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f/k/a archives . . . real opinions & real haiku

February 11, 2005

relaxing at the frog pond

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 8:18 pm

Your humble editor apologizes for having far too much punditry and far  snowFlakeS

too little haiku at the top of this weblog the past two days.  Please let me

make it up to you with more selections from the latest edition of frogpond:


First, a pair from Tuscon, by Jason Sanford Brown, the generous

editor of  the new online haiku journal, roadrunner:




I listen

through the rain

to her






       killing the spider again my son




And, next, a trio from Carolyn Hall in San Francisco:



spring longing

the man

in the three-quarter moon




waiting for you

the wind

kicks up a bit




“Act Now!”

she orders

the Buns of Steel video


[from the rengay “The Magician’s Hat”]

froglegs flip from frogpond XXVIII: 1




by dagosan in schenectady:  

cleared by the sun

lit by the moon —

icy porch steps 

                               [Feb.11, 2005]

flea markets

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 3:13 pm

Tim Sandefur of Freespace is “absolutely, completely, totally ” certain that the following sentence

is wrong:

“Markets are not the product of Mother Nature. They are embedded in institutions

and are at root political creations.”

The line comes from the thoughtful piece “Social Security and Antitrust,” written by (my friend and

former boss) Bert Foer, president of the American Antitrust Institute.  Bert states that free markets

can only continue to exist if government helps construct a social safetynet, which keeps the public

from rebelling against the insecurities that are inherent in a pure capitalist system — social protection

helps avoid economic protectionism.


fr ventalone  I’d try to summarize Tim’s logic, and his tale of inflation in China, but there really is no

logic — there’s only the ideologue’s certainty that he alone has the truth and that everything in the

universe (including every historic vignette and non sequitur) somehow proves he’s absolutely correct.


Tim’s right that supply and demand existed before governments.  But, free, competitive capitalist

markets — the kind Bert is talking about, and Tim so avidly seeks —  did not.   Human beings have not

always had free entry into the marketplace to buy and sell goods (and, of course, many still do not). 

Before governments helped delineate and enforce necessary rights and rules of fairplay, the person

or clan or tribe with the most power dictated how trade would be carried out, where, and by whom. 


Tim might insist “but people always had the urge to trade and the right to do so, from Nature,” but

“having” a right and exercising it freely are quite different things — as is having an urge and having a

functioning marketplace.  Bert Foer is correct that a free market doesn’t just happen and isn’t inevitable

or perpetual.  It takes governments to keep them working.  Admitting that government — and some limits

on unrestrained capitalism — are needed to have a working free market is a blasphemy against Tim’s

libertarian religion.  So, he’ll keep creating strawmen for his god to slay, and keep rejecting reasonable

dialogue with people he is absolutely certain are just plain wrong.  How sad and unproductive.  Tim’s

lucky to live in a land where the government will protect his right to spew such nonsense.  Or, maybe he is

large, powerful and rich enough not to need the government’s help.

Update (7 PM):  Want a headache?  Read Timothy Sandefur’s reply to this post.   ekg

Despite Tim’s misdirection, Bert Foer is not saying that all economic rules and all

market forces are the product of government institutions.  Foer instead points out

that free markets don’t spring up naturally on their own, but need help from governments

to thrive (especially, if they are to be tolerated in a society where the popular vote exists).


Sandefur thinks he can rebut Foer and reality by asking a non-responsive question

(“what about inflation in China in the 1940’s?”), and then chastise us for not

following him through his Looking Glass.   (By the way, China’s inability to control

inflation in the 1940’s does not prove that free markets arise naturally.  And, our limits

on free speech — i.e., like falsely shouting fire in a crowded theater — do not mean

that free speech does not exist; it does mean that the body politic can endorse a

broad freedom from censorship without doing unnecessary harm to itself.)


“ekg F”  Sorry, Tim, defining every right in absolutes is adolescent.  Whining, and fantasizing

about other worlds in which macho supermen need no help from anyone, won’t convert the

unpersuaded.  Taxes pay for the infra-structure that makes it possible for the marketplace

and you to work and have a comfortable life.    You may hate government, but it can and

does help to secure a marketplace that is as free as possible, in a society that values all its

members, and stability, and its future.

