### September 2010

Fuck everyone. Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck.

Via Dan Savage:

A gay freshman at Rutgers University is believed to have committed suicide—he may have jumped off a bridge, no body has been found—after his roommate outed him in the most brutal possible way:

Two Rutgers University students have been charged with illegally taping a freshman having sex and posting the images on the Internet. The Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office has charged Dharun Ravi and Molly Wei with invasion of privacy for allegedly placing a camera in the 18-year-old student’s room in the Davidson residence on the Busch campus.

Authorities allege two encounters were taped.

“His privacy was violated, very, very violated,” said residence assistant Daryl Chan of Long Valley of the student who was taped. “His roommate was a very tech-savvy-type dude. He set up cameras all over the room and didn’t tell him.”

For Tyler, it won’t get better. Oh, and a body has been found. Fuck.

People, newspapers, bloggers, and darn near everyone — all of them continue to misunderstand or misrepresent Obama’s proposal to extend some of the Bush tax cuts. In fact, Obama can’t even describe his own proposal correctly.

• “Obama and congressional Democratic leaders want to allow the Bush-era breaks to expire for families earning more than $250,000 beginning next year. But they’ve run into opposition from Republicans as well as a growing number of centrist Democrats.” [Wall Street Journal] Fact: Under Obama’s proposal, Bush-era tax breaks will continue, not expire, for families earning more than$250,000, but they will only continue on the first $250,000 in income. Families making more than$250,000 will receive the largest benefit from Obama’s proposed legislation.
• “Asked at a CNBC forum what he would do to improve the outlook, Obama repeated his opposition to extending Bush era tax cuts for those with incomes over $250,000 a year.” [Associated Press, via Yahoo!] Fact: Obama is not opposed to extending Bush era tax cuts for those with incomes over$250,000 a year. In fact, he proposes to do exactly that — extend Bush era tax cuts for them, although only on the first $250,000 in income. • “[B]y proposing to extend the rates for the 98 percent of households with income below$250,000 for couples and $200,000 for individuals …” [New York Times] Fact: Obama proposes to extend those same rates (the tax rate on the first$250,000 of income) for the other two percent of households also.
• “Obama wants to eliminate the cuts for wealthier taxpayers — individuals making more than $200,000 per year and families with income totaling more than$250,000.” [Boston Globe]
Fact: Obama does not want to eliminate the cuts for wealthier taxpayers, only reduce them, and only on income earned above the threshold. Ironically, eliminating the tax cuts in 2011 (for both wealthier and non-wealthier taxpayers) is what Bush signed into law.
• “Here’s what I can’t do: I can’t give tax cuts to the top 2 percent of Americans—86 percent of that money going to people making a million dollars or more—and lower the deficit at the same time. I don’t have the math.” [President Obama]
Fact: Obama is proposing tax cuts for the top 2 percent of Americans. Bigger ones than for the rest of us, in fact. He’s right about not having the math, though.
• “The other day I noted that five national polls revealed solid majority support for ending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy.” [The Washington Post]
True enough, but why are all the pollsters measuring popular support for a policy no one is proposing? Both the Democrats and the Republicans propose continuing Bush tax cuts for the wealthy. The Republicans propose continuing all of them, the Democrats only some (but “only some” still means more than for nonwealthy Americans).
• “President Obama proposes to let the Bush tax cuts for the rich expire …” [Diane Lim Rogers, in CNN Opinion]

Right:

• “[T]hose rich people are getting a tax cut, too. In fact, in terms of total dollars they are getting the biggest tax cut of all.” [Newsweek]
• “I think people are actually quite confused about how the tax cuts work.” [Ezra Klein, in The Washington Post]

Ezra illustrates his point with the picture embedded below. (The folks who get it wrong don’t draw pictures. If you can’t draw it, you probably don’t understand it.) In Ezra’s chart, the blue and grey dots measure the proposed 2011 tax cuts under the two parties’ proposals. I’m not sure why the Republican’s aren’t their usual red. Maybe red evokes red ink? (But how wrong would that be?) Under current law, there will be no 2011 tax cuts, so you can imagine a third column, labeled “Bush Law” with no dots.

Under Obama’s proposal, the biggest dots go to those making the most. Under the Republican proposal, the biggest dots go to those making the most. The difference? Under the Republican plan the biggest dots are rather grotesquely big. No one (except for the Bush law, and perhaps Obama in a past life) is proposing “no tax cuts for the wealthy.” No one is proposing “tax cuts only for the middle class.” Not even close. Both parties are proposing to give the biggest¹ tax cuts to the wealthiest, and smaller tax cuts to the middle class and poor.” Of course, for the middle class and poor, there’s not as much to cut from, and there’s no simple way to grasp the bigger economic picture that surrounds this issue, but that doesn’t excuse all the misinformation.

