Archive for the ‘Errors’ Category

The Amelioration formula

October 5, 2017

A recent instance, from Baltimore Sun copyeditor John McIntyre on Facebook today:

At the desk. Converting defective prose into the merely mediocre since 1980.

An earlier parallel, from Sigmund Freud’s Studies on Hysteria (1895) (co-written with Josef Breuer), as translated by Nicola Luckhurst (2004):

But you will see for yourself that much has been gained if we succeed in turning your hysterical misery into common unhappiness.

A snowclonic figure of speech, Amelioration of Awful to Ordinary (Amelioration, for short), of the form:

Transformation-Verb Awful (in)to Ordinary

(with transformation verb transform, turn, change, convert, make, rework, etc.)

(more…)

I’m silently labeling you an asshole

October 5, 2017

Accidentally encountered on the net yesterday: this t-shirt triumph of supercilious peeving:

(#1)

It’s also available on signs, mugs, plaques, and goodness knows what else. Dare I hope for underwear?

(more…)

I like pig butts and I cannot lie

September 19, 2017

Noted on a sign in Dan Gordon’s in Palo Alto yesterday — a place that specializes in barbequed meat, especially brisket and pulled pork. Meanwhile, I like pig butts and I cannot lie, with its double entendre play on butt, has apparently achieved meme status; it’s now available in many forms, including t-shirts from several suppliers:

(#1)

(more…)

Playing an old lady

August 18, 2017

Passed on by Benita Bendon Campbell, the One Big Happy for yesterday, as it appeared in the Denver Post:

The snowclone Play One, in which the central figure denies that she is an old lady — that’s not how she perceives herself — while conceding that she plays one in real life.

(more…)

Today’s idiom blend

July 13, 2017

An exchange reported on Facebook this morning, by one of the participants, EF:

JK: It’s a matter of which came first, the horse or the egg.
EF: [stares at him] Do you realize what you just said?
JK: [long silence] This is going to end up in a Facebook post, isn’t it?
EF: Yes. Yes it is.

Meanwhile, don’t put the cart before the chicken.

(more…)

Typo time

June 23, 2017

In writing yesterday’s posting on MLB Pride logos, I intended to type the name Aric Olnes, but anticipated the S at the end of Olnes in typing Aric, and so typed

Aris Olnes

A very common sort of typo, in this case creating the name of a hermaphoditic deity of war,

Aris = Ares (Greek god of war) + Eris (Greek goddess of discord)

(more…)

Prepositions matter

May 22, 2017

Today’s Zits:

V + P~Ø (V with oblique object, marked by a P, vs. a direct object, with no P) was the topic of my 2009 Stanford SemFest paper; detailed handout here.

(more…)

Ruthie faces the unfamiliar, again

May 19, 2017

The One Big Happy in my comics feed today:

Rockefellers / rocky fellows. How was Ruthie to know her grandmother was using a proper name? And fellers is a familiar dialect variant for fellows – and an old one (Americans have been labeling feller an “impropriety” or “provincialism”, with an “excrescent” r, since at least 1795, according to DARE).

Ruthie undoubtedly also didn’t know that the Rockefeller family has long been seen as the richest family in the world, hence as the, um, gold standard of wealth. Which gives We’re no / not Rockefellers as an idiom meaning, roughly, ‘We’re not rich’.

(more…)

Annals of blending: a raucus

May 3, 2017

From Max Vasilatos on Facebook today:

Wow how psyched am I to have new neighbors who’ve been causing a raucus for the past week.

I noted the noun raucus and speculated that it was some combination of the adjective raucous and the noun ruckus. Turns out it was an inadvertent blend, a slip of the fingers.

(more…)

Ruthie in the sky with O’Ryan

April 29, 2017

Just a few days ago I was wondering how Calvin Trillin was doing — he’s in my age cohort, five years older than me, so I have a certain fellow feeling — and then Andy Sleeper pointed me to a Shouts and Murmurs piece of his in the most recent (May 1st) New Yorker: “The Irish Constellation: Until about five years ago, I was under the impression that Orion was spelled O’Ryan”. Andy was reminded of Ruthie from One Big Happy, who does her best to turn the unfamiliar into something she recognizes.

But good to see Trillin doing what he does so well.

(more…)