Posts Tagged ‘Schott’s Vocab’


For the love of the words?

November 16, 2009

Sometimes you look at something and the first thing to strike you simply isn’t the obvious. Or maybe it is. To wit. Or witless. Folks who actually enjoy words might be aware of Ben Schott, over at The New York Times with the Schott’s Vocab blog.

Anyway, Schott’s Almanac 2010 is apparently available now. Call it a plug if you want, but here is what struck me:

Described by The Sunday Times as “a social barometer of genuine historical value,” “Schott’s Almanac” explores high art and pop culture, geopolitics and gossip, scientific discovery and sporting achievement. Above all, Schott’s is an almanac written to be read.

(Sadly, there is no U.S. version of the almanac this year ….

First thing to mind is that the market just doesn’t warrant an American printing of SA 2010. Really, how many copies could a publisher hope to sell?

Second thing to mind: Isn’t that kind of sad?



They won’t even become clichés

July 22, 2009

New York Times blogger Ben Schott recently asked readers to send in “new similes fit for the times in which we live”. He got over 200 suggestions.

On Monday he announced the winners, such as they are. Writers beware; not only has someone beat you to it, but it probably went stale as soon as they did.

As tight-lipped as a Supreme Court nominee.
As copious as a Bailout dollar.
As positive as an M.L.B. star player’s doping test.
Sly like a Fox news broadcast.
As broke as California.
As worthless as a Madoff letterhead.
As visible as Sanford on the Appalachian Trail.
As mercurial as a moose-shooting Alaska former-you-know-what.
Drinks like an S.U.V.
Like being between a Barack and a hard place.
As fleeting as a Tweet.

It kind of reminds me of an award given out … is it yearly? … for the worst opening line in a novel. I like the Fox News one, though, if only because I can’t figure out what it’s supposed to mean.

Still, it’s a fun list … I think. (Are all similes so agonizing? Or just the ones we put thought into?)