|Latest updated page
"that" and "which"
My devoted readers may recall my incisive page resolving for
once and for all the difference between the pronouns who
and whom and how to use them on my "Who Vs.
Whom" page here.
Now I spelunk intrepidly through the cavern of that
versus which here.
Here's the synopsis: use that when introducing a
description that identifies or singles out the noun from
others. The lawn mower that is broken is in the
garage. (There's multiple lawn mowers and we're talking
about just one of them.) The lawn mower, which is
broken, is in the garage. (There's not any question of
multiple lawn mowers, we're merely supplying additional
information about the lawnmower, which requires a comma before
the which.) The page has more, including the
controversy of defining whiches and E.B. White's
eloquent defiance of his own grammatical advice in his essay,
"The Death of a Pig."
posted May 16, 2:04 pm
I think Crate & Barrel is the place to go for
aesthetically beautiful furniture at reasonable prices.
So it was disappointing to find out that all their sofas, as
well as virtually all sofas currently being manufactured for the United States are
still required, thanks to a misguided
California law, to be treated with carcinogenic flame retardant.
Over time, the
flame retardant seeps out, increasing the
risk of cancer for people who use the couch. A
September 6, 2012 New York
Times article by
Dashka Slater asking "How Dangerous Is
Your Couch?," here,
describes a widely used flame retardant as "a mutagen"
that "should not be used." A May 6, 2012
Chicago Tribune article by Michael Hawthorne, "Testing
Shows Treated Foam Offers No
Safety Benefit," here,
shows studies suggesting furniture with the flame
retardants burns just as fast as furniture without.
A October 31, 2012 Science KQED post by Liza Gross here
suggests that the chemical properties that make a flame
retardant retard flame apparently are inseparable from the
properties that make it threaten health, and goes on to
describe the discouraging
response of manufacturers, which has been to play a game of chemical
whack-a-mole by simply switching one toxic flame retardant
with another. A December 7, 2012 Consumers Digest
gives hope that California may revise its law in summer, 2013,
possibly in time for retardant-free couches for the fall. But
Crate & Barrel—otherwise my preferred furniture
seller—continues to sell toxic couches and even touts them as
according to an e-mail I received from them today, the
upholstery and foam in all Crate & Barrel furniture will
continue to be treated with flame retardant—they're
just switching the flame retardant, as of October, 2012, from
chlorinated tris to a another chemical "from the
phosphorous/ phosphate [sic] family" (the e-mail
misspelled the word "phosphorus") with a secret
"proprietary" formula. What can you do?
Think twice before you buy any upholstered Crate & Barrel
furniture—and contact them here.
posted March 14, 2013, 7:22 pm
Gun proliferation has long been corroding quality of life in
America, as satirized in experimental rock group Negativland's
song "Sycamore," here,
which satirically juxtaposes a Bay Area real estate pitch
against a manipulative gun lobby political ad, but lately has
been getting much worse. Last year's Connecticut massacre was only the most local and
recent manifestation of a country with failed gun laws. Thanks to the vigorous lobbying of the
completely crazy National Rifle Association, mass
killings have never been easier—or more frequent.
America's cowed legislature can't even pass anemic background
check laws. And reinstating the assault weapons ban that
Bush let expire? Meanwhile, the country drifts from one mass shooting to
another. As a July, 2012 post in Mother Jones, Mother
Jone's Guide to Mass Shootings in
out of 62 mass shootings over the past 30 years, in
49 of them, the killer obtained their weapons legally.
What can you do? Find out who your representative is here,
call them and tell them you don't care what the gun lobby
tells them, you want gun control, including a ban on assault
posted January 3, 2013, 4:10 pm
For entries posted prior to 2013, I invite you to my