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Here's our roundup of all good things, good advice, good feelings. It’s the happy hour of blog posts! Up this week: The Oxford Comma, Eye Exams, and Baking Bucket Lists!
Welcome to The Friday Buzz, our roundup of all good things, good advice, and good feelings. It’s basically the happy hour of blog posts!
GLORIOUS GREETINGS from the fabulous city of Seattle! Our Site Team had its summer gathering at our Fexy Media headquarters! Woohoo! We’ve stayed up way too late this past week talking and laughing and working on fantastic things for this site. We have so many thoughts, so many ideas, and so many hopes and dreams for making this site a better place for all of you. It can be exhausting and overwhelming, but it’s so much fun. We all work from home, so it’s been absolutely exquisite talking with these humans in real life.
Want to know what else is 100 percent enjoyable? Taking time each Friday to share little blurbs of our week with you!
OUR FAVORITES FROM THE WEEK
- Bake Away! Do you have a baking bucket list? S’mores Blondies are on Megan’s list.
- Will It Funnel Cake? Good Mythical Morning is on Andy’s watchlist. Pretty sure it should be on yours too!
- Food is Food! Megan shared this cute little article on Things You’ll Never Hear a Three-Year-Old Say.
- Ice, Ice, Baby! Speaking from experience, this portable ice cube maker will make your camping experience 372 percent better. Promise.
- Oxford Comma Debate: Our Site Team has had a long standing debate on the Oxford Comma. (Emma is “Team Oxford” and is all over this shirt.) Tell us your feelings on the subject . .
- Eye Exam: Just in case you needed a Friday break, we’ve got you covered with this clip. It’s amaze.
MEANWHILE ON INSTAGRAM
Our Copycat Chipotle Guacamole is making all your tortilla chip dipping dreams come true and readers all over the globe started raving about their devotion to all things guac. Want to rave with them? Rave on right here!
READER COMMENT OF THE WEEK
Vogue Cheesecake: Gabrielle left feedback on our Perfect Cheesecake recipe…
I’m very critical of my own cooking and usually the best grade I’ll give my own cooking, even when following a recipe, is “Eh, pretty good.” I had been struggling with my cheesecakes cracking. Then I found this recipe. It created a really beautiful, creamy, silky smooth and crack-free cheesecake. I told my Mom if there were “Vogue” for cheesecake, this cheesecake would be the cover girl. It tastes even better than it looks.
So, there you have it! This comment just had us all dancing to “Vogue” by Madonna by the time we were finished reading it. Ha!
Cheers to another week!
This typically occurs through the use of multiple nouns, verbs, adjectives, etc, in the same sentence, in such a way that it's difficult or even impossible to determine which adjective, verb, etc, applies to each noun. As a result, it's possible to interpret the sentence as having two or more meanings which are sufficiently different that the difference could potentially be very important to the reader or the plot. In some cases, there is only one technically, grammatically, or logically correct interpretation, but it's so easy to misinterpret or mis-write that most people end up getting it wrong at first. In other cases, multiple interpretations are arguably grammatically correct.
In both Real Life and fiction, this is usually Played for Laughs, because the incorrect interpretation typically leads to an absurdity. A "man eating chicken" (note missing hyphen) seems to be an especially popular variant.
Yet another common variant: A cries, "X!" referring to seeing an X approaching, but B interprets it as the answer to his preceding rhetorical question.
If someone catches on to the ambiguous syntax and asks for clarification on whether the object being referred to is X or Y, it's not uncommon to be met with "Yes".
On a more serious note, however, ambiguous syntax is sometimes used in false advertising so that the advertiser can claim they explained everything, and it was the consumer's fault for misinterpreting the statement. Likewise, in myth and legend, prophecies often includes ambiguous syntax, to make it more difficult to determine the exact details of a predicted event until it actually occurs. It is especially abused by the Literal Genie, to grant a wish in a way not intended by the speaker.
The Other Wiki lists more examples here. This can easily happen in English, where there is a lot more room for ambiguity due to lack of case marking and grammatical gender (languages with one of those usually require adjectives and nouns to agree on gender and case, so you know a feminine adjective couldn't refer to a masculine noun). It's also awfully common in Latin (ironically a language with case marking AND genders) due to the freer word order.
- Invoked in an ad for Wolf Insurance that is, an insurance company owned by a person named Wolf. It shows Little Red Riding Hood going through the forest when she hears some growling, and brandishes legal documents before continuing unmolested, "Wolf Insurance" here implying insurance against wolves.
- Allstate's "Mayhem" campaign featured a line of Denzel Washington's which had to be changed due to this. Originally, Washington had said the Line 1 to close the commercials, but due to the way it was worded, his pause couldn't stop the line from having an unintended meaning (so Allstate is the mayhem no one can protect you from?). They changed it to Line 2 when it was brought to their attention.
- There's a famous story about the playtesting of the first Magic: The Gathering cards after game creator Richard Garfield had this exchange:
- (It's still a Game-Breaker, but for different reasons.)
- The ". Of Doom!" card, resulting in "Bow with Ribbons. of Doom!". The question came up whether it was the bow or the ribbons that were "of doom".
- Then add in to this the ". of my Grandfather" card from Munchkin Fu and you can have such gems as the "Big Black .45. of Doom. of my Grandfather" which leads one to think that the gun killed the grandfather. Or, in the other order: "Big Black .45. of my Grandfather. of Doom" brings up whether it's the gun or the grandfather that is "of doom".
- Sometimes used as one of Roger the Dodger's scams in The Beano, such as selling tickets to see the "Man Eating Fish". which turns out to be a man, eating fish (and chips).
- In one Captain Britain story featuring Captain Airstrip-One, an alternate Captain Britain who represents the Britain of 1984, Captain Airstrip-One is told by his superior to "imagine a boot stomping on a face forever." Captain Airstrip-One, who has no will of his own, happily obliges, but misinterprets the order &mdash he thought he was meant to imagine that image forever, so he does, effectively making this mission his last.
