there is water underground.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Walden is a place for all seasons, but it carries its beauty best in winter. Last year, I visited the pond in early February on a clear, frigid day. It was completely frozen over, and the lone ice-fisherman in the middle of the pond was a speck on the horizon. I steeled myself and proceeded to walk straight across the pond, knowing that if the ice cracked I was probably screwed. Thankfully that didn’t happen, and by the time I reached the middle the fisherman had headed off to the shore for a break. I was standing alone in the middle of Walden pond. The actual temperature betrayed the clear sky and radiant sun, but I took off my hat and felt the wind freeze my hair. I felt close to nature, as close as one can get within twenty miles of Boston.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

In Honor of National Grammar Day

Our language has over 400,000 words. That’s a lot of words. Many are commonplace, like “sandwich” or “cable.” Many are used very infrequently, like “cloaca” or “subterfuge.” My favorite word is “effervescence” – the only word with five es each separated by two consonants. Words are amazing. And yet, there are some words that – while they are not dirty in and of themselves – well, simply sound dirty. They’re the kind of words that make educated Beavises and Buttheads snicker. Here now is a far-from-complete list of some of the words that just sound dirty.

• Doppelganger
• Mumps
• Finagle
• Mastication
• Spelunker
• Flagella
• Kumquat
• Moist
• Dangling Participle
• Pinochle
• Carpetbagger
• Flugelhorn
• Sloop
• Stimulus
• Package
• Stimulus Package
• Moist Stimulus Package (okay, now we’re getting ridiculous)
• Smorgasbord
• Nebbish
• Plethora
• Thwart

Special thanks are due to Kathy for assistance with this project. And Robin Williams too.