Archive for the ‘Non Sequiturs+’ Category

Non Sequiturs + Other Quasi-Funny Stuff #12


UNINTENTIONAL HUMOR from the journalism realm: Actual excerpts from stories published on the Internet are in bold — but the all-caps headlines are mine.



After Tuesday’s game, [the coach] insisted that he wouldn’t change the roster, which produced just two goals in its first two games and was outscored 7-2.

By specifying that the overall score was 7-2, perhaps the writer makes it clear that the team produced just two goals. And perhaps I didn’t need to use the word perhaps.

Yes, let’s just streamline that phrase and move on, to wit: …which was outscored 7-2 in the first two games.



Headline — Denis Shafikov defeats unbeaten Jamel Herring by TKO

This is a classic head-scratcher — how could Herring be unbeaten after losing to Shafikov? Before you puzzle the riddle too long, though, consider that a key word is missing: previously.

As in: Denis Shafikov defeats previously unbeaten Jamel Herring



But they would have also led to hits — and when a quarterback in the NFL is hit, he exposes himself to potential injury.

Sometimes a statement is so obvious that one wonders whether it needs to be made. The above seems to me to be such a statement.

It’s like saying: Football is a contact sport and can cause injury.

Hold the presses!



Tyron Smith is in his sixth year in the NFL, and he’s still only 25.

Wow, now that’s something — apparently Tyron Smith has been 25 years old throughout his six-year NFL career. After all, he’s still only 25!

Either Smith has discovered the Fountain of Youth, or one word needs to be deleted from the above sentence. Yes, you guessed it — still. So the revised phrase reads: … in his sixth year in the NFL, and he’s only 25.



While fans chanted his name during the win over Sheffield Wednesday Wednesday night, there appears to be no way back to the first team for Ben Arfa.

You might be wondering: What’s quasi-funny about this? It’s a simple mistake, an inadvertent repetition of the word Wednesday. Fix that and the meaning is clear — …the win over Sheffield on Wednesday night.


Not exactly. However, this is unclear unless you’re familiar with English soccer beyond the Premier League: Sheffield Wednesday is the name of a soccer club.

So the above sentence requires, for greater clarity, not the deletion of a word but the addition of a word: on. Thus — …the win over Sheffield Wednesday on Wednesday night.

Still, even then it appears there could be a mistake of repetition. In the journalism realm, it’s an example of the editorial importance of asking a question — of the writer or assigning editor — before changing a story based on an assumption about inaccuracy.

No American pro teams (that I know of) have days of the week as part of their names. Imagine how confusing it would be in the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry if Boston Tuesday had a series with New York Thursday … that began on Wednesday.

© Bruce William Deckert 2018


Non Sequiturs + Other Quasi-Funny Stuff #11


Unintentional humor from the journalism realm — actual excerpts from stories published on the Internet are in bold. (The all-caps headlines are mine.)


The Denver Broncos needed to find a way to help rookie quarterback Paxton Lynch in a must-win win, and they did just that.

Hmm, a must-win win — is that similar to a must-see see? Or perhaps the writer meant to write: must-win game.



Barcelona [has won the Copa del Rey] on 28 occasions, including both of manager Luis Enrique’s two seasons in charge.

Correct me if I’m wrong — but both and two mean, shall we say, the same thing. Removing one would be a classic case of “less is more.”



Russell Westbrook’s previous tripe-double high for a season was 18, set last season.

What’s a tripe-double, you ask? The dictionary says tripe is the stomach of a cow, sheep or other ruminant. But maybe, just maybe, that’s supposed to be: triple-double.



But it shows that the Bengals are committed to doing whatever it takes to move this team forward instead of spinning their wheels in reverse…

Let’s see … the idiom “spinning your wheels” refers to being stuck while trying to move forward. But it isn’t enough for the NFL’s Bengals to simply spin their wheels — they do so in reverse. Creative use of the idiom, or a misplaced description? You be the judge.