- A short story by Mbius, "Man &mdash is it good?" This is the correct interpretation. (Luckily, the pun works in languages other than the original French &mdash Heavy Metal republished it as "Is Man Good?")
- In PS238, when the Flea is looking for Zodon:
- Evidence, a The Silmarillion/Discworld crossover, contains an example of this. Death says the kittens may get at the Silmarils, but it won't matter because they're unbreakable. Maedhros thinks he means the kittens are unbreakable, when he's referring to the Silmarils.
- In Harry Potter and Libromancy Harry and Sarah accidentally enter an erotic graphic novel about monster girl training.
- Three chapters later, during which time Zarc has arrived and is displaying how his "sons" Yuya and Yuto to Yusho, and Mieru has taken three knives to the stomach for Yusho , Serenity tells Yvonne that she's missed a lot.
- Cinderella: When Lady Tremaine is trying to wake her daughters and get them ready to try on the glass slipper.
- Airplane!: Ambiguous syntax? What is it? "It's the use of sentences which could be interpreted in multiple ways due to syntax problems, but that's not important right now."
- Ted Striker is speaking of a "drinking problem" while narrating a flashback, and a second later we see he in fact meant a problem with his ability to drink, namely that he was spilling the whole glass on his face.
- Airplane used this trope for a lot of its humor:
Ted: It's an entirely different type of flying, altogether.
Dr. Rumack and Randy, in unison: It's an entirely different type of flying.
Dr. Rumack: This woman has to be gotten to a hospital.
Elaine: A hospital? What is it?
Dr. Rumack: It's a big building with patients, but that's not important right now.
Hanging Lady: Nervous?
Hanging Lady: First time?
Ted: No, I've been nervous lots of times.
- In the same speech, he also says, "We took some pictures of the native girls, but they weren't developed. So we're going back again in a couple of weeks. "
- The opening credits refer to the dead Eddie as an "Ex Delivery Boy", prompting fans to shout "What kind of delivery boy delivers exes?".
- Called back to in the sequel, as Favre loves being a Mountie because the Canadian places know exactly what he's referring to.
- In a GrailQuest game book, you enter a room containing "a man eating plant". The next line informs you that the plant he's eating is a carrot.
- An engineer's wife sends him to the store, telling him, "Pick up a loaf of bread, and if they have eggs get a dozen." He comes home with twelve loaves of bread.
- The engineer's wife tries again the next day: 'Go to the shop for a loaf, and while you're there buy eggs'. He doesn't come home.
- There's also an Evil Lawyer Joke along these lines. A mother and child are walking in the cemetery and the child asks, "Mom, do they usually put two people in a grave?" Mom says, "No, why?" Kid says "Because that one over there says 'Here lies a lawyer and an honest man.'"
- In the Doctor Who New Adventures/Sherlock Holmes crossover novel The All-Consuming Fire, when Holmes tells a junior librarian at the Library of St John the Beheaded that he's interested in stolen books, the librarian replies that they have a number of documents on that subject, including one that sheds new light on the fire of Alexandria. (He's kidding.)
- The title character of Amelia Bedelia will interpret all syntax incorrectly if it's even slightly ambiguous, no matter how nonsensical the interpretation is (i.e. 'draw the curtains'- she draws a picture of the curtains instead of closing them, and for 'dress the chicken' she puts clothes on it). Good thing she makes great apple pie.
- Ax of Animorphs uses this as an excuse when he morphs human (which causes him to turn into a Sense Freak where food is concerned) to get some cinnamon buns, and after accidentally causing a disturbance, the Cinnabon manager takes pity on him, shows him some trays of buns, and allows Ax to "have one". His narration shows his thought process:
- The Truth has a few jokes about not only ambiguous headlines, but trying to compensate for them, such as "Patrician Attacks Clerk With Knife (he had the knife, not the clerk)". In the same book, Mr. Tulip uses a phrase (via his Verbal Tic swearing) that is misinterpreted due to this:
- Shortly after, a rickshaw comes along but Bunter is a bit too fat for the flimsy rickshaw. He only gets a slight bump from the rickshaw collapsing but immediately wants an ambulance anyway.
- Later, Ford explains a random sofa appearing in a field as "eddies in the time-space continuum". Arthur replies "And this is his sofa, is it?" (This also happens in the radio version, except Arthur's line there is "Well, tell him to come and collect his sofa, then!")
- That is, I'm glad he's no longer working with me, you will be lucky if you can get him to do any work for you, he has no qualifications, you would be better off with nobody doing the job instead of him doing it (i.e. he will bring negative value), I urge you not to hire him as this would be wasting your time, and I cannot say good things about him or recommend him highly if I want to be truthful.
- An entire scene in The Well of Lost Plots is built on this, when Thursday meets a man with a hat named Wilbur (or something like that). The man is apparently cursed with bad syntax, and is constantly apologizing for it.
- In an episode of 3rd Rock from the Sun, Harry has gotten Easy Amnesia and forgotten he's an alien, but finds out the others are aliens and becomes paranoid about them:
- The Angel roleplaying game introduces a rogue demon hunter character type, who is in fact a rogue demon, who hunts other demons, thus technically making her a "rogue demon demon hunter".
- One episode involved an enchanted "talking stick", as in a stick used in group therapy sessions to signify when it's someone's turn to speak &mdash when Cordelia hears about this, she asks "there's a stick that talks?".
- A scene in "The Indecision Amalgamation" has Penny and Leonard looking over a terrible movie script she's been offered.
- Was the carny in question fearsome?
- In the episode "The Name of the Doctor", the Doctor has a secret that he will take to his grave. It is discovered. Not the secret, the grave.
- Somewhat the case in the 50th Anniversary special, "The Day of the Doctor". The three doctors attempt to save their home planet of Gallifrey from destruction during the Time War, but are left clueless about whether they succeeded or not. All they have is a painting of the planet, which apparently has two titles: "No More" and "Gallifrey Falls". It's only after talking to the museum's curator (implied to be a future version of the Doctor, given his resemblance to the fourth incarnation) that Eleven finds out the painting has one full title: "Gallifrey falls no more" .
