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  • 11/01/12--21:01: The Real Thing
  • On Amazon, reviewers of the Avery binder know it's a real product, sold by a real company, says Lucy Ferriss. Yet they have turned its Comments section into political critique. Are there more grass-roots satirists out there?

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  • 11/05/12--21:01: Something Incomprehensible
  • Returning to Penn State, says C.S. Giscombe, feels gray beyond the weather.

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  • 11/14/12--21:01: What a Game
  • Lucy Ferriss considers all the analogies she can find for this year's presidential race, which, come to think of it, is one too. Can you think of more?

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  • 11/20/12--21:01: Third-World Blues
  • It's not easy being a privileged citizen of a developed nation, says Ben Yagoda, and others.

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    For a course he teaches, "Race, [Creative] Writing, and Difference," C.S. Giscombe asks students to watch a film that purports not to be about race and to write about how race figures into it. Here are the questions he will give them for the movie "Flight."

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  • 12/03/12--21:01: Information, Please
  • Ben Yagoda asks readers to name their favorite reference books. Yes, books.

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  • 12/04/12--21:01: Slinging Southpaw Lingo
  • Lucy Ferriss, in five weeks of wrist-cast purgatory, discovers the language of handedness.

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  • 12/09/12--21:01: Poetry in the Marketplace
  • Poetry stands outside the normal commerce of our nation, says C.S. Giscombe. He and his students give poems away on trains, in bus stations, on the radio, in bags of bagels.

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  • 12/12/12--21:01: I Guess ‘It’s a Thing’
  • The phrase has been appropriated not just by teenagers but by reporters, bloggers, and mediocre Canadian comedians. Ben Yagoda unpacks it.

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  • 12/18/12--21:01: #infallible
  • Bill Germano muses on the pope who tweets.

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  • 01/27/13--21:01: Reading in the Waiting Room
  • A dictionary's not a static thing, C.S. Giscombe is reminded by a copy of "Jet" in his doctor's office.

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    Bill Germano, a recovering former publisher, has a soft spot for publishing companies trying to figure out what the next move should be.

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  • 02/14/13--21:01: The Mixed Blood Project
  • C.S. Giscombe bids farewell to Lingua Franca by suggesting a few good writers on poetry and race.

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  • 02/25/13--21:01: Biodestiny and All That Jazz
  • Lucy Ferriss suspects the politically correct term "menstruator" will be short-lived.

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    A recent economics paper links lifestyle facts to grammatical properties of languages. Geoff Pullum wonders whether the proposed explanatory intuition holds up.

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  • 02/28/13--21:01: Txtng Rules
  • Young speakers and writers have developed a detailed set of conventions for electronic communication. Anne Curzan says language teachers should give them more credit for that.

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    It's easy to find meaningless correlations in large bodies of data, Geoff Pullum says, making it less likely that an economist's correlation of future tense with profligacy means anything.

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  • 03/05/13--21:01: A Hell of a Note
  • Ben Yagoda traces a mid-20th-century phrase no one hears anymore.

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  • 03/06/13--21:01: Rockin’ Robin
  • A paper conjecturing the evolution of language from birdsong moves Lucy Ferriss to wax lyrical.

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    College basketball cliches, Ben Yagoda has noticed, are a dime a dozen.

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