Mencken Gets into his Usual Hot Water with the Polity:

‘On this day in 1917, H. L. Mencken’s “A Neglected Anniversary,” his hoax article on the American invention of the bathtub, was published in the New York Evening Mail. Mencken’s lifelong campaign to deride and derail Main Street America — the “booboisie” — had a number of easy victories, but this joke succeeded beyond his wildest dreams. In the omniscient tone of newspaper editorials, Mencken lamented and reprimanded that such an august cultural moment as the seventy-fifth anniversary of the bathtub should arrive and “Not a plumber fired a salute or hung out a flag. Not a governor proclaimed a day of prayer. Not a newspaper called attention to the day.” This was worse than unhygienic; it was unpatriotic.’ Today in Literature

Although Mencken has generally been dismissed because of his racism and anti-Semitism, you can’t fault this curmudgeon’s generic misanthropy. While we’re on the topic, in honor of Mencken, here’s how you say “curmudgeon” in some other languages:

  • Nederlands (Dutch):

    chagrijn, vrek

  • Français (French):

    grincheux, râleur

  • Deutsch (German):


  • Ελληνική (Greek):

    τζαναμπέτης, στραβόξυλο

  • Italiano (Italian):


  • Português (Portuguese):

    avarento (m), rabugento (m)

  • Русский (Russian):


  • Español (Spanish):

    gruñón, malhumorado

  • Svenska (Swedish):

    gnidare, bitvarg
  • 中国话 (Simplified Chinese):

    存心不良的人, 难以取悦的人

  • 中國話 (Traditional Chinese):

    存心不良的人, 難以取悅的人

  • 日本語 (Japanese):


  •   العربيه (Arabic):

    ‏(الاسم) عجوز ذو طبع حاد‏

  •   עברית‬ (Hebrew):

    ‮רע, קמצן‬
  • Uncategorized

    Prestigious Colleges Ignore the Inadequate Intellectual Achievement of Black Students

    “(C)olleges… seem to reproduce the inequalities of American society in ways that they can’t avoid, despite their best intentions. Perhaps it’s time to stop pretending otherwise and deceiving minority applicants into thinking that they will achieve the same academic and social success as their white counterparts — or even be held to similar standards.” Chronicle of Higher Education [via Arts & Letters Daily]


    New Software Products:

    This site “list(s) the latest new software products in over 160 categories. If you have a Software Product released within the last 6 months please feel free to submit it for inclusion in our directory.” Currently there are more categories than links, but it might catch on. Since endusers are usually pretty specific in what kind of software they’re searching for at a given moment, the pigeonholing seems appropriate.


    It was easy.

    At a reader’s request, I went back to Blogger’s configuration and reset my XML feed to provide full content rather than headlines only. I can’t figure out why I hadn’t had it set up that way from the beginning. If you find it elegant or efficient to read your content via XML, here’s the Follow Me Here RSS feed.

    I’m very happy with Amphetadesk under Windows as an XML reader, BTW. If you use AmphetaDesk, you can simply click here to subscribe to FmH in XML. I’m also playing with Feedreader, also free, which has a slightly more cumbersome interface but, unlike Amphetadesk, doesn’t choke on an il-fomed feed, it just skips the individual item with the error. For example, there’s something wrong with the XML version of one of the FmH posts today.

    Although I’ve explored this before in some detail, here’s a Guardian article on RSS newsreaders that introduces the scene.

    BTW, if you go to any FmH archive pages, you’ll find that some of the image links are broken. That’s because I just finished converting all my .GIFs to .PNGs, both because they load abit faster and because they avoid the contention about whether the .GIF format is proprietary. The archive pages still link to the now nonexistent .GIF images. Forgive me for not correcting this on each and every page. [If I were to wipe out all my archive files and then told Blogger to rearchive, would it use the new version of the template, I wonder?] Addendum: Yes; republished and fixed now.


    Spiritual Connection on the Internet:

    “Requesting prayers and joining virtual prayer circles has become commonplace on the Internet, as worshipers can e-mail an order of nuns and request a prayer or enter a chat room and ask whoever reads their message to pray on their behalf. But e-mailing a prayer for the intercession of a saint is new.” NY Times This somehow reminds me of my bemusement to find enormous water- and wind-driven prayer wheels everywhere in my wandering among the Buddhist monasteries of Nepal in years past. It is easy to understand the handheld versions which send out a prayer every time one is mindful to twirl them (I have one at home which, indeed, charms my children…). Mechanical means of spinning the prayer wheels which remove the need for human intercession, on the other hand, seemed somehow to miss the point.