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Sir, no man but a blockhead ever wrote except for money.
-- Samuel Johnson



A Modest Proposal

The past few years have been very exciting for all of us here at the palatial (but tasteful) Word Detective World Headquarters. TWD (as we call it, among other things) has been featured by The New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, The Jerusalem Post, USA Today, CBS Radio, BBC Radio, The Washington Post, numerous less prominent but no doubt worthwhile newspapers and magazines, several Pentagon press briefings and one mysterious transmission traced to the vicinity of the Crab Nebula.

TWD's "circulation" on the web has also skyrocketed. We are visited, on average, by about 5,000 readers per week, and we receive about 300 e-mailed word questions every week.

Heady times hereabouts. Naturally, what with all the accolades and awards rolling in, we popped down to Woolworths and bought the cats new rhinestone collars and then had the oil changed in the Backmobile (so-called because you pray it gets you back from where you've gone in it).

(OK, I'm lying, Woolworths went belly-up ages ago, and if you tried to put collars on those cats you'd get a bite that wouldn't heal 'til sometime next year, but the part about the car is true.)

So anyway, then we sat back and waited for the big bucks to roll in.

We're still waiting.

It turns out (maybe y'all already knew this, but it came as a nasty shock to me) that it is perfectly possible to get semi-famous in the USA and not get rich. Not even a little. Not even pay-the-rent-on-time rich, or go-on-a-vacation-nowhere-near-where-your-relatives-live rich.

So, after much thought and a brief pause to adjust my scruples, I have hit upon what I feel is a plausible plan for my financial salvation.

First, add your name to the bottom of this letter and mail 50 copies to your friends.

Hahaha. Just kidding. That's far too mild.

I have decided that what really would help around here is a class system. What TWD-land really needs is a privileged class, a group of readers who get something that the other readers don't, something they can dangle above the heads of less fortunate readers, something they can hoard and count and admire all by themselves on cold winter nights when the wind moans and the wolves howl and the un-special readers come scratching at the door begging for just a scrap of the special thing it is that they don't have.

Wow. It's like Hemingway goes to Siberia, right? Gives you goose bumps, doesn't it?

So here's the deal: subscribe to TWD-By-E-Mail and I will send you, every two weeks, the unedited, unexpurgated, undiluted version of TWD, just as the newspapers get it, complete with snazzy datelines and obscure computerese headers, all via genuine internet e-mail. The primary advantage here is that you get the columns somewhere between three and five weeks earlier than you could otherwise read them on my web page.

Please note:  The columns will be sent via e-mail.  I no longer produce a printed newsletter.

I promise not to sell your e-mail address, by the way.

I could probably jazz up this plan by cutting back on the number of columns that I post for free on the web and offering them only to paying subscribers (as several lists do), but I really don't want to do that. Subscribers will get the column a few weeks early, but if you're the patient type, you will still see them all on the web eventually.

You're thinking about all this, aren't you? Big mistake. Just whip out that old checkbook or dust off those credit cards and choose a subscription plan from our enticing menu:

Standard One-Year Subscription - $15 - All the benefits described above, for one year. Four subs (make lovely gifts for your friends and family) for $50.

Lifetime Subscription - $50 - My life, not yours. Same as a one-year sub, but good for the life of my web page. Obviously, one never knows what the future holds (unless one is Faith Popcorn, of course, yeah right, if I had that racket...), but I have, after all, been doing this web thing since 1995 (which is since from almost before there was a web), so it's not like I'm gonna stop tomorrow.

Payment Methods:

If you have a credit card, I prefer that you use the free PayPal online payment service, which allows you to pay with Visa, Master Card, Discover Card or American Express via a secure online transfer system.

Click the button below to subscribe for one year ($15.00) via PayPal.

For Lifetime Subscriptions ($50.00), or to send me pots of money
 just because you like me, click the button below.


You can also pay by check made out to Evan Morris, sent to

Evan Morris, P.O. Box 1, Millersport, Ohio 43046.


You will receive a confirmation of your subscription via return e-mail.

Thank you for your patience and support.


Edith Freedle, Personal Assistant to Mr. Detective


Oh yeah, right. As if. Take me back to the main Word Detective page.


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