Rejection letters, correspondence, and miscellanea from the otherwise empty annals of the Journal of Universal Rejection.

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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Crass Precedent

In September some bigshot wrote
I suggest that you allow the submission of previously published articles.
and giving some reasons, blah, blah.  Well, we finally got back at them:


We do allow the submission of previously published articles.   You have not read our webpage closely enough.  Put on your glasses.

I am not sorry it has taken me so long to respond.  Why is everyone always apologizing for that?  I had a lot of other important stuff to do (e.g., pick my nose and watch YouTube videos). 

Also, I'm not going to apologize for any crassness in this message.  Here at JofUR we usually hold our noses above the fray, sniffing only the highest flowers climbing up the sides of the Ivory Tower, then wiping our proboscides gingerly with silken handkerchiefs.  But today we are commemorating the December 18, 1982 takeover of the Zig Zag Club by the anarchistic punk band Crass.  We're a few days late, but who f*ing cares?

Barest regards,
Caleb Emmons, PhD
Journal of Universal Rejection

Monday, December 19, 2011

To Rebooted Switches in a Wiring Closet

Dear Editorial Board and the Editor in Chief:

Please consider the following Haiku verse for rejection in the Journal of Universal Rejection. This is my first, and in its relatively unpracticed state is well themed for the Journal. Its otherwise incomprehensible, relatively context-free techny nature should expedite the process of rejection. Please note the level of emotional connotation swinging from a frustrated patience to an optimistic outlook. "There is no emotion, there is peace. ..." [1]

  To Rebooted Switches in A Wiring Closet
  Another 2nd Thursday
  Another Power Failure
  Lucky Us, as Today
  It's Only in the Basement

[1] Jedi Code

Feel free to blog it on.

Thank you,

Serguei A. Mokhov, Haiku Password Artist  

Dear Serguei,

Having never seen
7 7 6 7
Haiku, I reject.

I liked it though,

Caleb Emmons, PhD
Journal of Universal Rejection

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Touring Machines

Dear Drs. K. and R.:

Thank you for submitting your manuscript entitled "A Case for the Turing Machine" for publication in the JUR. I read it three times and still don't get it.

You have larded your paper with much mumbo-jumbo about lazily semantic archetypes (!), scatter/gather I/O, and Zipf-like distributions. Despite the cute Greek letters, graphs and so forth, I regret to inform you that you haven't adequately made your case. And you really should have proofread the manuscript more carefully. The correct spelling is "touring."

And I know touring machines. In my younger days I briefly owned a 1948 Vincent C-Series Black Shadow (won it off a guy in a poker game). That puppy could book, let me tell you, and when I tooled into Laconia every June, it was everything I could do to keep the HD wusses from drooling all over it. And the babes--well, that's a story for another time.

I fully endorse your desire to make your case. But your paper simply won't work for us. Thanks anyway for thinking of the JUR. You might see if Cycle World is interested.

Sincerely yours,
Karl M. Petruso, Associate Editor
Journal of Universal Rejection

Monday, December 12, 2011

Pigs, Apples, Death, Sex, and Gender

Dear Ms. or Mr. or Indeterminate or My-Gender-is-None-of-Your-Business M            :

(We are nothing if not sensitive to matters of gender, whether chosen, naturally apportioned or divinely imposed -- long and baroque have been our editorial board meetings wherein we have argued at length and breadth the merits and pitfalls of altering the English language to better serve our readership in this regard; do not for a moment believe we are anything but utterly respectful of your situation, whatever it may be, and that in no way do we even begin to suspect we can understand your feelings on the matter, or indeed lack of feelings; we make no assumptions whatsoever.)

Thank you for your insightful and passionate story, "                     ."  As the Journal's short story editor, I see (and reject) many stories and I have to admit that it is a rare (pleasure) to come across one that includes pigs, apples, death, sex, gender- and species- identity questions and also pink nail polish. Rare indeed.

Alas, rare is not enough.

No, indeed--many are the rare stories that lay across our desks, begging to be given a starring role (or indeed any role at all) and as you may suspect precious few are actually cast. Rare, odd and even frightening stories have no more advantage with us than the most predictable, dull, and tedious stories. (Indeed, a recent submission frightened our editorial staff so much that we ended up in a heated discussion about who was going to reject it under what pseudonym and what favors would be owed said person. Five triple-shot caramel lattes, as I recall.)

But back to your story.

A story such as yours is destined for many trips around the globe, collecting many diverse rejections. It is, in many ways, a sort of Rorschach test, allowing each reader to project onto it and see in it what is foremost in their consciousness.

And what do I see?  Bluntly put, I see a story that would disturb our delicate readership in their notions of identity and gender. Such disturbance might result in them hesitating, pens poised over their Journal subscription renewal forms. I'm sure you understand that in hard economic times like these a journal such as ours -- exclusive and award-winning though it may be -- can scarce afford such risks.

Perhaps you should view your story as an ambassador to the world, and re-title it "reject me if you're uncomfortable with your gender choices" to see if you get better results. Just a thought. Best wishes
on your story's upcoming travels.

Do think think of us next time you write a short story that includes pink nail polish.

Sonia Lyris, Associate Editor

Saturday, December 10, 2011


Dear Prof. W             ,

Thank you for submitting your paper about the error function, erf(x), and its inverse, to the Journal of Universal Rejection.  Our review has been very thorough.

We began by looking for errors in your paper.  By pressing ctrl-F and then typing 'error,' we were able to find 8 'error's in your paper.  The first 'error' was already there in your title, and the second was in your first sentence!

I am sorry, but we do not publish two-page papers with 8 errors!


Caleb Emmons, PhD
Journal of Universal Rejection

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Choice of Axioms

Dear D          ,

Thank you for submitting "An Empty Article About the Empty Set" to the Journal of Universal Rejection.

Rest assured your article does indeed fulfill the requirements for rejection at our prestigous Journal.

We have previously received 22 empty documents, but never before an empty (aside from title, author, affiliation, date, and the word 'Abstract') document that was explicitly about the empty set.

Before I delve fully into rejecting your document, allow me a brief aside about the empty set for the benefit of our readership at Reprobatio Certa where I will be posting this letter. 

The empty set is an object which exists in every set-theoretic mathematical model that I know of.  Let's see if we can deal with that.  We'll focus on the most common axioms used today in mathematics, the ZF (Zermelo-Fraenkel) axioms.  There are eight axioms in this model.  It is the third axiom--the Axiom of Restricted Comprehension--which can be used to guarantee the existence of an empty set, once the existence of a single set (call it w) is known.  This existence is guaranteed by another axiom--the Axiom of Infinity.  For example we can get the empty set by doing:

Here we see that the empty set is the set of all elements in w that both do and do not contain themselves.  Since (P and not P) is a contradiction, there are no such elements, and the empty set is, well, empty.

We can also denote the empty set as {}.  The braces are standard set-theory notation where the contents of the set are listed within them.  Here there is nothing in between them.  But typography alone does not guarantee the existence of this set.

So we've got the existence of the empty set squared away.  Or do we?  We've used the Axiom of Infinity and the Axiom of Restricted Comprehension.  Maybe you don't want to believe in an infinite set.  Well, we'd just need any set to exist.  So if we want to not believe in the empty set, we have to either
(A) postulate a model for set-theory in which there are no sets whatsoever, or
(B) postulate a model for set-theory in which we don't have the Axiom of Restricted Comprehension.

