Why English spelling is so quirky

Thanks to reader Jeff, I became aware of this interesting article in The Atlantic by Luba Vangelova that tries to explain why English spelling is so quirky compared to other languages, making it a nightmare to learn, and resulting in children in English-speaking nations trailing those in other countries when it comes to literacy.

Why is English so different?
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Why do people deliberately create gross metaphors?

Metaphors are excellent ways to make abstract ideas more concrete by providing a visual image of what you are trying to convey. But I am a little puzzled by people who use this device to bring up mental images that are so utterly distasteful that one does not want to even contemplate the image, which seems to defeat the purpose of using metaphors.
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Some words behoove me not

In my writings, I use whatever words that come to my head and that I feel comfortable using and never go to a dictionary or thesaurus to look for the appropriate word. I do not gratuitously use swear words or scatological words unless I am quoting someone else. It is not that such words offend me (they don’t) but it is just not my style to use them. I also do not shy away from words that are not too commonly used as long as I think they exactly fit my needs and are not so esoteric that too many readers are baffled because its meaning is not clear from the context.
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The futile attempts to change English spelling

The idiosyncratic spelling of English words is the bane of anyone trying to learn the language. Many people have come forward with ideas about how to make it more sensible, or at least remove some of the more absurd examples, but they have failed because languages tend to change from the bottom up, because some new usage emerges more or less spontaneously and then becomes the norm. Efforts to change things by fiat almost never seem to work.
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The sudden departure of blogger Avicenna from FtB

Ed Brayton of Dispatches from the Culture Wars, who is the person who maintains and is responsible for the FtB network, gives the sad news that a fellow FtB blogger over at A Million Gods has been removed from the network because of serial plagiarism. The charge is that he lifted entire chunks from the writings of others without attribution.
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What a mangled metaphor reveals about its creator

George Orwell warned that when a metaphor gets mangled, that is a sure indication that the writer is not actually thinking about they are saying but is in a kind of auto-mode, not visualizing the idea but just stringing together words that sound good but don’t really mean anything. It is a sign that the writer lacks conviction or does not care. I have observed that this is true for me, that the times when I have been in the auto-mode are when I make errors or say something that makes little sense when examined closely.
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