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When William Faulkner Set the World Record for Writing the Longest Sentence in Literature: Read the 1,288-Word Sentence from Absalom, Absalom!

Image by Carl Van Vechten, via Wikimedia Commons “How did Faulkner pull it off?” is a question many a fledgling writer has asked themselves while struggling through a period of apprenticeship like that novelist John Barth describes in his 1999 talk "My Faulkner." Barth “reorchestrated” his literary heroes, he says, “in search of my writerly self... downloading my innumerable predecessors as only an insatiable green apprentice can.” Surely a great many writers can relate when Barth says, “it was...
Tags: Google, Europe, Books, Maryland, Writing, College, Washington, Literature, Guinness Book of World Records, Lincoln, Sherman, Jonathan Coe, Jones, William Styron, Facebook Twitter, Beckett


When William Faulkner Set the World Record for Writing the Longest Sentence in Literature: 1,288 Words from Absalom, Absalom!

Image by Carl Van Vechten, via Wikimedia Commons “How did Faulkner pull it off?” is a question many a fledgling writer has asked themselves while struggling through a period of apprenticeship like that novelist John Barth describes in his 1999 talk "My Faulkner." Barth “reorchestrated” his literary heroes, he says, “in search of my writerly self... downloading my innumerable predecessors as only an insatiable green apprentice can.” Surely a great many writers can relate when Barth says, “it was...
Tags: Google, Europe, Books, Maryland, Writing, College, Washington, Literature, Guinness Book of World Records, Lincoln, Sherman, Jonathan Coe, Jones, William Styron, Facebook Twitter, Beckett


The “sl”-morass: “slender” and “slim-slam-slum”

Several years ago, I devoted a series of posts to the origin of English kl-words: cloud, cloth, clover; perhaps there were more (June 29, 2016, July 13, 2016, and August 10, 2016). Cleave, clay, and many other such words contain the idea of clinging to some substance or clutter. It is hard to miss the sound symbolism that unites them. Some other technically unrelated words also form groups. For example, fly, flow, flatter, flutter, and flicker suggest unsteady movement, even though each of those...
Tags: Books, Salt Lake City, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY SA, ENGL, Walter W Skeat, Skeat, Wikimedia Commons My, Ablaut, Otto Jespersen, NadègeNN CC BY SA, Efraimstochter Pixabay License, Schlamm


Up at Harwich and back home to the west via Skellig

A few more travels, and we’ll reach our destination. Last week (February 20, 2019), we spent some time in Coventry, where no one dispatched us: we went there driven by curiosity. It turned out that the melancholy idiom send one to Coventry may not have anything to do with that town. To reinforce this unexpected conclusion, I’ll relate another story. At one time, the phrase up at Harwich existed; perhaps it is still known in the eastern counties. Harwich is a port in Essex, and up at Harwich mean...
Tags: Europe, Books, England, London, China, America, Canada, Ireland, Catholic Church, Essex, Norfolk, Johnson, Coventry, Cambridgeshire, Suffolk, Warwick


Schizophrenia and ballet dancer Vaslav Nijinsky

Schizophrenia is the most iconic of all mental illnesses but both its conceptualization and causes remain elusive. The popular image portrays patients convinced of being persecuted and hearing voices that nobody else can hear. In reality this complex brain disorder presents an endless variety of psychotic (delusions and hallucinations) and non-psychotic symptoms. This complexity is at the heart of a century-long debate about whether schizophrenia is a single illness or should be conceptualized a...
Tags: Europe, Books, London, Barcelona, Budapest, Paris, Switzerland, Zurich, St Petersburg, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY SA, Nijinsky, Pixabay, Theatre du Chatelet, Diaghilev, Vaslav Nijinsky


Contemporary lessons from the fall of Rome

It’s a time-honored game, and any number can play. The rules are simple: just take whatever problem is bothering you today, add the word “Rome,” and voilà. You have just discovered why the mightiest empire in Western history came to an end.In 1969, Ronald Reagan blamed it on “the twin diseases of confiscatory taxation and creeping inflation.” In 1977, Phyllis Schlafly said it was due to “the ‘liberated’ Roman matron, who is most similar to the present-day feminist.”And (a personal favorite), in ...
Tags: Europe, Books, England, Featured, History, World, Rome, Ronald Reagan, Supernatural, Playboy, Lincoln, Christians, Central America, Joan Collins, Jews, Ancient Rome


The 14 Most Beautiful Castles in Normandy, France

There are countless castles in France dotted across the countryside. Catherine shares 14 of the most beautiful castles in Normandy, France, including two castle hotels where you can stay in luxurious style. Castles are popular destinations for all kinds of world travellers. If you love to marvel at architecture from eras gone by, experience history first hand, or simply stroll through unique locations, the castles of Normandy, France are excellent choices. However, the Normandy castle options ...
Tags: Travel, Europe, England, France, Normandy, William, Washington State, Richard, Catherine, Rouen, Normandy France, William II, Wikimedia Commons, Dukes, Catholic League, Duc


The birth of exoplanetary science

The University of Geneva’s Michel Mayor and his graduate student Didier Queloz were the first to discover a planet orbiting a distant star much like our own Sun. Meticulously ruling out, one after the other, alternative interpretations of their measurements, in October 1995 they announced the discovery of the planet designated 51 Pegasi b, now known as Dimidium, orbiting the star 51 Pegasi, since named Helvetia. Michel Mayor presented the discovery to an international assembly of astrophysicists...
Tags: Books, Astronomy, Technology, Featured, France, Physics, Sun, Switzerland, Geneva, Jupiter, Exoplanets, Astrophysics, Hot Jupiters, La Silla, Observatory, Florence Italy


What a morning at the BMV teaches about cybersecurity

I spent way too much of my Saturday morning at the local Bureau of Motor Vehicles (aka the Walmart of government agencies). "Why," you ask? Because my plates were on the verge of expiring, and I had forgotten to take advantage of the much preferable online registration process. So there I found myself at 10 a.m. Saturday morning, waiting in line. To be fair, it was the "express" line, designated for license renewals only. My experience, however, was less than express, thanks to the patron two sp...
Tags: Law, Walmart, Vpn, Dashlane, Intuit, Turbotax, Wikimedia Commons, Bureau of Motor Vehicles, CC BY SA, BMV, Jon Hyman, Paulius Dragunas, Fabio Lanari


7 of the Best Things to Do in Rouen, France

Rouen, the capital city of Normandy, France, is often overlooked as a tourist destination. However, Catherine shares the best things to do in Rouen and why it’s one of the top cities in Northern France for slow travellers. Paris, Nice, Bordeaux, Marseille; when people imagine cities in France, those are usually the ones that come to mind. While heading to any of these cities can make for a magnificent trip, they are all major tourist destinations. If you want to enjoy a historical French city...
Tags: Travel, Europe, France, Normandy, Paris, William, Washington State, Norman, Richard, Catherine, Best Cities, Rouen, Seine, Benedictine, Northern France, Don


Boston Bruins 50-Goal Scorers

Throughout the 95-year history of the Boston Bruins franchise, there have been 11 different instances of a player reaching the 50-goal mark. Those 11 instances of 50-plus goals are made up of five different players who will forever live in Bruins’ history as legends. Interestingly enough, the 11 different 50-plus goals seasons all came within a span of 24 years between 1970 and 1994 without any player in Bruins’ history reaching the 50-goal mark prior to the 1970-71 season or since the 1993-94 s...
Tags: Usa, New York, Boston, Sport, Chicago, Rangers, Detroit Red Wings, AHL, Hockey, NHL, Middleton, New York Rangers, Chicago Blackhawks, Anaheim Ducks, Boston Bruins, Montreal Canadiens


10 Tips on How to Write a Great Screenplay from Billy Wilder: Pearls of Wisdom from the Director of Sunset Boulevard, Some Like It Hot, Double Indemnity & More

Image via Wikimedia Commons There's an old story -- Orson Welles called it "the greatest Hollywood one-liner ever made" -- that when someone attending the 1958 funeral of Harry Cohn, the fearsome president of Columbia Pictures, asked how it was possible that such a huge crowd would show up for Cohn's funeral, Billy Wilder quipped: "Well, give the people what they want." The story is almost certainly apocryphal. The line may have been spoken by someone else, at a different Hollywood mogul's fune...
Tags: Google, Hollywood, Film, College, Germany, Orson Welles, Npr, Adolf Hitler, Cameron Crowe, Raymond Chandler, Billy Wilder, Don, Facebook Twitter, Tarkovsky, Paris Review, Wilder