If we live in a universe of pure nothingness, and our existences, our love songs, addictions, brilliant colors, taste of pomegranates, our fashion sense, the electric touch of our electronic gadgets, cups of tea, soft evening breezes, all qualia, pure nonmoving vibrations of nothingness, then I will choose option A.

If we live in a universe of confusion, of dead ends, residues, tastes that we can't get out of our mouths no matter how much we brush our teeth, the electric touch of our electronic gadgets, addictions, songs of love stuck forever in our gullet, all things we will never understand, crackling and crunching into an everlasting cinder, then I will choose option B.

To me, the answer to this quandry is obvious.

Therefore your paper is rejected.

Best regards,

Caleb Emmons, PhD
Journal of Universal Rejection

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Issues with Issues

Our response upon receipt of the enquiry

What happened with the September 2011 (Vol 3, No 3) issue?

Thank you for the concern.  We're working on that issue, but it is not easy to keep these things up-to-date because we don't always keep track of what we publish, and then we have to call a really expensive company.  They come out and use very advanced laser-imaging on our (nonexistent) printing-presses to determine the last articles we published.    Particles move faster than light; the space-time-continuum develops rents; we are unable to pay these rents; the space-time-continuum is let to someone else; colours invert; meanwhile the staff at JofUR goes to the theatre.  It's all very involved, and British.  I won't bore you with the details of it. 

In the mean time, I can send you a complementary instance of our Journal.  But first you'll have to pay for it.  (NOTE: I did spell it 'complementary,' not 'complimentary'... in which case it would be free.  It's not free, it will just look nice next to that turtleneck you're wearing.)

Best regards,

Caleb Emmons, PhD
Journal of Universal Rejection

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Kung Fu Master

Dear                  ,

Thank you for applying for an editorial board position.

Becoming an editor here is a lot like becoming a Kung Fu master.

First, one must learn patience.  Which is why we didn't respond to your email for four months.

Next, one must learn to wax-on-wax-off one's car with a sponge plucked from the depths of somewhere really deep, and wax gathered from a beehive in the Hundred Acre wood.  (Optional)

Finally, one must learn to reject everything, even oneself.  In that vein, perhaps you could write a rejection of this blog post:
[Editor's note: no, the applicant was not Ingrid Booz Morejohn, nor do I know who that is.  She does have a really awesome name I must admit.  She can say "Booz? Why that's my middle name!"  Then she can turn to her friend John and demand more booze by saying her last name.  Anyway... the reason for having the applicant reject the linked blog post cannot be revealed at this time.  Hey, I just noticed that the blog post is from π Day.  Cool!]


Caleb Emmons, PhD
Journal of Universal Rejection

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Blind Review

To the editor,
Attached, please find my submission to The Journal of Universal Rejection, "This Article Should Not Be Rejected By The Journal of Universal Rejection". 
The article is a 2-page proof that the article should not be rejected from your journal (prepared, of course, for blind review). Thanks very much for your consideration.


Dear J          ,

Thank you for your thoughtful submission "This Article Should Not Be Rejected By The Journal of Universal Rejection" to the Journal of Universal Rejection.

We are writing to let you know that your submission has been rejected.  Here is how this played out.  First I cogitated for awhile about the capitalization in your title.  I kind of prefer titles where you don't capitalize words unnecessarily, but I was willing to be open to that.  But even for capitalized titles, you shouldn't be capitalizing the word 'by.'  I'm not sure about the 'The.'  Anyway, I decided it might be seen as a bit petty to reject just based on capitalization in a title.  So my next step was to find a blind reviewer.

I sent your paper off for review via snail mail to Ray Charles.  It turns out this great blues musician is no longer with us, RIP. 

Next I placed a Braille translation of your document in the in-box (or tip jar?) of a beggar downtown.  He seemed mystified and inquired whether I had any money.  Of course JofUR does not pay its reviewers!  This is a premier journal, we don't stoop to that!  When I returned later, the hobo could not recollect your paper, it appears he may have burned it, or used it as bedding.  I did not take this as a good sign for your manuscript.

Finally, I decided to take review into my own hands.  I first removed my glasses and began to skim your document.  However I realized I could still make out a word here and there, so this was not truly blind review.  So, in the end I went into a darkened room, closed my eyes, sat down, and got to reading.  I was disturbed just seconds later by my son yelling!  I should not have used the room that we was taking his mid-day nap in for this chore!

He said: "Papa?  Waaaaaaah!"

"I'm reviewing this paper, Bud.  Do you think I should publish it?"


So in that darkened room the doom of your document was determined.  Rejection.

Best wishes,
Journal of Universal Rejection

Friday, November 25, 2011

Black Friday/Metallic Saturday/Robot Sunday/Cyber Monday

Dear readership:

We have an exciting announcement!  But try to breathe normally.
In honor of Black Friday/Metallic Saturday/Robot Sunday/Cyber Monday, we are having a sale at the JofUR Store.  Items have been marked down by 10-20%.  This is in addition to further discounts by Cafe Press (as marked in the store).  Woo hoo!  Breathe normally.

Now is the time to order those all-important gifts. 

Who can remain depressed while sipping from a hardy ceramic Journal of Universal Rejection mug?  Or sporting a sporty T-shirt?  Our mousepads pad your mouse beautifully. 

We also have clocks.  My son likes cuckoo clocks, but we don't have those.  Instead we have ones that remind you "Reprobatio Certa, Hora Incerta:"  Rejection is certain, the hour uncertain.  That's not to say the clocks don't work... they do.  Here is a picture of a cuckoo clock:

photo by Sandra Marek
Remember we don't sell those.  I only put the picture here in case my son wants to read this post.

Breathe normally,

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Some Bookkeeping

Dear Rogier, Vaclav, A.G., J.B., N.E., L.P., and Dr. C,

We at the Journal of Universal Rejection reject your submission.

Best regards,

p.s. We may send more reasons later.
p.p.s. Did you know 'bookkeeping' (and 'bookkeeper(s)') are the only words in English with three sequential sets of double letters? That's the buzz in Busytown, anyway.
p.p.p.s.  Yes, that is a picture of the Dalai Lama.  It is there to add some color to this post.  But I'm relatively sure he approves.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


Dear Josh,

Thank you for submitting your advertisement copy for your 2012 Wildlandphotos.com calendar to appear in the Journal of Universal Rejection. Sadly I must inform you that, though we are keeping the fee, we are rejecting your advertisement for publication. It has nothing to do with the ad, it's just that we refuse to publish anything in the Journal.

Besides, what would people say when they noticed (as surely they would) that the first submission published in JofUR was from the Editor-in-Chief's brother. That would be a scandal and a half. It would be all over Twitter. We don't wish to investigate the shredability of our credibility with such nepotism. Editors-in-Chief have been overthrown for less. (Not that our Board has any power...)

At least there's always the blog where I can do some shameless promotion of your photography, including the beautiful 2012 wall calendar now available.

Good luck with your sales. And you're lucky I'm choosing to forgot about the whole "Vacuum Cleaner Shark Incident!"

