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BS: Can't run a force without acronyms

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GUEST,leeneia 27 Feb 04 - 10:18 AM
Bob Hitchcock 27 Feb 04 - 10:34 AM
Stilly River Sage 27 Feb 04 - 11:05 AM
katlaughing 27 Feb 04 - 11:50 AM
Pooby 27 Feb 04 - 12:37 PM
Bee-dubya-ell 27 Feb 04 - 02:18 PM
Bee-dubya-ell 27 Feb 04 - 02:38 PM
open mike 27 Feb 04 - 03:14 PM
Shanghaiceltic 28 Feb 04 - 12:53 AM
dick greenhaus 28 Feb 04 - 01:21 AM
Gurney 28 Feb 04 - 02:17 AM
GUEST,leeneia 28 Feb 04 - 11:32 AM
GUEST,leeneia 28 Feb 04 - 11:42 AM
Walking Eagle 28 Feb 04 - 01:44 PM
Jeanie 28 Feb 04 - 03:27 PM
Hollowfox 28 Feb 04 - 04:52 PM
HuwG 28 Feb 04 - 10:15 PM
Strollin' Johnny 29 Feb 04 - 01:27 AM
GUEST,leeneia 29 Feb 04 - 03:20 PM
Strollin' Johnny 29 Feb 04 - 04:04 PM
Murray MacLeod 29 Feb 04 - 04:04 PM
Peace 29 Feb 04 - 07:55 PM
GUEST,leeneia 01 Mar 04 - 12:42 AM
Stilly River Sage 01 Mar 04 - 01:07 AM
HuwG 01 Mar 04 - 04:31 AM
Hrothgar 01 Mar 04 - 05:58 AM
Dave the Gnome 01 Mar 04 - 11:25 AM
Chief Chaos 02 Mar 04 - 09:48 AM
GUEST,leeneia 02 Mar 04 - 10:00 AM
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Subject: BS: Can't run a force without acronymns
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 27 Feb 04 - 10:18 AM

Recently I read a mystery story, "Prospect of Death," by Margaret Duffy. It relates the events of a fateful Burns Night celebrated at Bath, England, and it provides useful information such as "Don't put your car keys in your sporran; they'll jingle while you dance."

While reading I noticed how many police acronymns there were in the book. I was proud of myself for knowing most of them. (It's a good thing I did, because she just throws them in cold. No using the actual words in the vicinity to help the neophytes.) If you love mysteries, too, see how many you know. Quotations below:

Bob Ingrams of Bath CID hardly noticed the rain...

The DCI began to pace the room. "I hope we have the PM soon."

The SOCO's should arrive shortly.

..gone to the cottage to get on with some DIY.

..detained on a charge of GBH.

What do we do now? Ask MI5 to find him?

The digger driver swore softly as his JCB approached the trench he had dug a week earlier.

-------------
"JCB" has me baffled. Jones Brothers Crane? Jointed Construction Bulldozer?

Over to you.


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Subject: RE: BS: Can't run a force without acronymns
From: Bob Hitchcock
Date: 27 Feb 04 - 10:34 AM

JCB is a backhoe, it stands for Joseph C. Bamford the company that makes them. If you like acronyms, check out the Military handbooks or better yet NASA.


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Subject: RE: BS: Can't run a force without acronymns
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 27 Feb 04 - 11:05 AM

Try AF, the Acronym Finder.

SRS


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Subject: RE: BS: Can't run a force without acronymns
From: katlaughing
Date: 27 Feb 04 - 11:50 AM

leeneia, good ones! Elizabeth George does the same thing in her Inspector Lynley/Barbara Havers mysteries. I like it better, though, when the author spells it out at least once for, as you say, neophytes.:-)


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Subject: RE: BS: Can't run a force without acronymns
From: Pooby
Date: 27 Feb 04 - 12:37 PM

Can't help it, but here's my anal, professional wordsmith side coming to the fore. (Anal side coming to the fore? Does that make me ass-backwards? Oh, never mind...)

Anyway, most of what you cited are abbreviations, not acronyms. Technically speaking, an acronym is an abbreviation that spells a word (like, say "radar"), or at least a pronounceable quasi-word, such as "NASA."

For example, an almost universal cop acronym is SWAT (short for "Special Weapons And Tactics").

The really sad part, as far as beating the language to within an inch of its life, happens when you have a forced, contrived acronym like "USA Patriot Act," where the USA Patriot part stands for (brace yourselves): "Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism."