MATH 101

...The Boston Celtics [recorded] a 117-114 home triumph over the Miami Heat … the Celtics needed all 52 points that Isaiah Thomas scored…

I’m no math whiz, but if Isaiah Thomas had scored 50 points, the Celtics still would have won — by one point: 115-114, for the math-challenged among us. So … they didn’t exactly need all 52 of his points.



“We didn’t have much success getting pucks past him. That was part of the reason we weren’t able to beat him.”— after a loss, an NHL player speaks about the opposing goaltender

No commentary necessary — simply enjoy the humorous obviousness, tip your cap and move on.

© Bruce William Deckert 2017

Non Sequiturs + Other Quasi-Funny Stuff #10


Unintentional humor from the Internet journalism realm — actual excerpts, published to the Web, in bold … though the all-caps headlines are mine:


The NFL announced … that Super Bowl 50 will be graphically represented using numbers instead of Roman numerals, which the league has been using since Super Bowl V in 1971. … The league started using the word “Super Bowl” for the third game in 1969. Note: This news went public long before this year’s big game.

Let’s note the absurdity of what this excerpt actually says. First, a numeral is, by definition, a number. So the initial sentence above essentially says: …Super Bowl 50 will be graphically represented using numbers instead of Roman numbers.

This is, of course, nonsensical. Adding one word, however, would make the sentence work. Which word would you add? I’m going with Arabic, to wit: …Super Bowl 50 will be graphically represented using Arabic numbers instead of Roman numerals.

How about the second sentence? Specifically, this reference: …the word “Super Bowl.” Correct me if I’m wrong, but the name “Super Bowl” contains two words.

To fix this in accord with Logic 101 standards, I’d change one word: …the term “Super Bowl.” If you’re skeptical, here’s the definition of term: “a word or group of words designating something, especially in a particular field.”



Look for Taj Gibson to remain a big part of the Bulls … as a sixth man off the bench.

Yes, this writer needs to review some basketball basics: Since five players start for each team, a sixth man always begins the game by coming — you guessed it — off the bench.

Hence the inclusion of the above excerpt in the Department of the Redundancy Department. You know, because it’s redundant. And unnecessarily repetitive. And … oops. Never mind.



Arsenal and Manchester City have thrown up some spectacular games in recent seasons.

Let’s keep it simple: Please, use a different choice of words than, you know, thrown up.



Why he’s No. 1: In summary, a combination of athleticism and upside helped Josh Sweat edge out a competitive group to land in the top spot. … Sweat is a talented prospect who has demonstrated a competitive nature…

For the record, the context here is the realm of college football recruiting. First, we learn that Josh Sweat is ranked No. 1 in the nation (at the DE position, by the way). Then, we read this: Sweat is a talented prospect.

Since he’s among the very best prospects in the country, is it necessary to say that he’s talented?

I don’t think so either.



Unfortunately for Mexico, one of their strongest players in terms of blunting the attacks of opponents is Jose Juan “Gallito” Vazquez. His persistent play and constant movement in games were key for Mexico in the group stage, but he will miss the match against the Dutch due to yellow-card accumulation.

Huh? So let’s get this straight — the first sentence here says it’s unfortunate for Mexico that Vazquez is one of their strongest defensive players? Yup, that’s what it says.

I’ll make a suggestion: Move unfortunately to the second sentence, right after but — and call it a day.

P.S. Or, if you want to avoid editorializing, simply delete unfortunately.

© Bruce William Deckert 2016

Non Sequiturs + Other Quasi-Funny Stuff #9



Unintentional humor from the Internet journalism realm (actual excerpts in bold):

Grizzlies guard Mike Conley has made a case to be an All-Star by becoming more of a scorer on the offensive end.

If you’ve played or watched much basketball, you see the redundancy here. Let’s just say that it would have been enough to write: Conley has become more of a scorer — period.

In other words, is it necessary to say he’s becoming more of a scorer on the offensive end? Not exactly. But if he’s becoming more of a scorer on the defensive end, he might be an All-Star for the other team.

