December 12, 2006


In the segment of NPR's "Morning Edition" that lists notable events of the day, today we were told:

Don't forget to spay or neuter: "Price is Right" host Bob Barker is 82 today.

There are two reasons to think that the first part must be intended to be relevant to the second part.  However, unless you know more about Bob Barker than that he's the host of "The Price is Right", you'll be at a loss as to how.

First reason to think it's relevant: the two parts are juxtaposed, and the first has nothing obvious to do with the day.  So, unless the folks at NPR have become unhinged, the first must have some relevance to the second.

And then there's the prosody, indicated by the colon in my transcription above: the first part ends with a suspension rather than a fall, conveying that the second part is a continuation of the first.

And relevance there is: for years, Bob Barker has ended the game show with an appeal to viewers to spay or neuter their pets.  (In 1994 he set up a foundation to fund grants for spay/neuter clinics.)  I'm not a game show fan, so I didn't know about Barker's attachment to the cause and was just baffled by the "Morning Edition" announcement.

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Posted by Arnold Zwicky at December 12, 2006 12:31 PM