Sunday, August 26, 2012


Last week, I held a contest offering up a free word-lover's book to whoever came up with the best new pangram (that is, a sentence that uses all 26 letters) that comes in at under 65 characters. While I was hoping for some great participation and shows of wit, the contest received only two entries.
Quibbling over Mitt's tax return may just lead to a wicked prize fight.
Although I thank @Mededitor and @AlgotRuneman for their entries, I was hoping for more. You made me sad today, Internet. Was I expecting too much, hoping that you might
Just don your quixotic thinking fez and weave a fabulous pangram?
But, though the number of entries was not what I had hoped, I still will award the prize. In fact, I'll simply award a prize to both entrants. Here are their pangram entries.

Mededitor wrote,
For the love of quinces, zero waxy bad ones pack good jam.
And Algot Runeman wrote,
My boffing zone wax entry is quiescently poked and honed by jove!
Winners, I'll be contacting you through Twitter to get your address and choice for which of the three books you would most like to own. Or, if you read this before I get to you, just DM the info to me.

For those of you who read about the contest but didn't enter, why not? Was it too difficult? Too uninteresting?
Criticizing my bookkeeper's exquisite jewelry could lead to a violent fight.
I really would like your opinion about this. And if you have a new pangram that you would like to share, feel free to do it here.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Gotta Catch 'Em All: A Contest

About a week ago, I tweeted that when I reached 900 Twitter followers, I would celebrate by having a contest on this here blog. On Wednesday, I hit that 900 mark. (It didn't last long…dropped back down to 897 and then hovered at 899 for over a day, like a golden flounder nibbling at the bait. It finally finally grabbed the hook Friday evening.) So here is the promised contest.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Build a Pangram Machine in Excel

If you're anything like me — a somewhat compulsive, geeked-out word nerd — your psychiatrist probably has you on some pretty strong tranquilizers most of the time. But in your more lucid moments, you might find yourself playing around with words and letters and seeing what new things you can do with them.

Words are, after all, the best toys.

Read Carefully: The Importance of Understanding Your Sources

One of the requirements of good journalism is getting information from reliable sources. Normally, when you see that a writer has picked sources she trusts, you are more likely to trust what she reports.

But there's an important element of having good sources that sometimes gets neglected or overlooked: You have to understand what your sources mean. It isn't enough to find great sources of information — from scientific research to political analysis — if you misunderstand, and therefore misrepresent, the information.

Monday, August 13, 2012

The Verbing of NBC

In the midst of the ongoing kerfuffle of NBC's coverage of the 2012 Olympics, a new word was coined. Though Jay Baer probably wasn't the first to use it, he was the first person I heard use it — during his Friday morning keynote speech at Blog Indiana 2012 last week.

The word: NBC'd (or, if you're an apostrophe conservationist, NBCed).

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

My Response to Infinite Jest

Infinite Jest is a strange novel.

I'm slightly embarrassed to say that I started reading Infinite Jest back in January of this year, and I just last night (finally) reached the final period of the final sentence. There may be spoilers in the words that follow here, but they will be more or less spoilers about the way David Foster Wallace wrote IJ and not so much about what happens in IJ. It would be hard to spoil that novel, like telling you the ending. As you'll see soon enough.

And per my usual unusual logophilic touch, I will attempt to mimic DFW's predominate IJ style while I write about IJ.

Mimic, not mock.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

The Post That Almost Was

I just spent the better part of two hours trying to write a post about how hard it is to come up with something interesting and original to say on this blog. After the third version veered once again into a pity party for yours truly, I gave up and deleted it.

The gist of it was that it's hard to come up with something to say that hasn't already been said. But that's all I really had to say about it. That it's hard. The rest of the potential post just seemed like gravy. Cold, flavorless gravy.

I thought I might develop it into a monologue about how no one can expect to post day after day something that is truly original. Unique. But I'm not entirely sure how I feel about that, and so I couldn't get it there.

I tried to figure out how to mention that I have been writing, working bit-by-bit on a larger work in progress, and that I'm about 11,000 words in, but it didn't fit in quite right.

And I thought I would end it with half-hearted promises about things that might come soon if I ever get my act together, like blogging about next week's Blog Indiana conference and then, sometime after that, having a contest involving wordplay. But, of course, I never got to the end.

So I didn't get to tell you all that stuff because it kept devolving into something I didn't want to read, much less want to show to anyone else.

A pity.