I'm Greg Warnusz of Saint Louis, Missouri, USA, author of the Lector's Notes elsewhere on this site, and of the papers at the links below.

I welcome your comments; click here to address email to me.

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Links to papers I have written

While serving as a chaplain at Saint Mary's Health Center in Saint Louis, I wrote this.
  • First Steps in Ministry to the Grieving
    When it comes to helping people coping with the pain of mourning, experience and book learning taught me to leave behind some common-sense approaches. This paper details what I found to help most. I wrote it for the clergy, but any sensitive person can benefit from it. The last long paragraph represents the peak of my theological development in the 1980's.
While in the Master of Liberal Arts program at Washington University, I wrote these papers.
  • This Execrable Commerce: Thomas Jefferson and Slavery
    The paper begins with a discussion of the paragraph about slavery which Congress suppressed from Jefferson's original draft of the Declaration of Independence. Then it goes into Jefferson's lifetime of words and acts dealing with American slavery. The paper is dated by now, but it's a good overview with valuable bibliographic references.

  • The Newest Communitarians
    Recently surveyed young Americans said they'd insist on a jury trial if accused of a crime. The same citizens confessed to conniving to get out of jury duty. This finding, and other anomalies of contemporary democracy, helped kick off a movement that promotes both rights and responsibilities. In 2004, I was amused to find a link to my largely pro-communitarian paper on the website of the Anti-Communitarian League.

  • Concerning Things Revolutionary
    Conventional wisdom holds that Copernicus (1473-1543) faced fierce religious opposition for his view that the earth is not the center of the universe. But many movements in medieval philosophy and theology actually, if unintentionally, laid the groundwork for the Copernican revolution. This paper, drawing heavily on the work of 20th-century German philosopher Hans Blumenberg, shows how.

  • The Struggle for Inclusive Schools
    How should the nation's schools serve children who require special services? Dozens of questions hotly debated, and positions held with great passion and some science, comprise this survey paper.

Greg recommends:

  • Need a Realtor in Tucson? Arthur Darton gave my elderly aunt honest, caring service, even when it was clear she was not about to sell her home. I think he'll do right by anyone else buying or selling property in southern Arizona. Arthur and his wife, Corrine Forti, work for Premier Realty, a RE/MAX office, at 7090 N. Oracle Road, Suite 160, Tucson, AZ 85704. Phone 520-299-2256 or 800-TUCSON-8. Their fax number is 520-299-2250. Click here to send email to Art or Corrine.
  • The Underground Railroad historic tour in Alton, Illinois The version we took lasts about 6 hours, including lunch, on a Saturday and requires advance reservations. It's most informative and thorough. Here's more information.
  • Tom Wolfe's relatively new novel, A Man in Full, and, for good measure, his not so new novel, Bonfire of the Vanities.
  • The Saint Louis Harmony Chorus. Our neighbor Barb Settlemoir is a lead (i.e., second soprano) singer in this 90-member women's barbershop group. At her invitation, Peg and I took in their recent concert and they were great!. Here's a link to their web site, where you can find their calendar of future performances.
  • The book The Gifts of the Jews, by Thomas Cahill. Here's a publisher's blurb and an excerpt. I call this book "The Bible Without the Begats;" I wish I had read it before starting Scripture studies in school. Look for an adult education opportunity using this book, coming soon to a Saint Jerome Parish near you.
  • The book Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison, 1952.
  • The book The Moral Animal: Evolutionary Psychology and Everyday Life, by Robert Wright (b. 1957). New York: Pantheon Books, 1994.
  • The book How the Irish Saved Civilization, by Thomas Cahill. New York: Doubleday, 1995.
  • The movies Life is Beautiful and The Sixth Sense
  • Las Palmas Mexican restaurant, 4030 Woodson Road (just south of Lambert Airport), Saint Louis. Phone 314-427-7177.
  • The Choir at Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church, Bellefontaine Neighbors, MO. The choir serves at 8:30 or 10:30 every Sunday. The church is at 10235 Ashbrook, roughly at the center of the rectangle formed by I-270, Lewis & Clark Blvd (Missouri highway 367), Chambers Road and Bellefontaine Road. In the interest of full disclosure, know that the author of these pages is a member of the church and the choir.
  • The Deacon, a short story by Mary Gordon, in the May, 1999 issue of The Atlantic Monthly
  • The Great Disruption, Human Nature and the Reconstitution of Social Order, an article by Francis Fukuyama, thoughtful and provocative, about how modern society got the way we got. Recommended for the reader more ambitious than casual. It's also from the May, 1999, issue of The Atlantic Monthly.
  • This photograph long a favorite of my friends (in .jpg form, about 75 kilobytes).

Among the New Verbs

I wince when I hear someone use a noun as if it were a verb. If you share this pet peeve, prepare to wince some more at this collection of verbed nouns.

