Tag Archives: misreads

A Picture’s Worth A Thousand (Swear)Words

Pictograms.  Never has a supposedly simple solution gone so laughably (and swearably) wrong.

I realize that they’re supposed to provide accessibility for the 5% of people who have difficulty reading; and it’s a great idea to add them to signs.  But take away the words, and it leaves all of us bumbling around wondering, “WTF is this supposed to mean?!?”  The ancient Egyptians used nothing but pictograms, and look where they ended up.  Just sayin’.

I’m all for pictograms plus words.  But pictograms alone are like playing Pictionary with art-challenged companions; except that the stakes are your time and sanity instead of gut-busting laughter and minor humiliation when you accidentally draw a pornographic-looking diagram that was supposed to have represented ‘stretch pants’.  (Not that that’s ever happened to anybody I know, nuh-uh, nope).

For instance, after years of exposure to this cryptic symbol, I’ve finally recognized that it means power on/off:

But if I were looking at it for the first time, I’d be stumped.

What is it supposed it to represent?  An apple?  A bathroom sink as seen from above?  A nipple ring?  A cherry bomb?  A sex act?  A giant space probe slamming into the planet and annihilating all life?  Or maybe it’s a finger pressing a button.  Who the hell knows?  Should I push that button or not?

My treadmill has equally arcane symbols.  You’d think it would be hard to go wrong — the tortoise means “slow” and the hare means “fast”.

But then there’s this:

I’m okay with ‘time’ represented by the clock and ‘speed’ represented by the rabbit.  But what’s that button with the vertical lines and double back-arrows?  Maybe it resets my time and mileage.  Or maybe if I press that button, my treadmill will suddenly reverse direction and accelerate to warp-speed, catapulting me off the treadmill and through the wall.  I could press it and find out; but I don’t dare.

The little flames under the right indicator are equally worrisome.  They’re supposed to indicate “calories burned”, but they could just as easily mean “your treadmill will catch fire in three… two…”

But I’m sure my treadmill would never do that, because it loves me.  That’s what those hearts mean, right…?

What pictograms do you love to hate?

P.S.  I just found this hilarious interpretation of laundry label symbols

Book 14 update:  Chapter 36 and going strong!  Now, if only my fingers would learn to correctly type “public” instead of “pubic”…

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Disgusting Butt Mounds

So tell me:  When you read the title of this post, what was your mental image?

Okay, maybe that isn’t a fair question.  After all, if you’ve been reading my blog for a while, I’d be shocked if you didn’t immediately leap to an off-colour interpretation just because you know me too well.

So let’s keep this scientific and unbiased.  I’ll rephrase the question:  What would you have envisioned if you’d seen that title on the page of a serious and established online newspaper?

At this point you may be shaking your head and saying, “Get a grip.  It’s just another one of your twisted misreads.”

You’d be completely justified in thinking that, but no; this time I had read the headline correctly.  In its entirety, it read: “Will Timmins council get rid of downtown’s disgusting butt mounds?

I read it once; then again.  Triple-checked to be sure I wasn’t misreading it.

Stared at it, wondering, “What the hell can they possibly be talking about?”

And then my brain exploded with speculations and vile mental images:

Speculation 1:  Maybe the denizens of downtown Timmins have frequent and/or intentional wardrobe malfunctions that expose their disgusting butt mounds, and everybody’s sick of seeing them.  (I visualize the follow-up headline: “Timmins eyes buttcrack bylaw”.)

wardrobe malfunction

Speculation 2:  Perhaps people are reacting to one of those ill-conceived investments in Downtown Art that leaves everybody questioning the sanity of both the city council and the artist.  (New headline:  “Timmins makes cracks about butt-ugly sculpture”.)

kiss this

Speculation 3:  Or maybe the Butt Mounds are some sort of natural landscape feature that the citizens of Timmins find offensive and their city council is coming under pressure to raze the eyesore.  (New headline:  “Environmentalists implore: ‘Timmins, support your Butt Mounds!’”)

butt mounds

Sad to say, I wasn’t even close with any of my speculations.  Nope, they were talking about mounds of cigarette butts in the outdoor smoking areas:  https://www.sudbury.com/around-the-north/will-timmins-council-get-rid-of-downtowns-disgusting-butt-mounds-328274

Well, shit.  Talk about anticlimactic.  But at least it gave me a giggle or three.

