Saturday, October 10, 2009

More than I expected

Meanings: I had seen the term "will o' the wisp" before; in fact, it seemed to mean something that was hard to catch or pin down, say, like Barry Sanders. I looked it up and found a lot more.
will-o'-the-wisp (wĭl'ə-THə-wĭsp')

See ignis fatuus (sense 1).
A delusive or misleading hope.
[From the name Will (nickname for William).]

An erroneous perception of reality: delusion, hallucination, ignis fatuus, illusion, mirage, phantasm, phantasma. See real/imaginary.

English Folklore: Will-o'-the-Wisp

English name for faint, flickering lights seen in marshy areas. It implies a supernatural being, carrying a burning bundle of straw as a torch, to lead travellers astray; there are many other local names (Wright, 1913: 200-1; Briggs, 1976: 231). Tradition varies as to their nature; some informants spoke of them as ghosts, others as fairies. If ghosts, they were usually said to be unbaptized infants, unable to enter Heaven yet not deserving Hell; if fairies, they were usually regarded as a specialized species, but sometimes an individual trickster like Puck or Robin Goodfellow, or a local group such as the pixies, will be credited with this role.

Columbia Encyclopedia: will-o'-the-wisp
phenomenon known also as ignis fatuus and jack-o'-lantern. It is seen at night as a pale, flickering light over marshland. There is no generally accepted explanation for it; it may result from the spontaneous ignition of gases (e.g., methane) produced by the disintegration of dead plant or animal matter, or it may be a form of phosphorescence. The eerie lights have given rise to many superstitions.
Oops: The Associated Press ran a story with the headline Joey Logano wins poll for Nationwide race. Uh, that's pole.

Question: Why do newspapers say that LeBron James is averaging 30 points a game? It's not 30 points a quarter or 30 points a month. Why not say that he's averaging 30 points? We can figure out that it's per game.

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