Friday, March 30, 2012

Gone to Seed

A day after finding a city name spelled incorrectly during a March Madness game, I spotted another on-air graphic gaffe while watching the NCAA tournament. Well, two more, though one of them is, to put it in basketball terms, a more flagrant foul.

See something seedy in seeded? An extra e seeped in. Unfortunately, no editors at truTV, which aired the game, succeeded in making sure one of those three e's seceded from seeded. Say it isn't "sow"!

While reading this "tournament summary" during the game (FYI: San Diego St. vs. N.C. St.), I was so preoccupied with the unusual growth in seeded that I almost failed to notice the secondary error. See it? No, it's not the first e in Asheville; that belongs there. It's the missing hyphen. One is needed. Before seeded.

It's "tru."

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The Games People Play

I'm throwing myself a surprise party next week, and all my A-list readers are invited. Step inside the velvet ropes, lucky ones; it's going to be a wild shindig that makes those partying teens from Project X look like Boy Scouts-cum-choirboys. My pal Barney describes my parties as legen — wait for it — dary.

We're going to gorge on pizza and ice cream cake, watch a Back to the Future movie marathon, shoot some hoops and cap off our madcap night — which will run into the wee hours of 9, 9:30 p.m. — with a spirited game of Place the Comma. The winner will receive $1 million in cash and prizes.

Place the Comma is a regional game, so perhaps some of my readers are unfamiliar with it. You'll like it. Trust me. How best to describe it? Hmm... It combines the ferocity of dodgeball with the frivolity of strip poker and the gravity of Russian roulette. It shares its roots with Pin the Tail on the Donkey, though instead of placing a rear end on a picture of an ass, you place a comma on a word's tail.

We played the game at an impromptu little soiree I whipped up last month. Many of the luminaries in attendance participated. Here's the version we played, along with the results:

1 / Lady Gaga / The singer, who showed up in a dress made entirely of Reynolds Wrap and ostrich feathers, has a good poker face, but her Place the Comma face couldn't hide the fact that she left her punctuation mark hanging on a segment with u, choosing to place it next to double. She stormed out of the room in a huff, exclaiming, "I'm going to j-j-just dance." Wrong.

2 / Jeremy Lin / Still smarting from losing to the party's host in a 3-point contest, an off-his-game Lin shot an air ball, inserting a comma after opener. Wrong.

3 / Pippa Middleton / The stylish English socialite, who appeared puzzled throughout the game, took a long time before finally guessing that the comma belonged after innings. She blamed her uncertainty on the variations between American and British English, though she was able to laugh about it. I appreciate the good humour, Pippa, but... Wrong.

4 / The Green M&M / A distracted Ms. Green batted her voluminous lashes at all the eye candy in the house as she placed a comma after every m. Wrong.

5 / Gary Busey / The Point Break co-star, feeling the aftereffects of too much ice cream cake, missed the target entirely and placed his comma after Back on the Back to the Future DVD cover lying on a nearby table. Very wrong.

6 / Owen / The host, realizing that "including an RBI double in his first at-bat" was a nonessential appositive — a phrase that provides additional information about the word that precedes it but is not essential to the context of the sentence — placed the comma after at-bat. Right. Winner!

See you at next week's party!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Our or Or?

We almost made it unscathed through this entire photo caption, which accompanied an article about the high number of ACL injuries suffered by players on the University of Connecticut women's basketball team.


Walters told the reporter she thought she'd play again, "with or without pain" — not "with our without pain." It's difficult to even say "with our without." Try it. In fact, try it while singing. I'll provide some lyrics:

Through the storm we reach the shore
You give it all but I want more
And I'm waiting for you

With our without you
With our without you
I can't live
With our without you

Told you. It's tough. With or without lyrics.

Friday, March 23, 2012

It's Not Complicated

This is an advertisement for an album by a Florida-based band called A Day to Remember. Songs on the 2010 album include "It's Complicated," "Better Off This Way," "Out of Time" and "All I Want."

