college quick jobs

Subject: lowercase liberty
Date: February 28, 2007 5:48:34 PM EST

Hi Markus,

My name is Mike and I’m a student at UVa. I have a website that connects Charlottesville area residents with UVa students for short term jobs like babysitting, tutoring, pet care, moving, etc. We just started up and we have a …uh… very limited marketing budget. I was wondering if it would be possible to get a link somewhere on your blog. I think a lot of your readers would find our service useful (Charlottesville residents will be getting responsible and qualified short term workers). Thanks a lot! I hope I hear from you soon!

affective effects

Grammar Girl of the Grammar Girl Podcast (“Quick & Dirty Tips for Better Writing”) sells this clever and helpful mouse pad:

The problem with this quick and dirty tip, however, is that it implies that “to affect” is the verb and “effect” the noun.

Unfortunately, the distinction is trickier, e.g.,

  • Monetary inflation affects prices.
  • Monetary inflation effects price inflation.

So now to make things really confusing: To affect X is to have an effect on X. But to effect Y is to cause Y to take place.

The rain dance is supposed to affect the weather; specifically it is supposed to effect rain.

(And I’m not even bothering with the noun and adjective forms of “affect” (except in the title of this post.))

why we go to college

On a Claire Day,” 28 February 2006:

(I blogged briefly about Claire’s employment woes here.)

one of the principal marks of an educated man

In his review of Radicals for Capitalism, Jeff Riggenbach makes good use of

a point H. L. Mencken first made in the Atlantic Monthly back in 1914. “One of the principal marks of an educated man,” Mencken wrote, “is the fact that he does not take his opinions from newspapers.” Why? “He knows that they are constantly falling into false reasoning about the things within his personal knowledge, — that is, within the narrow circle of his special education, — and so he assumes that they make the same, or even worse errors about other things. … This assumption, it may be said at once, is quite justified by the facts.” (Gang 45-46) More than forty years later, when he was putting together his last book, Mencken returned to this thought, formulating it a little differently. When it comes to newspapers, he mused, “[t]he more reflective reader … reads next to nothing, and believes the same amount precisely. Why should he read or believe more? Every time he alights on anything that impinges upon his own field of knowledge he discovers at once that it is inaccurate and puerile.” (Minority 74)


Mencken, H. L. “Newspaper Morals” [1914] in A Gang of Pecksniffs: And Other Comments on Newspaper Publishers, Editors and Reporters. Ed. Theo Lippman, Jr. New Rochelle, NY: Arlington House, 1975

——. Minority Report: H. L. Mencken’s Notebooks. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1956.