Dumb Things I Have Done Lately

Friday, November 30, 2007

Today Are Crazy Sex Day, Plus 35 Is NOT Middle-Aged and Racewalking From Samurai

* Grammar Nazis and Crazy Sex Day: From today's Sinfest comic:

Sinfest's Slick: "If I was president every day would be Crazy Sex Day."

While I am something of grammar and spelling purist, I don't consider myself a "Grammar Nazi" -- I'm more of a, um, "Grammar Youth." Possibly a Grammar Detective -- part of the Grammar Police, only undercover: observing, gathering evidence, building a case.

* 35 Is Not "Middle-Aged." (Dammit): A news item of no particular consequence about a 35-year-old guy who allegedly blackmailed a 20-year-old MySpace friend into having sex (after she revealed that she'd had a three-way -- well, it just says she engaged in sexual acts with them, so I will believe what I want to believe -- with two college hockey players that she thought might have been videotaped).

Okay, maybe there's some particular consequence here (*furiously taking notes*). But the Fark headline from which this story comes reads:
"If you're a middle-aged fat guy looking to pick up college chicks, this local paper has a step-by-step guide... if you don't mind the ensuing jailarity. (with mugshot goodness)"
Besides the usual snark, there's a sidebar discussion in the comments as to what constitutes "middle age," with a lot of vociferous protestations and denial from fellow mid-30s oldsters.

As I'm going to live forever (also, I'm going to learn how to fly -- high!), I must also add my note of protest.

* Know When to Walk Away, Know When to Run (Samurai Edition): Lastly, here's a video (via BoingBoing) that asks and answers the question: When chased by sword-wielding samurai, would a champion racewalker walk or run?

Bonus: Remember this video the next time you sit in a massage chair.

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Monday, August 20, 2007

A Glaring Error in the Beastie Boys' 'Paul Revere'

Every time I listen to the Beastie Boys' Paul Revere (which is probably more frequently than would be considered healthy), I always change one lyric in my head. The verse goes:
Pulled out the jammy -- aimed it at the sky.
He yelled, "Stick 'em up!" and let two fly.
Hands went up and people hit the floor.
He wasted two kids that ran for the door.
Now, the line that goes:
He wasted two kids that ran for the door.

should be:
He wasted two kids who ran for the door.

The two kids are people (even after being wasted), and as such, should be referred to using the pronoun "who."

So I always make the correction.

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Saturday, March 17, 2007

You Know You're Having a Bad Day When Your Usage Is Corrected by Digg Users

Contact Music has a Borat article, "Borat Star Scared to Visit Kazakhstan" (link via Digg).

It contains a really dumb vocabulary mistake that completely flips the story.

Since the story is so short, there's no point in excerpting it, and since the story is the story, it's a fair use, so here it is. The EXCESSIVE CAPITALIZATION is all theirs:
"SACHA BARON COHEN is keen to visit the homeland of his comic creation BORAT - but one of his co-stars is so frightened to visit Kazakhstan, he would only travel there if BORAT: CULTURAL LEARNINGS OF AMERICA FOR MAKE BENEFIT GLORIOUS NATION OF KAZAKHSTAN is withdrawn from sale. Actor KEN DAVITIAN admits he is scared of visiting the country after appearing in the controversial movie as producer AZAMAT BAGATOV - despite the film release topping Kazakhstan's DVD chart on internet retailer Amazon.com. He explains, "I got a call from Sacha asking me if I had any interest in visiting Kazakhstan with him. "I said no but I've had a rethink and I've told Sacha that I'll go with him if the Kazakh authorities sanction the DVD version of Borat there. That's the only way we'd both feel safe and welcome."
The first sentence says that actor Davitian would only go if the Borat DVD "is withdrawn from sale," which is kind of an odd thing for an actor to say.

How did Contact Music come to this conclusion? Look at the quote:
"I've told Sacha that I'll go with him if the Kazakh authorities sanction the DVD version of Borat there. That's the only way we'd both feel safe and welcome." [emphasis added]
Looks like the writer isn't aware that "sanction" has two meanings (also, FYI, Heather Has Two Mommies.)

Sanction is one of those funny words that has multiple, self-contradicting definitions (the proper term is Auto-antonym, or contranym); sanctions are punishments, though if you sanction something, you're allowing or giving it your approval.

On the scale of grammar and usage mistakes, this is pretty high up, since the entire meaning of the story changes because of it, unlike a misspelling, which just makes the writer look dumb.

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