Category Archives: Orbilius

Two Greek Syllables in Edith Wharton

I have just uploaded my one published article on English literature, “Two Greek Syllables in Edith Wharton’s ‘The Pelican’”, one of her best short stories, with a bonus prelude on the mention of Quintius (?) Curtius in her very first … Continue reading

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Artemis a Model for Widows?

Like Edith Wharton (previous post), Machado de Assis has what looks very like a mythological blunder in his very first short story (first collected, in his case), “Miss Dollar”. The very handsome and affordable new translation of the Collected Stories … Continue reading

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A ‘Calemphaton’ in Horace, C. 4.12.8?

One of the several meanings of cacemphaton (also deformitas, Greek κακέμφατον) is an inadvertent obscenity found at the junction of two words. As H. Lausberg puts it (Handbook of Literary Rhetoric, Brill 1998, § 1070), “A special kind of amphibolia, … Continue reading

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A Strange Ambiguity in Horace’s Torquatus Ode (4.7)

One of the many memorable couplets in C. 4.7 is 19-20: cuncta manus avidas fugient heredis, amico     quae dederis animo. Has anyone noted the odd change of meaning when we come to the last word? Up until then, it looks … Continue reading

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Which Are Horace’s Shortest Odes?

I’ve been rereading Book IV of Horace’s Odes for the first time in years, and memorizing as much as I can on walks and long drives. When I finish 4.11 tomorrow, I will have 1-3, 7, and 10-13 down, which … Continue reading

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G or L: Who Can Tell?

    A few weeks ago, Laudator Temporis Acti blogged about a translated novel set in a Greek classroom, in which the Greek was badly botched. As he noted, “You’d think that, in a short novel that takes place inside a Greek … Continue reading

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Gentler Remedies Are Preferable

In A Perpetual Student, Laudator Temporis Acti notes a couple of misprints. Here is the second, from a paper by Joachim Latacz on Nietzsche: By now he has already received (from Leiden) the handwritten transcription of the time by Stephanus … Continue reading

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Curculio 5: Worst. Endearment. Ever.

Peter Davidson’s Poetry and Revolution: An Anthology of British and Irish Verse 1625-1660 (Oxford, 1998) includes a rather dull love-poem (number 36) by “T.C.”, most likely Thomas Cary, “Gentleman of the Bedchamber to Charles I” (516). The untitled poetic dialogue … Continue reading

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Maybe I’ve Been Reading LanguageHat Too Long . . .

. . . since I misread Tim Blair’s post about a Prince concert in Sydney as saying that it took place at “Allophones Arena”. I suppose Allphones is an Australian telephone company. (Don’t tell me. If I cared I could … Continue reading

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This Takes Me Back

In a post at The Volokh Conspiracy, Stewart Baker includes a picture of the statue that stands outside the Federal Trade Commission (he credits JoeInSouthernCA): When I worked in D.C. 20+ years ago, I often walked past the statue. My … Continue reading

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Maybe I’m Too Fond of Puns . . . .

My local movie theater has been serving delicious hors d’oeuvres (from this restaurant) at their showings of the Metropolitan Opera HD simulcasts. What should they have served for Richard Strauss’ last opera on April 23rd? Carpaccio, of course.

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Sufficient Unto the Day is the Quotation Thereof

The professor is nothing if not a maker of card-indexes; he must classify or be damned. (H. L. Mencken, Prejudices: First Series [1919], XVII. “George Jean Nathan”)

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Worst Offer Ever?

I wish I’d had my camera with me a week or two ago. A local grocery store had this special offer: SHRIMP BUY 1, GET 2 Limit 2

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Dear Xerox and Competitors:

Please provide a ‘default’ or ‘override’ button on all copy machines. The machine is not smarter than the user, at least when I’m making copies. I’m sick and tired of using machines that won’t copy my stuff at normal size. … Continue reading

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Dear Barnes and Noble:

Please don’t send me an e-mail telling me my order is “on the way” at 11:18pm if the book was already on my porch when I got home from work roughly seven hours earlier. You do this a lot. It … Continue reading

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When Bad Things Happen to Good Databases

From the site of a bookseller whose name (and URL) I will kindly omit: Cicero was a primate, and letters are no doubt symbols as well as collections of symbols, and Cicero’s letters are a “particularly highly-developed form of primate … Continue reading

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Nomen Omen? Apparently Not

Last week I drove down I-97 from Baltimore to Annapolis and found that part of it is named “Senator John A. Cade Memorial Highway” after a long-time state legislator. Having seen and enjoyed Henry VI, Part 2 at the Blackfriars … Continue reading

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A Clue Hidden in Plain Sight?

In all the discussion of the Stuxnet worm (here is one recent example) many have noted the bit of code ‘DEADF007’, though they can’t agree whether it means “Dead Fool” or “Dead F***in [Secret Agent] 007” or something else to … Continue reading

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Don’t Do It, Canadians!

Colby Cosh reports on efforts to rename British Columbia, and adds: “The good news, for those who dread the idea, is that the proposed alternatives so far are almost all unspeakably awful.” One of the names proposed in the linked … Continue reading

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Quotation of the Day

Tim was so learned, that he could name a Horse in nine Languages; So ignorant, that he bought a Cow to ride on. (Poor Richard’s Almanack, 1750)

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