Monday, January 30, 2012

Discovering a New City

Ohio State defeated VMI in what city? I didn't attend the 33-point blowout, but I'm fairly confident the game was played in Columbus, Ohio — the capital of the Buckeye State and home to Ohio State University. The state's largest city, which was founded in 1812, was named for explorer Christopher Columbus. In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue. In 2011, the Connecticut Post blew it.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

She Goes by the Name of...

The text you see here is a portion of an article about how lockers — a symbol of U.S. high schools for decades — are being phased out in this technological age.

The Temple, Texas, district spokeswoman is Regina Corley. Or is it? Look closely at the bottom line. Regina's last name has mysteriously changed to Corely.

Had the writer handed in this article to my reporting professor at the University of Florida, she would have been docked an automatic 50 points and would have received an F. Harsh? Perhaps. But the College of Journalism professors were trying to instill in us a commitment to accuracy. I don't blame them. I don't think Regina Corley would either. Or Regina Corely.

Monday, January 23, 2012

On Separate Occasions

Occasion isn't the easiest word to spell. Some think it has two c's and one s. (Those folks are correct.) Others believe it has one c and two s's. Still others maintain that it has two c's and two s's. Seeing it spelled incorrectly, therefore, isn't too surprising. Or so I thought. It is surprising to find it spelled two different ways — one right, one wrong — on the same laminated advertisement, which is what happened when I was at Johnny's Diner in Fairfield, Connecticut, recently.

Oh, Johnny, you weren't good. Occasion makes up 9.5 percent (two of the 21 words) of your sign. Is it asking too much to spell it correctly in both spots? Heck, I think it would have been preferable to misspell it twice; at least you would have been consistent.

Johnny's Diner does have its share of tasty dishes, including the grilled chicken sandwich on a Portuguese roll that I had on this visit. That's why I eat there. Occasionally.

Friday, January 20, 2012

It's "To" or Die

I'm not making light of the AP story in today's post — just the Connecticut Post headline that accompanied it.

Man shot death? Who is death, and why isn't his name capitalized?

It should read, "Man shot to death in New London," of course. Committing this error isn't a fate worse than death, but I couldn't overlook it for the life of me.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Brett Fav ... ruh

Today's post conjures up memories of one of my favorite lines in the movie There's Something About Mary. You can listen to it here.

     Ted (Ben Stiller): What about Brett Fav ... ruh?
     Mary (Cameron Diaz): What did I tell you the first time we met? I'm a Niners fan.

Poor Ted had issues trying to pronounce former NFL quarterback Brett Favre's last name. Turns out, he had company. Back in 1991, the Topps Stadium Club football set included a rookie card of a player by the name of Brett Farve. Oops.

The spelling error showed up on the front of card No. 94 ...
It's difficult to place too much blame on the good folks over at Topps. They were merely spelling his last name as it's — for unknown reasons — pronounced. And remember, this was back in the early '90s, long before Favre was a household name famous for his many touchdowns and infamous for his many retirements.

... and the back.

Monday, January 16, 2012

To Be, or Not to Be?

Was — it's such a simple word. A three-letter verb that is the past tense of be. It'd be pretty hard to misprint was. Or so you'd think.

I don't mean to pile it on, but I found another error in the Nov. 7, 2011, issue of Sports Illustrated.

In one of the questions Dan Patrick posed to Michigan State quarterback Kirk Cousins in the "Just My Type" department, the word was was split and placed on separate lines.

Talk about a bad break.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Thinking Outside the Box

I don't lead a wild, jet-setting life. When I'm not playing softball or basketball, I'm often reading, watching television or doing word puzzles. (Yeah, yeah — I'm not exactly "cool.")

I enjoy doing four puzzles that appear in USA Today: Word Roundup (a word search), QuickCross (a 4x4 crossword), Up & Down Words (a crossword-style game of linked two-word phrases) and Sudoku.

I caught an error in this Word Roundup. Can you spot it?

