Tuesday, 28 May 2013

in flagrante delicto

I've always wanted to write in flagrante delicto, because it sounds so deliciously bad. And this very day my dog, Penny, gave me the chance to legitimately use the phrase. (She was only eating stinky compost in the garden - not the other activity we think of when we use this phrase.)

It means literally, in Latin, while the crime was blazing, and Merriam Webster gives the first known use as 1772. I wonder what someone did in that year to cause the creation of this great expression. Maybe went around setting haystacks on fire?

The Macquarie defines this meaning as the transgression blazing.

I guess the nearest English expression would be red handed. But I couldn't use that for my dog, so the nearest canine equivalent might be black-mouthed.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

why is this plant called kangaroo apple?

I posted a photo of what I call a kangaroo apple, on my other blog.

Mary added a comment questioning the origin of the name.

Bushranger says the name might be used because the leaves resemble the footprint of a kangaroo. But in my photo the leaves don't look like that.

However, recently I saw a small seedling at Marysville, and the little plantlet did have leaves that look like pawprints.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

concision in fiction

An article on AVClub in January introduced me to a new word - concision. In defence of short story writing as a stand-alone career (asserting the right of authors to not write novels), Kevin McFarland said: 'There is nothing wrong with concision in fiction.'

When I read this word, I knew it meant the writing was concise, but I had thought the noun for this concept was  conciseness

The Australian Macquarie Dictionary defines conciseness as 'the quality of being concise' and concision as  'concise quality; brevity; terseness'. So I guess I can add this new word to my vocabulary as a synonym for the word I already knew. 

WordReference Forums, which appears to be north-American based, has a discussion of these two words, and the consensus seems to be that conciseness is the more usual term, with concision seeming pretentious and somewhat old-fashioned. One interesting comment is that concision implies an action (like words such as decision, incision, division), while conciseness implies a quality.

Monday, 13 May 2013

purchasing single stories online

After I read Mike Carey's wonderful short story, Iphigenia in Aulis, in An Apple for the Creature, I searched around the internet, hoping I could download it as a single story and have it to re-read anytime I liked. But, alas, I wasn't successful in the search. It was one of those stories where you read the last word and sit in a moment of thoughtful silence, before flicking back through the pages to enjoy the highlights once more.

It was in the running for Best Short Story in The Edgars  this year, but didn't win. I will have to search out the winning story, because it must have been something special to beat Carey's tale.

However, I have come across another interesting site, called alfiedog, where you can buy single stories for a few cents. I think this is a site worth revisiting, because I certainly enjoyed the first story I purchased.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

a house full of ungrammatical products

I'm sure we will get good use out of our new flexible silicone draining net...

But it's a fact that my purchase was influenced by the great example of language change on the back.

This new product can join the fascinating 'Frying Dragon' lock that I also couldn't resist buying.

It's hard to read about the drainer with the packet sideways, so here it is the right way up.

Yes, there it is again - 'then' instead of 'than'. 

It's winning!