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I have enjoyed playing the "Acronym Game".

What about your all-time favourite Oxymorons?

I’ll start with a few of the more obvious ones:

Same Difference (also discussed elsewhere on this forum)
Virtual Reality
The lock on the front door of a 24-hour / 365 day convenience store
Wireless (Have you ever looked inside one?!)
“This page intentionally left blank”
Unbiased Reporting
Pretty Ugly
Head Butt
Military Intelligence
Train Schedule
Economic Rationalism
Business Ethics
Truth in Advertising
Government Organisation
Tight Slacks
Microsoft Works
Windows NT (New Technology)
Windows XP (Extra Performance)

RE: Oxymorons

- The posting that reads 'Post No Bills'
 - Controlled Chaos
 - Organised Mess
 - Girlfriend    

RE: Oxymorons

Jumbo shrimp

RE: Oxymorons


RE: Oxymorons

Military Intelligence

Would someone please explain to me why that is an oxymoron, or are you just poking fun at people in uniform?

RE: Oxymorons

a bit sensitive, eh?  When the topic of oxymorons comes up, ex-military guys seem to give "military intelligence" or "holy war" as their first example...

RE: Oxymorons

shouting loud so CajunCenturion can hear me from his high horse...

It's not funny, I suppose, in light of the non-presence of WMD's in Iraq.

It was mildly funny when I was in the service.

RE: Oxymorons

I'm not on a high horse TheTick.  I just don't like seeing people in uniform put on such a low horse.

RE: Oxymorons

Perhaps you should pay attention to context it bit more.  This is, after all, a language forum, and context is vital in all communication.

I would be the first to say that the people I served with in the navy are among the finest to be found anywhere.  That does not chage the fact that, as an organization, the military as a whole is all too capable of rendering inert the force of all the genius as its disposal.

There are two types of people in the world: the kind that believe that people can be categorized into one of two groups and the kind that don't.

RE: Oxymorons

To go along with JulianHardy's "lock on the 24hr store doors" example, how about that wonderful braile posted on ATMs.  Sure it might explain what the instructions or buttons are, but I'd like to see someone try to get their account balance.

As for "mil intel" as an oxymoron, I don't think it is used to directly attack anyone in uniform serving their country.  If anyone has served (6yrs Navy here) a tour of duty, they can relate to a degree.

Ray Reynolds
"There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home."
Ken Olson, president, chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corp., 1977
Have you read FAQ731-376 to make the best use of Eng-Tips Forums?

RE: Oxymorons

What really kills me is braille on the drive-up ATM's!

I do have to admit, lobbing in the M.I. was a bit trite.  We've all heard it; it's old and played.

RE: Oxymorons

drive-up/braille was a Seinfeld joke that I found frustrating... would you expect them to make special non-braille buttons for the drive up ATM, or just use common parts?

RE: Oxymorons

They will use common parts, no doubt about it.  The whole point about braile on ATMs is the fact that braile can only provide static information.  I have yet to see a display device that can display dynamic information in braile.

Of course, I can't "read" braile, so I have no idea what is actually posted on ATMs.

Ray Reynolds
"There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home."
Ken Olson, president, chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corp., 1977
Have you read FAQ731-376 to make the best use of Eng-Tips Forums?

RE: Oxymorons

I think the problem may be in what you mean by Military Intelligence.  The last couple of posts seem to place this in the context of the collective intelligence of those who are serving, and I, as a veteran, can understand that intent.  This is very similar to the number of people who make parallel remarks about management and its thought processes and decision making.  I can relate to that as well.  But there is a fundamental difference.  When we speak of management, it is not inclusive of the entire work force.  We go out of our way to exclude those not in management.  I don't see that same exclusion being made with military intelligence.

Secondly, Military Intelligence is a specific function inside the military as a whole and performed by only a few people with special training.

