Praise be

July 17, 2008

Here’s a line from a story in the Richmond paper,

Richard Bryant ordinarily accepted his kudos for victories on the football field as coach of the Red Devils

and a quiz. What’s wrong with the following sentence? The kudos received by the coach is much deserved.

Give up? Nothing. It was a trick question. You know, if it weren’t for newspapers, that word would have died out a long time ago.

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4 Responses to “Praise be”

  1. Harl Delos Says:

    You know, if it weren’t for newspapers, that word would have died out a long time ago.

    And that’s what’s wrong with that sentence. It makes you sound dumb.

    Oh, by the way, you might check with the WordPress folks. The RSS feeds for all your other posts this morning have a reasonable timestamp. The RSS feed for this post is for 12/31/1969, 7 PM EST.

    That particular time is known as the “epoch” by most computers; they measure time as the number of seconds that have passed since the dawning of the year 1970, greenwich meridian time. Adjusted for time zones, 7 PM EST is midnight in Greenwich, UK. (It’s no longer called GMT, though; it’s UST for “Universal Standard Time”, or if you’re in the military, “Sulu time”).

    That is, the RSS for this post comes with “zero” as a timestamp instead of an actual time.

    And the line about “July 17, 2008 at 12:47 pm” above isn’t exactly kosher, either. Your other posts seem to have reasonable timestamps, and the RSS timestamp matches the text on the web page.

  2. Bartleby Says:

    ” … or if you’re in the military, ‘Sulu time’ … “

    Speaking of sounding dumb … pot, meet kettle.

  3. Leo Morris Says:

    The “s” and the “z” are close together, so maybe we ought to cut Harl some slack. Unless, of course, he really IS talking about “sulu time,” as in “I’ll get right on that tomorrow, if you don’t mind, Capt. Kirk — today, I’m exploring my sexuality.”

  4. Harl Delos Says:

    But Leo, Bartleby has a point – that typo does sound really dumb.

    I’ve never investigated. Doesn’t “Zulu Time” derives from “zero-based time”, just as they use D-Day, H-Hour, etc.? In the NATO phonetic alphabet, it’s alpha, bravo, charlie… and zulu for z. In the Western Union phonetic alphabet, it’s adams, boston, chicago… and for z, they use zero.

    The late John W. Campbell, about 40 years ago, was writing about Navajo code-talkers in WWII, and suggested coming up with a phonetic alphabet where the spelling disagreed with the sound, as a way of confusing furriners who were eavesdropping.

    That is, something like knight standing for k, mnemonic standing for m, opossum standing for o, pneumatic standing for p, etc. He asked for readers to mail in suggestions, but he only ever came up with suggestions for about 20 of the 26 letters.


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