Wednesday, January 30, 2013

A Store Story

I've got a good one in store for my readers today. Here's the story:

It looks like a Connecticut Post editor failed to mind the store when the writer went away.

What, exactly, is an "antique story"? Is it one of Aesop's fables? Is it the second floor of Boston's Old State House?

Helen Skodien and her husband opened an antique store, of course. Alas, it wasn't the newspaper's "store" policy to spell the word with an e.

Monday, January 28, 2013


Just between us, I don't think the editors of Thinklers! A Collection of Brain Ticklers and I are on the same page.

This photo is from a word-puzzles book my mom was tackling. It shows an answers page for a section of "Position Puzzles," more commonly referred to as word rebuses. In case you're not familiar, a word rebus is a puzzle that uses the positioning, size and style of letters and words to represent other words or expressions. Here are two examples:

Deep in thought
Back to the Future
After attempting to solve the word rebuses on page 148, my mom checked the corresponding answers page. What she found were answers ... and errors.

The publisher of Thinklers! is Missing Piece Press. Well, Missing Piece Press, you're missing a piece of information on page 173. You have "Page 147" listed twice.

It looks as if someone was ...

... and there are ...

Change that second 147 to 148, Missing Piece Press, and your readers will no longer be puzzled.

Bonus points if you noticed that the answer to No. 2 on page 148 should be "ADD INSULT TO INJURY" and/or that the tops of the two columns don't align.

Friday, January 25, 2013

That's the Spirit!

No need for a spirited debate today. This error is tangible. I did not have to attain enlightenment in order for my two eyes to see that the two i's in spiritual inhabit the wrong place. The spirits have moved them, I suppose.

Once we shift each i one character space to the left, I'll be in high spirits.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Rising Higher

More than a year ago, a caption writer got a rise out of me. I mentioned then that the ridiculous, the redundant, the ridiculously redundant "rise up" is, unfortunately, everywhere. How right I was.

It has reared its ugly head again, this time near the end of the intro to an Entertainment Weekly article about the film The Dark Knight Rises.

That's The Dark Knight Rises — not The Dark Knight Rises Up. The filmmakers knew enough to leave up out. Too bad the EW writer does not. The concrete platform rises from the watery deep. It does not "rise up" from the deep. Sigh.

Batman's utility belt is chock full of cool gadgets. I wonder if, along with the batcuffs, batarangs and bat-shaped grappling hook, it also has a batdundancy device. Redundancies are a crime, and the Caped Crusader is a crime fighter. So fight, Batman! Fight!

Bap!! Zok!! Kapow!! Splat!! Thwack!! Whap!!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Notoriety Dame

When I was a boy, imaginary friends were never part of my inner circle. As an adult, I have an imaginary girlfriend. She’s real, actually (her name is Jennifer Love Hewitt), though only in my imagination is she my better half.

Turns out, I’m not the only adult with a sham sweetheart.

By now, sports fan or not, you are familiar with the Deadspin story that made a mete’oric impact. Manti Te’o, a former notre dame* linebacker, had a girlfriend who, like the Astrodome turf or WALL•E’s intelligence, was artificial.

Lennay Kekua, whom Te’o dated for two years despite never meeting and who died of leukemia during Te’o’s senior season, never existed. She was “born” via a computer, in the manner Gary and Wyatt created Lisa in Weird Science, though her being required no hooked-up doll. The heroine in a fable, she was killed off last September, made to suffer the same fate as Nikki and Paulo, from Lost, and myriad other despised TV characters. Four months later, she returned to haunt Te’o from beyond the grave, wreaking notre damage throughout cyberspace.

Te’o, say it ain’t so’o.

If, as he claimed in an off-camera ESPN interview last Friday, he didn’t perpetrate the hoax, he certainly perpetuated it, basking in the attention, which those at notre dame tend to do. Is he a gullible young man who helps Nigerian princes transfer large sums of money out of the country? Is he a duplicitous, publicity-craving schemer — a lyin’ Hawaiian? Is he a bit of both?

I find it difficult to measure Te’o’s complicity in this bizarre saga, just as I find it difficult to find fault with the confused author of this USA Today article. Who’s to say what’s real anymore? Is Te’o’s relationship real? Is realationship real? (No and no.)

The article’s opening sentence drips with irony. The seventh word, an amalgam of real and relationship, shows up in an article about a relationship that was anything but real. That word, like Lennay Kekua, the Loch Ness Monster and portions of A Million Little Pieces, is not real. Really.

Bereft of oxygen, still Kekua breathed. Deceit nourished her. A voracious, 24/7 news cycle was her lifeblood. She continued to exist, living off lies, running on M.T. Empirical she was not. Fantastical she was. In her gran—

Oh! My! God! Love Hewitt’s agent just called. She said Love wants to get together, and she gave me Love’s digits: (800) 555-1234. A real phone number for a real girlfriend. If you’ll excuse me, readers, I’ve got a call to make.

* For those curious about the lack of capitalization, please refer to last Monday’s post.

Me and my "girlfriend" in New York City. Don't we make a cute couple?