All I want is to know why a comma has been placed after the word album.

"What Separates Me From You" is an essential, or restrictive, phrase — a group of words critical to the reader's understanding of the sentence. Their absence would change the meaning of the sentence and lead to misinterpretation. Those five words must be included if the reader is to know which album is meant. As such, it is an essential phrase and is not set off from the rest of the sentence by a comma.

Let's try a couple of examples.

I am going to purchase the award-winning album Thriller. (No comma, because many albums have won awards, and without the name of the album the reader would not know which album was meant.)

I am going to purchase Def Leppard's 1987 album, Hysteria. (Only one Def Leppard album came out in 1987. The name is informative, but even without it no other album could be meant.)

Does it make sense now, or is it complicated?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Not Seeing I to I to I

While I was watching the University of Connecticut's season mercifully come to an end in the NCAA tournament last week, this graphic popped up during TBS' telecast.

Somebody went missing on the east end of Ohio's third-largest city. Who? I did.

For some, spelling Cincy's full name is not a cinch, though that's the result of all those n's and, to a lesser degree, the t. I blogged about this back in February. (Is it one n and then two n's? Two n's and then one n? Back-to-back n's both times? One or two t's?) Not once, however, has a Cincinnati misspelling occurred because of an i problem. Until now.

Here's hoping we've reached the (city) limit on Cincinnati-based spelling mistakes.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Bracket Busters

My NCAA tournament brackets are often busted far too soon — sometimes after the first weekend. In 2010 and 2011, my brackets went bust faster than Bernie Madoff investors. This 2012 women's bracket was busted long before I put my picks to paper. Don't blame me, then, for the busted bracket. Blame e.

I was bowled over when I noticed, in the upper-left corner, that some first-round games are being played in Bowling Greeen. That extraneous e needs to make like the car in front of me when the light turns green and go. But go where?

I have just the place. That extra e doesn't even have to leave the comforts of this very bracket. Head down to the lower-right corner. It is there that an e in a certain "Wash." city has washed out.

When spoken, Spokane — despite what you may have heard — sounds the way it's written on this bracket. I'm a lifetime East Coaster, and even I know that Spokane is pronounced spo-CAN, not spo-CANE. It does not rhyme with cocaine. It sounds much more like a rhyme for Coke Ann, actually. You can listen to a pronunciation here.

That being said, Washington's second-largest city is spelled with an e on the end. A silent e, sure, but a necessary one.

By repositioning one letter, we can fix the brackish parts of this bracket and return to a state of e harmony, if you will.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Errors in the Flesh

A while back my brother went to a metal concert in New Jersey. Prior to moshing, head-banging and "devil horns" hand-gesturing, he was sitting at the bar when he noticed a guy circulating flyers. He picked up the flyer left atop the bar counter, gave it a quick glance and, upon spotting an error, tucked it in his jacket pocket. Now that's dedication to When Write Is Wrong. Thanks, Bro!

The glossy, full-color ad, for a tattoo parlor in the Garden State, has its share of minor faults (extra periods, random capitalization, missing hyphens and so forth), though that's not why this persnickety blogger is writing about it today.

I won't quibble about the extra periods and the like, but I can't overlook a conspicuous misspelling. Am I really seeing this, or is it merely a "pigment" of my imagination? It's real, all right. Allow me to point out that appointment is spelled wrong. The i goes after the o. Oy!

The ad's copy may be off the mark, but it pales in comparison to injecting indelible ink into the skin ... incorrectly. To get an inkling of how a tattoo can go terribly wrong, click here or here. Talk about a body blow!

Misspelled tattoos really get under my skin!

Friday, March 16, 2012

A "Fait" Worse Than Death?

