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Questions in the Writing & Language category.
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July 10

What are you reading besides The Atlantic?
A long time ago, Time Magazine used to provide moderately thoughtful, longer form articles about current events and culture. For the past few decades, that niche has been filled for me by a mix of Harper's, The Atlantic, and The Economist. None of these are perfect, but they provide a nice mix of interesting content on a monthly basis. What else is out there that you'd recommend? It doesn't need to be print, online would work as well.
posted by leotrotsky at 9:17 AM - 29 answers
Don't Let Them Get to You - But better phrasing?
Trying to come up with inspirational sayings for boundary enforcement, something that can be embroidered or engraved. Some sort of physical embodiment of this saying will be created. The idea should be you can't save everyone, you need to not take on the pain of the world, everything is not on your shoulders, you can say no, et cetera. [more inside]
posted by RainyJay at 6:49 AM - 26 answers

July 9

Translations of M. Aurelius' "Meditations" - simple, readable prose?
Which of the dozens of English translations of M. Aurelius' "Meditations" is best for younger readers prioritizing beautiful, readable, lyrical and contemporary wording? Not looking for "... For Dummies"-level; just trying to avoid the KJB-style "thines" and "mayests" and so on. Willing to sacrifice textual fidelity for the most readable, accessible prose. [more inside]
posted by jjjjjjjijjjjjjj at 10:41 AM - 10 answers

Citation Format for Declassified Documents
What's the best way to cite declassified, partially redacted, government memorandum, using Chicago Manual of Style format? [more inside]
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 6:35 AM - 1 answers

July 8

Western Romances
I've been wanting to read some good romances lately in the western genre. Any suggestions? [more inside]
posted by warble at 3:35 PM - 12 answers

Whats your favorite memoir?
Hoping to get some suggestions for really great memoirs. Bonus points if after you've read them you can't stop thinking about them! [more inside]
posted by kmr at 2:35 PM - 75 answers

Pithy and incisive
"You're not in traffic, you are traffic" and "Prohibition isn't regulation. It's the absence of regulation" are two phrases I've come across that pithily, quickly and directly sum up some situation. They help flip the usual terms of the discussion around, and provide insight. Do you know more?
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:50 AM - 50 answers

Why won't Mexicans speak Spanish with me?
Almost every time I speak Spanish to a Mexican they answer right back in English. [more inside]
posted by Che boludo! at 4:31 AM - 85 answers

July 7

BookPlotFilter: how to determine a villain for a story?
So I've been pecking away at a book for a while, encountering the typical novice writer issue of not getting past 100 pages or so before things start to stall. Can you help me figure out who my heroes will do battle with? [more inside]
posted by PussKillian at 5:55 PM - 16 answers

Translate a motto to Latin please?
If "art for art's sake" is "ars gratia artis", what would be the Latin translation of "fear for fear's sake"?
posted by Tom-B at 2:09 PM - 4 answers

July 6

Funny or absurd fictional non-profit organization ideas needed
I'm writing a ten-minute play to be entered into a competition this fall. Two characters are bemoaning the gulf between the real work world and their former experience serving on a non-profit board. I need the name of the organization to be funny and ridiculous. The only thing I've come up with so far is Urban Mime Farming. Please give me some better ideas!
posted by BostonTerrier at 4:49 PM - 30 answers

July 2

Latin for "Speed and secrecy"?
Asking for a friend: how would one write "Speed and secrecy" in Latin? It's for a group motto, and we wish to basically communicate "keep this fast/quick/speedy" and "keep things secret/safe." As briefly as possible.
posted by ish__ at 1:44 PM - 7 answers

July 1

Hey, Chinese speakers . . . got a question for you
Actually, that should read "Hey, readers of Chinese script, etc". Recently, some of my neighbors took exception to the opening of a homeless shelter in my neighborhood. They held a protest. Some of the signs were in Chinese. What do these signs say in English, if you've got a moment? Many thanks in advance.
posted by jason's_planet at 6:57 PM - 2 answers

June 30

Asking the Green, As One Does...
Is there a known origin point for the phrase "as one does" (or "like you do" or similar variations), when used to indicate that the speaker is aware of how ridiculous an action is? For instance, "I was at the supermarket at three in the morning, offering the cashier ten bucks for an early box of Count Chocula -- as one does -- and...."
posted by Etrigan at 12:19 PM - 12 answers

Long Form Music Journalism
Link me to riveting, long form music journalism online! I want to read case histories of musicians with troubled lives, like these articles about Elliot Smith and Ben Todd. Or maybe a peek at a subculture I barely knew existed, like Kid Rock's Cruise or Nathan Rabin's many recaps of The Gathering. I'll also accept a straight-ahead profile, as long as it's as well written as Elizabeth Gilbert's piece on Hank-3. [more inside]
posted by Juliet Banana at 8:19 AM - 8 answers

June 28

Help me translate these Chinese breaker box labels.
Mrs. Penguin and I just bought a house, but we discovered today that the circuit breaker box is labeled in a mixture of English and Chinese. We will eventually just turn them off one at a time to figure out which is which, but in the meantime can y'all translate them for me? [more inside]
posted by Elementary Penguin at 4:55 PM - 3 answers

Suggestions for English literature 1400-1600
I'm interested in reading English literature between Chaucer and Shakespeare and would like suggestions. [more inside]
posted by Thing at 2:48 PM - 13 answers

June 27

Half-remembered fairytale
The library of my childhood had a book of fairy tales which I remember fondly but not in very much detail. I remember only one of the stories - perhaps it will ring a bell with someone? [more inside]
posted by Wolfdog at 5:44 AM - 5 answers

June 26

Who needs the Enterprise when you can beam yourself to Klingon?
I need examples of technologies that have "advanced" over time, (where "advanced" means looks better, and maybe runs faster, but is basically the same ol' same ol',) and then a counter example of a totally different thing that solved the problem in a different way than the original tech did. I'm doing a talk where I'm trying to point out that sometimes the solution isn't a faster starship Enterprise, it's a better transporter, except I'm not exactly happy with that example.
posted by nushustu at 2:07 PM - 22 answers

June 24

French music recommendations needed!
Hi! I'm traveling to a french immersion program this summer for 5 weeks. Nothing but French everything is allowed...even music. Anyone have some recommendations for great french music (with lyrics)? I've listened to Yelle, and have exhausted my Carla Bruni playlist. All genres are welcomed, but I'd especially love some contemporary stuff! Merci!
posted by LemonGardot at 5:16 AM - 53 answers

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