¹ To be precise, Obama’s proposal gives the absolute biggest cut to those making about $500,000 a year, and the absolute wealthiest earners receive a tiny bit less (tiny for them, anyway), as can be seen from Ezra’s chart. You know Facebook is down. You probably didn’t know that Facebook is now a clock. Service Unavailable – DNS failure The server is temporarily unable to service your request. Please try again later. Reference #11.793f748.1285274611.44f235 Notice the number 1285274611 in the error message? That’s the time. Numbers a little over 1.2 billion are almost always times. Unix times. UTC. This, this, and this. Specifically, foolish nonsense from someone named Todd (Henderson). The toddtipping point? Right after Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman suggests indirectly that the Drs. Henderson earn about$450,000 a year, which could subject them to $10,000/year in additional taxes under Obama’s proposal to postpone the upcoming expiration of the Bush tax cuts, but only on the first$250,000 of income.

Todd (who would prefer a bigger tax cut for 2011 than Obama’s legislation provides and who threatens to fire his $20/month legal Mexican gardener if he doesn’t get his way) scrumbles¹. Within a single paragraph, Todd refudiates refutes Krugman’s estimate of his salary (“not even close to our income on the high side”) yet sees no contradiction in describing the injury he and his wife would sustain from$10,000/year in additional taxes, which he just implied he won’t have to pay (because his salary is “not even close” to high enough to result in that increase).

Professor Henderson careens further out of control a paragraph later, when he inflates the fictive $10,000 figure by 20%, to$12,000.

All this from someone with degrees in both engineering and law, whose ability to explain (when it suits him, apparently) was recently rewarded with tenure as a professor. In light of the facts of his education, Todd’s behavior doesn’t pass the smell test. I’m calling it toddfoolery. Either something tragic has happened to Todd’s mind since he received his degrees and tenure, or he’s a disingenuous liar. At least those are the only explanations I can imagine.

Update (21 Sep 2010): Yesterday, Todd removed his tomfoolerific posts, along with readers’ comments to those posts,from Truth on the Market, where they had appeared. Todd explains.

Update (21 Sep 2010): Today, Todd “hung up his blogging hat”.

[Note: The links at the beginning of this post are no longer valid.]

Update (12 Nov 2011): An alternate spelling of Toddfoolery (Todfoolery) is now available here: Pity the 1%, and Their Tod(d)foolery.

¹ The verb scrumble will be coined in a future installment of “Word of the Day.”

Chuck roast in the freezer,
Carrots in the fridge.
That spells string meat for dinner.

But tastes real good,
We’re havin’ string meat for dinner!

My favorite book is Peter Lagefoged’s Vowels and Consonants, which is fitting for The Dessoff Choirs’ (self-appointed) pronunciation guru. As part of that job, I prepare International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) transliterations of our concert music, at least when we’re singing in a language I know something about. It’s a tedious task, but lately less so, thanks to the workflow system I recently cobbled together for our November concert of French choral music.

Goal: a database of French words and their IPA pronunciations.
French is largely phonetic, so at first I considered creating a rule-based system to construct words’ approximate transliterations. The prospect became more and more complicated to imagine, and this led me to look for a downloadable lexicon that already included IPA (either the output of someone else’s rule-based system or the result of digitizing an existing dictionary).

Dictionaries aplenty, most of them too “user-friendly.”
There’s no shortage of good online dictionaries, but the ones I looked at were distinctly unhelpful. Only some of them contain IPA, first of all, and to begin with, most of them are accessible only through a type-and-click web interface. It might have been possible to automate the web interaction and turn my source texts into a sequence of HTTP requests, but my programming skills in that area are badly dated. Back when the web was a collection of static HTML pages, I’d jury rig something with wget and sed. Nowadays, the web is sophisticated. You don’t just go to a URL and get back a plain HTML document or file. A lot of what appears in your browser window requires client-side execution of Javascript or similar nonsense. Forget about using wget in such situations. (Similar situations have frustrated me before. Someone will have kindly assembled just the data I need, and will have kindly made it available, but only via a browser form for single-item retrieval.)

