ever have someone tell you to stand up straight? look you in the eye when they're talking?

March, 2009

Adam’s Tongue

Language makes us human, Derek Bickerton asserts in “Adam’s Tongue”, not the other way around. Humans simply could not have taken the evolutionary leap out of the savannas without it. However, contrary to common belief, language isn’t as simple as a straight line evolution from the myriad of animal calls exhibited by our genealogical ancestors.

, ,

conversation between cousins

“Four days before dontcha know she’d cut herself,” my cousin paused through the phone. I could hear the phone scratching on something, his face, shoulder, while he was knocking at something with his free hands. “You know. Slashed her wrist.”
“Oh yeah,” was all I could think to say.
“Yeah. I mean, that’s the only reason I married her.”
“I thought your son introduced you.”

, , ,

Riding Towards Everywhere

“Riding Towards Everywhere,” Bill Vollmann’s book about “catching out”—hobo slang for riding a freight train without permission—romanticizes the forgotten conveyance and freightage of Manifest Density and the Westward expansion of the United States. The railways built this country. It wasn’t really until the 1950’s that we had an Interstate Highway System. Most people, but not Bill, forget that.

, , , ,