Monday, April 29, 2013

Don't Mess With Texas

Editor's note: To get the full effect of today's post, read it using your best Southern accent.

Howdy, y'all. I'm fixin' to write 'bout somethin' amiss deep in the heart of Texas. The Lone Star State is spelled with a lone s, not two. That second s couldn't be more outta place if it were a garden salad at the State Fair of Texas, where anything and everything is deep-fried and fried deeply.

Can we fix this "Tex mess" we've got here? I know everything is bigger in Texas, but this attempt at state expansion has me hotter than a Corpus Christi August.

Texas has the death penalty and employs it far more often than any other state. Here's another opportunity to put it to use. Let's kill that s, which entered the state illegally. I had no trouble rustling it up, though. This ain't my first rodeo, after all.

Friday, April 26, 2013

You "Blue" It

Should the Blues trade NHL player Rick Nash? The question is not whether they should have; it's whether they could have. They couldn't. Why? Let me fill you in on a trade secret: Before being dealt to the New York Rangers last July, Nash did not play for the Blues; he played for the Blue Jackets. Same league, same conference, same division even. Different teams though. One is in St. Louis; the other is in Columbus, about 400 miles east.

NHL managers may know the tricks of the trade, but not one is so skilled a magician that he can pull off trading a player that isn't even on his roster. If he could, it'd revolutionize sports.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

A Short Sentence


That one-word opening is a sentence. A short sentence, to be sure, but a complete sentence nonetheless. (The subject, you, is implied.) If, as shown, a sentence can be as succinct as a single word, it goes without saying that a sentence can be two words long.

Wait. (Ooh, another one-word sentence!)

To have a sentence, we need to have a verb and a subject (stated or implied), but we also must have a complete thought. If both conditions are not met, we have a fragment.

Like this.

That fragment serves a purpose. I used it to get my point across. As such, its acceptable under the unwritten matter of style rule. Fragments formed accidentally are not acceptable. Fragments such as Paternos death, for example.

Granted, this particular fragment is not an indication of poor writing but merely the result of inserting a period where a comma belonged. The reason is secondary. Our primary concern is to avoid groups of words masquerading as sentences.

Paternos death cant stand alone, so Im taking a stand.


Monday, April 22, 2013

The Case of the Little T

Not to get too tech-nical, but we have a case of t abnormality. The alphabet’s 20th letter is guilty of identity inequality, and that’s a pity. The style selected by this newspaper for team names is obviously ALL CAPS, yet we have an itty-bitty t where an uppercase T should be. We haven’t reached capital-offense status, but this (letter) case merits a blog post nonetheless. Where’s your conformity, t? Join the upper crust. Go on, get uppity. That’d be terrific with a capital T.

On a separate note, I’d like to congratulate the University of Florida women’s gymnastics team, which on Saturday evening in Los Angeles came roaring back from a couple of falls on the balance beam to capture the program’s first national championship. Of the Super Six teams, my alma mater was the super-est. You floored everyone with your record-setting floor exercise, Florida. You leapt closer to the promised land on vault, Florida. You were the best, bar none, on bars, Florida. You are the best, Florida! I hope your performance, personified by a never-say-die attitude, a fighting spirit and an aggressive approach, is a blueprint to be followed by the other Florida teams that have come close to reaching the summit but have yet to do so: baseball, softball, volleyball and lacrosse. GO GATORS!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Not All It's Quacked Up to Be

They came, they saw, they conquered. I wish they left.

The Ducks may have lost the game, but they gained a they. Someone wrote they, and then wrote they again. Its one write” after the other, and for that the author is a sitting duck.

Can we get someone to steal one they or the other? Perhaps a robber ducky. (Ohhhhh, don't cry fowl! Let the bad puns go ... like water off a ducks back*.)

