Friday, August 20, 2004

Hardball Grammar

Wednesday night's Hardball with Chris Matthews included a vicious grammar exchange that people of my ilk like but that most professional rhetoricians eschew:

The first segment featured the late presidential hopeful Howard Dean and Republican Representative David Dreier talking with Chris about Bush's Germany and Korea troop withdrawals and Kerry's response thereto.

KERRY (via clip): "this hastily announced plan"

DEAN: "hastily conceived

DREIER: And you let him get by with his opening statement, which
was just absolutely outrageous.

MATTHEWS: OK, what did I let him get by

DREIER: You know what he said? He described what you just went
through as a “hastily drawn” plan.


DREIER: 2001
... Rumsfeld ... talked about Western Europe and Asia...the Korean peninsula.
And that was something that was in the works long, long ago. And you let Howard
Dean get off with his opening statement by describing this, and you know it
wasn‘t a hastily drawn-up plan.

MATTHEWS: It is—it is—and I do give you
leeway in that regard because it is a political season. I give people the right
to any adjective they want to anything they want to talk about.

Yes, well, but let me—that was an adverb, by the way, not an adjective. But

MATTHEWS: Hastily drawn?

DREIER: Hastily. Hastily.

MATTHEWS: It wasn‘t a gerund?

DREIER: Yes. Exactly.


Hastily announced, hastily conceived, and hastily drawn are verb phrases used to modify the noun "plan". A gerund is a verb converted to a noun (ending in -ing like singing, speeding, traveling etc.).

Dreier's grammatical criticism is technically correct (hastily is an adverb modifying the verbs announced, conceived, and drawn) but the phrases themselves modify a noun so pointing out that hastily is an adverb is being a bit pedantic.

But that sort of thing is my second favorite sin too (after Sloth) and I like to see it done on TV on a back-and-forth show like Hardball with a bullying host.

Matthews' "gerund" question is a common rhetorical gimmick in modern discourse where the speaker deliberately suggests a word that neither he nor the audience is supposed to know so that they can bond in their collective ignorance.

The Strange Case of the MV Queen Victoria

On 31 March 2003, Cunard (ie Carnival) announced the 2005 launch of the Queen Victoria.

Originally ordered as the fifth in a series of five 'Vista' class ships for
sister company Holland America, the contact was signed over to Cunard before the keel was laid and Holland America then ordered a further ship for delivery to
them in 2006. The lead ship in the series Zuiderdam entered service in December

Cunard held to a 2005 launch of the rebadged ship as late as 11 July 2003.

But then on 05 April 2004, following the success of the QM II, Cunard announced the 2007 launch of a 'new' Queen Victoria and transferred the earlier QV to P&O Cruises.

Apparently, Cunard wanted a ship more like the QM II which is not just a large modern cruise ship but reflects some of the Cunard Transatlantic Liner tradition.

Another Carnival innovation -- they are both a Corp and a Plc connected to each other in some creative fashion and listed on the NY and London stock exchanges:

"Carnival Corporation & plc is a global cruise company with a portfolio of 12 distinct brands comprised of the leading cruise operators in both North America, Europe and Austrailia. Carnival Cruise Lines, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, Seabourn Cruise Line, Windstar Cruises, AIDA Costa Cruises, Cunard Line, P&O Cruises, Ocean Village, Swan Hellenic, and P&O Cruises Australia are all included in this group.

Together, these brands operate 75 ships totaling more than 123,000 lower berths with nine new ships scheduled for delivery between April 2004 and mid-2006. It also operates the leading tour companies in Alaska and the Canadian Yukon, Holland America Tours and Princess Tours. Traded on both the New York and London Stock Exchanges, Carnival Corporation & plc is the only entity in the world to be included in both the S&P 500 and the FTSE 100 indices."

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Proof Anglicans have a Sense of Humor

I know Anglicans have a sense of humor because whenever I tell this joke, Anglicans laugh:

I was destined to be an Anglican.

How do I know? My family comes from a small village outside of Genoa and if you find it on a map, you discover that it's halfway between Rome and Geneva.

So naturally I had to become an Anglican.