Do typos matter? (A true story)

Sometimes typos don’t matter. And sometimes they do.

If your burger joint has a menu with some missing punctuation, I’ll eat there anyway.

But when your medical company’s pamphlet for transcranial magnetic stimulation brags about how it fared in “clinical trails” … well, I have some concerns.

Crane Girl progress update

All appearances to the contrary, I have been working on my pet monstrosity pretty consistently for the past month. The progress bar isn’t looking too impressive yet, but it’s twice what I had last time. What’s more, I’m having fun. I think that’s still allowed.

Happy weekend!

I’m sorry, ma’am, your son’s going to be an engineer

We got this card game for kids. One set of cards has situations and another set has feelings. So for example, you’d draw the card “How do you feel when it’s your birthday?” and the kid picks the card “I feel excited!”

I picked up a card and asked Evan, “How do you feel when you break your favorite toy?”

Ignoring all the feeling cards, he said, “Fix it!”

They are looking for my feedback

Hard to argue

Evan: Daddy, tunnel!

Me: You want me to crawl through the tunnel?

Evan: Yeah!

Me: Why? If I crawl through the tunnel, what do I get?

Evan: Out!


The illusion of control

Hey Brian, how about that new Frozen 2 trailer

In cinematographic terms, I would categorize the artistic, musical, directorial, and other qualities of the aforementioned film sample as being — *consults dictionary* — “hella sweet.” And potentially “righteous.”

Okay, for real though, this is way better than I was expecting. I was all set to be disappointed, but early indications are that they’ve nailed it. My biggest complaint by far about the original Frozen is that Elsa’s too passive, and that glitch now seems emphatically fixed. Plus, did you notice that the background music is a new rendition of the same song that played in the intro to the first movie, and during Elsa’s coronation? Of course you did.

I still think they could totally work in a scene like this one somewhere in there. They wouldn’t even have to pay me for the rights.

I mean, not a lot.

Maybe a lot.

I want to see Frozen 2.

The null punchline

Back in my former life, I once worked with an engineer (now retired) who had a cross-stitch displayed in his office. It was something like:

flawless – precise

I thought it was hilarious. I loved the plain hubris of it, the deliberate irony, as if he were saying, “Sure, I think I’m perfect, so what? I’m an engineer. Prove me wrong.” (And what better medium for the message than cross-stitch?)

Considering that I’m now an editor, it took me an embarrassingly long time to notice that the cross-stitch actually said:

flawless – precise

Note the extra “e” in “engineer.” He’s claiming perfection whilst sporting a typo. That is, in fact, the entire joke, the whole reason he had the thing in his office. I had thought it was hilarious — while completely missing the punchline.

Or how about this: While watching the sublime anime Azumanga Daioh with my friend Ben, I came across this bizarre scene, where a character has a New Year’s dream involving a hawk, an eggplant, and Mount Fuji.

Ben and I both laughed our asses off. The combination of those three things was so utterly random, and the girl’s exultant reaction was so over-the-top, that it was just perfect. Non sequitur at its finest.

But I later learned, after a bit of research, that the dream wasn’t random at all. There’s a Japanese tradition that a New Year’s dream featuring those three images foretells the best possible luck. (Where the tradition came from, I have no idea.) So that was the whole point of the scene, and it was lost on us Americans.

In both cases, I found the “null punchline” funnier than the intended joke. I know this has happened to me other times, too.

Why, though? Why is the un-humor funnier than the humor?

I guess it’s more strange, more subtle. More like seeing the fundamental weirdness of the universe laid bare, as opposed to something constructed by a person.

In other words, I have no idea.

Have you ever laughed at a null punchline?

This morning’s shower thought

If “virtuous” is connected to “virtue,” then “vicious” must be connected to “vice.” Seems obvious in retrospect, but I never connected the dots before.

I did a quick lookup (after drying off), and sure enough, “vicious” and “vice” both derive from the Latin vitium, meaning a defect, fault, or blemish.

Go forth, freshly enlightened, and do with this knowledge what thou wilt.


Word: nelse

Language: English-ish

Part of speech: noun

Definition: additional food to eat beyond what one has eaten already; a snack

Etymology: evidently coined by Evan Buckley in January 2019; shortening of “somethin’ else”

Example: The two-year-old gazed longingly at the kitchen cabinets. “Nelse?” he queried. “Nelse?”