  • More from the brilliant creator of the above cartoon.

  • Michael Blick of Thornton, Colorado, USA, wrote in June, 2012, grousing: "To 'surveil', verb transitive, meaning, presumably, 'to conduct surveillance'. 'Surveil' was never a word until it began appearing in mystery and thriller novels in the 70's. It was coined by authors who didn't have the imagination to figure out how to say 'conduct surveillance' in any other way." Thank you, Mike, for the etymology, if we can dignify it with that term.
  • "Big-banged into existence by Irna Phillips, the mother of the soap opera, the world of Oakdale, Illinois, has floated parallel to our own since 1956, full of remarkable preoccupations and omissions." That's from an article about As the World Turns in The Atlantic [Monthly] of September, 2010.
  • On NPR's program Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me, August 7, 2010, when asked what the world's billionaires will do next, Faith Salie said "The billionaires will cabal in a hostile takeover of NPR, making totebags and mugs a thing of the past, and creating shows like Wait, Wait, Don't Tax Me." Granted, an online dictionary says it's an intransitive verb dating from 1678, it just sounds like so many other recent stupid coinages that I have to lament it here.
  • From a Morning Edition (NPR) story, December 21, 2009, about media companies "booking" interviews with disgraced celebrities who seek to return to public favor: "Former media booker Jessica Sterwart: 'Who is their audience? Who do they want to mea culpa to? ... Do they want to mea culpa to women? Then they go to Oprah.'"
  • From a Weekend Edition Saturday (NPR) story, October 10, 2009, about an immigrant to the U.S.: "A bloody civil war pushed his parents north [from El Salvador] to the U.S. When he was 10, he crossed the border, too, -- sardined into a secret compartment underneath the trunk of a car with his aunt and uncle."
  • In an article in the playbill for a 2004 Saint Louis production of Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest, Brad Williams wrote of what Wilde did to the conventions of Victorian society, "His talent enabled him to counter them, disarm them, and in the end, to virtually epigram them from existence."
    Tell me by email how you think a Wilde character would have mocked that mal mot and I'll post your witticism here.
  • In a 2003 web article about the security of the U.S. electric power grid, Kevin Poulsen writes, "A not-for-profit group that umbrellas electric utilities in the U.S. and Canada, NERC formed in the wake of the catastrophic 1965 blackout that knocked-out power to 30 million people in the northeastern United States."
  • Former presidential advisor Vernon Jordan, on NPR's Morning Edition of October 22, 2001, told how he explained to an early employer why he could read, "But I can read, Mr. Maddux, because I'm colleged."
  • Andrew Kuchins, Russia expert with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, on what the President of Russia is thinking about fighting terrorism and permitting changes in the ABM treaty, as of November 2, 2001: "I think that Mr. Putin has moved closer to the position that it's important for the Russian Federation to cooperate, in effect to bandwagon, together with the United States." NPR's Morning Edition.
  • Tunku Vardarajan, deputy editorial features editor of the Wall Street Journal, said of a piece he wrote criticizing Rupert Murdoch, "The piece I wrote had to be lawyered ... he has a very good team of lawyers and you don't want to run into them." June 26, 2001, quoted at inside.com. Well, for a vigorous enough critic of Murdoch, I can forgive a verbed noun.
  • Three quickies. All broadcast recently on the radio, they went by too fast for me to document
    • "... to sunroof ..." heard in an auto insurance commercial
    • "... where to headquarter ..." on CNN Radio News
    • "They overnighted it to me." Rudy Maxxa, the Savvy Traveler of Public Radio International

  • Michael Right of the Auto Club wrote to the Saint Louis Post-Dispatch on May 30, 1999, to remind locals of the bad old days before these highway improvements were made:
    • Highway 3 in Illinois before it was widened.
    • Telegraph Road prior to being five-laned.
    • I-270 before additional lanes were added.

  • A rodent became a verb in this 1998 instruction on how to program an Internet web page:
    • For example, perhaps you want to run a script when the visitor mouses over a particular picture or link, or when a page is loaded. These actions--mousing over or loading a page--are called intrinsic events.

    Castro, Elizabeth, HTML 4 For the World Wide Web. Berkeley, CA: Peachpit Press, 1998, p. 270. In the interest of full disclosure: I have incorporated into these Web pages much from Ms Castro's otherwise very readable book.

  • No noun is perverted (perverbed?) in this perfect malapropism, but it deserves to be remembered, if only because it comes from, no kidding, WordPerfect Magazine, 1992.
    • Marketed for many years by Simon & Schuster, the venerable Typing Tutor program is now repackaged as part of Que Software's team. Typing Tutor 5 (TT5) is the latest incantation of this consistently excellent product.

  • Send me your (least) favorite example of a noun used as a verb.

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For more on protecting your own email address from spam, whether or not you post your email address on your web pages, see this moderately technical discussion.

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Last modified: June 25, 2012