Colorless Green Ideas

Essays on the use and abuse of language, & examples thereof.

Initial Thoughts about Narratives
Results of a a brainstorming session.
Tuesday, November 7, 2000
4 sections.
Two Parallel Content Planets
With the advent of the web, there appear to be two parallel tracks for the development of content and ideas.
Friday, December 1, 2000
Language Machines
Little Tools for Foolish Wordplay.
Wednesday, November 1, 2000
5 sections.
Real Editors Ship
tl;dr: needs editing.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
The Web Is a Customer Service Medium
I look forward to your feedback.
Thursday, January 6, 2011
Notice of an Advisory Relationship
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
Time's Inverted Index
(1) When robots write history we can get in trouble with our past selves. (2) Search-generated, "false" chrestomathies and the historical fallacy.
Monday, May 9, 2011
Tickler File Forever
I'll have no one to blame but future me.
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Snack trams.
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Recorded Entertainment
Notes, etc.
2 sections.
0h30m w/...
2 sections.
Literary Aspirations, Confession of
The author comes out of his closet full of books.
Thursday, November 2, 2000
They told stories to reprogram my brain
A non-answer to the question: what is cognitive rhetoric?
Monday, October 2, 2000
much smarter people
Who does this thing?
Monday, October 2, 2000
Tufte vs. Bloom
Thoughts on the work of Franco Moretti.
2 sections.
Finding Bartleby
A second take on the ideas put forth in Tufte vs. Bloom 2. Originally from NPR's All Things Considered (in an edited form), Monday, February 9, 2004
Friday, April 16, 2004
My Palace of Memory Crumbles
A version of this piece was originally broadcast by NPR on the 26 December 2006 edition of NPR's All Things Considered. It can be heard on their web site via RealAudio or Windows Media Player.
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
The Problems of Nomads

And they said, Go to, let us build us a city, and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.
Monday, January 15, 2007
An apology.
Friday, January 9, 2004
Dear Internet
Monday, April 2, 2007
Thursday, April 12, 2007


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About the author: I've been running this website from 1997. For a living I write stories and essays, program computers, edit things, and help people launch online publications. (LinkedIn). I wrote a novel. I was an editor at Harper's Magazine for five years; then I was a Contributing Editor; now I am a free agent. I was also on NPR's All Things Considered for a while. I still write for The Morning News, and some other places.

If you have any questions for me, I am very accessible by email. You can email me at and ask me things and I will try to answer. Especially if you want to clarify something or write something critical. I am glad to clarify things so that you can disagree more effectively.


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© 1974-2011 Paul Ford


@20, by Paul Ford. Not any kind of eulogy, thanks. And no header image, either. (October 15)

Recent Offsite Work: Code and Prose. As a hobby I write. (January 14)

Rotary Dial. (August 21)

10 Timeframes. (June 20)

Facebook and Instagram: When Your Favorite App Sells Out. (April 10)

Why I Am Leaving the People of the Red Valley. (April 7)

Welcome to the Company. (September 21)

“Facebook and the Epiphanator: An End to Endings?”. Forgot to tell you about this. (July 20)

“The Age of Mechanical Reproduction”. An essay for (July 11)

Woods+. People call me a lot and say: What is this new thing? You're a nerd. Explain it immediately. (July 10)

Reading Tonight. Reading! (May 25)

Recorded Entertainment #2, by Paul Ford. (May 18)

Recorded Entertainment #1, by Paul Ford. (May 17)

Nanolaw with Daughter. Why privacy mattered. (May 16)

0h30m w/Photoshop, by Paul Ford. It's immediately clear to me now that I'm writing again that I need to come up with some new forms in order to have fun here—so that I can get a rhythm and know what I'm doing. One thing that works for me are time limits; pencils up, pencils down. So: Fridays, write for 30 minutes; edit for 20 minutes max; and go whip up some images if necessary, like the big crappy hand below that's all meaningful and evocative because it's retro and zoomed-in. Post it, and leave it alone. Can I do that every Friday? Yes! Will I? Maybe! But I crave that simple continuity. For today, for absolutely no reason other than that it came unbidden into my brain, the subject will be Photoshop. (Do we have a process? We have a process. It is 11:39 and...) (May 13)

That Shaggy Feeling. Soon, orphans. (May 12)

Antilunchism, by Paul Ford. Snack trams. (May 11)

Tickler File Forever, by Paul Ford. I'll have no one to blame but future me. (May 10)

Time's Inverted Index, by Paul Ford. (1) When robots write history we can get in trouble with our past selves. (2) Search-generated, "false" chrestomathies and the historical fallacy. (May 9)

Bantha Tracks. (May 5)

Tables of Contents