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Funny stuff

One benefit of modern cell phones is that pretty much everyone has a camera available at any given moment. One thing this allows us to do is to capture various silly things we see from time to time. This blog entry is a collection of a few of those.

First, a miracle spray that I found at my local CVS:

A can of sunscreen labeled 'Continuous Spry'

At my age, I certainly could use a spray that would make me continuously spry. I wonder if it works.

Crossing Route 20 (the famous Boston Post Road) to the Stop & Shop market, I found another sign on the side of a "reduced price" bin:

Sign reading '50% off all hair assories'

Continuing with my "ass-inine" theme, to the left below is a scan of part of an article from the Boston Sunday Globe, July 14, 2013, front page (the excerpt was on page A6).

'UMass' hyphenated 'UM-ass' at the end of two linesFor those not familiar with it, the University of Massachusetts is colloquially known as "UMass". I assume that the hyphenation of that abbreviation as "UM-ass" (twice in one short paragraph) was done by some piece of software, rather than by a human being.

Perhaps the algorithm broke the word as one would divide "um-ber" or "un-as-sum-ing". You'd think if a word is not in the program's dictionary, it might simply not be divided at all. And why wasn't it caught by an editor? But can newspapers still afford to have the final layout of each article proofread?

In case that short excerpt intrigues you, the full article is entitled Gene therapy’s time seems to have come. Click that link if you want to see it.

Next up: the kind of bargain shoppers live for, seen at Marshalls, in the Arsenal Street Mall:

Sign reading '$49.99, compare at $50.00'

Yes!!! A whole penny off!!

Street signs can be an endless source of amusement - perhaps I'll do a whole entry on them some day. Here's one to get us started:

Street sign hidden in a bush, with only 'NO' showing at top

Well, that's helpful.

Finally, as part of the many road improvements that are associated with the new Wayland Town Center, quite a few speed bumps have been installed. Here are four of them on the section of Glezen Lane between Route 27 and Route 126:

Sign reading 'SPEED BUMP'

Sign reading 'SPEED HUMP'

Sign reading 'SPEED BUMP'

Sign reading 'SPEED HUMP'

Looking at the upper right corner of each photo, notice that these speed-limiting devices are alternately labeled "bump", "hump", "bump", and "hump". Yet there is no noticeable difference between the bumps and the humps.

Equally odd, the "bump" signs are rectangular, while the "hump" signs are diamond-shaped:

A rectangular 'SPEED BUMP' sign       A diamond-shaped 'SPEED HUMP' sign

It's a mystery. Note 1

By the way, in England, these bumps (or humps) are called "sleeping policemen".

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Footnotes (click [return to text] to go back to the footnote link)

Note 1:   Actually, it's not a mystery any more. Update of September 19: I don't live in a big city like Boston, where I might have a hard time finding anyone in the Highway Department to talk to. I live in the small town of Wayland, Massachusetts. So I wrote to Stephen Kadlik, Wayland's Director of Highway Operations, and asked about these signs. He promptly replied:

  "Just trying to save a buck or two The rectangular are the originals ones we made in-house here, so I tried to reuse them. The diamond-shaped we purchased from a vendor when we had to do 6 more. When I purchased them I had to tell them 'hump' or 'bump', and of course 50/50 shot and I was wrong."  

And there you have it.   [return to text]

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© 2013 Lawrence J. Krakauer   Click here to send me e-mail.
Originally posted September 12, 2013, and updated September 19.

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