Someone with way too much time on his/her hands came up with that one.

Pooby


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Subject: RE: BS: Can't run a force without acronymns
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 27 Feb 04 - 02:18 PM

The use of acronyms has gotten totally out of control. Do your part to help rid our language of unsightly acronyms. Join SEAFEEL, The Society for the Elimination of Acronyms From Everyday English Language.

Bruce


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Subject: RE: BS: Can't run a force without acronymns
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 27 Feb 04 - 02:38 PM

On a slightly more serious note....

I used to manage an academic bookstore that carried test preparation guides for various entrance and licensure exams. Customers looking for review material for would often use acronyms or abreviations that anyone in their field would recognize, but which meant absolutely nothing to anyone outside of their field. Then, they would look at you like you were the biggest ignoramous in the world for asking them, "What's that stand for?"

To make matters worse, there are sometimes identical abreviations which mean entirely different things in different fields. "CNA" can mean "Certified Nursing Assistant" or "Certified Novell Administrator". Of course, the person waiting on the customer who's looking for a "CNA review guide" is supposed to automatically know whether she's talking about computer networks or bedpans.

Bruce


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Subject: RE: BS: Can't run a force without acronymns
From: open mike
Date: 27 Feb 04 - 03:14 PM

IN my book,

CID might mean communicable infectious disease

The DCI

every good mud cat knows that PM is personal message!

SOCO's ?

DIY is do it yourself


well in some cases, GBH stands for Great Blue Heron

MI5 ?

here's an acronym for you from my college daughter:
TLA=Three Letter Acronym....!


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Subject: RE: BS: Can't run a force without acronymns
From: Shanghaiceltic
Date: 28 Feb 04 - 12:53 AM

About 25 years ago the Royal Navy was looking at new acronyms for various jobs.

One bright person in the MOD initially proposed that those members of the seaman branch who operated radars and the radar plot in the warships command centre be re titled Tactical Users Radar Displays.

It was promptly dropped!


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Subject: RE: BS: Can't run a force without acronymns
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 28 Feb 04 - 01:21 AM

Which puts me to mind of a non-acronymical but related story (via Lani Herrmann):

There's a Unitarian church in Kensington, CA, a hamlet at the base of a cliff that features Berkeley at the top. It was originally called the First Unitarian Church of Kensington, but the name was dropped, due to the unfortunate acronym. It was renamed the First Unitarian Church of Berkeley. There is, however, a Unitarian Church in Berkeley. So now this area has High Church and Low Church Unitarians. So help me.


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Subject: RE: BS: Can't run a force without acronymns
From: Gurney
Date: 28 Feb 04 - 02:17 AM

Leeniea, I knew them all! But only because I read books, not from personal contact.


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Subject: RE: BS: Can't run a force without acronymns
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 28 Feb 04 - 11:32 AM

Good on you, Gurney. Even JCB? It's nice to encounter another mystery lover. And now for the answers.

Bob Ingrams of Bath CID hardly noticed the rain...
CID = Criminal Investigation Division
-----------
The DCI began to pace the room. "I hope we have the PM soon."

DCI - Detective Chief Inspector. There's also

DC, Detective Constable
DS, Detective Sergeant
DI, Detective Inspector

Apparently, when a cop is deemed bright enough not to lick the end of her/her pencil before writing, he gets promoted to Detective Something.

One exception would be What's-his-name in Catherine Aird's books, the one they call the Defective Constable.
----------------
The SOCO's should arrive shortly.

SOCO = Scene of Crimes Officer. Or is it Scenes of Crime Officer? SOCO has the beauty of avoiding the problem of what's plural and what's not.
---------------------
..gone to the cottage to get on with some DIY.

DIY = Do-it-yourself, as already noted.
------------------------
..detained on a charge of GBH.

GBH - Grievous Bodily Harm, a telling phrase. Too bad this old world doesn't have less Grievous Bodily Harm and more Great Blue Herons.
-------------
What do we do now? Ask MI5 to find him?

MI = Military Intelligence, though we have Stilly River Sage to thank for the link which shows that it could be Michigan, Malawi or Marching Illini.

Tell, me why it is always MI5? Why not MI4? Don't the other numbers have panache?
---------------
The digger driver swore softly as his JCB approached the trench he had dug a week earlier.

JCB = Joseph C. Bamford, or so I'm told. I wouldn't have guessed this in a thousand years.

Now I'm going to the Acronym Finder to check that out.


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Subject: RE: BS: Can't run a force without acronymns
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 28 Feb 04 - 11:42 AM

Yep, it checked out. "Joseph Cyril Bamford Excavators LTD."

Another day it might have been Johann Christian Bach.

PS Thanks for not jumping down my throat because I misspelled "acronym" at first. There was guy here who spelled "lily" as "lilly," and you would have thought from the reaction that he was child molester.


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Subject: RE: BS: Can't run a force without acronymns
From: Walking Eagle
Date: 28 Feb 04 - 01:44 PM

No problem. AOK here!


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Subject: RE: BS: Can't run a force without acronymns
From: Jeanie
Date: 28 Feb 04 - 03:27 PM

Leeneia: you asked why "MI5" ? and don't the other numbers have "panache" ? Well...MI6 is very much operational, and at some time there have been units numbered anything up to M19.
More details here: MI5 etc.
Still further details may be found in: hole in tree trunk, third willow on the left, Hyde Park, 6.20 GMT, Codename "Bodhran"   ;)

Leeneia: have you ever read any John le Carre ? If not, I think you'd enjoy his books.

- jeanie ("just call me Z")


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Subject: RE: BS: Can't run a force without acronymns
From: Hollowfox
Date: 28 Feb 04 - 04:52 PM

Stilly River Sage - Sweet! I'm bookmarking that one.

And then there's the poor suburban cheerleaders fro Poland Ohio's middle school. I haven't attended any of their sports events, so I don't know if they've found any alternatives to cheering for PMS.


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Subject: RE: BS: Can't run a force without acronymns
From: HuwG
Date: 28 Feb 04 - 10:15 PM

Any trade, profession or interest on this earth will develop its own argot which is useful to insiders, and also serves to keep outsiders at bay. (No doubt an innocent non-musical surfer who happens on the Mudcat will be quite perplexed by references to DADGAD, GAS, BvB, Trad. and the profusion of trade and proprietary names.) One (British) policeman talking to another will find it far more convenient to refer to "the DCI" rather than "the Detective Chief Inspector" on every occasion (s)he is referred to, as well as more hip, with-it and "switched on".

The trick when writing fiction about such milieus, is to somehow introduce insider terms which protagonists would naturally use when talking to each other while somehow making it clear to the outsider. On one side is the pitfall of utterly baffling the reader, on the other there is the worse trap of stilted and unrealistic dialog. A policeman who uses clumsy locutions such as "senior plain-clothes officer in this particular territorial division of the relevant constabulary" rather than "DCI", won't exactly convey much realism.

Margaret Duffy appears to have fallen into the first trap, that of excluding the reader, in the book which leenia read. (One might assume from the phrase, "digger driver", that A JCB is some sort of digger. However, on no further information, the assumption that the driver is Australian is equally valid.)

There is also the transatlantic gap to consider for such stories. I still love the Ed McBain novels about the fictional 87th precinct, and other US police stories, but I still hit phrases such as "DA" or "Miranda" with a jarring thud if they crop up unannounced in insider talk. Luckily, US Police series on TV are more pervasive in Britain than the reverse, so I have plenty of material from which to research.

And yes, A[cronym]F[inder] and other glossaries are valuable tools. But forcing the reader rather than the author to do the necessary research to understand acronyms or phrases, suggests lack of effort on the part of the latter.


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Subject: RE: BS: Can't run a force without acronymns
From: Strollin' Johnny
Date: 29 Feb 04 - 01:27 AM

Leenia,

Sorry to get heavy in a hitherto pretty light thread, but one of your lines just got right up my snitch:-

"Apparently when a cop is deemed bright enough not to lick the end of his/her pencil before writing, he gets promoted to detective-something........."

My brother-in-law is a cop. He's a traffic cop, a constable not a 'detective-something' - you'd probably regard him as a thick neo-nazi motorist-persecutor, but he does a few useful things too, like picking up the body-parts littering the scene of a motorway accident, helping the mortuary attendant to get those parts onto the slab and into some semblance of order so they can be identified, and breaking the news to and comforting the parents of the 15-year-old car-thief whose body-parts he's just been handling.

He's also a member of MENSA. Is that bright enough for you?

