or, stuff that I dragged out of my head

Location: Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada

Monday, March 05, 2007

Bits and Pieces

On a package of mosaic tiles at work today I read the following description, which appalled and delighted me in equal measure:

Beautiful, hand painted glass tiles that emit a sense of wonder.

The copy-editor in me would have turned that comma into a hyphen and jammed it between the second and third words, but that's neither here nor there. What is both here and there is that "emit" is just about the wrongest word they could have used, unless, of course, those mosaic tiles have little radio-frequency chips inside them, which, at that price, I'm fairly sure they don't.

The word the copywriter was looking for, and magnificently failed to find, was "evoke".


A blog I read occasionally called Pharyngula (it's an actual word, sort of, and you can read about it here: I'm not going to try to explain it in less than a hundred words) has been making fun of a Wikipedia copycat called Conservapedia, which, as the name suggests, is all about conservative politics and ideas. If you'd like to know why Pharyngula is making such sport of it, this will give you the general flavour:

The Great Purge was conducted by Joseph Stalin from 1934 to 1939 in which he executed all his opponents. He established youth groups to brainwash other youths in how great Stalin was and how great communism was. He persecuted all religions and destroyed houses of worship. He controled the press.

That's the entire entry for "Great Purge". If a grade-five student had submitted those pitiable little sentences in a term paper, his teacher would have given him a D+, tops.

I didn't go looking for the worst, okay? There's a "Random Page" link on the left, and I clicked it, and I swear that's the very first page that came up. The rest is little better (or worse).


The comments section for the latest installment of Project Rungay contained the misspelling "cantelever", which, as I have said before, is relatively excusable because most commenting software doesn't have a built-in spellchecker, and neither do most people. The correct spelling is "cantilever", and as soon as I thought of it, I wondered where it came from. The "-lever" part is obviously "lever", but that "canti-" part: could that be "cant" (which is to say "tilt") plus a vowel to fit the two words smoothly together?

It could.


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