Category Archives: Get off my lawn!

What’s with the blue hair?

This is just a question to dispel my ignorance. A lot of the kids, and some adults, are dyeing their hair fluorescent colors like blue, red, and green. I’ve seen it on both men and women. Now I think it’s ugly, but that’s their choice, and I’m not going to hair-shame. Often the dyed-hair crowd […]

I hate fruit stickers

You know what really bothers me? It’s when every single piece of fruit you buy has a sticker tightly affixed to it. And I mean tightly: tighter than Donald Trump and Putin. Despite rumors to the contrary, those stickers aren’t edible.  After lunch today I was all set to have a nice, tart Granny Smith apple […]

Grammatical annoyances of the week

This one I heard two days ago on NPR; I can’t remember the exact word in quotes, but the announcer’s sentence went something like this: “The evidence, quote, unquote.” If you’re going to use verbal air quotes, please place them properly. In this case it’s, “The quote evidence, unquote.” Is that so hard? And I hate […]

More words I abhor

I’m starting to realize that neologisms in popular culture often spread not because they are more pleasing to the ear or more expressive, but because the speaker sounds “cool”—is that word still used?—when using the latest argot. One I’ve seen all over the place lately, perhaps because of the success of the “Crazy Rich Asians” […]

The odious double “is”

I just heard this on NPR—by someone who’s supposed to be eloquent: “The main point is, is that. . . . “ Yes, it’s the odious “double is”. I often hear it this way: “The thing is, is that. . . “, which is similar to the phrase above. Now you may say that language […]

Guess the dads!

These young men both had famous fathers, and their fathers played in the same band. Guess who they are. The answer is here, and it isn’t hard. If you guessed correctly, it shows, as I used to demonstrate to my class, that the variation among people in their facial features has substantial heritability: that is, […]

Oscars create “blockbuster film” category

The  New York Times reports that, because of waning interest in the televised Academy Awards, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is creating a new category for Oscars: an award for “outstanding achievement in popular films.” As the paper reports below, part of this decision also reflects the public’s lack of interest in the […]

More evidence that modern pop/rock sucks

This is why modern pop music sucks so bad: a song this execrable can nevertheless get a lot of press and become a hit. You can send me all the songs you want to tell me that music as good as that of the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Band, Motown, and so on still […]

The power of the web for targeted marketing

by Greg Mayer One of the creepiest things about using the internet is how many businesses seem to know where you’ve been on the web and what you did there, and on that basis insert ads on other web pages you view. This ability to precisely target particular subsets of people for advertising is, indeed, […]

An insulting misuse of quotation marks

I spotted this sign in one of the fancy-schmancy stores that sell arts and crafts around the perimeter of the old Plaza of Santa Fe: Why the scare quotes around “artisans”? Are they not real artisans but faux artisans or artisans manqué? And wouldn’t they be insulted to find the denigrating quotation marks around their status? There’s […]