May she rest in peace, but Aretha Franklin could probably unite the National Football League — and the nation — if she could appear to sing the National Anthem to kick off the NFL season:

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Grammar Source"Grammar Source" - 5 new articles

  1. Aretha Franklin:Antidote to Trump’s NFL Tirade
  2. Monkeys at Typewriters: How Many Does It Take?
  3. There’s No ‘Jerry’ in ‘Gerrymander’ (Try ‘Gary’ Instead)
  4. ‘The Shadow Knows’
  5. The Wisdom of Paris Hilton
  6. More Recent Articles

Aretha Franklin:Antidote to Trump’s NFL Tirade

May she rest in peace, but Aretha Franklin could probably unite the National Football League — and the nation — if she could appear to sing the National Anthem to kick off the NFL season:

 

Monkeys at Typewriters: How Many Does It Take?

When I was in high school, computers didn’t exist, not the home version anyway. Typewriters abounded, however, and typing classes were pretty much required as you went through school.

 
Image by Oliver Hammond

In those low tech days,  a famous saying, with what seemed like endless variations, went something like this: “If you put a million monkeys in a room with a million typewriters, they’d eventually write the great books of the western world.”

There were/still are versions with 100 or 1,000 monkeys toiling away to recreate Shakespeare, or at least Hamlet.

Of course, all such outcomes are literally impossible. Or, as Glen Tickle calculated in 2014:

“The chances of monkeys typing Hamlet are one in infinity. Unless someone wants to multiply out 36169,541, that’s good enough for us.”

In the process of researching this saying (how many monkeys would it take if you gave them PCs?), I did discover a useful resource, wordcounter.net. Not only will the site tell you how many words are in your document, it will also check your grammar for you. Give it a try.

    

There’s No ‘Jerry’ in ‘Gerrymander’ (Try ‘Gary’ Instead)

The term gerrymander, commonly used as in “gerrymandering a Congressional or other electoral unit to the benefit of one political party or the other,” should not be pronounced with a soft “g “resembling a “j.”

 
Elbridge Jerrry, pronounced with a hard ‘g’

So say the good folks of Marblehead, Mass., once home to Elbridge Gerry (hard “g”), a governor of the fine state and also a U.S. vice president, after whom the term gerrymander was coined.

The Selectmen of Marblehead (kind of like supervisors and city councilpersons, one would assume) even fired off a letter to Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts to inquire of how he pronounced the word.

Jeffrey P. Minear, counselor to the chief justice, wrote back:

“Vice President Gerry’s grandson, Elbridge Thomas ‘Commodore’ Gerry, was a bibliophile, and the gift of his 30,000-volume collection to the Supreme Court of the United States became the foundation of our Library. In the words of the Court’s former Librarian, ‘Elbridge T. Gerry is to the Supreme Court Library what Thomas Jefferson is to the Library of Congress’.”

He added that pronouncing jerrymandering with a “g” sound is correct, even though Chief Justice Roberts used the “j” pronunciation during recorded oral arguments from a redistricting case in October.

All of which I find interesting since, even though my first name starts with a hard “g,” umpteen zillion people still call me Jerry when trying to read my name from print, Worse, all my life I’ve been McCarthy, not McCarty, due to the ignorance, or the inability to read simple English sounds, of the American public.

    

‘The Shadow Knows’

Precisely, The Shadow knows “What evil lurks in the hearts of men.”

I can’t believe this was a radio show. I would’ve sworn “The Shadow” was a television vehicle when I was growing up back in The American Pleistocene (what a book title!).

Alas, it was a radio show, dating me beyond what I even remember.

As for The Shadow, he was played by Orson Welles and others, but here goes — and I beg you to prove that evil doesn’t lurk within all of us, maybe nascent but there nonetheless:

 

    

The Wisdom of Paris Hilton

Paris Hilton, whatever she does these days to earn a living is beyond me, demanded on Twitter, “Tell me something I don’t know.” I found three of the answers to be relevant to my pursuit here:

 

    

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