Best regards,

Your brother
Journal of Universal Rejection

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Spotlight on Associate Editor: Ghil'ad Zuckermann

Biographical sketch for Dr. Ghil'ad Zuckermann:

Ghil'ad Zuckermann --- a.k.a. Sir Galahad Sugarman, Prof. Giladavant Zuckerman, Dr Gillard Zukerman, Lord Gilly Sugar-Daddy, Mr Jihad Zimmermann, or simply Giladiator Superman --- is Professor of Linguistics, and Endangered Languages Chair at the University of Adelaide. So endangered that he is the only such chair in Australia.

After his recent public lecture on language, religion and power, he was accused of Marxism, to which he retorted that he did indeed have a penchant for Marxist paraprosdokians. "She got her looks from her father, he is a plastic surgeon", as the great Groucho used to say. When I met her, I felt I had known her from previous life. Two weeks later I understood why I had not called her for 1,750 years...

Professor Zuckermann holds an Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Fellowship, which means that his official role is to un-cover and dis-cover but not to dis-appoint. He is the founder of revival linguistics, and expert in contact linguistics, lexicology, endangered tongues, Jewish and Israeli society, and the study of language, culture and identity. Although he is based in the 'Lucky' Country, he spends several months per annum in large countries such as the Promised Land, and in small countries such as the Middle Kingdom, where he serves as Distinguished Visiting Professor and 'Oriental Scholar' Professorial Fellow at Shanghai International Studies University.

Professor Zuckermann is Jewish and mindful of the fact that six Jews have changed the way we perceive the world: Moses said "the Law is everything!", Jesus said "Love is everything!", Marx said "Money is everything!", Freud said "Sex is everything!", Zuckerberg said "Social networking is everything", Einstein said "Everything is relative!". Some people see the world in B&W (black-and-white), but for Zuckermann, Judaism is all about on the other hand. In the famous play Fiddler on the Roof, after Tevye's daughter Hodel and her radical student lover Perchik announce their engagement, Tevye, a religious Jew opposed to the match, memorably reckons: "He loves her. Love, it's a new style ... On the other hand, our old ways were once new, weren't they? On the other hand, they decided without parents, without a matchmaker! On the other hand, did Adam and Eve have a matchmaker? Well, yes they did. And it seems these two have the same matchmaker!" (cf. Stein 1964: 113).

Besides his indefatigable contributions to the Journal of Universal Rejection, Professor Zuckermann serves as Editorial Board member of the Journal of Language Contact. Just like John Burdon Sanderson Haldane (1963: 464), Professor Zuckermann supposes that "the process of acceptance will pass through the usual four stages: 1. This is worthless nonsense. 2. This is an interesting, but perverse, point of view. 3. This is true, but quite unimportant. 4. I always said so."

At the age of 16, he spread his wings and went abroad to study at the United World College (UWC) of the Adriatic (Collegio del Mondo Unito dell'Adriatico, Duino, Trieste). Then he came home to roost, performing several years of military service. Thereafter he was selected for the Adi Lautman Interdisciplinary Programme for Outstanding Students of Tel Aviv University, where he studied many many things, for example philosophy, psychology, classics, literature, law and mathematics, specializing in linguistics and receiving his M.A. (summa cum laude) from the Department of Linguistics in 1997.

Professor Zuckermann is a master at turning a rejection into a motivating force. If you want him to succeed, reject him! A well-meaning teacher advised the young Zuckermann not to bother with Oxbridge, so he promptly went to England and ended up holding doctorates from both Oxford and Cambridge (the latter one being titular). His best advice to his students is therefore always to ignore your professor's best advice.

As Scatcherd European Scholar of the University of Oxford and Denise Skinner Graduate Scholar of St Hugh's College, Oxford, he gained his D.Phil. (Oxon.) in 2000. In 2000-2004 he was Gulbenkian Research Fellow at Churchill College, Cambridge. There he learned a lot about Laurence of Arabia from Winston's lovely daughter Mary Soames, who always wanted to sit near Zuckermann on High Table dinner because he was the only fellow to tell her the truth about life at Churchill College. At Churchill he also met Margaret Thatcher, who asked him whether he was related to Solly Zuckerman, to which he replied that he might have indeed been a distant relative. Or not. George Steiner welcomed Zuckermann to College by telling him: "Israel has great future. In New York!" Upon arrival at Churchill, Zuckermann was introduced to a fellow he understood to be "Tony, Jewish" and discussed various Jewish themes with him on a weekly basis, only to find out three months later that he was actually "Tony Hewish", a Nobel laureate in physics. Zuckermann enjoyed discussing IDF with yet another Nobel laureate: Bob Edwards (IVF).

Professor Zuckermann has published in various languages, e.g. English, Israeli ('Ivrit'), Italian, Yiddish, Spanish, German, Russian and Chinese. He recently translated --- successfully --- the following into Esperanto: The Frenchman says "I'm tired and thirsty, I must have wine!" The German says "I'm tired and thirsty, I must have beer!" The Jew says "I'm tired and thirsty, I must have diabetes!". Mi devas havi vinon / bieron / diabeton!

His revolutionary bestseller book Israelit Safa Yafa (Israeli - A Beautiful Language) (ISBN: 978-965-13-1963-1)  was published in 2008 by Am Oved (Tel Aviv) and has multiplied the number of Zuckermann's admirers and enemies by approx. 100,000. Several days before the publication of this book, Zuckermann finally received its cover. Ignoring the idiom "don't judge a book by its cover", he looked at it and darkness was made in his eyes: Whereas the title of the book was israelit safa yafa, i.e. ISRAELI - A Beautiful Language (challenging and modelled upon the old Zionist slogan ivrit safa yafa "Hebrew - A Beautiful Language"), the last sentence on the back cover was "this is his first book in HEBREW"! Worriedly, he called Am Oved and was given an ultimatum: either we leave it as "this is his first book in Hebrew" or change it to "this is his first book in Israeli and his last book at Am Oved"! Eventually, the compromise was "this is his first book published in Israel". 

Professor Zuckermann then mumbled to himself: "What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet", says Juliet to Romeo (or Yael to Ram, as per a fin-de-siècle translation to "Modern Hebrew") in a scene by the famous playwright referred to by former Libyan leader Muammar al-Qaddafi as "Sheikh Zubeir". There are cases in which the name is extremely important because it determines the way people perceive the thing it stands for. Just as thought influences language, language can shape thought. It was Confucius who said 2,500 years ago, around the time when the Old Testament was written, 必也正名乎 Bi Ye Zheng Ming Hu (the first thing one has to do is to rectify names!) (Analects, Book 13, Verse 3).

Zuckermann's book Language Contact and Lexical Enrichment in Israeli Hebrew (ISBN: 1-4039-1723-X)  came out with Palgrave Macmillan in 2003. The Israeli version of Tingo, to which he contributed three chapters, was published by Keren Publishing House in 2011. He is currently preparing ten further volumes.

Dr Zuckermann is what one might call peripatetic (if you like him), or peri-patHetic (if you don't). He has taught various undergraduate and graduate courses in four continents, e.g. at the University of Cambridge (Faculty of Oriental Studies, now known as the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies), National University of Singapore, University of Miami, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Pavol Jozef Safarik University (Kosice, Slovakia), The University of Queensland (2006-2010), and Shanghai International Studies University.

