A French friend confessed recently that he was surprised how bad my French was. (As am I: I have been studying that language forever.) A day or two later, I was translating some sentences into Spanish. Only by the third sentence did I realize that I was translating into French. I am continually mangling the two.

I find learning languages challenging, and this winter has been particularly rigorous because I’ve had to learn Net-ease and rudimentary HTML. Promoting a book requires “getting out there,” and these days, out there is here, on the Net, which has a language of its own.