When people say that Military Intelligence is an oxymoron, then I suspect they are doing one of two things.  They are either taking Military Intelligence out of context to apply it to across the board of the uniformed services, when they are really just trying to gear it towards those in leadership positions, or they don’t understand what Military Intelligence is.

Since this is a language forum, and we are concerned about the proper usage of words and terms, why should this term be treated differently?  So in its proper usage, I again ask, what makes it an oxymoron?

RE: Oxymorons

Where I live, we have what is to me one of the most oxymoronic situations.  We all know that you cannot drink and drive, so why do why have drive through daiquiri factories?

Who in their right mind would drive up, buy their daiquiri in a styrophone cup with a straw, and not take a sip from it until they get out of the car?

RE: Oxymorons

Re military intelligence: who cares, it's still funny.  Get over it already.  I know, I know, it's not patriotic to make jokes about the government anymore (and barely legal)...

RE: Oxymorons

Many moons ago when I had to rely on public transit, I was often perplexed at the written advertisement stating that if you could not read, here is the name and number of a company that will teach you.  

On a side note: Can we finally lay the reference of MI to rest?  Obviously there are differing interpretations as to whether a subject is humorous or not.  For example, as a Canadian, I will enjoy a clever joke or witticism regarding my Country and any associated global stereotypes.  However, that does not grant me license to assume that all of my fellow Countrymen feel the same way.  (Please refrain from any jokes regarding bleeding-heart Canadians praying that we all just get along!)

RE: Oxymorons

I realize that I am now resonding to myself, however, here is another oxymoron plaguing the world:

friendly fire.

RE: Oxymorons

"Friendly Fire" Does that have anything to do with "Military Intelligence"?

RE: Oxymorons

Some of my favorites include the following:

instant classic
double solitaire
exact estimate
extensive briefing
genuine imitation
minor miracle
open secret
original copies
scheduled spontaneity
synthetic natural gas
This year's Oscar broadcast:  Live (with a 5 second delay)

RE: Oxymorons

Two Points:

1.    Yes, I agree that “Military Intelligence” is overdone, and has become a cliché. But it is still funny! And why are people so much more sensitive to this one than “Business Ethics”, for example? Most of us on this forum who are not in the military probably work for some sort of business. Where are the screams about the imputation that none of us have any ethics? Another example – I am an Australian, but I still get a chuckle out of “Australian Culture”. Develop a sense of humour, and a thicker hide.
2.    I have seen a Braille PC touch-screen monitor. A couple of years ago, I vistaed Sweden on business. I was shown around a very high-tech factory, and was introduced to the guy who was responsible for calibrating the machines which check the dimensional accuracy of the machines that actually machined the product components. Extremely high accuracy is obviously required. The fellow had lost his eyesight a few years earlier in an industrial accident at the factory. In America, Britain, Australia, etc, he would have been pensioned off, and someone else would have been employed to replace him. The Swedish corporate business ethic (subtly different usage here!) is very different. The employer felt a moral obligation to keep him in full employment – and not just transfer him to another function where his disability would not impact significantly, but to redesign his workplace so that he could retain his original function, and his self-esteem and sense of purpose. They outsourced the design and manufacture of a Windows computer screen which is effectively one of those pin toys you see, whereby you can mould an image of your face, hand, or whatever. Each pin was driven by a little solenoid or similar, and could replicate the full function of a standard monochrome PC display, in 1024 x 768 resolution. I was surprised that they had not seen the opportunity to patent and mass produce this device - the market would seem to be there. Their response was that they were not in the PC business, and they had undertaken this task only for the benefit of the injured employee. I believe a number of Braille PC devices are available commercially, but I am not aware of a similar full sized PC touch-screen. And the most amazing thing of all for me was that this blind inspector actually had a higher accuracy than several other sighted inspectors performing the identical task. The reason was believed to be that because he was blind, he had to physically reach out and touch the screen every time he had to take a reading, requiring significant conscious interaction. The sighted inspectors could fall into the dazed semi-comatose state we have all experienced from time to time when engaged in a highly repetitive task, and could occasionally miss an item that was out of spec. True story!

