Basically, if it's a clause you'd put between commas because it could be excluded from the sentence, then you use "which". But if it's a clause that can't be excluded from the sentence, then you use "that".
And yet they came up for me on YouTube twice this morning.
First I was reading this Washington Post piece entitled “All that Jazz Isn’t All that Great” by Justin Moyer. He makes a number of good points that sum up my view: I love jazz, but most of it sucks. Anyway, he makes one of his points by linking to this video of the song with vocals from the movie Reveille with Beverly:
Then I continue to slowly browse through videos of 1977’s The Richard Pryor Show. And in this recording of the first episode, the lyrics are vamped around the 41 minute mark:
It’s called Bir Tawil. It’s 800 square miles of really lousy-looking desert in the Sahara.
There are two borders between Egypt and Sudan. Egypt likes the one drawn in 1899. Sudan likes the one from 1902.
On this map, Egypt likes the straight horizontal border. Sudan likes the jagged diagonal one with the little loop on the left side. This means both countries claim the green triangle, and neither one wants the little black smudge.
How many junior senators* have been elected president?
Three: John F. Kennedy, Warren Harding and … Barack Obama.
The first is regarded as great only by the underinformed (polls tend to rank him highly). Most people with some expertise regard Kennedy as merely pretty good (in Wikipedia’s summary of 16 historical rankings, Kennedy is never higher than the 86th percentile, or lower than the 62nd percentile).
And Harding? Pretty much always on everyone’s list of the worst presidents (Wikipedia lists 16 rankings that include both Harding and Nixon, and all but one has Harding rated lower … yikes … with 17th as the highest percentile).
Not sure if this evidence can tell us anything about Obama.
* The junior senator of a state is the one with less seniority.
In the original game the squares of virtue are: Faith (12), Reliability (51), Generosity (57), Knowledge (76), and Asceticism (78). The squares of vice or evil are: Disobedience (41), Vanity (44), Vulgarity (49), Theft (52), Lying (58), Drunkenness (62), Debt (69), Rage (84), Greed (92), Pride (95), Murder (73), and Lust (99).
How did I come up with that bit of trivia? Well I just heard Leonard Cohen’s “Closing Time” as covered by Fairport Convention for the very first time. Cohen uses the metaphor; apparently cheating on your woman is one of his chutes. Not sure why it took him most of his career to figure that out. Gee … and he was dating Rebecca De Mornay at the time … (I’m showing my age, but) WTF?
It’s really easy to find Cohen on YouTube doing his song, but frankly I never liked Cohen’s performances much. Here’s what I was listening to:
I swear a lot, and I’m polite, so I found these cholorpleths interesting:
I grew up in Buffalo in the 80’s, and I think it was a lot swearier than they show it to be. And, my first (professor) job was in Alabama; I actually got negative comments on my evaluations that I had sworn in class. Both these things make me think the map is somehow inaccurate.
FWIW: When I was a young slacker I had a summer job as laborer in a high school. The head custodian made up new swear words. One time he was calling me out in front of the whole crew for some problem with a painting job. And he screams "You paint like a dogfuck!" That wasn’t even one of his better ones, but it got to me, and I started laughing uncontrollably. He tried yelling more, but eventually he started laughing too and just walked away shaking his head.
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