Etymology gleanings for December 2018 and January 2019

In December and January, the ground, as we know from the poem about two quarrelling little kittens, was covered with frost and snow, so that there has not been too much for me to glean, but a few crumbs were worth picking up. However, first I wish to thank those who have been sending questions, correcting and enlightening me, and wishing me another happy year of dealing with language history. It is better to lie down and sleep than to quarrel and fight. Image credit: Two kittens by Unknown. Pub...
Tags: Books, London, Wikipedia, Wikimedia Commons, Tare, Tagen, Franck, ENGL, Walter W Skeat, Unknown Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons, Johannes Franck, Ernest Weekley, Chloe So, Matt XIII, Evelyn de Morgan Demeter, Rob ~ Rab


How to see inside a pyramid: the power of the mysterious Muon

By the mid-1930s, just five fundamental particles were known. This concise collection of building blocks revealed the true nature of matter and light. Three types of particle: electrons, protons, and neutrons, formed the wide array of atoms known to chemistry. Photons composed the whole electromagnetic spectrum, including light. The fifth particle was the positron, the anti-particle of the electron, predicted by Paul Dirac and discovered by Carl Anderson in cosmic rays. The interactions between ...
Tags: Books, Japan, Featured, Earth, Chemistry, Physics, Egypt, King, Cairo, Giza, Khufu, Mount Fuji, Wikimedia Commons, Large Hadron Collider LHC, LHC, Hokusai


R. Kelly Is Shopping New Album, But Who Will Release It?

R. Kelly is looking for a home for a new finished album, according to multiple sources. The controversial rapper was dropped by longtime label RCA/Sony recently, after multiple accounts of sexual abuse, including with minors. But who would risk the wrath of the #MuteRKelly movement and actually sign him? Opinions are mixed, but in an industry known to often put profits over morality, it seems likely that someone would take the leap. After all, Kelly is one of the best-selling music art...
Tags: Spotify, Music, Youtube, United States, Sony, Warner Music, Rolling Stone, R Kelly, Bruce Houghton, Kelly, Wikimedia Commons, Caparro, RCA Sony, Island Def Jam Records, Andrew Steinmetz


Eminem Is Only Artist w/ 7 Albums Passing 1B Spotify Streams

Eminem has become the first artist  with seven albums surpassing the 1 billion streams mark on Spotify. The  milestone comes as his 2000 album The Marshall Mathers LP hits the billion stream mark. Less than five months after its release, Eminem’s latest,  ‘Kamikaze,’ has passed 500,000 in traditional sales in the United States, according to ChartData. Sales for his previous release ‘Revival’ are at 400,000. More Eminem’s back catalog stats: 11.127m – The Marshall Mathers LP (as of ...
Tags: Music, United States, Eminem, Bruce Houghton, Wikimedia Commons, Mika, CC BY SA, Marshall Mathers LP


The rightful heirs to the British crown: Wales and the sovereignty of Britain

The Mabinogion is a collective name given to eleven medieval Welsh tales found mainly in two manuscripts – the White Book of Rhydderch (c. 1350), and the Red Book of Hergest (dated between 1382 and c.1410). The term is a scribal error for mabinogi, derived from the Welsh word mab meaning ‘son, boy’; its original meaning was probably ‘youth’ or ‘story of youth’, but finally it meant no more than ‘tale’ or ‘story’. The title was popularized in the nineteenth century when Lady Charlotte Guest trans...
Tags: Books, Featured, Wales, History, Britain, Literature, Cornwall, Norman, Tolkien, Tennyson, Arthur, Lloyd Alexander, Gwynedd, Wikimedia Commons, Usk, Arts & Humanities


Love For Life: St. Teresa Of The Andes

At the beginning of this New Year, I was blessed to get to know another Carmelite saint.  Juanita, an early 20th Century Chilean, was given the name Teresa of Jesus when she entered the convent at 18 years of age. She would die less than a year later of Typhus in 1920. Yet, she had been a contemplative and mystic since her childhood, having espoused herself to Christ at 15 and pledged herself to the Carmelite vocation. As a contemplative, she loved life, enjoyed parties, horseback riding and...
Tags: Religion, Jesus, Trinity, Christ, St Teresa, Andes, Holy Spirit, Wikimedia Commons, Juanita, Lisieux, St Elizabeth, Roman Catholic Spiritual Direction, SpiritualDirection, Teresa of Jesus


