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May 25, 2010

Comments

Niall

I should think a poor vocabulary would be the least of your hassles while trying to fly somewhere these days.

becausebored

but we forgive richard branson everything because hes so nice isnt he.

John Shannon

But what about an "unscheduled water landing?"

tito

how about a licensed to kill doily to lighten the mood?

http://nathanvincent.com/artwork/39153_007.html

Ward

Travel, obliquely addressed but I'm mad, like a lot of people who live down here. 1,200 soldiers, it was announced this morning, are being sent by our President to man the border when those 1,200 should be sent to the Louisiana coast to string inflatable hoses in this "last and final" call for our wildlife, ways of human life.

Ward

Hey WWarren, lighten up on Tim, who made a point. Mark, if you read from the top, is the one who said he as cranky. And we take him seriously.

Tim

Where's my comment?

Tim

James

I'm as easily made cranky by air travel these days as anyone, but this phrase isn't one of my triggers. I've always thought of it as an acceptable means of emphasis, and it reminds me of the many legal terms that seem to stem from the language mixing after the Norman conquest--goods and chattels, cease and desist, aid and abet, etc.

Tim

Seriously, my comment disappeared? Are there gremlins haunting TEV?

Tim

Tori Hartman

But isn't the English language a dying art? You made me laugh, cranky one.

lynne

The reason for using both "final" and "last" in the announcement is to give half-asleep passengers two chances to hear the target message-- get to the freakin gate now.

It's advertising agency strategy. Bombarb, bombard, bombard. It's not grammar strategy.

Now go and apologize to Richard.

Tim

Dear Mark

I hate to be annoying, but someone's deleting my comments, and that doesn't seem to be in the spirit of things. I don't think that my initial comment was out of order, or in any way different from Lynne's, really. Are you not going to allow polite disagreement around here?

Any thoughts? Email me if you like.

Tim

The comments to this entry are closed.

TEV DEFINED


  • The Elegant Variation is "Fowler’s (1926, 1965) term for the inept writer’s overstrained efforts at freshness or vividness of expression. Prose guilty of elegant variation calls attention to itself and doesn’t permit its ideas to seem naturally clear. It typically seeks fancy new words for familiar things, and it scrambles for synonyms in order to avoid at all costs repeating a word, even though repetition might be the natural, normal thing to do: The audience had a certain bovine placidity, instead of The audience was as placid as cows. Elegant variation is often the rock, and a stereotype, a cliché, or a tired metaphor the hard place between which inexperienced or foolish writers come to grief. The familiar middle ground in treating these homely topics is almost always the safest. In untrained or unrestrained hands, a thesaurus can be dangerous."

SECOND LOOK

  • The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald

    Bs

    Penelope Fitzgerald's second novel is the tale of Florence Green, a widow who seeks, in the late 1950s, to bring a bookstore to an isolated British town, encountering all manner of obstacles, including incompetent builders, vindictive gentry, small minded bankers, an irritable poltergeist, but, above all, a town that might not, in fact, want a bookshop. Fitzgerald's prose is spare but evocative – there's no wasted effort and her work reminds one of Hemingway's dictum that every word should fight for its right to be on the page. Florence is an engaging creation, stubbornly committed to her plan even as uncertainty regarding the wisdom of the enterprise gnaws at her. But The Bookshop concerns itself, finally, with the astonishing vindictiveness of which provincials are capable, and, as so much English fiction must, it grapples with the inevitabilities of class. It's a dense marvel at 123 pages, a book you won't want to – or be able to – rush through.
  • The Rider by Tim Krabbe

    Rider_4

    Tim Krabbé's superb 1978 memoir-cum-novel is the single best book we've read about cycling, a book that will come closer to bringing you inside a grueling road race than anything else out there. A kilometer-by-kilometer look at just what is required to endure some of the most grueling terrain in the world, Krabbé explains the tactics, the choices and – above all – the grinding, endless, excruciating pain that every cyclist faces and makes it heart-pounding rather than expository or tedious. No writer has better captured both the agony and the determination to ride through the agony. He's an elegant stylist (ably served by Sam Garrett's fine translation) and The Rider manages to be that rarest hybrid – an authentic, accurate book about cycling that's a pleasure to read. "Non-racers," he writes. "The emptiness of those lives shocks me."