temblor

August 26, 2014

We had an earthquake in northern California in the middle of the night on Sunday. Centered in Napa County, where it did some significant damage. Down here on the peninsula, we got some long shaking, but not much otherwise. My windows rattled, but nothing was harmed; not even the pictures on my walls were deranged.

Then there’s the media coverage, which prominently uses (in all quake reporting, but especially in headlines) the word temblor, which I don’t think I’ve ever heard in ordinary conversation; it seems to be a journalists’ word.

Maybe some journalists think that temblor is a technical, precise term and that (earth)quake is a colloquial and less precise term, but I can find no evidence for this idea. All the dictionaries I’ve looked at, plus the Associated Press Stylebook, treat temblor as a straightforward synonym for earthquake, with no referential distinction.

It’s true that temblor is shorter than earthquake, so it’s handy for for headlines. But the clipped quake is shorter than temblor, and has the advantage of easy comprehension. (Tremor is also compact and easy to understand.) But newspapers like the exotic temblor.

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More cheese, and conversion by truncation

August 26, 2014

A comment (of 8/23) by Andy Sleeper on my haloumi posting:

At a hotel in Chicago recently, at the breakfast buffet, they were serving some dish with egg, meat, and cheese, with a little sign saying “Scrambled with chorizo sausage and chihuahua.” [Note that chorizo would have done fine here; chorizo is the name of a type of pork sausage, so that chorizo sausage is an expansion of chorizo -- similar to Brie cheese versus Brie.]

Adjectives with assumed nouns are asking for trouble, it seems to me. From scrambled, I understand eggs, though it could have been brains.

After I inquired, I learned that “chihuahua” refers to a type of cheese I had never heard of. I think “cheese” would have been an important word to include.

First, a note on Chihuahua cheese, then on the “conversion by truncation” in scrambled for scrambled eggs and chihuahua for Chihuahua cheese.

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Cowboy Rub

August 25, 2014

From Tara Narcross-Wyckoff, a supermarket scene:

Two points of linguistic interest here: the noun rub; and the semantics of N + N compounds X rub. (Several observers have speculated on possibly raunchy interpretations of the product name Cowboy Rub. I’ll get to that.)

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An orphan initialism

August 24, 2014

In a local story I’ve been following for a while in the (San Francisco mid-peninsula) Daily Post, the installment from the 21st: “Gym may continue without Y: Landlord comes to the rescue” by Breena Kerr. Background:

YMCA Silicon Valley announced in June it intended to close the gym in the Palo Alto Square office complex [at Page Mill Rd. and El Camino Real], citiing declining membership and the need to make costly and logistically difficult renovations. As the expiration of the lease approached, the YMCA said it made more sense to close than to try to save the gym.

(The landlord now says he intends to keep the gym running after the YMCA leaves.)

Further background: Over the years, the Page Mill YMCA has developed a considerable membership of seniors, who have become a community. As the Daily Post put it:

Unlike most YMCAs, the Page Mill location is an adult gym, and many members see it as an integral part of their social lives.

But YMCA of Silicon Valley Chief Operating Officer Elizabeth Jordan told the Post in June that the organization doesn’t want to run an adult gym.

“A YMCA that’s perceived as adults-only isn’t in line with the YMCA’s mission,” she told the Post.

In the June quote Jordan characterizes the facility as “an adult gym” but then refines that to “perceived as adults-only”, which is quite another matter. In any case, the Page Mill facility certainly presents itself as for everyone. not just the young, men, and Christians.

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haloumi

August 23, 2014

From my recent posting “Dubious disavowals?”, in a description of the offerings of the Welsh food truck Dirty Bird Fried Chicken:

The menu … features items such as the Dirty Hippy Burger with fried Haloumi, Chilli Slaw, Red Onion, Mayo, Hot Sauce and a pickled cucumber in a toasted brioche bun.

The erratic capitalization is entertaining, but my focus here is on the ingredient haloumi, a kind of cheese.

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Annals of community and conversation

August 22, 2014

On Slate on the 20th, a piece by David Auerbach, on “The First Gay Space on the Internet: It was called soc.motss, and it anticipated how we use social networks today”. Framing the piece:

Since the early 1980s, there have been many LGBTQ spaces on the Net: newsgroups, bulletin board systems, or BBSs, mailing lists, social networks, chat rooms, and websites. But the very first LGBTQ Internet space, as far as I’ve been able to find, was the soc.motss newsgroup. And it hosted conversations that had never been seen before online — and that arguably remain in too short supply even today.

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Dubious disavowals?

August 22, 2014

It originally came to me through Chris Hansen on Facebook, in this remarkable two-part image:

(#1)

along with this story (by “Happy Gilmore”) from August 12th, reporting:

Welsh Fried Chicken Brand Defends Logo: Food Company defends its controversial new logo after customers complain about its phallic and unusual design reports Walesonline.co.uk

The owner of the Dirty Bird Brand has stated that the logo was just a unique way to change the “B” and the “D” look like a small rooster.

… The food company has also started using posters that state ” Touch My Thigh” and “Touch My Breasts” … Although, Dirty Bird owner Neil Young has backed his statements that these were not meant to be obscene.

Dirty Bird let http://www.metro.co.uk know that the images were in no way meant to upset their customers  … They wanted a fun way to portray a rooster. That’s all.

Those in doubt should check out the artists tumblr page – Mark James

Hmmm.

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intern

August 21, 2014

The Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal strip of 8/18/14:

 

(Hat tip to Paul Armstrong.)

Background from NOAD2:

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Austenian humblebragging?

August 20, 2014

Another quotation from Jane Austen (once again via Chris Ambidge), this time from a letter of 11 December 1815 to James Stanier Clarke, about Austen’s novel Emma.

Surely this is false modesty — and couched as a boast, so that it looks like what we’d now call humblebragging.

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The mysteries of desire

August 20, 2014

From Xopher Walker recently, this cartoon (of 1/11/90) from Matt Groening’s Life in Hell strip:

(#1)

Akbar and Jeff’s sexuality was the subject of a number of strips, including five posted here on 2/5/13 (“Jeff and Akbar explore their sexuality”), but this one wasn’t in that set. A notable feature of their interaction here is the role of the fez in indicating arousal: the tassel becomes erect.

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