November 2018 archive
A few people I've worked with used malaprops a lot. When context makes the intended word obvious, why not say something different? At one job we had a bunch of alternate terms we used routinely, many of them juvenile (e.g. mammary instead of memory).

This seemed perfectly natural. Odd words usually passed without comment unless the construction was particularly inventive. My favorite was when a co‑worker said crustacean instead of escutcheon.

It's a programmer thing (not that we have a monopoly on this type of humor). You can say a 'wrong' word around most any (American) software engineer and they'll get that it's a joke.

Not everyone does. I was talking to my doctor about a paronychia and at one point called it a paramecium instead and he just thought I was confused. I thought to myself, he probably doesn't hang out with programmers much.

I handed a piece of mail to a clerk at the post office this afternoon. She tried to weigh it but wasn't satisfied by how the scale was working and went to get a five pound weight to calibrate it with. "I have to collaborate my scale," she said.

What to do? I didn't know her, I didn't know if she was screwing up calibrate on purpose. I loved it, I thought it was a great substitution. But not knowing the spirit in which it was intended, I just let it pass.
I liked the aphorism/poem
Losing one glove
is certainly painful,
but nothing
compared to the pain
of losing one,
throwing away the other,
and finding
the first one again.
immediately because it reminded me of situations I've been in.

I liked it even more when I read that it was a message encoded as metaphor to get past censors. Explanation and context here.
The Bank of England wants to put a portrait of a prominent [and dead] British scientist on a new £50 note and is soliciting suggestions.

I submitted a name today. The person I chose was absolutely a top‑knotch* scientist but I'm guessing he won't be the Bank's choice.

* aberrant spelling following this example
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