Monday, June 30, 2014

Move your coccyx (a snazzier way of saying 'Move your butt')!

A classy headline (TODAY, June 30):

A so-so headline (ST, June 30):

Yes, Singapore seems to be getting hotter...

But, no, Singapore does NOT have the four seasons!...

And as this Sunday Times Q&A snippet admits, it is NOT TRUE that all Singaporeans will get MediShield Life subsidy (see earlier blogpost):


One more fine-print eyebrow-raiser:


Wah, this item is HOT! It even provides "wireless steaming"!...
(Receiver is misspelled too, plus other grammatical mistakes.)


Time to get rid of those old, useless "door mates"? (spotted by Liane)...


The Americans continue to be besotted with, and bewildered and bemused by Team USA's progress in the 2014 FIFA World Cup ahead of Tuesday's match against Belgium:

What Reaching the Quarter-Finals of the
World Cup Would Mean for the US


Finally, two interesting medically-related terms I picked up:

DICKY KNEE (from Reader's Digest):
[Dicky (or dickey) = shaky, unsteady or unreliable]

COCCYX (from Baby Blues):
[the "tailbone", the final segment of the vertebral column in tailless primates, for example, humans. It's a great word for Scrabble players and trivia pursuers ("What is the scientific name for the "butt bone"?]  

Saturday, June 28, 2014

What the small print reveals, to be hit by a double whammy, and a great headline...

I thought I understood this "infobox" in ST (June 28, page one)... said explicitly: "Transitional subsidies for everyone, over four years".

On an inside page was this table...

But I found the explanatory note in small print puzzling...

Huh? "Those with homes with an Annual Value of above $21,000 will not receive subsidies." So not all Singapore citizens will receive the transitional subsidies, despite the preceding sentence in the explanatory note above?

I am sure there are many Singapore citizens who have worked hard for long years and now live in such homes but have retired and no longer have an income (ie, in terms of regular wages).

I also "understood" an earlier table, published last month...

So, from the above, even the qualifying millionaires and billionaires are entitled to the generous Pioneer Generation Chas. If I am wrong, I await correction.


Still on what the fine print says, I found the bold-print claim in this ad attention-grabbing, to say the least...

The claim above is supposedly backed up in the very tiny print:

How tiny? Here's the complete ad:

I don't understand how surveys for commercial purposes work so I am not qualified to comment on the veracity of such claims. I have to leave it at that.


I started writing this blog when I turned 60. I had become a sexagenarian!...

Call me "sexy" for short, I had quipped. Now this Volvo ad is stealing my "idea"!...

But it's okay. Great minds think alike.


This other car ad gave me ideas...


I don't think the copy writer for this ad below knows the meaning of "whammy", let alone "double whammy"!...

Here's what the Merriam-Webster says:

A double whammy (noun) is a situation that is bad in two different ways: a situation in which two bad conditions exist at the same time or two bad things happen one after the other.


I'd rather wrap up with something nice to say, so I'll like to commend this excellent sports page headline in ST (June 28) for its clever play on words:

I will not be blogging tomorrow (Sunday, June 29) as I will be coming home very late.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Serious stuff, and funny stuff...

I've got a couple of funnies for the weekend, but first some serious stuff. Good writing is seen in the crafting of clear and precise language but many people -- including careful writers -- are guilty of fuzzy writing. I plead guilty too. What do I mean by "funnies" and what exactly is "stuff"?

Examples in the newspapers are easily spotted. Take this page one story in today's ST (June 27):

It is fairly easy to grasp what are "economic ties" -- trade, investments, finance and banking, for instance -- but what are "strategic ties"? Military cooperation? Just military cooperation? Security cooperation? Ah so. But what is security cooperation that is more than military cooperation? The root problem is that the fuzzy word "strategic" is being used as a catch-all just as "we" (I'll come back to this word) use "etc" as a wrap-up when "we" have run out of "stuff" to add to a list.

Okay, on to "we". This interesting opinion piece appeared in today's ST:

So who are the "we"? Yes, "we" (all seven billion folks on planet Earth?) do not want to see another world war erupt but who are the "we" (surely not all seven billion?) who need to bury "our" selfish preoccupations and "act together, really act"?

Last example here of fuzzy writing spotted today (also from ST):

As I understand the above piece of conflated writing, there are two necessary conditions for someone to qualify for Pioneer Generation status. He or she must (1) be born on or before Dec 31, 1949 and (2) have become a Singapore citizen on or before Dec 31, 1986.

