Monday, September 30, 2013

A "Yeung" Fan

Can’t you read the handwriting on the wall, Entertainment Weekly? It’s a bit crooked and a tad messy, but it’s legible.

Steven Yeun, who plays Glenn on the AMC series The Walking Dead, took this photograph. The accompanying EW caption mentions “a young fan named Sean Jacoby.” That’s odd, because upon closer inspection I noticed that the boy signed his fan letter “Shaun Jacoby.” He may be young, but I’m guessing he knows how to correctly spell his own first name. Turns out, this “Yeung” fan has been misidentified. That’s enough to frustrate the living, the dead and the living dead.

The name of the game is accuracy — especially when it comes to names. Sean is dead wrong. (Or should that be “undead” wrong?) Shun Sean. Show Shaun.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Something to Blog About

About an hour ago, I found out about something unusual lying about that was about five letters long. My first reaction: It’s much ado about nothing. The more I thought about it, however, the more I realized I could no longer keep the whereabouts of this oddity secret. It’s about time I let the world know about the preponderance of prepositions in this Sports Illustrated article.

About abounds. That first about shouldn’t be up and about. Its inclusion has created a bout of aboutitis. So, about-face, about! You must leave. You’re going?

About time!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Those Are Fighting Words! Actually, They're Not

Mmm! I love syconia. So much, in fact, that sometimes I climb a Ficus tree wearing nothing but a leaf to cover my privates. I find a sturdy branch, repose and munch on bulbous-shaped fruit and chewy Nabisco cookies with fruit filling. It’s a fig thing — you wouldn’t understand. But a certain image-conscious university in Indiana would, if the soda cups sold at a football game a few weeks ago are any indication.

Drink in every word on this cup, readers. I must warn you, though: One of the words is going to be difficult to swallow.

Photo courtesy of Dave Sobolewski (@DaveSobo3)

At its Aug. 31 season opener against Temple, notre dame* got off to a rough start. Not on the field, where the team beat lowly Temple. In the stands, which were replete with the concessional equivalent of first-game jitters.

To put it mildly, I am not a fan of notre dame, so my part-Irish eyes were smiling when I learned about the jumbled mess between the Irish’s I’s. Those cups are showing as much fight as notre dame did against Alabama in last season’s BCS title game.

When some people, including this guy and this one, tweeted images of the “Figthing Irish” cups during the game, notre dame’s nicked name quickly spread across social media and got more coverage on the web than the football team gets on NBC, if that’s possible. ESPN ran a story on its website, and one of the comments, posted by Otis M., made me laugh: They should save time and money and do what the rest of the country does: Call them the “F’n’ Irish.”

An effin’ typo in a newspaper article is one thing. Misspelling your own nickname on cups sold to thousands of fans is an oversight of grande dame proportions. What happened to quality assurance? How did the marketing department fail to notice this notre shame? You’d think a major university would have a fighting chance to get the spelling right.

Unlike Anna Kendrick, however, notre dame can’t do cups. The school fails in bowls too. (notre dame has lost 11 of its last 13 bowl games, including nine straight from 1994 to 2006.) I wonder how the “Figthing Irish” are at silverware.

Ah, fork ‘em!

* Want to know why, when it comes to notre dame, I say no dice to capitalization? Refer to my Jan. 14, 2013, post.

Oh, gee: This cheerleader would probably find
nothing wrong with a FIGTHING IRISH cup.

Monday, September 23, 2013

The View From the Pew

Oh, lord. I may be crucified for this, but I have to point out a mistake my brother found while attending church service.

Forgive my sibling for the darkness of this photo, taken by phone, and affix your gaze on the fifth paragraph of the Statement of Faith, which was pasted on the back of all the hymnals.

How in creation did we get “have have”? Those two haves must become one. How? Simple. One have (or the other) must make an exodus.

You shall not commit redundancy, Statement of Faith printer. Redeem yourself … for Christ’s sake.

Friday, September 20, 2013

I Need to "Seymour" Words

Turns out, the crash on Old State Road wasn't the only accident. The writer of this local news story has crashed and burned, omitting a small, but essential, word.

Have you figured out what I'm driving at yet? No? I'll cut to the chase: To has hit the road in the first sentence of the second paragraph.

The police tried to stop a vehicle.

The writer tried to get by without using this preposition before a verb to indicate the infinitive.

Nice try.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Ouch! That Hurst!

Today, readers, the Christophe Choo Real Estate Group is taking us on a helicopter tour of the most exclusive, expensive estates in Beverly Hills, Bel Air and Holmby Hills. We’ll be getting bird’s-eye views of mansions, manors and other high-end luxury real estate. Strap in and press your noses against the cabin windows. You’ll want to get a good look-see at these amazing properties.

