Archive for November, 2003

BTQ’s Initial Public Offering

Sunday, November 23rd, 2003

Welcome to the blog. I guess the easiest way to fill this space is the tired literary device of an imaginary question-and-answer session. If you have one and it isn’t here, feel free to make the session less imaginary by emailing us.

Q: Can something be “less imaginary”? Either it is imaginary or it isn’t, right?

A: Quiet, you.

Q: Why “Begging the Question”?

A: I had been thinking about starting a blog for a while, but one of the biggest drawbacks was that I would have to come up with a name. Recently, in several places within a short span, I saw someone commit one of my biggest pet peeve grammar mistakes. They used the phrase “begs the question” essentially literally. That is, they meant, “raises the question” or “suggests the question.” Of course, that’s not what it means. “Begging the question” is the logical fallacy of assuming the conclusion of your argument.

Anyway, I got sufficiently peeved about this and decided to use the phrase as the name of my blog. Having made that decision, the rest was easy.

Q: Blogs are just a waste of time. I don’t like to waste my time. Therefore, I won’t read your blog.

A: That’s not a question, but it is a good example of an argument that begs the question.

Q: So your blog is just going to be a compendium of common grammar and logic mistakes?

A: Heavens no. That would be a waste of time. In fact, I can pretty much guarantee plenty of both on our part here. It’s going to be fairly unstructured, more or less our thoughts on whatever moves us to write. I’ll start what is sure to be a trend: stealing from other bloggers. One of my favorite blog names is Life, Law, Libido. I don’t read it as often as I should, but I think that name sums up the kind of things you can expect to see here, if you read “libido” to mean anything that stirs our passions.

Q: You say “we” and “us” a lot. Are you being pretentious or are there really more than one of you?

A: Probably both. There are two of us writing here for now, although we will consider offers to join up. Both of us are lawyers. I (Milbarge) clerk for one of the federal courts of appeals, and Fitz-Hume works for the legislature of a sparsely populated western state. I’m from a small Appalachian town, and Fitz-Hume is from Texas originally. Fitz-Hume is doing most of (read: all) the code and technical stuff, and I’m probably going to end up providing most of the content because I don’t have a life to spend my time on.

Q: Why Milbarge and Fitz-Hume?

A: We decided to use aliases for professional reasons. Neither of us expects to have to defend this blog at a confirmation hearing, but it’s just easier to avoid the appearance of impropriety. We decided on “Fitz-Hume & Milbarge” from the classic 1985 Cold War spoof “Spies Like Us.” I will note that the Foreign Service Board cheating scene clearly shows that Austin Milbarge is a lefty, by the way: Check him out writing the answer to Emmett Fitz-Hume’s question, “What does KGB stand for?” Anyway, there’s no real reason for this other than we like the movie.

Well, if you have any questions or comments, feel free to email us at BTQblog (at), or use the “comments” function. We’re happy to hear from you. We hope you enjoy the blog.