Kory Stamper Lightens Hair!

Kory StamperFor those of you soulless masses who lead unimaginably boring lives, I will explain that Kory Stamper is an editor at Merriam-Webster. I have a terrible crush on her as well as her two colleagues at the dictionary company: Associate Editor Emily Brewster and Editor-At-Large Peter Sokolowski. How do I know about these people? Well, I might know Mr. Sokolowski because of his mention in a recent NPR article about the top ten words of the year. And I might know Ms. Brewster from her “Minced Words” column at CookThink. And I might have known about Ms. Stamper because she has her own fan club on Facebook. But I only found out about these things because I find myself on the Merriam-Webster website several times per day, and each of these editors is featured in short videos about word-related issues. I would embed one for you, but alas, Merriam-Webster is still living in 2001 in many ways.

I have reflected on the fact that Kory Stamper has her own fan club (with 179 members, no less), while I have found no fan clubs for the other editors. In a general sense, Stamper is cute—a descriptor that I doubt she, or any intellectual would be terrible happy with. This is not to say that Brewster and Sokolowski aren’t also attractive; I doubt they would have been chosen to make the videos if they looked more like, say, me. Stamper also appears to be the youngest of the three and we all know how much we love youth. But I don’t think either of these are the main issue. The truth is that Stamper is, for reasons that are not at all clear to me, very real on camera. I get the impression that she is talking to me and not a camera. And thus, I think that a lot of people feel they really connect to her—even though they don’t, any more than they do with Peter Sokolowski and Emily Brewster.

Having said this, I find that I am very disturbed about what Stamper has done to her hair. Throughout our relationship, she has always looked like this:

Kory Stamper: Before

And then—suddenly, without any warning—she lightens her hair! Here she is now:

Kory Stamper: After

I shouldn’t care—I know. But hey, what’s going on here? There is so little stability in life. Is it really asking so much for the Merriam-Webster editors to ossify their appearances? Next thing you know, Sokolowski will grow a beard—going for that Shel Silverstein look, and Brewster will start wearing contact lenses, for whatever reason someone would do that. And I know how this all ends: just when I get used to Stamper’s new hair color, she’ll change it back. Thanks Kory! I really needed that!


For those men and women pining away for Kory Stamper, I feel as a public service I must tell you that as of 2006 she was married to a man who is the very definition of cool: a jazz musician. I’m not sure of the etymology of “cool” used in this way—undoubtedly Ms. Stamper could help in this matter—but I always think of Miles Davis with Birth of the Cool and Kind of Blue as what defines “cool.” She also has two children.

I know all of this because of an article that she wrote for Knitty called Extreme knitting: 2 socks in 1. She also wrote a blog called Harmless Drudge: abusing of God’s patience and the King’s English, which she discontinued in early 2007. I have two things to say on this matter. First: she doesn’t seem to follow The Chicago Manual of Style or even Fowler for her titles—most disappointing, but forgivable. Second: I believe our own Andrea English has a better site for such matters—Needlecrafter.com—which she too has abandoned (as of late 2008). Of course, I’m not very clear on the differences between all these different needle-crafty sorts of things. I’ve been meaning to research it and write an article here. Soon perhaps. But in the mean time, I did explain how a sewing machine works.

Update: It’s Not Just Kory

I noticed that one person recently made it to this page by searching Google for, “Emily Brewster and Kory Stamper are hot.” Does this mean we will soon see an “Emily Brewster Fan Club” on Facebook? Let me know if this happens. In the mean time, I will be watching for anyone searching for, “Peter Sokolowski is hot.”

More Stamper! More Brewster!

Want to know more about Kory Stamper, Emily Brewster, and the whole Merriam-Webster crowd? Then you are in luck (and in need of a proper life). Here are some other articles that may interest you.

Politics: 23 December 2010

The Mendacity of Hope

Roger Hodge has a new book out called The Mendacity of Hope. I haven’t read it. I don’t even have it, but I will after the holidays and I’m sure I’ll write about it. Until then, I bring you a couple of videos of the former editor of Harper’s Magazine making a lot of sense about President Obama. Here’s the first clip; I will have something to say after it.

The one place where I disagree with him is in saying that the angry left (progressives?) and the angry right (tea-baggers) have much in common. I agree that when I talk to tea-baggers, they do pretty much agree with me on what the problems are. However, they have this great super-power that allows them to deflect any facts that come near them. The angry left is mad about what is actually happening in this country. The angry right is just mad (in both common senses of the word). I think it is possible to get the AL and the AR together on some issues, but not one on one. Perhaps in a group, we might find one tea-bagger who, for whatever reason has a weakened “fact deflector.” If you could convince this person that he or she should support something sensible, it might work its way through the group. Think of it as finding a back-door into a super-secure Unix system.

Just in case you think that Hodge (or I) think that all these relatively minor accomplishments this month make up for Obama’s betrayal of us progressives over the past two years, he’s a clip from The Last Word with Laurence O’Donnell. Not that Hodge doesn’t have much to say, but it is well worth hearing.

Freedom’s Just Another Word for Not Having a Party

Today, The Alaskan Supreme Court threw out Joe “I Desperately Need a Shave or a Time Machine” Miller’s challenge to Lisa Murkowski’s write-in win of the Alaska Senate race, according to The Washington Post. In their POLITICS Digest, they report:

The high court on Wednesday upheld a lower court’s ruling that dismissed Miller’s claims of impropriety in the state’s handling of the election and write-in ballots for Murkowski. It found “no remaining issues raised by Miller that prevent this election from being certified.”

That’s good news, of course; but the really good news is that Murkowski is “going rogue” according to Meredith Shiner at Politio—contrasting her sardonically with Palin by noting that Murkowski does not gun down, “caribou on national TV.” She’s gone rogue in a meaningful sense:

Murkowski is already showing a fierce independent streak, becoming the only Republican to cast votes on all four items on President Barack Obama’s wish list: a repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” a tax-cut compromise, the START deal and cloture for the DREAM Act.

The election it would seem, has freed Murkowski from the need to vote in lockstep with the Republican leadership and vote the way politicians in the minority used to vote. You know: before Newt Gingrich, Tom Delay, and Karl Rove gave us the modern Republican Party.

Take the Millions, Skip the Thousands

One of the Deficit Commission’s ideas for saving Social Security was to means test it. But by this, they didn’t mean depriving rich people from getting it. Instead, people making over a million dollars per years (not made: currently making) would not get Social Security benefits until they were 70 and then they might not get as much as they normally would. Gasp! Say it ain’t so! The people who have made the most money already pay the least as a percentage of their income. Then, when they retire, they get the maximum benefit amount. In other words: from each according to the inverse of his ability, to each according to the inverse of his needs.

How about this as a Social Security reform (I make no claims to this being original to me, not that I didn’t come up with it on my own): no cap on the Social Security tax (there is currently no tax on income above $106,800—making it a highly regressive tax); means test the hell out of the program: if you are making a bunch of money (amount to be determined), you don’t get any benefits; and means test the hell out of it again: if you have a bunch of money, you don’t get any benefits. Similar changes could be made to Medicare, but since I believe in a single-payer—Medicare for all—system, I’m not going to get into it.