Our first stop, just over a minute into the tour, is the William Randolph Hearst estate in plush Beverly Hills.

Hearst, a publishing magnate in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, moved into the gated hilltop estate in 1946 and lived there until his death in 1951. The property, which includes an H-shaped mansion, three swimming pools, a nightclub, lighted tennis court, guest house and security cottage, was a filming location for The Godfather, The Jerk, Fletch and The Bodyguard, among other productions. According to Hearst Over Hollywood by Louis Pizzitola, it’s where John F. and Jacqueline B. Kennedy spent a portion of their 1953 honeymoon. The impeccably manicured estate was on the market in 2007 for $165 million. It didn’t sell. A few years later — and minus a few acres — it could be had again, this time for the bargain price of $95 million.

When Hearst owned the New York Journal in the latter stages of the 19th century, he was pitted against Joseph Pulitzer (and New York World) in a circulation war. This bitter battle is seen as the launching point of yellow journalism, the act of sensationalizing stories and exaggerating real events in an effort to sell more papers. Yellow journalism is named after the Yellow Kid, a character in Hogan’s Alley, a comic strip that ran in New York World and then New York Journal.

Today’s tour includes some attention-grabbing tactics of its own. Yellow journalism has colored this whirlybird trip. William Randolph Hearst’s identity has been sensationally distorted.

Mystery! Drama! Misdirection! Intrigue! Scandal!

Who the heck is this mysterious William Randolf Hurst? He must be a new (yellow) kid on the block.

First, I must phind phault with the spelling of the middle name. Ph and f may have phonetic (fonetic?) similarities, but they are not interchangeable. Would you rather be fat or phat? Did you answer fat? Pfft! So, take that f off the end of Randolf. We need to get back to basics. More specifically, we need to get more basic, by climbing higher on the pH scale. Right now, that last name has a pH level — to be more precise, a ph level — of 0. That’s much too acidic for my blood. Let’s raise its ph level to 1.

Next, and it pains me to say this, Hurst is damaged. Hurry along, hur. You belong in a hearse. We need hear here. Hear! Hear!

This YouTube video — and its aerial error — made its vertical landing whilst I read a post on my friend Lindsay’s filming-locations blog, IAMNOTASTALKER. You can watch the 2010 video, which was uploaded by REP Interactive, below.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Give Syria Some Space

Syria dominates the news. By now, we all know about the rockets fired in the suburbs of the country’s capital last month, killing hundreds, if not thousands. The weapons reportedly contained a nerve agent, likely sarin. You can read more about that story elsewhere — and everywhere. Here you can read about a different crisis I’ve uncovered in Syria, albeit one on a much smaller scale.

Russia, it turns out, isn’t the only one tight with Bashar Assad’s country. Against is close to Syria. Too close. In an alarming development, the rebellious preposition has positioned itself along the country’s western border. Against is with Syria? They don’t belong together; they aren’t me and Mila Kunis, or lamb and tuna fish.

In his prime-time speech last week, President Obama vowed that he “will not pursue an open-ended action” in Syria. My philosophy, when dealing with Syria, is to pursue open spaces on each end. With that in mind, I met with Russia’s president today. We’ve drawn a red line in the Middle East sand, urging the writer to “Putin” a space after the t. Otherwise, we strike. We’ll fire a blank area near your capital. You’re either with us or against us … or Damascus.

Unlike our 1950s and ‘60s predecessors, the Russian president (who, ironically, is a V.P.) and I avoided the contention that permeated the first race involving “space” exploration. We knew it was in everyone’s best interests to treat against and Syria the way we would lights and darks on laundry day.

Friday, September 13, 2013

An Astro Not

As expected, the search for life on Mars is more difficult than the search for typos in an article about Mars. Today's exploration was like taking candy (a Mars bar?) from a baby. If we probe the deep space between has and research with our rover, we discover that the smallest word in that paragraph — the article a — has marred the mission. Did the writer not notice this? He must be living on another planet.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Finding Errors, Periodically

Preliminary sentences have their flaws, and sometimes the readers occasionally miss them. I didn't miss the flaw in the pictured sentence. Did you? Did you spot the same flaw when I reintroduced it in the opening sentence of this blog post?

What we're dealing with is redundancy. Read the paragraph's opening sentence closely, slowly. Focus on what comes after the comma, but disregard the material between the dashes. We're left with:

... and sometimes the voters occasionally miss on top-five teams.

Sometimes means "from time to time." So does occasionally. The sentence needs only one of these synonymous adverbs, not both:

... and sometimes the voters miss on top-five teams.


