Rec Week 2017 Round-Up!

Aug. 20th, 2017 09:34 pm
[syndicated profile] cap_ironman_feed

Posted by cap_ironman_fe

Finally here—all the recs you’ve shared with us during the 2017 Rec Week, and there’s so many of them: fics, art, and fanvids! Enjoy browsing the list :) Please mind the warnings at every individual fanwork page.


The link leads to the complete round-up in our dreamwidth comm as there are so many recs the post was too long for livejournal and tumblr both! Good job, everyone, thanks for participating and sharing the fanworks love!

'Difficult to understate' correction

Aug. 20th, 2017 08:23 pm
[syndicated profile] languagelog_feed

Posted by Mark Liberman

Here the source of the inversion corrects it within a few minutes:

For discussion see
"'Cannot underestimate' = 'must not underestimate'?", 11/6/2008
"Misunderestimation", 4/4/2009
"Underestimate, overestimate, whatever", 3/23/2011
"'…not understating the threat", 6/5/2012
"Overestimating, underestimating, whatever", 1/11/2013
"'Impossible to understate' again", 3/1/2014
"The Estimation Game", 4/3/2014

…and many more

[syndicated profile] puck_daddy_feed

Posted by Greg Wyshynski

(Ed. Note: It’s the NHL Alternate History project! We’ve asked fans and bloggers from 31 teams to pick one turning point in their franchise’s history and ask ‘what if things had gone differently?’ Trades, hirings, firings, wins, losses, injuries … all of it. How would one different outcome change the course of history for an NHL team? Today Graeme Nichols on the Ottawa Senators! Enjoy!) 

By Graeme Nichols

They are two words that, when used on their own, are similar to the projected outlook of the Montreal Canadiens under Marc Bergevin: “pretty bland.”

When used in conjunction to discuss pivotal sports moments however, the two words can be used to construct a fantastically bizarro alternate sports reality that closely resembles the one created by World Vision’s distribution of inaccurate championship T-shirts to third world countries. By transforming events or circumstances to produce a more favourable outcome, ‘What if…’ questions not only make for excellent barroom fodder but they form the basis for an excellent #NHLAltHistory series on Puck Daddy.

When I was asked to come up with a definitive ‘What if…’ moment in Ottawa Senators history, I expected the process to be easier than identifying bad Peter Chiarelli decisions.

The truth is that for a franchise that is celebrating its 25th year of existence, the Ottawa Senators have had more than their fair share of ‘What if…’ moments.

What if the National Capital Commission allowed the Senators’ first owner, Bruce Firestone, to build a downtown arena on its federal lands?

What if the San Jose Sharks took the Senators up on their proposal to “turn the turtle derby into a horse race” during the 1992-93 season? Or what if the Senators pulled the trigger on any of the various trade proposals that the Quebec Nordiques made to acquire the first overall pick? Or what if the Senators simply elected not to draft Alexandre Daigle? Any of the above possibilities could have resulted in the Senators landing Chris Pronger, Paul Kariya or even Peter Forsberg instead.

That’s not the only personnel move that could be scrutinized.

What if the Detroit Red Wings followed through on the trade that allegedly would have sent Steve Yzerman to the Senators? What if the Senators didn’t give Pavol Demitra away to the St. Louis Blues for 25 games of Christer Olsson? What if Marian Hossa was recognized as long-term fixture and was never traded him for Dany Heatley?

What if Zdeno Chara was inked to a long-term contract and Wade Redden was the one to leave as unrestricted free agent in 2006? What if John Muckler’s amateur scouting staff drafted Central Scouting’s highest rated European skater in Anze Kopitar instead of reaching on Brian Lee (Central Scouting’s 15th ranked North American skater) when the organization was gift-wrapped a 2005 top 10 pick through the league’s weighted lottery system following the 2004-05 lockout?

What if it really was Cody Ceci for Jonathan Drouin, straight up?

What if Dominik Hasek elected not to play in the 2006 Olympics in Turin or never got hurt while there?

What if Daniel Alfredsson was traded to Los Angeles Kings for Craig Conroy in 2006? Or what Alfie didn’t leave the organization twice in the past four years?

What if certain pre-game events never happened?

Or what if certain in-game events never happened?

What if Matt Cooke never deprives us of a healthier and even greater Erik Karlsson?

Like what if Riccard Persson doesn’t board Tie Domi in game six of the 2002 Eastern Conference semifinals?

Staked to a 2-0 lead and holding a 3-2 series lead, the Senators dominated the Leafs territorially – outshooting them 8-1 — before Persson received a five-minute major and a game misconduct for sending that Neanderthal head-first into the boards. Not only would the Leafs score two power play goals during Persson’s penalty, they would go on to win game six and eventually, the series. The demons from the one-sided Battle of Ontario would be gone.

