Wednesday, March 12, 2014

if it's good enough for Krugman ...

"Regular readers have noticed a certain ... thinness ... of blog posting this week." So writes New York Times economist Paul Krugman this morning. "Too many commitments came due at the same time, and I'm swamped."

Me too, Paul. Of course, my swamp does not compare in depth and breadth to his. He has international speaking gigs, classes to teach, and promises to take part in nationally significant panel discussions. I have overdue financial data entry to do at church, "new kid" events here at Terwilliger Plaza, and a felt need to have some staring-into-space time, which in future will masquerade as bird-watching.

And sometimes, one finds one just has nothing to say. I don't know what people who get paid to blog do about that. I've found it's most convenient at such times to just not say anything. (My apologies to those of you who are sensitive to split infinitives. Sometimes the flow of the prose demands an artful awkwardness. Hmmm. Maybe "... just not to say anything" would work, but I really want the "not" closer to the "say" than the proper construction will allow. Feel free to disagree.)


  1. Like the sound of your swamp.

  2. You're under no obligation to your readers! We're not paying subscribers, after all. You're doing everyone a favor by taking your time to post on your blog. That's the way I look at it, anyway.

    It does sound as if Terwiliger Plaza is trying very hard to welcome you. Here there's nothing at all, and I've been tempted to suggest that people at least should have a sign on their doors announcing themselves, as they seem to do where you are. But I suspect that even that would be opposed.

    As for the split infinitive:

    "The split infinitive is another trick of rhetoric in which the ear must be quicker than the handbook. Some infinitives seem to improve on being split, just as a stick of round stovewood does. 'I cannot bring myself to really like the fellow.' The sentence is relaxed, the meaning is clear, the violation is harmless and scarcely perceptible. Put the other way, the sentence becomes stiff, needlessly formal. A mater of ear."
    (William Strunk, Jr. and E.B. White, The Elements of Style, 3rd ed. Macmillan, 1979)