Wednesday, March 10, 2010


Today is my birthday (thank you, thank you), and this morning, Sarah gave me my presents, including the newly reissued first edition of Henry Fowler's A Dictionary of Modern English Usage (which I'm very excited to geek out on):

And then, as I was pulling in to work, Gary Keillor's "Writer's Almanac" came on the radio, and I learned that, lo and behold, today is also Fowler's birthday (oh, muh guh!), and Gary recounted his whole eccentric story: how, at age forty-one, he had a crisis of faith and quit his teaching gig and moved to a one-room cottage on an island in the English Channel next door to his brother (the tomato farmer) and spent the rest of his life writing, among other things, quirky prescriptive texts on English usage.

Forty-one, huh? Okay, I've got three years before I start my own soon-to-be-timeless-classic on the English language, Slimbo's Everything Is Better With Hyphens and Footnotes.*

* I'm not sure what Fowler would say about the use of "co-inky-dink"—I'll have to look it up
but I assure you, Slimbo's Hyphens and Footnotes will strongly favor it.


  1. There must be some weird connection to dictionaries in our family. Your father's first gift to me for my birthday when we were dating was a big Webster's dictionary. And I married him anyway!

  2. Anonymous6:02 PM

    I like you so much!

  3. Good story!

    It's my anniversary, too. Yay!

    Happy day, everyone.

    Did you get a lot of bucks pinned on your lapel?

  4. craic-head10:54 PM

    Happy Birthday!
    And, yeah, that Fowler coincidence is an "oh, mah, guh". For real. I'm cereal.

    (Lovin' how you call Garrison GARY. I'm gettin' on the Gary bandwagon now..."Watcha up to?"..."Me? Ya'know, jus' listenin' to Gary and them Woebegonners. Gettin' my Gary-time in. Gary on the public ray dee OH, dontcha know. Love me some Gary.")

  5. Well Happy Birthday a little late!