Saturday, March 27, 2004

Started an account of the talk I chaired at the American Phil. Assoc meeting in Pasadena today, but you don't really want to read that, so, I'll just mention two things the (quite witty, heavy-gauge linguist) commentator on the (somewhat dull, Powerpoint-assisted) paper said, and an anecdote.

1) The sentence "Everyone everyone everyone left left left" is perfectly grammatical, but most speakers would not say so; this illustrated a point about our false beliefs about the language which we in fact use perfectly correctly. (It's hard to parse -- you can maybe hear it if you take it as equivalent to "Everyone whom everyone whom everyone left left left.")

2) "The only different between a dialect and an idiolect is that the other speakers can die."

3) Chatting between talks with Jay Atlas, my old prof. at Pomona, when these non-conference hotel guests just nose right up to him, lift his name-tag thing off his chest, and peer at it. I don't know if the exact question was "What are these?" or "What are you?" -- something like that. Jay answered, bemused but politely -- response, "Well, what are you philosophical about?" Other guy: "Heh, they haven't decided yet." There were about 5 of these guys, waiting for their table at the Pasadena Hilton restaurant -- they all looked like golfers. Fucking rude.

Split after doing my professional duty, decompressed (not that chairing is all that stressful) by having pot roast, plain noodles, and peach cobbler at Beadle's Cafeteria, your basic old-folks place, once in a very prominent location on Colorado Blvd., closed for a few years, opened under the original name in a bank complex a while back. Very comforting -- the food hasn't changed, and there are very few of these places left, let alone in So. Cal. (Clifton's downtown, and a place in the Valley, basically.) Read a bit of the introduction to a Lovecraft paperback I've been carrying around in the trunk for a few weeks, but no further.

(Flashed on The Hollander, a cafeteria with a vaguely Dutch theme, which closed long ago and was for years the only restaurant my paternal grandfather would happily eat at -- he could see what he was getting. I consumed a good deal of Salisbury steak and bread pudding in my pre-teen years.)

I have my doubts about academia, but there's a certain appeal to a line of work that doesn't involve publicists. "Hey Franklin, just checking to see that you'd received the new Hilary Putnam and if you could pitch something to Mind. Give me a shout if you want to set up an interview. The book comes out May 24."

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