Archive for Crash blossoms

Attachment ambiguity of the day

The latest message in the unending stream of spam sent my way by PayPal bears the Subject line "A great deal to get away from". My immediate response was that I don't need any help in getting away from, thank you very much. But of course they're not offering to help me avoid — rather they're trying to hook me up with for a "get away".

Update — Following a suggestion in the comments, I looked again for a way to opt out of spam in my paypal account settings, but failed to find any. But inspecting the (very) fine print at the bottom of the latest note from the paypal spam bears, I did find a link that I was able to follow to reach a page that claimed I could use it to unsubscribe. So we'll see…


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Non-traditional Olympic equipment

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Gestures of death

Shaun King, "North Carolina police kill unarmed deaf man using sign language", New York Daily News 8/22/2016:

This is as bad as it gets.

A North Carolina state trooper shot and killed 29-year-old Daniel Harris — who was not only unarmed, but deaf — just feet from his home, over a speeding violation. According to early reports from neighbors who witnessed the shooting this past Thursday night, Harris was shot and killed "almost immediately" after exiting his vehicle.

He appeared to be trying to communicate with the officer via sign language.

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Jones and Palin on noun-pile headlines

From "Dr. Fegg's Encyclopedia of All World Knowledge", by Terry Jones and Michael Palin:

[h/t Don Porges]

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Sleeping jaguars run furiously

Roger Lustig sends in this trending-on-facebook headline:

Police Find Jaguars Running Back Asleep Inside Car Sinking Into a Pond, Reports Say

Roger traces the first few steps down the garden path:

–Police find jaguars
–Police find jaguars running
–Police find jaguars running back (from where?)
–Police find jaguars running back asleep (talk about "second nature"!)

For me, "running back" is tightly enough bound as a compound word that I wouldn't have noticed the other possibilities without Roger's guidance. But it's special when the intended meaning is almost as weird as the crash blossom.

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Change orders pressure

An impressively ambiguous headline: Benjamin Kabak, "Second Ave. change orders pressure December completion", 6/27/2016.

[h/t Anschel Schaffer-Cohen]

Update — as Anschel Schaffer-Cohen observed in sending this in, the ambiguity is likely to send many readers down a garden path and catch them up short at some point around "December". Those who are all too familiar with "change orders" are likely to avoid this problem.

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PP attachment ambiguity of the month

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But what did they feed them?

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Indiana poll bears

Reader K.N. comments on a WSJ headline "Indiana Poll Bears Good News for Trump":

To my surprise, the article does concerns neither actual ursines nor pundits who feel Indiana polls will be worth less than they are now. It also fails to explain why people in Fort Wayne were cheering a glowing effigy of Mr. Trump (see attached scan of article, page A4 of the Monday, May 4 edition sold in Mobile, AL.)

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What are the chances of sustaining life at the Sydney Opera House?

Stephen Bullon sent a link to an article in the Guardian — Ian Sample, "Most threats to humans come from science and technology, warns Hawking", 1/18/2016 — and pointed to a picture caption that reads "Stephen Hawking reflects on the Earth’s chances of sustaining life at the Sydney Opera House / earlier last year".

Stephen's comment:

Seems to me that if you can't sustain life at the Sydney Opera House, the rest of Australia has got no chance.

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Drug trial dies, dog due to be wed

Readers have recently sent in some examples of crash blossoms in headlines about tragic events.

Melissa Chan, "Man Left Brain Dead After French Drug Trial Dies", Time Magazine 1/17/2016.
Kim Willsher, "Man left brain-dead after French drug trial dies in hospital", The Guardian 1/17/2016.
Will Worley, "France clinical trial: Man left brain-dead after drug test dies", The Independent 1/18/2016.

Of course it was the man who really died, although the "drug trial" or "drug test" also metaphorically died.

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Major who?

From Andrea Comiskey, a crash blossom on the National Weather Service's site: "Major to record flooding continues over portions of Mississippi River Valley".

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Minister Morneau hiked down … what?

Faith Jones writes:

I live in Canada, where even our Prime Minister goes canoeing and snowshoeing and stuff, so when I saw this headline on the CBC:

… I assumed the Finance Minister was hiking down an actual mountain somewhere in or around Ottawa. Then I got to "payment" and, because of my previous confusion, I still had it in my mind that the verb was "hikes down" but now I thought it was meant metaphorically, and tried to figure out what these "payment rules" were and what "hiking down" such a rule would entail.

Yeah. Minister Morneau has increased the minimum DOWN PAYMENT needed on houses over $500,000. Took me a good minute and a half to get there.

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