Category Archives: General News

Deviant Language

Screen Shot 2018-05-12 at 11.34.27 AMWhen I read aloud these seven stanzas of the “The Jabberwocky” from Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, my brow furrows slightly and my mouth moves cautiously to sound out the rhyming of the words. Re-reading each verse, I’m less guarded and considerably swifter in the tongue. I feel more  linguistically unconstrained with each read. My understanding of the meaning of the verses the second and third times through, however, isn’t necessarily greater than the first. Yet the audible allure of the sounds demonstrably increases with repetition. To be sure, “it seems very pretty,” as Alice exclaimed upon hearing it, “but it’s rather hard to understand!” The appeal of jabberwocky language, I imagine, is not the intellectual stimulus it affords its reader-reciters. Rather, it is the separation of meaning and utterance, the divide between cognitive understanding and oral gesturing that makes this poem enthralling and fun. The simultaneous embodiment and de-cognition of Carroll’s jabberwocky gives his readers an experience with deviant language. That is to say, jabberwocky is special language, unlike much of the discourse with which we construct our lives, because it’s experienced on a visceral rather than an intellectual level. To subdue the instinctual urge to understand what’s being read and recited, and to perform fully the rhythm and rhyme of jabberwocky, is an exercise in flouting the laws of semantics. How does this irregular experience of reading and reciting make us feel? When I read nonsensical diction that’s mixed with recognizably sensible language – particularly when it’s read out loud – I naturally, though perhaps unconsciously, feel myself fall out of sync with the cultural conventions of logic, truth, commonsense, and authority. And it feels good.

Another cool (stylishly, meteorologically) July 4th in Western New York

Another year in Western NY, and another 4th of July has come and gone. Despite some hot weather, into the 90ºs, in the days preceding the 4th, Independence Day managed to be quite cool and sunny all day, even rather chilly that night — into the low 60ºs. We attended what’s become our usual venue for viewing fireworks, where this sloping hill overlooking some baseball diamonds…


…spectacularly serves up this luminous sight after darkness sets in and “You’re a Grand Old Flag” commences:

IMG_8880The colorful explosions in the sky go on for a while, maybe 30mins. Here’s a 2min30sec video from the display last Friday night. We’ll have more fireworks at the end of the summer, shot over the Erie Canal, a picturesque setting if there ever was one. Perhaps I’ll cover that blast, too. So there you have it, a solid reason to stay tuned to EMP for more, er, bombast!

Riding Lock 32 on the Erie Canal

IMG_8682I had the good fortune to spend some time on the Erie Canal a few weeks back. Before then, I’d walked alongside the canal frequently, nearly every day with my old pal Macey. Over the last six years I’ve enjoyed watching the seasons change around the small stretch of canal that runs through our little village of Pittsford, watching the trail coverage thicken in the summertime with dense bushy greenery, explode with fall colors for a spectacular three-four weeks in late-September and early-October, and turn a sharp spartan grayscale for our nearly six months of winter. The autumn colors are easily the biggest attraction every year. Continue reading

FIFA World Cup and Fortaleza


When I was in Fortaleza the week before the games started (Fortaleza is host to a number of games, including the 0-0 Mexico vs Brazil tie), everyone was talking about the failure of authorities to get anything to done and finished. And how the money was wasted on the stadium while basic services lacked. They failed to complete any of the major projects associated with the Cup, other than the stadium itself (which is beautiful, by the way). The metro wasn’t finished. Airport expansion looks like a project that was just started (concrete pillars and rebar sticking out everywhere) when it should’ve been up and running. Continue reading