Or what if “hard to handle” was just the title of a Black Crowes song and not the words that Patrick Lalime uses to describe Joe Nieuwendyk’s wrister from the left circle?

It’s also easy to dream of what could have happened had the trio of Wade Redden, Karel Rachunek and Martin Havlat didn’t completely butcher a New Jersey Devils rush in the last three-minutes of play during game seven of the 2003 Eastern Conference final.

Curse you, Jeff Friesen!!!

And most recently, what could have happened had Viktor Stalberg been a little harder on the puck and was able to disrupt the pass at the blue line which eventually led to Chris Kunitz’s double-overtime winner in Game 7 of this year’s Eastern Conference Final.

All of the aforementioned events or transactions could have drastically altered Senators history and possibility culminated with a Stanley Cup win or two.

For the purpose of this piece however, I wanted to focus on general manager John Muckler’s inability to land Gary Roberts at the 2007 NHL trade deadline.

As the Senators headed towards the February 27, 2007 deadline, the second place Senators sat more than 10 points back of the Northeast Division leading Buffalo Sabres. With blown opportunities, detrimental injuries and bad luck marring Ottawa’s postseason success over the previous few seasons, Senators owner Eugene Melnyk reportedly pressed Muckler to acquire Gary Roberts in a trade.

Having lost four playoff series to the Leafs in five seasons (1999-2000 through 2003-04), Senators fans and the Melnyk with his Toronto roots, were quite familiar with Roberts.

The prevailing sentiment among pundits and fans was that Roberts’ leadership, dedication and talent would not only help the Senators immeasurably during its drive to the playoffs and postseason, but have a lasting impact on the team’s younger core moving forward.

The only problem was that Muckler would have to reach a deal with Florida Panthers general manager Jacques Martin to bring Roberts into the fold.

At the time, it was a weird set of circumstances. There was Martin, the coach who was fired by Melnyk and Muckler, holding onto an asset who not only torched his Senators in the postseason but was someone that the Senators desperately coveted.

The speculation at the time suggested that Martin demanded a first-round pick or Patrick Eaves, who scored 20 goals as a rookie during the 2005-06 season.

As the story goes, Muckler balked at the asking price and Martin eventually moved Roberts to the Pittsburgh Penguins for an underwhelming return – defensive prospect Noah Welch, a 2001 second-round pick who wound up playing in only 29 NHL games for the Panthers.

(Note: Muckler’s lone moves at the 2007 deadline involved trading a second round pick to Phoenix for Oleg Saprykin and Andy Hedlund and a sixth-round pick to Washington for Lawrence Nycholat.)

Ironically, the Senators would meet Roberts and his Penguins in the first round of the 2007 playoffs, disposing of them in five games. The Senators continued to steamroll through the rest of the Eastern Conference before meeting their match in the Stanley Cup final.

Despite reaching the Cup final for the first time in modern franchise history, Muckler was fired less than two weeks after its conclusion with reports suggesting that the decision was ostensibly linked to his inability to placate his owner and acquire Roberts.

So what if John Muckler traded for Gary Roberts at the 2007 NHL trade deadline?

For starters, he probably would have kept his general manager’s title.

At the time of Muckler’s firing, it was like a perfect storm of circumstances. His his Senators were beaten and physically dominated by the Anaheim Ducks, a team that the late Bryan Murray was given a lot of credit for building because he was their general manager from 2002 to 2004.

Thanks to the way in which Ottawa was manhandled by a bigger and stronger opponent, the failure to acquire Roberts was magnified.

Had Muckler brought Roberts into the fold, maybe the Senators reach the Cup final and put up a better fight. Having fulfilled his owner’s wishes, maybe Melnyk sees this success as validation that he has a good hockey mind and Muckler is lionized for his part in helping the organization shed its ‘choker’ playoff label and keeps his job.

Eventually Muckler’s poor trade record and his amateur scouting staff’s deplorable draft record still would have caught up with the organization as it struggled to put their 2007 Cup final appearance in the rearview mirror, but maybe it would have been Bryan Murray who would have paid the price as the head coach instead.

(As an aside, this is the job where the Senators constantly place the blame. Since Melnyk bought the team in 2003, the Senators have gone through nine head coaches, including Bryan Murray’s return to the bench in 2008, in the last 14 years. That’s essentially akin to hiring a new head coach every 19 months.)

Without Bryan Murray usurping Muckler and taking over the general manager’s chair, there is no retooling of the Senators’ hockey operations department.

Under Bryan Murray, the Senators hired Tim Murray (assistant general manager) and Pierre Dorion (chief amateur scout) in July of 2007. Both men would go on to become NHL general managers and that probably never would have happened had Muckler retained his job.

