Atheists Unplugged

The publisher of The Atheist’s Bible: An illustrious collection of irreverent thoughts should have taken Mark Twain’s advice: When you catch an adjective, kill it. The word illustrious adds nothing to the subtitle. See Ben Yagoda’s When You Catch an Adjective, Kill It: The Parts of Speech, for Better and/or Worse. Actually, the entire subtitle is unnecessary. The Atheist’s Bible—nice and clean.

I was perusing The Atheist’s Bible at Starbucks and a passerby, with a look that he had discovered something sinister, interrupted me. Isn’t that—Atheist’s Bible—an oxymoron? he asked. I nodded yes, remembering the quote, “The total absence of humor from the Bible is one of the most singular things in all literature.”

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Page Fright: Writers do it everywhere

I’m left-handed and writing with a pen almost always ends up being a messy affair. In the West, we write left to right, making my left hand drag the ink along and smudge the page. Even with a pencil, my hand tends to cramp as a left-handed person must write inward across the page. I’ve often envied right-handed people who can gracefully write outward across the page like a violinist with his bow extended to caress the sweet high and low notes.

The computer is an equal-opportunity instrument, though I imagine if I researched the origins of the QWERTY keyboard, I’d find it was designed not only for the slowness of mechanical typewriters, but also for the prominent right-handed population. Even though I prefer writing my first draft in longhand, I often start on the computer.

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