Various & sundry

  • I finished the work for my big editing project. Managed to get it all done before the deadline, so I’m excited about that. The book was my second edit for MIT Press.
  • Still working on another project, this one for an indie author, but the schedule there is a lot more relaxed.
  • Betsy and I finally got around to seeing Rogue One (amazing how a baby and a lack of babysitter can delay your movie-watching). It was really good, but didn’t quite feel like a Star Wars movie. The problem with doing a more realistic take on Star Wars is that war is sad and horrible and depressing, and if you portray that realistically, you tend to get a depressing movie. That said, seeing the Death Star upside-down was wicked cool.
  • Currently reading the novel Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. I may do a postmortem when I finish, as I definitely have a lot to say about it.
  • Evan’s getting better at standing up. He still has to lean on something, like the side of the couch, but he’s relying on the support less and less. He’s also learned to “high-five” my hand, which is frickin’ adorable. In a few days he’ll be ten months old.
  • The Trump Jr. thing … oy. If you’ve been reading the blog for a while, you can probably guess what I think, and I don’t have anything to say that hasn’t been said in a hundred newspaper editorials already. But still … oy.
  • Nothing new on Crane Girl at the moment.
  • Last night I was reading about how to achieve a perfect game in Pac-Man, which is fascinating for reasons I can’t quite explain. I love the idea of playing a game so well that you actually break the game.
  • Ceci n’est pas une bullet point.


When you have a baby, you encounter a lot of smells. Today I was sniffing for the particular smell that might indicate a new diaper was needed, and when I didn’t detect any odor, I was about to mention it to Betsy.

And then I stopped, because I couldn’t figure out the right word.

If you can’t see something, you might say it isn’t visible. Can’t hear it, it isn’t audible. Can’t touch it, it isn’t tangible.

I was trying to say something similar for smell. “It isn’t _____ible.” Except I couldn’t fill in the blank. I got to thinking about it more, and still nothing came to mind. I realized I couldn’t think of a word for taste, either.

Naturally I turned to Google. And naturally, I am not the first person to ask this question.

So what’s the answer?

Well, smellable actually is a respectable word (i.e., it’s in Merriam-Webster), but you don’t hear it very often, and its construction doesn’t parallel the other three in that satisfying way I was looking for. The “better” option is olfactible, but that one’s even less common. How uncommon? Merriam-Webster doesn’t list it at all, and the Oxford English Dictionary marks it as “rare.”

A third option for smell is odorous (or its cousins odiferous and odoriferous). This one is somewhat more common, but it tends to connote a strong or unpleasant odor, as opposed to visible and audible, which are neutral regarding intensity. Other smell-oriented words, such as fragrant, have even stronger connotations.

So smellable is probably your best bet, but there’s no really good answer. It’s a blind spot in the language.

Taste is much the same: there’s tasteable (boring, uncommon) and gustable (rare). Other words (such as edible) don’t quite hit the mark.

Maybe it’s just as well. I have it on good authority that the one who smelt it, dealt it.

How to be president (it’s super easy)

If you’re opposed by Congress,
then blame obstructionist Democrats.

If you’re opposed by the judicial branch,
then blame political judges.

If you’re opposed by the executive branch,
then blame the “deep state.”

If you’re opposed by state and local leaders,
then blame political grandstanding.

If you’re opposed by the American people,
then blame paid protesters.

If you’re opposed by election results,
then blame voter fraud.

If you’re opposed by other countries,
then blame other countries.

If you’re opposed by terrorists,
then blame refugees fleeing from terrorists.

If you’re opposed by empirical evidence,
then blame fake news.

If you’re opposed by Vladimir Putin,
then blame Hillary Clinton.

If you’re opposed by your own pathological inability to be president,
then blame Mika Brzezinski.

Wait, will anybody know who that is? Give it a few days.

Quote of the day

Editing work still consumes my waking hours, as you might guess from the lack of blog activity. My two big deadlines are Tuesday and Thursday of next week, so hopefully I’ll have a little more free time after that.

In the meantime, here’s one of my favorite quotes. It’s sat on my hard drive for years, but I’ve never shared it before. It’s about courage in art.

I find funny and silly the pompous kind of self-important talk about the artist who takes risks. Artistic risks are like show-business risks — laughable. Like casting against type, wow, what danger! Risks are where your life is on the line. The people who took risks against the Nazis or some of the Russian poets who stood up against the state — those people are courageous and brave, and that’s really an achievement. To be an artist is also an achievement, but you have to keep it in perspective. I’m not trying to undersell art. I think it’s valuable, but I think it’s overly revered. It is a valuable thing, but no more valuable than being a good schoolteacher, or being a good doctor.

—Woody Allen

Friday Links

If you’ve already had the joy of listening to the original Yakko’s Nations of the World song, here’s something new for you: Yakko’s Nations of the World Song stitched together out of clips from 168 movies.

The more films Nicolas Cage appears in, the more people drown in pools. Friendly reminder that correlation ≠ causation.

Think about all the crazy science gear that scientists have to lug around the country. Now think about what it’s like to take that gear through airport security. The whole article’s great, but my favorite is this exchange about a Nobel Prize — as in the actual, physical object:

Uhhhh. Who gave this to you?

The King of Sweden.

Why did he give this to you?

Because I helped discover the expansion rate of the universe was accelerating.

Next, there’s MasterClass, which I just discovered. It looks amazing. Steve Martin teaches comedy, Garry Kasparov teaches chess, Jane Goodall teaches conservation, Aaron Sorkin teaches screenwriting. Planning to sign up for that last one when I get a chance.

Finally: I made a thing. The editor-author relationship, explained.

Have a good weekend!

Maybe scientists should fight fire with fire

YOUR CHILD is safe from horrible diseases like measles and polio…….right???

NO CHILD in Modern America still gets tetanus….Right??!?

What if I told you those diseases still exist……..and “THEY” knew about it all along?

WHAT IF I told you that a CABAL OF GOVERNMENT SCIENTISTS, funded by YOUR TAX DOLLAR$$, came up with a quick, SAFE,, CHEAP way to prevent those HORRIBLE diseases…….and its over 90% effective?!

Senator’s kids get this LIFE-SAVING medicine. Wa$hington FAT CATS get this life saving medicine. OBAMA“S KIDS got this life saving medicine. Shouldnt your children get it too????

When was the last time you see any body get SmallPox anymore? hmmm…. put it together SHEEPLE!

WE the PEOPLE‘ are not going to live in fear any more!!

WE The PEOPLE” are going to get the protecion we deserve!

If you ask your Dr, he is required to give you the medicine!!!

Stop letting POLITICIAN$ get better care than YOUR BABY! Demand that this “SECRET” science be made available for EVERY BODY!!

“For an angel of the LORD went down at a certain season, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had” ~JOHN 5;4~

SEND this to 14 friends… relatives…. loved ones….. b4 its too late!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

President Trump’s lies

The definitive list.

Definitive for now, at least. Hard to keep track of them all.

All screenshots are taken directly from this page, which also contains the following observation:

The list above uses the conservative standard of demonstrably false statements. By that standard, Trump told a public lie on at least 20 of his first 40 days as president. But based on a broader standard — one that includes his many misleading statements (like exaggerating military spending in the Middle East) — Trump achieved something remarkable: He said something untrue, in public, every day for the first 40 days of his presidency. The streak didn’t end until March 1.

Enjoy your weekend.