What’s funny in your world this week?

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New discussion at the Virtual Backyard Book Club:  Two Guys, One Girl – What Do You Think?  Click here to have your say!

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Ping-Pong Brain

It’s a small feather-weight sphere containing nothing but air, and it ricochets wildly off hard surfaces (such as the inside of my skull) at approximately Mach 2.  Yep, I’ve got Ping-Pong Brain.

Between the release of Book 11, a Bookbub1 promo for Book 1, and my website redesign, the past few weeks have slowly drained my brain’s contents while accelerating its activity until there’s nothing left but a frantic sense of urgency and the attention span of a super-caffeinated gnat.

For instance, moments ago I clicked over to the internet to find out whether the Style Guide recommended capitalization on the word ‘Mach’, and I found a site dedicated to those pesky word usages that are so easy to screw up:  http://stage-door.org/stampact/traps.html.  The first few paragraphs are standard fare, but if you scroll down to the alphabetical list below there’s a fascinating (and immensely time-sucking) list.

I got sidetracked and wasted a good 15 minutes before I smacked my brain back in the direction I’d originally intended.

After a few more attempts at concentration, I realized that the probability of producing a coherent post for today was approximately equal to that of being picked up by a squadron of flying pigs for a nice aerial tour of the frozen flames of hell.

So I’m not even going to attempt it (neither the coherent post nor the scenic flight with AirPorcine). Instead, here are a few random things that have made me giggle lately:

The following article is a few months old by now, but I still find it funny (in a sad sort of way) that the people of Siberia preferred Barsik the cat to any of their other political options: http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/barsik-cat-siberia-russia-barnaul-1.3373334.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a follow-up article, so I don’t know whether Barsik actually won the election.

Next there was a salvo in the ongoing good-natured culinary skirmish between Hubby and me.  I tend to get creative when I’m cooking, while he prefers to follow detailed recipes.  This creates a certain amount of friction when he’s trying to duplicate one of my dishes:

Hubby:  “How much (ingredient) do you put in?”

Me:  “Um… a bit…  Maybe, um, a teaspoon?  Or maybe a bit more.  This much.” *dumps ingredient into palm and displays the small heap*

Hubby (long-suffering):  “And how long should I cook it?”

Me:  “Until it’s done…?”

Hubby:  *grinds teeth*

So he sent me this:

Measuring spoons for a tad, dash, pinch, smidgen, and drop

Measuring spoons for a tad, dash, pinch, smidgen, and drop

These are the official conversions:

  • Tad = 1/4 teaspoon = 1.25ml
  • Dash = 1/8 teaspoon = 0.625ml
  • Pinch = 1/16 teaspoon = 0.3125ml
  • Smidgen = 1/32 teaspoon = 0.15625ml
  • Drop = 1/64 teaspoon = 0.078125ml

(He thinks this will help, but in fact he’s only given me more obscure units of measurement with which to annoy him.  Shhh, don’t tell.)

And finally, my diminished concentration resulted in yet another silly misread.  A couple of days ago, this article came up in my news feed:

nose hair conditioner

I must have a nostril-hair fixation, because I read “Your Nose Hair Is A Bad Conditioner”.  It speaks to my disordered state of mind that my mental critic said, “Well, yeah; duh.  Who’d use nostril-hair as a conditioner?”  I had actually scrolled down about three articles before I went, “Wait, what?

And that’s my brain this week, ping-ponging from cats to cooking to conditioners.  How was your week?

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If you’re interested in the Book Club, I’ve posted a few thoughts about the format for discussion.  I’d really appreciate your input on 4 questions – please click here to reply.  Thanks! 

