February 27, 2006

For the Folks Up North

The weather thingy on my computer is broken again. It says the high for today is 78 and the current temperature is 80.

Posted by Matt Weiner at 03:44 PM | Comments (13)

February 26, 2006

Posting Sure Is Sporadic

Here Allan Hazlett says:

I think when you're a philosopher of language on a rainy day and you're feeling sad, you can always cheer yourself up by noting that English muffins aren't muffins, that French toast isn't toast, and delight in the fact that you are somehow especially suited to find quiet comedy in that fact, because you can explain why 'I had two slices of toast: one French, the other rye' is defective.

Which reminds me: I've been eating a lot of peanut butter and apple butter sandwiches. Can I say "I had a peanut and apple butter sandwich"? I think not. But if it were peanut butter and walnut butter, I could say "I had a peanut and walnut butter sandwich," couldn't I?

Posted by Matt Weiner at 10:03 AM | Comments (22)

February 15, 2006


As of today, I am constitutionally qualified to serve as President of the United States. In case there are a lot of hunting accidents.

I will celebrate by trying to finish a paper for the APA Eastern's obnoxiously early deadline.

UPDATE: And, it turns out, by going out for some BBQ and beer. If I wind up trying to submit the paper after that (but before midnight Eastern!), things my get interesting. You can't read the BBQ stains on the new web submissions, but the beer may be legible.

Coincidentally, I just got in the mail my mom's book and the STEELERS WORLD CHAMPIONS issue of Sports Illustrated. Awesome!

Posted by Matt Weiner at 08:39 AM | Comments (9)

February 14, 2006

Etiquette Tip

When one's associate has shot someone in the face, it is customary to refrain from joking about it in public until the victim has left the hospital.

Posted by Matt Weiner at 07:05 PM | Comments (3)

February 12, 2006

More Biscuits

I was going to follow up the previous post by pointing out that the alleged biscuit disjunction isn't really biscuity, but I got distracted by the following question:

Americans call what British people call 'biscuits' 'cookies'. What do British people call what Americans call 'biscuits'?

That last bit doesn't need to be as convoluted as it is, but I like it that way.

Posted by Matt Weiner at 02:57 PM | Comments (13)

February 10, 2006

Biscuit? Or Not?

For the blogosphere's biscuit conditional fans,* an interesting case from Drum:

The full report is here if you want to pay five bucks for it.

Ordinarily that would be a biscuit conditional. If I say "The full report is in the bookstore if you want to pay five bucks for it," it's a biscuit conditional, because the report is in the bookstore whether or not you want to pay five bucks for it. It's simply that, if you don't want to pay, the information won't be of any use to you.

But in Kevin's case we may not have a biscuit conditional. "Here," after all, is a link in cyberspace; and the full report is in fact not to be found at that link unless you pay five bucks. (For some value of 'at'. Perhaps what I ought to be picking on here is the concept of location in cyberspace and our use of spatial terms to describe it.) So, if you don't want to pay five bucks, we might say that the report won't be there.

Maybe this biscuit/non-biscuit ambiguity indicates that we need some sort of unified account of biscuit and non-biscuit conditionals. Or maybe not. Mostly, I wanted to put it up there for the blogosphere's biscuit conditional fans.

Oh, and Kevin's post is worth reading, too.**

*I am not starting this post "If you like biscuit conditionals...." That would be cheap.

**Nor will I end this post "if you like that sort of thing," because I can't figure out whether that's a biscuit conditional either.

Posted by Matt Weiner at 06:44 PM | Comments (19)

February 06, 2006

Super Bowl!

Steelers are champions!

The officiating was unfortunate, though complaints will be accepted only about certain calls (Roethlisberger got the ball across the plane of the goal line, Jackson pushed off in the end zone, and the idea that the plays should be invalidated because the officials didn't call them immediately is silly). You folks who are trying to kill my buzz with silly complaints, you know who you are.

Posted by Matt Weiner at 12:25 PM | Comments (11)

February 04, 2006

A Visit to the Back Yard

Maybe rolling around in the dirt isn't such a great idea if you clean yourself with your tongue.

In related news, a cat who learns the concept of 'outside' easily picks up the concept of 'yowling to be let outside'.

Posted by Matt Weiner at 04:16 PM | Comments (4)

February 02, 2006

More Evidential

See here (especially Kai von Fintel's comment), here, and here for previous discussion of evidentiallity.

Briefly, an evidential marker is one that indicates what kind of evidence exists for a statement. "Must" appears to be an evidential marker. From Brian's post (ultimately from Kai, I think): If you see someone come in from outside dripping wet, it's OK to say either of these:

(1) It must be raining
(2) It is raining

But if you're standing outside in the rain, (1) seems odd. (Unless perhaps, as argued by Mike in Brian's comments, someone is arguing with you about whether it's raining.) "Must" only seems to work when your evidence for the statement is somehow indirect.

This post is prompted by the following insight, which I bet is not new to me: "Clearly" is evidential in the same way that "must" is. Take (3):

(3) Clearly, it's raining.

When you see someone come in from the rain, (3) is acceptable. When you're out in the rain yourself, it sounds weird. "Obviously" lines up the same, I think. It is perhaps not surprising that these are evidentially marked, since 'clear' and 'obvious' suggest aspects of the arguments that lead up to the conclusion. (Or something like that.)

I also suspect something analogous to Keith DeRose's comments here and here; when standing outside, we wouldn't respond to (3) by saying "It's raining, but it's not clear that it is." (Whereas, if someone inappropriately said, "Surprisingly, it's raining," we might respond "It's raining, but it's not surprising that it is.") So "clearly, it's raining" might be true but carry a false implicature.

Posted by Matt Weiner at 10:00 PM | Comments (5)

February 01, 2006

Important Poetry Lauch, Friday at Princeton Public Library

Arlene Weiner, who occasionally comments here under the name "Matt's Mom," is publishing a book of poems called Escape Velocity. She's going to be reading and signing, along with four other poets, at a launch party to celebrate the release of their five books, on Friday, February 3, at 7 pm, at the Princeton Public Library. (There is a parking garage adjacent to the library.)

More info at http://delawarevalleypoets.com/Raggedskypress.htm.

Mom warns that it's not memoir -- unless vulgar curiosity would lead you to buy it.

Posted by Matt Weiner at 12:50 PM | Comments (2)