Archive for Crash blossoms

In case you get bored watching the paint dry…

R.B. writes:

I'm sorry that I can't provide info on where it came from originally (and for all I know, it's an oldie-but-goodie).  I found it posted in a discussion group on Ravelry, which is a social networking site for knitters, spinners, weavers, and others who work with fiber.

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Ebola fear stalks Bloomberg headlines

Bloomberg News is notorious for its bizarre, impenetrable headlines. There's a whole Tumblr blog devoted to strange Bloomberg headlines, and Quartz last year ran an article looking into "how Bloomberg headlines got to be so odd." Here's a new one, spotted by David Craig and Brett Wilson:


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Inches

The headline above this page at TheHill.com says Warren inches away from Obama. And Bob Ayers, who pointed it out to me, was surprised that anyone would judge Elizabeth Warren to be that close to Obama on the issues, since they disagree quite a bit. I agree with Bob: I also read the sentence that way (the wrong way) at first. But if you read the text you soon see that they must have meant inches as a 3rd-person-singular verb, not a plural noun, and that reverses the key entailment. She isn't a mere few inches away from the president; she is edging away from him.

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For want of an apostrophe…

Via Lisa McLendon, aka Madam Grammar, comes this unfortunately (un)punctuated headline currently on Drudge Report:

Hackers threaten to show teenagers intimate photos

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A black-belt crash blossom

Posted by Alex Bledsoe on Twitter:

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Newsworthy crash blossoms

The current BBC home page has some breaking news about Scottish National Party leader Alex Salmond:

My first thought on reading this was that it's rather late in the day for Salmond to be going after the No vote, considering No already won handily. Then I realized it's not go after as in "pursue," but rather go + after — he's going (resigning) subsequent to the No vote on the referendum.

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The most awkward crash blossom ever?

This:

[h.t. Omri Ceren]

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The case of the persevering pedestrian

Calvin Men, "Police investigate Santa Cruz pedestrian's death", Santa Cruz Sentinel 4/4/2014:

A 49-year-old Santa Cruz man died late Thursday night while crossing Mission Street after being struck by a car.

G.A., who sent me the link, added "Pretty plucky of him to cross the street after he had been hit, I thought".

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A zeugmatic crash blossom to torment Mets fans

As if New York Mets fans don't have to suffer enough, what with the five straight losing seasons and the embarrassing bullpen meltdown in yesterday's home opener, this headline (tweeted by Mark Fishkin) appeared in today's Wall Street Journal:

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Another way to misunderstand headlines

MedPage Today is an excellent source for medical news — but recently their email service has started juxtaposing headline-fragments in a way that takes me aback:

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Whales from space

Jonathan Amos, "Scientists count whales from space", BBC News 2/12/2014.

It's amazing how sensitive the measurement and modeling of gravitational perturbations of exoplanet systems has become, but detecting the effects of whales is a whole new level.  Anyhow, apparently, whales are Out There…

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EU gets tough with mean kids

"EU rules ‘mean children can't get life-saving cancer drugs’", Euractive 2/11/2014. Death panels in the Nanny State? As Ali G said to Sir Rhodes Boyson, "Wikkid, man."

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Noun pile of the week

Well, almost: Mark Kinver, "Citizen science charts horse chestnut tree pest spread", BBC News 1/24/2014. Though charts might have been a plural noun, it's clearly a verb in this case, alas. The headline writer missed the chance for a genuine 8-element noun pile, e.g. "Citizen science horse chestnut tree pest spread tally".

Still, British headline interpretation continues to be good practice for reading classical Chinese poetry.

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Sweat dance plugs noun pile

Katia Dmitrieva, "Madonna addicted to sweat dance plugs Toronto condos: Mortgages", Bloomberg News 1/10/2014 — Reader CD, a hardened journalistic veteran, calls this "a rare American noun pile headline":

It’s a spectacular garden path which turns out to be a noun pile. I’m pretty good at parsing headlinese but I had no idea what the story was supposed to be about, or even what the syntax was supposed to be, until I clicked through. I suppose it would have helped if I’d known the name of the song beforehand. I’m quite impressed by the flimsiness of the connection between the lead and the content of the story too, but that’s another matter.  

On the nationality question, it’s a Canadian story and possibly a Canadian writer, but Bloomberg has a very strict style guide for headlines regardless of jurisdiction, so I’m comfortable calling it American.

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Cutter stalks

Allen G. Breed, "Corn maze cutter stalks fall fun across country", AP 9/5/2013:


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