Two Greats Talking: Jacques Pépin and Anthony Bourdain

Two Greats Talking will be a series on two or more extremely talented and successful people talking.  As much as I love to watch TED or Google Talks, the interplay that two people on stage creates makes for more stretching at the seams of sometimes hackneyed narratives.

Notice the Christmas morning giddiness of Bourdain.  Bourdain regularly writes and talks about how he was never a great chef, but that his writing has gifted him with the opportunity to meet with great chefs.

2LD: Anachronism (Prochronism vs. Postchronism) and Anacoluthon

An anachronism is something in a story that does not fit the story’s time period.  Etymologically, it means against time. gives three Shakespearean anachronisms: Julius Caesar referencing a clock (clocks were not invented until later in history), Hamlet claiming an alma mater that was not yet established, and Macbeth using the word “dollar” before it became a monetary unit.

civil war reenactor cell phone(How would the Civil War have been different if everyone had cell phones?) listicled anachronisms in the greatest story ever toldaka TV show Mad Men.  Most, if not all, of these anachronisms are mistakes.  All of these anachronisms are of the “This wasn’t around until later in the future” variety.  This is known as a prochronism (pro = before, chronism = time).  These anachronisms are before their time, therefore they are prochronisms.

Anachronisms after their time, such as a bow and arrow being used in a modern battlefield, are postchronisms.

Traditional_Amish_buggy(The Amish are tangible postchronisms)

So, postchronisms are for the Amish and prochronisms are for Marine Expeditionary Units traveling back to Ancient Rome.  Both are anachronisms.

P.S.: check out Northeastern University Ben Schmidt’s website, where he seeks linguistic anachronisms in popular TV shows.
An anacoluthon is a “syntactical inconsistency or incoherence within a sentence; especially :  a shift in an unfinished sentence from one syntactic construction to another (as in you really ought—well, do it your own way)”.

An anacoluthon is the Greek equivalent to the Latin’s non sequitur (the plurals: anacolutha and non sequuntur).

I’d like to give an example before I…oh, I’ll just write an example now.

Bull Mountain – Book Review

Brian Panowich’s first novel Bull Mountain tells the story of a family of outlaws, their progeny, and their end.  Chronologically, it starts with Cooper and Riley Burroughs in 1949, and then there is Cooper’s son Gareth, and Gareth’s three sons Buckley, Halford, and Clayton.  All live/d on or near the Bull Mountain and all are criminals besides Clayton, the town sheriff in 2015.  However, the story is not told chronologically: Panowich expertly weaves the story so that all of the family’s 60 years worth of climaxes create a rising action only to be eclipsed by the most recent denouement.

The character Panowich gives the most vibrance is Clayton.  He is the character in a struggle of black and white morality, the character most lifelike in his greyness.  Think of Jason Bourne in the books or the movies.

How Panowich hides and unveils surprises is satisfying, however what is hidden tends to be not as exciting.  His characters rarely are given the time for anagnorisis; they, as the reader, are simply hurtled toward the turn of the page and the end of the book.

Chapter by chapter, this generational geographic reminds the reader of other similarly focused writers (James Michener, Wilbur Smith), but word by word, Panowich’s use of vernacular aims to do for twentieth-century Georgia what Mark Twain did for nineteenth-century Missouri.  Published in 2015, it’s a pleasure to read and a shame to put down.


Would recommend to a friend.

Probably won’t be rereading.

Will talk about for about a week.

Will think about for a month.

Will remember for at least a year.

ATOV: Sine qua non

I don’t know if this phrase is useful for most people to use, but it is certainly useful to know.  Let us add it to our vocabulary.

Sine qua non translates to “without which (there is) nothing.  It can be translated to “but for”, but it makes more sense in that longer English translation.  Another useful definition is: “an indispensable element”.  It is used as a noun, typically used as a determinate phrase.


The sine qua non of a business is customers.

“Sugar is a sine qua non to make a cake.”

Interestingly, a winery/mail-order-wine business has taken the name Sine Qua Non.  The wine is only sold to the mail-order list, and apparently there is a list to get on the list.

Laundry Semantics

The disparity between the number of people who know what these signs mean and the number of people who don’t know the signs, but have seen them all their life, that disparity is as wide as a door is open:


Treasures from My Bookmarks: Colors

Let’s take a break from literary devicing.  Here’s something fascinating:

harry potter frame by framePerhaps you’ve seen it before.  It is every frame of each of the Harry Potter movies condensed (I think) into a pixel wide bar.  Notice how you can see the rise and fall of conflict based on the lightness and darkness of the colors.  The books and movies are described as “darker” the further into the series: looking at this image, they literally are darker.  The change from reddish hues to green ones is also interesting.  I’m not sure what the colorful blue purple orange is just to the right of the center.

This being the internet, there’s more:

Rather than getting every frame, this graphic shows the colors of their clothes.  Nonetheless, a similar story is told, with a different color palette.  What is that white area in the right of center for Hank?

Penultimately, there’s this.  Wired analyzed ten famous books for the colors they mention and then made it into individual graphics.  Notice how Clockwork Orange and 1984 have almost the opposite order of colors as The Road.

Lastly, there’s this RadioLab podcast.  Unbelievably interesting.  From the mantis shrimp’s absurd color perception, to the fact that the color blue never is mentioned in the Bible or the Illiad, or the possibility that the sky is actually not blue.  Too interesting.

I’ll add more color stuff like this as I find more.