Fly on the Wall 

Sounds Painful

Last week, WKNO's website published this curious headline: "Fiery Wang Displays Keyboard Artistry." The wire service story was about Yuja Wang, a fiery pianist whose performance of works by Ravel and Stravinsky left critics astounded by an extraordinary technique that "demonstrated keyboard artistry on the highest level." Nevertheless, headline writers should always be careful of the adjectives they use to modify names like Wang, Dong, Thong, Balzac, and Johnson.

G-Frogs Forever

Regular readers know that Fly on the Wall has been providing updates on the uncertain fate of the Mississippi Gopher Frog, partly because we're concerned with environmental issues but mostly because it's so much fun to type the words Mississippi Gopher Frog. This week, the San Francisco Chronicle noted that when you pick up one of the highly endangered amphibians, "it covers its eyes with its forefeet, like someone afraid to see what's coming next."

The Chronicle also noted that the Mississippi Gopher Frog's mating call sounds like snoring, which could be another reason why it is endangered.

WMD Found

Knowing that his time as vice president of the United States is growing short, has Dick Cheney taken a job writing press releases for St. Jude? Consider the language in an article titled "Parasites That Live Inside Cells Use Loophole to Thwart Immune System" and decide for yourself. According to the article, St. Jude scientists have discovered a mechanism by which intracellular pathogens can shut down one of the body's "key chemical weapons against them."

The article describes macrophages as "the battle tanks of the immune system, attacking and consuming bacteria and parasites" but notes that some pathogens "deploy an arsenal of weapons to avoid and counterattack [the] macrophage's own weapons." Clearly somebody needs to invade.


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