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Sauce Castillo & The Mondegreen

April 8, 2015

Nik Stauskas is still coming to terms with his new nickname -- and how he got it.  The NBA rookie has gone from Sacramento Kings bench-warmer to full-on marketing sensation in a week, all because of a little misunderstanding. Kings coach George Karl put Stauskas into a game last week against the lowly Philadelphia 76ers. When Stauskas took his first shot, those watching on TV noticed the broadcast's closed captioning system having some trouble with his name.  Nik Stauskas somehow became -- in white text at the top of the screen -- Sauce Castillo. People watching at home caught it right away.  It was funny.  It became a thing.   And just last night, Kings fans celebrated Sauce Castillo Night in Sacramento.  It's only a matter of time before they change the name on the back of his jersey. Sauce Castillo is the latest example of what I call "The Anxiety of Inference" -- our assumption that we can count on the systems we've built to infer what we mean to say and do. Machine learning and predictive analytics have become so sophisticated, we expect our phones will guess our next word before we type it, our cars will know where we're going before we put it in the nav, our restaurants will know what we want to eat before we order it.  If you're a smartphone, car or restaurant, that's a lot of pressure. When it comes to failed inference, Damn You Autocorrect is by far the champ.  An infinite collection of smartphones' hilarious mistaken presumptions, the site's become a rabbit hole for all of us who appreciate the beauty of computers who -- try as they may -- don't quite understand us yet.
To be fair, human beings can be just as guilty.  This VH1 site is dedicated to how much we've misunderstood our favorite songs.  And Jimmy Fallon's new show, Lip Sync Battle (Thursdays 10pm/9c on Spike TV), is filled with big stars pouring their hearts into live performances of their favorite songs -- sometimes with mistaken lyrics. When a word is misheard or misinterpreted, whether by human or computer, it creates new meaning, and that's called a mondegreen.  Here are some clsssic examples:
Infographic: Top Most Commonly Misunderstood Lyrics in Music
Sometimes we commit so completely to our misunderstanding of a song's lyrics -- even after we've been corrected -- we can't imagine the song any other way.  That's called mumpsimus. A few years ago, I gave a talk called The Poetry of Misunderstanding. I argued that mishearing, misremembering and misunderstanding sometimes lead to magical consequences.  The idea that the new thing that's created when something gets lost in translation...is sometimes more beautiful, exciting and profound than the original thing we misunderstood. Holden Caufield's misinterpretation Robert Burns' poem, Comin' Thro The Rye, lies at the heart of The Catcher In The Rye.  Jimi Hendrix loved misquoted lyrics of his songs so much, he often performed them that way in concert.  And then there's the famous mistranscription of Fall Out Boy's hit song, Sugar We're Doing Down, which I'd argue makes the song infinitely more enjoyable.
Now technology has given us another reason to laugh and celebrate, this time in the form of an unremarkable, unwitting rookie from the Sacramento Kings, who may never achieve a thing on the court, but who shall live on forever as... a sauce.

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August 6, 2012 — 0

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April 7, 2011 — 0

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Monday Night’s Dinner

June 30, 2010 — 0

Two things happened at dinner Monday night at Blue Ribbon. 1) The theme of our dinner was "Exploit"... Not the pejorative definition, the other one. And it featured an inspiring table of people who run platforms that empower young people to do amazing shit: The National Endowment For The Arts, TED Conference For Youth, Behance.net, Red Head Consulting, Pepsi Refresh Project, Best Film On Campus, Rate My Professors, FreedomZone, VIMBY and more. 2) Our waiter is a rapper named Zach G, and his website is: here. Also, on our waiter's website, I just finally found the lyrics to this Eminem song: I come around like what goes around What goes up must come down anyone that goes up must go down might as well go for the gusto now better not let up better not let them breathe last shot give it all you got (wanna turn me down) bitch cant fuck with a volume knob fuck all you snobs hoes i hope all you rot 2 bottles of lubriderm and a box of condoms is that all you brought and you want a menage a trois you twats fuck that I’d rather turn this club to a bar room brawl get rowdy as (ralphy’s burger) in a bathroom stall like a leaf stuck in a vacuum yall aint nothin but a lot of suckin goin on in rap yeah but I’m home dad took a bomb back on his own let him alone you dont wanna go eggin him on it’ll never be my chair that you on crown so tight that it cuts off circulation to the brain no oxygen other words theres no heir to the throne when I die so does hip hop hitchcock coulda shit bitch ass dot got a ziploc that’ll bag you fags aint been able to fade me since kid rock had a hight top keep bloggin while I mind boggle and I zone like I’m in the twilight talkin off my poem this is my mic talk on it I like hoggin flow so wet imma take this beat tobogganing Im waterloggin it Im soggin it pull your verse out the beat and stomp on it suplexin it on cement like I’m on some straight outta compton shit Take this dick and chomp on it I’m so bad I could bitch slap a backhanded compliment jackass eat a donkey dick the game I just about conquered it like donkey kong I’m bonkers bitch I’m the king of this honkey shit I reign supreme in this honkey shit no sense screamin and arguin makes no difference whether a benz a bentley or a beamer’s the car you in you think you ball well I palm it I throw bars when I vomit boy I throw down in the kitchen might hit your mom with my omelette but you got egg on your face now watch me drop an atomic I should be strapped tot he chest of a kamikaze bitch I’m as bastard as ozzie it’s obvious you can tell right off the bat no pun intended but come any closer I’ll bite off your head trying to give me the finger is kinda like givin a spider the web Im just gonna spin it and try to use it to my advantage I catch a fly in that bitch you think you fly you just food I give as much of a flying fuck as that superman dude yes I just do what you cant do and make you look stupid and bamboozled confused as usual and you can get ripped sick and open a can too but you better hope you can handle the heat or stay the fuck outta hell’s kitchen i came to cock block like a square fuckin male chicken its shady slut the rest can suck on it big wood cause I’m as despicable as daffy duck when I’m spittin