Thursday, November 30, 2006

Odd Third Choices

My favorite cola is neither Coke nor Pepsi, but RC.

My favorite browser is neither Internet Explorer nor Firefox, but Opera.

My favorite beer is neither Budweiser nor Miller, but Point Special.

My favorite operating system is neither Windows XP nor Mac OS X, but Linux.

On the radio I prefer to listen neither to AM nor to FM, but rather to shortwave.

I prefer to write neither with ballpoint nor with pencil, but rather with a fountain pen.

Given my choice of board games, I'd prefer neither chess nor checkers, but rather shogi.

Toss a coin, and I'm likely to call neither heads nor tails, but rims (let's not get into the one time in high school when a friend tossed a nickel in the air, and I called rims correctly)...

It's a consistent thread running through my life: given two choices, I often prefer some obscure, unheard of, far-distant third choice. The only wonder is, I don't vote Libertarian.


Blogger The Tetrast said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Thursday, November 30, 2006 2:54:00 PM  
Blogger The Tetrast said...

My favorite Dr. Seuss book was On Beyond Zebra with all those weird extra letters of the alphabet. Over the years, I learned of authentic extra letters -- thorn, eth, yogh, and wynn -- in earlier English alphabets, letters which have been dropped, though you'll still find eth, thorn, and yogh in the OED (I can't remember about wynn). Eth and thorn appear in Icelandic, so they are in all the common fonts. I've long thought that it would be nice to bring back eth and thorn. Thorn comes from a rune -- bring it back! Old & Middle English used eth and thorn pretty much interchangeably for the voiced & unvoiced "th" sounds. The practice in modern renditions is to use eth for the voiced "th" and thorn for the unvoiced "th." Those are also the standard values in Icelandic. Of course now in Wikipedia you can look up one or another article devoted to each of the extra letters.

Iceland! Now there's a mid-Atlantic-ridge-perched little country, a third option, a bit weird and extra.

Þ (html: Þ) upper-case thorn.
þ (html: þ) lower-case thorn.
Ð (html: Ð) Icelandic upper-case eth.
ð (html: ð) Icelandic lower-case & English upper- & lower-case eth.

Online I always use the codes (instead of pasting the characters themselves from Character Map or whatever) so that it doesn't matter what encoding system the viewer's browser happens to be using.

An imaginary touch of collateral experience wið a return of eð and Þorn:
Aquinas's þrees:
- Transcendentals of being: unity, truþ, goodness.
- Requisites of beauty: wholeness, harmony, radiance.
Zukofsky's aesthetic terms: form, rhyðm, style (style in literary sense: texture, design, colorousness)

Thursday, November 30, 2006 3:03:00 PM  
Blogger The Tetrast said...

I won't remove TWO posts in a row. I should have written "a return of eð and þorn:" instead of "...Þorn:"

Thursday, November 30, 2006 3:06:00 PM  
Blogger Paul Burgess said...

Hmmmm... back in first grade, a friend of mine and I came up with a 27th letter of the alphabet. The letter was called "key," it was silent, it was supposed to come at the end of certain words.

This 27th letter was one of the first manifestations of what grew into my "radioactive core meltdown of the imagination"...

"Which letter will you take, A or Z?" —"Neither, I'll take the letter 'key'!"

Thursday, November 30, 2006 4:58:00 PM  

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