Apex point - © Robert Sommers 2024

Saturday, September 17, 2022

Word Wise

Today is my shop's 25th anniversary. Proud to have survived and even flourished at times, has been a good run although the trip was not without its low points. 

Lois and Bob brought me a lovely Boston cream celebration cake this morning. We shared it over at Jamie and Kathies' shop.

You know the blog I sent out the other day announcing the shop birthday?

Thanks to all of my friends and clients who have made my dream a reality and have been there for Leslie and I during the ride.


Robert Sommers

Well I got this rather snarky letter in response from an old friend who used to be an english teacher:

Try Leslie and Me,  grammar is your friend...

Thought it was a little bitchy but hey, maybe she was having a bad day. Truth is, it sounded okay to me the way I wrote it. But obviously it was offensive to some. I started looking at the rules for this sort of thing; is it serving as a nominative pronoun or "subject" or a predicate nominative or "object?"

She is right I guess, which I hate. Hope not too many of you were offended. Maybe just enough...


I was listening to a political commentary the other day and a speaker commended his cohort for slipping the word orthogonal into the conversation. I think it is getting a lot of play all of a sudden. Like redound or granular did last year.

But I also realized that I had no idea what it meant. I thought I did but I was reaching. You see I was an architecture/art major and we did orthogonal projections in technical drawing, showing objects in a variety of two and three dimensional views.

Here's the classic definition: Noun. The two-dimensional graphic representation of an object formed by the perpendicular intersections of lines drawn from points on the object to a plane of projection. Also called orthographic projection.

But this sort of orthogonal is all geometry, with little tangency to political commentary.

I would look it up.

Still not a lot of help, a statistics definition of independence.

There has to be more for this word du jour.

Ahhh, here it is - having no bearing on the matter at hand; independent of or irrelevant to another thing or each other:

It’s an interesting question, but orthogonal to our exploration of the right to privacy.
Another adjective for a non sequitur. At right angles to the matter in question. Couldn't they have just said so?

The other word that has been floating around my quiver of late is a german word, zugzwang. I study a lot of chess and the word frequently comes up. It describes a point in chess or any other game where making any move will only worsen your situation. 

The word comes from German Zug 'move' + Zwang 'compulsion', so that Zugzwang means 'being forced to make a move'. Originally the term was used interchangeably with the term zugpflicht 'obligation to make a move' as a general game rule.

Here is an interesting article on the subject from Quanta Magazine, The Secrets of Zugzwang in Chess, Math and Pizzas.

I believe that there is an i ching corollary for just such a state, where everything you might attempt to do will only ultimately turn to shit. 

I believe the Chinese word for the hexagram translates to hide under the bed and wait for it all to blow over. And who hasn't been there?

1 comment:

Ken Seals said...

Leslie and me is correct :-)