“Chain Migration”

Yesterday the fools at Fox & Friends spent a few minutes wringing their hands as they told the story of a woman from Honduras who crossed into the U.S. as a refugee as part of one of those nefarious “caravans” and promptly shot out a baby boy moments after she set foot on American soil.  With the help of an immigration lawyer who looked as if she couldn’t believe the degree to which she was compromising her integrity just to be on television for three minutes, The Clueless Trio discussed with her the process the woman and her baby would then undergo.  Eventually they concluded that if the woman’s claim to refugee status was rejected she either would have to return to Guatemala with her baby or she would return to Honduras and the baby could stay here, as a ward of the state.

But here’s where it gets interesting.

They then discussed the possibility that the rejected mom and baby would return to Honduras and the baby would grow into a young man who returns to the U.S. when he turns 21 to claim his rights as a citizen (and, unspoken, to join MS-13, sell drugs, and rape American women).  As part of the exercise of that right, he also would be able to bring his parents and siblings into the U.S. through what is known as “chain migration,” which they all agreed is very, very bad.

The poster child

The Curmudgeon saw this report while riding the stationary bike in the morning.  When he finished and ascended from the basement he described to Mrs. Curmudgeon the story he just heard.

To which Mrs. Curmudgeon replied, with her typical, understated simplicity, “Just like Melania.”





A Pet Peeve

You’re in a restaurant.  If you’re a woman, you could be alone or with a group that includes one or more other women.  If you’re a guy, you’re in a group that includes women.  Maybe it’s your wife, your sister, your girlfriend, just a friend.  Your mother.

And the server comes to the table, hands you menus, and asks “Can I start you guys with something to drink?”

Later: “What can I get you guys?”

And: “Is everything okay, guys?”

Finally: “Can I get you guys anything else?”

For today The Curmudgeon will overlook that it should be “What MAY I get you…” and “May I get you…”  He also expresses his gratitude that the greeting was not “Can I start YOUSE guys with something to drink.”


GUYS? Really?  The last time The Curmudgeon looked, his wife, his mother, his sister, and others are clearly, clearly, clearly not GUYS and for the life of him he has no idea why these servers – people of both gender, by the way – insist on addressing them as GUYS.

Whew! That’s a load off The Curmudgeon’s mind.



Way to Show Integrity, CNN

A number of different kinds of people work on the air at CNN.  Some are reporters, some are hosts, some are sort of entertainers (The Curmudgeon’s talking about you, Anderson Cooper).

And some are commentators:  they’re hired to have opinions and to express them.

Last week one of those commentators, a fellow named Marc Lamont Hill, attended a public event and called for

…a free Palestine from the river to the sea.

Well, CNN didn’t like that opinion.

So it fired him.

CNN fired a guy it hired to express his opinions because it didn’t like one of those opinions.

Way to be fearless, CNN.



Still More Verbifications

It’s only been a few weeks, but here’s another installment in the never-ending saga of verbifications:  when people who either don’t know better or know better and do it anyway attempt to turn nouns into verbs.  (See previous installmentshere, hereherehere, here, and here.

In a Philadelphia Inquirer article about the new head of an organization that collects food that restaurants and supermarkets would otherwise discard and distributes it to hungry people, the organization’s new executive director described one of his past jobs as “humping desserts” for a major caterer.

Creates quite a mental picture, doesn’t it?

Fortune magazine reported on a company called Zenefits that offers software to help small businesses manage their human resources work.  The company is hiring so many new employees to keep up with all the work it’s getting that “it must onboard them in monthly batches…”

So how does that go?  “Congratulations, Ms. Jones, you’ve got the job.  You’ll be on the Lido deck and we’ll onboard you next Monday, if you can start then?”

In an article in a publication called The Washingtonian titled “The 15-Step, Absolutely Perfect Burger” – side note:  no such thing – the writer wants you to chill the meat before cooking and explains that

…even just fridging the patties for a few hours is vital…

That’s right:  he’s frigging “fridging” his patties.

