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TIL Tuesday


The Internet machine and I have a love-hate relationship. I love it because I learn so many new things through it that I would never learn otherwise. I hate it because I spend all my time searching through it looking for new and interesting things (read: I’m on Reddit) instead of writing my own stuff. What can I say? I just got out of college. It’s basically illegal to have gone through college without acquiring a solid Internet addiction (no it’s not). I’ve been better about limiting my surfing recently, but because my weening myself off of my favorite vice is a slow and tiresome process, every week I’m going to post something relevant (read: not a funny animal gif. I save those for serious posts.) that I’ve learned from the Internet machine that I found interesting/exciting/cool that I feel more people should know about in my weekly TIL (Today I Learned) Tuesday post.

So for this Tuesday, TIL that:

  • David Sedaris’ essay “C.O.G.” has been made into a movie.
  • Elmore Leonard has died at age 87.
  • Tyromancy, snoutfair, and groak used to be actual words in the English language.

First up, C.O.G. I personally have no idea how I missed this coverage earlier this year (I’m going to blame my thesis, that’s usually why I missed out on things in the beginning half of this year), but apparently the David Sedaris essay has been adapted to the big screen and has already debuted at Sundance. Directed and written by Kyle Patrick Alvarez, the film stars Jonathan Groff (“Glee,” “The Conspirator”) as a self-righteous young man who goes to work at an apple orchard in Oregon in order to “get his hands dirty” and in the process becomes involved with a “Children of God” (C.O.G., get it?) group that makes him re-evaluate the way he’s been living his life and his skepticism about religion. Based off of the essay published in the 1997 collection Naked, this will be the first ever film adaptation of Sedaris’ work and co-stars Corey Stoll (“House of Cards”), Troian Bellisario (“Pretty Little Liars”), and Denis O’Hare.

I personally am very excited about this. I’ve loved David Sedaris for years now, ever since my mentor assigned us “You Can’t Kill the Rooster” from Me Talk Pretty One Day to read for workshop (which, by the way, you *have* to read if you haven’t already. It’s one of the most phenomenal essays I’ve ever read), so I’m stoked to see how one of his works will fair after adaptation. It doesn’t look too promising yet: IMDB has critics and users rating C.O.G. at a less-than-ideal 4.3 out of 10 stars. But I make a habit of forming my own opinions about things (Rotten Tomatoes panned Bunraku and gave it 19%, and Bunraku is one of the best movies to come out in the last decade), and the trailer, which was just released late last week, looks promising, so I’m still going to be checking it out when it hits theaters September 20.

On a much more sombre note, legendary crime novelist Elmore Leonard died today after suffering a stroke at the age of 87. In case that name doesn’t ring a bell, Elmore Leonard was the man responsible for 45 novels including Get Shorty3:10 to Yuma, Rum Punch, Freaky Deaky, and Hombre If those names sound familiar, that’s because many were adapted into highly successful movies (with Rum Punch being adapted into Jackie Brown by Quentin Tarantino); additionally, his character US Marshal Raylan Givens is the inspiration for the hit FX show Justified.

Back in 2001 Leonard published his “Ten Rules for Writing” in the New York Times, which are rules that every writer and aspiring writer should take note of. Simplified, they are:

  1. Never open a book with weather.
  2. Avoid prologues.
  3. Never use a verb other than “said” to carry dialogue.
  4. Never use an adverb to modify the verb “said” … he admonished gravely.
  5. Keep your exclamation points under control. You are allowed no more than two or three per 100,000 words of prose.
  6. Never use the words “suddenly” or “all hell broke loose.”
  7. Use regional dialect, patois, sparingly.
  8. Avoid detailed descriptions of characters.
  9. Don’t go into great detail describing places and things.
  10. Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip.

You will be missed, Elmore Leonard.

Elmore Leonard in 1983

And lastly, because I don’t like ending a post on a sad note unless it’s completely unavoidable, a fellow graduate student at USC’s MPW program posted this outstanding article in a student and alumni Facebook group this afternoon. Entitled “18 obsolete words, which never should have gone out of style” on Death and Taxes magazine, the article lists (you guessed it) 18 obscure words and phrases that were once in everyday (or at least, semi-regular) usage that we really, *really* need to get back to using. Highlights include:

  • With squirrel: To be pregnant
  • Tyromancy: Divining by the coagulation of cheese.
  • Lunting: Walking while smoking a pipe. (Fun fact: I knew this one already…which is a little depressing…but only a little.)
  • Groak: To silently watch someone while they are eating, hoping to be invited to join them.
  • Snoutfair: A person with a handsome countenance. (Or Miss Piggy.)

Be sure to check out the article to see what the other 12 words are. Bonus points if you can say each of the 18 words listed in a sentence today.


That’s all for this week’s TIL Tuesday, hope you learned something too! Now I’m off to go groak my family members until they give you some dinner.


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