Monday, October 24, 2016

OR-CA: A Whale of an Error

That state you state. Stand by that?

The paragraph pictured above is from an article about the 30th anniversary of Stand By Me, one of my favorite movies. The majority of Stand By Me was filmed in Oregon, but the famous train trestle scene was not. The sun may have baked the Beaver State on that particular 1985 day, but who knows what it was doing 70 miles south at Lake Britton, near Burney, California. That is where Rob Reiner filmed four boys trying to cross a river during the celluloid summer of 1959, outrunning a train and adolescence at once.

So why mention the solar conditions in Oregon? Asking why the weather in Oregon is pertinent to a scene shot in California is like asking, oh, if you think Mighty Mouse could beat up Superman.

It's goofy*.

Make like Clark and Lewis (Why must Lewis always receive top billing?) and hit the trail, Oregon. Let California have its moment in the sun.

* There, Gordie, now you know what's goofy.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

A Strange Bird

Which of the following teams is not like the others?

• Arizona (NFL)
• St. Louis (MLB)
• Stanford University (NCAA)
• University of Louisville (NCAA)
• Ball State University (NCAA)

It’s Stanford, which for the second time in less than two months is the unwitting subject of a When Write Is Wrong post.

Arizona, St. Louis, Louisville and Ball State are, ahem, flock-ing similar because all share the same nickname: Cardinals.

While those teams take flight, however, Stanford must remain grounded, because the leading research university’s nickname refers to the deep shade of red, not the bird. Stanford’s nickname has no s at the end.

Stanford was without an official nickname in 1892 when, following a football victory over rival California, local newspapers used “Cardinal” references in headlines. The nickname stuck … for a while. Stanford adopted Indians as the official nickname in 1930, though it was dropped in 1972. For the next decade, Stanford’s official nickname was Cardinals, plural. In 1981, then president Donald Kennedy “colorfully” declared that Cardinal, in its singular form, would be the official nickname.

As strange as it may look or sound, Stanford’s nickname has no s. You can bet the Farm on it.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Slight of Hand

What does the paragraph pictured below have in common with a person moving a piano, the electronic dance music group Krewella showing "Human" interest and me trying to tie a square knot on a gift box? You'll find out soon enough.

I see no traces of blood, which is strange, because someone severed a body part. To avoid doing further harm, the writer needs to hit me with another word near the end of the last sentence. Give me more after Moore's. I'm no masochist, but I'd feel a lot better if the writer would lay a hand on me.

Stacy Bengs / Associated Press

When you need help composing complete sentences, enlist editors. We can give you a hand.

And that's important, because whether you're moving a piano or performing an EDM song or tying a knot, we could all use one sometimes.

Even a miracle ...