Florida Man's wine-fueled nude driveway dance leads to arrest

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2017/04/06/florida-mans-wine-fueled-nud.html


I’ve had dreams like this.




I’ll be honest. This is more California. Except the fact that the cops were called.

I am not even stereotyping. I helped an ex move to Sunnyvale about a year ago (I am literally the only person she trusts with her cats), and her landlord was showing us the hottub on the common property. At one point he shrugged and said, “It’s California, so if you wanna go nude, just try to do it late at night”. He also covertly-but-not-covertly suggested that smoking pot in the tub was A-OK.


I’ve had Friday nights like that.


Those “Penny Can” people should be locked up right alongside the “Big Bang Theory” people. Also, Florida Man was naked probably because he was waiting on his drug hookup to show. Can’t be clothed to make those kinda deals, dontchaknow.

Well he’s got my support. Whoever called the cops is a douche.


I’m going to digress for a moment on what a horrible headline this is.

First, it is ridiculous in this day and age that we still write anything in Headlinese, that abbreviated, not-quite-grammatical variation of the English language that doesn’t think things like articles and the verb “to be” have any right to exist.

On a newspaper, it makes some perverse sense: save a little ink, make the font of the headline a little larger and eye-catching. On a website, it makes no damn sense. Every article dropped saves two or four bytes (also known as fucking nothing). It also makes certain nouns and verbs indistinguishable, dramatically increasing the number of Garden Path phrases, which require you to read the same thing multiple times in order to parse it correctly. The missing punctuation only makes things harder

It was painful enough that I actually went back and figured out how many times I had to parse the damn phrase:

Four times parsing failed so horribly that I had to backtrack to the beginning of the sentence. At least that many times I found my self befuddled, but able to continue with Some (incorrect) possible reading.

  • Florida could be a noun…,

  • but but the time we get to man’s we figure out it’s just a noun adjunct, which tells us the subject of the sentence is probably not a proper noun (like Florida), but rather something else. That means we’re missing the article A at the beginning of the sentence.

  • We get to wine, and now we at least have complete subject (or so we think), A Florida man’s wine. This would be clearer and parsing would have gone much more smoothly if the demonym adjective Floridian were used instead.

  • So then we get to the first verb, fueled, the presumed predicate of the sentence, which suggests everything after it is the object.

  • nude (adj)…

  • drive (n) …

  • way? So did the wine fuel a nude drive way (adj) out someplace, or did the wine fueled a nude drive way?

  • If you try it as an adjective, the next word is dance, which is nonsensical enough that we can at least backtrack one word to consider way a noun…,

  • which means we actually have to backtrack two words to make the triple-noun “drive way dance” the more reasonable noun modified by a noun adjunct, either “drive-way dance” or “driveway dance”. So either there’s an extra space, or a missing hyphen.

  • Also, the noun is missing an article, which would have lent some clarity to whether we should expect a noun phrase (nude driveway dance) or a verb phrase (_nude driveway danc_ing).

  • And lets ignore the fact dance could be a noun or a verb, because we already have a subject and predicate, and we’re looking for an object.

And then the sentence still doesn’t have the courtesy to end…

  • There’s another word leads (n? v?) …

  • to… okay, leads was probably a verb, which means that the verb we thought was the predicate (fueled, past-tense of to fuel) is not. So we have to heavily backtrack, and re-read bearing in mind all the words that have come so far are actually part of an over-extended subject.

  • Since fueled can’t be functioning as a verb, it has to be the past participle fueled.

  • Which means the wine fueled is probably really supposed to be wine-fueled (past part. fueled as by wine).

  • We then get the idea that wine-fueled and nude are supposed to both modify drive-way dance, which is all together the real subject. Which would be made clearer if the writer followed even some basic rules about putting a comma between modifiers.

  • (Also, the article we placed before nude driveway dance is now shown to be incorrect, because there is only the one original thing Florida man’s wine-fueled, nude driveway dance, not two things nude driveway dance and Florida man’s wine.

  • Finally, the remainder of the words after leads to better be an object. Thankfully, it’s just the one noun, arrest.

  • And again, that non-proper noun needs an article.

So what made this such a cluster fuck?

  1. a lot of words in this sentence can be either nouns or adjectives (Florida, wine, nude, drive, way) or either a noun or a verb (drive, dance, leads, even arrest) or even a very adjective-like participle or a past-tense verb (fueled). Nine out of Eleven things actually printed in this headline could be nouns…
  2. … And honestly, that’s kind of to be expected in English. Even when we have perfectly explicit adjective forms (Floridian) people prefer the simpler noun adjunct (Florida). And even when we have perfectly good verbs, we instead try to verb a noun. And the fact that this is so common in English make everything in this list especially terrible, because you can easily foresee that removing them makes most complex sentence fall apart.
  3. Articles always help distinguish between nouns and verbs. That’s their main function. Stripping them out on a regular basis is going to spoil most complex sentences built on common words.
  • two nouns (drive way) are used when the much more common compound (driveway) or even a hyphenation (drive-way) should be used. That at least makes it clearer that they are both nouns, and should be inter-relate as such.
  1. Since wine is modifying fueled to make a verbial phrase to modify a noun (dance), it should probably be hyphenated to indicate that it is all one phrase embedded in an even larger phrase.
  2. In fact, there is a long list of modifiers to dance (wine-fueled, nude, drive-way), none of which are properly separate by anything. At a bare minimum, you need a comma between wine-fueled and nude to indicate they are unrelated except for the fact that they both modify the compound noune driveway dance. (and I wouldn’t be surprised if someone was more comfortable with wine-fueled, nude, drive-way dance).

None of the decorations that indicate “this is the start of a list” or “this modifies that” or “this is even a noun” are present in this headline. And the more you break down the barriers between verb and noun and adjective (the way 80% of this thing does), the more important it becomes to have those decorations in order to read the damn thing in a single pass. (Which, paradoxically enough, means that “simplifying” the language by dropping these decorations actually makes it a lot harder for less-proficient speakers to parse.)

Your English teacher was not trying to torture you: these things are all actually necessary.




Well, California DOES have better wine.


…which, through the marvels of modern transport, may well have been what Florida man was drinking…



you’ve put quite a lot of thought to this.


Some thought, mostly anger.

Again, these sort of headlines come up all the time. This is the first time I’ve tried to retrace my steps to get a feel for exactly how badly I needed to backtrack to compensate for shitty headline English.

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Here in Oregon, our right to dance nekkid in our driveways is a constitutionally protected right, as long as you are not doing it for lascivious purposes. Or was that lascivious porpoises? I can never remember…



To be fair, it does get hot and humid enough to want to strip down to nothing in Florida, drunk or not.



Well, it could have been Andrès Baby Duck, which, despite the similar names, is a very Canadian sort of thing. In that case, you could blame it on the bad influence of snow birds… :wink: