George Will and Armor Against Evidence

His motives are frightening because they are pure: He has the scary sincerity of the unhinged whose delusions armor them against evidence.

Will, George. “Opinion | Why Mastriano’s candidacy presents a special danger to the nation.” The Washington Post. September 23, 2022. Accessed September 30, 2022.

Ahab and a Post-Decapitation Whale Head

“Speak, thou vast and venerable head,” muttered Ahab, “which, though ungarnished with a beard, yet here and there lookest hoary with mosses; speak, mighty head, and tell us the secret thing that is in thee. Of all divers, thou has dived the deepest. That head upon which the upper sun now gleams has moved amid the world’s foundations. Where unrecorded names and navies rust, and untold hopes and anchors rot; where in her murderous hold this frigate earth is ballasted with bones of millions of the drowned; there, in that awful water-land, there was thy most familiar home. Thou hast been where bell or diver never went; has slept by many a sailer’s side, where sleepless mothers would give their lives to lay them down. Thou saw’st the locked lovers when leaping from their flaming ship; heart to heart they sank beneath the exulting wave; true to each other, when heaven seemed false to them. Thou saw’st the murdered mate when tossed by pirates from the midnight deck; for hours he fell into the deeper midnight of the insatiate maw; and his murderers still sailed on unharmed — while swift lightnings shivered the neighboring ship that would have borne a righteous husband to outstretched, longing arms. O head! thou has seen enough to split the planets and make an infidel of Abraham, and not one syllable is thine!”

Melville, Herman, and Mead Schaeffer. Moby Dick. New York, Dodd, Mead and company, 1922. Pdf.

Ult, Inst, and Prox

Ultimo, Instant, and Proximo:

Ultimo means last month. Together with instant (the current month) and proximo (next month) it’s an example of an outdated commercial language.

Few businessmen would today begin a letter “With reference to yours of the 14th ultimo”, or “yours of the 23rd instant”, or “Please attend this office for interview on the 11th proximo”, but it was once standard and taught in the best books.

Ultimo | World Wide Words

Open Casket Job

Funny wording:

Whoever he was, he was dead now, and it turned out he probably wouldn’t have been an open casket job even if he’d reached his natural expiration date. In fact, looking at him, he’d clearly been in the process of hurrying that along.

Lisa McInerney. The glorious heresies (New York: Tim Duggan Books, 2015), 35.