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August 4, 2006

Sentence du jour
Posted by Teresa at 08:10 PM * 73 comments

My nominee for Memorable Sentence of the Day is in a news story from my home town. See if you can spot it.

Comments on Sentence du jour:
#1 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2006, 08:17 PM:

Yikes. Just yikes. I'll give the others a chance.

#2 ::: Andrew Wheeler ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2006, 08:25 PM:

I think I can ascertain which sentence it was.

But others, the older men near retirement, might be upset about my ascertaination.

#3 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2006, 08:29 PM:

I'd say that you've ascertained it, Andrew. Ascertainly as possible. I'm surprised he didn't go on the lam. Or maybe he did.

#4 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2006, 08:52 PM:

What lousy reporting, though. We go from the guy asking the lamb for a date to the untoward tryst being suddenly discovered. By whom? And in what manner? Did the 13 year old girl call the cops? Were they lying in wait? Was it a beat cop who happened to be strolling through the barn? The best part of the local paper is always The Police Blotter, but you have to tell the story for heaven's sake. You can't just leave these things hanging.

And while we're on the subject, I hold no brief for bestialists... wait, let me rephrase that... I don't advocate it, but why isn't this just an animal abuse issue? I mean, if the problem is having sex with an animal, well, don't they... I mean, how do they get sperm from bulls? These days I suppose they have some fancy mechanical method, but I bet it wasn't that way in the old days. I'm probably just showing my farm-ignorance, though.

But, I mean, that's having sex with an animal, isn't it? If, you know, they did (do) it the way I'm thinking. Is it okay to have that sort of sex because it's got a utilitarian purpose?

I can see this as an animal cruelty issue (especially after seeing the picture of the perp), and I can see it as an inability to give consent issue, and I can see it as a yuck issue.

Charge him with cruelty to the animal, or statutory rape, or disturbing the gag reflex -- er, I mean, peace. But bestiality?

I guess it's just Biblical, really.

#5 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2006, 08:54 PM:

All we like sheep (have gone astray)

#6 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2006, 09:06 PM:

mean, how do they get sperm from bulls? These days I suppose they have some fancy mechanical method, but I bet it wasn't that way in the old days. I'm probably just showing my farm-ignorance, though.

Prostate stimulation. Using, these days, an electrical device to massage the prostate.

#7 ::: RuTemple ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2006, 09:11 PM:

Maybe he always thought it was sung "Oh, we like sheep" (baa baa baa BAA! baa BAA! baa baa BAA! bum tiddy bumbumbum——).

Or so one might ascertain.

#8 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2006, 09:14 PM:

Prostate stimulation.

Well, that's pretty much "having sex" by any reasonable definition.

(Thanks for the info. Learn something new everyday.)

#9 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2006, 09:20 PM:

Why do I keep expecting John Cleese and Michael Palin to appear at any moment in this story...?

#10 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2006, 09:24 PM:

He did this with a thirteen-year-old girl alone in the house?

I hope her parents get a chance to speak to him.

For that matter (perhaps my NY parent sensibilities are off - I don't know how this sort of thing works in AZ) I'd sorta like to know what a thirteen-year-old girls was doing alone in the house.

#11 ::: Randy Paul ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2006, 09:30 PM:

Kind of lends new meaning to the term f#$% ewe!

#12 ::: Rose White ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2006, 10:24 PM:

Huh. My favorite sentence was, "When she didn’t answer, he went into the back yard, police said, and took a lamb into a nearby barn."

What would he have done if she *had* answered? Eek.

#13 ::: Alex Cohen ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2006, 10:45 PM:

That's a fine sentence indeed, Teresa.

Here's my entry for Terrible, or perhaps Wonderful Title of the Day:

Elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation: are we doing enough?. Sure, I knew the Republican Congress was evil, but *that* evil? Wow.

#14 ::: otherdeb ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2006, 11:44 PM:

Kind of hard to miss.......

#15 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2006, 11:44 PM:

'Well, that's pretty much "having sex" by any reasonable definition.'