- The episode "Heaven Sent" ends with the Doctor finally revealing the identity of the Hybrid, a being who has been discussed all season: "The Hybrid. is me!" It's left unclear (and never properly revealed) whether he was referring to himself ("The Hybrid is me") or to Ashildr, who had been calling herself simply "Me" for centuries ("The Hybrid is Me") each of the two proposes the other is the Hybrid in the following episode, and ultimately the question is handwaved away (it turns out the Doctor never knew to begin with, and was lying to get the Time Lords to resurrect Clara).
- In the opening scene of "The Return of Doctor Mysterio", the Doctor hands Grant (a young boy at the time) an energy gem and a glass of water and tells him "Take this." He means "hold onto this for a moment" Grant (who assumes that the fellow who introduced himself as "the Doctor" is a medical doctor) interprets it as an instruction to "take" (swallow) the "pill".
- The "The Two Doctors" used the oldey-buy-a-goodey I am a Humanitarian version with an alien going into a restaurant and asking, "Do you serve humans here?"
- In the first episode, when Monica says she's got a date with "Paul the wine guy," Phoebe asks, "Does he sell it, drink it, or complain a lot?"
- In another episode, Chandler questions whether "the place with the big fish" refers to one big fish or several big fish.
- Then there was a time Monica got a catering job for "a funeral for 60 people." Rachel gasps in horror, "Oh, my God, what happened?!" before she adds, "60 guests."
- Also: "Saddam Hussein was found in his underpants. Makes you wonder why they didn't look there in the first place."
- From "Mr. Monk on Wheels". Monk has been shot in the leg, and Captain Stottlemeyer and Lieutenant Disher are interrogating the suspected shooter's cousin:
- A Saturday Night Live skit, wherein Ed Asner tells Julia Louis-Dreyfus first "You can never put too much water in a nuclear reactor," and ends with "You can never stare too long at a mushroom cloud."
- Jim Stafford's My Girl Bill: At first listen you think the two men are talking about coming to terms about their love affair to each other. but it's really about two men who loved the same woman. "She's MY girl,(beat) Bill."
- 'A one-eyed, one-horned, flying purple people eater'. This early (1950s!) music video makes it clear that the 'correct' interpretation was a one-eyed, one-horned, flying eater of purple people, but it's impossible to tell from the title of the song alone.
- This is also clarified in the song itself with the exchange
- Applies to the opening line of "Everything You Know Is Wrong": "I was driving on the freeway in the fast lane with a rabid wolverine in my underwear", the ambiguity of which was later the subject of a quiz question on Weird Al's website. Is there a rabid wolverine stuffed down Al's pants, is Al sharing a car with a wolverine who's wearing his underwear, or is Al simply in his own underwear, with the wolverine just along for the ride?
- Is the singer saying "they" will leave the teenagers alone, while still harassing/intimidating/looking down on him?
- Or is he saying that "they" will leave the teens alone, but he won't?
- Or is this still part of the direct speech beginning "They said 'Teenagers scare the living shit out of me'", in which case "they" are currently the teenagers, "Me" is the previous "they", and "you" is someone else, possibly the singer? And that can also be interpreted in both the above ways.
- Newspaper headlines can fall victim to this. In fact, they're even more vulnerable to it than normal sentences due to pressures of space requiring all words that seem superfluous to be removed. The professionals call these crash blossoms, the origin of which is from a headline, Violinist linked to JAL crash blossoms note Meaning that a violinist was both linked to the Japan Airlines crash &mdash her father died in it &mdash and has had her career prosper or 'blossom'. This New York Times article gives several examples of ambiguously worded headlines.
- The languagelog article listed above contains another zinger: "Bethany Lott killed while being proposed to by a lightning strike in Knoxville"
- A case in point is "Two Cars Collide One Sent to Hospital". It means one person, but it sounds like it means one car. Similarly, "Two Ships Collide One Dies." How exactly does a ship die?
- Another ambiguous headline featuring this trope: "Man Eating Piranha Accidentally Sold as Pet Fish". It's also an example of why attention to punctuation is important. The headline would not be ambiguous if "man-eating" were hyphenated.
- Some other notable crash blossoms are "Iraqi Head Seeks Arms" and "Police Help Dog Bite Victim."
- There's also "Giant Tea Bags Protest". Is it a giant protest about tea bags, a protest about giant tea bags, are the giant tea bags protesting or are there bags protesting about giant tea?
- Similarly, "Hershey Bars Protest," meaning that the company (or town) of Hershey "bars" (disallows) a protest on their premises, but sounds an awful lot like chocolate bars are out there with signs.
- When Ike Turner died, the New York Post failed to resist the temptation to run the headline "Ike Beats Tina to Death."
- There is also the reputed headline: "General MacArthur Flies Back To Front", although this may just be an Urban Legend.
- There's actually a Facebook group dedicated to newspaper titles and articles that suffer from either this or hilarious typos. Their banner for example has the gem "Lepra-Gruppe hat sich aufgelöst" which can translate to either "Lepra group has disbanded" or "Lepra group disintegrated".
- When Mrs. Godfrey from Big Nate becomes a mother, she makes Nate and Francis write her a note congratulating her. Nate despises Mrs. Godfrey and tells Francis that he wants to write a Stealth Insult. Francis's response? "I can't tell you what a great idea that is."
- Used in Dilbert, where an investment adviser describes a strategy in which his lawyers put the money in little bags and trained dogs bury them around town. He is asked whether they bury the bags or the lawyers, and replies that they've tried it both ways.
- Another Dilbert example involved Ratbert having a cat trying to eat his head. Dogbert proposed a solution to Bob the Dinosaur: "I'll yank the cat off Ratbert's head, and you stomp on it." The next panel had Ratbert under Bob's foot and Dogbert saying, "In retrospect, I could have phrased that better."
