Humor, pop culture, grammar, and bewilderments
Humor, Pop Culture,
Grammar, and Bewilderments

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morologist: n. A boring fool who speaks nonsense

example: “The morologist wants us in the conference room at 3pm.”

31 Jul 2002 | link | D. Mahoney

Tobias writes A Letter from Exile and I write about a recent medical experience: Anesthesia Hour.

In this Friday’s “Non-Expert’s Desk” at TMN, I’ll be discussing Sunday rain and body hair.

Finally, there’s new Wallpaper featuring aliens and bicycles.


24 Jul 2002 | link | D. Mahoney

Four signs: Rubber Bridge, Ring Factory, Please Park Behind Me, and Sex Street.

19 Jun 2002 | link | D. Mahoney

I sometimes write about grammar and vocabulary. You might assume that by defining words or challenging a ban on dangling apostrophes, I’m an expert, or pretend to be one. Neither is true. Every time I open a usage guide or dictionary, it’s like reading swimming lessons at the bottom of the sea. I’m just trying not to drown worse.

My shortcomings are astounding. I’ve had the proper uses of “bring” and “take” explained to me a hundred times: Should I bring the dog out to the yard, or take the dog out to the yard? There is a difference, and if you don’t think it matters, realize there’s a hot, muggy turd hanging in the balance.

I am forever trying not to embarrass myself by writing something stupid. Nearly all of what I write regarding words, grammar, and style is news to me—I’m just learning things I should have known years ago. And so, with further ado, I’d like to say I’m working on a brief essay about sentences. This will be published when it’s good and ready. Hopefully next week. It could be the first of many grammatical essays here at 0format, but you’re dealing with me, so one can never tell.

Bear in mind that following my grammatical advice could get you laughed at, beaten up, covered in cappucino, stabbed with newly-sharpened #2 pencils, banned from Barnes & Noble, dumped by your oh-so-witty spouse or significant other with his or her law or medical degree framed over the mantlepiece or reading desk, secretly disrespected by your colleagues, unfondly remembered by your kindergarten teacher, fired from your job, or forced to return your secret decoder pin from MENSA, which means you’ll never know the punchlines to jokes about agnostic-dyslexic insomniacs who know, despite their many problems, how to diagram a sentence.

But I do take it all very seriously, and any mistakes I make will follow a hefty dose of careful research and consideration. I’m not just making it up like the rest of my writing.

If a series of essays comes to pass, think of them together as an extremely poor man’s guide to language, with “poor” referring to mental acuity and “man” referring to me. If I get something wrong, send me an email like usual.


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0format features the writing of Dennis A. Mahoney & Tobias Seamon. In addition, words and their peculiar fits and uses are considered. Jokes are made.

It’s updated every Wednesday.

Dennis also writes a column every Friday at The Morning News

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A Letter from Exile

By: Tobias Seamon
31 Jul 2002

After referring to the Minister of Security through print, television, radio, and subway walls as a “shit-eating slug,” a “parasitical rapist,” and as an “ass wart on the principles of humanism and democracy,” I was forced to leave the country. Make no mistake: an exile is far different from an expatriate. Expatriates don’t have their accounts frozen, nor do they make travel arrangements through an underground railroad of cocaine dealers and hoodoo palmists…full story

Anesthesia Hour

By: D. Mahoney

“You’ll go to sleep for one hour, and when you wake up…”
“You’ve got to knock me out?”
“Trust me,” said the doctor with a medical smile. “You don’t want to feel this.”

The anesthesiologist injected an ingredient into the IV and off we went, the gurney taking corners like a tank in a playground. The ceiling was a gathering of faces: attendants, assistants, and attendant’s assistants. The surgeon led the way. A bag of implements chattered at his hip…full story

Circe's Ass

By: Tobias Seamon
24 Jul 2002

Whether it was the product of her charms or the exercise needed to grapple with cliffs, tide, and low skies for the necessary herbs, augers, fresh eggs, or private space, Circe’s ass was spectacular.

Granted, Odysseus never actually viewed Helen’s, though he traveled, calculated, and cut throats for it. Truthfully, it wasn’t Helen’s actual ass they were warring for either: it was for the right to decide where precisely that ass should be seated…full story


By: D. Mahoney

David Foster Wallace didn’t write 96 pages of footnotes in Infinite Jest for his own amusement. He wrote endnotes.

Footnotes appear at the bottom of a page. Endnotes come at the end of an article, chapter, or book. In terms of content, they’re basically the same.

Footnotes can clutter a page. Endnotes prevent clutter, but make readers flip to another page altogether. No matter what kind of note you use, you’re asking readers to go above and beyond the call of duty…full story