The naming of something helps it turn up everywhere, or at least it helps me recognize what is right before my eyes. Sometimes, it's a headline. Sometimes, it's a cry for help.
John McIntrye and Chris Brogan expanded my vocabulary this week and that reminded me about speaking in code. Make that singing in code.
McIntrye wrote a post describing headlines that are "crash blossom." He even leads us to a collection of examples. and to Testy Copy Editors where Nessie3 of Japan posted the headline that lead to Dan Bloom coining the name. (Updated 12/31/09 to credit Dan.)
Now, I'm seeing headlines like this - Japan Violinist linked to JAL crash blossoms - in so many places. Go ahead, read the story and you'll understand why it is such an "infelicitously worded headline."
McIntrye also reminds of the dangers of the spell-checking software programs, that darn Cupertino effect that gets you Cupertino for a misspelling of cooperation. He also gives examples of eggcorn and snowclone. (Why am I surprised that there's an eggcorn database? or snowclones database?)
Chris Brogan sent me on an Internet search because he recently classified 114 emails as bacn in a newsletter. So now I know what to call all that email I think I'll read later because not enough folks read his 2007 post.
The bacn got me thinking about codes. A co-worker alerted me long ago that red cheeks were a clear signal to slow down. My husband lets me know when to stop without even mentioning that word.
For a group of friends in Detroit, a request for an urgent cup of Earl Grey tea signals a need for rescuing from an uncomfortable scene. For five years, the author of "The Years Keep Passing Me By" blog knows someone saying the "obscure and ridiculous" phrase means "your blockhead friend will suddenly become aware and swoop in to save the day."
I remember some Tennessee friends who would start singing a Carter Family classic at the oddest moments. The first time I heard them sing that I was driving them back to their hotel in Michigan. Unfortunately, I missed a turn, then another, then .... a quick 10-minute trip took several hours and landed us in a woodsy area miles away. (This was years before GPS and wireless access.)
Fortunately, the first impression didn't last so I also got to use the song to signal distress if post-concert activities got out of hand and I needed rescuing. Sometimes, shouting help isn't the best way to find a knight in shining armor.