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By Michael Pakenham | December 28, 2003
The Devil's Dictionary, by Ambrose Bierce. 192 pages. $15.95. Compiling years of lines from columns he wrote for the Hearst newspapers, Bierce -- one of the extraordinary characters of 19th-century American literature -- published the first edition of The Devil's Dictionary in 1906. It covered the letters A through L. By 1911 he completed the alphabet, and subsequent editions have been adored and detested, heaped with praise and damned for cynicism. This newest edition is gloriously illustrated by Ralph Steadman.
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By John E. McIntyre and The Baltimore Sun | May 16, 2014
Editors are properly suspicions of neologisms, vogue terms, jargon, and slang. Holding back and waiting to see whether they have more of a life span than a mayfly is a perfectly reasonable editorial judgment. But when the battle is lost, there is little point in a rear-guard action.  We see from Ammon Shea's Bad English  and Jan Freeman's analysis of Ambrose Bierce's Write It Right , among others, how pointless, and ultimately ludicrous, fossilized prohibitions can be. To illustrate further, I offer some examples from my own time in the paragraph game.
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NEWS
August 24, 1997
School days, I believe, are the unhappiest in the whole span of human existence. They are full of dull, unintelligible tasks, new and unpleasant ordinances, brutal violations of common sense and common decency.- H.L. Mencken"Travails," The Evening SunEducation, n.: That which discloses to the wise and disguises to the foolish, their lack of understanding.- Ambrose Bierce"The Devil's Dictionary."Soap and education are not as sudden as massacre, but they are often more deadly in the long run.- Mark Twain"Sketches New and Old"What does education often do?
NEWS
By John McIntyre and The Baltimore Sun | October 31, 2013
[This is the post I intended to publish yesterday. I apologize for shooting a blank.] My estimable colleague Gary Kirchherr encouraged me the other day not to let up in my campaign against excrescences in the Associated Press Stylebook , and so, at the risk of boring you with what you have seen before, I press ahead. This time, and in a series of posts to come, I will experiment with sweet reason rather than hectoring.  One of the most venerable usage superstitions in America newspaper journalism, and it appears to be limited to American newspaper journalism,* is the belief that over  must only be used to indication spatial relationships, that it is illegitimate to use it in the sense of more than .  This is pure and undiluted codswallop.
NEWS
By GRETORY KANE | August 10, 1996
I confess. I admit what many readers have claimed for a long time: I need help.Not the psychiatric kind (at least not yet). The literary kind. I can't, for the life of me, decide if I like the writings of Mark Twain or Ambrose Bierce better. So I've decided to wuss out and let you readers decide for me. I'll leave it to you. I'll go along with whatever vote you cast. I'll even give you a sampling of each writer's works, along with an introduction. So here goes.In this corner, weighing in with such works as "The Prince and the Pauper," "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer," "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court" and what many consider to be the Great American Novel, "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" -- Mark Twain!
NEWS
By John McIntyre and The Baltimore Sun | October 31, 2013
[This is the post I intended to publish yesterday. I apologize for shooting a blank.] My estimable colleague Gary Kirchherr encouraged me the other day not to let up in my campaign against excrescences in the Associated Press Stylebook , and so, at the risk of boring you with what you have seen before, I press ahead. This time, and in a series of posts to come, I will experiment with sweet reason rather than hectoring.  One of the most venerable usage superstitions in America newspaper journalism, and it appears to be limited to American newspaper journalism,* is the belief that over  must only be used to indication spatial relationships, that it is illegitimate to use it in the sense of more than .  This is pure and undiluted codswallop.
NEWS
By John E. McIntyre and The Baltimore Sun | May 16, 2014
Editors are properly suspicions of neologisms, vogue terms, jargon, and slang. Holding back and waiting to see whether they have more of a life span than a mayfly is a perfectly reasonable editorial judgment. But when the battle is lost, there is little point in a rear-guard action.  We see from Ammon Shea's Bad English  and Jan Freeman's analysis of Ambrose Bierce's Write It Right , among others, how pointless, and ultimately ludicrous, fossilized prohibitions can be. To illustrate further, I offer some examples from my own time in the paragraph game.
NEWS
By GREGORY KANE | July 27, 1997
Sometimes folks have to face ugly, nasty truths about themselves.In today's America, blacks have to face the fact that not all our ills are caused by white racism. Whites have to confront the truth that white racism does indeed still exist, contrary to the notion that it has abated. If the absence of white racism were measured on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 representing the least amount of racism, then a reading of history will reveal whites have moved from minus 10 to zero. In short, they have nothing to brag about.