And then there was the Philadelphia Business Journal headline

9/11 birthed the TSA. 14 years later, it needs an overhaul.

Birthed:  you have to wonder how long the contractions lasted.

In the past, The Curmudgeon pointed out that an ill-fated plan of Philadelphia’s school district to hire a contractor to supply substitute teachers left those teachers earning wages comparable to entry-level help at Walmart.  Never, though, did he stoop to how the Philadelphia Daily News described this situation in an editorial when it asked

Why are we Walmarting the teaching profession?

A Harrisburg Patriot-News headline that declared

Penn State commit Michal Menet plays Cumberland Valley Friday night

The student committed to attending Penn State, therefore he is a commit.

Rhymes with vomit, which is what reading such a headline makes The Curmudgeon want to do.

Shortly before Halloween, a Philadelphia Daily News headline asked its readers

Do you costume your pet?

And we all remember Donald Trump describing Hillary Clinton’s defeat by Barack Obama in 2008 by saying she got “schlonged.”

We’ve heard entirely too much about Donald Trump and his schlong, haven’t we?

The New York Times reported that restaurants are now charging customers who bring their own birthday cakes to the restaurant to serve after a family meal.  The Curmudgeon has no problem at all with the practice, assuming the restaurant in question serves cake, because you don’t bring food into a restaurant and cake should be no different, but he does object to what restaurants are calling this new charge:  a cakeage fee.

Oh no!  Cakeage!

You’ve experienced it many times:  you’ve come to a red light and while you’re sitting in your car, teenagers bearing coin cans come to your window and ask for loose change for some cause.  The Curmudgeon calls that asking for money, or asking for contributions, but the Philadelphia Inquirer called it “canning.”


In Florida, a plan is afoot to move the Tampa Bay Rays baseball team to a new stadium, and while at least so far it’s been all talk and no action, people are already trying to figure out how best to use the site of the stadium they would abandon after that stadium is razed.  Formal plans for such redevelopments are sometimes called master plans, so maybe The Curmudgeon shouldn’t have been so shocked when the Tampa Bay Business Journal reported that

Fifteen groups are interested in master planning the redevelopment of Tropicana Field

You hear it on the traffic report all the time, during and after rainfall:  a warning to beware of “ponding.”

Now, a brief diversion for a nounification, courtesy of Miss Kate, this blog’s very first subscriber:  “invite.”  As in

Did you receive the invite to the wedding?

No. We don’t attend the weddings of people who abuse the language in such a manner.

This one is probably an adjectivization that The Curmudgeon ran across:  “Save 25 percent on couponable items.” Items that are…couponable?

But back to verbifications.

There was the story about a man describing how he did research on his computer and explaining that “I moused over to the…”

Have you ever heard the expression “Hoist on your own petard”?   It means to be harmed by one’s ownplan to harm someone else or “to fall into one’s owntrap.”  An Atlantic magazine writer, describing the impact of Jon Stewart’s departure from The Daily Show, described Stewart’s accomplishment as host as “petarding the pundit class.”


A Philadelphia Inquirer article described Ivana Trump as having “appled-cheeks.”

USA Today described two Florida beaches as especially good for “shelling.”

Presumably not the kind of shelling that involves dropping bombs.

Sometimes, buildings or places are declared official landmarks, which means any attempt to alter them is subject to some kind of formal review.  The New Yorker, though, describing a pharmacy in that city, wrote that its “…interior had been landmarked…”

Ordinarily The Curmudgeon is more lenient about verbification in speech; after all, we don’t speak the same way we write and don’t have a chance to edit our speech.  But he’s making an exception for this doozy: a mall executive, trying to make the best out of the challenge of replacing a large, anchor store tenant, explained that

So if they become re-tenanted, it could be a net positive for a mall.

Re-tenanted.  Not in a million years would The Curmudgeon have imagined someone creating a word like that.

During the course of research on a possible honeymoon destination The Curmudgeon learned that

Pets on Sanibel Island must be leashed, and should be cleaned up after. 


