Sunday, September 20, 2015

You don't know what 'aarp' should mean

Commercials for the American Association of Retired Persons have included the slogan "You don't know 'aarp'" for a while now, and in the ad that ran during tonight's Emmy telecast still had that in the voiceover, bringing this to mind again.

Turning the initials into an acronym (so rather than it being pronounced by the individual letters in "A.A.R.P." it turns into a single-syllable term that rhymes with "harp") is in keeping with the clear push to make the organization seem not just for old fuddy-duddies.

However, to my ear, that pronunciation makes it one slight exaggeration away from being the acronym for the American Association of Retired Pirates.


(Perhaps it's in part from yesterday being Talk Like a Pirate Day yesterday.

No, it's just me. I know.)

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Splitting the alphabet

Looking at TV for young children where they list the alphabet I've noticed they struggle with how to split up the lines of letters when there isn't room all on one or two. Given that 26 is not divisible by three or four or any whole number until one gets to 13 the lines end up unbalanced.

But it occurred to me that five lines would be closer to equal (with one leftover) than other possible splits. Then I had the thought that the five vowels could make for another way of separating the lines, putting each vowel at the start of one of the five lines; those letters hold a distinction so having the notice from being at the front of the lines made a certain sense.

And while working out each remaining line (with the set of consonants after each vowel) I realized that gave an unexpected sort of quasi-symmetry: