þriðjudagur, maí 26, 2009


I was dead-heading irises and trimming back the spent stalks when I found it under the leaves, little claws up, oil-rainbow-black feathers awry, beak turned to one side as if in dismay.

fimmtudagur, maí 21, 2009


Suggested names for cats:
  • syntax
  • synecdoche
  • metonymy
  • parataxis
  • metataxis
(In fact, I know a cat named Lexicon.)

They ignore you when you call them, anyway, so you might as well get some vocabulary drill out of the experience.

mánudagur, maí 11, 2009


  • stone flax or silk (depending on its fineness)
  • amianthus (or amiant)
  • salamander wool (for those either ignorant or given to metaphor)

The present proper term is asbestos, though asbestos is a misnomer. It is from a Latin word from a Greek word for quicklime, even though quicklime is something completely different. Its Greek designation meant "inextinguishable," as quicklime (CaO) is, reacting as it does violently with water. Asbestos does no such thing. It is merely and quietly impervious to flame.

Quicklime might have been an ingredient in Greek Fire, the napalm of the Byzantine Empire. It took a long time to figure out that the feathery mineral with more obvious defensive applications would be at least as dangerous.
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