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Archive for July, 2008

More Double Take Advertising

Tuesday, July 29th, 2008

I have written about “Double Take Advertising” (previously, previously). A friend of mine recently snapped this image, which, as far as I am concerned, is a sub genre: “Double Take WTF? Advertising”.


The distinction is subtle; each triggers a double take, but in the latter case, one cannot help but wonder, “WTF?”

I am beginning to suspect that the deep thinkers responsible for this sort of packaging are banking on consumers taking two looks at it, then saying to themselves, “I have got to show this to the [wife|guys at the office|therapist],” thus securing a sale not based on the desirability of the can’s contents, but its humor value. These marketeers have not thought their cunning plan all the way through, however. They did not take into account: a) camera phones, or b) that this market has already been cornered by Mad magazine (Acrobat pdf, page 4).


Thursday, July 24th, 2008

A recent Slashdot forum provided an update on Terry Childs, the San Francisco network engineer currently held in prison on $5M bail, after locking all network administrators out the city’s new municipal computer system other than himself.

This isn’t really about that. It’s about this:


Oh Slashdot, how I love thee.


Wednesday, July 9th, 2008

We’ll get to mondegreens, I promise.

I previously wrote that I collect mixed metaphors. I recently added another to my trophy case when a colleague told me that he did not want to be the one “crucified at the stake.” Holy crap, son, if you are crucified at the stake, you are having a seriously bad day.

I already knew of one cousin to the mixed metaphor – the malapropism, after Sheridan’s Mrs. Malaprop, in turn after the French phrase mal à propos, which translates to “inappropriate”, or “ill-suited”. One of my favorites is in Romeo and Juliet, wherein the Nurse, desiring conference with Romeo, says:

If you be he, sir, I desire some confidence with you.

To which Benvolio (Romeo’s pal) says, aside:

She will indite him to some supper.

My Liberal Arts degree is totally paying off…

A silly malaprop joke goes:

Jack was home from college for the holidays. One day he asked his less educated mother if he could tell her a narrative. His mother, not being used to such big words, asked him the meaning of ‘narrative’.

“A narrative is a tale,” Jack said.

That night, when going to bed, Jack asked his mother if she might extinguish the light. She wanted to know the meaning of ‘extinguish’.

“To put out,” Jack said.

A few days later Jack’s mother was giving a party at their home, and the cat wandered into the room. Jack’s mother raised her voice and said confidently, “Jack, take the cat by the narrative and extinguish him.”

Today I learned that the mixed metaphor has another cousin – the mondegreen. A mondegreen is a misheard song lyric or common phrase. Sylvia Wright coined the term in the 1954 essay “The Death of Lady Mondegreen”, in which she recounts a childhood memory of being read the ballad of “The Bonnie Earl O’ Murray”. One stanza of the ballad goes:

Ye Highlands, and ye Lawlands
Oh where have you been?
They have slain the Earl of Murray,
And layd him on the green.

Young Sylvia heard:

Ye Highlands and ye Lawlands,
Oh, where have you been?
They have slain the Earl Amurray,
And Lady Mondegreen.

We’ve all done this, or heard someone do it. The two most commonly known mondegreens seem to be from:

Jimi Hendrix’s Purple Haze, wherein:

‘Scuse me, while I kiss the sky


‘Scuse me, while I kiss this guy

…which is, appropriately, the title of a book devoted to the subject of misheard lyrics.

And from the Beatles’ Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds:

The girl with kaleidoscope eyes

…is heard:

The girl with colitis goes by

My current personal favorite is from Credence Clearwater Revival’s Bad Moon Rising, wherein:

There’s a bad moon on the rise

…is transformed into:

There’s a bathroom on the right

The site is the definitive repository, and columnist Jon Caroll has written seminal works on the subject, although he is breathtakingly guilty of using snowclones.

My rule with mixed metaphors, malapropisms and (now) mondegreens remains the same: in order to add one to my personal collection, I have to catch it “in the wild.” And while second-hand reports don’t count, a friend recently shared with me a lovely mixed metaphor from her own collection:

Don’t even get into that bag of worms.

Tyson Homosexual

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2008

The American Family Association is a fundamentalist Christian activist organization that is a convenient one-stop-shop for everything that I hate about religion. Their One News Now web site (yellow to the point of being jaundiced) has, or had, a filter that automagically replaced instances of the word “gay” with “homosexual” in stories reprinted from sources like the Associated Press.

This recently led to a clbuttic bit of self-pwnage with respect to an AP article about Tyson Gay winning the 100 meter semifinal in the Olympic trials:

Homosexual eases into 100 final at Olympic trials

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — Tyson Homosexual easily won his semifinal for the 100 meters at the U.S. Olympic track and field trials and seemed to save something for the final later Sunday.

One News Now since removed the filter, but not before People for the American Way got the screenshot.

By way of justification for the filter, Fred Jackson, the news director of One News Now, explained that:

[The word ‘gay’] has been co-opted by a particular group of people.

Not that the AFA hates fags or anything, as their FAQ makes quite clear:

The same Holy Bible that calls us to reject sin, calls us to love our neighbor. It is that love that motivates us to expose the misrepresentation of the radical homosexual agenda and stop its spread though our culture. AFA has sponsored several events reaching out to homosexuals and letting them know there is love and healing at the Cross of Christ.

So that’s good. It’s good to love. If the song That’s Amore has anything to teach us, it’s that:

Hearts will play tippy-tippy-tay, tippy-tippy-tay
Like a homosexual tarantella.


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