1 If you haven’t discovered Bookbub.com yet, you may or may not thank me for mentioning it.  It’s a bargain e-book notification service, and you can sign up to receive emails (daily or weekly) containing free and discounted e-books in the genres you select.  It’s the greatest thing that’s ever happened to my to-read list… but then again, I’m happy at the sight of 50 books piled up ready to read.  If a burgeoning TBR list stresses you out, you may want to skip Bookbub. 😉

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A Mix Of New Feces

When I read the headline “Liberal cabinet expected to be a mix of new feces”, it seemed like the perfect title for this post. I’ve had some oddball items burbling around in my mind for a while, so this is a perfect opportunity to mix them up and erm… eliminate them.

As you’ve undoubtedly guessed by now, I had misread another headline. The actual title was “Liberal cabinet expected to be a mix of new faces”. We just had an election here, so the article was about the shakeups in cabinet. But ‘new feces’ pretty much sums up how I feel about politicians and our party system in general. Same shit, different pile.  Or maybe it’s ‘different shit, same pile’, but you know what I mean.

However, since Miss Manners says discussions of politics and religion are to be avoided in polite company, that’s all the political crap I’ll mention here (because you know my blog is always suitable for polite company).

‘Moving’ right along…

Speaking of headlines, I saw an article a few days ago discussing the merger between Pfizer (makers of Viagra) and Allergan (makers of Botox). At first glance it seemed like a bit of a conflict, since Viagra gets things going while Botox makes them stop. But on second thought, it actually makes perfect sense: used properly, either of them will take the wrinkles out.

And speaking of the little soldier, my friend Chris sent me this link a while ago: http://www.fastcodesign.com/3050334/a-condom-package-that-youll-just-know-is-the-right-size-for-you along with the note, “Must be a blog in here somewhere”. And yes; yes there is!

I think the concept of ‘sizing by grip’ is brilliant in its simplicity, not to mention the exquisite tact of making the largest and smallest sizes the same colour so the checkout clerks might not notice at a glance if a guy’s buying the ‘teeny-weenie’ size. I hope Guan-Hao-Pan’s innovation catches on; if for no other reason than to finally put to rest the giggle-worthy discrepancies in public condom dispensers. Am I the only one who’s ever noticed that in men’s washrooms1, the condoms are all ‘Magnum’ or ‘Extra-Large’, but in women’s washrooms, they’re ‘Slim Fit’? Sorry, boys, we’re onto you. Stand closer; it’s shorter than you think.

Neatly combining the topics of unlikely mergers and amorous encounters, I recently discovered that Crimestoppers is taking advantage of the hottest literary trend by branching out into erotica. Don’t believe me? Check out the photo I snapped last week of a Crimestoppers poster in a grocery store in Portage La Prairie, Manitoba. (Note: This is pretty kinky stuff, so read with caution.)

Dear Crimestoppers: Please proofread your posters more carefully.

There’s a whole new career awaiting the person who penned that little gem. Literally, a whole new career. Because after a few more slip-ups like that, their current career will be down the toilet.

And that’s all the poop for this week.

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1Yes, I’ve spent quite a bit of time in men’s washrooms, but it’s not what you think. Explanation here.

P.S. Another cover update finished! Here’s the new look for Book 5: How Spy I Am:

AK-5 cover final 2015

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Scrotums Rule! …Or not.

Last week I mentioned that I hadn’t misread anything in a long while. Clearly that statement tempted fate, and fate was quick to retaliate.

To wit: There was a lot of buzz in the news this past week about the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on marriage equality, and it seems most American journalists are fond of acronyms. It took me a while to figure out that SCOTUS stands for Supreme Court Of The United States; probably because I read the acronym as ‘SCROTUMS’.

You can imagine my reaction when I read ‘SCROTUMS rules in gay marriage!’

‘Scrotums rules’? Did the new marriage ruling specify what constituted acceptable male equipment? That led me to wonder exactly what the specifications were, and who enforced the ruling. Were there inspections? Measurements? Wait, let me get my calipers…

Or, (I speculated) maybe they actually meant ‘scrotums rule!’, implying that the marriage of two men was superior to any other combination. Like some X-rated version of poker: “Ha! A pair of scrotums beats a pair of vaginas! Pay up, loser!”

