Reporters are pack animals. And there was a time when the scribes went overboard in trying to reduce astronomical numbers into something easily visualized.(If all the cars produced in Detroit were placed bumper-to-bumper, they would reach to the moon and back.) I think it was Dorothy Parker who called a halt to the practice when she wrote about the word-weary this way: "if all the girls who attended the Yale senior prom were laid end to end, I wouldn't be at all surprised."
File this under "did he really say that?" The U.S. marketing director for Cialis was explaining the difference in the new daily dose of the erectile disfunction drug and the original 36-hour pill: "They're under a lot of pressure to perform and the worst thing we can do is then out a shot clock on them..." He really said it. Now stop it. Stop thinking of all the other basketball metaphors. I'm warning you.
Note: a 2004 USDA report finds that a couple earning a mere $70,200 annually will spend $269,520 raiding one child to age 17. Tack on four years of college and that's half a million per kid. Now, re-read the second paragraph.
On the same topic, a note for slow starters: Bart Conner was 48 and Nadia Comaneci 44 when their son, Dylan Paul Conner, was born to the first couple of gymnastics some 19 months ago. "By the time he's out of diapers, we'll be going into them," Conner, the former U.S. champion, remarked.
Here's another one for the file: Noah Feldman, writing for the Sunday New York Times Magazine, says this about Mormons in business: "if anything, the systematic overrepresentation of Mormons among top businesspeople and lawyers affords LDS affiliation a certain cachet -- rather like being Jewish, but taller."
Book tout for the grammatically inclined: Eats, Shoots & Leaves, by Lynne Truss. One of the blurbs on the back cover says "'Correct usage' has been made sexy by Lynne Truss in her delightful Eats, Shoots & Leaves, the most entertaining work of paralinguistics since Shaw's Pygmalion."