  • Dear Frequent Visitor:  I promise this is the last post in which I will smack my head

    against the brickwall of Sandefurian Libertarianism.  I’m going to save my breath for

    actual two-way conversation.


in a sake cup
a flea
swimming! swimming!


a flea jumps
in the laughing Buddha’s


after plastering
the gate with fleas
the dog runs off




thrown together–
thin mosquitoes, thin fleas
thin children




by dagosan:  

valentine’s sun

warms the kitchen —

tuna melt for lunch

                                       [Feb.10, 2005]


just ing-ing around

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 2:07 pm

Before a zealous reader draws my attention to the mistake, I want to admit that

Prof. Martin Grace and I were using the term “gerund” sloppily yesterday.  Because

this confusion appears widespread, even among the educated class,  I thought I’d

attempt a brief explication.


gerund is a verbal noun — As the American Heritage Dictionary states:    fedupskiF

Gerund: 1. In Latin, a noun derived from a verb and having all case forms except

the nominative. 2. In other languages, a verbal noun analogous to the Latin

gerund, such as the English form ending in -ing when used as a noun, as in

singing in We admired the choir’s singing.

particple is “A form of a verb that in some languages, such as English, can function

independently as an adjective.”


As is noted in Wikipedia:

The term “gerund” is sometimes used incorrectly to mean any word

ending with “ing”.   For example:

  • Jane was swimming in the sea. (“swimming” is a participle verb)


  • John enjoys eating a good meal. (“eating” is a gerund)
  • John is eating a good meal. (“eating” is a participle verb)

Here are some usage differences noted in Wikipedia (find examples here):

  1. Gerundive phrases can be topicalised (i.e. moved to the front of a sentence)
    whereas participle verb phrases cannot

  2. Gerundive phrases can be preceded by genitive phrases (possessive terms

    such as his, her, their), whereas participle verb phrases cannot

  3. The pronoun it can be substituted for a gerundive phrase, but not for a

    participle verb phrase:

fedupskiN  An example you can surely relate to, if you’ve read this far, is my usage of the

phrase “discussing grammar”:

– David is discussing grammar on his weblog.  (a present participle)

– Discussing grammar on a weblog is tedious.  (a gerund)

Without in any way endorsing the use of the word “blog” as a noun or verb,

here’s an example using the phrase “blogging at home”:

– Martin was blogging at home last night. (a participle verb phrase)

– Blogging at home at night can be tedious.  (a gerundive phrase)


If you want to try your hand at distinguishing gerundive from participle

phrases, I suggest working with 19 “walking” haiku from Issa (translated,

naturally, by English professor David G. Lanoue, who I’m sure knows all

about gerunds).  Here’s a sampler:



bloated flea
are you walking it off?
up a tree

is my wrinkled hand
bad for walking?
first firefly


tired of walking
my wrinkled arm
the flea jumps


a clear sky
at high noon…
walking out alone



skaterSignGF  Bonus stuff that I learned doing this post. (thanks, again, wikipedia)

tiny check  In linguistics, derivation is the process of creating new lexemes from other lexemes.


Derivation may occur without any change of form, for example telephone (noun)

and to telephone (verb) [or, “blog” (noun) and the equally revolting “to blog” (verb)].

This is known as conversion. Some linguists consider that when a word’s syntactic

category is changed without any change of form, a null morpheme is being affixed.

tiny check  back-formation: Is a new word created by removing an affix from an already existing word,

as vacuum clean from vacuum cleaner, or by removing what is mistakenly thought to be an affix,

as pea from the earlier English plural pease. 2. The process of forming words in this way. See

Note at baby-sit.


tiny check  Of course, hanging participles are still to be eschewed.


“tinyredcheck”  retronyms and backronyms are interesting and fun, but you can look them up

yourself for extra credit and entertainment.

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