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Where Are the Proofreaders When You Need Them?


I've done about a dozen blog posts on newspapers and headlines, but papers continue to publish items that could not be funnier if they were trying to be humorous. Since my folder is so full of great newspaper gaffes that either eluded a proofreader or betray the absence of proofreaders, I will publish some every few weeks until that folder is empty. Many thanks to my blog readers for keeping me supplied!

I'll make no commentary, leaving that instead to the comments section. Now on to today's fun, some of which might require careful reading. WARNING: make sure you are in a place where you are free to laugh out loud at least several times!


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What Can You Say to That?


Do you ever have moments when you feel as if you should say something, but you don't even know what to say? You're left with a total loss for words. I envy those who always seem to be able to come up with something to say. I have found that when I don't know for sure what to say, I should just keep my mouth closed.

Today's iv is several jokes where the one person is left with nothing to say in reply.

A laundry-challenged husband decided to wash his sweatshirt. Seconds after he stepped into the laundry room, he shouted to his wife, "What setting do I use on the washing machine?"

She replied, "It depends — what does it say on your shirt?"

He yelled back, "Green Bay Packers."
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Daylight Saving Time


It seems that Daylight Saving Time (DST) is one of those things that people either love or hate. While I enjoy being able to do more in the evening because we have an "extra hour" of daylight, I remember living in Michigan and having daughters who protested at having to go to bed while it was still light outside. We couldn't convince them that it was night. Monday of this week, I had two very different, personal reactions to DST. When my alarm went off at my usual 5:30 rising time, it still felt as if I were getting up at 4:30, and kinda like I had been hit by a truck. But then it was nice to be able to take a walk in the evening while it was still light out, which is something I haven't been able to do in a while. I decided to look into the history of DST, of which I post a synopsis below.

It is often said that Benjamin Franklin came up with the idea of Daylight Saving Time, but from what I could find, that is not necessarily the case. While living in Paris, Ben Franklin woke up earlier than usual one day and was struck by how many hours of daylight were being wasted to sleep during the summer months. He published an anonymous letter to the Journal de Paris in which he suggested satirically that Parisians could economize on candles by rising earlier to use morning sunlight. He did not specifically mention moving the clocks ahead. With tongue firmly planted in cheek, he suggested ways to enforce (rationing the sale of candlewax and levying window shutter taxes) and to encourage (ringing church bells or firing cannons at sunrise) such economies.

Our much-loved/much-hated method of advancing the time by one hour in the spring and rolling it back an hour in the fall is credited at least partially to George Vernon Hudson, an entomologist from New Zealand. Because of his love for collecting insects, he greatly valued daylight in the evening, during after work hours. His initial proposal in 1895 was that his country adjust the time by two hours! In England a builder (also an avid golfer) named William Willett, also proposed a form of DST to give people more time before dusk for playing golf. He came up with this idea independently from Hudson.
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A Recent Meme


In the last week or two, a meme was making the rounds on Facebook. In case the word is as new to you as it was to me (I don't get out very often, I guess...) an Internet "meme" is an idea or concept that is propagated through the World Wide Web. This particular meme was a series of pictures based on various perceptions of one's profession. Being a teacher, I liked this one.

Since I have worked the past 10 summers in tech support on campus, I appreciated this next one also.
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Adieu mademoiselle, bonjour madame!


On February 22, 2012, the French Prime Minister François Fillon declared that the word mademoiselle, the French equivalent of "Miss," has been banned from use in official French documents. Many years ago English-speaking countries adopted Ms. to replace both Mrs. and Miss. Germany dropped Fräulein and uses just Frau for all women. French feminists viewed two titles for women as a form of discrimination, pointing out that there is no "mondemoiseau" denoting the single marital status of males.

In a country where linguistic change comes extremely slowly, thanks to the Académie Française — the official French language police that dates all the way back to 1635 — this change is huge! For the time being, it is only on an official, administrative level, but surely the shift will trickle down over time. Here's an example of the three categories of marital status on a non-governmental form.

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