Monday, September 15, 2014

Requesting Clearance

Sale! Certain words 11 percent off!

Clearance sale! All A’s must go! Only one left in stock!

In this screen grab from the 1984 sci-fi classic The Terminator, a door is ajar … and a word is jarred.


Before he attempts to terminate the woman whose unborn son will one day lead a human revolution against machines, Arnold Schwarzenegger, playing the titular cyborg from a post-apocalyptic future, steals a car and goes “shopping” for guns. As he enters the shop, attentive viewers learn that a storewide clearance sale is in progress. Well, sort of.

CLEARANCE is missing an A, clearly. It should have been stocked with two; one has been terminated. An A is in the CLEAR, but the other has been removed from the shelves, preventing us from getting ANCE-y.

Adding another A to this gun shop’s door would make me trigger-happy, so to speak. So, after the R, clear the way for an A. Have I made myself … understood?

Editor’s note: STOREWIDE is one word. If it can’t be painted on one line, it should be hyphenated. Perhaps the hyphen was left out intentionally, for cosmetic reasons. That is why I didn’t harp on this particular STOREWIDE renovation in today’s post. I couldn’t afford CLEARNCE the same luxury; it, like a Terminator emerging from the fiery wreckage of an exploded tanker truck, is a shell of its former self. The world needed to know. And the next time someone rifles a letter from a word, I’ll be there to tell you all about it, readers. That’s right: I’ll be back.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Cyber Not

I’m reporting a cybercrime in a USA Today cover story about Arnold Schwarzenegger, the bodybuilder turned actor turned governor turned adulterer returned actor. It’s more than a crime, in fact. It’s an act of terrorism. An r has gone “Commando,” taking off without any support and muscling its way in where it doesn’t belong. See those “Twins” after the o? Wrong spot. The back-to-back r’s belong before the o. After the o comes the solo — the solo r.



According to “The Rundown,” all r’s were present and accounted for, but one of ‘em was in the wrong “cyberspace.” As a result, terrorist became terorrist. That’s teribl— That’s terrible. Not nearly as terrible as fathering a child out of wedlock with your housekeeper, though that’s a story for a different “Judgment Day.”

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Highway Robbery

In...? In...? In ... what?

Someone doesn’t understand the ins and (left) outs of caption writing. It’s unfortunate that this photo caption wasn’t littered with another word or two. The writer exited the highway before reaching his destination, and this bump in the road is taking its toll.

Something has been left out after in. In case you’re curious, debris from the tractor-trailer was strewn across I-95 in Fairfield, Connecticut — my hometown. Without adding some finishing touches to the caption, however, the pieces of pavement could have been anywhere along the East Coast. Interstate 95 runs for more than 1,900 miles, from Miami all the way north to the Canadian border in Maine, and passes through more states (15) than any other highway.

When writing about an interstate where you’re apt to see both alligators and black bears, it would help readers if you pinpointed your position at the end of the line.