This Sentence Has Five Words (Practical Advice on Better Writing)

culture, pedgogy, teaching, writing

A good and very practical demonstration on what the ear wants from the late Gary Provost:

“This sentence has five words. Here are five more words. Five-word sentences are fine. But several together become monotonous. Listen to what is happening. The writing is getting boring. The sound of it drones. It’s like a stuck record. The ear demands some variety. Now listen. I vary the sentence length, and I create music. Music. The writing sings. It has a pleasant rhythm, a lilt, a harmony. I use short sentences. And I use sentences of medium length. And sometimes when I am certain the reader is rested, I will engage him with a sentence of considerable length, a sentence that burns with energy and builds with all the impetus of a crescendo, the roll of the drums, the crash of the cymbals–sounds that say listen to this, it is important.

So write with a combination of short, medium, and long sentences. Create a sound that pleases the reader’s ear. Don’t just write words. Write music.”

Find Your Somate, Homer

culture, science fiction, TV

Because of changes to the way Google encrypts search terms, blog-tenders like me see fewer and fewer of the actual phrases bringing readers to us in our analytics.  Sometimes, though, the curtain gets pulled back, and great search terms come through.  Today, I was treated to this:

Find your somate, Homer.

This was either a typo (“find your soulmate, Homer” are the immortal words of Johnny Cash, in his guise as Space Coyote, to Homer Simpson) or an earnest call for Homer Simpson to manifest in the physical world.

4 Extinct Prehistoric North American Species Encountered by the Continent’s Ancient Human Settlers

culture, history, science

1. American cheetah:  North America used to have cheetahs, or more accurately, cheetah-like big cats with puma faces. Like the other species on this list, it survived in North America down to the time of human migration to the continent.



2. Speaking of which, it blows my mind to think of Paleoindian populations living alongside the mighty Glyptodon, but that’s apparently exactly what they did, at least for a while.  These armored tanks, relatives of armadillos, anteaters, and sloths, stood close to 5 feet high and 11 feet long.  They are thought to have been eradicated by humanity’s penchant for over-hunting. According to the never-wrong editors of Wikipedia, ancient peoples used Glyptodon shells for shelter.

3. In the 1840s, the U.S. Army thought camels would make good pack animals because deserts.  It didn’t work out because horses are apparently afraid of camels.  That’s not to say the idea was totally without historic or scientific basis.  The Camelops survived in North America until 10000 years ago.

4. Mastodon is often wrongly thought of as a synonym for mammoth, but it turns out the North American mastodon, though closely resembling both mammoths and elephants, is closely related to neither.

Can you imagine a world in which mastodons and glyptodons roamed the American plains down to recent history?  It’s a shame that didn’t happen.  So too the extinction of many other species since 1500.  Just the thought of human beings interacting with these creatures in the first place is outstanding.  I wish they would have left some.

The Top 100 Comics of 2014

business, culture, writing

And this is why DC is building up to the Convergence event. And also because 90s Aquaman = the best Aquaman. Actually, the best Aquaman is from TV’s Batman: The Brave and the Bold, but you get the point.

Graphic Policy

Previews has compiled a list of the top 100 comics sold to direct markets. The list, which you can read below, is dominated by Marvel, who have 9 of the top 10 spots. The Walking Dead #132 comes in at an impressive second, but DC Comics doesn’t see a book make the list until slot 14 with Batman #32.

Dark Horse‘s Serenity: Leaves on the Wind #1 was that publisher’s best-selling comic book at #137. Transformers Vs. G.I. Joe#1 from IDW Publishing was the publisher’s top book in 2014 at #965.

2 WALKING DEAD #132 (MR) $2.99 AUG148104-M IMA
3 ROCKET RACCOON #1 $3.99 MAY140803-M MAR
6 THOR #1 $3.99 AUG140785-M

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