January 24, 2005

The Shuffle

About ten days ago Bryan Curtis over at Slate wrote a little piece memorializing the nowhere-near-dead Dave Barry. Actually, it's an excellent piece, I'm glad he didn't wait 42 more years to break it out after Dave actually expires. That's what you get, Dave. As soon as you leave the room they'll start talking about you, especially if you've ended the game by taking the ball home with you.

The reason I bring it up is that William Safire is pulling stakes, too. He's not retiring, he's only 70 for God's sake. He has decided to change careers mid-waterfall and finally pursue something he likes. Good for him. That whole "Respected Op-Ed Genious" gig was just grinding him down.

Oh yeah, the reason I'm bringing it all up. Right. In the Dave Barry article, Curtis coughs out the tantalizing suggestion that maybe Barry would rather find himself writing something a little headier than exploding bovine ruminations. Like, say, New York Times Op-Ed pieces, perhaps. It's not out of the realm of possibility.

This would be awesome. Seriously.

And while we're dreaming, how about when Dan Rather departs - uh, resigns - then Jon Stewart and team can deftly bring us the CBS Daily News at dinnertime, or something like it. Cuz you know, Jon's funnier than a cat caught in the whipporwhills during a Texas drizzle.

Oh, and you have to love how I used the word "ruminations" in the same breath as "exploding bovine". (Look it up if you have to, dammit.)


At 1:52 PM, Blogger Luke said...

So you're a what, etymology hobbyist? That's cool ... I guess.

You must have known about it before hand so I'll pose this: how?

Dave Barry at the Times would be good, then I could actually read him.

At 7:38 PM, Blogger Don Sheffler said...

Funny you should point out my weakness for things etymological. I just finished a book by Simon Winchester. Focusing on the creation of the Oxford English Dictionary, it's a lighthearted romp through the London underbelly, Rangoon and British Malaya, about the tortured life of an American military doctor who, not long after the Civil War plummets into homocidal madness and ends up incarcerated for life in a criminal lunatic asylum near London, where, under a veil of secrecy he becomes THE major volunteer contributor to the seemingly impossible, seventy-year project of creating the first and only comprehensive English language dictionary. It's a true story. How can you not love a tale like that?

What was your question?

At 8:04 AM, Blogger Paul said...

I just learned the word eximious today. Amazing!

I love Dave Barry, but the last few years his writing has been somewhat scattered. I already read the New York Times when I get a chance, but I doubt him writing for it would make me rush out to buy it.

Safire is fun, but dammit, quarters pounder?

At 4:05 PM, Blogger Don Sheffler said...

I know two things:

Never read a Dave Barry book with food or liquid anywhere near your mouth.

Only read a Dave Barry book in public if you are in a coma, or if you are actually dead. Otherwise you could look really foolish.

At 5:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

homocidal madness? And here I thought that he killed a bunch of people :) Anyway, if you're at all interested in stuff like this (etymology, not homocidal madness), you should check out Mother Tongue by Bill Bryson. It's about the history of the English language and happens to contain the anecdote about the OED that you mentioned.

--Mike Sheffler
... turning to the 3-D map, we see an unmistakable cone of ignorance


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