Monthly Archives: April 2011

Always Arguing About That Elusive Kettle

In his book Icons of Evolution, biologist Jonathan Wells refers (p. 133) to an old lawyers’ joke in which “Jones sues Smith for borrowing his kettle and returning it with a crack in it.” The defense by Smith’s lawyers goes … Continue reading

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How We Get Things Wrong

The other day I wrote some thoughts about recent accusations against Greg Mortenson, author of Three Cups of Tea — see “Greg Mortenson’s Three Cups of Trouble.” Among other things, he is accused of inventing events recounted in his memoir. … Continue reading

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Smart-Alecky Response to a Prescriptivist Teacher

I found this at 22 Words, but its origin is obscure: Me: Can I use the bathroom? Teacher: I don’t know, can you? Me: When I said “can” I was using its secondary modal form as a verbal modifier asking … Continue reading

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Greg Mortenson’s Three Cups of Trouble

CBS News’s 60 Minutes has broadcast an exposé of Greg Mortenson, author of the bestselling Three Cups of Tea, featuring interviewees who allege that Mortenson has lied in his books and has mismanaged the funds of his charity, the Central Asia Institute — … Continue reading

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The Twitterati Feeds

[Note: This article is a rhetorical exercise in style imitation. The content here is fictionalized, although based on a number of real people and their activities in social media. The original text for imitation is Tom Wolfe’s “The Saturday Route,” … Continue reading

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