Once upon a time, two queens reigned over the land of HomeEcistan: one the hooting, shambling, messy Queen of Light,
who demystified the art of French cooking for the home cook, and one the icy Queen of Darkness, who made the simplest of domestic tasks into an impossible, fetishistic, bonsai-pruning nightmare.
A little advice for the Bush administration: Don't lie to us. That's the one thing, guaranteed, that will bite you in your golf-pants– and Sansabelt-clad behinds. The American public really hates a prevaricator. While we know that thing about George Washington and the cherry tree isn't strictly true, that's a lie about lying that we like, a little piece of apocryphal mythology that, you know, holds up the illusion of a transparent and inclusive democracy.
The past subjunctive "if clause" structure -- mournful, a study in sepia, the fate of the main clause held hostage by an impossible conditional, its hope tethered to a sinking stone. "If I were a rich man…" runs one famous example, "All day long I'd biddy biddy bum." (And who wouldn't?) The problem is, "you use the subjunctive," The American Heritage Book of English Usage says, "to describe an occurrence that you have presupposed to be contrary to fact." The statement "If I were a rich man" tells us that the speaker is, lamentably, not rich.
Is she or isn't she? That is the question stalking Meryl Streep's portrayal of a power-mad senator in The Manchurian Candidate. Is the actress pulling a Hillary or what? In June, Matt Drudge fanned the rumors prior to the film's release, linking to a blogger who claimed that Paramount Pictures had found Streep's “brilliantly scary and evil” rendering of her character too close to Clinton for comfort. As a result, claimed the blogger, the studio had asked director Jonathan Demme to re-edit the film to remove the “more Hillary-esque gestures.”