THIS SITE could have a better name than mine with “dot com” tacked on to it. I had considered Introduction to Ratiocinations Out of Thin Air as a title—and that would have been a great title, if a confusing title. So we’re stuck with Neal Umphred Dot Com. As someone once famous once said, “So it goes.“ 1 Either way, readers are confronted with two rather uncommon words (although alien has been used in reference to one of them): Umphred and ratiocination. The family name appears to be of Scottish origin, which explains why Laphoaig tasted like the water of life with my first… Continue Reading introduction to neal umphred dot com
IT’S NOT OFTEN that I am moved to write a piece about a movie based on a review of the movie instead of the movie itself. But last night I watched Auto Focus with Greg Kinnear playing actor Bob Crane. I knew very little about Crane’s life, except that he was the star of Hogan’s Heroes, had a HUGE lust for women—lots and lots of women—and for videotaping his activities with those women. And that he was murdered. This morning I looked the movie up to check out its accuracy and found a review by Scotty Crane, Bob Crane’s… Continue Reading is “auto focus” an out-of-focus half-assed piece of garbage?
THE U.S. CENSUS of 2010 uncovered several dozen full-time book-lovers among the 59,000 residents of Redmond, Washington. Like most such readers, these residents required a regular intake of new and old books, and while some of their needs were filled by the King County Library System’s branch in Redmond, other needs have gone sorely lacking. When Borders closed its Redmond store in 2011, there was no longer any local access to a leisure walk about a store, from one’s favorite sections (say, science fiction or baseball) to genres one rarely notices (such as basketball or New Age) to a… Continue Reading new mom-and-pop, brick-and-mortar book store opens in redmond
I HAVE ADDRESSED the issue of “internet trolls” in separate articles several times; give this one a read if the topic interests you: “Too Many Immoral People Are Trolling More Effectively Than Ever Before.” It’s the last one I wrote and probably the last one I will write. The word ‘troll’ has joined others such as ‘scan,’ ‘moot’ (try to figure out how to mootly scan something) and ‘alternate’ that are now so misused by so many people—including writers on the Internet—I really don’t know what most writers mean when they use the term. It’s become so diluted that people refer to… Continue Reading mootly scanning the internet for troll alternates
WE DON’T WATCH TV IN OUR HOUSE. Oh, we have a television, but it’s not hooked up to cable and neither Berni nor I remember where or how to find the few local channels available locally. But we do get a lot of use out of our DVD player, watching lots of movies and television series. One recent title that I watched in the middle of a sleepless night was 10 Cloverfield Lane. It’s a decent movie with a little psychosexual tension that kept me guessing as to where things would lead. Unfortunately, it eventually ended with a whimper due to a problem… Continue Reading godzilla meets the dog soldiers on cloverfield lane
SAY YOU WANT A BRIEF BUT COGENT EXPLANATION of the contemporary interpretation of the Big Bang Theory—where do you go? And—notice I didn’t say “or”—you want to know why Yellowstone National Park is both one of the most beautiful preserves in the world and one of the most potentially catastrophic areas in the world—where do you go? Plus you need some background on where syphilis and yaw-yaw and mad monks. Where do you go? On top of that, you also want a list of science’s most innovative thinkers—which includes some of its most eccentric personalities—and you want it all in one… Continue Reading get your yaw-yaws out! (syphilis, mad monks, and sailors)
WHILE “THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE” has been around for almost one-hundred years, it didn’t start its march to universal acclaim until 1959. That year saw the first edition of William Strunk’s little book expanded from 43 pages to 78 pages by “co-author” E.B. White. Forty years earlier, Professor Strunk had published the book as a guide for his students at Cornell University. It called for conservation in the use of the English language. In fact, if the book can be broken down into one dictum, it’s “Omit needless words.” It was the 1959 edition with White’s contributions that… Continue Reading if william strunk was a typographer, would he omit needless spaces