FOREVER STAMPS and MARRIAGE

Chip Ellis: “When every penny counts, please remind your readers that they should be buying forever stamps before Monday, May 11 at 42 cents. Otherwise, they will be spending 44 cents for the same First Class mail service (and likely more in later years). Of course you and I need not worry about rushing to the post office or going onto www.usps.com – we bought enough of these forever stamps to last most of our lives when the stamps were initially issued (considering your past history with tuna fish, I know I am confident that you will not be buying stamps for some time). By the way, the Justice who wrote the Iowa marriage opinion was appointed by a Republican Governor.”

☞ I can’t comment on my forever-stamp inventory, for fear of attracting burglars . . . though come to think of it, with email and on-line bill payment, who uses stamps anymore? It’s been forever since I’ve needed one.

As to the marriage opinion, I believe two of the six unanimous votes were cast by Republican-appointed justices. Hats off to them both.

INFINITIVES and ROTH

Christian Svendsgaard: “In many (most?) foreign languages, infinitives are a single word and can’t be split. English uses two words JUST SO that we can split them with a bold adverb.”

Joe Devney: “I’m a professional writer and editor. I was not taught the ‘Never split an infinitive’ rule in grade school. And since then the rule has been thoroughly debunked in editing and linguistics classes I have taken. Its origin is philosophical, and goes back to, as I recall, the seventeenth century. Some scholars at the time saw Latin as the ideal language, and thought that English should be more like Latin. An infinitive in Latin cannot be split because it is a single word. But English does not work like that, and Captain Kirk’s ‘to boldly go’ is perfectly fine. Steven Pinker of Harvard wrote about this issue, broadening it to ‘split verbs.’ He says that Justice Roberts is a stickler for this meaningless rule, and stumbled over President Obama’s oath because couldn’t get himself to say ‘will faithfully execute.’ ”

Bob Felgar: “Split infinitives are a result of the imposition of Latinate syntax on a Germanic language: in Latin, infinitives can’t be split, as in amare (“to love”), but in English of course infinitives have a preposition and a verb and thus can be, so this is a non-issue. Also, is it much of an objection to the Roth conversion that you lose the opportunity forever to invest the money you will owe the IRS?”

☞ No. The true benefit of a Roth IRA is that you are allowed to shelter more each year than with a traditional IRA. The amount is the same, but with a Roth it’s pre-tax money, so it “costs” you more at the outset but has that much more of an after-tax return at the other end. Also: withdrawals from a Roth are more flexible and freer of paperwork.

HEMA

Peter Thibeau: “HEMA is a Dutch department store. The first store opened on November 4, 1926, in Amsterdam. Now there are 150 stores all over the Netherlands. Take a look at HEMA’s product page. You can’t order anything (it’s in Dutch, anyway) but just wait a couple of seconds and watch what happens. Don’t click on any of the item pictures, just wait and see what happens.”

FAVICON

David Plumb: “Great Favicon!”

☞ I didn’t even know what a favicon was, or that I lacked one, until one of you – Gary Diehl – kindly told me, designed one for me, and told me how to stick it onto your computer screen.

 

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