He has been research fellow at the Rockefeller Foundation Study and Conference Center (Villa Serbelloni, Bellagio, Italy), Research Centre for Linguistic Typology (RCLT) (Institute for Advanced Study, La Trobe University), Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center (University of Texas at Austin) and Kokuritu Kokugo Kenkyuuzyo (National Language Research Institute, Tokyo). He has held a range of fellowships and scholarships, including a Project 211 Professorial Fellowship (China), "Shanghai Oriental Scholar" Professorial Fellowship, British Academy Research Grant, Memorial Foundation of Jewish Culture Postdoctoral Fellowship, Harold Hyam Wingate Scholarship, British Chevening Scholarship and Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD) Scholarship.

In his free time, Dr Zuckermann is consultant to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), Oxford University Press (OUP), Sue and Leonard Miller Center for Contemporary Judaic Studies (University of Miami), and Leyvik House, The Israeli Center for Yiddish Culture, Tel Aviv. He is Editorial Board Member of The Journal of Language Contact, Mizrekh: Jewish Studies in the Far East, The Israeli Journal of Humor Research; Scientific Committee Member of Societas Linguistica Europaea (SLE); Academic Committee Member of the Yale Initiative for the Interdisciplinary Study of Anti-Semitism (YIISA); Thought Leader of Creativity Australia, Melbourne; and Advisory Board Member of Gifted Speech.

He has been referee for Yale University Press (YUP), Cambridge University Press (CUP), Languages in Contrast, Australian Journal of Linguistics, Balshanut Ivrit (Hebrew Linguistics), Journal of Modern Jewish Studies, International Journal of Lexicography, CamLing (Conference in Language Research, University of Cambridge), Leverhulme Trust, Israel Science Foundation (ISF), Endangered Languages Documentation Programme (ELDP), and the Academic Research Fund of Singapore's National Institute of Education (NIE). In 2008 he was President of the Jury of the BIFF Interfaith Award for Promoting Humanitarian Values, Brisbane International Film Festival (BIFF).

He has delivered hundreds of keynote speeches and plenary conference papers, has been an invited speaker on various TV programmes. For example, he recently spent many lovely hours with Stephen Fry in Rishon LeZion (Israel) discussing the Hebrew revival and the emergence of Israeli for Fry's Planet Word (BBC). Here is a video clip: The Politics of Language

In 1993-6 Professor Zuckermann taught preparatory courses for various psychometric examinations (e.g. GMAT) at Kidum Institute, Tel Aviv, and co-authored four books in this field. Other interests include opera (in particular Puccini, Verdi, Donizetti and Mozart), film, photography, constrained literature, poetry, paleo-anthropology and human migration, cultural immersion through travel, and world politics.

Further shameless particulars can be found at http://www.zuckermann.org/

Monday, November 7, 2011

We Want to Be the 1%

Note from the Editor-in-Chief:  Another rejection from Associate Editor Chicken.  I would like to widen his call for bank account and credit card numbers, and so although the following letter is addressed to 'Mark,' feel free to consider it an open letter to the world and email me your own financial information. 

We at JofUR feel that because we are already universally despised (because of our impossible editorial standards, extreme good looks, or just generally jerky ways), we deserve to join the 1% at the expense of the 99%.  We want to be the 1%.  Then we could become the Editor-in-Yacht!  (That's the royal we of course.)

Although I'd love to blab on about OWS or other topics such as how to construct a straw-bale house, I'll save that for another post, and paste in Editor Chicken's rejection without further ado:

Dear Mark,

Thank you for submitting a rough draft of your untitled paper to the Journal of Universal Rejection.  There seems to be quite a bit about borrowing, lending and spending in it.  Your work is clearly focused on the theoretical aspects of these activities.  For us to seriously consider the merits of your paper, we will need to see an application or case study. 

We at the Journal of Universal Rejection are here to help you out in this regard.  Please send the editors your credit card number (don't forget the expiration date and security code).  Also, your bank account number and online password would be useful.  We will begin to gather data on spending (and to a lesser extent, lending and borrowing) at once.  You should see this data in about six weeks on your next  credit card and bank statements.

In the meantime, your paper is rejected.

Eric Chicken
Associate Editor
The Journal of Universal Rejection

Friday, November 4, 2011

Acceptable Topics: The Submission

Readers:  Rogier was kind enough to respond with a submission in not just one, but all four acceptable topics.  I am posting his response to get anonymous (or nonanonymous (would that be nonymous or aymous?).  Why doesn't the 'a' and 'non' in anonymous collapse to be ymous?) feedback to help in rejecting.  Not that we need any help in rejecting.  No, not at all.  We can reject just fine, thank you very much.  Why I rejected just yesterday. 

Recall the acceptable topics were:
(A) In statistical modeling of reductive theories, how can you reformulate the reduction problem as a measurement problem?
(B) Who is John Howard, and what did he found?
(C) Grasshoppers.
(D) What is the answer to this question?

(Rogier's submission after the jump.)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Whom Do I Reject?

Dear Dr. G        ,

Your pre-application enquiry is rejected because you wrote:

Hi. I was wondering who I might talk to about becoming an editor for your prestigious publication?

You should have written:

Hi. I was wondering whom I might talk to about becoming an editor for your prestigious publication?


Caleb Emmons, PhD
Journal of Universal Rejection

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Acceptable Topics

Dear R          ,

Thank you for enquiring about what I would like to read.  That was very thoughtful.  You're right, most people just send some junk they've already written without caring one whit about my feelings.

Because you were so generous, I thought I would also be so, and give you a choice of topic.  Acceptable topics are:
(A) In statistical modeling of reductive theories, how can you reformulate the reduction problem as a measurement problem?
(B) Who is John Howard, and what did he found?
(C) Grasshoppers.
(D) What is the answer to this question?

Best of luck,

Caleb Emmons, PhD
Journal of Universal Rejection

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Dear Lecturer M          ,

Thank you for (sort of) submitting your chapter on Aristotle's Rhetoric for inclusion in the Journal of Universal Rejection. 

I assume that when you wrote:
"The reason for writing is to ask whether you would be so kind as to ignore this chapter prior to rejecting it, and perhaps fail to let me know of any notable omissions or errors?"
that this was a Rhetorical question.  Because it is a Rhetorical question, it requires no answer.  That is, the answer is self-evident. 

You suggested that I not read your chapter submission.  However, I have rejected that request.  Also your request that I not tell you of notable errors or omissions is rejected.  Here are several:
  • When you quote Aristotle, you make-out like he spoke the King's English.  I am pretty sure he spoke Welsh or something.
  • When you claim "emotion and reason are fundamentally intertwined and so such dichotomies between head and heart are flawed," I failed to feel that this sentiment came from your heart.  It seemed to be arrived at by a lot of heavy brain-plodding reasoning.  If you really felt that sentiment in your heart, couldn't you just whip it out and say "Bam! It's because I feel that, brother!  Bam!"  Ya feel me?
  • You misspelt police as polis.
  • You failed to discuss other interesting words that start with rh, such as rhizome, rhinoceros, and rhythm.  Not to mention Rhesus monkey.
  • You use a piece of feminine bodywear as a source.
  • Too many sentences started with "So."
So, for these reasons, and none at all, we are rejecting your piece.