(And yes, you can make a case that my explanation of the redundancy in the above excerpt has been, shall we say, redundant.)


Here are my dazzling duos (not in any order): …

I’ve heard of a list not being in any particular order … but not in any order?

Sorry, that does not compute. And if it’s true, this list must not exist — because a list has to be in some kind of order.


NASCAR driver Brian Vickers missed the last month of the 2013 season after a recurrence of the bolt clots that caused him to sit out most of 2010.

Yes, this item deals with a serious situation, but the linguistic misstep seems too classic to pass up. Apparently, when a race car driver develops blood clots, they are known as bolt clots. Either that, or the writer had cars and bolts on his mind, not the human body, when he wrote this sentence.


Balado and his wife have a pair of 4-year-old twins.

Wow, four 4-year-olds … but apparently two of them — one pair of twins — were adopted? Unless the Mom gave birth to quadruplets, not twins.

Or maybe, just maybe, the writer should have omitted “a pair of.”


Louisville might still be in the hunt for one more player, possibly juco prospect Sam Cassell Jr., who could bring playmaking abilities to the point guard position.

Basketball fans, help me out here: A point guard, by definition, is supposed to have playmaking abilities … right?

So this is like saying that your friend who just passed the lifeguarding test could bring swimming abilities to the lifeguard position.


“He’s a good player. The more good players you have playing, the better chance you have.”

No commentary necessary — simply enjoy the humorous obviousness, tip your cap and move on.

© Bruce William Deckert 2015


Non Sequiturs + Other Quasi-Funny Stuff #8


Some samples of humor, intentional and unintentional, from the Internet journalism realm — actual news item first, followed by brief commentary:

Notre Dame To Fix Souvenir Cup Error
Darren Rovell discusses the souvenir cups sold by Notre Dame that included the spelling error “FIGTHING IRISH.”

In other news: There is apparently no truth to the report that Notre Dame graduates have been receiving diplomas for years that bear the title, “FIGTHING IRISH DILPOMA.”


LeBron One Vote Shy Of Unanimous MVP Honor
… LeBron James laughed during a portion of the video when forward Mike Miller said the two of them now have four MVPs between them, “so let’s keep it going.”

In other news: Just to clarify, in case anyone is confused — LeBron has, yes, four NBA MVP awards. And in case the math is too complicated: Mike Miller has zero.


Name Of Four-Team Playoff Revealed
Rece Davis and Kirk Herbstreit report from the BCS spring meetings, where it was announced the four-team playoff will be called the College Football Playoff.

In other news: The NCAA has announced that the immensely popular annual basketball event known as the NCAA Tournament (aka March Madness) will be creatively renamed to … the College Basketball Playoff.


During Race, NASCAR Driver Receives Speeding Ticket
… NASCAR driver Brad Keselowski … was handed a speeding ticket in the form of a pass-through penalty when he tried to exit pit road a little too quickly.

In other news: There must be a safety reason for this rule, but doesn’t it seem absurd that a NASCAR driver can receive the equivalent of a speeding ticket during a race? And by the way, from now on boxers and MMA fighters will be arrested for assault and battery at certain random bouts.


Basketball Recruiting Update
… At 6-foot-11 and about 225 pounds, Turner is a face-up post man with range to the 3-point arc. … He runs the floor well, finishes above the rim, and plays with energy and urgency.

In other news: Is it, shall we say, necessary to write that he “finishes above the rim”? If you’re 6-foot-11 and you don’t finish above the rim … well, let’s go out on a limb: You won’t be showing up in a college basketball recruiting report.

Non Sequiturs + Other Quasi-Funny Stuff #7


Here are actual writing samples from official Internet sites — unintentional humor, apparently, but it still makes one wonder…

Since losing to Washington (Mo.) on Oct. 6, the Eagles have won six consecutive games in a row, outscoring opponents 18-1.

Just wondering … Have the Eagles also won six straight games?


The Bob Allen Women’s Player of the Year award is given annually by USA Hockey to the top American women’s player.