- Dilbert and his colleagues gets good mileage out of these as a way of giving Stealth Insults to their clueless boss. For example, after the boss spouts off his usual management gibberish, he says "I don't think I can be any clearer". Dilbert agrees with him.
- "In Kansas, you cannot take a picture of a man with a wooden leg. Why?" Answer: You can't take a picture of a man with a wooden leg anywhere, you have to use a camera!
- You have two U.S. coins that add up to thirty cents, and one of them is not a nickel. The two coins are a quarter and a nickel. The quarter is "not a nickel".
- "It's a riddle. Two guys destroyed your bike with a crowbar and a bat. One of them wasn't me."
- In the Adventures in Odyssey episode "A License to Drive", Connie is attempting to teach Eugene Meltzner to drive, when they encounter a stopped vehicle with a pregnant woman in it. When attempting to get the woman to the hospital, Connie has Eugene drive, while she tries to comfort the pregnant woman.
- There is also a rather amusing example that happened partly off stage in "Operation Christmas Duff", a Christmas Special that was broadcast on the World Service and was aimed at British forces overseas. It began:
- The RPG based on Angel had a character template who was a rogue demon hunter (that is, a demon who hunted other demons) as a direct reference to the line in the page quote.
- One April edition of Dragon had various useless magical items including the Invisible Ring. When you put it on, it turned invisible.
- The Dungeons & Dragons cleric power Turn Undead. "Turn" in this case means "drive off", as it makes undead flee or possibly even destroys them outright. However, it can also be interpreted as meaning it turns the cleric undead, although if that were the case it would presumably only be usable by evil clerics.
- Forgotten Realms has an in-universe example with punctuation: one of the many, many prophecies floating around there either (in the standard translation) says that (the) dead and dragons will rule the world or (in Sammaster's translation) says dead dragons will rule the world, depending on when a sentence starts. Note that while Sammaster's translation is rejected by the modern scholarship (in no small part likely because Sammaster ended up going completely crazy and tried to fulfill the prophecy), it is consistently indicated to be a mistake you could easily make.
- Near the end of the Ravenloft adventure "When Black Roses Bloom", a flock of ravens begins croaking three words in sequence as the PCs confront the darklord Soth. As events progress, the words initially heard as "Lord Through Dark" (guiding the heroes to his location) are rendered as "Dark Lord Through" to mark the failure of his evil schemes. Finally, the birds' words resound one last time as "Through Dark Lord", indicating that an escape-portal out of the domain exists in the emblem on Soth's armored breastplate.
- This triggers Ben's breakdown in Follies, as his refrain of "Me, I like live/Me, I like to laugh/Me, I like to love" becomes "Me, I like to love/Me. "
- Groucho Marx's famous line "I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got in my pajamas I don't know."
- And his "Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read."
- "Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana."
- An Interactive Fiction game called The Six-Foot-Tall Man Eating Chicken.
- Dawn of War Retribution has the Big Bad Moon Shoota. The description says it best:
- Also Played for Comedy in the same game, where Fantastic, an idiot in charge of the Helios 1 facility, explains how he got his position.
- A succubus in the Stineford Tower complains about the "fucking mold" she is trying to clean. Yarra overhears and is about to ask, but the succubus clarifies that no, it is not mold that you can fuck, just mold that she really, really hates.
- During the Gathering the Fucklord organizes an event called the "Succubus Hunt", leading Yarra to wonder what the succubi are hunting. Turns out to be rare butterflies. A good way into the event the Fucklord reveals the twist it's the succubi who are being hunted and the incubus kings are the hunters.
- This series Flavor Text for items.
- No one's entirely sure whether GLaDOS is a Genetic Lifeform who is also a Disk Operating System, or whether she is a System for Operating Genetic Lifeforms and Disks. (Judging by the second game,it's both ).
- In the second game, one of Cave Johnson's pre-recorded lines is "Say 'goodbye', Caroline."
- In Fate/stay night and its adaptations, Illya refers to Shirou as "onii-chan". The intended ambiguity of this is Lost in Translation in the English dubs and translations (translated to "mister"), because in Japan, "onii-chan" is both used to refer to a stranger who is a young man and older brother figures (like your older brother, your older male cousin, etc.). It turns out to have a Double Meaning, because Illya is Shirou's long lost older adopted sister.
- In the DLC case of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Spirit of Justice, Phoenix tells Maya that Larry got dumped by his imaginary bride, meaning only Larry thought she was his bride. Maya takes it to mean that Larry somehow got rejected by a figment of his imagination.
- In one event in Roommates, Sally leads a protest against a group of kids when she learns that they're "testing on animals." If you decide to go along with her plan to free the animals, she busts into the classroom and is shocked when she hears a horse whinny and discovers. a bunch of students riding animals and taking their exams at the same time (in other words, they're "testing on animals). Sally comments on the absurdity of the situation before going back outside and breaking up the protest.
- ThisCyanide & Happiness strip shows the importance of antecedents in Freudian psychology.
- The title of Demon Eater is another "both" example: Saturno is a demon who eats, and an eater of demons.
- Dinosaur Comics: T. rex riffs on a classic example (known as a garden-path sentence): "The horse raced past the barn fell".
- In El Goonish Shive, when Arthur decides to break the masquerade on television, but refuses to actually discuss it:
- Not long after, they're given a quest to kill a group of ogres by a peasant woman &mdash however, Belkar initially thinks the plan is to kill the helpless villagers.
- Also when Thog (who pays no heed to grammar and often skips verbs) tries to explain that Nale stuck his goatee to his twin brother Elan so he'd end up in jail in his place :
- Also here, where a character is told about a "rogue cleric" and mistakenly assumes it means a character who is both a Rogue and a Cleric, rather than a cleric gone rogue.
- A different episode had Arin telling a story about how his copy of Wave Race 64 'was stolen'. When Danny expresses sympathy that someone had stolen Arin's game, Arin clarifies that he was the one who had stolen the Wave Race from someone else.