Similarly, the organization hired Anders Forsberg as their European scout in March of 2008. Forsberg was the man who spent weeks leading up to the 2008 NHL Draft convincing the Senators that they needed to draft Erik Karlsson.

With Gary Roberts in the fold, maybe the Senators would have been more competitive or put up a better fight in the Cup final. Hell, maybe they even win it.

Imagine that.

Instead of being ridiculed a horrendous draft record and his pitiful trade history that saw the organization regularly flip young assets for poor value, imagine a world where Muckler is revered for helping the Senators overcome the odds. And imagine a world where Melnyk is more than an eccentric owner who suffers from delusions of grandeur. Instead, imagine Melnyk being known as the man who not only saved the Senators from bankruptcy, but is also known as the man who brought a Cup to the nation’s capital for the first time since 1927.

That’s a drastic turn of events.

Even if the Senators didn’t win the Cup in 2007, imagine a reality where: 1) Bryan Murray does not play a significant role in the last 10 years of Senators history; 2) Murray isn’t named to the Senators’ ‘Ring of Honour’; or 3) the hockey operations department and amateur scouting staff aren’t overhauled, so things aren’t put into motion to have Erik Karlsson drafted and instead, the organization continues to draft blue chippers like Brian Lee and Jim O’Brien.

That is pretty messed up.

The Senators inability to land Gary Roberts may have cost the Senators better odds of winning the Cup, but not bringing him into the fold allowed the Senators to not only dump one of the worst general managers in franchise history, but bring in a generational talent who seems destined to go down as the greatest player in franchise history.


Graeme Nichols is the editor of The 6th Sens, a great Ottawa Senators blog.


What if … the Islanders never hired Mike Milbury?

What if … Dallas drafted the other Lundqvist brother?

What if … Jonathan Drouin’s Tampa time wasn’t so chaotic? 

What if … Minnesota Wild hired Pierre McGuire as GM? 

What if … Florida had traded Roberto Luongo for Joe Thornton?

What if … the Martin Gelinas goal counted for Calgary?

What if … the Oilers never traded for Chris Pronger?

What if … the Blues had drafted Jonathan Toews instead?

What if … the Bruins never lost Marc Savard?

What if … the Anaheim Ducks drafted Sidney Crosby?

What if … the Red Wings had signed Marian Hossa? 

What if … the Canucks won the first NHL Draft Lottery?

What if … the Hurricanes had signed Sergei Fedorov?

What if … the Flyers hadn’t lost Chris Pronger?

What if … Avalanche never matched Joe Sakic offer sheet?

What if … the Capitals didn’t hire Dale Hunter and Adam Oates? 

What If … Terry Pegula owned Sabres in the 1990s?

What If … the Predators had let Shea Weber walk?


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Posted by Greg Wyshynski

When an NHL insider puts forth an outlandish notion, it’s usually born from one of two places: Their own attention-seeking imagination, or from a seed planted by someone else, perhaps during an informal chat or a over beer in Toronto.

Craig Button is an NHL insider for TSN, and recently proffered a whopper: What if New York Islanders star John Tavares hit unrestricted free agency, opted not to sign a long-term deal with anyone and instead went home to Ontario on a one-year deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs in an all-in attempt to win a Stanley Cup before the Leafs salary cap blows up?

OK, maybe outlandish didn’t do it justice. This was bat [expletive] crazy.

Button’s theory is that the Leafs could make this happen with Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner still on their entry-level deals. It would give the Leafs a one-two punch up the gut of Matthews and Tavares, a duo that only the Pittsburgh Penguins and potentially the Edmonton Oilers could match in its potency.

Via Editor In Leaf, Button’s justification:

You may ask, why would John Tavares sign a one year deal? Well, there is precedent for this and all you have to do is go back to 2008 when Marian Hossa signed with the Detroit Red Wings. Yes, those very same Detroit Red Wings that had Mike Babcock as their head coach. They fell in game seven of the Stanley Cup playoffs in 2009, but Marian Hossa made them a much better team and would John Tavares do that for the Toronto Maple Leafs? Absolutely.

Like Hossa when he signed with the Red Wings, Tavares will be 28 when the 2018-19 season begins. But that’s where the similarities end.

First off, Hossa was a burgeoning nomad. The Ottawa Senators made him an Atlanta Thrasher in August 2005. The Pittsburgh Penguins traded for him in February 2008 and he signed with Detroit in July, with the sole intention of winning a Stanley Cup there. After that didn’t happen, he signed his cap-circumventing deal with the Chicago Blackhawks, and won three.

Tavares has, time and again, voiced a fierce loyalty to the Islanders, the only franchise with whom he’s played. So the first step towards making this fantasy a reality is to pry his hands from the idea he can one day win with the Islanders. Maybe it’s a lack of confidence in management. Maybe he’s sick of the arena drama. Who knows?

