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Harold Pinter, playwright and polemicist

Harold Pinter, who was awarded the Nobel prize for literature in 2005, died on 24th Dec. 2008.
I’ve read a couple of Harold Pinter obituaries in the meantime, but the one in the Economist seems to me to convey a good idea of what the writer was like: Harold Pinter, playwright and polemicist.

Because he could be [...]

Happy Christmas

(1) Recommended:
Happy Christmas by Geoffrey Pullum.

NB: It’s “Happy Christmas” – maybe “merry” is getting a little dated? ;)

(2) “Christmas under fire (1940)” – well worth watching because this is what many people in Britain still remember when they think of “the Germans”:

[Another valuable find at the Open Culture blog.]

Rebecca Carrington – Cellist, singer, impressionist and comedian

If you haven’t heard of Rebecca Carrington – Cellist, singer, impressionist and comedian – well, have a look:

Wishing You Halcyon Days

May you have as many halcyon days in this Christmas season as possible.
In case you’re not familiar with “Halcyon”, look it up at Michael Quinion’s fantastic newsletter site World Wide Words Newsletter: Saturday 20 December 2008 -> “Halcyon”.

The dark side of “It’s a Wonderful Life”

In today’s New York Times, Wendell Jamieson writes about the classic Christmas movie, James Stewart and Frank Capra’s “It’s a Wonderful Life”, and emphasizes how it’s not mainly a sugary-sweet feelgood movie, but

a terrifying, asphyxiating story about growing up and relinquishing your dreams, of seeing your father driven to the grave before his time, [...]

Linguistic taboos protecting corrupt officials

Sehr schöne Beobachtung wieder mal im Language Log (schon vor ein paar Tagen):
Linguistic taboos protecting corrupt officials

Americans don’t think well of people who talk like this when they have important roles in public life. That means that a small additional offense by such individuals may go unnoticed: their hypocrisy in being elected on fair words [...]

David Bowie and Bing Crosby Sing “The Little Drummer Boy”

Again, the Open Culture blog has something to make me watch and click and read: David Bowie and Bing Crosby Sing “The Little Drummer Boy”.
They link to the background story to that at the site of the Washington Post (20 Dec 2006) and include the embedded YouTube video which I’m also, gratefully, offering here – [...]

Stopping by town walls on a snowy morning1

Diese malerische Strecke ist Teil meines täglichen Schulwegs. Vergangene Woche habe ich kurz mein Fahrrad angehalten und dieses Foto gemacht. Die wunderbar verschneite Szenerie gibt mir – auch wenn man relativ schnell vorbeisaust – zusätzlich positive Stimmung für den Tag.
1Der Titel ist eine Anspielung auf eines der berühmtesten Gedichte von Robert Frost: “Stopping by Woods [...]

40 Inspirational Film Speeches in 2 Minutes

Are you feeling tired, exhausted, unable to cope with the demands of a harsh reality? Shrug it off, and get an energy boost through forty inspirational film speeches in two minutes ;)

via Open Culture – thank you!

MLA Formatting and Style Guide: MLA Update 2009

The OWL at Purdue tells us of interesting changes in the Modern Language Association’s principles for documentation: MLA Formatting and Style Guide: MLA Update 2009.

Among other things, titles of books are no longer underlined, but italicized. And:

No More URLs! While website entries will still include authors, article names, and website names, when available, MLA no [...]