132 Comments

  1. “someone was ‘reticent’ to take some action.”

    “He’s taking action, folks, but he won’t tell us why!”

  2. So I guess even my misteak leads to funny comments. I won’t request my misteaken post be removed, just ’cause Olivier made the best possible reply.

  3. I turned 75 a few days ago, and have been responding to correspondents who noted the fact by musing that back in high school, “75” was usually the bare minimum passing score, so I can now claim to have finally cinched a “D-Minus” grade on my own life.

    (I guess that means I won’t be held back and have to repeat it all over again next turn of the Wheel?)

  4. Continued from above:
    Below 65 F Failing

    I meant to write: How things have changed; the bar has been lowered. Today, you [and I] would be average.

  5. MiB, or as my friend used to say, “You know what they call the guy who graduates last in med school? Doctor”

  6. Well, I just heard Former FLOTUS Michelle Obama use ‘decimate’ incorrectly, so I guess it’s generally accepted not to mean ‘every ten’.

  7. I think we’ve established that a meaning outside of “one in ten” is not incorrect and hasn’t been for a long time.

  8. I’m less interested in relitigating the correct usage of ‘decimate’ than I am intrigued by the idea that Michelle Obama is our standard for what’s “generally accepted.”

  9. Just ran across this passage in a Chicago NPR newsletter:

    The news comes as the city’s finances have been decimated by the pandemic, resulting in a $800 million deficit in this year’s budget and a $1.2 billion shortfall in next year’s budget. Lightfoot is expected later this month to unveil her plan for closing the budget gap, and she has not ruled out rising property taxes and laying off city workers.

  10. Still beats “one of the only.” (And I suspect the McDonald’s burger company might at least try to argue about “most recognizable.”)

  11. Yep. I argued earlier that “one of the best (or most)” was fine (unlike “one of the only”). So I would find the xkcd example annoying as unnecessary hedging, rather than grammatically wrong.

    When I was a kid, there was a McDonalds on a boat in the Mississippi river by the Gateway Arch. Image search shows that it didn’t itself have large arches, though.

  12. Same source, next day.

    “Even before the pandemic decimated the city’s budget, Chicago faced huge financial challenges. “

    So I guess it’s official: our budget will be 90% of what it was previously set at?

  13. Even better than “one of the” is “arguably”.

    “Arguably” is a word that literally means “not”.

    “The Gateway Arch is arguably the most recognizable landmark in the United States.”

  14. MiB, I agree that that’s what the word appears it should mean. But my handy dictionary says it actually means, “As can be shown by argument”.

  15. Merriam-Webster says, in part:

    “Used to say that a statement is very possibly true even if it is not certainly true.”

    That being said, I’d guess the Washington Monument or Mount Rushmore would be the most recognizable, but the Gateway Arch would be right up there. As far as its shape, it’s a type of caternary curve.

  16. @ Brian in StL – Almost: it’s a catenary (only one R) curve, the same shape (but in the opposite direction) as a rope or chain hung from two supports.

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