The next thing you have to get past is the idea that John Tavares, a franchise player, would opt for a short-term rental from the Maple Leafs rather than long-term security from any number of teams that would ante up for him. (Teams that include the New York Rangers, for example.) That taking a one-year shot at a Cup is worth the risk of blowing out his knee on a one-year contract, or some other calamity.

And the final hurdle is the idea that Tavares would choose the Leafs for this one-season dalliance.

As is tradition, the assumption is that anyone from a place like Mississauga would consider it an honor and a privilege to play in Toronto at the first opportunity to do so, and attempt to bring a Stanley Cup there. The fact that the only person to have done this in recent memory is their current coach (a native of Manitouwadge, Ontario) apparently isn’t a deterrent for this philosophy.

It’s plausible, then. But if we’re fantasy casting John Tavares short-term destinations en route to a Stanley Cup, then let’s be honest: Tampa Bay would be just as attractive.

We all know the longstanding friendship between Steven Stamkos and Tavares. We know they’ve played for a Cup, while the Leafs – thus far – have not. We know that in Victor Hedman, the Lightning have a championship-caliber defenseman that the Leafs currently don’t possesses.

(Please note an all-in contract for Tavares in 2018-19 would still position the Leafs for an all-in offer to Drew Doughty in 2019-20.)

Yes, the Leafs would be in a much better cap position to give Tavares a ridiculous base salary on a one-year deal. But the Lightning have a window to win by 2018-19 and could act accordingly to clear the necessary space (which could be one Ryan Callahan buyout away).

Now, the flip side of this is whether it makes sense for the Leafs, and we’ll hand the mic to Andrew Boehmer of Editor In Leaf:

I love and hate the idea. My love for it is because it’s Tavares, a terrific hockey player who could really add to this young team and help push them towards success. But where the hate part comes into play is that the whole thing just sounds a little absurd. I guess that’s not hatred, just a realistic approach. Let’s just pretend that Tavares was willing to sign a one-year deal with Toronto, his hometown team. At what cost? I’m not necessarily focusing in on the Leafs cap situation either, but more so the message that this kind of move makes. Yes, a semi-positive one because management has acquired an elite talent, but also one that looks impatient, like the plan is being rushed.

So circling back to the start: Is this just speculation or informed speculation?

Said Button: “I don’t think it’s so much of a dream, in fact, I think it’s something that has real legs and could be real possible, because if John Tavares has to look at this from the perspective of who has a better chance to win in the near future, I think it’s clearly the Toronto Maple Leafs.”


At the very least, Leafs fans should be thrilled with this theory: Their team has graduated from “hey maybe he wants to play back home!” to “maybe he wants to contend for a Cup back home,” and that’s a significant improvement.

Greg Wyshynski is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Contact him at or find him on Twitter. His book, TAKE YOUR EYE OFF THE PUCK, is available on Amazon and wherever books are sold.


[syndicated profile] languagelog_feed

Posted by Victor Mair

Jonathan Benda posted this on Facebook recently:

Reading [Jan Blommaert's] _Language and Superdiversity_ in preparation for my Writing in Global Contexts course in the fall. Does anyone else think the following conclusions about this sign are somewhat wrongheaded?

Written with a calligraphic flair, the notice says:

gōngyù chūzū
shèbèi yīliú
shuǐdiàn quán bāo
měi yuè sānbǎi wǔshí yuán


apartment for rent
first-class furnishings
water and electricity included
450 Euros per month

Michael (Taffy) Cannings' response:

Wow, that's very thin evidence for a conclusion like that. The simplified diàn 電/电 is common in handwriting in Taiwan, and presumably among the diaspora too. Yuán 元 as a unit of currency is not unique to the PRC either, and the simplified form used here is really common in traditional characters (i.e., instead of 圓). Both handwriting simplifications predate the PRC character changes and indeed were probably the basis for those changes. The author may be right that the intended audience is made up of younger PRChinese, but that's simply an extrapolation of demographics rather than something implicit in the sign.

