The Rise and Fall of Good Enough English

As newspapers shed staff faster than autumn leaves, a goodly lot of copy-editors may have bit the dust.

Planning permission to build a home on the property had already been issued, but as it was waterfront, they knew there would be fierce competition from other perspective buyers.

And the New York Times, an organ we thought we could depend upon to keep up grammatically correct, has let us down. Of course, nothing warms the cockles of my heart more than finding others’ mistakes.

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Thinking, for a Change, about Latin America

The average Estadounidense doesn’t think about what lies south of its border very often, and when he does, he thinks of the border wars, Mexican immigrants, and some nasty business in Colombia, with a taco thrown in for good measure. Even the above-average, well=-educated Estadounidenses, the kind who’re respected by their peers and often even put into positions of great authority, don’t pay much attention to Latin America, tossing off gems like “Mexico doesn’t have a real middle class.” These folks desperately need to rethink Latin America, starting right here at the Brookings Institution’s report on Rethinking U.S.-Latin American Relations. Even if the report is plagued with platitudes, partnerships and dialogues.

Credit goes to Two Weeks Notice for alerting us to this report.



Buy Me an Island

No man is an island entire of itself; every man
is a piece of the continent, a part of the main;
if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe
is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as
well as any manner of thy friends or of thine
own were; any man’s death diminishes me,
because I am involved in mankind.
And therefore never send to know for whom
the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.


John Donne didn’t know about this island, situated just off the shores of Quintana Roo and now on sale for a cool $5M USD. It could be the perfect Christmas gift for your favorite blogger.


One Magazine to Die For

It’s no secret that I’ve never met a magazine I didn’t like. (How’s that for a triple negative?) From Prison Living to Tapestry (a magazine for cross-dressers and transsexuals), I’m fascinated by more than just the content. The paper quality, binding, blow-ins, inserts, advertising lineup, and even the masthead all pique my curiosity.

The perfumed strips and makeup samples, musical cards, tiny booklets, and little gifts (does anyone else remember when Smirnoff included a set of mittens with its ad?) only added to the rich magazine experience. And who could forget the issue of Vanity Fair that weighed as much as your average major metropolitan area telephone book? Online magazines are better than no magazines at all, but there’s a lamentable loss in tactile quality.

There are lots of magazines about getting married, giving birth, raising children, being a modern drunk, caring for gerbils, practicing law, cooking fine meals, loving Texas, living in Mexico, growing and dealing dope, getting 0ld, and being rich. There are trade magazines for every occupation under the sun from raising lab animals to formulating pet food and designing packaging materials, from operating a car wash to developing operating systems.

imgLogo But until now, at least as far as I know, there hasn’t been a magazine about checking out. And it’s about time. It’s something that exactly every person reading this blog – and every other blog under the sun—will do eventually. Obit, whose mission statement reads “What death can mean to the living and what living may have meant to the dead” may be the final word.


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What’s Good for General Motors is Good for America—and for Mexico

Last month, I bought a new car. Even though my beloved Eldorado had served me well, it was time. I flirted with the notion of buying a Hitler car, and I flirted with buying a Honda, but I came to my senses and bought a car made by General Motors. And you know something? I know I made the right decision.

images Brand loyalty has served me well for nearly half a century. If you want a computer, you buy a Dell. If you want a printer, there is no better brand than Hewlett-Packard. If you want good clothes, it’s Neiman Marcus. Well, Saks does run a close second. And if you want solid, reliable vehicle, there’s none better than a General Motors product. All decisions in life should be that easy.

There is no company around which has produced cars longer in Mexico and the U.S. than General Motors. That’s got to tell you something. The Big Three are what made both countries great.

Now I really don’t know enough to even have an opinion about whether a bailout or a bankruptcy is in General Motors’ best interest. But I do know that if every new car buyer in this hemisphere did the right thing and bought a General Motors product we’d all be better off.

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