My Morning in Exile

New York, Los Angeles and Philly won yesterday. FOX and TBS smile . . .

  • CSI: Buster Olney. This all seems like great science, but none of the following factors are included in the analysis: (a) liquor before beer, never fear; (b) hair of the dog; or (c) the healing and sobering power of Sausage McMuffins.
  • Just as Obi Wan said that Darth Vader betrayed and murdered Luke’s father, Torii Hunter says that Vlad Guerrero doesn’t want to win badly enough in the post season. It is true . . . from a certain point of view.
  • Maybe I’d win more cases if I represented more 12 year-old girls.
  • Wait, I thought all gritty, made-not-born ballplayers were (a) well-liked by their teammates; and (b) not particularly good at playing baseball. Kevin Youkilis: the exception that proves the rule.*
  • So would Cole Hamels have preferred that the Twins get even less time to prepare for their first round game than they already had, or should the Dodgers and Cardinals have played at 10 A.M. Pacific time?
  • A-Rod: takin’ care of business.
  • *If I may, please allow me to ask all of you not to use this phrase unless you know what it means. It does not mean “the exception which renders the rule valid.” That’s how people almost always use it, but it makes no sense if you think about it for more than 3 seconds. In this instance, “proves” takes on an alternate, and somewhat more antiquated meaning; that being “tests,” in the same way that “proving grounds” really means “testing grounds.” Ergo, “the exception which proves the rule” means “the exception which really tests and challenges that rule, and may in fact make us consider whether or not it is still a rule.” And no, I will not accept the recently cited “2000/2001 is the end of the century” or “-gate = scandal” argument, which holds that if enough people f*ck something up those of us who had it right all along should just fall in line with the morons. The last time I ever gave in on that was with UNABOM/Unabomber thing and I still hate myself for it.

    UPDATE: OK, based on the comments, it seems that I’m wrong about this too. Whatever. Let’s not lose sight of the important thing here: there are a lot of people in the world who annoy me, and whether it’s over their turns of phrase or on general principles, I am going to use this space to attack them whenever possible, because I am a small, small man.


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    YankeesfanLen
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    YankeesfanLen

    Please keep your guard up at the Blue Network, Craig.  A guy says he would never show up drunk to work, signs himself David Wells and you answer it straight?
    And that after a complimentry article about ARod.I hope it wasn’t a secret message that some goon is holding ShysterKids hostage or something. My GPS doesn’t go as far as Columbus, but I have some friends in Hoboken who may be able to help.

    lar
    Guest
    lar

    Now, is that your interpretation of the phrase, Craig, or do you have some sort of etymology to prove it (ie, verify)?

    I think most people assume “proves the rule” means “corroborates the rule” because of the folk belief that all rules have an exception (and, thus, “if this is the one exception, then the rule follows our collective folk wisdom”). I accepted it that way (ie, as a folk saying), even if it doesn’t make sense, because, really, when does folk wisdom ever make perfect sense?

    Dan Friedman
    Guest
    Dan Friedman

    Nice footnote, Craig… crotchety much?

    Quinn
    Guest
    Quinn

    That’s not what “exception that proves the rule” means either, at least not as originally conceived.  It typically applies to something like a no-turn-on-red sign.  The presence of the sign (the exception) proves the rule for all other cases (i.e. the general rule is that you can turn on red).

    You can look it up in Fowler’s usage guide, if you want.  I suspect you already know that, though, since you’re more or less quoting from Fowler’s secondary usage of it.

    Aarcraft
    Guest
    Aarcraft
    I believe, Craig, that you are wrong about the original meaning of the phrase. It was orginally intended to mean that the fact we have to except something proves the rule exists. For example, On Sunday, you can stay up past 10:00, proves that the rule exists that on other days is that you can’t stay up past 10:00. If there was no rule, there is no purpose for the exception. Derived from the latin exceptio probat regulam in casibus non exceptis (“the exception confirms the rule in cases not excepted”). source http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/exception-that-proves-the-rule.html Either way, the common usage is incorrect.… Read more »
    Craig Calcaterra
    Guest
    Craig Calcaterra

    OK, I’m willing to accept that I am wrong if it means that the common usage is wrong too.  I just really don’t like that common useage.

    Alex Poterack
    Guest
    Alex Poterack

    Can you give an example of the “common” and “correct” usages of the rule?  I think the “correct” usage is the main way I’ve heard, but I’m trying to make sure there’s not a subtle distinction I’m missing.

    MJ
    Guest
    MJ

    Please keep your guard up at the Blue Network, Craig.  A guy says he would never show up drunk to work, signs himself David Wells and you answer it straight?

    I meant it as a joke, but after reading much of what goes on over there at CTB I later realized that the stupidity knows no bounds in that comment section.

    MJ
    Guest
    MJ

    (sorry for the double post) but according to Klaw, the Andy Oliver/NCAA case was settled.  From his latest chat:

    Klaw (2:19 PM)
    Andy Oliver and the NCAA settled Oliver’s lawsuit against them.

    Klaw (2:19 PM)
    NCAA pays $750K to Oliver.

    Klaw (2:22 PM)
    Apparently one of the judge’s orders was vacated, working on figuring out what this means. Thanks for all the questions. No chat next week, but if you’re headed to an AFL game, come by and say hello.

    Quinn
    Guest
    Quinn

    Alex-

    Common:

    A: “I never eat dessert.”
    B: “But I saw you eat ice cream after dinner yesterday.”
    A: “That was the exception that proves the rule”

    Correct:
    You get an e-mail from your boss annoucing that starting this week, you can wear jeans to work on Fridays. Casual Friday is the exception that proves the general rule that one cannot ordinarily wear jeans to work.

    Daniel
    Guest
    Daniel

    Craig, do you know how hard it is to read comments over at your NBC blog?  I really like the back and forth thing that comments allow you to have, but it is impossible to tell whether anyone is being sarcastic or not over there.

    TC
    Guest
    TC

    Craig-

    Going after people for screwing up English (e.g. “begging the question”) is like getting all angsty over sports writers for using batting average and grit to evaluate baseball players.  Proverbial fish-in-a-barrel stuff, plus your boxing with drunk trolls.  No victory, not ever.

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