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Sunday: August 25, 2013

Unfortunate Juxtaposition

Filed under: — site admin @ 11:14 AM GMT-0500

Why you should never trust a computer algorithm to arrange any part of your web-page for you – seen today (off and on) on PJMedia:

PMG latest

Friday: March 1, 2013

How insulated from American reality is the Washington Post?

Filed under: — site admin @ 2:21 PM GMT-0500

One of today’s InstaPundit posts, in full:

IN THE WAPO, A SHOCKING DISCOVERY: For some, lessons of boyhood include learning to shoot and hunt.

I’m not going to bother to follow the link and read the article, because even the title is so stupid. Did they really write “boyhood”? Here in the Shenandoah Valley, not three hours by car from the Washington Post’s offices, I know quite a few girls, as well as boys, who shot their first deer in middle school and their first bear in high school, and ate parts of both species.

Saturday: October 20, 2012

An Opportunity Missed

Filed under: — site admin @ 1:29 PM GMT-0500

Charlie Parker fans will be disappointed to hear that none of the six hotels in Camarillo, California is a Relax Inn. What bebop fan wouldn’t want the opportunity to use the phrase ‘Relax Inn at Camarillo’ in a sentence?

Saturday: October 6, 2012

Weird News out of Canada

Filed under: — site admin @ 11:26 PM GMT-0500

That someone has been stealing massive quantities of maple syrup in Quebec is certainly news, but not particularly weird. What is weird is what the Fox News story mentions in passing as apparently unremarkable: that the theft occurred at “the province’s global strategic reserve at St-Louis-de-Blandford”. Quebec has a Strategic Maple Syrup Reserve? Do other Canadian provinces? Does Vermont? Perhaps something has gone wrong with a translation from the French, and the reserve is not really “strategic” in the usual English sense. Or perhaps Canadians consider maple syrup an essential wartime resource.

Monday: August 20, 2012

Compare and Contrast

Filed under: — site admin @ 8:25 PM GMT-0500

A recent picture of Obama, seen on JustOneMinute and other sites:

A month ago today, InstaPundit reprinted a picture of Jacques Chirac from several years ago (“Ah, that old Chirac photo never fails to amuse.”):

The resemblance in expression is striking, though Obama adds a pint or two of malice, or perhaps fear. What is he scowling at off-camera? And what’s he doing with his hands? Perhaps a photoshop contest is needed.

Saturday: August 4, 2012

Hmmmm . . . .

Filed under: — site admin @ 8:44 PM GMT-0500

While shopping for groceries this morning, I finally figured out why it always bothers me to see stacked-up bags of dogfood brand-named ‘Old Yeller’. It looks like they really wanted to name it ‘Soylent Yeller’, but were afraid people might figure out what it’s made out of.

Monday: May 28, 2012

Maybe I’ve Been Reading LanguageHat Too Long . . .

Filed under: — site admin @ 10:36 AM GMT-0500

. . . since I misread Tim Blair’s post about a Prince concert in Sydney as saying that it took place at “Allophones Arena”. I suppose Allphones is an Australian telephone company. (Don’t tell me: if I cared I could find out easily enough. In less time than it took to write this parenthesis, actually.)

Friday: April 6, 2012

Am I Overthinking This?

Filed under: — site admin @ 5:09 PM GMT-0500

If “Love and marriage, love and marriage, go together like a horse and carriage”, does that mean that love is subjected to slavery for the convenience of marriage? An interesting simile, when you think about it.

Or perhaps I’ve watched too much Married With Children . . .

Sunday: February 5, 2012

More Significant Than ’42’?

Filed under: — site admin @ 11:00 PM GMT-0500

On his fifty-sixth birthday, Terry Teachout laments that “56 is a thoroughly uninteresting number”. Au contraire: it is quite significant as a birthday, perhaps the most significant birthday of all.

Solon was the first (or one of the first) to write on the ‘Ages of Man’ theme, best known to English-speakers from Jacques’ “All the world’s a stage” monologue in As You Like It, II.7. Where Shakespeare distinguished seven ages with no specific lengths in years, Solon had divided the life of man into ten ‘hebdomads’ or periods of seven years each. I quoted the whole passage (Fragment 27, in M. L. West’s English translation) without comment on my fifty-sixth birthday. The most important part for Terry is lines 13-18:

With seven hebdomads and eight – fourteen more years –
    wisdom and eloquence are at their peak,
while in the ninth, though he’s still capable, his tongue
    and expertise have lost some of their force.

For the mathematically-impaired, that means that one’s mental peak (or perhaps plateau, given its extent) is from the 42nd to the 56th birthday, and after that it’s all downhill. Welcome to the downhill slope, Terry.

Sunday: December 11, 2011

Ifs, Ands, and Butts

Filed under: — site admin @ 11:58 PM GMT-0500

If they want to justify their places in the ‘About’ paragraph of About Last Night, OGIC (‘Our Girl in Chicago’) and CAAF (Carrie Frye) really need to get off their butts* and write something. It seems like months since either of them has posted, and I for one miss them.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

*Or should that be “get on their butts”, since that’s the usual posture for bloggers?

