I feel very strongly that as governor, I need to protect the basic expectations of privacy that all individuals should be allowed to have, especially in the sanctity of a restroom.

— Governor Pat McCrory of North Carolina. Colin Campbell, “Politicians seek to score points after NC nondiscrimination bill.” Miami Herald 25 March 2016.


The word means “holiness.” Ultimately it derives from the Latin verb sancio, to make inviolable.

And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground. Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God.

— Exodus 3.5-6



Last gleaming: a date changes a connotation

I’m not going to state a source for this image. It probably wasn’t original to the site where I found it,  and the site itself is a fetish blog mostly devoted to Third Reich militaria.

The blogger has contributed one detail, however:  a caption which lovingly specifies the model of the bayoneted American shotgun held in the man’s hands. But that love isn’t of a kind to take in the man himself or the date on the wall with which he (or somebody who spoke the language of his epoch) once attempted to signify the expression on his face.

It’s an expression which now comes to us time-stamped with an expiration date: “44.” The meaning of the date changed as World War II slipped into history from the zone of the immediate, but for the date itself the process of aging has been slowed by its embracing quotation marks. Those functioned then as they function now: to communicate a sense of intimacy with their reader, as in

Source: “The ‘Blog’ of ‘Unnecessary’ Quotation Marks,”

In the past seventy years, the history of language hasn’t changed folk punctuation, but the history of the body may have imposed changes on the expressive nature of intimacy itself. In 1944, the date on the wall could have been interpreted as a subject for which the smile on the man’s face was the predicate. Subject and predicate, the completed sentence could have communicated a proposal for action on the level of culture itself: “Together, you and I and all of us, let’s defend.” Seventy years later, however, the smile on the man’s face has been taken private. Now it seems to mean only something like:

“Maybe I own a hedge fund and maybe I don’t. But you’d better believe I do. “

Slack key: today’s lesson in Hawaiian tone

Honolulu Star-Advertiser, August 16, 2013, page A9:


On the island of Hawaii, where slow-moving lava flows have been affecting the real estate market continuously since 1983, a flow will sometimes divert itself around both sides of something in its path, leaving a little area untouched in the middle of the new black rock. This little island of green is called a kipuka. It usually doesn’t remain undevastated for long.

When I think of the word oasis, the image that comes to mind is of a man scrabbling at a tiny flow of muddy water in the middle of an ocean of sand. Cue the music from Lawrence of Arabia.

In this context, what does sheltered mean? I’m not sure, but I think it’s intended to co-connote in tandem with gated. The only poetic problem with that is an unstable relationship among sheltered, oasiscommunity, charming, and gated. The differing ranges of tones around the words create a disharmony. Something in the paragraph feels unresolved.  Nurse Ratched, you’re wanted on the emerald green fairway.

Below the fold is one more term to be glossed: the location of this kipuka, Ewa Beach. Ewa Beach (the first word is pronounced “evva”) is a small town on the Waianae coast of Hawaii’s urban island, Oahu. Distant from the centrality of Hawaii’s tourist economy in every way, it’s uneducated, impoverished, high-crime. It’s to distant zones like Ewa Beach that Hawaii’s Hawaiian people have been relegated.

Listen for the words, therefore. On the streets of Ewa Beach you may be able to hear the Hawaiian language spoken. All you’d have to do is venture beyond the gate.