From the Peanuts Headscratchers page:
Jesus, Lucy, Violet, and Patty are CRUEL to poor Charlie Brown! They expect him to get an over-commercialized tree, made of pink aluminum? Charlie brings back a tree that looks like one that would be next to the humble manger, and they all laugh at him! Even damned SNOOPY! Although it sets up a Crowning Moment Of Awesome with the "That's what Christmas is all about" speech, I just want to wring those three bitches' neck!!
Is it bad that I read the start of this entry as a list of 4 names, rather than an expletive and 3 names?
- Someone stabbed someone else over a cheeseburger
- Someone stabbed someone else with a cheeseburger
- Someone stabbed a cheeseburger
- A cheeseburger stabbed someone
- A cheeseburger stabbed another cheeseburger
- Then again the victim could have been an employee at I Can Haz Cheeseburger.
- In the episode "King Yakko", when the dictator of Dunlikus is defending his fashion choices.
- The episode "Igor's Busy Day" has a joke involving Igor enlisting Nanny in triggering a Falling Chandelier of Doom for castle vistors with the instruction: "Hit the beak, Nanny!". He meant for Nanny to press the beak of a statue to activate the Booby Trap, but Nanny thought he meant his own beak.
- In "Dr. Goosewing and Mr. Duck", Nanny serves Duckula muesli for breakfast. When Duckula finds it appetizing, he tells her, "Hit me with some muesli, Nanny!", and Nanny hits him with the box. When he asks Nanny why she did that, she tells him she only did what he told her to, to which he has to remind her that it's a figure of speech and that he meant for her to put the muesli in a bowl. When Nanny brings Duckula a bottle of Dr. Von Goosewing's carpet shampooer disguised as milk, Duckula is about to say, "Splash me with some milk!", but quickly corrects himself and tells Nanny to splash his muesli with milk.
- A vintage short, "The Ducksters" has Daffy Duck as the host of a quiz show, "Brought to you by the Eagle Hand-Laundry. Are your eagle's hands dirty? We'll wash 'em clean!"
- In Duck Dodgers in the 24½th Century, Daffy Duck (Duck Dodgers) uses a Disintegrating Pistol against Marvin the Martian. Unfortunately, Daffy's pistol crumbles into powder when he pulls the trigger.
- He also dons a "Disintegration-Proof Vest" &mdash which remains intact while utterly failing to protect him from being disintegrated.
- In "Treehouse of Horror VI", school janitor Willie has left a note over the thermostat reading "Do Not Touch - Willie." Homer takes a look and says, "'Do not touch Willie.' Good advice!" and proceeds to turn up the thermostat, leading to played-for-laughs tragic results.
- In "Lisa on Ice", Bart and Lisa are playing opposing pee-wee hockey teams. The half of the stadium cheering for Bart chants "KILL, BART!", while the half cheering for Lisa chants "KILL BART!".
- In "The Bob Next Door", Bart is worried that his new neighbour Walt Warren is actually Sideshow Bob, and he and Marge go to the prison and see someone who looks like Bob writing "Bart Simpson will die" all over the wall. It turns out that the neighbour really is Bob, who surgically swapped faces with the real Walt Warren and was released from prison because Warren's sentence was over. Warren, who now looked like Bob, wrote "Bart Simpson will die" as a warning.
- Perhaps one of the most important examples of this is the words "wait don't stop". "Wait. don't stop. " means someone will probably be staying over for breakfast the next morning, while "Wait! Don't! Stop!" means you have a good shot at learning the difference.
- Every trial attorney is taught the dangers of poorly chosen syntax with some variant of the following riposte by a cagey witness.
- While the opposing attorney could object to the question, a savvy attorney with a reliable witness will let it pass so the witness can get his jab in.
- Hence the Lightbulb Joke about Lojban speakers: "One to figure out what to change it to and one to figure out what kind of bulb emits broken light."
- "Let's eat, Grandma!" vs. "Let's eat Grandma!"
- "I helped my uncle Jack off a horse." vs. "I helped my uncle jack off a horse."
- "I love cooking, my family, and my pets." vs. "I love cooking my family and my pets."
- It's also frequently used in the debate over the Oxford comma (the comma before the "and" at the end of a list). "I invited my parents, Ayn Rand and God." Without the Oxford comma, the sentence could be read as meaning my parents are Ayn Rand and God. Including the Oxford comma, "I invited my parents, Ayn Rand, and God," clarifies that I'm listing three separate entities.
- Just outside the door, "Baby Changing Table." You'll never see that happen. They can't reach.
- "Baby Changing Table" has also been seen with an illustration of a mother changing her baby. into a kitten (or other pet).
- Some more examples of garden path sentences with explanations: The young man the boat (youths serve as the boat's crew). The cool rhyme with style. The government plans to raise taxes flounder (the government's attempts to increase taxes are floundering). The felon escaped from jail was caught (the escapee was caught). Fat people eat accumulates (the fat that people consume builds up in their bodies). The girl told the story cried (the story was so sad it made the girl cry). The prime number few (the very best people are few in number).
- Oracles were known for making statement that could be interperted either way, so it would techinally me true whether the outcome
- A general consulted the oracle whether or not he would survive the upcoming battle. He received the response ''Ibis redibis nunquam per bella peribis, which can be translated into English as: "You will go, you will return never, you will die in the war" or "You will go, you will return, never you will die in the war."
- The sex of a child: "son not, a daughter" vs "son, not a daughter"
- The outcome of a war: "you the Romans will conquer".
- The only straight answer was to "Is anyone wiser than Socrates?" ("no"), and even then Socrates eventually figured out the ambiguity was in the question. i.e. it could mean either "Is there anyone who is wiser than Socrates?" or "Is any random person wiser than Socrates?"
- You may try and get more and more of X, but you will find that it will never be too much. Either X is so good or X is hard to come by, or both.
- You should very much avoid having too much of X, as too much of it is a bad situation that you should never willingly enter.
- The German language had a spelling reform in 1996 which creates quite a few of those, if followed strictly.
- Jeder Mann liebt eine Frau (Every man loves at least one woman? Every man loves exactly one woman? All men love the same woman?).