Mark Swofford provides an older example of this sort of confusion in this post:

"Mystery of old simplified Chinese characters?" (10/7/05)

I haven't lived in Taiwan continuously for a long period of time since 1970-72, but I still go back occasionally.  I can attest that almost no one except an obsessive compulsive like myself writes 臺灣 for Taiwan.  Nearly everybody writes 台灣 or 台湾.  It really doesn't matter, because the name does not mean "Terrace Bay" as the characters seem to indicate.  They are simply being used to transcribe the sounds of a non-Sinitic term, as I explained here:

"How to Forget Your Mother Tongue and Remember Your National Language"

The very name "Taiwan" is perhaps the best example to begin with. Superficially (according to the surface signification of the two characters with which the name is customarily written), "Taiwan" means "Terrace Bay." That sounds nice, even poetic, but it is an inauthentic etymology and has nothing whatsoever to do with the actual origins of the name. (This is a typical instance of the common fallacy of wàngwénshēngyì 望文生義, whereby the semantic qualities of Chinese characters interfere with the real meanings of the terms that they are being used to transcribe phonetically.) The true derivation of the name "Taiwan" is actually from the ethnonym of a tribe in the southwest part of the island in the area around Ping'an.4 As early as 1636, a Dutch missionary referred to this group as Taiouwang. From the name of the tribe, the Portuguese called the area around Ping'an as Tayowan, Taiyowan, Tyovon, Teijoan, Toyouan, and so forth. Indeed, already in his ship's log of 1622, the Dutchman Comelis Reijersen referred to the area as Teijoan and Taiyowan. Ming and later visitors to the island employed a plethora of sinographic transcriptions to refer to the area (superficially meaning "Terrace Nest Bay" [Taiwowan 臺窝灣], "Big Bay" [Dawan 大灣], "Terrace Officer" [Taiyuan 臺員], "Big Officer" [Dayuan 大員], "Big Circle" [Dayuan 大圓], "Ladder Nest Bay" [Tiwowan 梯窝灣], and so forth). Some of these transcriptions are clever, others are fantastic, but none of them should be taken seriously for their meanings.

As my Mom used to say when she couldn't get things through our thick skulls, "I can tell you till I'm blue in the face, but you just won't listen":  the sounds of Chinese words are more important than the characters used to write them, since the latter are comparatively adventitious and secondary, whereas the former are absolutely essential.

Sunday: Open Discussions

Aug. 20th, 2017 01:36 pm
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Posted by cap_im_daily

Welcome to our Sunday open discussion thread! Every week we'll have either open discussions or miscellaneous activities that come up.

You can talk about anything to your heart's content, stony-related or otherwise! What's going on in your life? Got any interesting plans for August?

If you have any spoilers in your comments, you can use the following code to help censor them:

And on a community-related note...
  • Round 8 of the Tiny Reverse Bang 2017 has begun! Check out this post for the links to the art entries and more information!

Join the discussion on Dreamwidth!
[syndicated profile] languagelog_feed

Posted by Mark Liberman

From P.D.:

Long time reader, first time caller, etc. etc. As an armchair linguistics fan and someone who gets his news primarily online rather than from cable news, I've been wondering how one ought to go about pronouncing the word "antifa." I'd like to discuss current events with friends without putting my foot in it, like the friend I once had who pronounced "archive" as though it were something you might chop up and put on a bagel with some cream cheese.

My impression is that Norma Loquendi in America seems mostly to have decided on [ˌæn'ti.fə] — first syllable "Ann", second syllable "tea", third syllable rhymes with "uh", with the main word stress on "tea", as in this 8/19/2017 ABC 20/20 segment:

But there's an alternative — so in this 8/19/2017 CNN story, Jake Tapper has something like ['æn.ti.fɐ], with intitial-syllable stress and more of a full vowel on the final syllable:

It's easy to see why people come out different ways on this one. The source word anti-fascist has primary stress on the third syllable and secondary stress on the first syllable. One approach would is to trim the pronunciation of anti-fascist to the portion corresponding to the spelling "antifa" — but this runs into the problem that  [æ] doesn't normally occur in English final open syllables. So the solution is to remove the stress from the third syllable, which shifts the main stress to the first syllable, and then either change the final vowel to one that can end a stressed syllable in English, or reduce it to schwa, or leave it in some kind of quasi-reduced limbo as Tapper does.

In the other direction, there's strong pressure to apply penultimate stress to vowel-final borrowed or constructed words in English, as in "Tiramisu" or "Samarra" or "NATO". So I'm predicting that  [æn'ti.fə]  is going to win in the end. But for now, at least, you can take your pick.

On a related note: is there a term of art for a mispronunciation borne of learning a word solely from written context, a sort of spoken eggcorn?

It's called a "spelling pronunciation".

Update — there's a third option, from later in the same ABC 20/20 segment, where Lacy Macauley, self-identified as an Antifa activist, uses the pronunciation [ˌɑn'ti.fə], with penultimate stress but a low back vowel in the first syllable — perhaps taken from a European version of the movement?:


The Imperious Criterion of Meaning

Aug. 19th, 2017 11:33 pm
[syndicated profile] languagelog_feed

Posted by Mark Liberman

Patrick Radden Keefe, "Carl Icahn's Failed Raid on Washingon", The New Yorker 8/28/2017, mentions the title of Icahn's Princeton senior thesis:

In 1960, after studying philosophy at Princeton (where he wrote a thesis titled “The Problem of Formulating an Adequate Explication of the Empiricist Criterion of Meaning”) and a stint in medical school (he was a hypochondriac, which did not help his bedside manner), Icahn shifted to Wall Street.

