[Editor’s note: As should be clear from the very first sentence, the following post was originally written well over a year ago. I can offer no explanation for my delinquency in publishing it other than I have been delinquent in publishing just about everything around here.]
I wrote a post last week complaining about an extremely misleading headline over at Treehugger. But upon further reflection, I don’t know what about the #fail it discussed exercised me so. After all, I’ve been aware that Treehugger jumped the shark for quite some time.
My suspicions were aroused back in September, when I came across an unusual “Photo of the Day”. Treehugger has long periodically posted photographs culled from reader contributions. The pictures — how do I say this without sounding like a snob? — typically portray attractive subjects, but the photographer’s execution can sometimes leave quite a bit of room for improvement.
Continue reading That time Treehugger jumped the shark
I’ve published two attempts to touch up Presidential campaign logos, to decidedly mixed success. I’m still quite proud of my first effort, but the second was an unmitigated disaster. So it is with some trepidation that I tread once more in increasingly familiar waters.
But let’s be real — after I learned that Marco Rubio created an ad titled “Morning Again in America” (because “Make America Morning Again” is a phonetic disaster) using stock footage from Canada, well:
Continue reading In which Marco Rubio’s campaign logo receives a much-needed makeover
California is running out of water. Almonds take a lot of water to grow. California accounts for 80% of global almond cultivation (and 99% of U.S. production). The obvious conclusion, as the BBC put it, is that “almonds are sucking California dry“. You can tell a similar story about walnuts and pistachios, if you wanted to.
But misguided as that conclusion may be, some people have taken this set of facts as a reason to reduce their overall nut consumption — and, as usual, the internet is here to help them out. Last month, Treehugger published an article titled “5 nuts not grown in California”. It explained, “National almond, walnut and pistachio crops are very thirsty, and predominantly grown in drought-stricken California; if you’re looking for alternatives, consider these.”
Seems reasonable enough. So let’s find out: which five nuts does Treehugger have in mind (cumulative nut count in parentheses)?
Continue reading I expect better from a website called *Tree*hugger
Another example of priming on The Daily Show, this time from a segment that kicked off with a discussion of climate change and rising sea levels:
Continue reading The Daily Show provides a veritable cornucopia of linguistics lessons
Last Thursday, The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore played host to (among others) Neil deGrasse Tyson, who is set to launch a brand new nightly talk show this very evening on the National Geographic Channel. I almost wish they’d let Neil take over the 11:30 Comedy Central slot from Larry Wilmore instead.
The need for Tyson’s scientific insight to reach a wider audience was nicely illustrated on March 26, when Larry hosted a four-person roundtable that included both alleged comedian J.B. Smoove and Nightly Show showrunner (and Daily Show veteran) Rory Albanese.
When the panel’s discussion turned to ISIS, Smoove joked that Isis was actually the name of a “lady who puts ice in her mouth before she gives you a blowjob.” Get it? It’s a joke about linguistics: ISIS contains, inter alia, the lone phoneme — /’aɪs/ — in “ice”.
Continue reading Blown joke nicely illustrates the danger of giving Neil deGrasse Tyson his own show
In a recent episode of Parks and Recreation, evil millionaire Dennis Feinstein (Jason Mantzoukas) taunts a group of protestors before relating the following instruction to his minions:
(I’ll take Ron Swanson’s line:) What hounds?
Continue reading A television mystery: Is Parks & Rec borrowing plot points from Sherlock? [spoilers, duh]
There’s one particular idiom I find exceptionally irritating: “sea change“, when used with no sea shore in sight. Use that phrase, and I will judge not only your writing — I will judge you.
But this post does not represent an effort to explain my (perhaps irrational) dislike for “sea change”. I write instead to identify one particular instance in which an author’s desire to properly use this most improper of phrases led directly to the displacement of one object of my (perhaps irrational) affection — a pun:
Continue reading A new way for me to resent my least-favorite idiom
Egypt has made a bunch of headlines recently for its decision to clear a buffer along its border with Gaza in an effort to prevent smuggling into (and out of) the coastal territory, and also to fend off further militant attacks in the region (like last week’s attack that killed 31 members of the country’s military).
One reason I’ve seen this story so many times is that some of my friends have used it to suggest that critics of Israel are hypocritical for not speaking out against Egypt’s decision to destroy homes in the fight against terror. But that’s not what interests me about this story –if Israel were destroying houses within its own borders, those critics of Israel would find something else to complain about, but mostly it demolishes homes inside occupied territory (or, as in the case of Gaza, once-occupied territory).
What instead caught my eye here was how Egypt planned to use this buffer in its effort to stem smuggling:
Continue reading Egypt may have found the solution to Gaza
Forty-five United Nations peacekeepers from Fiji were released by Syrian rebel group Nusra Front. They were taken hostage when the Al Qaeda-linked organization seized control of the Quneitra crossing on August 28th.
According to the BBC, in exchange for releasing the peacekeepers, Nusra Front had “demanded to be taken off the UN’s list of designated terrorist organisations, wanted humanitarian aid be delivered to parts of Syria, and sought compensation for three fighters killed in a gunfight with Undof forces in the Golan Heights.”
None of these demands were fulfilled. So why did the rebel group release the peacekeepers sua sponte?
Continue reading If you understand why the U.N. peacekeepers were released in Syria, you understand the conflict
On Tuesday, Russell Wilson and Zach Miller helped Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll (always) compete in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge:
At first, that might just look like an ordinary Ice Bucket Challenge — but all this has happened before, and all this will happen again:
Continue reading The entire 2013 NFL season was just a warmup… for the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge