carbon neutral since 1975

Month: April 2005

Please Use the E-Mail Properly

Lately, my cause has been to eliminate improper usage of “e-mail”: Whereas “e-mail” is short for “electronic mail” and inasmuch as the electronic mail system is modeled after a real life postal system, electronic postal terms should follow those of the real-life postal system. In fact, this is the case. In the software world, we have such things as post offices, mail transit authorities, and mailboxes.

Hence, when people (including me) use the word “e-mail” to refer to a message or an address, it just doesn’t sound right. To illustrate, if you received three birthday cards in the post, you wouldn’t say to your friend, “I got three mails for my birthday.” Nor would you say to him, “What’s your mail so I can send you a thank you mail?” But we do say those things with e-mail.

So I’ve already begun using the terms “e-letter” (electronic letter) and “e-mail address” (electronic mail address), supposing that they are more acceptable. Some have balked at these terms but I insist, nay demand that we change our usage.

Now I have a new proposal which I’d like some feedback on. “Epistle” is a rarely used term for letter. I propose to use this word to describe electronic letters as well. So we end up with e-epistles. I’m not sure of it yet, what do you think?


Yesterday, I got to use word “fortnight” in a sentence. At the local coffee shop, there is a latte of the week. Sometimes I order it. Yesterday, I noticed that the latte of this week was the latte of last week. So I pointed out that this in fact was not the latte of the week, it was the latte of the fortnight.

Curses and Editors

Regarding my comments from 11/19/2004 (i.e. whether or not to spell out d— and H— when referencing their improper usages): While reading Washington Irving’s The Devil and Tom Walker I noticed that Irving (or perhaps his editors) wrote “d—-d” when the Devil used the word as a “flippant curse” but did not dash it out when the Devil used it as an actual curse. Just interesting, no more, no less.

Ahi Tuna – Grilled

I stopped at my local grocer for some meat to grill yesterday. On an impulse, I snagged some ahi tuna. I sprayed a light coating of olive oil on each side of the steak, lightly seasoned it with salt and pepper, and grilled it to rare perfection. Topped with homemade salsa, tuna never tasted better.

In unrelated news, I think I’ll stop on the way home today and hit a bucket of balls.

Progress Means Progress

Things that make you go “hmmmm”. In a recent column Michael Novak described some positive environmental changes that have taken place during the last century. He pointed out that we generally hear that our environment is being increasingly soiled by industry and progress, then laid out some interesting facts pointed out that industry and progress can help us care for Creation, clean it up, make it better. Well, I agree and it’s worth a read.

Aught and Execrated

new words to bring back: aught and execrated. Check ’em out

Also noticed (yet another Peter Pan reference): Is it humourous when Captain Hook utters the generic “Curses!”? It’s seemingly polite profanity. It covers all swearing bases. It the meta-curse.

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