Just wondering … Let’s see, is the USA Hockey Men’s Player of the Year award given annually to the top men’s player? But wait — does he have to be American, too? This is so confusing…


The wide receiver was never particularly fast, so he doesn’t have a lot of speed to lose. The team needs to do a better job of playing to his strengths, the main one being his ability to run after the catch.

Just wondering … If the receiver isn’t particularly fast, how can his main strength be running after the catch? (OK, maybe he’s elusive, but still, isn’t that worth explaining so you don’t sound, shall we say, knuckleheaded?)


2. The entire secondary must be replaced
The return of Smith is a boon to this secondary, but he is the only starter returning in the Huskies secondary.

Just wondering … Since Smith is returning as a starter, are you sure the entire secondary must be replaced?


Against Chile, they committed 21 fouls, four times more than the number they registered against Croatia.

Just wondering … So against Croatia, this team committed — hold on, let me get my calculator — 5.25 fouls? Is this a case of unusual officiating, or perhaps unusual rules … or does the word “about” need to be added somewhere in the above sentence? You make the call!


P.S. If — actually, when — I write something unintentionally humorous and/or knuckleheaded … well, enjoy the laugh, and kindly let me know so I can correct it. And now, back to your regularly scheduled program…

Non Sequiturs + Other Quasi-Funny Stuff #6


Unintentional humor observed on the Internet — my comments in bold, followed by the actual examples from the Web…

Math 101, Part 1: From the illogical equation department
The Dodgers now have 39 players on their 40-man roster.

No offense … but has any offense ever, you know, played D?
Mike D’Antoni won in Phoenix with an up-tempo offense that played little defense, but he wasn’t necessarily going to use that same style in L.A., right?

Two TV analysts unknowingly join the Ravens’ roster
Joe Budden Has Faith In Ravens
Rapper Joe Budden discusses the Ravens’ chances of beating the Patriots with Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless.

The Yankees: apparently the first team in history to suffer a collective broken bone
TAMPA, Fla. — The New York Yankees finally have a date for Derek Jeter’s return to game action after suffering a broken ankle in the American League Championship Series last October.

Math 101, Part 2: Glad to know that key 2 and 3 info
But that probably understates LeBron James’ efficiency improvement because a big chunk of James’ shots come from 3-point range, where the value of an improved jump shot is leveraged even more (three points is worth more than two).

Non Sequiturs + Other Quasi-Funny Stuff #5: The Martian’s Tale — Part 2


The Martian’s Tale — Part 1

Once upon a time, Martian scientists and scholars were planning a trip — the first-ever journey from Mars to Earth. Before embarking, they used their Web search engine — called Gaargle — to gather information about Earth’s customs. And while Gaargle is an amazing tool, its performance can be spotty because of the vast space it reaches across…

As the Martian researching Earth’s sports Gaargled our Web, he came upon some puzzling info — and as he had done previously, when he sought help in understanding what he’d read, he sent an M-mail to a fellow scholar:

SUBJECT — Earth sports research on Baseball

Thank you again for your assistance earlier with the sports of soccer and MLB. According to further Gaargle evidence, there is a sport played on Earth called baseball. I think baseball might be closely related to the Earth sport called MLB. However, I’m still researching the issue.

In the meantime, I need your combined linguistic and mathematical expertise. Here is a baseball list I came across via Gaargle:

Most Consecutive Scoreless Innings: Single Postseason
1905 Christy Mathewson: 27 (Giants)
1957 Lew Burdette: 24 (Braves)
2012 Justin Verlander: 23 (Tigers)
2006 Kenny Rogers: 23 (Tigers)
1981 Jerry Reuss: 23 (Dodgers)
1930 George Earnshaw: 22 (Athletics)

I haven’t been able to determine conclusively what an inning or postseason is — you guessed it, I encountered Gaargle issues when I searched these terms. It does appear, however, that an inning is a unit of measurement within a game of baseball (a game is a single contest).