Best of luck in your future sir,
Caleb Emmons, PhD
Journal of Universal Rejection

Friday, October 14, 2011

Limericks II

It's limerick time again.   Unfortunately I really have no sense of metrical rhythm, so please suggest improvements in the comments section. 
Reprobatio Certa equates,
To a uniformly negative state,
And since every submission,
Is met by derision,
I await my inevitable fate.

- Neeraj Oak

Thursday, October 13, 2011


Dear Author(s):

The pictures in figures 1A and 1B of your manuscript "Hantaviruses Infects Cells" do not have a dimensional scale. Based on this, the captions of these pictures seem to be misplaced. The captions you have submitted say
 "Figure 1: (A) Infected Cells. (B) More infected Cells."
Obviously, they should have read
"Figure 1: (A) Photoshopped potatoes. (B) More Photoshopped potatoes."

We are delighted to announce that we reject the submitted paper because there seems to be no connection between the claims of the effects of Hantavirus and these pictures of potatoes.

Cesar A. Rodriguez-Rosario
Associate Editor of Journal of Universal Rejection

Post scriptum from the Editor-in-Chief:  Not to be a stickler, but shouldn't it be "Hantaviri Infect Cells" ...? 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The ICψ

Dear Readership,

We like to keep you informed of important upcoming conferences and congri (which is the plural of congress, for those not in the know).  In that vein, we are reposting a letter from Dr. Kirby (a possible U.S. goverment operative) after the break regarding a very important upcoming congress, the ICψ.  We were so impressed with his eloquent writing skills that we decided to purloin the phrases 'in the know' and 'in that vein' for use in this introductory paragraph. 

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Red Dawn

Dear Russian people,

Thank you for submitting the results of your recent експеримент, and congratulations on already listing it on your CVs.  Unfortunately the results were in Russian.  (Why does this keep happening to us?  We're really not prepared to handle all these foreign languages.  Some would say we should tap our editorial board and/or use Google Translate.  And at times we do.  To quote T.S. Eliot: "Almost at times the Fool" and "Do I dare to eat a peach?")

So as to your експеримент.  I did figure out that word.  Because as a mathematician I know epsilon, pi, rho, eta....  But otherwise I couldn't make heads or tails of it.  In fact it frightened me a little.  It is probably only because I grew up during the 80s on a steady diet of hiding under our desks practicing for the event of a nuclear holocaust, watching "Red Dawn," and ingesting other Cold War propaganda.  I don't know why the propaganda here was so effective, but I can't hear Russian in a coffee shop without breaking out in a cold sweat, scoping for the quickest route to the exit, and crossing my fingers that the "Wolverines" show up soon.  Of course as a mathematician, that is also what happens to me any time any one talks to me or makes an abrupt movement in my direction.

Speaking of coffee shops, you did mention in your (thankfully English) cover letter that the results of your paper were regarding "the effects and impacts of dry coffee creamer on the consistency, volume and taste qualities of freshly brewed caffeinated beverages in general and hot coffee in particular."  I guess that is not too scary.  I must have braved-up a lot by marrying an East German  (who has the bad habit of shouting "Halt - Oder ich schieße!" whenever I come into a room...). 

So I will take a deep breath and reject your piece.  The rejection is not due to any flaw in your conclusion (remember, I didn't even read it), but rather is decreed by the most recent round of SALT talks (Strategic Acceptance Limitation Treaty).

Remember, I come in peace.  Please do not hurt me.

Glasnost and perestroika,
Caleb Emmons, PhD
Journal of Universal Rejection

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The "Good Catch!" Awards

Note from the Editor-in-Chief: Our dear esteemed editor Sonia Lyris sent me the following epistle to post on the blog:

Dear Dr. Emmons,

Do please let our faithful readers know that we have now awarded our first three "good catch!" awards to those keen and faithful readers who caught our deliberate error in my posted rejection to Mr. T     's story. The erudite John Lee was kind enough to send us a useful link for understanding the origins of the phrase. Correctly used, it should of course be "to pore over", as to "examine closely" not "to pour over" as in to "splash my attention upon, as with a pint of wretchedly cheap beer, a dirty boot, and an ill-considered plan."

Our readers have yet again proved themselves keen, and our editorial staff cannot help but be proud.

For those disappointed not to have gained one of the coveted "Good Catch!" awards, fear not: we will be inserting additional deliberate apparent errors in the future. Stay keen!

Sonia Lyris, Short Fiction Editor

If it were I, I'd've deliberately put an error in there.  Maybe she did.  I'm not the kind of editor that looks for errors.  Congrats to John Lee and the other two unnamed awardees!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Completely Untitled

Dear Mr. T     ,

If only your stated certainty of our affection for your submission could make it so! Alas that our mortal urgings to the universe, gods and various demons do not influence the course of events or indeed our opinion of your submission. Alas.

We have had our editorial team pour over your self-avowed unfinished, unpolished, and indeed (we confirm) unedited work to find some redeeming quality, which we did find in the next-to-last paragraph, which, while failing to cash the barely legible check of the preceding handful of disjointed paragraphs, brought a smile to our faces:

"The easiest way to fail in life is to die too soon. The second easiest way is to die too late."

We'd like to say that the same applies to your story, but there is no story as far as we can tell, so it is difficult to discern if it had died too soon or too late.

Bluntly, Mr. T     , we have strict rules here. We do not publish incomplete manuscripts. Ever. Except when we do, of course. It could happen. In the multiverse, they say, anything is possible.

Except in your case. We must reject your story on the grounds that despite one or two good lines, it does not have a beginning or end (the middle, as always, is arguable). It is, to quote you "neither complete nor titled" and, yes, we can see that you "haven't proofread [it] at all".

We thank you for your submission and hope you will, next time, consider sending us a shopping list.


This Lady of Rejection
Sonia Lyris, Short Fiction Editor

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Schroedinger's Improper Care of Felines

Dear Prof H:

We received submission of one of your cats in an unmarked leaden box to the Journal of Universal Rejection. 

Your inclusion of a radioactive isotope-triggered cat termination device was of questionable moral grounds.  The box was delivered on 25 August, 2011, at which point your cat existed as a dual waveform alive/dead cat for several days.  Sadly we were unable to retrieve the box or read your instructions re: disabling the radioactive isotope-triggered cat termination device until today given a zombie velociraptor-induced backlog on mail service here at the Journal of Universal Rejection.

I have opened the box, and things are not well with your cat.  Although not observed until now, it is quite clear that the cats waveform collapsed awhile ago due, quite probably, not to the decay of radioactive isotope and release of toxic gas, etc., but rather to a lack of appropriate food and water.

Although we do dutifully reject all submissions here, please do not send us any more of your pets. 

Thank you,

Caleb Emmons, PhD
Journal of Universal Rejection

Editor's post scriptum:   Thankfully Prof H. really only wrote a pre-submission enquiry.  However as a warning we have decided to reply as if he had really sent his cat.  No animals were harmed in the writing of this blog post.  Let's keep it that way, folks

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Farewell to Velociraptors

Dear readership:

Thank you for the outpouring of sympathy regarding our velociraptor infestation.  For example Tinoco said...
"I reject your attempt at alarmism! Probably nothing more than a bunch of playful buitreraptors… or even flamingos…"

Even our esteemed coeditor Sonia Lyris was clearly worried out of her mind when she opined... "Yikes.  What does that mean in the common lingo?"

