Sunday, August 12, 2012

Roundup of the interwebz and more

It's fashionable to assume that laughable malapropisms are due to the interference of malevolent autocorrect demons.
Tweets the actor and author Stephen Fry: “Just typed ‘better than hanging around the house rating bisexuals’ to a friend. Thanks, autocorrect. Meant ‘eating biscuits.’ ”
(From NY Times article)

But I've been rereading one of Richard Lederer's tomes on English language bloopers, and it's quite apparent that the unaided human mind is quite capable of producing the same errors.
The equator is an imaginary lion that runs around the world forever.
Comets are made up of organic material...and are thought to be ruminants from the beginning of the universe.
The climate is hottest next to the Creator.
In spring, the salmon swim upstream to spoon.
And so on. (From Richard Lederer's Bride of Anguished English.)

Today started of with great excitement as a neighbor rang me up to say,
"Hey Steven and this is Stefan, your neighbor. There's a 3 foot and one out walking around the neighborhood needs for some reason funds. We had yours but if it is to come and it and if it's not, forget about it. My home number is...."
Or at least that's what the auto-transcribed email of the voice message said he said. When I listened to the message, it was apparently a "three foot iguana" and they wondered if it was ours. No, our geriatric lizard was sitting quietly at home at the time. I arrived at their house at the same time as Animal Control, which was a little disappointing as I'd got hyped up to 'rescue' it myself but of course once an officer is on the ground, the animal is his. He scared it into a pool, where it immediately dived and prepared to wait us all out. Eventually between him netting it and me entowelling it, we got it back to his truck. A very healthy one, either an adult female or a young male. Hope its owner sees it on the Animal Control webpage and gets it back.

I watched the Olympics Closing Ceremony today. I didn't think I would be doing anything of the sort - I've been whining about the Olympics, the cost, the disruption to Londoners, the insane security including SAMs located on handy tower-blocks, for years. Then it actually happened and I got taken over by national pride. Not that I watched any of the sports (can't stand sports) but I gather the Home Team took home many medals and the whole thing is generally regarded as a success.

(Olympic catwalk models, from the Daily Mail website)

I switched on a proxy to watch the closing directly on the BBC website. I'd tell you which proxy I used, except they said if I tweeted their name I'd get a free gigabyte of bandwidth, which I did, but the bandwidth hasn't appeared yet, so no mentions for you, no name proxy! Anyway, I watched most of it in astonishment as London put on the World's Biggest Variety Club performance ever!11!eleven! On the one hand, I'm sincerely proud that a small island has produced such an incredible amount of musical talent, but on the other hand I'm amazed that pop music (and fashion) made up about 90% of the show. (With fireworks making up the rest, natch.) I sat on twitter the whole time and a spate of people said that seeing the Spice Girls made them feel young once again; not me. The Spice Girls the first time round was when I first realized I might be getting past it, so they actually made me feel old once again.  Queen played, with Long Dead Fred whipping the crowd into a frenzy from one of those things the media calls 'holograms', followed by Jessie J taking his place at Brian's whassname's side - and looking/sounding like she belonged there.  Kaiser Chiefs! Annie Lennox! Russel Brand! Tinie Tempah! Taio Cruze! Muse! Fatboy Slim! Madness! Ray Davies! And of course, the Who,  who changed the lyrics of Baba O'Riley to "not only teenage wasteland' in order to bring the song into negative cynicism territory.  There were Rolls Royces! London Taxis! Those mobile billboards you drive around (except that as well as a billboard, each one carried a genuine supermodel to the stage, which had become a giant catwalk). With so much vehicles and rock, it now makes sense why Jimmy Page and Leona Lewis stood on a bus at the closing ceremony of the Beijing Olympics and belted out Whole Lotta Love.  Eric Idle sang, as promised, Always Look on the Bright Side of Life, which means he got to use the word "shit" in front of the entire planet, while accompanied by rollerskating nuns and a troupe of Indian dancers.

And Sir Paul and Sir Elton were mercifully awol for the ceremony.

Robert Plant played Clarksdale, Mississippi. I've been there - it's billed as the cradle of the blues and certainly looks it. (Though it was quite as warm an humid here is So Cal today.) Wonderful to see that Robert Plant has 'come home' as well.  He lives in Texas now. 

Here is a little known British piece on the blues - Blues and Gospel Train, from 1964 featuring Muddy Waters, Rosetta Tharpe, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGee. It's about 38 minutes long.

Harmless Drudge has a piece on the lyrical beauty of the descriptions of colors in Webster's Third dictionary.  These are unusual as the editors were mad keen on keeping the entire book as dry as bone, but for some reason, based on a command to describe colors only in terms of other colors, the descriptions of colors were an exception.
Vermillion: “a variable color averaging a vivid reddish orange that is redder, darker, and slightly stronger than chrome orange, redder and darker than golden poppy, and redder and lighter than international orange.” Lapis lazuli blue: “a moderate blue that is redder and duller than average copen and redder and deeper than azurite blue, dresden blue, or pompadour.” Cadet: “a grayish blue that is redder and paler than electric, redder and duller than copenhagen, and less strong and very slightly redder than Gobelin.”
(Via Making Light)

Language Log had a piece on how "I'm gonna" is now rendered in written black slang as "I'm on".
Rita said to him, “Honey, don’t move. I’m on get you to the hospital.”
This reminded me - for what turned out to be a not very good reason - that the Yorkshire dialect for "You must" or "You are going to" is "Tha mun".  While looking that up, I found this list of Yorkshire terms that are derived straight from the Viking (Norse), and although I can safely say I haven't used most of them, I can remember my dad using at least two: Rig-welted, which he used to mean helpless or stuck and apparently is descriptive of a sheep on its back, with its heavy fleece preventing it from righting itself (rig meaning backbone and velte meaning turned over) and minnin-on, which he used to mean a snack and apparently comes from minna, the word for reminder, but usually means snack.

Dangerous Minds had a piece on the Pretty Things' S. F. Sorrow, which it calls a "great lost psychedelic classic". I'd agree with all of that except "lost". I just checked and my copy is still in the radiogram cabinet, where it's been for about forty years.

Loved this Iron Maiden video which begins with Bruce Dickinson chewing out some helpless texter.

And finally: Ten reasons why the Megaupload bust was illegitimate. 

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