We’re halfway through October… have you entered eNotes’ competition to win a Kindle Fire yet? It’s easy:
- Visit our Facebook page and “like” us (you like me, you really really like me!)
- Post a picture on our wall of your pet (or somebody’s pet) reading a classic
- Congratulations, you’ve automatically been entered to win a Kindle Fire! (Alright, so this isn’t technically a step but I feel bound to the rule of threes. Don’t judge.)
Need an example? Check out Bubba chilling with Gatz below:
It’s not too late. Enter today!
Attention, grammarphiles: today is National Punctuation Day!
Commemorated every September 24th, National Punctuation Day is the only holiday in existence to celebrate the wonderful, squiggly world of punctuation marks. In a world where punctuation is rapidly in decline, thanks to texting and trendy writers (ahem, ee cummings and James Frey), this day serves to remind us that “a semicolon is not a surgical procedure,” nor is an ellipsis the moment “when the moon moves in front of the sun.”
Wondering how you can mark this happy day? Unfortunately, NPD isn’t a public holiday (yet). However, there are a few of ways to show your appreciation for all things punctuation-y.
The organizers behind National Punctuation Day hold an annual competition. This year, in honor of the 2012 presidential election, they ask their constituents to elect one punctuation mark as president:
The rules: Write one paragraph with a maximum of three sentences using the following 13 punctuation marks to explain which should be “presidential,” and why: apostrophe, brackets, colon, comma, dash, ellipsis, exclamation point, hyphen, parentheses, period, question mark, quotation mark, and semicolon. You may use a punctuation mark more than once, and there is no word limit. Multiple entries are permitted.
So much for my dark horse vote for the interpunct. Its uses are gravely underrated, if you ask me. Cast your ballot for one of the other hopefuls by visiting the National Punctuation Day website and submitting your thoughts.
The New Yorker‘s Questioningly column is also partnering with NPD for its latest competition. In its post “Punctuation Nation,” Questioningly asks its readers to devise a brand new punctuation mark. The constraints are that it must be made from a combination of two already existing punctuation marks, like the interrobang, for instance (?! or sometimes ‽). The column suggests,
maybe there should be a ,? mark, which indicates slowness and confusion, or a /\, which indicates disingenuous differentiation between two otherwise similar elements. (What?!) Anyway, you get it.
To enter, tweet your suggestion, followed by the hashtag #tnyquestion. You can view all of the current submissions to the contest here.
And if both of those competitions fail you, what else is there to do but sulk at home and bake food in the shape of punctuation marks, right? Yup, National Punctuation Day has a recipe for that.
Haven’t had your fill yet? What a punc you are. This puzzle should set you straight…
Insert the proper punctuation in this sentence necessary to make it correct:
James while John had had had had had had had had had had had a better effect on the teacher
Got it yet? Check your answer here. (No peeking!)
Every week in a competition of wits The New Yorker asks a question of the Twitter-verse. Its most recent contest asked followers to reply to the question, “What’s the worst job in literature?“
Although James Joyce’s proofreader appeared several times in the list, most tweeters stuck to the fictional theme. In the end the job The NY found worse than Hamlet’s motivational coach and Jay Gatsby’s poolboy was the winning entry “Narcissus’ girlfriend.” There were, however, so many gems within the bunch that we had to round up a Top Ten for you.
Think your job’s unbearable? Check out the hilarious responses below:
1. Captain Hook’s harpsichord key repairman
2. The reception committee for Godot
3. The chiropractor of Notre-Dame
4. Gregor Samsa’s exterminator
5. Public relations for Lisbeth Salander
6. Richard III’s physiotherapist
7. Hester Prynne’s stylist
8. Huck Finn’s elocutionist
9. Ophelia’s swim instructor
10. Oedipus’s shrink. Or ophthalmologist.
“Portrait of Sylvia Von Harden” remake by Stephan Hoffman & SoYeon Kim
“Portrait of Sylvia Von Harden” by Wilhelm Heinrich Otto Dix
Lest we think we, as “modern” people came up with performance art, here is an idea that is older than our country: the art of Tableaux Vivants.
The Oxford English Dictionary defines “tableaux vivants” as a “representation of a person, character, scene, incident, etc., of a well-known painting or statue by one person or a group of persons in suitable costumes or attitudes, silent and motionless.” Such playful, yet at times, serious, art has been around since at least the mid-18th century. The Italian actor Carlo Bertinazzi performed the “The Village Betrothal in Los Noces d’Arlequin” by Jean-Baptist Grueze for the court at the Palace of Versailles in 1760.
Tableaux vivant “actors” tried to mimic costume, lighting, and theme in order to delight, educate, and inform. These “living paintings” were very popular in the early 19th century when the re-creations were moved from lofty venues like palaces to more humble ones, such as the parlors of affluent Americans. Godey’s Lady’s Book, arguably the most popular and influential magazine of its time, described tableaux vivant as one of the most popular of party activities which also served to “engender a love and appreciation for art.”
Today, actors and artists still seek to create in form what visual artists put to paper. In April, the Adobe corporation challenged students in the UK to create their own tableaux vivant and vie for a 10,000 pound prize. An American website called “Booooom” wanted to participate in the project and asked Adobe for permission to adopt the idea (though not the prize). Adobe agreed.
Here are just a few of the stunning photographic tableaux vivants. What is truly delightful is the way in which many of the artists do not create a literal homage to the original work, but nevertheless embody its spirit.
“Self Portrait 1889″ remake by Seth Johnson
“Self Portrait 1889″ by Vincent van Gogh
“Automata” remake by Or Eitan
“Automata” by Edward Hopper
“Narcissus” remake by Max Zerrahn
“Narcissus” by Caravaggio