Music Industry, Stars Pay Tribute To Chris Cornell

The music industry and rock royalty were out in force in Los Angeles on Wednesday night as Chris Cornell’s friends and family filled  the Forum to celebrate the life of the late Soundgarden frontman. Performers for the five-hour tribute concert included his former Audioslave bandmates, as well as Foo Fighters, Metallica, Ryan Adams and others. Guest singers for the show also included Fiona Apple, Chris Stapleton, Miley Cyrus, Adam Levine and Miguel, who performed a selection cuts culled fro...
Tags: Music, Los Angeles, Dave Grohl, Ryan Adams, Miguel, Cornell, Alice, Bruce Houghton, Chris Cornell, Soundgarden, Wikimedia Commons, Audioslave, Matt Cameron, William duvall, Foo Fighters Metallica


Rapper Tops US Album Chart With Record Low Sales Of 823

Rapper A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie topped the US album chart last week with a record low sales of just 823 albums. With no release on CD or vinyl, the 823 albums sold in the week ending January 10th were all digital downloads. The #1 came mostly from streams, with his album "Hoodie Szn" streamed 83 million times across all platforms.  The record sales low shows just quickly listeners are shifting from the purchase of music to streaming.  Multiple sources have told Hypebot that 2019 is the yea...
Tags: Music, US, Streaming, Music Business, Digital Music, Major Labels, Bruce Houghton, Hypebot, Wikimedia Commons, Curtis Huynh


Al-Shabaab claims attack on luxurious Nairobi Hotel

Kenya (MNN) – Yesterday the Dusit D2 hotel in the Westlands neighborhood of Nairobi, Kenya was attacked. The attack happened around 3pm local time in the city’s ex-pat district. The culprits—the infamous terrorist organization from Somalia, Al Shabab. Sharing more on what happened is DOOR International ’s Director of Consulting Services Shadrack Kakui. “My colleagues told me that there was a huge blast and that there have been heard gunshots from the same area. And that they, generally peo...
Tags: International, Islam, Kenya, Al Shabaab, Al Shabab, Nairobi Kenya, Nairobi, Wikimedia Commons, Westgate Mall, Westlands, Kul Wadhwa, ILRI, Nairobi Hotel, Somalia Al Shabab Sharing, Shadrack Kakui, Nairobi Attack Smoke


Al-Shabab claims attack on luxurious Nairobi Hotel

Kenya (MNN) – Yesterday the Dusit D2 hotel in the Westlands neighborhood of Nairobi, Kenya was attacked. The attack happened around 3pm local time in the city’s ex-pat district. The culprits—the infamous terrorist organization from Somalia, Al Shabab. Sharing more on what happened is DOOR International ’s Director of Consulting Services Shadrack Kakui. “My colleagues told me that there was a huge blast and that there have been heard gunshots from the same area. And that they, generally peo...
Tags: International, Islam, Kenya, Al Shabab, Nairobi Kenya, Nairobi, Wikimedia Commons, Westgate Mall, Westlands, Kul Wadhwa, ILRI, Nairobi Hotel, Somalia Al Shabab Sharing, Shadrack Kakui, Nairobi Attack Smoke, Kakui


Protest songs and the spirit of America [playlist]

In a rare television interview, Jimi Hendrix appeared on a network talk show shortly after his historic performance at the Woodstock Music & Art Fair. When host Dick Cavett asked the guitarist about the “controversy” surrounding his wild, feedback-saturated version of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” Hendrix gently demurred.His performance wasn’t “unorthodox,” he protested. “I thought it was beautiful.”But Hendrix’s ominous, bombs-bursting version of our national anthem, in fact, would be interpreted...
Tags: Books, Music, Politics, Featured, White House, America, History, Jimi Hendrix, United States, Bob Dylan, Civil Rights, Ferguson, Protest Songs, Vietnam, Vietnam War, Dick Cavett


How sibling rivalry impacts politics

Was Ed Miliband right to stand against his brother David for the leadership of the Labour party in 2010? Or should he have stepped aside to give his elder brother a clear run? There was much media debate over his decision to challenge David, and relations between the brothers have remained cool and distant to this day. Half a century earlier, John Kennedy and his brothers Robert and Ted were all viewed as potential American presidential candidates. But Robert waited until after his elder brother...
Tags: Books, Politics, Featured, History, Ted, David, Britain, Labour party leadership, Ed Miliband, Harry, Catholic, British, Shakespeare, Election, Labour Party, Edward


