Archive for February, 2009

Writing Adverblessly(*)

February 23, 2009

(*) Yes, the title is a contradiction.

I was wondering the other week [early January –ed.] if it were possible to write without adverbs. Or adjectives, but I’ve already used “other,” and now “already.”

It’s just a game to play: How much can you write, or say, without modifiers?  [I know: by allowing those those grammatical constructs according to the rules below, I am technically permitting “modifiers.”  I am only interested in avoiding “true” adverbs and adjectives.]

Let’s set the ground rules

  • we’ll allow articles — I don’t know if we could get anywhere without “a,” “an” and “the.”  You can try it if you like…
  • prepositional phrases or other forms that function as adjectives or adverbs we’ll allow.

Can you even re-phrase “the quick brown fox…” ?

the fox moved in a way that surprized…

the fox’s movements displayed a flare of speed…

(I confess I spent almost a month of noodling to come up with those two; now where was I… ?)

What about colors?  “The red house on the corner burned to the ground overnight.”

The house looked like a firetruck; yesterday it stood at the intersection of Main and 3rd, but this morning it was cinder and ash.

Oops: “yesterday” and “this morning” are both dis-allowed

in the evening [it was intact], but it was destroyed in the night.

One has to rely on prepositional phrases, if nothing else…

Number would seem the most difficult: “the twelve soldiers divided the three territories.”

the soldiers numbered a dozen, and the territories were a quarter of that.

I know, a total waste of time, but an idle word game for someone who might like that kind of thing.  I kept this post as a draft for a long time, but just to finish something, here you go.

Give me your toughest challenge, and I’ll try and re-write it.


If You Wonder about Jay Leno

February 17, 2009

Because you may be curious (I was), here’s the news about Jay Leno.

The NYT reports from December that Conan will take over in May (not what I’m seeing in current ads  [read below –ed.]), and Jay will move to a ten o’clock show (Eastern Time) and compete with CSI (Miami and New York).  There is more rumor than information in this story.

The Seattle Times reported Sunday more news, but contradictory information from the network and from Jay himself: a longer monologue, or not; a different format and a tough adjustment ratings-wise.  I half agree with the final quote:

“The key is never become a personality, always try to have material, always try to have something funny,” Leno said. “Never assume anybody wants to see you. They want to see you do whatever it is you do, as opposed to just showing up.”

Here is a source for a brief, readable interview with Conan: Women on the Web.  (This makes him sound the most likeable I’ve ever heard — not that I plan on becoming a fan!  Decidedly not.)

Finally, this story again says that Leno will be hosting the Tonight Show until May.

The whole story: I see here (Conan will be in Charlotte soon, if not recently), that Conan will sign off of Late Night this week, but not start the Tonight Show until June.  Okay, I understand now.

What My Center Looks Likes

February 9, 2009
the Silver Persian

the Silver Persian

This is one of the five visible centers of my life.

I should mention that I have an invisible center of all centers: Jesus Christ is my Lord and Saviour, and I would not be who I am without Him.

The first picture is Smudge, our newest kitty — she is almost three years old.

While the other two cats, Patsy and Lilly, know me as “the new guy,” she thinks of me as her first male servant.  This morning, I was the door opener — and last night, too.

Here are the two humans that are important to me, the love of my life, my beautiful wife, Lana, with a fairly recent picture of our son, the cool kid with shades.


"Who's that in *my* bed?"

"Who's that in *my* bed?"

This is just a fun picture — both looking at the other; neither is too sure what to make of the stranger.  We never leave them alone like this without supervision, then Ryan was too little, now he’s just old enough to cause the cats harm, and not understand… [he hasn’t, yet, and we watch him like a hawk!]

The cat is Patsy, the baby is Ryan.  (He’s older now.  So is Patsy, but she doesn’t show it like he does.)

This is Lana’s second cat, the elder is Lilly.  She is ten years old, if I recall correctly.

And she’s very skittish — before Lana got her, a kid broke her back leg, so she’s afraid of little people, but she’s adapted to Ryan alright.

Ryan is now twenty-one months old (his birthday is May).

Finally, the queen, Lilly.  She is eleven yrs old, and just recently got shaved, partially.  It looks like she’s wearing no pants, right now.  It’s hillarious, to me, but her dignity is severely hurt.

LillyThis is what her royal highness looked like before her “fur-cut.”  And I must admit she is very beautiful (though don’t let her hear that, she’s already vain enough!).

OCaml Func. Programming, part A

February 5, 2009

I’m long overdue for posting an update.  I’ve made slow progress…

I found an Italian* version of the non-Eratosthanes Sieve — I used BabelFish and common sense to translate the comments to English.  Here is a Word doc and pdf of that.   Update! Hmm, here are lecture notes for a class at Univ. of Innsbruck (very similar to the Italian code).

* a former co-worker would insist I say “ih-TAL-yan” rather than “I-TAL-yan” with a long ‘I’ sound, just as you say “Italy” with a short ‘I’ sound…

Now to figure out how to “convert” it…  (or write my own).