Saturday, November 24, 2007

First Snow

The warm weather of the first part of the week is a thing of the past. I woke up this morning to see the ground covered with snow! This is always a welcome development, as snow tends to clean the air, helping my allergy situation.

Another increase today in my weekly overall score at Up to 16,137, good for 6th place. In the specific categories, general wisdom is at 3170, for 17th place, history at 3840, for 12th place, and sports at 3718, good for first place in that category.


Today's rhetorical device: chiasmus

Chiasmus is a reversal in the order of words in two otherwise parallel phrases. This is the definition used by Dr. Mardy Grothe, who has a good website,, devoted to this delightful literary device. One can sign up there to get a weekly email from Dr. Grothe which always contains many juicy nuggets of chiasmus, oxymoronica, et al.

An example of chiasmus is the title of Dr. Grothe's book, "never let a fool kiss you or a kiss fool you". Another example is from Samuel Johnson, who famously returned a manuscript to a would-be writer with the comment: "Your manuscript is both good and original; but the part that is good is not original, and the part that is original is not good." This one is from Peter De Vries: "The value of marriage is not that adults produce children, but that children produce adults."

Of special interest is implied chiasmus, where one of the two phrases is so well-known that it can remain unsaid. An example is "Time wounds all heels."

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