You have to live in southwestern Connecticut or be familiar with the area to pick up on this obituary mistake. Callista D. Healey and Ruth Kerekes Ross did not live in Faitfield. They lived in my hometown, Fairfield. There is no t here. There is tea; Fairfield is the headquarters for Bigelow Tea, though that's a story to share over tea and crumpets on another day.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

A March Madness Misfire

If it's mid-March, that means it's time for every Tom, Dick (Vitale) and Harry to wax poetic about the Big Dance, which begins in about four hours*. Vitale is ubiquitous this time of year, offering insights, analysis and predictions. Taking a break from his on-air yakfest duties at ESPN, Vitale previewed the upcoming* NCAA tournament in USA Today earlier this week. The former coach and longtime basketball broadcaster is knowledgeable about the game, but he doesn't know the "first" thing about my beloved Connecticut Huskies. His article included 11 "bullet points," and, shoot, one of those bullets is a blank.

Vitale claims that Connecticut, the defending NCAA tournament champion, lost in the first round of the tournament in 2000 and 2005, the seasons following its first two championship runs.

Sorry, Vitale, but you must bite the bullet and accept the notion that hoops hysteria is affecting your game. In neither season did the defending champions get bounced in the opening round. Both times, the Huskies fell in the second round.

In 2000 Connecticut, seeded fifth, defeated No. 12 Utah State 75-67 in the first round. With their star point guard limited to 13 minutes because of a sprained ankle, the Huskies lost 65-51 to Tennessee in the second round.

Five years later, second-seeded Connecticut beat No. 15 Central Florida 77-71 in its first game. No. 10 N.C. State upset the defending champions 65-62 in the next round.

It's a shame you didn't have "second" thoughts about your first draft, Vitale. To modify one of your catchphrases: That's awful, baby, with a capital A!

* Yes, I'm aware that the NCAA tournament technically began two days ago. But those "first-round" play-in games on Tuesday and Wednesday don't count. Not to me, anyway. The Madness officially begins at 12:15 p.m. ET when Murray State and Colorado State tip off in Louisville. Can we go back to the days, not so long ago, when the tournament had 64 teams? Please?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

"Appearances" Is Disappearing

Sometimes you can have your cake and eat it too. Today's article highlights my alma mater and contains a typo. That's the best of both worlds for this Gator editor.

As the article states, Florida swept in-state rival Miami to climb to the top of the national baseball rankings. Things are not always as they appear, however. I don't think the No. 1-ranked Gators will capture a first-ever College World Series crown this season. In fact, I'm quite confident they won't. Sigh.

Florida has made seven College World Series appearances, twice finishing as the national runner-up (2005, 2011). The 2012 Gators are, by all appearances, on track to make CWS appearance number eight great, but, as mentioned, appearances can be deceiving. Speaking of which...

The appearances in the last sentence of the article that appears above appears to be missing its second a. That can be remedied with a simple insertion. Oh, how I wish a similar quick fix existed for the "almost" Gators.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Duke Is Done

In the world of college basketball, no middle ground exists when it comes to Duke University. The Blue Devils tend to elicit a "love 'em or hate 'em" reaction from fans. Sorry, Duke supporters, but I fall into the latter category. To this blogger, Duke is a four-letter word. I have my reasons, which include (but are not limited to) the following:

• The media hype. Is a Duke game — even a "big" one against, say, Presbyterian — not nationally televised? Turn on ESPN between November and March and the odds are in your favor that a Duke game will be airing ... and that Dick Vitale (aka "Dukie V") will be one of the announcers.

• The calls. If a whistle blows during a Duke game, chances are the call is going against the other team. I haven't dug into the record books for verification, but I'm quite certain that, more often than not, Coach K's team makes more free throws than the opponent attempts. The referees aren't pulling for Duke, I'm sure. It only seems that way.