I don't know where you're based but, if not in the UK, you should know that our police have a shitty job to do, they do it with minimal personal protection (no guns, just a can containing 4 seconds-worth of CS spray which, when used, often disables not only the violent assailant but also the policeman trying to subdue him, and a baton, even the drawing of which is now discouraged by the police hierarchy in certain constabularies because 'it's an inappropriate display of aggression'), in the main they do it very well and with good humour. It's disappointing to see them made the victims of a cheap stereotypical slap-down in what I'd guess is supposed to be an intelligent thread. If you view them with such apparent disdain, why do you devour crime-fiction in which the cops almost always win?

I await with interest the deluge of PC anti-police rhetoric which I just KNOW is about to fall on my aging, bald and very tired head!

Johnny :0)


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Subject: RE: BS: Can't run a force without acronyms
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 29 Feb 04 - 03:20 PM

Sorry if the Catherine-Aird inspired joke hurt your feelings, Johnny, but I'm just chatting on a light-hearted thread, not doing counseling or testifying in court. Can't weigh every phrase in case one out of the thousands of possible readers will be offended.

HuwG: What are GAS & BvB?


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Subject: RE: BS: Can't run a force without acronyms
From: Strollin' Johnny
Date: 29 Feb 04 - 04:04 PM

Sorry Leenia, I was just out of bed and hadn't had my first cup of tea! You just touched a raw nerve. I know you meant no offence and I've calmed down now! Pax?

Johnny :0)


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Subject: RE: BS: Can't run a force without acronyms
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 29 Feb 04 - 04:04 PM

So stereotyping is OK on a light-hearted thread no matter if will give offence?

Isn't that just typical of a woman ....


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Subject: RE: BS: Can't run a force without acronyms
From: Peace
Date: 29 Feb 04 - 07:55 PM

I'm outta here.


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Subject: RE: BS: Can't run a force without acronyms
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 01 Mar 04 - 12:42 AM

Pax, Johnny.

I just came across another acronym. AGM. I don't have a quotation, but the context was that a gang of art thieves was so organized they even had an AGM.

Amoral General Manager?


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Subject: RE: BS: Can't run a force without acronyms
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 01 Mar 04 - 01:07 AM

Air-to-Ground Missle?

Here are a few from the site I linked to above (I'm not sure how the last one rates being "AGM"):

AGM Absorbed Glass Mat (battery)   
AGM Air-to-Ground Missile   
AGM Air-to-surface Guided Missile   
AGM Angle-Grinder Man   
AGM Annual General Meeting   
AGM Annual Guidance Memorandum   
AGM Area General Manager   
AGM Assistant General Manager   
AGM Association Genevoise des Malentendants   
AGM Attack Guidance Matrix   
AGM Attack Guided Missile   
AGM Autonomous Guided Weapon   
AGM Award of Garden Merit (British horticulture)   
AGM Missile Range Instrumentation Ship


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Subject: RE: BS: Can't run a force without acronyms
From: HuwG
Date: 01 Mar 04 - 04:31 AM

Sorry leeneia, GAS and BvB are perhaps guitarists', rather than general musicians' terms.

GAS = Guitar (or Gear) Aquisition Syndrome; the irresistible urge to acquire ever better, more expensive, guitars. (Gear Acquisition Syndrome is perhaps suffered more by rock guitarists, as they fall prey to the temptation to gain bigger amps and speakers, more and more foot pedals and so on, in addition to the flashier guitars.)


BvB =
"Her eyes they shone like diamonds
I thought her the Queen of the land
And her hair hung over her shoulder
Tied up with a black velvet band."

****

<non-PC> To the less glamourous uniformed branch of the constabulary, "CID" stands for "C***s in Disguise". </non-PC>


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Subject: RE: BS: Can't run a force without acronyms
From: Hrothgar
Date: 01 Mar 04 - 05:58 AM

Pricewaterhouse Coopers = PWC = Pricks With Calculators.

I take no credit. That came from somebody at Ernst & Young.


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Subject: RE: BS: Can't run a force without acronyms
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 01 Mar 04 - 11:25 AM

R! IC!!!

:D


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Subject: RE: BS: Can't run a force without acronyms
From: Chief Chaos
Date: 02 Mar 04 - 09:48 AM

If it weren't for acronyms I'd have no job!
Somebody has to be able to tell the JOs (Junior Officers) what everything stands for. Just read some new regulations. So full of alphabet soup it made my head spin. Had to go back and re-read them several times and I'm still not sure what they are supposed to mean.


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Subject: RE: BS: Can't run a force without acronyms
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 02 Mar 04 - 10:00 AM

Thanks, Huw. Your GAS is my IAS - instrument acquisition symdrome.


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Mudcat time: 14 August 2:42 PM EDT

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