February 18, 2014
A new book spine poem (aka bookmash):
Skating to Antarctica,
Desolation island –
A place apart where
The wasteland ends;
Soul on ice into
The silent land
The other side of you.
I planned to include The White South but didn’t find a satisfying spot for it. Thanks to the authors: Jenny Diski, Patrick O’Brian, Dervla Murphy, Theodore Roszak, Eldridge Cleaver, Paul Broks, and Salley Vickers; and to Nina Katchadourian for the idea.
Many more in the bookmash archive: have a browse, or make your own.
August 27, 2013
I’ll assume readers know that the ‘Eskimos have X words for snow’ idea is essentially a myth and a hackneyed journalistic trope. So I won’t elaborate on it here, except to note that the claim is so notorious in linguistic circles it gave rise to snowclone, a handy term for this kind of clichéd phrasal template.
It turns out, though, that there are quite a few words for snow (and, OK, ice) in Scotland.* Ian Preston sent me a recent photo he took of an art installation in the lobby of the Cairngorm Funicular Railway, republished here with his permission:
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January 22, 2010
We had an unusually cold winter in the west of Ireland. Layers were worn, walks were taken, fires were lit.
It felt like this, and it looked like this:
Ghostly faces in a frozen puddle. How many do you see?
Blue tit enjoying provisions from the bird feeder.
The view across Lough Corrib on New Year’s Day.
Click for more photos