Thursday, January 06, 2005


In Which Basho Has Naught to Fear From Me...

Rooting through assorted papers, forgotten clips, and detritus from jobs I've long since left (or in some cases, fled), I discovered a collection of notes in my distinct scribble. Pages and pages of anagrams based on names of beloved co-workers or notorious people in the media (for example: I turned the name of infamous New York Times ex-reporter JAYSON BLAIR into YON JB'S A LIAR).

Halfway through the notes, the anagrams shift to haiku. One that made me laugh, then and now, was in honor of a copy editor I used to work with. She was the stereotype of the uptight, pedantic copy chief: very serious about serial commas, forever mucking with quotes (people have this pesky tendency of not speaking in perfect English). Her name was Linda, and this haiku was for her:

O copydesk queen
Your name has only one "L"
But so does "anal"

Seeing these long-forgotten notes tells me a couple things:

1. I have an enormous capacity to amuse myself, and...

2. I evidently had a LOT of free time at my last couple of jobs.

Seriously, I've always found such exercises to be an excellent way of sharpening the tools. Consider: the average educated person has a vocabulary of roughly 20,000 words, but barely uses a tenth of them in any given week. Playing with words, trying to make new ones out of a limited number of letters, or trying to find ones to fit a specific syllabic format, help unlock the vocabulary you forgot you had.

Try it, and see if it doesn't sharpen your writing and speaking skills--as well as your Scrabble scores.

Oh, who snores? Meet me: Mr. Fathead

I was wondering how I missed this entry, but then I realized I started reading in February of '05 and apparently haven't backtracked too much.

J-ho n' NYC (I'm retarded)
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