April 15th, 2005
Who picks the music on Marketplace? I listen to two radio stations: the independent and kick-ass KEXP, and our local NPR affiliate. Curiously, I often hear the same bands on each: Death Cab For Cutie, Franz Ferdinand, Yo La Tango, Stereophonic. KEXP plays this stuff ’round the clock, but I also here it wedged between stories on NPR’s otherwise staid Marketplace, and I often find myself wondering “who decides to follow up a story about the AARP’s position on social security with a clip from The Get Up Kids?”
I went to the Marketplace Homepage to send them an inquiring email, but discovered that I didn’t have to: they are so proud of their tuneage that “LIKE THE MUSIC ON MARKETPLACE?” is the very first question they tackle in their Special Features section. A link takes you to Jane’s Music Blog, featuring “notes from the show’s director on what gets played and why, who is that band you heard on yesterday’s show, and … the connection between that story on global politics and the Massive Attack song that followed it.”
Though the blog isn’t updated very regularly, the “About Jane” on its side told me that the songs are selected by one Jane Lindholm, Marketplace producer, world traveller, and — apparently — fan of the Sneaker Pimps.
When does “next weekend” start? A friend and I were speaking on a Sunday, and made some vague plans to get together on the next weekend. The following day I wrote him an email and officially proposed that we get together “next weekend.”
“Sorry, ” he replied. “I’ll be out of town next weekend.”
“Wha-?” said I. “We just discussed this yesterday, and you said next weekend worked fine.”
“I said this weekend worked fine.”
“No, I distinctly remember you saying ‘next weekend’.”
“Well, I did say ‘next weekend’, but that was on a Sunday,” he explained. “Now it’s Monday, so yesterday’s ‘next weekend’ is today’s ‘this weekend,’ and ‘next weekend’ is the weekend after. Didn’t you know that’s how it worked?”
I did not know that’s how it worked.
I always thought that “this weekend” referred to the weekend you were either in or chronologically closest to, and “next weekend” referred to the weekend that followed it. So on a Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday morning, “this weekend” meant the previous weekend (as in, “I had a good time this weekend”) and “next weekend” meant the upcoming weekend; from 12:01 pm Wednesday to 11:59 pm Sunday, “this weekend” meant the upcoming weekend (or the one you were currently in) and “next weekend” meant the one thereafter.
I thought I’d get a majority opinion on this, so I posted the following to an online forum I frequent:
"This" weekend vs. "next" weekend debate
Today is a Friday. If I said "I'm going to eat 350 pickles next weekend," what days would you think I talking about: tomorrow (and the following day) or a week from tomorrow (and the following day)?
What about this. On a Tuesday I say "Let's you and I have sex next weekend." Am I talking about: five days from now (and the following day) or 12 days from now (and the following day)?
Bonus question: at what point in time does "next weekend" become "this weekend"?
As it turned out, there was no debate: every person said “a week from tomorrow” for the first and “12 days” for the second. Answer to the bonus question: A second after midnight on Monday morning.
The best clarification offered was “‘This weekend’ always means ‘this week’s end’; ‘next weekend’ always means ‘next week’s end’.” But it looks like I’m not entirely alone in my confusion. Over on this page, a number of folks say that “this weekend” v. “next weekend” isn’t as cut-and-dried as some people make it seem. And as one person points out, the confusion isn’t limited to time. How many times have you been giving directions to your spouse or partner while on the road, and resorted to the cumbersome locution “not-at-this-light-but-the-next-light” when telling him where to turn, knowing that just saying “next light” might result in a wrong turn and a subsequent argument about semantics?