Fortunately I realized I’d misread SCOTUS before I could go too far down that path, but I must say it was an interesting trip as far as it went.

And apparently fate was determined to teach me a lesson, because that was only the first of many.

I read ‘…the fourth grade class decided to get pissed as a civics lesson’, but at second glance it was actually ‘get a bill passed’. Technicalities…

Next up was an email that offered me a seminar titled ‘Creating Flatulence’. I couldn’t figure out how it constituted a business opportunity, but I was completely sold on the entertainment potential. Unfortunately, it turned out they were only offering to teach me how to create ‘Affluence’, with an ornate drop-cap on the first letter. So I guess I’ll have to stick with beans, beer, and cabbage for all my flatulence needs.

And apparently business development was on the spammers’ minds this week, because they also offered me a ‘Self-Important Training Program’ and a chance to ‘Thrive by Insult’ (which seemed like quite a useful and practical course). Much to my disappointment, though, it was merely ‘Thrive by Intuit’ and a ‘Self-Employment Training Program’.

Next came this nugget of wisdom: ‘Along with great taste, beetles have health benefits and they’re low in calories, too’. I’ve already made my position clear on the consumption of beetles, but I couldn’t deny my morbid curiosity. Were they offering recipes? Dung Beetle Pilaf? Crispy Sriracha Weevils? When I clicked on the link, though, it turned out they were recommending beets, not beetles. I wasn’t sure whether to be disappointed or relieved.

And my week was complete when my favorite automotive website chimed in with the headline ‘Peeing Under The Hood’. Even though my garage is well-stocked, I was pretty sure I lacked the necessary tool to successfully complete that endeavor. But it was okay – it turned out we were only ‘Peeking’ under the hood.

I’ve been waiting with bated breath, but apparently fate has been satisfied by completing the circle from scrotums to inappropriate peeing. No other gems have revealed themselves, but I know better than to get smug about it.

Know any good beetle recipes?

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The Sound Of Dementia

I really hope it’s not dementia, but my rate of misreads has increased considerably since I found the kiss-ass typo back in April.

Soon after that, I read ‘in my whorehouse’ over on Murr Brewster’s blog.  It wouldn’t have surprised me if she actually had written that, but she didn’t – it was ‘in my wheelhouse’.  (Murr is one funny blogger – go see for yourself!)

A short while later, I thought our Chamber of Commerce was mixing sacred with secular when I saw their poster advertising  ‘Holy Sponsorships Available for Play With The Presidents’.  A second reading revealed they were actually advertising hole sponsorships for their annual golf tournament.

My dirty mind kicked in when I saw the following tweet:  ‘I’ve ordered myself some Golden Snatch earrings…’  It took me a few moments to figure out that it was a Harry Potter reference and the earrings were actually little-bitty replicas of the ‘Golden Snitch’.

And I guess I wasn’t sufficiently recovered from that when I did a double-take at a condom ad trumpeting1GET UP TO ASS IN SAVINGS’.  It was in all caps with a sans serif font, which is always harder (I said ‘harder’… *snicker*) to read than mixed case (that’s my excuse, anyway).  After I’d finished giggling, it took me a couple of tries to decipher ‘GET UP TO $5 IN SAVINGS’.

Another ‘say what?!?’ moment arrived in my email when my Meetup group invited me to enjoy ‘Lesbian food and belly dancing’.  I’m a major foodie, but I’ve never heard of that cuisine before.  Turned out it was ‘Lebanese’ food, which didn’t seem quite as exotic, somehow.

Even business headlines weren’t safe.  I read ‘Things Sales Winners Deformity’ instead of ‘Do Differently’ and ‘get back to bananas’ instead of ‘back to business’.  And I discovered a cabinet company that offers ‘customer insults’.  Or possibly ‘customer installs’, though insults are well within the realm of possibility.

