Sarah Palin and I differ in at least one important respect. I almost never read newspapers anymore. I read newspaper websites. Mostly the New York Times, because it's free, and because I like their columnists. "Like" may be a strong word for some of them, especially Kristol.
But, I must give props to the San Jose Mercury News, which was one of the very first newspapers to have a free on-line edition back in the mid 90's. It's hard to realize now that the internet used to be largely free of business sites and advertising.
Back to the NYT, it is with the NYT columnists or pundits or whatever they call themselves these days that I sort of enjoy a love-annoyance relationship because of their obvious, intentional affection for injecting esoteric words into their columns. Love, because it is fun to look up words and learn something. Sometimes it's a word that I've heard for years and maybe even used myself, without knowing exactly what it really meant. Other times it's something completely new. Annoyance, because having to stop and look up a word interrupts the flow of reading the column and the thought process of absorbing it.
I look them up on Merriam-Webster.com, because it, also, is free.
Here are some recent samples. First, from David Brooks, yesterday, describing members of Congress who voted No on you-know-what.
nihilist - a doctrine or belief that conditions in the social organization are so bad as to make destruction desirable for its own sake independent of any constructive program or possibility
And here's one from Moe Dowd, describing William F. Buckley, a brilliant and gentlemanly conservative that liberals, like me, could not help but like.
sesquipedalian - given to or characterized by the use of long words
William F. Buckley - 1965
Moving on - Fall is Here!
Well it's time to make seasonal adjustments. For me, that means pajamas, aka pyjamas. Which I wear. Almost every night. In the winter I wear flannel pajamas. That's cotton flannel, which I know is technically flannelette, but who really cares. My wife buys me one new pair each year to wear on Christmas Eve. And, since I tend to save my clothes for a very long time, I have about ten pairs of flannel pajamas now. They take up a lot of drawer space. But they never seem to wear out. And boy are they comfortable.
Even in the summer I will wear light weight cotton pajama bottoms with a tee shirt. Often the tee shirt is an actual undershirt. I favor white V-necks, slightly large and loose fitting.
Growing up in the 1970's I rarely wore pajamas. They were viewed as goofily out of style. Reminiscent of Fred MacMurray in a full robe and slippers get-up, smoking a pipe or heating a glass of pre-bedtime warm milk on the stove. Nothing so stuffy for us cool kids at the tail end of 60's hipness or the dawning blow-dried 70's. PJ's were out. They did not seem to be something that real people, or at least real men, really wore.
So, what did one wear to bed? Ann Landers famously pronounced that it was perfectly respectable to sleep in the nude. She further delared that wearing underwear beneath pajamas was silly. So, sleeping au naturel became a cool, albeit private, fashion statement to publicly declare, whether true or not. It conveyed a sense, not of a tight clothing budget or questionable hygeine or a lack of air conditioning, but rather a sense of sophistication and self confidence that one was comfortable in their own skin. And not afraid to be seen in it.
Me, I dressed for comfort. During the high energy costs of the late 70's and early 80's I slept in as little as possible in my un-air conditioned, sweltering quarters during the hot months, and bundled up in sweat pants, turtle necks, and wool socks during the cold winter months. Now, with oil DOWN to $95 a barrel today, those days of bundling up may just be coming back.
Really, those days weren't so bad. We managed to have a lot of fun. And snuggling up in a warm bed on a cold day can feel positively luxurious.
Grammer question for today: Is the plural of pair "pairs" or "pair?"