most thankful for the fact that I have a loving family, a spectacular girlfriend, a great job, a beautiful house on the beach (rent, not own), and a remarkably intelligent constituency (after all, they did vote for me).

Seriously, I'm truly blessed, and I know I'll never be able to express how thankful I am for all that I have.

On a different note: I'm sorry I've been absent for the past week. I needed a bit of a break from the usual daily blogging, and I took it. I'd had enough of arguing about why we went to war in Iraq, instead of figuring out how to win now that we're there; I'd had enough of the "Bush lied" bullshit; I'd had enough of the press manufacturing news about a Congressman's speech that was nearly identical to what he's been saying for two years; in short, I'd had enough of politics generally. I'm still a bit fed up, but the rest has done me good. I'm going to post sporadically over the weekend, and then I'll be back on Monday in as much full force as my work schedule allows.

For those that care, I was sworn into public office on Monday night in a great little ceremony at one of the town's middle schools—and my first meeting is Monday night, where committees and chairmanships are assigned. Everyone cross your fingers that a few Democrats don't show up—they have a 26-to-24 majority, and if two don't show up, we can snag some committee chairmanships.