Vox, the web site devoted to explaining the news and not just reporting it, heralded (and don’t think The Curmudgeon didn’t have to look up “herald,” lest he risk being accused of that for which he ridicules others) late-night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel’s rather sudden interest in anything other than celebrities with an article with the subheading

Late-night TV’s premier prankster has learned how to weaponize exasperation.


A web site called reviewed.com decided to take a look at the appliances Ikea sells.  It noted that Ikea’s line of appliances is modest, is very similar to the typical appliances sold by other appliance companies, but lacks the exterior “badges” of those other appliances.  By “badges” it means “logos”:  you know, the ones that say “Kenmore” or “Amana” or “Whirlpool” or another appliance company.

But after making this point, reviewed.com decided to come back to it and advise its readers that Ikea appliances

…offer a minimalist aesthetic and lack exterior badging…

Exterior badging.

You may recall the case of Freddie Gray, the man who was arrested by Baltimore police and died in their custody in 2015. One of the issues in the trial of officers who were charged with responsibility for his death was their failure to put a seatbelt on Gray before they transported him.  As it turns out, the question of putting seatbelts on those arrested is a matter of some contention:  some think it should always be “safety first” while others believe it’s dangerous to the officers attempting to apply the seatbelts.

But an Associated Press report introduced a different kind of danger to the situation with a headline that read

Baltimore officer says it’s dangerous to seatbelt prisoners.

The Curmudgeon would like to belt the person who wrote that.

The Curmudgeon was prepared to give the story a pass on this and blame the headline writer rather than the reporter, but a closer look at the story made that impossible when he came upon the sentence

Sean Malone, Goodson’s lawyer, says it’s the police department that failed in its duty by failing to inform officers about a new policy that required officers to seatbelt prisoners in the back of the van.

Why oh why oh why oh why???

If you have any taste at all for television cooking programs you’ve certainly heard something like this, taken from Philadelphia magazine:

The grilled prawns came with delicious thick slices of pickled tomato, but the plating was discordant…

Memo to the writer:  the “plating” wasn’t the only thing discordant about your restaurant review.

The New Yorker published an interesting article about a former guerilla in Colombia’s internal wars who was trying to return to regular society.  The guerilla may be going straight but the writer may be beyond salvation:

When I visited, Lozada had spent the previous two weeks helicoptering around the country

When a 19-year-old went on a shooting spree at a Florida high school and killed 17 people, the news quickly emerged that the 19-year-old learned how to shoot at a school club sponsored by the National Rifle Association.  One of the leaders of the school club defended his club and the NRA, noting that some of the students retreated during the attack to a room that had Kevlar sheets used as a backdrop for target practice and that if the shooter had entered that room, the students there could have stood behind those Kevlar sheets and would have been shielded from the bullets.

…the NRA actually bonused us in a way.

When you get out of jail by leaving behind money to guarantee your return for your trial you post bond, but when CNN reported on a teacher who was arrested for threatening her school district’s superintendent, it wrote that

She bonded out soon afterward

Presumably before she bonded with any of her cellmates.

From the Bleacher Report web site on Peyton Manning’s decision not to launch a new career in the broadcast booth:

Peyton Manning will reportedly not help soundtrack Thursday Night Football on Fox this season.

From a web site called “Lifehacker” an article about using third-party chargers for iPhones:

I’ll caveat my advice by saying that I’m hardly an electronics expert like Nathan K. or Benson Leung, but I’ll do my best.

They’re even verbifying in Latin now!

A Washington Monthly review of a new book about General Edward Lansdale, a major figure in American counterinsurgency efforts dating back to the Philippines and going through Vietnam, explained that while Lansdale relied heavily on advisers, infiltration, and subversion in his work, he also sought to develop political support for those who in the country in which he was working had views that mirrored those of American interests.  But it wasn’t enough to say that Lansdale combined these tactics or joined these tactics; no, the review insisted that he “twinned” them.

