This Blog is Stolen Property

Friday, March 23, 2007

This Just In

Anna Nicole Smith is still dead.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Words Are Hard

I used to subscribe to the Columbia Journalism Review. It was one of those periodicals that languished at the edge of the coffee table, looking on with envy as the more popular periodicals got thumbed through.

"Ooooh, well look at little Miss New Yorker," the CJR would no doubt think, "I guess she'll spread her pages for anyone. And would you look at the way The Nation's subscription cards are just hanging out? I guess we know how someone gets her 'circualtion figures' so high, if you know what I mean."

Magazines can be so petty.

Where was I? Oh yes, the CJR. The one feature that I would always read was the back page, where they'd print funny typos and odd grammatical constructions.

Once, in an article about a company whose finances were on the rise, someone had edited the copy so that it read: "After the second quarter earnings, they were back in the African-American."

My all time favorite was from ad or an article about a weight loss procedure. Some woman had gone from 240 pounds to 160. The copy read something like: "She lost 80 pounds. A third of her left behind!"

That must've been 15 years ago and I still laugh a third of my ass off everytime I think about it.

Today I went to (occasionally I like to check in with the lowest common denominator) and saw this headline: "Toddler improves on experimental medication."

Now there isn't particularly anything wrong with that phrasing. But I stared at it for several moments wondering what kind of genius toddler it was who was making these pharmaceutical advancements.

Then I saw this:

People protest by acting as killed war victims during an anti-war demonstration to mark the 4th anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in San Francisco, California, March 19, 2007.

That's just egregiously bad English. In the first headline about the toddler, I simply misread the function of "on."

Or when my students write that Thomas Hobbes "supported the erection of the king," well that is simply them being entirely tone deaf.

But the above sentence is just dreadful. "Killed" is awkward, there are too many prepositional phrases, the last of which makes it sound as though the US invaded San Francisco as part of the Iraq war.

And this presumably went through an editor. Blech.

My students often complain about being corrected on such minor things as grammar and clarity. "But, can't you just talk about what I'm saying and not how I'm saying it?" they plead.

My dears, I often have no idea what you are saying.

"A third of her left behind." Hee hee.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

No, *This* Is The Worst Product Ever

Patchouli deodorant???

I actually saw this in the store today. After the liquid soap debacle, I've been keeping my eyes peeled in the toiletries aisle.

Patchouli deodorant.

That's gotta be some kind of oxymoron.

Like "darkness visible" or "Justice Scalia."

I apologize if anyone out there is a devotee of the stuff. I have almost no tolerance for anything scented, so I am a poor judge perhaps. But I do remember as a teenager thinking that my friends wore patchouli to cover up their pot smoke and B.O. It was many years before I realized that patchouli actually sort of smells like pot smoke and B.O.