RE: Oxymorons

Okay.  Here is the one I posted elswhere
"...alleged excapees..." (That is a direct quote from the media  and, no I would not have spelled it that way either!)

---refering to three recent Southwest Detention Center  inmates that crawled through the overhead vents and slid down from the roof on bed sheets. Two of the escapees were cought the same day  at the home of one.  The last, a convicted murderer, was picked up the next day at HIS mom's house a few miles from the jail. There is a message in there somewhere, I suppose.


RE: Oxymorons

A common oxymoron: the wisest fools in Christendom.

RE: Oxymorons

Testing 1,2,3
Getting page cannot be dispalyed notice when posting.

Jesus is THE life,

RE: Oxymorons

Getting page cannot be dispalyed notice when posting.

RE: Oxymorons

Aren't we all mournful optimists ?

RE: Oxymorons

Is a one word oxymoron possible or do we just refer to them as morons? I refer, of course, to the word "Manager".

RE: Oxymorons



Have a star!

RE: Oxymorons

To keep whipping the dead horse:

To me, the perfect example of Military Intelligence is the classic "hurry up and wait" that pervades the military (USMC, anyway, which is my personal point of reference).

Along with the "lighten up" sentiment: My brother uses the term and few would challenge him about it. He recently retired from the Marine Corps as a Master Sergeant in the Marine Corps special forces (most people have never even heard of Force Recon) having been on the ground in Iraq before the war even started.

He sees the dark humor in the oxymoron "military intelligence."

Other examples of Military Intelligence:

USMC Peacekeepers in Lebanon who had to walk guard duty with unloaded weapons

Prosecuting a war with artificial boundaries - you can shoot at me from across the 38th parallel but I can't shoot back.

Weapons systems bought by Pentagon brass who've never been in an operational environment that don't meet the needs of the guys on the ground.

RE: Oxymorons

Common, this is eng-tips. Lets lay off the the military and go after our own:

civil engineer

RE: Oxymorons

I thought an oxymoron was a stupid ox

pat   pprimmer@acay.com.au
eng-tips, by professional engineers for professional engineers
Please see FAQ731-376 for tips on how to make the best use of Eng-Tips Fora.

RE: Oxymorons

To patprimmer, as a rhetorical device that would be called a prosopopoeia.

RE: Oxymorons

Thanks for not pointing out my glaring error above. I meant to say "Come on." Maybe you guys are civil after all.

Since my grammar needs work, I've been thinking of going back to school. Got an email ad this morning for "diplomas from prestigious non-accredited universities." Sound good?

RE: Oxymorons


  I have never heard the term "the wisest fools in Christendom".  Perhaps you are thinking of "The most learned fool in Christendom"?

  Note the singular tense.  It is a reference to King James the First of England (KJ VI of Scotland).  Definitely, this is a joke.  My OED's definition of oxymoron mentions nothing about intent, so I guess this qualifies.


RE: Oxymorons

The people who made the term Military Intelligence an oxymoron and made it popular also gave us the wonderful acronym SNAFU.

To all the military people who might be insulted by the commentary either
a) you are a lifer Drill Sergeant with no sense of humour or
b) you haven't been there long enough.

To all the civilians who might be insulted by the above comments - you don't count.

I once had a retired General explain to me that the greatest shortcoming of the armed forces of the world over is that they have no clue how to deal with peace or civilians.

That is why Peace Corps and Peacekeeping Mission seem to be oxymoronic to me.

RE: Oxymorons

You asked me to elaborate on a posting in this thread.  Apparently my answer to you was too flippant and got rubbed by the forum monitor.  After posting it, I had second thoughts myself. In case you missed opportunity to read the elaborated version, the silly thought hit me that the nanoworld is diminutive by definition whereas Capital letters are [/b]large[/b] in proportion to lower case letters.

Jesus is THE life,

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