Hail Traveler!

An inaugural post, eleven year after I wrote, in a Fresh Air piece on the new phenomenon of “blogging,” that “the only thing bloggers seem to have in common is that they have a lot of time on their hands and an exhibitionist streak.” It was the first, certainly not the second, that kept me from going there — the internet is full of author blogs that were abandoned after a few weeks or months of sporadic activity.

As my mom said when I asked her if we could get a dog when I was about eight — “Who’s going to walk it every day?” (She was right, but caved anyway.) On the other hand, it would be nice to have a venue where I could discharge thoughts that are too idiosyncratic for LanguageLog and too verbose for Twitter. And if you had to pick a promising point of departure, you could do worse than the topic of assholes and assholism, which comes in over the transom every morning without benefit of an RSS feed. So watch this space. For a while, anyway.

2 thoughts on “Hail Traveler!

  1. Just read your article on “comprised of” on the NPR web site. Although you state that “The phrase “comprised of” goes back 300 years,” the oldest example you provided was in Trollope, published around 1873. In fact, the 300 year-old appearance of “comprised of” seems to have been in a translation of Euclid, which translation also refers to a rectangle as being “comprised under” its sides. http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=3182

    The emergence of “comprised of” is usually attributed to its increasing appearance in technical writing in the latter half of the 19th century. In the 20th century, “comprised of” has been popular in scientific and legal writing, two forms notorious for their assaults against clear and aesthetically pleasing prose. “Comprised of” seems like another infelicitous attempt at fancy writing. The Wikipedia editor who diligently eliminated this long-time misuse of the word from the web site is owed a round of drinks, not a paternalistic lecture.

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