Amaranath sasesusos

Today I learned that people whose job was to align the type bars in typewriters (during manufacture) used this quasi-sentence to test the alignment: Amaranath sasesusos Oronoco initiation secedes Uruguay Philadelphia An explanation, from Darren Wershler-Henry’s 2005 book The Iron Whim: A Fragmented History of Typewriting: “Amaranath,” the misspelled name of an imaginary flower, checks […]

Garden path freeway crossing

Headline: Man who ran across Highway 85 to receive mental health resources, Mountain View police say The first two or three times I read that, I assumed there was a verb missing, and I wondered why someone would run across the freeway in order to get mental health services. Then I figured out what it […]

yan tan tethera

According to Wikipedia: Yan Tan Tethera […] is a sheep-counting system traditionally used by shepherds in Northern England and some other parts of Britain. The words are numbers taken from Brythonic Celtic languages such as Cumbric which had died out in most of Northern England by the sixth century, but they were commonly used for […]

motorcade etymology

Just got curious about the word motorcade, and was surprised by a couple of things in its etymology: I was thinking it might be short for something like motorcar parade, to account for that c in the middle. Turns out motorcade is more or less from motor cavalcade. It had never occurred to me that […]

On the pronunciations of “Uvalde”

Interesting NPR article about various ways to pronounce Uvalde, and about language as a “signifier of race” and identity, and about power structures and anglicization, and respecting how people say their own town’s name, and more. Content warning for descriptions of people having been punished for speaking Spanish. Here’s a quote, though there’s lots more […]


In a book I’m reading, the narration uses the word nonplussed in a way that implies that it means a character is unbothered by something. I initially assumed that was a diction mistake, but I checked my dictionary just to be sure, and was astonished to find, in addition to the traditional meaning, a second […]

AI has a long way to go

Twitter just recommended for me a tweet that it labeled as being on the topic “filmmaking.” It was a tweet by Ana Mardoll about a doctor behaving badly. It had nothing to do with filmmaking. But it did include the phrase “right before he wrote the script.” Dear Twitter: Words have multiple meanings. In this […]