Eventually, I found some hopeful downloads. The first two, a file for OpenOffice spellcheck, and a dictionary for WinEDT, didn’t fit the bill, but the third, Ralf’s French dictionary, did. I don’t know who Ralf is, nor do I know who’s behind the testing simon blog, where Google Search led me to discover Ralf’s dictionary. (Simon is apparently a speech recognition system, which explains the connection to dictionaries with IPA.) Ralf’s dictionary contains hundreds of thousands of French words (lexemes) with their textual representations (graphemes, like you’re reading here) and IPA equivalents (phonemes).

Ralf’s dictionary is not a dictionary.
For nearly 25 years, my go-to dictionary for French pronunciation has been a 1980 Hachette. It provides IPA for each of its over 50,000 entries. But like most dictionaries, well, it’s a dictionary, not a lexicon. It’s full of definitions — and that’s the point. “Ralf’s dictionary” is a lexicon that happily includes IPA. The big difference for me, today, is that a complete lexicon like Ralf’s contains all the words people utter (or sing), many of which (especially verbs in the case of French) are not dictionary “words,” but are inflected forms of dictionary words. You can find parler in Hachette (on page 1137), right between parlementer and parleur, and you can find it in Ralf’s (at position 259506), also between parlementer and parleur, but in Ralf’s, it’s not right between. After parlementer and before parler in Ralf’s you’ll find (though turning data pages creates no wonderful musty book smell) parlementera, parlementerai, parlementeraient, …, parlements, parlementâmes, …, parlementé, parlementée, and parlementées. And all with IPA.

Ok, so dussé is missing. But eut is not.
For years, I was never quite sure how to pronounce some inflected verb forms in French. Was the pronunciation of eut (not an entry in Hachette) the same as for eu (which is listed), or does it rhyme with peut? Not that I have occasion to speak eut often, but I’ve had occasion to sing it (in d’Indy’s delightful Madrigal, for example, which Dessoff will be singing in a choral arrangement this November). Sure, I could have asked someone, but that would mean having to ask someone. According to Ralf, the answer is yes. Both eut and eu are pronounced [y]. Ralf could be wrong (he often is — I’ll get to that later, though he doesn’t appear to be in this case), but the pronunciation of eut is a valuable fact, and he recognizes that.

Click here to see YouTube’s divoboy perform d’Indy’s Madrigal (with outstanding French diction save for the incorrect pronunciation of eut, because it probably wasn’t in his dictionary).

One of the weirder French verb forms I do know how to pronounce is dussé, as in “Je vais faire cela, dussé-je le regretter ensuite.” By itself, dussé isn’t really a word, but when dusse (the first person imperfect subjunctive form of devoir) and various other verb forms ending in a mute e appear in inversion with its pronomial subject, the spelling changes: e becomes é. Despite the accent aigu, however, dussé-je is pronounced [dusɛʒ], not [duseʒ]. For better or for worse, by the way, the days of dussé-je may be numbered. In its controversial 1990 “rectifications,” France’s Superior Council of the French Language (only in France, you may think, but also in Belgium and Canada) declared the correct spelling to henceforth be dussè-je. That makes a lot of sense, but of course this is the organization that in the same proclamation tried to change the official spelling of oignon to ognon. As you can imagine, that didn’t go over very well, so we’ll see if dussè-je sticks. You can read more about dussé-je/dussè-je here, which is where I copped the sample sentence above.

Ok, I’ll say it: XML is not evil.
Ralf’s dictionary is an XML file. I’ll admit it, I’ve got issues with XML, or more specifically with people who think XML is a database format, but Ralf used it wisely, as a self-documenting container for data exchange. CSV would have been fine, too, but XML was a better idea here, because the Unicode characters that represent IPA don’t always survive being shuttled around in less standardized text files.

Import time.
Each lexeme in Ralf’s dictionary was associated with a phoneme (the IPA I wanted), a grapheme (the lexeme written down) and sometimes a role (abbreviation, letter, name, or verb). The IPA in Ralf’s dictionary was for speech, and I ultimated needed slightly different pronunciations for singing, so I imported Ralf’s data into a table with an extra phoneme column that contained the changes I wanted.

My database platform of choice, as always, is Microsoft SQL Server. With a lot more trial and error than I’d have needed to import from CSV or various other formats, I finally managed to make XQuery happy. Here’s my import query.