* That last one was for you, Abby.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Weekly World News

I discovered a strange world, readers. The pictured excerpt is from Death Is a Cabaret, a book I purchased for my mom one Christmas. Its a mystery set in Mackinac Island, Michigan, one of her favorite spots. I find it mysterious that world is where, Im assuming, week should be. (Nice find, Mom!)

Its difficult to look at this gross world product without smiling. I look for typos week in, week out, and todays find necessitates week in, world out. Get out of this, world!

Its not the end of the world as is, though itd do me a world of good to see it fixed. Lets decrease the world population by one.

Monday, April 15, 2013

That's Quite a Spread

Trust me, that point spread for the Utah-Los Angeles game is not correct. Even if the top NBA team were to host the league's worst squad, you'd be hard-pressed to find a point spread of greater than, oh, 20 points.

Need proof?

One of the most lopsided games in recent NBA history took place in February 2010, when the LeBron James-led Cleveland Cavaliers, with a 22-3 home record, hosted the New Jersey Nets, who were a woeful 1-26 on the road. The Cavaliers had won 11 in a row and had the NBA's best record. The Nets were on a six-game slide and had the league's worst record. Were the Cavaliers 36.5-point favorites? Not even close. The oddsmakers favored Cleveland by 16 points.

I'm betting (pun intended) the spread for the Jazz-Clippers game was 3.5 points, not 36.5 points.

Come to think of it, a point spread of 3.5 for that January 2012 game makes sense. Entering the contest, Los Angeles was 7-3 and riding a three-game winning streak, and Utah was 8-4 and had won two in a row.

The irony is, the Jazz not only defeated the Clippers at home for the 16th consecutive time since 2003 but also almost managed to cover this erroneous, outrageous point spread. Utah beat Los Angeles 108-79.

That's enough talk of Utah's 29-point victory. I don't want to belabor the point (spread).

Friday, April 12, 2013

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Dude, Where's My Car?

While online last week, and while craving sweets, I read about Edelweiss Chocolates, a California confectioner that had assorted handmade truffles for sale.

Without a moment’s hesitation, I grabbed my keys, wallet, phone and a few books on tape and embarked upon a 2,839-mile trip from Fairfield, Connecticut, to Brentwood, California. I needed no GPS; I’d simply head toward the setting sun. It, like Al Cowlings’ white Ford Bronco on June 17, 1994, led to Brentwood.

Thirty-six seconds into the drive, I had to pee. I refused to be bested by my bladder, however, and I soldiered on. I made good time, too, hitting every light green in Pennsylvania. Somewhere in Ohio, I popped in the first book on tape, Green Eggs and Ham. The tape lasted 2 minutes, 47 seconds. 

An hour or so later, I really had to pee. I had foolishly held it too long, like a scrambling Michael Vick, ball in left hand, waiting … and waiting … to make a big play. I stopped at a roadside diner in Howe, Indiana, and made a beeline for the restroom.

My bladder, once emptied, matched my stomach, so I moseyed over to the counter and the waitress toiling behind it, Tegan. I remember her name because my attention to detail and my memory are as sharp as the picture on a Sony 4K OLED TV. I ordered the tuna melt. Or was it the pulled pork sandwich? Perhaps it was the chicken fried steak. Anyway, while fueling my body for the remainder of the trip, I overheard a Jennifer Love Hewitt doppelganger speaking with Tegan. Sighs peppered the young woman’s every sentence as she told Tegan about discovering Edelweiss online and desperately wanting to get to Brentwood. Today, it turned out, was her lucky day. And mine.

I introduced myself to Love’s look-alike, Riley. She was 19, maybe 34. (Guessing ages isn’t my strong suit.) We hit it off, and when I told her where I was headed and offered to give her a ride, her reaction was no Rorschach test, open to interpretation. She was more positive than a proprietor reviewing his own restaurant on Yelp.

