Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Post-Election Haiku

Some people think in 140 characters. These days I find I think in 17 syllables.

1. Pessimism
Two days after the election I was talking to a friend. She said "Oh, you're always such a pessimist." That inspired this haiku:

      We pessimists have
      the advantage that when we're
      wrong we can rejoice.

Over the next few days, as I shared my haiku with friends, I found myself writing 17 more syllables:

      Lately I haven't
      been wrong, so no rejoicing.
      But I can still hope.

And I still do hope, but it's getting harder.

2. Indiagate
Today I woke up thinking about Indiagate (time to start calling it that, isn't it?), see, e.g., the Chicago Tribune report), and wrote 3 more haiku. (To be added.)

12/16/2016: Indiagate has disappeared from public view. Hello? The lessons of The Big Lie and contemporary incarnations like Birtherism - repeat it repeat it repeat it - also apply to truth. REPEAT IT.

Indiagate was among the first instances of the loser-elect using the Presidency for the Brand. It was tame compared to what has happened since then, but it deserves to stay on the list.

Here are the haiku inspired by Indiagate, TaxReturnGate, etc.

      Some folks try to be
      Above reproach, others choose
      To be below it.

      Using high office
      To feather one's nest? That's not
      The Patriot's Way.

      No blind trust _for_ you?
      Then no blind trust _in_ you. You're
      all for you, not us.

Or shall we say, the motto is "All for one, one for one."

Nov. 23, 2016, added comment 20161216

Sunday, November 13, 2016

4NT: The majority voted for NO TRUMP

The majority of the country, including in many so-called RED states, voted for NO TRUMP. The popular vote was 53 to 47. If the electoral votes are assigned to Trump or NO TRUMP, Trump loses, 198 to 340. That's using numbers available on 11/11. It may be even higher for NO TRUMP when all the votes are counted.

That may not change the outcome, but it should be kept in mind when discussing the vote and what it means. Here's the map, with the NO TRUMP majority states shown in tan. (Click anywhere on the map to open a less fuzzy image.)


Acknowledgments: map is from 270towin.com, using the option to recolor states with tan instead of red or blue. Popular vote numbers are from uselectionresults.org, last viewed 11/11/16.


UPDATE: Today, 11/23/16, uselectionresults.org has the popular vote 1 point higher for No Trump
      4NT:   54%
      Trump: 46%
(rounding by the usual rules, or 53.58 and 46.42 to 2 decimals).
Hillary Clinton has the plurality of the popular vote by 2 million votes (1,963,091 to be exact).

UPDATE #2: Today, 12/16/16, CNN gives the popular vote numbers and percentages for Trump and Clinton "updated 11:20 pm ET, Dec. 14." Clinton's lead stands at 2.1%, more than 2.8 million votes. CNN does not provide the total vote nor the numbers for other candidates so I have estimated how many votes equal the 5.5% that didn't go to plurality winner Hillary nor to the loser-elect, and how many total votes were cast.

The map legend should now say:
Popular Vote: 4NT won 54 to 46

                   __%__      __Votes___
Trump       46.2 %      62,955,363
Clinton      48.3 %      65,788,583
Other            5.5 %        7,493,034(est.)
TOTAL     100.0 %   136,236,980(est.)

Conclusion: Less than 63 million voters voted yes Trump and more than 73 million voters voted for NO TRUMP.
-RJM

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Ne-ner-nis - Rejected (Part 4) - LANGUAGE 04

In three previous posts I have proposed NE-NER-NIS as neuter pronouns. Yesterday, the New York Times reported that several hundred lexicographers met to decide on the best neuter subject pronoun and they chose THEY. Needless to say, I think they are wrong, and THEY is wrong. Before ne-ner-nis disappears from the lexicon, I would like to eulogize it. Or rather as Marc Antony said, "I come to bury [them], not to praise [them]" but we know he meant the opposite.

Singular or plural?

They - the lexicographers, not the pronoun - decided that it was OK that THEY (the pronoun) takes a plural verb on the grounds that YOU is also both singular and plural and takes a plural verb either way. Hmmm. There IS a difference. When you use YOU, the person(s) to whom you (the person not the pronoun) speak knows whether he, she or they (the YOU to whom you speak) is one or more than one. When you use THEY, the person(s) to whom you speak is different from the person(s) about whom you speak. He, she or they (the hearers) may not know whether he, she or they (the subject/object of your utterance) are one or more than one.

2. Because "he" was rejected for unknown or unspecified genders, and "she" was too new to some ears, many writers and speakers had schooled themselves to replace singular nouns with plural ones in order to use "they" thereafter. But that often led to ambiguity if there was another plural noun in the sentence. I discussed this in Ne-ner-nis (Part 2) (scroll down to "Natural Superiority"). Using "they" as a singular, makes the ambiguity a permanent feature of the language.

The Extinction Problem

As with natural species, these days we are losing words faster than we are gaining them. That is because when we use a word that has a specific meaning in place of another perfectly fine word with a different meaning, we lose the unique meaning of the first word and have to resort to multiple words to achieve what we had before done with a single one. (See The Reticent/Reluctant Hesitation.

The Veterinarian Problem

We need a neuter pronoun not only for transgender humans but also for animals. We also need one when (1) we speak of a human whose gender is unspecified, unknown or irrelevant and (2) it is logical to speak of that human in the singular. As to animals, the other inventor of ne-ner-nis, whose invention is independent of mine and preceded it by several years, was in fact a veterinarian named Dr. Al Lippart. If it's embarrassing and offensive to call Spot "he" when Spot is a "she" or vice versa, will it be better to call Spot "they"? I invite Dr. Al to weigh in on this question.

January 31, 2016, rev (minor) 7/13/16