NEWS
By GREGORY KANE | July 4, 1998
SALLY FORTH today, my fellow Americans, and celebrate the Fourth of July. As you do, you might want to think about some of your favorite Americans. I've composed a list of the 10 Americans whose lives fascinate me most, whose lives I'd like to know more about and who were characterized by their own brand of grit and moxie.Perhaps you can send me yours.1. Frederick Douglass -- He determined as a boy that, although a slave, he would learn to read and write. He punched out a slave-breaker at 16, escaped slavery at 20 and became an abolitionist, author and orator.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Stephen R. Proctor and By Stephen R. Proctor,Sun Staff | June 9, 2002
H. L. Mencken on American Literature, edited by S. T. Joshi. Ohio University Press. 233 pages. $44.95. Early in the 20th century, when America was giving birth to its own literature, H.L. Mencken was the midwife. As the nation's preeminent book critic, he railed against empty-headed and hidebound novels while championing writing that was gritty and authentic. His reviews, the fierce and the fawning, helped American literature find a distinctive voice by proclaiming that it was Mark Twain who showed the way and rallying behind writers who carried his torch forward -- from Theodore Dreiser to F. Scott Fitzgerald.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Michael Pakenham | December 28, 2003
The Devil's Dictionary, by Ambrose Bierce. 192 pages. $15.95. Compiling years of lines from columns he wrote for the Hearst newspapers, Bierce -- one of the extraordinary characters of 19th-century American literature -- published the first edition of The Devil's Dictionary in 1906. It covered the letters A through L. By 1911 he completed the alphabet, and subsequent editions have been adored and detested, heaped with praise and damned for cynicism. This newest edition is gloriously illustrated by Ralph Steadman.
ENTERTAINMENT
By Stephen R. Proctor and By Stephen R. Proctor,Sun Staff | June 9, 2002
H. L. Mencken on American Literature, edited by S. T. Joshi. Ohio University Press. 233 pages. $44.95. Early in the 20th century, when America was giving birth to its own literature, H.L. Mencken was the midwife. As the nation's preeminent book critic, he railed against empty-headed and hidebound novels while championing writing that was gritty and authentic. His reviews, the fierce and the fawning, helped American literature find a distinctive voice by proclaiming that it was Mark Twain who showed the way and rallying behind writers who carried his torch forward -- from Theodore Dreiser to F. Scott Fitzgerald.
NEWS
By GREGORY KANE | July 4, 1998
SALLY FORTH today, my fellow Americans, and celebrate the Fourth of July. As you do, you might want to think about some of your favorite Americans. I've composed a list of the 10 Americans whose lives fascinate me most, whose lives I'd like to know more about and who were characterized by their own brand of grit and moxie.Perhaps you can send me yours.1. Frederick Douglass -- He determined as a boy that, although a slave, he would learn to read and write. He punched out a slave-breaker at 16, escaped slavery at 20 and became an abolitionist, author and orator.
NEWS
August 24, 1997
School days, I believe, are the unhappiest in the whole span of human existence. They are full of dull, unintelligible tasks, new and unpleasant ordinances, brutal violations of common sense and common decency.- H.L. Mencken"Travails," The Evening SunEducation, n.: That which discloses to the wise and disguises to the foolish, their lack of understanding.- Ambrose Bierce"The Devil's Dictionary."Soap and education are not as sudden as massacre, but they are often more deadly in the long run.- Mark Twain"Sketches New and Old"What does education often do?
NEWS
By GREGORY KANE | July 27, 1997
Sometimes folks have to face ugly, nasty truths about themselves.In today's America, blacks have to face the fact that not all our ills are caused by white racism. Whites have to confront the truth that white racism does indeed still exist, contrary to the notion that it has abated. If the absence of white racism were measured on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 representing the least amount of racism, then a reading of history will reveal whites have moved from minus 10 to zero. In short, they have nothing to brag about.
NEWS
By GRETORY KANE | August 10, 1996
I confess. I admit what many readers have claimed for a long time: I need help.Not the psychiatric kind (at least not yet). The literary kind. I can't, for the life of me, decide if I like the writings of Mark Twain or Ambrose Bierce better. So I've decided to wuss out and let you readers decide for me. I'll leave it to you. I'll go along with whatever vote you cast. I'll even give you a sampling of each writer's works, along with an introduction. So here goes.In this corner, weighing in with such works as "The Prince and the Pauper," "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer," "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court" and what many consider to be the Great American Novel, "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" -- Mark Twain!
NEWS
By John E. McIntyre and The Baltimore Sun | June 4, 2013
Each week The Sun's John McIntyre presents a relatively obscure but evocative word with which you may not be familiar, another brick to add to the wall of your working vocabulary. This week's word: PLEBISCITE Last year in Maryland, petition drives succeeded in putting on the ballot proposals to repeal laws passed by the General Assembly, including legalization of same-sex marriage. The repeal efforts failed. This year, efforts to reverse the abolition of the death penalty and restrictions on firearms failed to garner enough signatures to get repeals on the ballot.
SPORTS
By Alexander E. Hooke | May 13, 2010
Corporation , n. An ingenious device for obtaining individual profit without individual responsibility. — Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary Big-time car racing, now among the most popular spectator sports, is coming to Baltimore. If local officials and business leaders have their way, a Grand Prix event will be held in the city as early as August 2011. It is expected to draw more than 100,000 visitors to the city for a long weekend, bringing in hundreds of millions of dollars.
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