Sunday, February 22, 2004

Run-on blog.

What follows is probably the longest single sentence I've ever written, composed three years ago now. It brings to mind certain junior high school and high school English teachers, who would have surely marked it up in red and scorn for its "run-on" nature (but not Mrs. Tibbets, may she rest in peace -- she would have gotten a kick out of it). As for the others, I fart in their general direction. The sentence is perfectly grammatical, and has a good internal rhythm. I've been a professional editor for years now, and have solid opinions in these matters.

Not that they were bad teachers (but come to think of it, my seventh grade English teacher was a bad teacher). But I can't think of much useful that they imparted, in the sense of learning to manipulate the English language. I got better advice on the matter from a couple of history and social studies teachers, and my Latin teacher. Without further ado:

March 4, 2001.

Since February 20, I've put another issue of the magazine to bed, sat through a windstorm watching my front yard pine tree sway just a little too freely (it still stands, however), played with Lilly in the basement many times (catch, pushing her in a kiddie car, etc.), been to a couple of relatively uninteresting formal dinners, seen O Brother Where Art Thou? at the cinema, read a book on the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, seen George Bush the elder speak about globalism and free trade, spilled hot chocolate on my pants at work, taken pictures of a mall in the northwest suburbs while looking out for unfriendly mall security, heard the song "Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner" for the first time in many years, read a number of magazine articles including one on Edgar Rice Burroughs and another on Augustus Saint-Gaudens, ridden the Burlington Northern commuter train a good many times, noted the position of Orion in the clear winter suburban skies -- he's shifting westward -- washed dishes, thrown out a good many pounds of trash (including debris from the fall reflooring of our kitchen and bathroom, long buried by snow), written a good number of checks, fielded too many phone calls, apologized to a man whose name we misspelled in print, taught Lilly a few new words, let Lilly brush my hair, gotten my hair cut by a first-generation Italian barber, eaten barbecue at Uncle Bud's, listened to A Prairie Home Companion, discovered a running electronic conversation between people named Stribling at a genealogical Web site, walked several miles, planned part of our trip in May to Nevada and California, helped Yuriko e-mail messages to her friends in Japan, vacuumed the living room, talked with Yuriko over a number of dinners and breakfasts, made pancakes twice, watched Law & Order twice, read many newspaper articles including one about Mies Van Der Rohe’s "God Box" on the ITT campus, eaten sushi, dreaded computing my federal taxes but otherwise did nothing about them, scanned more photos using my scanner, composed a handful of postcards and e-mails but no real letters, "watched" entirely too much of the Japanese cartoon Draemon, attended a photo shoot that I organized, interviewed people over the phone (mostly about the industrial real estate market in greater Chicago), dribbled a blue ball on the basement floor, missed Ash Wednesday services, read some books to Lilly but made up most of the text myself, pored over my road atlas pondering remote spots, spent some time with the World Almanac on such subjects as the presidents and eclipses in 2001, talked with my associate editor about work and other matters, felt the cold wind on my face one day and a hint of warm sun on another, and have slept about a third of the time, more on weekends, and had some lovely dreams that evaporated once I returned to the waking world.


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