More Facebook Mis-quotes

Saw three images (“posters”) on Facebook today with “quotes” I’m pretty sure are mis-attributions. As usual, I feel compelled to check out their validity. First is one allegedly by “St. Francis of Assisi.” This would be simply “Francis of Assisi” if you’re not Catholic or don’t believe in saints or canonization. One day I’ll post a blog piece about canonization and its politics, but not now. … (more–>)

54,232 words… and it’s done

I passed 54,000 words yesterday in my book on Machiavelli for municipal politicians. A little tweaking today, and an additional selection from The Discourses pushed it to 54,232 words. It prints out at 163 letter-sized pages. Even though that count includes chapter titles and subheads, as well as the opening notes and quotes, dedication, bibliography, and back page copy, it’s still about 20,000 more than my … (more–>)

This time it’s a Machiavellian mis-quote.

Whilst perusing the Net for some material for my book on Machiavelli, I came across this maxim: “Never attempt to win by force what can be won by deception.” It’s attributed on many, many sites to Machiavelli in his most famous work, The Prince. Sounds pretty Machiavellian, doesn’t it? Well, it isn’t. Machiavelli never wrote those words. Sun Tzu wrote that, “All warfare is based on … (more–>)

It’s not an Apache blessing, it’s just a Hollywood script

“May the sun bring you new energy by day,” begins this saccharine saying that has enjoyed a continued life outside Facebook through the fridge magnet and huggable-puppies-and-kittens-on-posters and wedding planner industries. It gets passed off as an “Apache blessing” or “Apache wedding blessing” on Facebook, usually with some hunk-ish Indian brave pictures beside the words or some faux-Indian animal fetish images. The rest of the alleged … (more–>)

So many bad quotes, so little time

I was browsing through my blog posts today and found I have actually written about improperly attributed quotations on the Net nine times since I first started blogging back in March, 2005. On my old Mumpsimus blog, I posted two pieces about these bad memes: A quote misattributed to Henry David Thoreau, November, 2010. A quote misattributed to William Shakespeare, January, 2009. On this new blog, … (more–>)

James Miles? Goethe? Sorry: this quote is from Malcolm Forbes

Another New Age quote showed up on Facebook today, one of those warn-n-fuzzy, touchy-feely sayings that either make you gag or go weak at the knees. This one is ascribed to James D. Miles. Miles was, according to answers.com (a site of dubious factuality and not terribly reliable at the best of timns), “…an associate professor of Psychology at Purdue University.” The author of this answer … (more–>)

Does This Really Sound Like Sitting Bull?

Another quote meme going around on the Internet claims to be from Sitting Bull (Tatanka Iyotake), the famous Hunkpapa Lakota Sioux chief. A fascinating man in a difficult time, and a source of inspiration today. He was brave, intelligent and, from all accounts, wise. So when I read the quote below, I was torn. It’s a good comment, one that sounds like it should come from … (more–>)

That’s not mass, it’s area. Poor science means bad reporting.

It will come from space, be as massive as half a football field, have the explosive power to decimate hundreds of square miles of land and will hurtle perilously close to Earth. I cringed when I read this paragraph in a QMI story published in the London Free Press recently, titled “Rock of Ages: Killer Asteroid Likely to Pass in 2013.” So many mistakes in so … (more–>)

That squiggle cost taxpayers HOW much?

I read in the latest edition of the Collingwood Connection that: “Regional Tourist Organization 7 (is) now Bruce Grey Simcoe.” Were you even aware of Regional Tourist Organization 7 before that story? According to the Connection, The organization announced its new brand and logo on Thursday at the Bear Estate in Collingwood. Bruce Grey Simcoe is one of 13 regional tourism organizations across the province. Executive … (more–>)

English suffers the slings and arrows of outrageous punctuation

There’s a chip wagon in town that offers “fresh cut fries.” When I see that sign, I always wonder what “cut fries” are, and how they compare with uncut fries. Does this chipster offer stale cut fries as well as fresh ones? The former library is becoming an old building. The sign in front tells us a “senior facility” is coming soon. Sad to see a … (more–>)

On translating Chaucer and the joys of Middle English

In my last two visits to the nearby Chapters, I picked up from the bargain books section two recent, hardcover, versions of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. One is a new verse translation by Burton Raffel published in 2008, the other a prose translation by Peter Ackroyd, from 2009. These join the dozen or so other versions of Chaucer’s works I already have on my bookshelves: the Riverside … (more–>)

Slowly dies: another bad Internet meme

I came across a fascinating poem, translated into English as “Slowly Dies.” There are numerous translations online, many by amateurs, but some very well crafted. It goes something like this (a portion from one translation): Dies slowly he who transforms himself in slave of habit, repeating every day the same itineraries, who does not change brand, does not risk to wear a new color and doesn’t … (more–>)

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