... and the voters occasionally miss on top-five teams.

Once in a while, use sometimes. At times, use occasionally. Now and then, check your work to be sure you haven't used both.

Monday, September 9, 2013

An Affair to Forget

Former University of Arkansas football coach Bobby Petrino crashed his Harley-Davidson on April 1, 2012. Petrino lied to his bosses — and everyone else — when he claimed he was riding alone. Turns out, the then 51-year-old — a married father of four — was riding with a passenger, a 25-year-old female he had recently hired.

Photo by April L. Brown / AP
At a subsequent news conference, Petrino, sporting a neck brace and a wrecked face (bruises and abrasions), admitted to an “improper relationship.”

Signs of infidelity do not sit well with me.

Neither do signs of inaccuracy.

Take a look at this Associated Press photo, which shows a couple of Razorbacks fans supporting the philandering head coach. Now take a closer peek at the red sign on the left. Like Petrino’s motorcycle after it skidded off the road, this sign is in need of repairs.

Arkansas’ former coach lied to cover up his mistakes, but there is no covering up the mistake on this sign. The square who decorated that red square would like me to define INNAPPROPRIATE. I’m sorry, but I can’t do that — because it doesn’t exist. It’s inappropriate to make a sign with only two words and not spell both correctly. You’re not exactly helping your (lost) cause.

Inappropriate contains only one n. I can think of at least one other word that has a single n: monogamy.

This hastily created sign has an extra character (and a bizarre, out-of-place exclamation point). Petrino, on the other hand, lacked character.

Friday, September 6, 2013

"Paid" Pays a Visit

Pay attention, writers. Carelessness is costly. This writer used paid paid — he repaid, so to speak — and now must pay the price for being imprecise.

Ive written about repeated words and phrases on occasion, including herehere and here, but this Major League Baseball-inspired double play gives those others a run for their money.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Anything On?

Rome wasn't built in a day. The opening sentence of this caption was. How else to explain a certain two-letter word roaming where it doesn't belong?

On is on the loose, and it's on my nerves, even though it wasn't done on purpose. I wish on had ended up on the cutting room floor, because it's as necessary as the directions on the back of a shampoo bottle. You're on board, right, readers?

Let's turn on off.

Now we're on to something.

I could go on and on.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Man vs. Machine

Acronyms are words created from the first letter or letters of each key word in a sequence and are pronounced as words. Radar (radio detection and ranging) and NOW (National Organization for Women) are two examples. Initialisms are abbreviations formed using the initial, or first, letters of a string of words and are pronounced letter by letter. DVD (digital video disc) and NPR (National Public Radio) are initialisms.

Many grammarians like to quibble about the differences. Not me. I don't care if they are technically acronyms or initialisms. I do care, however, about the common pitfall that stems from their usage. People often find the need to add an unnecessary word after the acronym or initialism. Three examples spring to mind: SAT test, HIV virus and, perhaps the biggest culprit, ATM machine. (The example pictured is from a free playbill I picked up at a University of Connecticut basketball game.) The use of that last one is so widespread, so ingrained, that we think nothing of it. Well, it's time to start thinking, because the redundancy is ridiculous. A = automated. T = teller. M = machine. Using elementary math, we can determine that A+T+M = automated teller machine. Taking our math lesson a step further, A+T+M+machine = automated teller machine machine. It doesn't matter if "ATM machine" sounds right; it's not right. Don't believe me? Try the following paragraph on for size. In it, I will commit sins akin to "ATM machine."

The VIP person — a CEO officer, perhaps — had headphones on, listening to "Proud Mary" by CCR Revival, when he approached the ATM machine at 9 p.m. PST time and punched in his PIN number. He withdrew $200, and at that very moment a bright light appeared in the sky. Was it a UFO object? He wasn't sure. Preoccupied by thoughts of aliens, he failed to notice the SWM male, hopped up on LSD diethylamide, exit a nearby SUV vehicle. Playing out like a dark HBO Office drama, with violence that would put an NFL League game to shame, the SWM male smashed a GPS System device against the back of the victim's head, took his cash and fled. A passing EMT technician performed CPR resuscitation, but by time the ambulance reached the ICU unit, the victim was DOA arrival. Despite DNA acid found at the scene, the murderer has yet to be apprehended. Police believe he may be a student with OCD disorder at nearby USC California, though his identity is TBD determined.

FYI, readers, I'd like to live in a world where the likelihood of acronym/initialism superfluousness is analogous to the possibility of a virgin contracting an STD. (One sentence, two initialisms, zero redundancies.) Let's put an end to "ATM machine" and its ilk. May they RIP peace. Oops!