I can’t remember which community site entreated ‘Looking for a spare cowboy to borrow for a few weeks’.  But it turned out they were only looking for a spare ‘carboy’ to brew a batch of beer.

My mind was clearly on bodily functions the day I read ‘Fanfart’, which sounds like something to avoid at all costs.  The article was actually referring to ‘fanart’ – art done by fans of specific books.

But by far my most disturbing misread happened when I was perusing a music website.  I’m a huge Bob Seger fan, and I was indignant to discover they were snidely referring to his upcoming concert tour as “The Sound of Dementia”.  So he’s in his late sixties, so what?  Seger is amazing, and that was completely rude and uncalled-for!  Closer inspection revealed that the site was in fact a list of upcoming concerts: “The Sound of Dalmatia Tour”, “Bob Seger”, and “NeYo”, among others.

So I settled my ruffled feathers with the knowledge that the dementia was all in my head.  I didn’t know dementia had a sound, but in my case it’s apparently rather empty and echoing.

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1 Would you believe I misread my own words while proofing this?  I saw “humping” instead of “trumpeting”.  Please… somebody help me…

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Kiss-Ass Typo!

I don’t know whether it’s my eyes, my twisted mind, or simply the fact that I’m usually pushed for time and skimming text, but as I mentioned here and here, I misread phrases all too frequently.

Here are my latest malapropisms:

I was looking for a chuckle the day I clicked a link to YouTube, but I started laughing before the video even started to run.  Why?  Because I misread its title as ‘SNL Digital Snort’.   It was, in fact, ‘Digital Short’.  But I think they should go with ‘Snort’ – it’s much more appropriate for funny videos.

Spam is always fertile ground for misreads, probably because it’s so poorly written that I lose the context.  For example, a few months ago, I read ‘I got a wedgie’ in one of my spam comments.

“Well,” thought I, “Thanks for sharing, but that’s a little too much information.”  On second glance, though, it actually said ‘I got a webpage’.  Good to know.

Far more disturbing was ‘…they will be penetrated from this website’.  Yikes!  Remind me to steer clear of that one.

But no, wrong again.  It was ‘…they will be benefited from this web site’, which was less alarming, though slightly grammatically mangled.

And then there are headlines.

I was cheerfully skimming the tech news one day when I discovered the following damning headline:  ‘Cisco leaves the consumer networking market after selling monkeys’.

Well, those bastards.  I should think they’d slink away from the public eye after stooping to such a low.  Where the hell was PETA when this was happening?

You guessed it.  It was another Diane Special.  The headline actually read ‘…after selling Linksys’.

Oops.  My bad.

I knew I must have read this link wrong:  ‘Big secrets of how to sell women’ .  I didn’t even bother to get wound up about that one.  Sure enough, it was ‘How to sell TO women’.  Whew.

I ran across the next one on somebody’s blog (I think), but I can’t remember whose.  Up front, I’ll offer my abject apologies to whoever posted this.  They’ll probably need to slap me if they ever read my perversion of their words.

But I couldn’t help it.  It was a slightly blurry photo of printed lyrics.  The title was Hero and I read that with no difficulty, but I’m pretty sure the body of it said ‘Herpes’.  Twice.  Even after peering at it, I had to really concentrate before I could see ‘Heroes’.

The latest in my list would have made me laugh if I hadn’t been so certain it was just another case of my mixed-up reading.  On a music website, I read ‘kiss ass guitar’.

By that time, I’d become used to my own screw-ups, so I didn’t even permit myself a snicker.  I mean, obviously it was ‘kick ass guitar’, right?

Wrong.

I looked at it again.  Then again.

It really did say ‘kiss ass guitar’.  Talk about an embarrassing typo.

I guess I should have sent them an email and gently pointed out the mistake, but it didn’t occur to me until well after I’d clicked away chuckling, and by then I couldn’t remember where I’d read it.

But maybe it’s better that way.  Might as well share the joy – that website made my day!

Seen any good typos lately?

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