In the NYT Magazine (on Sunday the 19th), a “Who Made That?” piece by Daniel Engber on the captcha. Some weeks ago, another one of these pieces on laugh tracks on television.
Archive for the ‘Abbreviation’ Category
In my mail today, a message labeled BFSA. Ok, any number of interpretations, many of them sexual (my mind is inclined that way), but then it turned out to be from these folks:
From the NYT Science Times yesterday, in ” ‘Cured of AIDS’? Not Yet” by Donald G. McNeil Jr.:
“We should seek out, test and get people into treatment as soon as we possibly can,” Dr. [Anthony] Fauci said. “That way, you can get people into the position the Visconti cohort is in.”
(“Visconti cohort,” for Viro-Immunologic Sustained Control After Treatment Interruption, is a shorthand way of referring to the patients studied by the Pasteur Institute, in France.)
Someone labored hard to concoct that acronym.
A bonus from the same article, this “split infinitive” that caught my eye:
In this country, it is unusual for an infected pregnant woman to not see a doctor even once before delivery.
I probably would have moved the not up in the structure, to give not to see, but I’m not sure why; I certainly have no aversion to so-called split infinitives. Perhaps the writer systematically prefers to keep VP adverbs (like not) with the VP they modify (so that the infinitive marker to then combines with a full, modified BSE-form VP); there are certainly writers who do.
From the NYT op-ed page on the 14th, in T. M. Luhrmann’s column “When God Is Your Therapist”:
… the Rev. Rick Warren’s “The Purpose Driven Life,” one of the best-selling books of all time, teaches you to identify your self-critical, self-demeaning thoughts, to interrupt them and recognize them as mistaken, and to replace them with different thoughts. Cognitive-behavioral therapists often ask their patients to write down the critical, debilitating thoughts that make their lives so difficult, and to practice using different ones. That is more or less what Warren invites readers to do. He spells out thoughts he thinks his readers have but don’t want, and then asks them to consider themselves from God’s point of view: not as the inadequate people they feel themselves to be, but as loved, as relevant and as having purpose.
It was the reference to cognitive behavioral therapy (or as Luhrmann has it, Cognitive-behavioral therapy). After the first mention, most writers shift to using the initialism CBT to refer this approach to psychotherapy. And then I have a moment of entertaining the possibility that the writer is talking about the fetish/kink cock and ball torture, also abbreviated as CBT. Context sorts things out, of course, though it entertains me to think of psychotherapists treating their patients with cock and ball torture, or BDSM folk torturing people with cognitive behavioral therapy.
The USA network is now advertising a Tiva marathon for Sunday 10 February: a day’s worth of episodes of the tv series NCIS featuring the relationship between the characters Anthony DiNozzo and Ziva David. Tiva is a portmanteau of Tony (supplying the t) and Ziva (supplying the iva) — Zony, Tova, Ziny, Tozi, and Zito would have been other possibilities, less satisfactory to my mind — and is in fact an established label (in the world of NCIS fandom) for
the possibility of a romantic relationship between Agents Anthony DiNozzo [played by Michael Weatherly] and Ziva David [played by Cote de Pablo] on NCIS. (link)
This is from an NCIS wiki on Tiva, which describes the word as a “shipper term” and notes that “It is one of the most popular ships associated with the show in general.”
NYT obit (by Bill Friskics-Warren) for Mike Auldridge on the 1st:
Mike Auldridge Dies at 73; Lent Dobro Fresh Elegance
Mike Auldridge, a guitarist who became one of the most distinctive dobro players in the history of country and bluegrass music while widening its popularity among urban audiences, died on Saturday at his home in Silver Spring, Md.
Ah, the dobro. I assumed that it was originally a folk instrument, from some Slavic land, with a name in the local language. Well, not quite, as the obit went on to explain:
A resophonic (or resonating) acoustic guitar, the dobro produces sound by means of one or more spun metal cones instead of a wooden sound board. (The instrument’s name is a contraction of Dopera and brothers. Dopera was the surname of the Slovak-American brothers who patented an early version of the instrument in 1928.)
The name is what Ben Zimmer has labeled an acroblend, a combination of acronym and portmanteau (Ben uses blend to cover intentional combinations as well as inadvertent ones), for which I’d prefer the label acromanteau, or — naming the type from a prominent example – Nabisco (originally from National Biscuit Company)
From Geoff Nathan on ADS-L, the Pearls Before Swine cartoon from yesterday:
Geoff offered Rat’s derivation of sprouts as a prime example of of etymythology, and that it certainly is. Discussion on the strip’s site, meanwhile, took up the question of sprouts ‘sprouted seeds used as an ingredient or accompaniment in food preparation’ vs. sprouts ‘Brussels sprouts’; as far as I know, no one puts Brussels sprouts in sandwiches, and Goat’s sandwich surely has alfalfa sprouts or something similar in it. (more…)