Friday, February 26, 2016


Some thoughts:

As I was getting dressed this morning, I noticed again that my socks are branded. That is, they display the name of the company than makes them. Normally, I do not approve of such things; I resent the implication that I am paying to be a company's advertisement. My socks stay largely hidden, though, so it is not so much of a problem. Too, the company name is on the sole of the sock, ideally at the ball of the foot. Whether I am to read this as me grinding the company underfoot or as me relying on its uplift and support as I go about my day is not clear to me. Admittedly, much is unclear to me.

My tutee asked a few lessons ago to be given reading exercises. The one we began yesterday is taken from Geoff Nunberg's "Changes to French Spelling Make Us Wonder: Why Is English So Weird?" (Yes, the capitalization is correct; the "so" functions adverbially.) In the piece, Nunberg describes arguments surrounding the to-take-effect-soon changes to French orthography as "entertainingly Gallic," and the tutee asked me what "Gallic" is. I replied as honestly as I can. It is a callback to Latin, seen most prominently in C├Žsar's De Bello Gallico and its opening statement that "Gallia est omnis divisa in partes tres." That is, the area now called France was earlier called Gaul, its people the Gauls, which render in Latin as Gallia and Galli. Interestingly, Cassell's Latin Dictionary also notes that gallus, plural galli, also means "cock" in the sense of the rooster--a connection acknowledged in the figure of the French le coq gaulois, so that people seem in on the joke. And, then as now and there as here, "cock" also reads as a euphemistic reference to male genitals. (Admittedly, quite a bit can be read thus.) In essence, Nunberg can be read as calling the French dicks--something in which he is far from alone. The tutee laughed about it.

I completed a slate of contract work yesterday. In total, I spent less than a week of working time on the job; it was not forty hours spread over several weeks. The authorized payout is not insignificant, particularly given my personal finances. I would be happy to continue to do such work in the future; I would do so consistently if the work were available consistently. It is not, certainly not so much as my novel write-ups (of which I still have one to complete), so I still need to keep a day job. (Benefits are also a concern.) Still, it is a nice addition to the support of Sherwood Cottage, and it is to support the household that my work continues.

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