Our first few hours together were as warm and comfortable as a pair of sheepskin slippers. We listened to my second book on tape, Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Thesaurus. It passed the time, and we learned a great deal, though we both felt it was drab, dull, matter-of-fact, prosaic. Riley regaled me with story after story. The one about the time she was a freshman in college and hung up on a crank caller, after cussing him out, only to find out it was her roommate’s grandfather, who had a tracheotomy, had me in stitches. The one about the time she made out with another woman while trapped in an elevator had me in stitches, too — 14, to be exact. As she shared the Dear Penthouse Forum climax of her story, I lost control of the steering wheel and we swerved. I grabbed the wheel and overcompensated in an effort to stay on the road. In doing so, I slammed the left side of my face against the driver’s-side window, which was rolled down a few inches. The blood started somewhere near my auburn hairline and flowed like lava down my cheeks, still flush from Riley’s racy tale. Riley, a bit shaken but not the least bit angry, saw red.

I don’t remember much about the visit to the walk-in medical center. Riley said I held her hand as the doctor sutured my wound. I kept my left eye closed and kept my right eye on her, muttering something about wanting to listen to Aerosmith’s Pump album when we got back in the car.

In less than an hour we were on the road again, Willie Nelson style. I had a headache, so Riley drove and told more stories — nearly a dozen in all — as I slumped in the front seat. She told the elevator story again, fulfilling an audience request.

As our manifest destiny inched closer and closer, the state welcome signs popped up at a brisk pace, the duration between them growing shorter and shorter, much like the generations of the iPhone.







Crossing into the Golden State, home of America’s favorite Golden Girl, I could almost taste the small, round pieces of chocolaty heaven. Riley, like Los Angeles’ Millennium Biltmore Hotel, had only 11 stories, so I inserted the final book on tape, a little something called Risk Management and Analysis, and pressed ‘play.’

Chapter one. In order to manage risk, we must first understand risk.
How do you spot risk? How do you avoid risk, and what makes it so risky?
To understand risk, we must first define risk. Risk is—

We found the subject matter captivating, but the guy reading it sounded just like me, and I hate my own voice. To avoid the risk of driving off the road again, I managed to turn off the tape, and after a few games of 20 Questions, we drove the homestretch in silence, marveling at California’s natural beauty. As we neared the Cloverfield Boulevard exit off Interstate 10, I embodied Clark Griswold approaching Walley World. (In my mind, I was running, in slow motion, to the instrumental strains of Chariots of Fire.) At the bottom of the exit we turned right onto Cloverfield and then made a quick right onto 26th Street. Two miles later we reached Brentwood Country Mart, a charming marketplace popular with Hollywood celebrities.

We parked in the lot and headed to the upper courtyard. With Edelweiss in sight, Riley grabbed my arm, pointing wildly and shouting, “I think that’s Jennifer Lawrence! Is that Jennifer Lawrence?” She said she was going after her, and that’d we’d meet later. How, I asked. Riley pulled a slip of paper from her purse, jotted down her phone number, folded the note and slowly placed it in my shirt pocket, gently running the side of her hand along my chest as she did, lingering for a moment in my space. She smelled like jasmine. Or honeysuckle. I don’t know. All I know is, she smelled nice. She looked nice. She was nice. Those Amaretto truffles wouldn’t be the best things I picked up on this spur-of-the-moment trip. Not even close. 

Riley smiled, cooed “see ya later” and was off in a flash. I heard her say something, to no one in particular, about arriving in Hollywood and becoming the next Carole Lombard. The name didn’t ring a bell. My attention turned toward Edelweiss, just a few doors away.

Once inside the store, time, like a Hershey’s bar on a hot day, melted away. I grabbed two boxes of the assorted truffles. After traveling 2,839 miles, however, I wasn’t leaving without choc-a-lot of chocolate. A pound of marshmallows coated in dark and light chocolate? Yes, please. A dark-chocolate sampler? That’s a must. A basket of assorted solid chocolate? Sign me up. Chocolate-covered raisins? Uh-huh. A chocolate bar shaped like a computer? OK, I’ll “byte.” By the time I grabbed a few foil-wrapped chocolate hearts at the register, for Riley, 45 minutes had passed. Time flies when you’re having chocolate.

