Archive for Humor

Erection in progress

Toni Tan sent in the following photograph:

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Claire Bowern on male lactation

Claire Bowern, whom I know best for her work on historical linguistics and Australian languages, turned up recently as the author of an Op-Ed at Talking Points Memo, "The Supreme Court Says Men Lactate, Too. So When Can They Start Breastfeeding?", 2/9/2015:

The Supreme Court has now established that it isn't sex discrimination to fire a woman because of breastfeeding, in part because men can lactate, too. Critics have met the ruling with disbelief, indignation and dismay.

I disagree. I think it's great news. Finally, we have federal legal recognition that men can take part in this fundamental part of newborn care. At times the present Supreme Court has seemed retrograde and unconcerned with reproductive rights (Hobby Lobby, anyone?), but in this case the Justices have forged ahead, outpacing even biology and culture. I haven't seen too many men in lactation classes (maybe they're such naturals, they don't need the classes) or publicly chestfeeding their kids, and the Daily Mail ran a story about the now sadly defunct "Project Breastfeeding"'s campaign to get more dads involved. Their slogan was "If I could, I would"— and now you can!

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LMFAO

The URL for Chris Christie's new political action committee has occasioned a certain amount of innocent merriment, because LeadershipMattersForAmerica.org naturally suggests the acronym LMFAO, normally interpreted as "laughing my fucking ass off":


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Biblical Philology: An Exhaustive Treatment

From Joshua Tyra:

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Dropping the H bomb

Sue Dunum, "Canadians Using 'Harper' as a Swear Word — 'Go Harper Yourself'", The Lapine 7/1/2014:

MONTREAL — The CBC is reporting today on a growing social media trend for Canadians to use Prime Minister Harper’s name as a cuss word.  

“Harper is being used as the new F Bomb,” CBC analyst Claude Perrault told news anchor Peter Mansbridge this morning.  

“‘Harper off’ is a big one we’re seeing used alot on Facebook and Twitter. Often in all caps when someone’s really angry…as in ‘HARPER OFF!’”

“Calling someone a ‘Harpering Harper’ to mean either ‘f****** b****’ or ‘f****** c***sucker’ is also trending big for new slang.”

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Reverse Debates

From the last year's Foundational Questions Institute conference, a String Theory supporter (Raphael Bousso) is asked to argue against String Theory on behalf of Loop Quantum Gravity, while one of the founders of Loop Quantum Gravity theory (Carlo Rovelli) takes the String Theory side, in opposition to his own point of view:

This works out well, making me wonder about analogous opposite-day debates in linguistics and allied areas.

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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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