WITH Imported(Item,Role,Grapheme,Phoneme) AS (
SELECT
T1.lexeme.query('.'),
T1.lexeme.value('./@role','nvarchar(100)') as Role,
T1.lexeme.value('grapheme[1]','nvarchar(100)') as Grapheme,
T1.lexeme.value('phoneme[1]','nvarchar(100)') as Phoneme
FROM FD
CROSS APPLY x.nodes('/lexicon/lexeme') AS T1(lexeme)
)
INSERT INTO FrenchIPA
SELECT
Item,
Role,
Grapheme,
Phoneme,
replace(replace(
Phoneme,N'?',N'?'
),N'??',N'o?'
)
as Phoneme2
FROM Imported;

Replacing graphemes with phonemes.

The source texts I had were just that — texts, text strings. In order to use the table FrenchIPA, I had to identify the individual words in my texts. While in theory, that’s harder than writing the right XQuery for import, it’s something I’ve done a gazillion times and helped other people do a gazillion times. One version of a query for this has been on my Drew web page for years. Cobble, cobble, cobble, and out comes this clumsy, kludgy, clunky, but effective query I used to make a first pass at word-for-word transliteration (replacing each word in the input string variable @txt with its associated phoneme).

with Puncts(n1,n2) as (
select
n as n1,
(select min(n) from Nums as N2
where N2.n <= len(@txt) and N2.n >= N1.n
and substring(@txt,N2.n,1) not like '%[a-z]%' collate Latin1_General_CI_AS
) as n2
from dbo.Nums as N1
where n <= len(@txt)
), Wds(st,fn,w) as (
select
min(n1), n2,
substring(@txt,min(n1),n2-min(n1)) as wd
from Puncts
group by n2
), Reps(i,st,fn,w,Grapheme,IPA) as (
select row_number() over (order by st desc), st, fn, w, Grapheme, P2
from Wds join FrenchIPA
on lower(w) = Grapheme
), Result(i,r) as (
select cast(0 as bigint),@txt
union all
select
Reps.i, stuff(r,st,fn-st,IPA)
from Reps join Result
on Reps.i = Result.i+1
)
select top 1 '['+replace(replace(r,' ','   '),'
',']
[')+']' from Result order by i desc
option (MAXRECURSION 1000);

The most kludgy part is the recursive query that replaces one word at a time with IPA. If anyone is curious about how this works, ask me.

Cleaning up the result.

This doesn’t produce the final transliteration, by any means, but it’s darn close. Here’s what it yields for d’Indy’s Madrigal (and which example allows me to type the word with two apostrophes yet again).

[Note: I see garbage below in Chrome; IE is ok. And unfortunately, some combination of WordPress, MySQL, Windows Live Writer, and HTML disagrees with Unicode’s combining diacritical characters, so you’ll see meandering tildes.]

[ki   ʒamɛ   fy   də   ply   ʃaɾmɑ̃   vizaʒ,]
[də   kɔl   ply   blɑ̃,   də   ʃəvœ   ply   swajœ;]
[ki   ʒamɛ   fy   də   ply   ʒɑ̃ti   koɾsaʒ,]
[ki   ʒamɛ   fy   kə   ma   dam   ɔ   du   iœ!]
[ki   ʒamɛ   y   lɛvɾ   ply   suɾiɑ̃t,]
[ki   suɾiɑ̃   ɾɑ̃di   kœɾ   ply   ʒwajœ,]
[ply   ʃast   sɛ̃   su   gimp   tɾɑ̃spaɾɑ̃t,]
[ki   ʒamɛ   y   kə   ma   dam   ɔ   du   iœ!]
[ki   ʒamɛ   y   vwa   de'œ̃   ply   du   ɑ̃tɑ̃dɾ,]
[miɲɔn   dɑ̃   ki   buʃ   ɑ̃pɛɾl   mjœ;]
[ki   ʒamɛ   fy   də   ɾəgaɾde   si   tɑ̃dɾ,]
[ki   ʒamɛ   fy   kə   ma   dam   ɔ   du   iœ!]

All that’s left is touchup, mainly.

1. Add schwas for syllables that are silent in speech, but not in song. (Spoken, Frères Jacques has two syllables; sung, it has four.)

2. Fix some mistakes in Ralf’s dictionary, like his having gotten œ and ø backwards most everywhere. (It’s debatable whether a distinction really exists anyway.)