Read a long article, a few months back, about a Mexican wolf breeding project. It went into more detail than you'd want to know about how you get semen from a wolf. He was asleep; the vets used electrodes. Probably not much fun for anyone involved.

(The reason they were extracting it: Wolves are incredibly monogamous. The she-wolf they wanted to get pregnant already had a guy, and would have nothing to do with this stranger. Since they inseminated her via a needle stuck in her belly through the side of her uterus, we can ascertain that she probably didn't have much fun either.)

#16 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2006, 11:46 PM:

What Julia said. What the lamb the fall-back date?

#17 ::: Jon H ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2006, 12:42 AM:

"Prostate stimulation. Using, these days, an electrical device to massage the prostate."

That may be the new-fangled way, but there's also some unfortunate persons who drive a go-cart with a simulated cow on top, which the bull mounts.

#18 ::: Jon H ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2006, 12:42 AM:

No mention if the girl's name was Mary.

#19 ::: paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2006, 01:30 AM:

I'm just glad someone called the police. I cannot imagine an adult man wanting to have sex with a 13-yo-girl. Just the universe I''m reporting from.... The Sheep thing puts it totally into "you WILL burn in hell"category as long as the man leaves the girl alone.

#20 ::: bad Jim ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2006, 03:11 AM:

Had this been Australia or New Zealand, lands where men are men, women are scarce, and sheep are brazen hussies, would it have been considered newsworthy?

#21 ::: Chinedum Ofoegbu ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2006, 03:13 AM:

Memorable Sentence

Not exactly difficult to spot :D it's a rather short article.

#22 ::: Meg Thornton ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2006, 03:21 AM:

Okay, my brain is hurting here. Is it significant that the girl *didn't* answer the door? I mean, did this bloke say anything about what might have happened had she done so? Would he have asked her whether he could have the lamb first or something?

The entire inclusion of the thirteen-year-old reads like a complete non-sequitur to me. Would the age and sex of the occupants of the house have been relevant had he chosen the home of a seventy year old widowed grandfather of six to molest young livestock in?

#23 ::: Meg Thornton ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2006, 03:24 AM:

badJim said: "Had this been Australia or New Zealand, lands where men are men, women are scarce, and sheep are brazen hussies, would it have been considered newsworthy?"

No, but in Wales there would have been a page three photo of the sheep.

#24 ::: Mitch Wagner ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2006, 03:27 AM:

Speaking as a journalist myself, if I ever got to write a sentence like that, I would retire. My career would be complete.

#25 ::: Zander ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2006, 03:57 AM:

Um...not to interrupt all the moral indignation and all here, but the story gives no indication of the man's purpose in knocking on the girl's door, and from what the police said, they didn't "ascertain" that an illegal sex act was occurring, they theorised it from the position of the participants.

Try this: man goes to house where girl is staying to pick up a lamb that girl's father has promised him, perhaps in barter for some service. As he gets out of the car he realises that the fastening on his trousers has gone phut. Girl (having headphones on and doing the Times crossword) doesn't hear him and so doesn't answer the door. He goes and grabs the lamb anyway, realising as he does so that his trousers are giving way. He can't manage the car door, the lamb and his trousers all at once, so he takes the lamb into the barn while he adjusts his dress. Which he is in the act of doing when the cops burst in.

Wildly implausible, I know, and the conclusion everyone seems to have leapt to is vastly more likely (I suppose). I just wanted to point out the length of the leap, the scarcity of actual data, and the fact that many people who read that article have irrevocably judged that man.

#26 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2006, 04:52 AM:

There is some description in one of the James Herriot books. I don't recall mention of a dummy cow; what sticks in the mind is the use of a special glass collecting bottle, and the effect of it not ging given time to cool after it was sterilised with boiling water.

And then there's the scene in "Top Secret!" involving the attempt to sneak into the castle disguised as a pantomime cow...

Or there's "Scotland's Depraved":

Bring me the whiskey, Mother,
I'm feeling frisky, Mother,
Bring me a sheep to keep me warm through the night;

#27 ::: Keir ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2006, 05:46 AM:

Why do Highlanders wear kilts?