Apparently, baseball games are extremely lengthy, because Justin Verlander is responsible for 2,012 scoreless innings of baseball in a single postseason (see the above chart).

If baseball games are not extremely lengthy, here’s another hypothesis: The inning might be an especially tiny unit of measurement within a game – maybe an inning is even synonymous with a single pitch.

By the way, a pitch is an instance when a baseball player (known as the pitcher) throws a small spherical orb toward an opposing player known as the batter, who then decides whether to attempt to hit the orb with a bat. Oh, a bat is like a thick stick, about one meter in length.

Communicating about a distant sport we have little knowledge of is challenging. It seems necessary to define every term, or every third word.

Baseball definitions aside, do you think I’m correct in my interpretation of the above numbers? Please advise and let me know if you concur with my observations. As I’ve indicated, I believe the first number indicates the number of consecutive scoreless innings (in a single postseason) that pitcher is responsible for — for instance, 1,905 innings for Christy Mathewson.

Also, I’m curious about the second number next to each name. What do you think the second number represents? I wonder if it’s the player’s uniform number.

Please advise, and thank you in advance for your assistance.

After the Martian scholar M-mailed his colleague, he wondered further: “How can I know if I’m accessing reliable information via Gaargle about Earth’s sports? What if some untrustworthy earthling has posted false or mistaken information, and that’s the info I’m finding? In that case, all my research will be for naught.”

Using his scientific and scholarly Martian logic, he arrived at a preliminary conclusion — to obtain reliable information about Earth’s sports, he would need to meet in person and interview earthlings who were not only knowledgeable about sports, but also truthful.

If possible, he also wished to meet the inventor of the Earth sports he was researching.

But this line of thinking suddenly discouraged him. No decisions had been made yet about which Martian scientists and scholars would be on the spaceship that was scheduled to depart Mars for Earth. So while he had a chance, he might never be able to meet earthlings and learn firsthand about Earth sports.

As he waited for news of who would be chosen to be part of the interplanetary expedition, he reasoned that the best he could do was to keep researching via Gaargle and draw the most accurate conclusions possible. And if a colleague asked him for enlightenment about Earth sports, this Martian scholar realized he would need to make a decision and commit to the Gaargle information that he believed was most accurate and trustworthy.

In short, he saw that he’d need to trust that info and the earthling who provided it — in other words, take it by faith.

“At least Earth sports are basically benign,” he thought. “I could have been assigned a life-and-death Earth topic — like medicine or religion.”

© Bruce William Deckert 2013

Non Sequiturs + Other Quasi-Funny Stuff #4: The Martian’s Tale — Part 1


Once upon a time — or once above a time — Martian scientists and scholars were planning a trip to planet Earth.

This would be the first-ever trip from Mars to Earth. Martian technology had reached the point that space travel to such distant destinations was possible. At least, all the Martians’ test flights and projections indicated this was their new reality, but the anticipated trip to Earth would be their first manned — or, more accurately, Martianed — space odyssey to such a far-flung place.

To prepare for the journey, these Martian scientists and scholars wanted to learn all they could about Earth and the customs of its inhabitants. The Martians were hoping for a meaningful, educational encounter with earthlings — apparently, these were not the terrifying, vanquishing, destroying Martians of “War of the Worlds” infamy.

How did these curious Martians learn about Earth? Simple — or maybe not.

Using high-octane computers and an elaborate deep-space wireless network, plus potent satellite-like devices orbiting Mars, they somehow were able to access our Internet via Earth’s satellites. Once connected, the Martians used their powerful search engine — called Gaargle — to surf the Web and gather information about our planet.

A caveat: While the Martian search engine was powerful enough to reach across all those empty miles and access Earth’s satellites, the extreme distance — and resulting complexities with the space-time continuum — meant that Gaargle wasn’t nearly as effective as Google. So sometimes the search results were as spotty as cell-phone service on a remote road.

Anyway, each scholar and scientist was assigned a certain subject to research: economy, family life, government, religion, etc. As the Martians got busy Gaargling and pursuing their subjects, they realized another category begged to be added: sports.