- Das Auto wird das Hindernis umfahren. Unless spoken aloud (umfahren or umfahren?), it is absolutely unclear whether the driver will run the sign over or drive around it.
- 1916 erkrankte Maurice Ravel an der Ruhr. Considering that Ruhr is both a river in West Germany and an illness (a variation of dysentery), it can refer to the man becoming sick of dysentery or getting sick in the area of that river.
- A variant is to ask if the other person can make a circle with their thumb and finger and poke their head through the circle. When they say "of course not", the other person says they can and makes a circle with their fingers, holds it up to their head, and uses a finger on their other hand to poke their head through the circle.
- "Er will, sie nicht" means "He wants (to do something), (but) she doesn't". "Er will sie nicht" means "He doesn't want her".
- In case you're wondering, yes, German and English both have potential for confusion between "We're eating, Grandma" (German: "Wir essen, Oma") and "We're eating Grandma" (German: "Wir essen Oma").
December 19, 2008
Pitchfork's Top 10 Albums of 2008
Pitchfork Media's list of Top 10 Albums of 2008 is out today and I was excited to see some of my favorites make the cut!
1. Fleet Foxes -- Sun Giant EP/Fleet Foxes
I have been effusive in my love for Fleet Foxes all year and I couldn't be happier for their success. They were an incredibly humble band with a fantastic sound!
2. Portishead -- Third
3. No Age -- Nouns
4. Cut Copy -- In Ghost Colours
So it has been no secret that Cut Copy gets me out of bed some mornings. There album is dancy and fun and if you need a pick me up you should give it a listen.
5. Deerhunter -- Microcastle
6. TV on the Radio -- Dear Science I just looked in my iTunes and I have an old TV on the Radio album and have never listened to it. Hmmm. I guess I need to bust that out!
7. Vampire Weekend -- Vampire Weekend
Vampire Weekend was an integral part of my LA Road Trip 2008. This album has been something I have connected with all year -- I love their voices, their sound, and OF COURSE I love the song Oxford Comma. I mean what English nerd wouldn't have love for a snarky song about punctuation?
8. M83 -- Saturdays=Youth
Love, LOVE, Love this album! Such emotion! They also have a unique sound and this album is very accesible if you have never listened to them.
9. Hercules and Love Affair -- Hercules and Love Affair
10. DJ/Rupture -- Uproot
Portuguese Tea Flan Recipe
- cups whole milk
- tablespoons strong-flavored tea leaves , such as Lapsang souchong
- cups sugar
- large eggs , at room temperature
- large egg yolk , at room temperature
- 1. Position a rack on the middle of the oven and crank the heat to 325°F (160°C).
- 2. Fill a kettle with water to bring to a boil. Combine the milk and tea leaves in a small saucepan and bring to the merest simmer over medium-low heat. Remove the pan from heat and allow the milk to steep until deeply infused, about 10 minutes. Strain the mixture into a bowl, discard the tea leaves, and let the milk cool until just warm.
- 3. Meanwhile, heat 1 cup sugar and 2 tablespoons water in a small saucepan over medium heat without stirring until the sugar melts and begins to color a bit. Resist the urge to stir instead, swirl the pan occasionally. Continue cooking the mixture until it’s a dark maple-syrup brown and gives off a rich aroma of caramel, 10 to 15 minutes.
- 4. Carefully pour the caramel into a 1 1/2-quart flan mold or metal baking dish, such as an 8-inch square cake pan, tilting the pan to coat the bottom and sides. (Avoid using a ceramic casserole or a glass baking dish. It will take much longer for the flan to cook, as these types of materials don’t don’t conduct heat as well as metal.)
- 5. Stir the eggs, the yolk, and the remaining 1 cup of sugar with a wooden spoon in a medium bowl until the sugar has dissolved, about 3 minutes. Slowly tip in the infused milk, stirring all the while. Pour the mixture into flan mold and set the mold in a small roasting pan. Place the whole contraption in oven and pour enough boiling water into the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the mold.
- 6. Bake the flan until set around edges but slightly jiggly in middle, 45 minutes to 1 hour 15 minutes, depending on your oven and the size and depth of the mold. Remove the mold from water bath and place it on a work surface to cool to room temperature. Refrigerate until well chilled, about 3 hours.
- 7. If the flan hasn’t released from the sides of the mold, run a sharp knife around the pan. To serve, place a deep plate on top and flip. Gingerly slip off the mold.
- Instead of tea, the milk can be flavored with a bit of pure vanilla extract or infused with a cinnamon stick or several strips of orange or lemon zest over medium-low heat for several minutes. Simply strain the milk and let it cool to warm before using.
Hungry for more? Chow down on these:
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Tips for juicing wisely:
- Figure out a timeline you’re comfortable with. You may want to try juicing one day a week, or you may want to try a week-long juice cleanse.
- Juice should be mostly vegetables, not fruit. Apple juice with a little kale added doesn’t bring much benefit. The maximum amount of fruit in a vegetable juice should be one serving of a low-sugar fruit, such as green apple or berries. The rest should be nutrient-rich vegetables, leafy greens in particular. Lemon and lime juice can be added to flavor your juice without counting toward the fruit serving. Include cucumber, lettuce and celery juice, along with carrots, beets, and some leafy cruciferous greens such as cabbage, kale or bok choy.
- Follow it up with a health-promoting diet. A few days of juicing can be a great way to reset your taste buds and jumpstart a new, healthful, nutrient-rich diet. However, there is no health benefit of trying to use a juice cleanse as temporary detox, just a break from an everyday junk food diet. This only works if you stick with a Nutritarian diet for the rest of your life, incorporating some juicing and caloric restriction episodically.
- If you have a serious medical condition or are on any medication, consult a physician before starting a juice detox.
Recent advances in nutritional science show how diets can slow aging and push the envelope of human longevity. Join Dr. Joel Fuhrman at the Art of Living Retreat Center from October 24th-27th, 2019 for Nutritional Excellence to the Rescue, and learn how to resolve food addiction and eat for a longer life.