Words cannot describe…

The New Yorker ran a fairly long piece about one of those guys who had made and lost fortunes several times.  This subject of this article was also a pretty flashy fellow, as the author made clear in the first paragraph:

“Those are the freshest kicks,” a young bro in a dressing gown observed, complimenting Novagratz’s black patent shoes with orange piping and matching tassels.  (‘It’s all about peacocking,” Novogratz later told me, of his sartorial extravagance.’)

So THAT’S what it’s all about:  peacocking.

Bad verbification, bad values.

Veterans hospitals have been in the news a lot in recent years.  There have been some questions about the quality of the care they are providing and even more questions about whether veterans have appropriate access to care when they need it.  One proposed solution to this challenge has been to give veterans the option of seeking care at non-VA facilities.  One way to do that would be to give them vouchers for care at such facilities.  When the Washington Monthly weighed in on this issue, though, it explained that

The VSOs [note:  veterans services organizations] were clearly the biggest obstacle to the conservative dream of voucherizing the VA.

Voucherizing.  The Curmudgeon doesn’t think this idea is particularly a conservative idea and actually thinks it’s a good idea, but under no circumstances would he ever refer to it as “voucherizing.”

The Washington Monthly struck a similar note when it wrote about the movement to create more charter schools.

The truth is that charters have lived up to their billing in some places and been a disappointment in others.  In one city, however, they have fulfilled the vision of even their most ardent supports:  that chartering would not only raise student achievement, but gradually replace the old system.

The Curmudgeon will overlook that last, unnecessary comma and zero in instead on the obvious:  “chartering.”

Okay, we can say we’re chartering a boat or chartering a plane but we should not refer to the process of establishing charter schools as “chartering” a school. Unless maybe that school flies.

Or sails.

This one from 2015 slipped through the curmudgeonly cracks:  Time magazine, in an article about fusion energy as an alternative source, tried to explain the challenges posed by fusion by observing that

You see the difficulty.  Essentially you’re trying to birth a tiny star on Earth.

Notwithstanding Hattie McDaniel’s exclamation in Gone With the Wind that “I don’t know nothin’ about birthin’ no babies,” it’s not overly burdensome to talking about trying to give birth to a tiny star.

Deadspin reported on an incident at a major league baseball game:

Fan Struck In Forehead By Flying Bat At Red Sox Game, Stretchered Off

Well, maybe it happened right after the seventh inning stretcher.

An article on the web site The Verge told of a new process that might eventually lead to 3D printers producing small, low-cost homes. But will they be any good? The article explains that

Jason Ballard, one of ICON’s three founders, says he is going to trial the model as an office to test out their practical use.

He is going to trial the model, and presumably, he’ll get his verdict.

Food & Wine magazine is a frequent offender when it comes to abusing the queen’s English soThe Curmudgeonwas barely surprised when he saw the line

As one F&W editor said: “Would totally cheese plate these.”

Marco Rubio proved to be no threat politically to Donald Trump in 2016, yet some people think he may pose one in 2020.  Marco Rubio, alas, is not one of those people, telling CBS News that “I’m not primarying the president.”

A member of the Philadelphia Eagles is helping a youth football organization in town and the Inquirer told the story in an article with the headline

Eagles, Zach Ertz gift equipment to Kensington High School and ‘Wolves Youth’ football program.

The Philadelphia Flyers hockey team has a player who may face some legal problems in the near future and the Comcast Sportsnet Philadelphia web site, speculating on whether the team would keep the player, wrote that “If the Flyers continue to roster Lehtera, they would be subjecting themselves to a lingering off-ice distraction, with more line of media questioning and an ongoing investigation that could lead to possible charges.”

That will have to do for now; the spell-check function on The Curmudgeon’s computer is groaning in protest over all of these non-existent words.

Hypocrisy at Fox & Friends

So what else is new?

They may call it “Fox & Friends” but it seems more like “The Young and the Witless.”

On Tuesday morning the fools at Fox & Friends celebrated with great enthusiasm the success of protesters in France in gaining the attention of their elected leaders by rioting and winning a rollback of a gasoline tax hike that was about to take effect. They could not stop kvelling about the effectiveness of angry protest in helping their cause succeed.