But Keefe doesn't mention what is now my favorite correction of all time — 2/12/2006 in the New York Times:

An interview on June 5, 2005, with Carl Icahn misstated a word of the title of a thesis he wrote while he was an undergraduate at Princeton. As a reader informed The Times two weeks ago, it is "The Problem of Formulating an Adequate Explication of the Empiricist Criterion of Meaning," not "Imperious Criterion."

In fact "the imperious criterion of meaning" fits much better with Mr. Icahn's subsequent career, as well as evoking Humpty Dumpty's philosophy of language:

'I don't know what you mean by "glory",' Alice said.

Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. 'Of course you don't — till I tell you. I meant "there's a nice knock-down argument for you!"'

'But "glory" doesn't mean "a nice knock-down argument",' Alice objected.

'When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.'

'The question is,' said Alice, 'whether you can make words mean so many different things.'

'The question is,' said Humpty Dumpty, 'which is to be master — that's all.'

Alice was too much puzzled to say anything; so after a minute Humpty Dumpty began again. 'They've a temper, some of them — particularly verbs: they're the proudest — adjectives you can do anything with, but not verbs — however, I can manage the whole lot of them! Impenetrability! That's what I say!'

'Would you tell me please,' said Alice, 'what that means?'

'Now you talk like a reasonable child,' said Humpty Dumpty, looking very much pleased. 'I meant by "impenetrability" that we've had enough of that subject, and it would be just as well if you'd mention what you mean to do next, as I suppose you don't mean to stop here all the rest of your life.'

'That's a great deal to make one word mean,' Alice said in a thoughtful tone.

'When I make a word do a lot of work like that,' said Humpty Dumpty, 'I always pay it extra.'

'Oh!' said Alice. She was too much puzzled to make any other remark.

'Ah, you should see 'em come round me of a Saturday night,' Humpty Dumpty went on, wagging his head gravely from side to side, 'for to get their wages, you know.'

The Incredible Pickle Man

Aug. 19th, 2017 09:00 pm
[syndicated profile] qwertee_feed
By drsimonbutler
Hope you like this Rick and Morty parody of the classic Incredible Hulk No.1 comic cover.

The power and the lactulose

Aug. 19th, 2017 03:58 pm
[syndicated profile] languagelog_feed

Posted by Mark Liberman

The so-called Free Speech Rally that's about to start in Boston will probably be better attended, both by supporters and opponents, than the one that was organized by same group back in May. But some of the featured speakers at the May rally, including "Augustus Invictus", have decided not to attend today's rerun. So I listened to the YouTube copy of the May rally speech by Austin Gillespie (Augustus's real or at least original name). And since this is Language Log and not Political Rhetoric Log (though surely political rhetoric is part of language), I'm going to focus on YouTube's efforts to provide "automatic captions".

Overall, automatic captioning does both amazingly well and hilariously badly. The audio quality is poor, with a lot of background noise and also distortion caused by an overloaded low-quality sound system, so it's a tribute to advances in ASR technology that the automatic captioning gets quite a few words right. But still, it starts out by allowing the speaker to self-identify as "my name is Olga sticks invictus on for sweater" rather than "my name is Augustus Invictus I'm from Florida":

0:04 my name is Olga sticks
0:12 invictus on for sweater

A little later, Gillespie blames his commitment to armed revolution, curiously, on the fact that the police saved him from an attack by "kids in black" (line divisions from the automatic captioning):

Automatic Captions My Transcription
but it is a year ago these kids in black
upon the hill they surrounded the border
who are doing a meet indeed and they
build my supporters with a two-by-four
bash in their colleges and then they try
to take me out when I floated the power
and the lactulose where the cops showed
up before they could get from me but
from that point
in business is usually more
but then about a year ago these kids in black
up on the hill they surrounded a bar
where we were doing a meet-and-greet and they
beat up my supporters with a two-by-four
bashed in their car windows uh and then they tried
to take me out when they flooded the bar
and miraculously the cops showed
up before they could get to me ((but))
from that point
we didn't do business as usual any more.

So, like I said, amazingly good and hilariously bad.

In particular, I wonder what the system's language model was thinking of. "Olga sticks"? "The power and the lactulose?" Maybe there's some connection with those "local milk people".

There's more fun where that came from, for example:

Automatic Captions My Transcription
every generation
matru Gooding must be refreshed with the
Board of patriot and timing
With every generation
the tree of liberty must be refreshed with the
blood of patriots and tyrants.


