Columns » Words

Words June 16

by and

“You’ll be happy to learn that after four years at Rebsamen Golf Course, Fern the border collie is still on the job, and still putting the fear of God (or, His palindrome) into the goose menace.” — From the “Ask the Times” column June 2. Barbara Peters provides a much-needed correction: “You indicate that ‘God’ and ‘dog’ are palindromes. However, a palindrome is a word or phrase that reads the same backward and forward. Good examples are ‘level,’ ‘Madam, I’m Adam’ and the infamous ‘Able was I ere I saw Elba.’ “ ‘Dog’ is simply ‘God’ spelled backward. Only a cat would presume to the intimate relation with the Almighty that a true palindrome might imply. The dog, one of God’s greatest gifts, presumes that his owner is a deity to whom he then accords the Godlike trait of uncondi-tional love.” All this suggests an answer to the question “Do geese see God?” The answer is no. They see Fern. Jonathan Portis informs us of a neologism spotted in the British press. “Billgrims: Tourists who have made the trek to Bill Clinton’s presidential library in Little Rock, Arkansas.” A contributor to the Times’ blog wrote, “The blog craze will be over by the time the Democrat wakes up. Even if they do start one, it will be a kludge like their current website, which is almost impossible to navigate.” What? I’m still adjusting to blog and now they’re throwing kludge at me. But I found a definition online at Webopedia, which calls itself “The #1 online encyclopedia dedicated to computer technology”: “kludge — Pronounced klooj. A derogatory term that refers to a poor design. Like hacks, kludges use nonstandard techniques. But whereas a hack can connote a clever solution to a problem, a kludge always implies that the solution is inelegant.” He’s too right: Michael Morrissey writes: “An advertisement in the June 2 issue of the Arkansas Times, on page 6, reads, ‘Not to far to the left. Not to far to the right.’ Shouldn’t that be, ‘Not too far to the left. Not too far to the right.’ ?”

Add a comment