These are the same dim Fox & Friends bulbs, of course, who are so bitterly critical of protests from the left in their own country, labeling any gathering of liberals a dangerous, unruly mob and the participants in such gatherings hooligans and un-American.

Such is the quality of the brainless folks at Fox & Friends.

Music and House Painting

In either 1992 or 1993 The Curmudgeon took advantage of the week off between Christmas and the new year that his employer so generously gave him to paint his bedroom and cut, paint, and hang crown molding in that room.  (And if you want a good laugh, picture The Curmudgeon trying to work with a miter box.  Can’t picture it?  Well, try picturing Larry, Moe, and Shemp working with a miter box. THAT bad.)

To help pass the time while he spackled, sanded, taped, painted, moved around furniture and drop cloths, and desperately worked to clean up paint spills that evaded his drop cloths before they became permanently embedded in the wall-to-wall carpeting, The Curmudgeon brought his boom box into his bedroom – stop laughing, people, it was 1992 or 1993.  The paint job went well, the molding was amateurish but, since it was nine feet above the ground, not conspicuously so, but the enduring legacy of the hours he spent in that room that week listening to what at the time passed for alternative radio were four performers, only one of whom he had even heard of before that week, whose music has given him countless hours of pleasure over the years:  Lucinda Williams, Tori Amos, Shawn Colvin, and Rosanne Cash.  It was quite an experience; the house is long gone but the music lives on.

With Mrs. Curmudgeon and stepson J out of town recently visiting family and with the dog away with a sitter – The Curmudgeon adores the dog but does not do solo care – The Curmudgeon took this rare opportunity alone in an empty house to paint J’s bedroom. There was no boom box this weekend, just a tiny Bose blaring from the room next door, and instead of alternative radio he listened to some old albums from his iPod, with an emphasis on music that offered both melody and volume.  Volume is essential, The Curmudgeon finds, when painting and cooking.

During these hours he didn’t discover any new performers but did rediscover a few songs he knew from the past but heard anew, with previously unrealized appreciation, during his two days of spackling, sanding, taping, painting, moving around furniture and drop cloths, and desperately working to clean up paint spills that evaded his drop cloths before they became permanently embedded in the 100-year-old oak floors.

Now he’d like to share those songs with you.

The first is Billy Joel’s “Tell Her About It.”  For The Curmudgeon this must be about getting married for the first time at the age of 59 and realizing how incredibly lucky this boy is.  It’s also a really good song.

The second is Meatloaf – again, The Curmudgeon sees you snickering; cut it out now – singing “For Crying Out Loud.”  It’s loud, bombastic, overblown, and MacArthur Park-esque in length, but the singing is great, the piano-playing is out of this world, and the lyrics are pretty stirring.

La Ronstadt

And the third is Linda Ronstadt’s “Sorrow Lives Here,” which sounds like it comes from the 1940s but was written in 1967 by Eric Kaz (who also wrote “Love Has No Pride,” so this guy has some serious chops).  The Curmudgeon doesn’t ever recall hearing this song on the radio, but since it was released in 1977 and he was still a few years away from having his first car with an FM radio, that’s not such a surprise.  The song features a strong melody, more great piano playing, terrific lyrics, an inspiring sort of musical urgency, and of course that stirring, amazing Ronstadt voice.



The Bush Tributes are Sweet, But…

…can you recall a time, ever, when we’ve celebrated ordinariness and mediocrity with such enthusiasm?

Sticking it (Again) to Working People

From a strictly financial perspective, people who work in restaurants are pretty much at the bottom of the employment ladder.  The work is hard, the customers are often nasty, and the pay’s often pretty lousy.

And the owners are often jackasses, as The Curmudgeon has chronicled on a number of occasions.

This is another of those occasions.

It turns out that SM Choi, Inc., which operates fast food restaurants in suburban Philadelphia food courts, could give lessons on how to screw working people.

