Browsing Month May, 2006

Tale of Two Covers

It looks like my book has finally been released. Amazon has it for sale, anyway, and promises delivery in 24 hours rather than in two or three weeks (which is what it says when a book is pending but not yet released). One of the many tasks required to put a book together is designing more…


Annie on behalf of Maud points us to the site regender, which changes the gender pronouns on any web page. This is going to cause a lot of confusion at FictionMania.

Stupid New Yorkers

I fear the stupidity of my fellow New Yorkers more than I fear a dirty bomb, another plane rammed into a building, or anything like that. More than half of the survey’s respondents (53 percent) said that if they had to flee New York after a disaster, they would drive or take taxis. The report more…

Kick a word expert’s behind at Scrabble

As part of the fund-raising drive for the fantastic NPR affiliate KPBS in San Diego, A Way With Words cohost and author Martha Barnette is auctioning off a chance to challenge her at Scrabble. Only 34 hours left in the bidding! Big secret: you can totally kick her ass. She’s gonna spend forever doing things more…

Mark Peters on cars

Mark Peters has collected a few unusual car-related words for Grist magazine, including a couple of terms from Double-Tongued, which has an automotive category.

Submarine escape

Cool post about training to escape a submarine. It came up in my searches for slang because it contains the word “bubblehead.”

Damien and Cam try out for a game show

My pals Damien and Cameron Barrett tried out for the Howie Mandel game show Deal or No Deal. I know them both through the wonders of the intarweb. We always joke about me being their third twin: They’re twins, so am I; our last names are the same; and we’re all three big computer geeks.


William Safire writes in his “On Language” column in the New York Times this week: “You can find a variety of senses for the word bump in our leading dictionaries.…But the sense that lexicographers are slow in recording is racing through our vocabulary, filling a word void. What term do we use today for the more…


In researching the entry for Jenny Crank the other day, I found a great example of what a bad contextual advertising algorithm looks like: Crank is a well-established slang term for methamphetamine.

Memo to Boss: Time to Re-Pot and Re-Charge

Susan Walker sent me a note telling me that my entry for repot inspired her article at Fox News about making a career change.