Category Archives: in the flesh appearing

A Special Announcement

O dear and long-suffering readers, I am happy to announce that I finally have an editor.

Sadly, he will not be editing the drivel that appears here; he will only be editing my book.

Merriam-Webster lexicographer & blogger Kory Stamper’s HARMLESS DRUDGERY: How We Define The Words That Define Us, a look inside a lexicographer’s world as we follow the journey words take on their way both in and out of the dictionary, to Andrew Miller at Pantheon….

Yes: I’m writing a book! It’ll be written in the style of harm•less drudg•ery, and it will definitely contain fewer typos. This book has been in the works for a long while now, but the fact that it has left the realm of possibility and moved into, if not immediate reality, then a few blocks down from immediate reality, is pretty damned exciting and surreal. Forgive me if I am gobsmacked. The smack will eventually wear off my gob, I promise.

Don’t fret: I will do my best to keep up the rigorous (<snort>) publishing schedule here at harm•less drudg•ery. After all, those delightful pieces of correspondence are not going to post themselves to this blog. You can also occasionally catch me at Strong Language, a blog that sings my heart’s filthy, degenerate song.

Wish me luck, and send your condolences directly to my editor.



Filed under general, in the flesh appearing, Uncategorized

Alphabet Soup: TESOL and WMD Edition

Howdy from the international TESOL convention in Dallas, TX, where I am womanning the Merriam-Webster booth, giving a lecture about adverbs, and eating hamburgers as big as my head while the waiter and I discuss mohawk care. If you’re attending TESOL, come by the M-W booth and attempt to engage me in conversation!


For those of you who aren’t at TESOL this year, you may want to head over to the Guardian and read the story I’ve written for them on the words of the Iraq war. It is shorter and more informative than the usual drivel that appears here!


Filed under general, in the flesh appearing

In the Flesh Appearing: Anderson Cooper Live; Denver, Colorado; Philly Represent

Three weeks ago at exactly this time, I was wandering around midtown Manhattan with a garment bag of fancy clothes, two pairs of shoes, and an air of frenzy about me. I was trying to get into the CBS building for a taping and the door was locked.

I eventually got in (one of the people sent downstairs to look for me sighed into her headset, “Call off the search, we found her!”), and the result is this clip, which aired on October 16th in honor of National (US) Dictionary Day. Sorry to have once again invaded your televisions with my unnaturally colored hair and my nervous doofus-chortling. You can watch the clip here:

In a few short weeks, I will be in Denver, CO (birthplace of the Broncos, Casa Bonita, not John Denver, and me), where I will stand up in front of the very fine teachers of Colorado TESOL and tell them all about the history of the English language. If you’re an ESL/EFL teacher in Colorado, come to the Saturday morning plenary for Old English and LOLcats! I promise to be adequately caffeinated.

The following week, I’ll be in Philadelphia, PA (home of the Flyers, Monk’s Belgian Pub, and Kabletown), where I will stand charmingly at the Merriam-Webster booth for ACTFL and embarrass myself in any number of languages. If you’re there, stop by. Hair color TBA.



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In the Flesh: Philadelphia, PA

For all of its problems, I love Philly. It has a good grit-to-culture ratio, excellent restaurants, one of the largest urban parks in America, Ben Franklin impersonators, panhandlers who compliment a girl on her relative fineness before hitting her up for change, the Flyers, and the word “jawn.”

It also happens to be hosting the national TESOL conference next week, and I will be in attendance. If you’re there, do stop by the M-W booth and say, as others have said before you, “Wow, you are so much more [unintentionally unflattering adjective] than I thought!”

New post Monday morning.


Filed under in the flesh appearing

In the flesh appearing: Chicago, IL

A quick update for my faithful readers (all four of you): I will be traveling to Chicago, IL this week, where I am a plenary speaker at ITBE’s 38th annual convention. I’m looking forward to meeting and reconnecting with the utterly delightful ESL educators of Illinois, and am hopeful that this trip to Chicago features fewer emergency room visits than my last trip to Chicago did. If you happen to be attending ITBE, stop by the M-W booth and watch me attempt human interaction say hello!

Confidential to ITBE members who fall asleep during my talk on the history of the English language: we’ve all been there.

Blog posts will resume when I return next week.


Filed under in the flesh appearing