Newsletter 129 – June 2007


Number 129 – June 2007 – ISSN 1470-1863

Writing – Design – Dictionaries – Fun

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0— ‘The Teacher’s Guide to Grammar’ – new book

Should people get hot under the collar about
mis-spelled words and misplaced apostrophes?

Deborah Cameron thinks not. She offers sound
advice on how to deal with a subject which can
sometimes be quite controversial.

Schoolteachers these days have to teach even
small children the mechanics of English
grammar. This book has been specially written
to cope with that problem.

She explains *why* problems arise with grammar,
and her approach is to look at how language is
actually used, then explain its underlying

Anyone faced with the need to understand grammar
or explain it to others will find this useful.

The Teacher’s Guide to Grammar

0— Pub quiz – Question #1

In what year was Nelson Mandela released from jail?

0— ‘The Letters of Lytton Strachey’

This has been the major reading event for
me this month. Seven hundred pages that
held me gripped from start to finish.

Lytton Strachey wrote only a few books,
but he influenced a whole generation, and
acted as a key figure in throwing off the
influence of the Victorian and Edwardian
eras to step into the modern world.

His letters are witty, mischievous, and
packed full of gossip. The private lives
and secret vices of writers, artists,
politicians, and aristocrats are exposed
here in a manner which takes your breath away.

And the most shocking revelations are about
Strachey himself – who was a very complex
figure, latterly addicted to S & M.

Highly recommended – the book, that is.

The Letters of Lytton Strachey

0— Pub quiz – Question #2

What was the name of the first man-made satellite?

0— ‘Cradle to Cradle’ – new book on design

This book is the programme for a philosophy
of design principles based on a consciousness of
global ecology.

It raises fundamental issues about sustainability,
well-used resources, and sensitivity to eco-systems.

The authors are an architect and a chemist who
between them tackle issues from major construction
projects, to the design of shampoo and re-cyclable
running shoes.

Don’t expect glamorous colour photographs or
examples of slick kettles and toasters – but be
prepared to have your notions of ‘waste’ and
‘re-usability’ challenged in a radical manner.

I predict that this will become a standard text
in design schools, alongside the work of Donald
Norman and Viktor Papanek.

Cradle to Cradle

0— Pub quiz – Question #3
In music, how many quavers equal a minim?

DELETED ITEM [no longer in print]

0— Pub quiz – Question #4
Who was the first Labour MP in the UK?

0— ‘Concise Dictionary of Music’ – new book

This is a new paperback version of the huge
Oxford Dictionary of Classical Music.

It has listings on composers, concertos,
songs, musical instruments, singers, and
everything to do with the history and
practice of music from the ancient world
to the present day.

Oxford Dictionary of Music

0— Pub quiz – Question #5
Where in a horse is the coffin joint?

0— ‘What is a Print?’ – flash animation

Check out this beautiful sequence which
explains the techniques used in etching,
lithography, woodcuts, and screen printing.

It’s at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

The sequences themselves are exquisitely
designed, but make sure you see the galleries
of examples at the bottom of each page.

What is a print?

0— Pub quiz – Question #6
Who lost her pocket?

0— ‘The Handbook of Good English’ – book review

This guide to writing skills covers just about
every possible aspect of grammar, punctuation,
and syntax you could imagine.

Edward Johnson is an experienced book editor,
and I get the impression he’s seen every
common error in written English.

This is his advice on steering yourself out
of trouble and producing clear prose, free
from ambiguities and mistakes.

The Handbook of Good English

0— Pub quiz – Question #7
Who pricked her finger on a spinning wheel,
then slept for one hundred years?

0— ‘Complete Critical Guide to Joseph Conrad’

Routledge publish these very popular guides to
major literary figures. This offers a short
biography of Conrad which puts his life into
context, then gives an account of each of
his novels – plus the stories.

There’s also a history of criticism of Conrad,
from that of his contemporaries, coming up
to the present day. Then this is topped off
with a chronology of his life and a huge
list of suggested further reading.

Complete Critical Guide to Joseph Conrad

0— Pub quiz – Question #8
Which film star had three names, each with three letters?

0— Amazon Review attack!

There is an amazing sabotage job going on
in the reviews of Richard Littlejohn’s new
book on

[For the benefit of non-UK readers, Littlejohn
is a tabloid journalist who goes out of his way
to write offensive right-wing rubbish, and to
be nauseatingly self-regarding at the same time.]

But some jokers have decided to poke fun at
him by posting over-the-top encomiums for
what is clearly a book-length collection of
his usual bilge.

A counter-offensive from Daily Mail supporters
has just started. Watch the fun here.

Amazon Review Attack

0— Pub quiz – Question #9
What nationality was the murderer Dr Crippen?

0— Digital Life – Try Skype

I got into a pickle with some technical
matters whilst working abroad recently.

For a solution I needed technical backup
from my IT support man. He persuaded me to
download Skype so that we could have f.r.e.e
VOIP calls (Voice Over Internet Protocol).

Wow! Two minutes later we were talking
as if both in the same room. It really
is far superior to an ordinary telephone.

The person you’re calling needs to have
the Skype software installed as well – but
hey, it’s f.r.e.e! And so are the phone calls.

0— Pub quiz – Question #10

What happened in Constantinople in March 1930?

0— Pub quiz – ANSWERS

#1 In what year was Nelson Mandela released from jail?
ANSWER: 1990

#2 What was the name of the first man-made satellite?
ANSWER: Sputnik

#3 In music, how many quavers equal a minim?

#4 Who was the first Labour MP in the UK?
ANSWER: Keir Hardie

#5 Where in a horse is the coffin joint?
ANSWER: The foot

#6 Who lost her pocket?
ANSWER: Lucy Locket

#7 Who pricked her finger on a spinning wheel,
then slept for one hundred years?
ANSWER: Sleeping Beauty

#8 Which film star had three names, each with three letters?
ANSWER: Rin Tin Tin

#9 What nationality was the murderer Dr Crippen?
ANSWER: American

#10 What happened in Constantinople in March 1930?
ANSWER: It became Istanbul


Virginia Woolf – illustrated

CSS The Missing Manual

Hyde Park Gate News

Frances Partridge Diaries

Oxford English-French Dictionary

(c) Copyright 2007, MANTEX
All Rights Reserved

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