Top 5 Songs That Officially Made Me A Fan Of The Bands That Wrote Them
(originally aired on Dec. 5, 2008 show)
I have a real knack for coming up with really really long titles for these lists, don’t I? And there are more long list titles where that came from, trust me.
Anyway, this top 5 is a list of the songs that basically secured my status as a fan of these bands. In other words, if I had ever been on the fence about these bands, these are the songs that got me off that fence. For some, I had already liked a few songs but hadn’t felt the urge to add some albums to my collection until I heard a song on this list. With others, I wasn’t sure what to expect from the band at all and was pleasantly surprised by what I heard. And in a rare case or two, I found my previous opinion of the band being completely shattered. These were the songs that sealed the deal, the songs that made me want to check out some albums by the artists on this list. And in each case, I’m so very glad I did.
Horses & Dogs
Yesterday, Teri, her boyfriend, and I spent a very full day at the Calgary Stampede. We went from show to event all day, most of which were horse or dog related. However, we did watch a bit of a concert and saw a guy get shot from a cannon as well. I could spend another whole day, or more, looking at farm animals and watching dogs and horses though. I love a well trained animal!
Watching some of the cowboys and girls do dressage moves as part of the Cowboy Up competition was amazing. I understand a bit of the intricacies of dressage and I appreciate how difficult it is. I'm used to it being much more of a British thing and it was strange to see it done by those riding Western.
It reminded me of this video clip I looked back and it appears like I have never posted it on Always Standing , which is strange. This horse is awesome!
Division (or short division, or the ‘bus stop’ method)
This is short division, which is meant for dividing one number by another that’s in your times tables (up to 12). If you want to divide by a higher number, you need to use long division (see my article here). It’s called the ‘bus stop’ method because the two lines look a bit like the area where a bus pulls in at a bus stop.
- Write down the number you’re dividing (the ‘dividend’), draw the ‘bus stop’ shape around it so that all the digits are covered and then write the number you’re dividing by (the ‘divisor’) on the left.
- Try to divide the first digit of the dividend by the divisor. If it goes in exactly, write the answer on the answer line above the first digit of the dividend.
- If it goes in, but there’s a remainder, write the answer on the answer line above the first digit of the dividend and then write the remainder above and to the left of the next digit in the dividend.
- If it doesn’t go, then make a number out of the first two digits of the dividend and divide that number by the divisor, adding any remainder above and to the left of the next digit.
- Repeat this process for each of the remaining digits, using any remainders to make a new number with the next digit.
- If you divide one number by another in the middle of the dividend and it doesn’t go, then just put a zero on the answer line and combine the digit with the next one.
- If you have a remainder at the end of the sum, you can either show it as a remainder or you can put a decimal point above and below the line, add a zero to the dividend and carry on until you have no remainder left.
- If the remainder keeps going, it’s likely to repeat the same digits over and over again. This is called a ‘recurring decimal’. Once you spot the pattern, you can stop doing the sum. Just put a dot over the digit that’s repeating or – if there’s more than one – put a dot over the first and last digit in the pattern.
Have a go at these questions. Don’t just do them in your head. That’s too easy! Make sure you show your working – just as you’d have to do in an exam.
The Great Greek Fudge
Submitted by Pieter Cleppe of Open Europe
The Great Greek Fudge
A third Greek bailout involving loans from the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), the eurozone’s bailout scheme, is now being negotiated. The start was quite rocky, with haggling over the precise location in Athens where negotiations need to take place and Greek officials once again withholding information to creditors. Therefore, few still believe that it will be possible to conclude a deal in time for Greece to repay 3.2 billion euro to the ECB on 20 August. Several national Parliaments in the Eurozone would need to approve a final deal, which would necessitate calling their members back from recess around two weeks before the 20th, so it’s weird that French EU Commissioner Pierre Moscovici still seems so confident that the deadline can be met.
If indeed there is no deal, Greece is likely to request a second so-called “bridge loan” to allow it to pay the ECB, firmly within the Eurozone tradition of the creditor providing the debtor cash in order to pay back the creditor. France, which is most eager to keep Greece inside the Eurozone, is afraid that bilateral bridge loans from Eurozone countries wouldn’t be approved by the more critical member states, as this would risk France having to foot this bill on its own, perhaps with Italy. Not exactly a rosy prospect for socialist French President Hollande, who’s already struggling to contain the far right anti-euro formation Front National.
The only European fund practically available to provide a bridge loan is the European Financial Stabilisation Mechanism (EFSM), a fund created in May 2010, which has been raising 60 billion euro on the markets, with the EU’s €1 trillion Budget as collateral. The EFSM belongs not just to Eurozone member states, but to all EU member states. How on earth did the UK, which isn’t part of the Eurozone, agree to bail it out in 2010, one may wonder? The reason is that the decision to create the EFSM was taking precisely at the time of the power vacuum in the UK. Labour had just lost the election and the Conservatives were still busy negotiating a coalition with the Lib Dems. Outgoing Labour Chancellor Alistair Darling claimed to have “consulted” likely new Chancellor George Osborne, but it remains muddy who precisely gave the expensive OK. In order to correct this, PM Cameron secured a declaration from other EU leaders in December 2010 that the fund wasn’t going to be used any longer, until it was used after all, in July 2015, to provide Greece with a first bridge loan. Then not only the UK, but also the Czech Republic and Poland protested heavily, only backing down when they secured special guarantees against possible losses and a commitment that it would be illegal in the future to provide loans to Eurozone countries with the EFSM without also providing such guarantees to non-euro states.
EU Finance Ministers are currently busy implementing the legal change, through a “written procedure”, which should be finalized before the middle of August. The Council declared in July that an “agreement” on this legal change was needed “in any case before” Greece can request a second bridge loan. Another “written procedure” is needed for that, but it’s unlikely that Finance Ministers will manage to decide this in smoke-filled rooms. With Polish elections coming up on 25 October, local opposition parties may once again rail against Polish PM Ewa Kopacz, who promised voters they wouldn’t be exposed to this. Also the UK may use this as an opportunity to extract concessions related to its own agenda for EU reform. Perhaps the French government’s sudden openness to this agenda and its welcome stance that “we need a fair treatment of the ‘out’ countries” may have been linked to the British approval for a first bridge loan.