Sheep can hear a zip a mile away.

#28 ::: Martin G. L. ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2006, 06:17 AM:

Oh, hey, did you hear about the latest sex aid that's gotten so popular in Wales?

Velcro gloves.

#29 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2006, 08:32 AM:

What's that phrase? Twll ddun bob Saes, that was it. I probably spelled it wrong.

#30 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2006, 08:32 AM:

Tangent: For my money, the best police report ever is the one from the Arcata Eye. Occasionally includes haiku.

#31 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2006, 08:38 AM:

I should add that the June 20th entry in the Arcata Eye Public Safety Log is the only place I have ever seen any form of the word "floccinaucinihilipilification" actually used in a sentence.

#32 ::: Chad Orzel ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2006, 08:44 AM:

Try this: man goes to house where girl is staying to pick up a lamb that girl's father has promised him, perhaps in barter for some service. As he gets out of the car he realises that the fastening on his trousers has gone phut. Girl (having headphones on and doing the Times crossword) doesn't hear him and so doesn't answer the door. He goes and grabs the lamb anyway, realising as he does so that his trousers are giving way. He can't manage the car door, the lamb and his trousers all at once, so he takes the lamb into the barn while he adjusts his dress. Which he is in the act of doing when the cops burst in.

And now I'm envisioning a courtroom scene like the one at the beginning of whichever Dortmunder book that is, where the arresting officer is asked to pantomine the whole thing...

#33 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2006, 08:57 AM:

I'm disappointed with the newspaper's editor. Man, if there was ever a better time to use "Embraceable Ewe?" in a subhead...

And I keep thinking of the time one of the frats at my college got busted for keeping three sheep in the basement. And how the Seattle papers never printed a follow-up.

Oh, and on the collection question, let me quote the sublime "Cecil Adams" on the subject:

In keeping with the Straight Dope tradition of brutal frankness, however, I may as well tell you that perhaps the most common method of sperm collection involves an artificial vagina.

I had thought to edify the Teeming Millions with a do-it-yourself version of this technique taken from an animal breeding manual. But on second thought it's too icky for words.

Suffice it to say the method involves a 2-3/4-inch automobile radiator hose 18 inches long, a 30-by-3-inch automobile inner tube, and a family-size bottle of Vaseline.

Clearly I've spent too much time watching MacGyver because I can almost figure out how this would work...

#34 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2006, 09:59 AM:

I'm reading Temple Grandin's _Animals in Translation_, and apparently it's necessary to collect boar semen the way the boar idiosyncratically likes having it done. That's legal because there's money involved, I suppose.

#35 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2006, 10:22 AM:

...apparently it's necessary to collect boar semen the way the boar idiosyncratically likes having it done.

With this sort of thing, I imagine we have to proceed on the assumption that the customer is always right.

#36 ::: Andrew Willett ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2006, 10:30 AM:

Meg and Paula, I think the significance of Mr. Johnson's initial knock at the door is that he was making sure that the coast was clear. Instead, he merely proved that there was somebody inside who (a) doesn't open the door to strangers and (b) knows how to dial 911. Or at least that's how I'm reading it.

#37 ::: Josh Jasper ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2006, 10:34 AM:

One day,
the sheep will RISE UP.

#38 ::: UrsulaV ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2006, 11:08 AM:

There was an episode of "Dirty Jobs" where the host was learning how to collect horse semen from a stud horse. No prostate stimulation or anything like that--they had a mare in heat standing on the other side of the fence, a kind of pommel-horse arrangement for the stud to mount, and then some poor bastard (the host, in this case) had to get in there with a rubber vagina and proceed manually. (I think he just had to get it on and hold it steady while the horse did the work, but they fuzzed out the areas in question, so I can't swear to that.)

In a later episode, he said the amazing thing was that the first shot had camera troubles, and they had to apologize to the owners and suggest they reschedule. The horse's handlers thought about this, and said "Nah, just wait," walked the stud horse for fifteen minutes, and then he was ready for round two.

