The Dawn of the ‘Issues’ Issue

Today the Economist’s Johnson blog posted a story Issues with “issues” that looks at how the word “issue” has become the replacement word of choice for “problem.” The post’s author R.L.G. (AKA “Johnson”) writes: A problem is a type of issue, of course: in politics we talk about the Iranian nuclear issue, the unemployment issue, […]

Looking at Match Game ‘7x, Part 1: Matching Up Time

Every few years or so, I DVR old Match Game ’7x episodes from GSN to watch while I eat lunch, and recently I started taking photos of the “Audience Match” portion of the “Super Match” round. After the contestant with the most celebrity matches prevailed, host Gene Rayburn, with his skinny microphone, bid the loser […]

My Love of Mangled English: Reb Sox

I took this sometime in the 1980s in Paris. Back then, I scoffed at this half-assed appropriation of American culture, but maybe it was a means of wearing an American-style baseball jacket without having to pay licensing fees. Or not. I remember going clothes shopping with some wealthy Italians in Modena right after I graduated […]

Malapropism #1: The Coup D’Etat

Given that my blog’s tagline mentions malapropisms, it seems only logical I recount my favorite one of all time: My second-cousin Edward used to work for the Borough of Queens as some type of engineer (civil or industrial), and one Monday an older pompous coworker of his returned from a week in the Poconos. “The […]

My Love of Mangled English: Introduction

Like John Berryman, I am a monoglot of English, and so for all intents and purposes, [1] I have not experienced the pleasure of overhearing someone ridiculing me in a foreign language, and then saying in their language, “Mothafucka, I heard what you just said!”

As a consolation, perhaps, I really enjoy seeing and reading mangled English. Like this one, from a Japanese car rental brochure, which I originally found in some out of print book I bought from Quality Paperback Book Club back in the 90s:

When a passenger of foot heave in sight, tootle the horn. Trumpet him melodiously at first but if he still obstacles your passage, then tootle him with vigour.

I wish someone would take a photo of this brochure because it verges on the apocryphal, which may be half the fun.

  1. And I used to say “for all intensive purposes.” It’s by the grace of G-d or whoever that I never got caught writing it (or that no one ever called me on it) before I realized my error – and the laziness of the phrase.  ↩

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