The “Montco Today” web site tells the story:

WHD [U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD)] investigators found that the employer paid cashiers and cooks flat salaries, in cash, without regard to the number of hours that they actually worked. This practice resulted in violations when employees worked more than 40 hours in a workweek but the employer did not pay overtime. SM Choi Inc. also failed to maintain required records of the number of hours employees worked. WHD found the employer engaging in this same practice in a previous WHD investigation in 2016.

“SM Choi Inc. employees worked five to six days per week, for an average of 10 hours per day, and were denied the wages they rightfully earned,” said Wage and Hour Division District Office Director James Cain, in Philadelphia. “This enforcement action and consent judgment will help to ensure that workers are paid the wages they are legally owed and that employers in the restaurant industry operate on a level playing field.”

So now, SM Choi will pay the price for its thievery:

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania has ordered SM Choi Inc… to pay $93,146 in back wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages to 38 employees for willful violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The Department also assessed the employer $26,121 in civil penalties…

The war against working people continues.






Some People Call Him the Space Cowboy

Some people just call him Maurice.

“Him,” of course, is musician Steve Miller, the self-styled pompitous of love.  Those of us of a certain age will recall a period in the 1970s during which Miller almost continually had a song (or two) on the pop charts – familiar songs like “Jungle Love,” “Take the Money and Run,” “Rock N’ Me,” “The Joker,” “Jet Airliner,” “Swingtown,” ”Fly Like an Eagle,” and others.  A recent article in the New Yorker explains that those songs were anomalies in Miller’s career, that for the most part his music was Texas blues, not pop rock, and that before the hits that’s what Miller performed and after the hits that’s the music to which he returned.  Miller didn’t disappear from the music scene so much as he stopped making the kind of music to which most people listen.

The New Yorker also reports that after more than 30 years living in Idaho and amassing a collection of more than 400 guitars, including some that are collectors’ items and others that are custom-made, Miller married a musicologist and moved to New York City, where he started sharing and donating some of his instruments and getting involved in the city’s music scene.  Included in that involvement was an appointment to the visiting committee of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Department of Musical Instruments and, more recently and after meeting and becoming friends with jazz star Wynton Marsalis, an appointment to the board of jazz at Lincoln Center.

Of the latter appointment the New Yorker notes a particularly trenchant observation by Miller:

“I walked in and said ‘Jesus, this is a real fuckin’ board.  That’s the guy who built the building.  That’s the guy who raised the twenty million.’” And now there’s the guy who wrote “Ab-ra-ca-dabra/I wanna reach out and grab ya.”

And with that memorable understanding of his place in the world and his willingness to articulate it, The Curmudgeon is now a Steve Miller fan.


Way to be Classy, Buffalo

There are some silly traditions when it comes to throwing things onto the field of play at sporting events.  At the Palestra, home basketball court of the University of Pennsylvania, students throw rolls of toilet paper onto the court after the home team’s first basket of the night.

Yes, it’s silly.

In hockey, when a player scores three goals in one game he is said to have scored a “hat trick,” so obliging fans stream their hats onto the ice in celebration.

Yes, it’s silly.

In Detroit, fans throw octopuses – octopi? – onto the ice as part of the celebration of success during the Stanley Cup play-offs.  We will not get into the question of where the fans get their octopi or how they manage to sneak them into the arena past security guards who have been directed to detect and detain the slimy mollusks.

Yes, it’s silly.

And the latest entry to the silliness of throwing things onto the field of play comes from Buffalo, where professional football fans in recent years have started throwing quite a different type of object onto the field.


Surely you weren’t expecting…

That is not a misprint.

In 2016, a Buffalo Bills fan apparently wrote New England Patriots player Tom Brady’s name on a leftover Halloween prop and tossed it onto the field, allegedly as a symbol of how his team is constantly being screwed by the famous quarterback.

And a tradition was born.

Since then, dildos have been thrown onto the field of play in Buffalo on a number of occasions during contests with the Patriots.

Way to launch a new tradition, Buffalonians (Buffaloites?). Way to keep it classy.

Way to be totally, totally weird.