Evidently, on Mars sports are for schoolchildren. Period. There are no professional sports leagues and no college sports — by the way, the latter is because there are no colleges, but that’s another story. Once the Martians discovered the role athletics play in human society, they added sports to their list.

The Martian researching Earth’s sports went to work. Puzzled by the first news he found when he Gaargled “soccer,” he consulted a fellow scholar via M-mail (short for Mars-mail — yes, the Martian equivalent of e-mail):

SUBJECT — Sports research on Soccer

Your expert linguistic opinion is requested. Please examine this sentence about the Earth sport called soccer:

“The United States will play a friendly against Scotland on Saturday. Later, the U.S. faces two World Cup qualifiers against Antigua and Barbuda and Guatemala.”

Two questions:

1 — In a competitive sport, why would a team play in a “friendly” manner?

Please note: I am assuming that “a” is accidentally included in the first sentence. Thus, I believe it actually means to say: “The United States will play friendly against Scotland on Saturday.”

2 – I was able to ascertain via Gaargle that the “World Cup” is a soccer tournament featuring teams from countries around the Earth. But Gaargle failed me when I sought to learn about these three countries: “Antigua and Barbuda and Guatemala.”

Why would the sentence say the U.S. has TWO World Cup qualifiers and then list THREE countries?

Thank you in advance for your assistance.

Perhaps it would have helped the Martian scholar if the two countries mentioned had been designated this way: “Antigua & Barbuda and Guatemala.” But who knows, maybe not.

A few minutes later, the Martian came upon another sentence via Gaargle that prompted this email:

SUBJECT — Sports research on MLB

Once again, I’m seeking your expert linguistic knowledge. Please look at this information about the Earth sport called MLB:

“The Giants have a questionable MLB situation, with unproven Chase Blackburn and Mark Herzlich trying to fill that role.”

I’ve Gaargled “MLB” and found pages upon pages of info on the Internet about Major League Baseball. I’ve also discovered that the “Giants” are a professional MLB baseball team from San Francisco, USA.

What I’m unsure about is this — why do the Giants have a “questionable MLB situation”? According to Gaargle evidence, the Giants won the World Series (the tournament that crowns the best MLB team) in two of the past three years. This would appear to be far from questionable.

Also, I Gaargled “Chase Blackburn and Mark Herzlich” but unfortunately the results were nonexistent.

Please advise re: your take on this conundrum.

Clearly, it would have helped the Martian scholar if his Gaargle search for the two players had worked — because at the time that report was written, Blackburn and Herzlich both played football for the New York Giants of the NFL.

And MLB? In this case, as football fans on Earth will know, it refers to … middle linebacker.

To be continued…

The Martian’s Tale — Part 2

© Bruce William Deckert 2013

Non Sequiturs + Other Quasi-Funny Stuff #3: Coach’s Unintentional Riddle


This is part non-sequitur, part quasi-funny anecdote and part riddle — and it’s a true story, too:

A high school soccer coach was doubling as the van driver — common enough at a small private school — and driving her team to an away game, when she cried out: “Be quiet, I can’t see!”

What could be the reason for such a strange statement?

“Sit down, I can’t see” — that makes sense. Or: “Move your head, I can’t see.”

But … “Be quiet, I can’t see” — huh?

Spoiler alert — if you want to ponder the riddle, hold off on reading the rest of this post…

The backstory:

At one point, the coach was backing up the van while listening to a player in the rear seat who was communicating how much maneuvering room the van had available. Since some players were talking noisily, the coach called out, “Be quiet, I can’t see!”

Without missing a beat, one player replied: “Coach, turn the light on, I can’t hear!”

P.S. How does this story shed light on a key factor to consider when we don’t understand verbal or written communication? Especially before we dismiss something we don’t comprehend — something that doesn’t make sense to us — as nonsense.

Could the communication glimpse this story gives help us in our relationships? Including the one that is said to be of utmost importance — the relationship with our Creator and His means of communicating with us?