I finally made my way to the parking lot and … my car was missing! Was it stolen? Who’d want a beat-up ’93 Accord? Was it towed? I was a paying Brentwood Country Mart customer. I panicked. Then I noticed the sign in front of the now-empty spot and did what anyone in my situation would do: I dialed 310. After a few seconds of silence: beep-beep-beep-beep. Busy signal. I tried again and got the same results. Strange. My options were limited. I decided to give Riley a call, to let her know what had happened and ask if she had any ideas. I pulled out the note, which had a hint of honeysuckle … or jasmine, and unfolded it. It read: Riley (260).

By the end of the day, all the chocolate was gone.

Special thanks to my sweet-as-chocolate friend Lindsay for supplying today’s main photo. You can reach Lindsay via her blog, IAMNOTASTALKER, or by calling her at (626).

Monday, April 8, 2013

Clearing the Air

I'm not feeling well today. Having trouble breathing. It must be something in the air. No smokers in the house, so that can't be it. Just checked for radon — negative. I didn't find any mold either. This can only mean one thing: Our pollutant culprit is an air-related error.

Here's the air condition we find ourselves in: We're missing an r and have a mysterious character space between the hyphen and air — an open-air situation, if you will.

How could such an "air-or" occur?

My theory: The original version said "indoor air-quality report," and an editor wanted to add a hyphen between indoor and air. Instead of inserting the hyphen after the r, however, he accidentally inserted it in place of the r — and I'm airing it for my readers. It's my duty as a voluntary member of the EPA*.

* No, not the Environmental Protection Agency. The Editorial Protection Agency.

Friday, April 5, 2013

A C Note

Look at the third-to-last word. See any c between n-e? Its "c section" has been removed. The c has ceased to exist, and I've seized the opportunity to let my readers take a look-see.

No excuses for this typo, especially when you consider the writer managed to spell that unusual, 13-letter surname correctly — twice. Nice job on that, by the way. Or should that be "nie job"? Not as far I can see.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Teams on the Move

I have a good idea for today's post. Let me map it out for you.

This graphic, from the pages of Sports Illustrated Kids, depicts the number of NHL teams in the southern United States during the 2011-12 season. Each team is listed, with a line connecting the team's name to its corresponding location on the map.

The line marking the location of the Florida Panthers is, like cursing at a job interview, out of place. The Panthers play in Sunrise, a Miami suburb. The line should be farther south, near the very tip of the Sunshine State. In fact, it looks as if it may have been at some point, because the gap between the line and "Florida Panthers" is substantial. Why did the line head north? Couldn't take the heat?

Florida's other pro hockey team, the Tampa Bay Lightning, also is a victim of unforeseen franchise relocation. Tampa is located on the west coast; the dotted endpoint of the line shouldn't be so far inland.

The Lightning mark is somewhat accurate, but the Panthers line is off by a great deal. Its endpoint is roughly where Palm Bay is located, and Palm Bay is 150 miles north of Sunrise. That is where I draw the line.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Poster Poser

In each issue, Sports Illustrated Kids selects a pair of  Superstars of the Month” and features them on special pullout posters. One of the selections in this old issue was Major League Baseball player Albert Pujols.

The former St. Louis Cardinals slugger has been baseballs best player over the last decade. (Sorry, A-Rod, but its not even close.) Youd think if you were including a poster of Pujols in your magazine, youd spell his name correctly. Yet there it is in the upper right, in big, uppercase letters: PULOLS.

Kind of makes you want to LOL, no?

The Sports Illustrated Kids writer should have checked back, as in checked the name visible on the back of the ballplayers jersey. The stitched J is as clear as day.

My readers should check back, too. This post will be preserved — for posterity.