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Posted by cap_ironman_fe

The Tiny Reverse Bang 2017 Round 8 has started so get your fills in before the round ends! Writers only need to write a minimum of 100 words to play & receive a badge. 

Challenge schedule is here.

Round eight runs from 19th - 26th August.


Cap IM Tiny RB Round 8: Prime is up now here!


Cap IM Tiny RB Round 8: Invincible is up now here!

Quick Links:
2017 AO3 collection
Rules for this round
[syndicated profile] puck_daddy_feed

Posted by Greg Wyshynski


(Ed. Note: It’s the NHL Alternate History project! We’ve asked fans and bloggers from 31 teams to pick one turning point in their franchise’s history and ask ‘what if things had gone differently?’ Trades, hirings, firings, wins, losses, injuries … all of it. How would one different outcome change the course of history for an NHL team? Today Hannah Stuart on the Nashville Predators! Enjoy!) 

By Hannah Stuart

When considering singular events in Nashville Predators history that would’ve entirely changed the course of the franchise, myriad options came to mind. A prominent one recently made the rounds on social media on its 10th anniversary—the 2007 “Save Our Preds” rally. Who knows where the team would be today, had thousands of fans not gathered on Lower Broadway to express their desire to keep their team?

(Hamilton. The team would probably be in Hamilton. Which in itself spawns more questions—would the Thrashers, then, have moved back to Winnipeg after all? Would we have been forced to deal with eight Canadian NHL teams?)

One possibility, however, stood out as too obvious to ignore. If this near-miss had gone the other way, it would’ve set the Predators on course to be nowhere near the 2017 Stanley Cup Final.

A cotnract worth $110 million over 14 years is a hefty price, even in today’s salary market. For the extensive ways that contract has benefited the Predators in the years since, it’s been more than worth it. To put it less politely: an entire book could be written on how completely screwed the Predators would’ve been, both in the short- and the long-term, if they hadn’t matched the Philadelphia Flyers’ offer sheet.

Go back in time with me and consider a world in which, in 2012, a butterfly flapped its wings and David Poile chose not to keep Predators captain Shea Weber.

Down the Rabbit Hole

When you pull on the Weber thread, the entire tapestry unravels.

In a world where Poile thought to himself, “That’s just too much money”, the Predators would’ve walked away with four extra first-round draft picks (in 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016 respectively) and a nice chunk of cap space. They would’ve also walked away with a gaping hole on defense that would reverberate throughout the entire roster.

At that point, the Predators’ defensive core would’ve been Roman Josi, Ryan Ellis, Kevin Klein, and … Hal Gill. With a side of Scott Hannan and Jack Hillen, and a dash of Victor Bartley.

At that point in his career, Mattias Ekholm had played exactly two NHL games; he didn’t become a regular contributor until Barry Trotz’s final season with the team in 2013-2014.

(There are several relevant rabbit holes we’re not traveling down in this piece. How the Trotz, and subsequently Laviolette, situation would’ve played out in this world is one of them.)

No way around it—Poile would’ve had to make a trade.

The problem is, there was no one to trade for. It was mid-July, after free agent frenzy died down, and anyone worth having was signed or unavailable.

Well, almost anyone. Ironically, a trade involving P.K. Subban was allegedly discussed between the Flyers and the Montreal Canadiens that summer after the Weber offer sheet fell through. It’s possible that, with no resolution on a new contract for Subban, Bergevin may have considered trading him to the Predators in summer 2012 of this alternate universe.

However, even at that point a Subban trade would’ve required a significant roster piece going back to the Canadiens. As there weren’t many appealing options to choose from outside the core, however, making that trade would’ve hamstrung the team more than helped it.

Without Weber to send to Montreal in exchange for Subban (which, in itself, in 2012 would not have been as good a move for Nashville as it was in 2016), the trade would’ve mortgaged the future to stay afloat in the present, rather than boosting an already strong roster to the level of Cup contenders. That’s poor asset management. As is just about every move the Predators would’ve been forced to make following Weber’s hypothetical flight to Philadelphia.

There are several ways the draft-pick scenario could’ve played out. Trading one of the 2013 first-rounders as part of an overpayment package for a defenseman would’ve been an option—not both, of course, because even in a universe where David Poile can get bamboozled rather than doing the bamboozling himself, he’s not going to trade two first-rounders in the same year. The lack of Weber would mean a worse finish for the Predators, which could’ve given them a better weighted chance at a higher pick. Given how weird the NHL Draft Lottery can be, though, it may have instead given them a better chance at getting utterly screwed.

At any rate, it’s unlikely a scenario in which the Predators lose Weber in 2012 results in the Predators drafting Seth Jones in 2013. If you draft higher it’s difficult to justify not taking Nathan MacKinnon or Aleksander Barkov, particularly with the benefit of hindsight; if you draft lower, Jones is already gone.

