Archive for the ‘Errors’ Category

Roland B. McRiver

March 11, 2019

In my comics feed yesterday (presumably originally in print on 2/11), a One Big Happy in which Ruthie uses a doll to take on the personality of Tina Turner covering the Creedence Clearwater Revival hit “Proud Mary” — “Rollin’ on the River”:


(#1) Ruthie burlesquing “Rollin’ on the River” as “Roland B. McRiver”

Background: the CCR song, the Tina Turner version, Tina Turner herself, the Tiny Tears doll — a ton of pop culture. And then Ruthie’s burlesque, which reproduces, in its mangled way (Joe: “Make her stop. PLEASE!”), all three verses of the original and its chorus.

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Hard Tundra

March 4, 2019

Adventures in cross-dialect understanding in the One Big Happy strips of 2/1 and 2/2, both featuring Ruthie and Joe’s playmate James:

(#1)

(#2)

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The didactyl anteater, Anteater D, aka The Antedater

March 3, 2019

It began five months ago, on ADS-L, the American Dialect Society mailing list, with a note from the compiler of the Yale Book of Quotations about a piece he’d recently published:

Fred R. Shapiro, Confessions of the Antedater. Dictionaries: Journal of the Dictionary Society of North America 39.1.23-42 (2018).

An engaging and informative essay about finding earlier and earlier citations for English words and phrases. At the time, ADS-Ler Mark Mandel exclaimed:

At first I saw it as “Confessions of an Anteater”!

and Larry Horn chimed in:

Me too … Indeed, my mailer tells me that when I type “antedater” I really meant “anteater”.  Maybe someone should work on a logo

I seconded the suggestion, but then no one did anything until Fred’s piece came up again yesterday, and everybody made the same misreading again — and I came up not with a logo, but with a mascot, an Anteater With a D, the adorable little Silky Anteater didactylus.

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Annals of misreadings: the Cthulhu caper

February 26, 2019

From linguist Avery Andrews on Facebook:


(#1) Avery: “My first reading of this was ‘Cthulhu Towers’, indicating that whatever the top-down constraints on my linguistic processing may be, real world plausibility has at best a delayed effect”

To judge from my own misreadings — some of them reported on in the Page on this blog with misreading postings — real-world plausibility has virtually no role in initial misreadings; we tend to notice these misreadings, in fact, because they are so bizarre.

On the other hand, they sometimes clearly reflect material currently or persistently on the hearer’s mind — if you’ve been thinking about cooking some pasta for dinner, Italian pasta names are likely to insert themselves into your peceptions; if you’re a gardener, plant names will come readily to mind, even if they’re preposterous; and of course it’s common to see sexual vocabulary where none was intended —  but often they look like the welling-up of material from some deep chthonic place in memory, inexplicably in the context.

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Committing a McKean

February 23, 2019

Michael Covarrubias in a comment on my posting yesterday “In the land of supertitles”:

mckeans’s law at work in #4

Michael is pointing to Evidently they longer teach grammar in college, with its crucially missing no. As an instance of a phenomenon that’s been discussed under various names. The name I prefer is a McKean, from McKean’s law — just because I actually know Erin McKean.

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Age cannot wither them

February 11, 2019

Today’s Zippy has Griffy and Zippy marveling, once again, that almost all cartoon characters, themselves included, never seem to age. In particular, Nancy and Sluggo are always and forever 8 years old — in Cartoonland, where age cannot wither them (nor custom stale their infinite variety). But in Ivan Albright’s art world, even Nancy, sturdy Nancy, grows old:

(#1)

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Ruthian lexical items in real life

February 3, 2019

In a private corner of Facebook today, this family exchange:

Child A was very busy.
Parent about A: He has an agenda
Child A: I’m not a gender
Parent: An agenda is when you have something you want to do
Child B: A gender is someone who serves food at baseball games
Parent: That’s a vendor
Child C *dies laughing*

And then from another parent:

My kid was so proud she tried cantaloupe at school. “The fruit, not the animal”

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The crusty old editor speaks

February 2, 2019

The author of the little — 67-page — guidebook The Old Editor Says: Maxims for Writing and Editing (first published in 2013), the old-school newspaper editor John E. McIntyre, writing as a curmudgeonly, sometimes imperious, character of the same name, as seen on the book’s front cover:


(#1) The name of this image file is McIntyreOldEdtor.jpg; that fact will eventually become significant

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Winter gardens

January 28, 2019

Tom Gauld’s cover art “Winter Garden” in the February 4th New Yorker:

(#1)

A lush indoor garden, in part representing a spring garden outside (narcissus, tulips), in part a garden fantasy (with huge trees, a parrot, a hummingbird).

Gauld — noted for his science-oriented cartoons and his goofily bookish ones — is an old friend on this blog (his Page is here). Meanwhile, here in northern California we’re going through our winter garden phases outside: a succession of spring flowers (narcissus of one variety after another, starting in December; flowering fruit trees starting now; tulips getting ready to bloom) plus specifically winter-blooming plants, like camellias and cymbidium orchids.

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Blue roses

January 25, 2019

Today’s ad from Daily Jocks, with a sale on men’s high-end underwear from Australian firms, in recognition of Australia Day (tomorrow, the 26th):


(#1) The 2eros Midnight Rose pattern (blue roses on a deep purple background), in a swim slip (Speedo-style swimsuit, but Speedo is a trade name) on the left and swimshorts on the right

Ad copy:

Celebrate Australia Day with DailyJocks and get 15% off your favourite Australian brands including; 2eros, Teamm8, Marcuse, Supawear & many more!

My parody caption:

Ooh, baby, do you know what that’s worth?
Blue roses are my place on earth

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