First I want to engage in something that’s a bit of a blog tradition already: begging for money. Not for me mind you. This site costs nothing to run. And I get paid quite well thank you, and presumably will be paid well more next year, so I don’t need the money. But there’s plenty of people who do. Rather than do my own work on finding out which charities are best deserving I’ll assume that all the people who say Oxfam does pretty good things with your money are right. Here’s the links to their sites in Australia, New Zealand, Britain and America. Harry suggested giving something proportionate to the amount you spend on Christmas presents this year. In that spirit, I’d like to suggest spending less on conference socialising and New Year’s celebration and sending the $$ Oxfam’s way. (Unless you are buying me drinks, in which case you should buy me the drinks and send Oxfam a donation anyway.)
I spend Christmas with Simon Keller and his wife Maree and brother Reuben. Very good times. We didn’t spend much time talking shop, so the philosophical highlight of the day was when finger pupper Plato was recruited to play Santa Claus trying (and failing) to shimmy down the chimney of Reuben’s gingerbread house. (Pictures of this were taken, but they were put on film so I have to wait for them to be developed and scanned before I can post them.)
While on the topic of Christmas celebrations, I quite liked Zadie Smith’s description of the ghosts of Christmas past. Christmas traditions can be fun, even if they were ever so recently invented.
I was pleased to see I’m on the short( )list of blogs Brian Leiter reads. I do wish he’d add Crooked Timber to that list though. I suspect it would fit better with Brian’s political views, though if he’s prepared to tolerate Larry Solum’s heresies I assume he can tolerate mine. For what it’s worth, I ended up on the liberal side of Max Sawicky’s left/liberal distinction on every issue except labour. (That’s a big ‘except’ of course.) Max is right to note that the vehemence of one’s rhetoric is no guide to how extreme one’s political views are. Mark Latham is probably the most conservative Labour leader since the traitor Hughes, but he’s certainly the only Labour leader ever to call his conservative counterpart an ‘arselicker’ in public. At least he won’t be running on a ‘restore honour and dignity’ platform.
Finally, kudos to Allan for finding an even more striking example of negation inversion than I’d spotted so far. (The permalinks are broken – scroll down to Cal Ripken Jr and Scope.) I know some people will say that this proves nothing about East Coast English, and that Ripken was simply misspeaking. I wonder how those people would respond to the claim that English really has VSO word order, so Jack loves Jill is defective, and the correct sentence (as the FOL translation suggests) is Loves Jack Jill?
Also thanks to Allan for the kind words about my favourite post. In my profile on normblog I said the talent I most wanted was the ability to bowl decent leg-breaks. This is obviously absurd, what with the striking absence of cricket grounds near here and with my seemingly endless winter. Really what I should have said is I want the ability to write something like that once a week rather than once a decade. I’m sure I’d squander said ability, but even squandering it would be fun.