OK, time's up. The mistake has nothing to do with spelling or punctuation. It's a graphics error — one a proofreader should have noticed. Because I paid attention in elementary school, I knew the "famous flag maker" in question was Betsy Ross. I found Betsy and checked off a box. I found Ross and, um, had no box to check. Check (box), please.

Monday, January 9, 2012

An Unorthodox Ordinal Number

Wow, check out this sign my friend Lindsay, of IAMNOTASTALKER, saw hanging outside a rugs store in Pasadena, California. Where to begin?

What store celebrates a 31-year anniversary? Don't get me wrong. Thirty-one is actually my favorite number. It has been ever since Yankees outfielder Dave Winfield first donned his No. 31 uniform in the early '80s. But it's not exactly a popular number, a milestone number. The world's finest hotels earn five stars. Bo Derek was a 10. Sixteen is sweet. Fifty is golden. Thirty-one? Baskin-Robbins notwithstanding, it has little cachet.

My main issue, however, is not with 31 but with those two little letters that follow. I've heard of imaginary numbers, but this is ridiculous. How on earth could this mistake go unnoticed? Go ahead, try to pronounce "31th." It's a tongue twister. As you reach the \ f \ sound, your mind can't help but segue into the start of the \ …ôr \ sound. But wait, there's a \ th \ sound at the end. What to do? Confusion reigns. THER-TEE-FERTH.

Lindsay saw this sign each time she headed to Old Town Pasadena. She walked by it for months, and each time she marveled at the fact that it was still up. I don't blame you, Lindsay. Someone did a number on this sign.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Up, Up and Away

If the goal of the USA Today writer who came up with this caption was to get a rise out of me, mission accomplished. It's that two-word lead-in that has my temperature rising.

Doesn't the caption writer know that "rise up," in all its forms, is redundant? Something can't "rise down." The up, therefore, is not necessary. Yet, I am sad to report, it's everywhere.

We see it on TV:

ESPN ran an original series called "Rise Up" last year. The four-part series was meant to inspire. With a title like that, how could it?

We hear it on the radio:

As a child of the '80s who loves Def Leppard, I am pained to say that the group beckons us to "rise up" at the start of its hit song "Rock of Ages."

Seeing it and hearing it everywhere doesn't make it right. So, dear readers, rise against "rise up" with me, won't you? And, while we're at it, rise against other redundancies. Here are some that need to go:

  • Armed gunman
  • ATM machine
  • Exact same
  • Free gift
  • HIV virus
  • Join together
  • Pair of twins
  • Past history
  • PIN number
  • SAT test
  • 12 noon (or 12 midnight)

Monday, January 2, 2012

Oh, the Horror!

Today's post has my spider senses tingling. I have never seen the 2002 horror movie Eight Legged Freaks, but if the title is any indication, the David Arquette film has something to do with eight freaks who have legs. That's how it reads.

Where the heck is the hyphen? The movie is about mutant spiders, obviously, so the title should be Eight-Legged Freaks, which would refer to freaks who have eight legs. The makers of Eight Legged Freaks may want to consider changing that tagline from "let the squashing begin" to "let the hyphenating begin."

Eight Legged Freaks bugs me (pun intended), but it isn't alone. I'm pointing my movie-critic finger at you, The 40 Year-Old Virgin. You went 1 for 2 in hyphen usage. Where's the one between 40 and year? Without it, your movie is about 40 virgins who are a year old!

It takes a team — a big team — of talented individuals to make a movie, so it always surprises me when something as straightforward as a punctuation error goes unnoticed. All it takes is one person to say, "Um, the title of our movie really needs a hyphen." I'd be happy to move to Hollywood and be that person.

As the end credits roll during today's post, I'll leave you with a few honorable mentions in the "titular trouble" category. Here goes...

  • Two Weeks Notice (What I notice is that the apostrophe is absent.)
  • Law Abiding Citizen (Yet another case of the missing hyphen.)
  • Who Framed Roger Rabbit (Unless Who is the name of a person, this title desperately needs a question mark.)