It looked a lot more traumatic for the handlers than the horse, frankly. Amorous stallions are not generally known for their patience and docility.

#39 ::: Martyn Drake ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2006, 11:11 AM:

It's a shame that he didn't encounter a genetically engineered pissed off sheep as mentioned in this forthcoming NZ film:

Black Sheep

Revenge of the Sheep!

M.

#40 ::: Martyn Drake ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2006, 11:19 AM:

Ah, nuts. Should have followed the link a few posts up. Mind you, good to see someone else aware of that film. Looking forward to it myself - it looks a bit like an old Peter Jackson film.

M.

#41 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2006, 11:22 AM:

Black Sheep ... Revenge of the Sheep!

Wherein, presumably, the meek exsanguinate the Earth.

#42 ::: Randy Paul ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2006, 12:09 PM:

I guess Mr. Johnson thought he had a woody, but had a wooly instead . . .

#43 ::: Scott H ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2006, 12:11 PM:

"I put out hundreds--nay, thousands of fires. I saved dozens of innocent lives. Do they call me Leroy the Hero? No. Leroy the firefighter? No. They do not. I've run my farm for fifty years now, since my dear old daaaaad passed away. Do they call me Leroy the Farmer? No. They do not. I've raised three fine upstandanding children, all of whom went to college. Do they call me Leroy the Father?"

"But you fuck one lousy sheep..."

#44 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2006, 12:34 PM:

Gee, Mesa's a regular hotbed of crime lately -- that's where they just caught the two Serial Shooters ("one" mass murderer who turned out to be a duo, while a different killer/rapist is still on the loose in the Phoenix area). Dunno why the "bestiality" story didn't make the network news, like the other one [briefly] did....

#45 ::: David Hungerford ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2006, 02:06 PM:

Faren Miller:
Dunno why the "bestiality" story didn't make the network news, like the other one [briefly] did....

It did, however, apparently make a vast number of radio morning shows nationwide. And the WoW community had some fun with how similar "Leroy Johnson" is to "Leroy Jenkins."

Nancy Lebovitz:
apparently it's necessary to collect boar semen the way the boar idiosyncratically likes having it done.

Yes it is, as this video demonstrates.

Dav2.718

#46 ::: rams ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2006, 04:05 PM:

"If a-ewe were the only girl in the world..."

#47 ::: Seth ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2006, 06:25 PM:

We're only reading one side of this story, of course. We should compare it to the reporting to Police Bleat....

#48 ::: Dave Kuzminski ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2006, 06:36 PM:

Actually, it was the Playsheep Magazine beside them that gave it all away. ;)

#49 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2006, 07:03 PM:

If Mr Johnson is a regular churchgoer his pastor will, no doubt, have called him an upstanding member of the flock.

#50 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 05, 2006, 09:08 PM:

Fragano: with, I would think, the addition of some remarks about either going astray or being a black sheep.

#51 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: August 06, 2006, 02:43 AM:

This just cries out for a Tom Swiftie:

"As Mr Johnson was led away, he said something sheepishly."

#52 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: August 06, 2006, 02:46 AM:

Well, according to this definition I don't have that quite right.

Feel free to manufacture corrections for me.

#53 ::: bad Jim ::: (view all by) ::: August 06, 2006, 04:20 AM:

Perhaps he should have gone on the lam instead of getting it on with the lamb.

#54 ::: bad Jim ::: (view all by) ::: August 06, 2006, 04:40 AM:

Afterwards, as we relaxed in our respective corners, I wondered aloud: "Aren't we profoundly linked in some dimension that we can't directly perceive?"

"Bah," she replied, as she always does, the eternal skeptic.

#55 ::: Jen Roth ::: (view all by) ::: August 06, 2006, 04:49 AM:

julia: Am I reading you correctly? Thirteen isn't considered old enough to be home alone in New York?

