When I tweeted about verbate this week, Caldwell, a reporter for NBC, responded: “We use it in broadcast journalism, and yes, a version of verbatim.” She added: “I think it’s a great word and probably overuse it.”
Well, she isn’t alone: verbate – which I’m guessing is pronounced ver-BATE, to reveal its origins in verbatim – has been showing up frequently in broadcast journalists’ Twitter feeds for the last couple of years, mostly as a noun, as Caldwell used it.
TK holds your hand and explains ingredients from chickpeas to nooch so you'll feel confident knowing exactly what the f*ck you're cooking.
Nooch? It sounded vaguely salacious, which wouldn’t be out of keeping with the TK style guide. (Chapter titles in the new cookbook include “Freshen the Fuck Up” and “Hot Box.”) But it turns out that nooch isn’t nasty or brutish, it’s just short. For nutritional yeast.
“From the very first moment I heard of the .io TLD a few years ago, I thought it was absolutely fantastic. The geek in me just really responded to the idea of a domain name that ended in IO - the input/output connotation seemed like a perfect fit for web services.” In praise of the .io domain extension. (Russell Beattie)
Bill Simmons, who was ousted by his ESPN overlords from the sports-and-pop-culture site Grantland (which ESPN later shut down, to the general wailing and weeping of the site’s many fans), is starting a new site that promises to be similar to Grantland. He’s calling it The Ringer. Here’s his account of how he arrived at the name, apparently without any professional help, poor fellow. (Hat tip: Lance Knobel)
And for those of you who, like me, care about journalism and its future, here’s “Confessions of a Sponsored Content Writer,” by Jacob Silverman for The Baffler. I hope he was well paid for it, because it’s dynamite, but given the doleful state of affairs he reveals, it’s unlikely. Here’s a tiny excerpt:
But as journalists imitate advertisers and advertisers imitate (and hire) journalists, they are converging on a shared style and sensibility. Newsfeeds and timelines become constant streams of media—a mutating mass of useless lists, videos, GIFs, viral schlock, service journalism, catchy charts, and other modular material that travels easily on social networks—all of it shorn of context. Who paid for this article, why am I seeing it, am I supposed to be entertained or convinced to buy something? The answers to these questions are all cordoned off behind the algorithmic curtain.
Mx.: A gender-neutral honorific that may be used in place of “Mr.,” “Mrs., “Miss,” or “Ms.” Pronounced mix or mux.
Mx. was in the news this week after Jonathan Dent, assistant editor at the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), told the Sunday Times (UK) that the term is being considered for inclusion in the dictionary’s next edition. (Access to the full article is restricted to subscribers.) The term is regarded as an option for transgender people and people who wish to conceal their gender identities.
“Over the past two years the title has been quietly added to official forms and databases” in the UK, the Times reported. Dent told the Times that the first recorded use of Mx. was in an American magazine, Single Parent, in 1977: “The early proponents of the term seem to have had gender politics as their central concern [and] saw the title as one which could sidestep the perceived sexism of the traditional ‘Mr’, ‘Mrs’ and ‘Miss’.” The blog Practical Androgyny has traced the subsequent history of the term.
In the US, the PBS Newshour reported last week, “There is currently no widely-used gender-neutral replacement for ‘Mr.’ or ‘Mrs./Ms,’ and this addition would mark the first time that such an option appeared in the dictionary.”
In Sweden, the neuter pronoun hen—coined in the 1960s—was added earlier this year to the official Swedish language dictionary as an alternative to han (he) and hon(she).
Mx—the period is American style; periods are omitted from honorifics in British English—has several other meanings:
An abbreviation for Maxwell, a unit of magnetic flux named for James Clerk Maxwell (1831-1879), who presented the unified theory of electromagnetism in 1865.
Pannenberg’s conception of retroactive continuity ultimately means that history flows fundamentally from the future into the past, that the future is not basically a product of the past.
The term was popularized in the 1980s by the comic-book and science-fiction communities; Damian Cugley has claimed credit for shortening it to “retcon” in a 1988 Usenet discussion of the comic book Saga of the Swamp Thing. It has since been applied to many kinds of serial fiction, including television shows such as “The Simpsons,” “in which the timeline of the family's history must be continually shifted forward to explain them not getting any older” (Wikipedia).
In the last decade or so, “retcon” has been appearing in political journalism as well, substituting for the previously popular “revisionism” and its derivatives.