• The flops. This relates to the point above. Flopping occurs in basketball when a defensive player, in an attempt to get the referee to call an offensive foul, theatrically falls to the ground despite not establishing legal guarding position. Trying to draw a charge is done at all schools. It just happens far more often, or so it seems, in Durham, North Carolina, and the scenario tends to play out as follows: Opposing player has Duke defender beat. Opposing player drives toward the hoop. Duke defender slides underneath the opposing player at the last second. Duke defender hits the floor hard, as if shot, despite little or no contact. Referee blows whistle. Referee calls a charge on the opposing player. Sigh. I consider this "technique" a lazy attempt to get around playing tight, tough defense.

• The results. Despite being the favorite, the Blue Devils often lose to Florida State, the one team on their schedule that I want them to defeat each season. (Need proof? See the subject of today's post.) Damn you, Duke!

• The arrogant players. Christian Laettner. Enough said.

In many regards, Duke seems to get the preferential treatment, the benefit of the doubt, the calls. But, contrary to what the second sentence of the pictured sports blurb leads readers to believe, not even mighty Duke has the ability to lose a semifinal tournament game and advance to the championship. I'm aware of no such Duke addendum existing in the ACC basketball bylaws. Florida State will not face Duke today. Florida State beat Duke. (Of course.) Duke is eliminated, and there is nothing Vitale or the referees can do to change that.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Head Games

Here's the pitch and ... it's missed its mark. The headline writer has thrown us a curve. In the pitched battle to secure a spot in the New York Yankees' rotation, it was not Pineda who was named a starter. Tell that to the headline writer who is throwing names around like a party crasher tweeting from the post-Oscars Governors Ball. In this case, the "headlining act" should have been Kuroda (first name: Hiroki). That's strike one, headline writer. Two more and you're out.

I'm making a pitch for writers to stop filling our heads (our "heads" — get it?) with false information. Head back to the start and toss Pineda into the trash and Kuroda into the headline. Don't make me bring in a reliever.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Calm After the "Strom"

Tropical Storm Irene made its way to Connecticut in 2011. Two months later, a nor'easter stormed in — pun intended.

The August tropical storm and the October snowstorm left hundreds of thousands of state residents without power — many for more than a week. In the storms' wake, Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy created a special panel to assess the preparations for and responses to a pair of weather events that left many in the dark, literally.

Gov. Malloy's "Two Storm Panel" can be critiqued for missing a hyphen, but at least storm is spelled correctly. I guess CT News Junkie didn't closely view the agenda. Check out the fifth item down on the website's edition of "Morning Coffee & Politics," which my friend Abby e-mailed to me. What's a "Two Strom Panel"? Is that a two-person panel consisting of former U.S. senator Strom Thurmond and another member with the same first name?

I'm sure CT News Junkie will weather this "strom." If not, I may have to convene a special panel.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Caught in the (the) Act

Johnny Calvin Brewer helped catch Lee Harvey Oswald. Big deal! Today, I caught an error in a USA Today blurb. If you read the sentence aloud, it should be an easy one to find. How many times have we typed "and and" or "the the" without even realizing it? Happens to the best of us. That's why we must carefully read what we write, especially if it's going to be published. The the consequences consequences can can be be embarrassing embarrassing.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

That's Not Fair

For those who are unaware, I live in southwestern Connecticut — in Fairfield, to be exact. It's a picturesque town, situated along Long Island Sound and located less than an hour from the Big Apple. In 2006, Money magazine named it the ninth-best place to live in America. Enough about my hometown. On to today's example of "writing gone wrong." If I had missed this error, it would have reflected poorly on my editing skills.

While watching a UConn-Stanford women's college basketball game on ESPNU with my brother, I spotted this misspelling late in the first half. Shame on you, ESPN. Your headquarters are in Bristol, Connecticut, a stone's throw (OK, 50 miles) from Fairfield. I expect you to be able to spell Connecticut towns correctly. To make matters worse, the same graphic popped up again in the second half, and it hadn't been fixed.

You tell me: Does ESPN stand for "Entertainment and Sports Programming Network" or "Extra Spelling Preparation Needed"?