Well I assure you they were velociraptors, and--what's more--they ate one of our editors.  I won't bother saying which one.

But the good news is we've gotten them to go.  It's a long story, but I won't bore you with the details.

Okay, maybe just a few.

It was a stormy night.  I had just gotten back to the office after buying some corndogs.  Parked near the entrance of the office was a suspicious-looking bus, and--inside the bus--three velociraptors.  They came at us fast, and we just whisked in the front door before their killing claws were scraping at it.  Thank goodness I got the double-bolt fire door and our windows at Reprobatio Certa are made out of pure lead.  I immediately called the Journal of Universal Rejection office (separate from Reprobatio Certa's), and only heard the shrill shrieks of velociraptors devouring our archives and stabbing at our super-fancy computers.  But the one that had answered the phone soon hung up and there was silence on the line until someone came on and said "If you'd like to make a call, please hang up and try again.  If you'd like to make a call, please hang up and try again.  If you'd like to make a call, please hang up and try again."  Then I hung up.

Then they came, the rest of the 14 of the velociraptors, and made a campfire outside Reprobatio Certa.  Every once in a while one would come and shriek at the front door.  After a few days I realized that they were shrieking and stabbing in Morse code.  The leader was telling me his story.

Here follows the story of the band of 14 velociraptors.  I missed the first few years because I didn't realize about the Morse code until too late, but I have made up a story to fill in that bit.

The velociraptors lived in a happy commune on an Isle they called Pumpkin Island (most likely because it was entirely covered with pumpkins).  I think the pumpkins were made out of meat and that is all the velociraptors ate, except for the occasional buitreraptor and flamingo.

After a while the velociraptors became zombies.  It was at that point they began to want brains.

Many centuries passed.

The band of 14 zombie velociraptors terrorized Pumpkin Island for awhile, but soon they all fell down into a cave after a night of drinking too much pumpkin liqueur.

Many centuries passed.

In 1859 Alfred Vail, the coinventor of the telegraph fell into the cave and taught the velociraptors Morse code before they ate his large brain.

Next the cave was explored by coal-miners who didn't like the velociraptors because they (the miners) keep having their brains eaten by them (the velociraptors).  They (the miners) decided to let them (the velociraptors) out of the cave.

After that the velociraptors bought a large bus and drove to take over the Journal of Universal Rejection and Reprobatio Certa and try to eat our brains.

Some time passed, and we who were barricaded in Reprobatio Certa ate all the baked beans that we had stored for exactly such a situation.  The air grew stale.

So, to get to the point.  I have convinced, very cleverly, the velociraptors to leave.  How?  I let them read the entire contents of Reprobatio Certa (which I passed to them through a slip under the door on slip of baked-bean-can wrapper).

The velociraptors decided there were no brains to eat here.

So they left.

If you see a large bus full of velociraptors, be warned.  They are also zombies.

Thursday, August 11, 2011


Velociraptors have taken over the Journal of Universal Rejection!  We have barricaded ourselves in Reprobatio Certa.  They are coming!  They are coming!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

As Easy as (Dutch) Apple Pie

Dear René,

The Journal of Universal Rejection is overjoyed to receive yet another submission in Dutch.  As you may remember from here, I don't speak Dutch.  We do have at least one editor on our board that does, but I wouldn't want to bother him with a submission.  So I will tackle this one myself. 

Here is my proposed method.  I will randomly grab a sentence from your document.  With my limited knowledge of German and (admittedly limited) knowledge of English I should be able to pry apart the sentence enough to read it, since Dutch seems to be what you get when you put three English-speaking inchworms and a German-speaking bumblebee in a tin can and shake it until they lose their ability to spell. 

The sentence I plan to dissect is:
"Bent u op zoek naar kwaliteit, waarheid en eerlijkheid, dan is dit boek een eye-opener van de eerste orde."

Ok, here goes.  My plan is to make several passes at it:

1st pass: 
"Bent you up, Zeke, nur Qualitaet, Wahrheit und Ehrlichkeit, dann is this book ein eye-opener von der erste order."
2nd pass:
"Bent you up, Zeke.  Only quality, truth, and honesty, since this book is an eye-opener of the first order."
3rd pass:
"Let's wrestle, Zeke.  I will throw you to the ground, pin your eyes open with toothpicks, and instill you with morals by forcing you to read this book."

It appears you are threatening me.

Therefore I reject your submission.

Best regards,

p.s. My name is not Zeke.

Caleb Emmons, PhD
Journal of Universal Rejection

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

No Bird Suits Needed

Photo by debaird
Dear Chris,

Thank you for submitting "Spread your Wings, Poet!" to the Journal of Universal Rejection.

I have found that my birthday suit works very well as a bird-suit.  As my almost-two-year-old son and I run through the house flapping our wings, it is fast enough for us, and the little stairs we jump down are high enough.  I reject all the rigamarole about the bird-suit, farm, tractor, zipper, suitcase, Massey-Ferguson flying-machine, Klaxon horn-switch, Sears Tower, parachute ... you get the picture. 

My son liked the tractor bit; your submission is rejected.

Best regards,
Caleb Emmons, PhD
Journal of Universal Rejection

Monday, August 8, 2011

Top 5 Papers I Wish Had Been Submitted to JofUR

Note from the Editor-in-Chief:  Normally I only bother to consider papers that people send our way.  But I was inspired to make a list of papers I wish had been submitted to the Journal of Universal Rejection.  So without further ado, here is the list:

#5 Burgoyne, Paul S., Thumbs down for zinc finger? Nature 342, 860 - 862 (28 December 1989)

I don't know who this Zinc Finger guy is.  I suspect he is trying to take over the world.  He definitely deserves rejection.  As to the paper, it probably deserves rejection too.  

Yet again: good enough for Nature, but not good enough for the Journal of Universal Rejection.

#4 Sowa, J. Ontology, Metadata, and Semiotics  Conceptual Structures: Logical, Linguistic, and Computational Issues. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, 2000, Volume 1867/2000, 55-81

This one makes the list in honor of my wife.  These are three of the things she hates most.  Well, I don't know what semiotics is, so I can't tell if she really hates that.  But I know she doesn't like ontology or metadata.

#3 Alexander, G. and Bradley, L.R.  Fostering in sheep. IV. Use of restraint, Applied Animal Behaviour Science, Volume 14, Issue 4, December 1985, Pages 355-364

You might think this is an odd one to make the list.  But from the abstract: 
"The prevention of any close olfactory contact resulted in an intermediate rate of acceptance, even though acceptance was apparently based on olfaction, as shown by universal rejection of strange alien lambs."
Here at JofUR we also practice universal rejection of strange alien lambs.

#2 Elaine Fuchs, Tudorita Tumbar and Geraldine Guasch, Socializing with the Neighbors: Stem Cells and Their Niche  Cell, Volume 116, Issue 6, 19 March 2004, Pages 769-778

Okay, there is nothing particularly funny about this paper.  I only included it so I could gratuitously link back to these posts about the neighbors (whom I reject) and this post about stem cells since people thought those were funny.

#1 Erdoğan Şen, An Inequality for Second Order Differential Equation with Retarded Argument  Advances in Pure Mathematics, 2011, 1, 243-244

This would have been the easiest paper to reject ever!  In its very title it points out its flaw. And then I discovered that there are tons of papers with "Retarded Argument" in the title.  Wow!  I have to change my specialization from Number Theory to Differential Equations!

