No More ‘More’: Against Irregular Superlatives

Who’s ready for a grammatical crusade of pedantic proportions?! Get in on this: It’s time to standardize English comparative and superlative adjectives. Those are used when you are comparing one or more things. For example, a banana can be big, bigger, or biggest. The -er and -est progression is common and used for most adjectives. The… Read more No More ‘More’: Against Irregular Superlatives

Top Shelf Madness

Almost two years ago I started writing about strange, intriguing, or otherwise noteworthy questions I encounter at the library reference desk, in a series I call Refer Madness.  My latest one, titled “Finding Angels,” is debuting over at Booklist, as part of the latest issue of “Top Shelf Reference” newsletter. This latest one is about a… Read more Top Shelf Madness

The Typewriter: A Graphic History

Janine Vongool’s The Typewriter: A Graphic History of the Beloved Machine is a gorgeous compendium of ads, photographs, and other artwork depicting typewriters and related ephemera from their invention in the late 1860s to the 1980s, when personal computers began to supersede their analog ancestors. In other words: straight-up typewriter porn. Some interesting tidbits: The Name Charles Weller, a… Read more The Typewriter: A Graphic History

All You Can Do Is Type

I’ve gone a little typewriter mad lately. In addition to my grandma’s IBM Selectric I, I’ve recently acquired a Smith-Corona Classic 12, Royal Futura 800, Rover 5000 Super deLuxe, Smith-Corona Skyriter, and a Smith-Corona Electra 12. All at thrift stores or antique shops and all for $30 or less. They are all fixer-uppers in one way or… Read more All You Can Do Is Type

The Meal

Back in 2007, the Iraq War was experiencing a “surge” courtesy of the U.S. military and I was a college student sitting at a dining hall table, wondering how I could capture the political debate of the day in metaphor through a short film script. Thus, the following piece of trenchant political satire was born. The… Read more The Meal

Fishing for Failure: On Writing’s Pain and Gain

“Writing and fishing are both art forms built for optimists.” So says Nick Ripatrazone in a wonderful essay at The Millions. I’m inclined to disagree. Writing and fishing, though art forms indeed, feel more often like science projects built for masochists. Writing and fishing are laborious. They take a lot of time, most of which is spent… Read more Fishing for Failure: On Writing’s Pain and Gain