Category Archives: Mermaids

English Has No Word For

The kind of detritus—rubber bands, thumbtacks, orphaned fasteners, possibly dead batteries—that collects in drawers. A rock or brick left next to a locked door of a common area (the rear entrance of an apartment building, say, or a laundry room) … Continue reading

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Whorf and Whoop

As a member of Generation X, I can’t stand Millennials. Their sense of entitlement, their social-media driven narcissism, their inability to put their smart phones down for one moment and have a conversation like normal human beings. But mostly what … Continue reading

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I Dream of Digits

Boltz the robot can read digits. If you hold up a handwritten digit in front of him, Boltz will say it aloud. “Two. Five. Two. Seven. Zero.” He is as good at this as a person is. The only digits … Continue reading

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Proposed New Vocabulary: Omnispiel

A recorded phrase that you hear frequently in your daily life. It can’t arrive through media channels, but rather must be part of your immediate physical environment. Most typically a recording attached to some piece of equipment. “Hello and welcome to … Continue reading

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The Meaning of Life

Right-clicking on a highlighted word in my web browser brings up a menu that gives me the option of either looking up that word or searching for it on Google. The first option returns a dictionary and thesaurus definition. The … Continue reading

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Wittgenstein, Watson, and Language Games

Here the term “language-game” is meant to bring into prominence the fact that the speaking of language is part of an activity, or of a form of life. Review the multiplicity of language-games in the following examples, and in others: … Continue reading

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Basic Training

Whence basic? It began as black slang meaning “trashy”, “low-class” or “contemptible”, and–in its full form, “basic bitch”–a woman who has these characteristics. There is a hint of delusion about the basic bitch—she thinks she’s better than she is—but this … Continue reading

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