This rules out all locally-born Singaporeans! Only foreigners who were born before Dec 31, 1949 and who became Singapore citizens before Dec 31, 1986, qualify for PG status!

The correct wording begins with undoing the conflation, that is...

If you are (1) a Singapore citizen born on or before Dec 31, 1949; or (2) a foreigner born on or before Dec 31, 1949 and who became a Singapore citizen on or before Dec 31, 1986, you are automatically...


The US soccer team has made it to the elimination rounds in the 2014 FIFA World Cup competition but only because of the rule of goal differences (vis-a-vis Portugal):

But the Washington Times had a strange way -- in its headline -- of describing the US team's advance to the next stage:


Ok, the funnies...

A drunk -- and with a ragged dirty look still smelling of last night's rounds -- strolled by the building and saw the sign. He immediately went into the building to apply for the position.

Aghast at his appearance, the director wondered how to send him away but, to be fair, he gave him a glass of wine to taste.

The retired drunk held the glass up to his left eye, tilted his head  toward incoming sunlight and studied the contents looking through the  glass. He then took a sip and said, "It's a Southern California Muscat, three years old, grown on a north slope, matured in steel containers. Somewhat low-grade but acceptable.”

"That's correct Buddy," said the boss.  Glancing at his assistant he said… "Another more difficult test sample for Bud, please.”

The drunk took the goblet, full of a deep red liquid, stuck his nose into the glass, sniffed deeply and took a long slow sip....rolling his eyeballs. He then looked at the director and said..."It's a Cabernet Sauvignon, eight years old, south-western slope, oak barrels,  matured at eight degrees.  Requires four more years for the finest results.”

"Absolutely correct, Buddy. A test – second tasting glass for you," said the director.

Receiving another glass, again, the drunk eyed the crystal, took in a little bit of the aroma and sipped very softly... ''It's a pinot blanc champagne, very high grade and exclusive,'' said the drunk calmly.

The director was astonished and winked at his comely assistant to suggest something for the third and final taste test.

She left the room and came back in with a wine glass half-full of urine. The drunk eyed it suspiciously... a colour he could not quite recall. He took a sip, swishing it over his tongue and across his teeth, musing upwards all the while...
"It's a blonde, 26 years old, three months pregnant, and if I don't get the job, I'll name the father." 


Thursday, June 26, 2014

So, OK, he bit him... but why a bruised shoulder but no broken teeth?

As reported in ST's front page (June 26):

By late afternoon (Singapore time), the punishment was announced by FIFA: a four-month ban covering nine matches starting with the World Cup fixture between Uruguay and Colombia on Saturday (June 28).


Looking at the pictures below, I have a question: If two sweaty bodies collide with such force, and shoulder meets teeth, how come there are bite marks on the one's shoulder (Chiellini) but no broken teeth suffered by the other man (Suarez)?


The Internet was of course creatively busy...


Finally, there were the inevitable "Look Back In History" stories...

Sport's most famous biters

9 Infamous Sports Biters

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Er, what is a funambulus?

Have you heard of the name Blondin? I came across his name recently. He was an amazing funambulus (a tightrope walker). Enjoy this animated video below (note: if a pause occurs after 0.04sec, don't worry; the video will resume after some moments):

The story of Blondin

If you are still sceptical about Blondin's remarkable exploits, read this write-up from Britain's Victoria and Albert Museum:

[Note, however, that there was no evidence that Blondin carried his mother across the Niagara, let alone in a wheelbarrow (as presented in the video above). That said, he was still a remarkable man.]


This was what I saw when I walked into my bathroom this afternoon:

This Angry Bird was not at its perch but was in the wash basin! Hmmm, maybe it had a tiff with the other Angry Bird in the bathroom...


To wrap up, here are some more twisted nursery rhymes...

Baba black sheep, have you any wool?
Of course I have you silly old fool!
If I hadn't I'd like to know...
What this is from head to toe?

Twinkle, twinkle little star,
How I wonder what you are.
Up above the world so high,
Like a diamond in the sky.

Twinkle twinkle little star,
Now I know what you are.
A piece of discarded rocket case...
A floating scrap yard, in outer space.

Hickory, dickory, dock.
Some mice run up a clock.
The clock struck one...
The rest did run
(Now, wasn't that fun?).

Mary had a little lamb
It ran into a pylon.
10,000 volts went up its arse
And turned its wool to nylon.