Eyes on the Future

Let’s fast-forward to January 2016. Like the Subban move that came later that summer, the Johansen move was to boost a good roster—not to keep heads above water. Without Seth Jones, however, Poile can’t make that trade unless it’s a treading-water approach, because it would mean giving up Josi or Ellis. Giving up Josi or Ellis in 2016 would be a worse decision than giving up Josi or Ellis in 2012.

Without Johansen, the Predators’ top-line center would be Mike Fisher, because the other options are guys like Colton Sissons and Calle Jarnkrok. There’s no JOFA line, there’s no patience for contributors like Pontus Aberg to develop, and there’s no moving past the first round of the playoffs the next year, much less a trip to the Cup Final, thus depriving the hockey world of the show it got this year when hockey stayed in Nashville through June.

Letting Weber go means that the one of the Predators’ biggest strengths—a solid defensive corps from top to bottom—becomes perhaps the team’s biggest weakness. The buck doesn’t stop at Weber; there’s no Jones and potentially no Subban, and Josi and Ellis are pushed into top minutes before they’re necessarily ready. The Klein trade in 2014 probably never happens (and that year’s draft pick situation would’ve changed, which could’ve potentially meant no Viktor Arvidsson). And the ripple effect continues down the lineup.

Matching the Weber offer sheet may have cost the Predators a lot money-wise, but it set off a ripple effect down the lineup and through the depth of the organization that (despite Weber not being on the roster) allowed the Predators to make the 2017 Cup Final.

More than that, though, Poile’s asset management put them in a position not unlike the Pittsburgh Penguins team who went home empty-handed in June 2008 — well poised to return to the arena a year later and claim the prize they were denied.

Hannah Stuart is a prospect writer for @FanRagNHL  and co-founder of high heels & high sticks.


What if … the Islanders never hired Mike Milbury?

What if … Dallas drafted the other Lundqvist brother?

What if … Jonathan Drouin’s Tampa time wasn’t so chaotic? 

What if … Minnesota Wild hired Pierre McGuire as GM? 

What if … Florida had traded Roberto Luongo for Joe Thornton?

What if … the Martin Gelinas goal counted for Calgary?

What if … the Oilers never traded for Chris Pronger?

What if … the Blues had drafted Jonathan Toews instead?

What if … the Bruins never lost Marc Savard?

What if … the Anaheim Ducks drafted Sidney Crosby?

What if … the Red Wings had signed Marian Hossa? 

What if … the Canucks won the first NHL Draft Lottery?

What if … the Hurricanes had signed Sergei Fedorov?

What if … the Flyers hadn’t lost Chris Pronger?

What if … Avalanche never matched Joe Sakic offer sheet?

What if … the Capitals didn’t hire Dale Hunter and Adam Oates? 

What If … Terry Pegula owned Sabres in the 1990s?


[syndicated profile] pensburgh_feed

Posted by Kaitlyn Dividock

GM Jim Rutherford stated the Penguins have an interest in signing former Denver defenseman, and current free agent, Will Butcher. Oh, he also won the Hobey Baker award for best player in Division I hockey last season.

In their quest to acquire more defensive weapons, General Manager Jim Rutherford confirmed that the Penguins have an interest in signing former University of Denver defenseman — and Hobey Baker winner — Will Butcher. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Pens will definitely be in the mix when it comes to what team Butcher ultimately decides to sign with.

This will potentially be the second Hobey Baker-level talent Pittsburgh signs, as the team already snagged elite forward, and finalist to the coveted MVP award, Zach Aston-Reese back in May. The Hobey Baker title, much like the Heisman Trophy in college football, goes to the top player in Division I men’s hockey each season.

Butcher was originally selected by the Colorado Avalanche in the fifth round of the 2013 draft at No. 123, but since his free agency began this past Wednesday, he has reportedly met with five NHL teams. Though unconfirmed, the Associative Press cited Butcher meeting with the Buffalo Sabres, New Jersey Devils, Vegas Golden Knights, and several others.

The 22-year-old racked up 37 points (seven goals, 30 assists) in his final season with Denver. His team would then go on to win the 2017 NCAA Championship over Minnesota-Duluth. Butcher played an intricate and important role throughout the Pioneers’ playoff run, and he’ll be a massive force for any team he decides to play for.

Butcher’s agent, Brian Barlett, mentioned that a signing could happen in the next few days once the two of them meet with a couple more teams. He also told AP that the American Hockey League is an option Butcher is considering to open up his professional career.

Time will only tell, but if the Penguins can somehow land this kid, the growing list of young guns will boost this team’s future plans of success tenfold — especially on the defensive side of things.


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Nora Charles

November 2016

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