Archive for Humor

Maximizing Buzzword Compliance

From a "sponsor message" sent to me by the Chronicle of Higher Education "on behalf of Campus Management":

Institutions are facing a convergence of forces that, combined with an outdated technology infrastructure, have created the need for a new approach in education technology: the On Demand Model for Higher Education.

Discover the cornerstones of this innovative strategy, including how to enhance constituent engagement, provide more flexibility in academic delivery and financial aid, and leverage an agile infrastructure to grow and adapt in any market.

Hear from a panel of thought leaders as they discuss rising above technology challenges to empower dynamic models of engagement and delivery, and in turn positively impact growth, retention and financial security.

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Nut rage

The biggest news in South Korea these days is the macadamia nut tantrum that occurred on Korean Airlines last week.  Heather Cho, the eldest daughter of Korean Air Lines chairman Cho Yang-ho and herself a high-ranking executive at the airline (though since resigned), threw a monumental hissy fit when she was served macadamia nuts in a manner that she thought was not suitably elegant.  Amongst the usual media accounts of the incident, there was this statement from the UK Guardian:

Bloggers and the Korean press lambasted Cho for her arrogance, and took to social media to mock her for going “nuts”.

and reports of this tweet in Korean from an online shopping mall/auction site that makes a sort of punning reference to “that nut.”

Jeff Weinberg asks whether “nut” or “nuts” in Korean is used for “crazy person” or “crazy” as it’s used in English (and maybe primarily American English).

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The Price of Wisdom

Here's (some of) Google Street View for 7 Coulter Avenue in Ardmore PA:

Why am I showing this to you? Read on…

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It's not just puns that are being banned in China

Even non-linguists and those who are not China watchers could hardly escape the momentous announcement of the Chinese government last week that casual punning was being outlawed:

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Punning banned in China

When the first headline arrived stating that China was going to ban punning, I thought that it must be something from The Onion.  But when more and more reports came pouring in, I said to myself, "No, this is China.  They're really going to do it."

Indeed, the latest directive from the Ministry of Truth (State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television [SAPPRFT]) shows that they are dead serious.

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Satirical travelogy

Poe's Law says that "it is difficult or impossible to tell the difference between an expression of sincere extremism and a parody of extremism". But this difficulty extends far beyond expressions of (political or religious) extremism, and I got an email advertisement today that kept me guessing for quite a while.

The ostensible topic was the new issue of a periodical "Coldnoon: Travel Poetics", and the first paragraph of the email read:

Coldnoon seeks to objectively redefine travel and locate it as part of everyday discourses. It is therefore interested in smaller, local or ground travels which pay attention to the common, forsaken, details of everyday journeys – roads, vehicles, literature, discourses, politics, hence texts, that are otherwise thought to belong in another realm, but are constantly defined and described from within the vocabulary of travel. We are interested in works that grapple with texts and situations commonly associated with methods of study and practice – such as Marxism, Postcolonialism, Cybernetics, Education, Health, Identity, Politics, Romance, Religion or Revolution – other than travel, with a language and methodology of travel, and travelogy.

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Linguist jokes (5)

I walked into the 7th-floor common room in the School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences building at the University of Edinburgh yesterday and saw this message on the shared whiteboard:

The past, the present, and the future walked into a bar. It was tense.

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Ikea: Peppered Caca for the holidays

John Brezinsky writes:

I used to live in Moscow, where everyone has long been amused that Ikea chose to name a line of wine glasses "svalka". свалка can either mean a garbage dump or a dumpster.

I was very amused when I saw the name of the official Ikea ginger cookies at the location in Red Hook, Brooklyn.They're called "pepparkaka". Everyone who saw them did a double-take, and several people (adults and children) were joking about how the last thing they wanted to eat was peppered caca. Is there a word for this kind of fail? Wikipedia calls them brand blunders.

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Etymology in the rain forest

"Scientist discovers puppy-sized spider in rain forest", ABC 11 Eyewitness News 10/20/2014:

For all readers with arachnophobia, take a moment to collect yourself before proceeding further, because this spider will haunt your dreams.

Harvard Etymologist Piotr Naskrecki recently posted on his blog about an encounter in Guyana's rainforest with a South American Goliath birdeater, a spider so large it's the size of a small dog or puppy. According to Naskreski, "Their leg span approaches 30 cm (nearly a foot) and they weigh up to 170 g."

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Stronzo Bestiale, Galadriel Mirkwood, Crosley Shelvador, …

"The true story of Stronzo Bestiale", Parolacce 10/5/2014:

Would you read a paper written by Stronzo Bestiale (Total Asshole)? A dose of mistrust would be justified: the name says it all. Yet, in 1987, professor Bestiale, supposedly a physicist in Palermo, Sicily, authored major papers in prestigious scientific peer reviewed journals such as the  Journal of Statistical Physics, the Journal of Chemical Physics and the proceedings of a meeting of American Physical Society in Monterey.

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Half-fast

From David Donnell:

"Not for nothin'," as the native NY'ers say, but I saw this commercial on the idiot-box tonight and was tickled by the play on words. Surprised to google and discover "half-fast" has been around for some time. But the TV ad still makes me laugh!

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Commas (and parsing) are important

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Colbert on Krauthammer

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