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Subject: How to speak English GOOD

1. Verbs HAS to agree with their subjects.
2. Prepositions are not words to end sentences with.
3. And don't start a sentence with a conjunction.
4. It is wrong to ever split an infinitive.
5. Avoid cliches like the plague. (They're old hat)
6. Also, always avoid annoying alliteration.
7. Be more or less specific.
8. Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) are (usually) unnecessary.
9. Also too, never, ever use repetitive redundancies.
10. No sentence fragments.
11. Contractions aren't necessary and shouldn't be used.
12. Foreign words and phrases are not apropos.
13. Do not be redundant; do not use more words than necessary; it's highly superfluous.
14. One should NEVER generalize.
15. Comparisons are as bad as cliches.
16. Eschew ampersands & abbreviations, etc.
17. One-word sentences? Eliminate.
18. Analogies in writing are like feathers on a snake.
19. The passive voice is to be ignored.
20. Eliminate commas, that are, not necessary. Parenthetical words however should be enclosed in commas.
21. Never use a big word when a diminutive one would suffice.
22. Use words correctly, irregardless of how others use them.
23. Understatement is always the absolute best way to put forth earth-shaking ideas.
24. Eliminate quotations. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "I hate quotations. Tell me what you know."
25. If you've heard it once, you've heard it a thousand times: Resist hyperbole; not one writer in a million can use it correctly.
26. Puns are for children, not groan readers.
27. Go around the barn at high noon to avoid colloquialisms.
28. Even IF a mixed metaphor sings, it should be derailed.
29. Who needs rhetorical questions?
30. Exaggeration is a billion times worse than understatement.

And the last one...

31. Proofread carefully to see if you any words out.
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Hubris

I just finished reading the book "Into the Wild" yesterday. For those of you who are not familiar with the book (or the recent movie adaptation), the story is about a young man, well off and well-educated who decides to cast off his creature comforts, and live his live as a tramp on the road.

He hitchhikes or rides the rails across the country a few times, sometimes taking jobs, other times foraging for food. Eventually he sets his sights on Alaska. With little more than a bag of rice and a .22 calibre rifle, he hikes into the wilderness to live completely alone, and survive off of what he can find. With very little expertise on foraging, and even less on hunting/trapping, he eats very lean foods (squirrel, rabbit, etc.) and begins to drastically lose weight. After an unsuccessful attempt to hike out, he is left in the woods, and starves to death.

The story itself is emotional and touching, but some people have taken to calling this guy a hero, which I have a problem with on a number of levels.

First off, he died. He was a cocky young man who thought that the rules didn't apply to him. He went into the wild to test himself against nature. Nature won. He was pwned by Alaska, so Alaska should be the one to receive heroic status.

Secondly, the aforementioned disregard for rules. Fine, he doesn't want to get a hunting permit, or register with the park rangers. But the laws of nature? Yeah, you don't fuck with that.

Third, the author says of him "he managed to survive for 16 weeks, which is more than most people would be able to do." Not quite. He survived, but only because he was in very good physical shape to begin with. The entire time he was there, he was continuously losing weight, because the only things he could find to eat did even begin to substitute for the loss of calories because of the physical effort of hunting, and staying warm.

Fourth, he died with a map in his hands that showed a road less than 10 miles away, when he was actually trying to leave the wilderness. When his remains and possessions were handed over to his parents, it showed a map in his possession.

Fifth, this is a total white bread, ivy league academic from an affluent suburb of Washington DC. Even after extensive research on wilderness survival, including all my time in the army, I know that you can starve to death eating platefuls of rabbit (see Rabbit Starvation), that foods spoil, even without being picked, that meat must be properly preserved, and a dozen other essential survival skills, and I still wouldn't be stupid enough to do what he did, even with 10 times the equipment.

What this boils down to, in my humble opinion, is the title of this entry: Hubris.

This kid thought he was indestructible, that rules were for everyone else, and read a little too much Tolstoy and Jack London. He saw Alaska as a pristine wilderness full of excitement and adventure, rather than as a brutal, barren landscape with death at every turn. He risked his own life often, with little thought to consequences, the end result of which being his horrible, and unsurprising death, which, while unfortunate, is virtually entirely because of his own hubris.

You want a hero? Pick the guy who lived.
  • Current Mood
    pensive pensive
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Saw this on one of those de-motivational posters

Christianity: The belief that a cosmic Jewish Zombie who was his own father can make you live forever if you symbolically eat his flesh and telepathically tell him you accept him as your master, so he can remove an evil force from your soul that is present in humanity because a rib-woman was convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magical tree...
  • Current Mood
    amused amused
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Holy crap!

A bolt of lightning just hit the building across the street from me and I nearly jumped out of my skin. I think my heart is lodged permanently in my throat!
  • Current Mood
    shocked shocked
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Random Thought

Homer: All right, Brain, it's all up to you. If you don't think of what it is, we'll lose Marge forever.

Brain: Eat the pudding eat the pudding eat the pudding eat the pudding eat the pudding eat the pudding eat the pudding eat the pudding

Homer: OK. But then we gotta get to work.