Okay, that was the list.  Maybe it could have been better, but I had only so much time to look around.  Now I have to make a shopping list and go pick up my son from daycare.  Please add suggestions in the Comments section.

Friday, August 5, 2011

The Philadelphia Lendry

Dear Editorial Board,

I'm writing on behalf of the Philadelphia Lendry, an experimental lending library which consists of a growing assortment of art, creative services, and cultural ephemera contributed by its members to form a public collection available for borrowing, exhibition, and research. We accept all donations, and it occurs to me that the Journal is both a natural foil and potential partner. (Our curatorial/editorial practices are actually quite similar, in that both the Lendry and the Journal refuse to exercise discernment in acquiring material.)

We at the Lendry are seeking to build our collection in various ways, and we are interested in discussing the possibility of acquiring the Journal's archive of rejected submissions. Would this be of interest to you? Our website is not online yet, but I'm happy to provide you with more information about the Lendry or arrange a discussion with our co-founders.

We hope you'll overcome your natural instinct to reject this offer. If not, we will be nearly as satisfied to gain membership in your rejection collection.

Best regards, and keep up the good work!
The Philadelphia Lendry
(Aislinn, Deborah, Laura, Michael, Nicole, and Olan)
Dear Deborah, Aislinn, Laura, Michael, Nicole, and Olan

Thank you for your generous offer of a partnership betwixt the Philadelphia Lendry and the Journal of Universal Rejection.

I'm afraid I am going to have to reject your offer.  This rejection is not due to our guiding principle (which requires only that we reject submissions for publication) but rather a fine point known as copyright law.  Sadly JofUR does not possess the copyright to the submitted material that we reject.

However, let me propose to you that you may carry a small collection of back-issues of the Journal.  We will grant you the right to display zero issues of JofUR in your collection.  Access to more issues may be acquired for modest prices ranging in the low thousands of euros.

Best regards,

Caleb Emmons, PhD
Journal of Universal Rejection

Dear Caleb, 
Thank you for your reply. We would be delighted to acquire all back-issues of the Journal and have already begun discussing the best way to preserve, catalog, store and display zero issues. Our current fundraising efforts are dedicated to acquiring a door for the Lendry, but I assure you that we will set our sights on raising several thousand euros for additional issues of the JofUR just as soon as we've met our infrastructural needs. In support of our PR initiative, might you be willing to 'Like' the Lendry on Facebook?


Thursday, August 4, 2011


We received a submission from James Holdpants (BA,MA,BMF) which we'll decline to print but maybe you can guess what it was.

Dear Mr. Holdpants,

Thank you for submitting your untitled pearl-of-wisdom to the Journal of Universal Rejection.

Although your piece is short, I have a prime number of follow-up questions:
(1) My roof doesn't need fixing, though granted it will in a couple years.  When shall I start courting the daughter?
(2) What shall homeowners like myself do?
(3) Does it work if your landlord is a landlady?
(4) Will this technique work for doors, windows, or large appliances?
(5) Do you have quantitative data showing this technique is effective?
(6) Won't it be a bit crowded with the landlord's children out-of-wedlock running around everywhere?
and finally,
(7) I'm married, do you think that'll be a problem?

Thank you,

Caleb Emmons, PhD
Journal of Universal Rejection

Dr. Emmons:
Thank you for your sage and provocative inquiry, identifying the yawning holes in my logic stream. However, I must point out that, just as lemons make lemonade and limes make michelada, faulty logic can make for interesting times:
1.       ASAP.  She’s not going to move in with just any yahoo wandering in off the street with a leaky roof.
2.       Homeowners are pretty much out of luck, unless you change “landlord” to “roofing company owner”.
3.       Works the same; everybody knows that mom doesn’t want her precious little muffin getting wet, even if she is living with a lowlife.
4.       Maybe.  Depends whether or not she was disowned when she moved in with you.  Worth a try, though.
5.       My cousin in Chicago does it all the time.  My son tried to do it, but so far all he’s gotten for his trouble are babies.  So results are somewhat mixed.
6.       Good point (see 5).
7.       Not if your wife is open-minded, imaginative, and bi-curious.  Before it’s all over, you may not care that the roof is leaking!

Hope this helps.

Yours in literariness,

 Dear James,

Thank you.  I suspect you are a mountebank.  A roofing company owner just trying to increase your business or marry off your daughters.  You've strummed your siren banjo music once too many times in mine ears. 

Therefore I reject your submission.  Any objection to our correspondence going on the blog? 


Or both!

Mountebank—sounds impressive!  Since the people I consort with won’t know what it means, I could easily convince them that I am a Canadian G-man who puts evil financial types in the slammer, undercover of course.

Objection?  Absolutely not!  Rejection is my middle name!

Yours in glorious mountebankery,

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

No QQing

J. sent us a paper on the etymology of  QQ.  So far all is quiet on the western front.

Photo by bbaunach

Your paper is rejected.  And I don't want to hear any QQing about it. 

Now for your Chuck Norris question:  I need a link to the news story about Chuck Norris plagiarizing himself.  Otherwise I cannot understand the context of your supposition.  You can also write your own news story about it should none exist.

Best regards,
Caleb Emmons, PhD
Journal of Universal Rejection

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Application Anxiety

Someone on the job market sent part of her job application to JofUR. We did her the service of pre-rejecting her; it should soften the eventual blow.  Or better, a trophy to hang in her office should she get the job.  Fingers crossed for her.

I was going to dig up an old rejection letter that I received, but couldn't find one.  So I wung it:

Dear                    ,

Thank you for applying to the tenure-track assistant professorship in                            at            University.  We had over 250 well-qualified applicants for the job.  Although your unique combination of experience and skills made you a strong contender for the position, we must let you know that you did not make it to the final round of candidates to whom we will be offering interviews.  Best of luck in your future, and we hope you will think of              again in any future applications.

Best regards,

Monday, August 1, 2011

Referee Cleverbot's Report

Dear Submitter:

We have reached an editorial decision about your abstract generated by http://www.acsu.buffalo.edu/~rchaves/abstract/. We send it for review to referee http://cleverbot.com/, and instantly a report was received:

"Derivation by phase bars any government in the wrong position. The sequence therefore is rejected, precisely for that reason as assumed in above, to raise the question about the relevant categorial features. Still, potential questions that might remain about related issues such as YP-adjunction to XP, can now be clarified independently. Interestingly, this requires local feature checking and is (at least) partially interpreted at LF, as usually assumed. We have found considerable evidence for this, but due to space limitations we cannot address this. This extends to other phenomena too, of course. But how exactly is this information accessible to the computational system? Regarding the branching asymmetry, this requires local feature checking and converges, as would be observed in old Serbo-Finnish for instance (if such a language were to exist), whether 'weak features' are homogenous or not. The fact that agreement can be assigned in such cases is uncontroversial, but how exactly is this carried out? The parallelism in certain nested dependency cases will not be relevant for now, this bars any government in the wrong position. The sequence therefore yields the expected result, like in Holmberg's generalization and other effects. Also, the LF movement approach raises many issues concerning locality, of course. Obligatoriness is able to interact with other CHL modules, in non-trivial and unexpected ways, yet yields the expected result whether this involves adjunction of features or not. Similarly, in what concerns related data,comparable structures. For this purpose, we propose the following constraint: The Obligatory Coordinate-Alpha S-Criterion: If K` c-commands a-YP in a weak binding domain [a-YP X0[t`...KP]], all segments KX0* are excluded. The full implications of this move are beyond the scope of the present work and will be worked out in full in the future. Independently, this bars any government in the wrong position. The sequence therefore causes the computation to crash, some have speculated (wrongly, in our view)."