Friday, January 18, 2013

Eas Meets Wes

South Florida is a member of the Big East, not the Big Eas. Should be eas, er, easy to get that right, yet the t is missing in this Connecticut Post game preview. Sort of like it was with the Dartmouth and two other ships moored in Boston Harbor on Dec. 16, 1773.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Live and in Love

I was watching a Duke-Ohio State basketball game a while back, and when it got out of hand (sorry, Duke fans) I decided to see if anything else was on. I'm always up for a repeat of The Big Bang Theory. This particular episode, as you'll notice, is about fighting robots and Wolowitz's "love live." Huh? I'm confused. Is Wolowitz upset because Penny made a live comment about his love? I guess I'll have to tune in to find out.

Monday, January 14, 2013

No E and No D

For most, spelling second is second nature. For others, it’s a challenge, akin to facing the University of Alabama’s dynastic football team.

What’s the second letter in second? According to this caption, it’s c.  An e, like a busy but attentive waiter, should be there in a second. Yet the e mirrored the notre dame* defense in the Bowl Championship Series title game and went missing. It has absconded, leaving us with scond. That’s gross misconduct.

As we travel at a brisk pace of one e per second, allow me to share some of life’s simple pleasures:

Popping bubble wrap

Wearing clothes straight out of the dryer

Jumping in a pile of leaves

Getting talcum powder dusted on your neck following a haircut

Drawing on foggy windows

Rubbing a kitten’s belly

Peeling the plastic off a new cell phone’s screen

Finding a typo while reading about a notre dame loss

A beautiful Crimson evening unfolded a week ago today in Miami Gardens, Florida. The good times rolled when the good Tide rolled to a 42-14 rout of notre dame. The Fighting Irish won the coin toss — and nothing more.

Alabama dominated, putting notre dame’s defense to shame. The Crimson Tide scored touchdowns on their first three possessions — against a team that led the nation in scoring defense, allowing only 10.3 points per game — and led 35-0 midway through the third quarter. It took 15 minutes and 4 seconds for Alabama to amass as many rushing touchdowns (two) as notre dame had allowed in 12 regular-season games. No team had gained more than 379 yards against the Irish defense during the regular season; Alabama had 529. The longest touchdown drive notre dame allowed in the regular season was 75 yards; at Sun Life Stadium, Alabama had TD drives of 80, 82, 86 and 97 yards. The Irish were unable to swim against the Tide and allowed the most points in a bowl game in team history. In summary, the Crimson Tide finished scond second to none.

Sweet game, Alabama! Thanks for picking me up when I was feeling blue.

* Yes, I am well aware that I have lowercased the name of a certain institution. I refuse to capitalize notre dame. It’s my small, disparaging way of protesting the undeserved preferential treatment that the school — and its football team — has received for far too long. The holier-than-thou attitude. The blasphemous arrogance. The unjustified mystique and hype. It’s no longer the 1940s. Get down from your high horse, notre dame, and then step off your pedestal. You’re no better than the rest. In fact, you’re worse. Much worse.

I picked up a couple of important items at the grocery store last Monday.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

7 > 5

This "GAME TRACK" graphic popped up just before halftime of a basketball game between my alma mater and Mississippi State. I'll let my readers do the math.

P.S. When this game finished, Florida had 69 points and Mississippi State had 57. Can you figure out which team won? Hint: 69 > 57.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Test Time

I'm sitting in a waiting room. It's colonoscopy time for a family member, and I'm the support group and the designated driver. I've brought reading material from home so I don't have to pass the time perusing the outdated copies of People or the medical brochures scattered haphazardly on each corner table. I've got my latest Sports Illustrated. I've got USA Today. As a familial colon is examined behind closed doors, I'll examine a familiar newspaper for errors. My exam requires no fiber optic cameras or flexible tubes — just an attention to detail ... and an ability to spell.

Faster than you can say polyps I've found two typos. In the same sports column, no less.

Front and center, typo No. 1! Something's missing in that centerpiece. Oh, right, the e. If only the writer or editor had given piece a chance.

Adding to the tally a mere three paragraphs later is typo No. 2. Put out an Error Alert for another missing vowel. If the writer had added an a to dds, it would have increased readability.

My relative's doctor found nothing during her colonoscopy. A success! I found two misspellings during my probe. A success!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Cheezy, er, Cheesy Spelling

For unexplained reasons, my brother began receiving New York magazine last year. He's not sure why. He didn't ask for a subscription, nor did he want one. When the issues arrive, he gives them to me with nary a glance. I take cursory looks. If I see something he might enjoy, I let him know.

I didn't find anything up his alley in the January 16–23, 2012, issue, but I did find something for my blog. I consider it the windfall from a free, unsolicited subscription. It beats receiving a free tote bag or football-shaped phone, that's for sure.

I'm guessing all my readers managed to spot the New York error. There are two there's in the fourth sentence, though only one is spelled properly. The other has a z in it. Reminds me of the growing trend to form ersatz spellings by changing z's to s's. Think Bratz dolls or the film Boyz N the Hood or the TV channel Starz or the Kanye West song "Slow Jamz" or the line of Petz video games, which includes Dogz, Catz, Ponyz and Bunnyz, among others. I could go on, but you'd probably fall asleep. Zzz

What's with the z-instead-of-s approach? I suppose it's for marketing purposes and is considered zippy, or zingy. I find it a tad unprofessional. All the gangstaz and playaz can continue to zpell while the rest of us spell, but I wish they wouldn't. Don't they realise — I mean realize — it's zany?