Boomer Yells at Clouds

Wall Street Journal, today:

United Jets With Engines in Denver Incident May Not Fly Until Next Year

Can you parse that headline? I can’t. As I scan it, the first thing to register is “United Jets With Engines.” Then “United Jets With Engines in Denver.” Then “Engines in Denver Incident.”

Don’t all jets have engines? Including United’s? And why just United jets with engines in Denver? Are United’s jets in Chicago okay?

After three tries I began to get the idea that there was an engine incident in Denver, and other United jets with the same engines are now grounded. But it still wasn’t clear, so I clicked the link for details. It being the WSJ, the bulk of the article’s behind a paywall, but the lede is free:

Dozens of United Airlines Holdings Inc. jets like the one that lost an engine cover over Colorado in February aren’t expected to fly until early next year, as federal regulators weigh additional safeguards, people briefed on the matter said.

Ah. It was as I thought. But why did I have to think so hard to get the meaning? Couldn’t they have done a better job with that headline?

Let me take a stab at it:

Dozens of United Jets Remain Grounded After Engine Incident in Denver

How hard can it be to write a damn headline? Why does the person who wrote that shit have a cushy job at a major newspaper and not me? Am I being too picky?

I’ll let the capitalized “With” and “Until” go. Like you, I was taught not to capitalize prepositions and conjunctions in headlines and titles, but the WSJ’s capitalization wins the approval of the Associated Press Stylebook, my bible, so what can I say? The Chicago Manual of Style is the only remaining journalistic holdout still capitalizing headlines the way we learned in school: “United Jets with Engines in Denver Incident May Not Fly until Next Year.”

Would you believe I check the capitalization of every Paul’s Thing blog post title before clicking “publish”? I do. This is the online tool I use … maybe you too will find it useful.


We’ve been watching the second season of “Dogs” on Netflix. Turns out one of our new pups, Fritzi, sees dogs on TV. Not only sees them, but tries to engage with them. She barks at television dogs and even jumps at the screen if they appear to be looking at her. Lulu pays no attention to the TV, nor does Mister B, although when Fritzi starts barking at TV dogs they bark too. There must be something in the way some dogs’ brains are wired that enables them to relate to what they see on TV. So fascinating, the differences between our three dogs.

We’ve hidden all the tennis balls. Fritzi gets so crazy running after them and bringing them back to us to throw again, she literally wore out the pads on her paws and started leaving bloody footprints on the tile floor. Sorry, girl, but you need to chill a while before we play fetch again.

© 2021, Paul Woodford. All rights reserved.

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One thought on “Boomer Yells at Clouds

  • Your headline is less obscure. And less ugly. A friend used to write sub-heads for a newspaper and for some reason they used tons of puns. Almost a requirement for a sub-head. But we’re 70 now, heading into decrepitude pretty obviously. Pun writing days over for him, Parkinson’s. Arthritis for me.
    Thanks for the useful headline checker URL. A thing I need.
    Cats and dogs seem about as different in ‘personality’ as humans do. Hugely popular on teevee and online are videos of birds, cats, dogs, squirrels, raccoons etc reacting to television, computer and tablet vids of other animals. And mirrors as well. Even printed dog pillowcases can get reactions from some pets. Others ignore it all. Mysterious critters.
    ‘Tod’ recently posted…Stagg MB300 Stingray Clone BassMy Profile

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