Saturday: November 5, 2011

This Takes Me Back

Filed under: — site admin @ 11:23 PM GMT-0500

In a post at The Volokh Conspiracy, Stewart Baker includes a picture of the statue that stands outside the Federal Trade Commission (he credits JoeInSouthernCA):

When I worked in D.C. 20+ years ago, I often walked past the statue. My friends and I liked to think of it as the allegorical depiction of Bureaucracy restraining Trade.

Tuesday: July 26, 2011

Sometimes Font-Style Is More Than Just Esthetic (or Should That Be Aesthetic?)

Filed under: — site admin @ 8:46 AM GMT-0500

In yesterday’s Best of the Web Today, James Taranto referred to “academic cum rapper Cornel West”. That would have looked much better with the Latinate ‘cum’ in italics, especially for readers unclear on the difference between a rapper and a wrapper. Perhaps the Wall Street Journal [Ed: don’t forget to italicize!] doesn’t have any of those.

Saturday: July 16, 2011

Gruesome Ambuiguity

Filed under: — site admin @ 3:30 PM GMT-0500

When I saw the top story in today’s local paper, my unconscious assumption was that “shelter”, not further specified, meant “homeless shelter” rather than “animal shelter”. Since the headline was “Shelter to Shorten Euthanasia Wait”, I was flabbergasted for the 5-10 seconds it took to realize my mistake. Perhaps I would have figured it out sooner if I hadn’t read half a dozen of M. R. James’ ghost stories before going out for take-out pizza.

Saturday: May 21, 2011

Maybe I’m Too Fond of Puns . . . .

Filed under: — site admin @ 8:05 PM GMT-0500

My local movie theater has been serving delicious hors d’oeuvres (from this restaurant) at their showings of the Metropolitan Opera HD simulcasts. What should they have served for Richard Strauss’ last opera on April 23rd? Carpaccio, of course.

Friday: May 20, 2011

Metaphor Abuse

Filed under: — site admin @ 6:23 AM GMT-0500

Hmmm. Prof. Pecinovsky of the University of Missouri thinks (perhaps not quite the right verb) that the United States is “the belly of the beast” (þ InstaPundit), yet he continues to live here, when there are undoubtedly other countries to which he could emigrate. If he chooses to live in the belly of a beast, and to accept sustenance from it (a salary paid for by the taxpayers of Missouri), doesn’t that make him a metaphorical tapeworm?

Sunday: April 3, 2011

Let’s Not Pull Our Punches

Filed under: — site admin @ 11:40 AM GMT-0500

In a post on California’s budget disaster, Big Lizards refers to the state as “the Leaden State (formerly the Golden State)”. Though nowhere near as valuable as gold, lead is a valuable and useful metal. Surely by now California has earned the title of the Pyrite State. For those who’ve forgotten their middle-school science, pyrite (or iron pyrite) is the scientific name for Fool’s Gold.

Thursday: February 3, 2011

Worst Offer Ever?

Filed under: — site admin @ 2:48 PM GMT-0500

I wish I’d had my camera with me a week or two ago. A local grocery store had this special offer:

BUY 1, GET 2
Limit 2

Friday: January 21, 2011

Dear Xerox and Competitors:

Filed under: — site admin @ 12:13 AM GMT-0500

Please provide a ‘default’ or ‘override’ button on all copy machines. The machine is not smarter than the user, at least when I’m making copies. I’m sick and tired of using machines that won’t copy my stuff at normal size. Yes, I know the newspaper clipping on the platen only covers a small portion of the copy area for 8.5 x 11 originals. That doesn’t mean I want it done at 250% magnification, or 50% for that matter. Is is too much to ask to have it done without magnification or – what’s the opposite of that, parvification? If the machine had a ‘default’ button, it would speed things up enormously and avoid wasting paper on copies that are entirely the wrong size or cut off portions of the original. I also know that the workbook I’m copying a page of is slightly larger than 8.5 x 11. Just copy the part on the platen and don’t make me push four different buttons to tell the machine to do the copy at the default settings.

Thursday: January 20, 2011

Dear Barnes and Noble:

Filed under: — site admin @ 11:55 PM GMT-0500

Please don’t send me an e-mail telling me my order is “on the way” at 11:18pm if the book was already on my porch when I got home from work roughly seven hours earlier. You do this a lot. On the other hand, it does provide an opportunity to use the word ‘otiose’.

Thursday: December 30, 2010

When Bad Things Happen to Good Databases

Filed under: — site admin @ 2:44 PM GMT-0500

From the site of a bookseller whose name (and URL) I will kindly omit:

Cicero was a primate, and letters are no doubt symbols as well as collections of symbols, and Cicero’s letters are a “particularly highly-developed form of primate communication”, but I think the blurb is meant for the book pictured, not the bold-faced title.

I wonder which book you get if you click on the ‘buy’ link.