The Interrobang

From Wikipedia:

The interrobang is a rarely used, nonstandard English-language punctuation mark intended to combine the functions of a question mark and an exclamation mark. The typographical character resembles those marks superimposed one over the other, and the name interrobang comes from interro – from interrogative – and bang – used to amplify the exclamation. In informal writing, the same effect is achieved by placing the exclamation point after or before the question mark; e.g., “How could you do such a thing?!”

American Martin K. Speckter concocted the interrobang in 1962. As the head of an advertising agency, Speckter believed that advertisements would look better if advertising copywriters conveyed surprised queries using a single mark. He proposed the concept of a single punctuation mark in an article in the magazine TYPEtalks. Speckter solicited possible names for the new character from readers. Contenders included rhet, exclarotive, and exclamaquest, but he settled on interrobang. He chose the name to reference the punctuation marks that inspired it.

The War Prayer

I’m pretty sure I’ve posted Twain’s “The War Prayer” before but it’s one of the best short stories that sums up a side of prayer that most religious people dare not talk about.

It was a time of great and exalting excitement. The country was up in arms, the war was on, in every breast burned the holy fire of patriotism; the drums were beating, the bands playing, the toy pistols popping, the bunched firecrackers hissing and spluttering; on every hand and far down the receding and fading spread of roofs and balconies a fluttering wilderness of flags flashed in the sun; daily the young volunteers marched down the wide avenue gay and fine in their new uniforms, the proud fathers and mothers and sisters and sweethearts cheering them with voices choked with happy emotion as they swung by; nightly the packed mass meetings listened, panting, to patriot oratory which stirred the deepest deeps of their hearts, and which they interrupted at briefest intervals with cyclones of applause, the tears running down their cheeks the while; in the churches the pastors preached devotion to flag and country, and invoked the God of Battles beseeching His aid in our good cause in outpourings of fervid eloquence which moved every listener. It was indeed a glad and gracious time, and the half dozen rash spirits that ventured to disapprove of the war and cast a doubt upon its righteousness straightway got such a stern and angry warning that for their personal safety’s sake they quickly shrank out of sight and offended no more in that way…

The Vatican: ‘Criticizing the Pope is an Act of Terrorism’

From the WaPo:

ROME (Reuters) – The Vatican’s official newspaper accused an Italian comedian on Wednesday of “terrorism” for criticizing the Pope and warned his rhetoric could fuel a return to 1970s-style political violence.

In an unusually strongly worded editorial, L’Osservatore Romano said a presenter of a televised May Day rock concert, which is sponsored by Italy’s labor unions, had launched “vile attacks” on Pope Benedict in front of an “excitable crowd.”

“This, too, is terrorism. It’s terrorism to launch attacks on the Church,” it said. “It’s terrorism to stoke blind and irrational rage against someone who always speaks in the name of love, love for life and love for man.”

At the concert, held every year in front of the Saint John in Lateran basilica — Rome’s cathedral where Pope Benedict sits as bishop — one of the presenters, Andrea Rivera, spoke out against the Pontiff’s stand on a number of issues.