As always in the Eurozone, the safest bet is on another fudge, at least when it comes to the bridge loan.
More questionable is how the IMF’s statement that it “cannot reach staff-level agreement [to participate to a third Greek bailout] at this stage” will play out, given that Greece no longer meets two of the four IMF criteria for a bailout: ability/willingness to implement reform and debt sustainability. It will only decide whether to take part in the bailout after Greece has “agreed on a comprehensive set of reforms” and after the Eurozone has “agreed on debt relief”, meaning it may even only join next year or not at all, of course. This is a problem, given that a number of Eurozone states, especially Germany and the Netherlands, have explicitly linked their willingness for a third Greek bailout to participation by the IMF. Former EU Commissioner for Monetary Affairs Olli Rehn has suggested that many countries demand IMF involvement in bailouts because they don’t trust the Commission.
It’s not entirely clear what will be sufficient for the IMF: its President, Christine Lagarde, has discussed a write-down on the value of the country’s debt but ruled out a straight “haircut”, while mentioning an extension of debt maturities, an extension of grace periods and a maximum reduction of interest rates. The IMF carries the legacy of its former Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who managed to overcome opposition within the fund against taking part in the first Greek bailout in 2010. The IMF only issues loans to countries when there is prospect for debt sustainability, which clearly wasn’t the case for Greece in 2010, but the interests of supposedly “systemic” banks were considered to be more important. Now the IMF, which has never taken straight losses on loans it has issued, may be experiencing this in case of Grexit.
As opposed to the IMF, which has completely ruled out the idea of taking losses on its lending to Greece, and contrary to the picture painted by some, Germany has made some noices suggesting it may be open to cutting its losses in Greece. German Chancellor Merkel has not only been open to extending debt maturities and lowering interest rates, but her Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble has said that“if you think the best way for Greece” is debt relief, then “the best way forward” is to leave the euro, addingthat“a real debt haircut isn’t compatible with the membership of the currency union”. So Germany is willing to accept debt relief, if there is Grexit.
Some have questioned Schäuble’s claim that debt relief wouldn’t be legally banned within the eurozone, as for example Financial Times columnist Wolfgang Munchau, who recently wrote: “In its landmark Pringle ruling — relating to an Irish case in 2012 — the European Court of Justice (ECJ) said bailouts are fine, even under Article 125, as long as the purpose of the bailout is to render the fiscal position of the recipient country sustainable in the long run.”
This sounds a bit like a stretch. The ESM is very much conceived as a “European IMF”, hence the ECJ’s use of the term “sustainable”, reminiscent of the IMF’s condition to provide cash. Just like the IMF, the ESM has been set up to issue “loans”, not to provide “transfers”. Obviously, a loan with an artificially low interest rate partly counts as a “transfer”, but even for the rather politicized judges of the European Court of Justice there is an end to stretching the meaning of words.
Therefore, apart from the case where the ECJ would completely remove the meaning of the words of its previous rulings and the ESM Treaty, EU law doesn’t allow the “loans” made to Greece to just be forgiven, as much as proponents of a Eurozone transfer union like Mr. Munchau may regret this.
After PM Tsipras threatened with an internal referendum in his own left-wing populist Syriza party, it looks like he has secured the necessary domestic support for a third Greek bailout.
Obstacles remain, but much of the protest in “creditor countries” seem to have been overcome. In Finland, where the coalition was at risk at some point, Foreign Minister Timo Soini has said that it “would make no sense” for his Eurosceptic Finns party to leave the Finnish coalition over this. In the Netherlands, the governing VVD party, which is skeptical to the Greek deal, has provided tacit consent for negotiations to start. In Germany, despite all the noice, Merkel enjoys a comfortable majority to get on with the third range of transfers.
The third bailout is likely not to be sufficient to cover all Greek funding needs in the next few years, also given that expecting 50 billion euro from privatizing Greek state assets looks a little rosy. This is a problem which can be solved near the end of the bailout period, once Greece has made it through the difficult year 2015. In 2016 and 2017, the country needs to make debt repayments “only” amounting to around 6 billion euro each year.
The IMF may in the end just back down and join in, given how it already bent its rules twice to agree to Greek bailouts. It would have been expected to provide between 10% and a third of the funding of the new bailout which may amount to 86 billion euro (and possibly more), so if the IMF wouldn’t back down, Germany and France would see their bill for the third bailout rise with another 1.7 billion and 1.3 billion euro respectively. A lot will depend on how the IMF will calculate “debt sustainaibility”. Speaking in the Dutch Parliament, Eurogroup chief Jeroen Dijsselbloem said on 16 July that the Eurozone already “agreed with the IMF to look at “debt service”, not merely at the debt to GDP levels”. In other words: because Greece’s interest burden as a percentage of GDP is even lower than the one carried by Portugal, Italy, Ireland and Spain, one can ignore the fact that its debt to GDP is at the horrendous level of 180% now. This of course overlooks the difficulty to boost that GDP, given the tax hikes and the capital controls which will be hard to remove as a result of the talk about “Grexit”. Still, a fudge looks on the cards.
It isn’t a good idea to let the bill of Eurozone taxpayers grow even bigger, to burden an economy already crippled by debt with even more debt and to intervene deeply into domestic Greek policy choices. Opting for Grexit may have been the wisest choice for everyone. The opportunity was there, given that many Greeks had already taken their savings out of banks anyway. Also, many of the reasons to think Greece still may leave the Eurozone, like the difficulty to unwind capital controls, remain in place. We have come close, but Grexit seems to have been avoided for now. But it’s unlikely to have been referred “ad kalendas Graecas”- “until pigs can fly”.
Watch the video: How were LEGO bricks invented? (May 2022).