Thus, this paper "is rejected, precisely for that reason as assumed in above, to raise the question about the relevant categorial features."

Cesar A. Rodriguez-Rosario,
Editor JUR

Friday, July 29, 2011

It Is a Pipe

Here is ma'gritte (pronounce like Groundskeeper Willie would) new rejection.  Apologies to the unrefined non-Francophones in the audience.

Also available on a T-shirt.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

International Transcultural Psychiatry Conference

Dear readers,

I received the following invitation:

Dear Dr. Caleb J. Emmons ,

On behalf of the organizing committee, it gives us immense pleasure to invite you to the “International Transcultural Psychiatry Conference” scheduled to be held at Ranchi Institute of Neuro-psychiatry and Allied Sciences (RINPAS), Ranchi (Jharkhand), India w.e.f. 24-25 September 2011.

We would like to welcome you to the conference as our valuable speaker and present your recent work and ideas of  Special values of Abelian L-functions at s=0 that were published in Journal of Number Theory .

RINPAS is an autonomous, post graduate mental health teaching and research institute under the Ministry of Health, F.W., M.E&R, Govt. of Jharkhand. It has 500 beds for patients with psychiatric disorders. It is a premier institute of India with multi-disciplinary approach in the field of behavioral sciences.

According to the WHO, 75% to 85% of the world population relies on local healers when in need of medical care.  At the same time, only a fraction of the world population has access to Western psychological and psychiatric services. In those countries and non-Western cultural communities, traditional healers are providing most of the needed psychological services. In order to deal with the societal changes and their influence on clients and communities we need to reflect on our clinical practices, our research agenda and maybe also on the position of mental health workers in the public debate. This conference will address issues deducted from this theme, and will discuss them in relation with mental health care in the form of a workshop. This workshop will be attended and addressed by several international delegates who are experts in their own domains in this topic. They will throw more light on the scenario of transcultural influences on psychiatry practices internationally.

The workshop will consist of both guest lectures from our renowned international experts as well as free papers from our participants.

We cordially invite you and your family members to participate in this workshop to make it a success and help us fulfill our aim of creating an international atmosphere of transcultural psychiatry.

Looking forward for confirmation of your participation,
With warm regards,
Prof.  Amool ranjan Singh Choudhury                                Prof. Suprakash
          (Chairperson)                                                                 (Secretary)
On the conference website I found the Highlights of the Scientific Program:
• Cultural variation in experiences and meaning of mental illnesses and treatment
• Traditional healer’s attitudes and beliefs in dealing psychiatric patients across cultures
• Healer and psychiatrist- a comparative analysis over various cultures
• Transcultural psychiatry- From theory to practice
• Culture bound syndromes
• Differences in  in-patient psychiatric treatment in various cultures
• Psychiatric rehabilitation across various cultures
• The role of spirituality in mental illness
• Religious experiences and psychopathology-A trans-cultural appraisal
• Dissociative disorders- A transcultural appraisal
• Spirit healing and psychosis
• Sex-related issues in different cultures
• Issues related to psychiatric and psychological tools developments over various cultures
• Cross-cultural familial adversities
• Difference in child rearing practices in different cultures in context of psychiatric disorders
• Child psychiatric disorders- Cross cultural variations in presentation, attitudes and treatments
• Acculturation
• Suicide, its causes and its variations across various cultures
• Differences in the concept and levels of psychopathology related insight in different mental disorders in different cultures
• Differences in therapeutic modules across cultures
• Stigma related issues in different cultures
• Variation in psychiatry diagnosis related practices in different cultures
• Substance related issues across various cultures
• Eating disorders and other adolescent problems in various cultures
• Ethnic variations in other psychiatric disorders: presentation, diagnosis and treatment
• Miscellaneous

I suppose that my pure-maths paper Special Values of Abelian L-functions at s=0 would fit under Miscellaneous.  So what do you think, shall I go and speak to the 500 beds, or shall I reject the invited talk?

Or do you think it's a trap?  Do they know I need transcultural psychiatry?

Monday, July 25, 2011

Mmmmmmm Berry Brains....

Dear Ms. B.:

Thank you for your short story submission. We appreciate the traditional start and finish, and you've chosen two of our favorite themes: domestic abuse and animal cruelty. Alas, our short story audience is currently grieving the end of the space shuttle program and craving space opera with transgendered zombie generational families. While your story comes close -- well, no. It really doesn't, does it.

We hope you'll keep us in mind for your next short about dysfunctional bear families. Consider throwing in a zombie or two.

Sonia Lyris

Short Fiction Editor
Journal of Universal Rejection

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Merry Gentleman

Some follow-up correspondence to last Thursday's post:

Ah, a rejection that looks like it is in the same key. Thanks so much.

I have one question. I tried to put your rejection into a song (my catalog of songs is limited, I admit, as are my musical abilities), but none of them worked, including:

"Ain't no need to go no further,"
"I'm a Loser,"
"Viya Con Dios,"
"Mr. Blue,"
"Wrong about me,"
"Never say no"
"Dirty Robber."

Any suggetions? I need something to hum along with  while I repeat your rejection several times.

David A. Swanson, Professor
Department of Sociology
1223 Watkins Hall
University of California Riverside
Riverside, CA USA 92521

Dear Dr. Swanson:

The tune you are looking for is "The Gay Caballero".   Try singing your rejection along with this Frank Crumit version:


Eric Chicken
Department of Statistics
Florida State University
Tallahassee, FL 32306-4330

Friday, July 22, 2011

Quietly in the End

Dear K.T.,

Thank you for submitting your poem "Looking at You" to JofUR.  My response takes the form of a poem inspired by yours:

Looking At Looking At You
Short lines.  Tumbles of autumnal words.
A thin period in-between muttering lines.
One look, and then another.
Swallowing the pill of your snapshot
Scraping on the windows, a twig
I feel empty; no smile creeping
Overgrown roads leading nowhere
From one synapse to another
(Breathing through the mouth because my nose is stuffed up.)

Here in the rejection of your poem -
Tintinnabulous echoes of no-thought
Daydreams, fraught with melancholy,
Reading old JofUR submissions wearing sunglasses.
Outside I've just built a Weber barbeque,
With only a hammer, screw-driver, and block of wood.
Shiny and new, with no hint of ash
My son tried to knock it over
(It is the hard pleasure of shaping an ax-handle.)

Phrases swelter in the summer rainstorm,
Fat raindrops patter on the mossy roof
Empty nests of yesteryear's birds decay,
Rafters now home to fetal mice.
Crying in the dying day like unopened tulips
I sit in the back bedroom typing this missive
Sniffling while changing every beautiful line of your poem.
I am the supreme rejector, laughing.
(Quietly in the end I reject your piece.)

Best regards,

Caleb Emmons, PhD
Journal of Universal Rejection