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Staying Put

Old joke:
“Lived here all your life, old timer?”
“Not yet.”

You can blame this wonk on Sally.

She has lived all over the place during the last 45 years, both in this country and abroad. Shea, on the other hand, has been hunkered down in Albuquerque since 1969. So in her email to me a couple of weeks ago, she wondered out loud how it might feel to have put down roots as I did. Then she closed with “probably the grass looks greener sometimes from [Shea’s] side, too.”


Readers of this cyber-space (you know who you are) will recall “Sally,” who showed up in a couple of recent wonks. Sally was that fellow grad student at Colorado State who went to Mexico with me over Christmas break in 1964 (“Ford Flathead II”). In “Equus Caballus,” Sally’s derisive laughter assaulted my equestrian skills, or lack thereof. After the Mexico trip, I thought I was in love with Sally and suffered the sorrows of young Werther well into the springtime.

More Pun-ishment

Two questions linger from last week’s discussion of puns: namely, why puns are so often scorned as “the lowest form of humour” (whoever did say that, consensus seems to be that he was a Brit), and how puns are revelatory of deeper rhetorical mysteries. Well, let me and a couple of friends wrestle with those questions. I have a hunch, by the way, that the answers are connected.

A Pun, My Word

“But wait! There’s more!” Department: Now you can see and hear Shea in the cyberflesh, reading vintage wonks! Just go to

Equus Caballus

Who does not love horses? Magnificent animals, are they not? Often I come upon horsemen (and -women—usually women, in fact) when I am running in the Rio Grande bosque. We greet each other cordially and I step aside so they can pass. I usually find something nice to say, along the lines of “Handsome steed you have there, my friend.”

Ford Flathead II

I don’t remember much about that first semester at Colorado State, and maybe that’s for the best. It was a mixed bag, surely. I was on my own for the first time and pushing a barrow-load of insecurities. Too much partying, too much floundering and dithering. To be teaching for the first time was both a heady and a terrifying experience.* But somehow I got through it, and I made friends that I still have these long years later.

Dictionary: The Ultimate Educational Application

As part of Farmington Municipal Schools' Learning Initiative, we are focusing on providing quick and easy ways to take advantage of some great tools built into Apple's operating sytem. One of these tools can help you with language (definitions, pronunciations, synonyms, and antonyms) and is an indispensable tool in any classroom. I'm referring to the built-in Dictionary application, of course. But it's not just the application you launch and use directly that is so powerful in OS X. It's the convenience of this tool that makes it so useful.

Create Sitemaps with SiteOrbiter

Websites are getting larger and larger, and keeping track of them as they evolve can be a hassle. If you're a web developer, you'll want to create what's called a site map, a special file that lists all of the pages of your website in an hierarchical order. This file can be submitted to search engines to help them index your website. But how the heck are you supposed to create one on your Mac?

Ford Flathead I

I graduated from college in June, 1964, and in late August of that year I lit out for the West to enter the Masters Program in English at Colorado State University in Fort Collins.* I did my lighting out in a 1950 Ford, a black two-door sedan with a stick shift ("three in the tree") and the legendary flathead (or "L-head") V8 engine. First, a word about that engine.

Anniversary Wonk

"You’re all entitled to my opinion."

Says here that my maiden Weekend Wonk column was posted on the 20th of January, 2007. But I didn’t want to break into my three-part wonk on language abuse which concluded last week, so with this marking of the milestone I am, to vary the old phrase, a week late and a dollar short. Still, I do want to mark the milestone, look back a bit, pay some debts, and, well, celebrate. It’s been a wonderful year, pounding out these wonks.

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