My husband on Obama's unconvincing attempt to retcon "If you like your insurance, you can keep it. Period." http://t.co/qQJRkv4x92
The link goes to an article by Peter Sunderman in Reason:
If you’re a fan of comic books or other types of serial fiction, you’re probably familiar with the concept of the “retcon”—a made-up word that stands for “retroactive continuity.” …
I wonder if President Obama is a comic book fan. Because with the updated version of his oft-repeated promise that individuals who like their health plans can keep them, he’s essentially retconned himself.
As the number of twists and misdirections in a story becomes higher, it becomes more difficult to tell whether an event actually is a retcon (which implies that the writers changed their minds), or a misdirection (which implies that the writers intended the “retconned” version all along, and had been deliberately misleading the audience before). In some cases, it is impossible to tell, short of reading the author's mind (even then, it might not helped, as it's entirely possible for an author to be on the fence about what they're planning to do).
I bring glad tidings for Festivus 2013! Last week Denver celebrated its second annual Beer Festivus (“A Beer Festival for the Rest of Us!”). There’s a Festivus pole constructed of Pabst Blue Ribbon cans inside the Capitol in Tallahassee, Florida, erected by “artist/protester/drinker of cheap beer Chaz Stevens” to protest the Nativity scene in the same government building. And I’m back for the fifth consecutive year with a public Airing of Grievances, one of the canonical rites of this defiantly non-canonical holiday.
If you go in for tradition, Festivus is celebrated on December 23. But we Festivusians say feh! to tradition. We also say, “I’ve got a lot of problems with you people!”
Cablevision Shutting Down OMGFAST Wireless Broadband Service
Cablevision (NYSE: CVC) said Tuesday that it is shutting down its OMGFAST wireless broadband service in Florida next month. …
“OMGFAST will be discontinuing its voice and broadband services. We are in the process of notifying existing customers so they can identify alternative services,” Cablevision told FierceCable in a statement late Tuesday. While Cablevision didn't announce a specific shutdown date for OMGFAST, a recorded message on its customer service line Tuesday said that service in Fort Lauderdale, Boca Raton and 10 other cities would be discontinued on Aug. 19.
OMGPOP Team Tried to Buy Back Its Site, but Zynga Killed It Instead
OMGPOP almost got an extra life, but Zynga said ‘game over’. Zynga just finalized plans to shut down OMGPOP, the game developer of Draw My Thing it acquired for $200 million in March 2012. But multiple sources familiar with Zynga tell TechCrunch the OMGPOP team was in direct contact with Zynga leadership in an attempt to buy back the site or continue operating it, yet Zynga refused.
I’m a little late to this party: the Cracker Jack’D brand extension was announced last November by parent company Frito-Lay and started appearing in stores in December. The jacked ingredient in Cracker Jack’D is caffeine: the equivalent of a cup of coffee in every two-ounce bag, according to The Impulsive Buy. The company says Cracker Jack’D is intended only for adult consumers, and of course that stern warning will be 100 percent effective.
Also jacked up: the calorie count. Each wee bag contains about 450 calories (and 680 milligrams of sodium, if you’re counting). Original Cracker Jack has 120 calories per four-ounce “serving” and 70 mg of sodium.
(Right about now might be a good time for you to take a break and read “The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food,” the compelling cover story of the February 24 New York Times Magazine. It’s a long excerpt from Michael Moss’s new book, Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us, and it contains revelations like this one: a serving of Yoplait brand yogurt contains twice as much sugar as a serving of marshmallow-centric Lucky Charms breakfast cereal.)
I can’t explain the apostrophe or the capitalized D in the Cracker Jack’D name. They may be there to preserve the integrity (so to speak) of the original Cracker Jack name, to look old-timey and folksy (like Amaz’n Asian Chik’n and Chop’t), or because some designer thought they looked cool. Less cool is the official spelling: Cracker Jack®’D.
Cracker Jack is one of the oldest surviving food brands in America; Andrew F. Smith, author of The Encyclopedia of Junk Food and Fast Food, calls it “America’s first junk food.” A version of the caramel-corn-and-peanut mix was introduced at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893, and the first batch of branded Cracker Jack was produced in 1896. According to company lore, an enthusiastic sampler gave the brand its name when he exclaimed, “That’s crackerjack!” The “prize in every box” was introduced in 1912; the brand mascots, Sailor Joe and his dog Bingo, first appeared in 1918.
The Cracker Jack company was family owned until 1964, when it was sold to Borden. Borden sold the brand to Frito-Lay in 1997.
There are no prizes inside packages of Cracker Jack’D (get over it; you’re a grownup!). Flavors include Cocoa Java, Vanilla Mocha, Salted Caramel, Cheddar BBQ, and the suspiciously kid-friendly-sounding PB and Chocolate.