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Mark Bechtel
September 18, 2000
A Web site helps you understand what Miller might mean
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September 18, 2000

Deconstructing Dennis

A Web site helps you understand what Miller might mean

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In one of his patented rants on his late-night HBO show, Dennis Miller said, "Stop me before I subreference again," an admission that his encyclopedic riffs can get obfuscatory. Enter the good folks at, the Website of the Encyclopaedia Britannica, who have taken it upon themselves to compile and explain the references of the rookie Monday Night Football analyst in "The Annotated Dennis Miller," accessible from a link on the site's home page.

The posting, updated the afternoon following each week's game, is erudite and tongue-in-cheek. Take Miller's remark, during the Sept. 4 Broncos-Rams game, that "I think the reason you're seeing so many flags is that everybody's having to communicate in semaphore." First, writer Locke Peterseim gives a brief definition of semaphore ("a method of signaling with flags"), pointing out that the word was coined in 1794 by a Frenchman to describe a method of communicating between revolutionaries during their battles with royalists. Under "What Miller Might Have Meant," Peterseim says, "Perhaps the referees were not really penalizing Denver for delay of game, but were trying to let Paris know Cond´┐Ż-sur-l'Escaut had been captured from the Austrians."

The site devotes a page to each quarter of every MNF game, as well as a page to the pregame. As long as "The Annotated Dennis Miller" is on line, Miller is welcome to sub-reference his heart out.