3. Indicate where there are liaisons (and check against the music to avoid marking them across rests).

After not much additional work, this is what I got:

[ki   ʒamɛ   fy   də   ply   ʃaɾmɑ̃   vizaʒə]
[də   kɔl   ply   blɑ̃,   də   ʃəvø   ply   swajø]
[ki   ʒamɛ   fy   də   ply   ʒɑ̃ti   koɾsaʒə]
[ki   ʒamɛ   fy   kə   ma   dam‿o   duz‿jø]

[ki   ʒamɛz‿y   lɛvɾə   ply   suɾiɑ̃tə]
[ki   suɾiɑ̃   ɾɑ̃di   kœɾ   ply   ʒwajø]
[ply   ʃastə   sɛ̃   su   gɛ̃pə   tɾɑ̃spaɾɑ̃tə]
[ki   ʒamɛ   fy   kə   ma   dam‿o   duz‿jø]

[ki   ʒamɛz‿y   vwa   dœ̃   ply   duz‿ɑ̃tɑ̃dɾə]
[miɲɔnə   dɑ̃   ki   buʃ‿ɑ̃pɛɾlə   mjø]
[ki   ʒamɛ   fy   də   ɾəgaɾde   si   tɑ̃dɾə]
[ki   ʒamɛ   fy   kə   ma   dam‿o   duz‿jø]

This makes me very happy, and, despite the time I spent writing the queries, it saved me a lot of time. In fact, it probably took more time to write this post than it did to put together the IPA for this concert.

Wandering the internet today, I stumbled upon pasta and mathematics. At the same time. Chris Tiee, a teaching assistant for one of UCSD’s vector calculus courses, had put into his class notes back in 2006 a short and very cute parametric equations quiz: match the parametric equations to the pasta shape. And he (or UCSD) conveniently left his notes on the web for posterity — or should I say pastarity?

His parametric equations were pretty basic — absolutely fine for a vector calculus quiz — and I thought I might be able to touch them up a bit. Here’s what I came up with for conchiglie rigati.

This exercise is also my excuse for finally getting MathJax up and running on my blog. [Update: I’ve disabled MathJax, because it mucks up non-LaTex posts that have $characters. At some point I’ll figure out how to configure it amicably, but for now, the pastametric equations are provided as an image file.] You might find that this page loads slowly, and I don’t yet know if I can do anything about that. If you don’t see any equations below the picture, however, please let me know. Google Maps Street View has a nice shot of the house across the street from where I grew up. The current owners moved in almost four years ago, and the outdoor wall lamps (installed by the owners previous to them, who flipped the house never having lived in it) have been lit day and night since. How much have the current owners paid to brighten their Mulberry Drive neighborhood? [Note: There should be a Google Maps Street View image here, but unfortunately Google Maps Street View can’t correctly produce embedding code. Pretend there’s an image of a house with some lights on the front or click the link below.] View Larger Map The pinpoint light sources shine brightly through the Phoenix sun, suggesting that each fixture houses a 60-watt (or brighter) incandescent lamp. Three 60-watt bulbs running continuously consume a kilowatt-hour of electricity every 5½ hours. That’s 4.32 kWh per day or just over 130 kWh a month. The electric utility for the area, Salt River Project, offers several rate plans, so it’s impossible to say exactly how much the lamps cost to run. Because the lights run day and night, SRP’s Basic Plan, which has no peak/off-peak pricing, would be the best value. During the seven summer months (May–October), SRP charges about 11¢/kWh. In “winter” the cost drops to about 8¢. Under any plan, the annualized cost will exceed 10¢/kWh, or$13/month. The cost of electricity hasn’t changed much over the past several years, so come December, when the owners celebrate four years in their house, they’ll have spent over \$600.00 for the outdoor lighting.

On the brighter side, hydroelectric and nuclear power produce much of Arizona’s electricity, so the carbon footprint from running these lights isn’t as big as it might be. The big truck, on the other hand…

Another interesting question to answer is this: How much ice could these lights have melted? One kilowatt-hour equals about 860,000 calories (that’s 860 food “Calories”), or enough to melt a little more than 22 pounds of ice. The energy that runs these lights is all converted to heat, and if that 180 kW heat were used to melt ice instead of heat the Phoenix air, it would melt a lot of ice over four years — 68 or 69 tons, in fact, which would produce enough water to fill a good-sized in-ground swimming pool.

Conflict. Today, my writing was likened to Dan Brown’s, and I’m compelled to demonstrate at least a rudimentary grasp of grammar and its subtleties.

I write like
Dan Brown

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

Interlude. Let me explain how I arrived at this conflict; skip to the dénouement if the travelogue begins to bore you. [Note to self: look up or else coin the adjectival form of interlude; consider interludinous, interludinal, interludinary, interludine.]

The comparison of my writing with Dan Brown’s occurred earlier today, while I was visiting I Write Like, a momentarily amusing web¹ site at http://iwl.me. I arrived there from this CONJUGATE VISITS post (sorry, but its author yells the title). I happened onto CONJUGATE VISITS while looking up “supposably,” which I learned today is a word (note the absence of scare quotes around “word”), as opposed to a “word,” which would have been my first guess.

The next step back is a tad embarrassing. I only realized where I’d been before looking up supposably when I retraced my steps for this blog post; I’d gotten the idea to look up supposably from this article on the web site of Reader’s Digest, a generally icky place I wouldn’t have visited intentionally. A tweet from Phil Jimenez led me to the Reader’s Digest article (more specifically a bit.ly URL in the tweet, and I submit disguise-by-shortening as my excuse).

I don’t recall whether I read Phil’s particular tweet before or after I noted that he and I shared exactly one Facebook like, Dan Savage. That was no surprise, given what (or who? It’s a fictional character, so I’m not sure.) led me to Phil’s Twitter stream in the first place — Kevin Keller. Kevin, as you may know, made his appearance in Veronica #202 today; while I’ve yet to get my hands on the issue, I’d caught wind of it from Google News and consequently searched Twitter for the latest buzz, finding Phil, then Reader’s Digest, then supposably, then CONJUGATE VISITS, then I Write Like. In summary,

• I Write Like, from
• CONJUGATE VISITS, from
• supposably, from
• @philjimeneznyc, from
• Kevin Keller, from
• daily routine.

Dénouement. On to my demonstration. Consider the following sentence, which I found on Amazon in a one-star review of CONJUGATE VISITS’s authoress June Casagrande’s book, It Was the Best of Sentences, It Was the Worst of Sentences, here.

Copernicus was thrilled when he discovered that the earth revolves around the sun.

Casagrande and the reviewer both prefer this to “Copernicus was thrilled when he discovered that the earth revolved around the sun.” I on the other hand, presently compelled to say something about grammar, offer an even better sentence.

Copernicus was thrilled to discover that the earth revolves around the sun.

The proposition of Casagrande’s sentence (either version) has two parts. Deconstructing the sentence rigorously, it states first that Copernicus was thrilled, and second that Copernicus’s² thrill occurred when he made his now famous discovery. However, the second part of the proposition is perplexing, if only slightly. If the writer had stopped after “Copernicus was thrilled,” I’d have felt cheated, but because she’d failed to explain why he was thrilled, not because she’d failed to explain when he was thrilled. Emotions interest readers because of their why, not their when.

For most readers, I’m sure the second part of the sentence as written sufficiently explains the why. Similarly, if the “thrilled when” sentence were part of an SAT reading comprehension question, the “correct” answer to Why was Copernicus thrilled? would be a) Because he discovered that the earth revolves around the sun., not d) It’s impossible to determine from the reading. But why explain “why?” indirectly by explaining when? The turn of phrase “thrilled to discover” isn’t the only choice — one might say “thrilled by his discovery” or “thrilled to have discovered,” but it’s the best choice, and this is my blog. Also, I might have answered d) to the SAT question, especially if I knew I’d get to argue with a teacher about it later. I don’t brag about my SAT English score, and for good reason.

Epilog. Dare I paste this blog post into I Write Like? And if I do, then post the result here, then paste it in again, will the result be the same, and if not, and I repeat the process… [Update: The result is … H. P. Lovecraft. I’ll leave it at that. Tear from the fabric the threads that are old!]

I write like
H. P. Lovecraft

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

Postscript. You, dear reader, are a mensch for getting to this point. Let me know how I can return the favor. You are almost as much of a mensch as Itzik, who hired me as an editor … twice, the second time after knowing how I go on about things like this.

¹ By writing web and not Web, I comport with one of the “Significant Rule Changes” in the latest edition of The Chicago Manual of Style. The interested reader (which is to say You, because you’ve read this far into my footnote) can find the full list here. This footnote is not an endorsement of The Chicago Manual of Style.

² Ibid. Among the Significant Rule Changes are rules on the possessive forms of two kinds of names: those ending with an unpronounced “s” and those ending with an “eez” sound (in the latter case presumably when the name also ends in “s,” because there can’t be any debate on possessives like Lise’s). Copernicus falls into neither category, and I don’t know the latest rule on his possessive. My rule is to always add ’s to form a possessive (as in This is Steve Kass’s blog.) except maybe for Jesus, Moses, and princess. Even for them I’m not certain what I’d do, but they don’t come up in my writing much.