How women really got the vote

In 2018 we commemorated property-owning women over the age of 30 getting the vote in the United Kingdom. Two years later we will mark 100 years since all women received the vote in the United States.These are important parliamentary milestones but the lauding of campaigners has given priority to organised women’s movements in gaining the vote. This edges women’s suffrage off the main stage of world politics and makes it a pressure group issue; interesting enough in its way, but of no great conse...
Tags: Europe, Books, Politics, UK, Featured, Indonesia, Australia, China, Russia, India, Africa, US, History, World, United States, New Zealand


The Future of the NRA is Change

Opinion New threats will need to be addressed. This will require changes – and some of those changes will be difficult, but necessary to preserve our Second Amendment rights.(Wikimedia Commons photo by Gage Skidmore) Fairfax, Virginia – -(AmmoLand.com)- The year 2019 will mark the 148th anniversary of the founding of the National Rifle Association. This organization has a long legacy of not just protecting our rights, but also for a host of other programs that serve law-abiding citizens who ...
Tags: Guns, Reagan, Gun Control, Silicon Valley, Gun Rights, Second Amendment, Nra, McDonald, Harold, Owens, National Rifle Association, Wayne Lapierre, Wikimedia Commons, Heller, Gun Rights News, National Rifle Association This


Isaac Asimov Predicts in 1983 What the World Will Look Like in 2019: Computerization, Global Co-operation, Leisure Time & Moon Mining

Painting of Asimov on his throne by Rowena Morill, via Wikimedia Commons “It’s difficult to make predictions,” they say, “especially about the future.” The witticism has been variously attributed. If Yogi Berra said it, it's adorable nonsense, if Mark Twain, dry plainspoken irony. If Niels Bohr, however, we have a statement that makes us wonder what exactly “the future” could mean in a radically uncertain universe. If scientists can’t predict the future, who can? Science fiction writers, of cou...
Tags: Google, Science, College, New York Times, Literature, Clarke, Sci Fi, Mark Twain, Philip K Dick, Facebook Twitter, Yogi Berra, Josh Jones, Isaac Asimov, Wikimedia Commons, New York World, Niels Bohr


Remembering the Los Angeles Kings’ Triple Crown Line

Growing up in the 1970’s as a hockey fan in Los Angeles, I was intimately familiar with three things very few Angelenos had even a remote grasp upon: 1) Los Angeles had an NHL hockey team, 2) said hockey team was named the Kings, and 3) the Triple Crown Line was bitchin’, man. The Triple Crown Line reunited at Fan Fest in 2009 (credit: Shelly Castellano/Icon SMI). Thirty years later, after having been swept up by an exhilarating Cup run, the nouveau-riche of belated La-La Land hockey fans fina...
Tags: Hollywood, Los Angeles, Sport, Dave, Kings, Hockey, NHL, Montreal, Archives, Taylor, Ross, New York Rangers, Los Angeles Kings, Boston Bruins, Charlie, Dionne


10 Reasons to Visit Erfurt, Germany

While many regions of Germany are popular stops on the tourist trail, visitors often overlook Thuringia. Local expert, Annemarie, shares why its capital city, Erfurt, is perfect for slow travellers and needs to be on your Germany bucket list. Where is Erfurt, Germany? Erfurt is the capital city in Germany’s most central state, Thuringia. Sadly underrated when it comes to tourism, Thuringia itself is well worth a visit and Erfurt alone has so much to offer. Here are the top 10 reasons why ...
Tags: Travel, Facebook, Germany, Belgium, Martin Luther, Protestant Church, Wikimedia Commons, Thuringia, Erfurt Germany, Erfurt, Triberg, Martin Luther He, Thuringia Germany, Thuringia Local, Erfurt Germany Erfurt, Willy Brandt Platz


From “odd,” “strange,” and “bad,” to reclaiming the word “queer”

How has the word “queer” been reclaimed by the LGBTQ community? This adapted excerpt from Keywords for Today: A 21st Century Vocabulary explains its evolution.The adjective queer poses etymological problems. Its sense of “strange, odd, peculiar, eccentric” is given an initial Oxford English Dictionary (OED) date of 1513; thus John Bale in 1550 writes of chronicles that “contayne muche more truthe than their quere legendes.” There is then another sense, recorded as obsolete, with a date of 1567: ...
Tags: Books, Paris, Los Angeles Times, Stephen, Walter Scott, Thomas, Bennett, LA Times, Alfred Douglas, Wikimedia Commons, Times Literary Supplement, Wikimedia Commons If, Ted Eytan, John Bale, Radclyffe Hall, Arnold Bennett