When I was growing up (not all *that* long ago, in IL), it would have been odd not to be able to be home alone at that age, though I don't think we would have been left alone overnight. Kids that age babysat younger kids.

#56 ::: Tim Hall ::: (view all by) ::: August 06, 2006, 06:29 AM:

"Wild Thing! Ewe Make My Heart Sing!"

#57 ::: Kate Nepveu ::: (view all by) ::: August 06, 2006, 08:51 AM:

Extensive discussion and a trip upstairs to the "W" section of the paperbacks has determined that _Nobody's Perfect_ is the Dortmunder where the arresting officer has to pantomime the events leading up to the arrest (Dortmunder carrying a TV).

#58 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 06, 2006, 09:30 AM:

PJ Evans: You're right!

Of course, all sorts of things can happen in the wild and wooly west...

#59 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 06, 2006, 10:54 AM:
Try this: man goes to house where girl is staying to pick up a lamb that girl's father has promised him, perhaps in barter for some service. As he gets out of the car he realises that the fastening on his trousers has gone phut. Girl (having headphones on and doing the Times crossword) doesn't hear him and so doesn't answer the door. He goes and grabs the lamb anyway, realising as he does so that his trousers are giving way. He can't manage the car door, the lamb and his trousers all at once, so he takes the lamb into the barn while he adjusts his dress. Which he is in the act of doing when the cops burst in.
And that, m'lord, is the case for the defense.
#60 ::: Steven Gould ::: (view all by) ::: August 06, 2006, 11:19 AM:

Well, I've heard that getting involved with the domestics is not uncommon. But getting involved with the domesticated?

# Fleece release me, let me go .... #

#61 ::: John Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: August 06, 2006, 12:13 PM:

Linkmeister: Is this more like what you were looking for?

Fuck ewe, Tom said sheepishly.

Other than the mismatch of tone between the verb and the adverb.

#62 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: August 06, 2006, 01:11 PM:

As long as we're getting into variations on old joke forms.... (This requires her to answer the door, and would work better if he were the classic Foreigner):

Knock knock

"Who's there?"

"I want ewe."

(She runs into the house screaming, and dials 911.)

#63 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: August 06, 2006, 06:13 PM:

In Prince William County, VA, there's no law about age to stay home alone, but the police act if someone younger than 13 is left alone.

#64 ::: Mark DF ::: (view all by) ::: August 06, 2006, 11:27 PM:

But did the lamb consent? Perhaps Johnson is a member of LAMBLA and he was shepherding the lamb to sheephood.

(I suspect a select few will get this joke.)

#66 ::: Wim L ::: (view all by) ::: August 13, 2006, 05:29 PM:

13-year-olds can certainly be fairly intelligent and independent. When I was 13 (not that long ago; I'm in my early 30s) I was expected to do things requiring a good deal more independent sense than simply staying at home by myself for a while, and that wasn't at all unusual among my age-mates. I think it's pretty creepy that people here are assuming that leaving a 13-year-old alone in a house is automatically some form of child abuse.

#67 ::: Spam deleted ::: (view all by) ::: August 09, 2008, 06:05 AM:

Spam from 202.75.144.62

#68 ::: Tykewriter ::: (view all by) ::: August 09, 2008, 06:59 AM:

In pubs in Wales they have a sign warning against date-rape. It reads "If she says No, it means No". I always want to add "But if she says Baaaa, it means Yes". But I never do.
fghdf, your links are rubbish.

#69 ::: Tykewriter ::: (view all by) ::: August 09, 2008, 10:52 AM:

Until I tried for the p0rn0-sp*m. I'll stick to the sheep in future. (And you can too, with velcro-wellies.)

#70 ::: Spam deleted ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2008, 09:25 PM:

Spam from 79.135.167.26

#71 ::: P J Evans sees same bot ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2008, 10:04 PM:

with the same comment. Uncreative.

#72 ::: Spam deleted ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2008, 02:05 PM:

[Spam from 79.135.167.26]

#73 ::: Spam deleted ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2008, 02:09 PM:

[Spam from 79.135.167.26]

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