Thursday, October 30, 2014

A Pumpkin Fake

An unusual presence inside Walmart spooked my Halloween-obsessed friend Lindsay, of IAMNOTASTALKER, last month. She saw these “watermelons” in Palm Desert, California, and knew right away that something was fishier than the breath of a witch’s cat. Instead of chunkin’ that rotten sign, though, she snapped a photo and sent it my way, knowing I’d be capable of coming up with a pumpkin patch. Thanks, Lindsay!

That sign may contain watermelon, but it does not hold water. Instead, it has produced mislabeled produce.

You’re out of your gourd, Walmart, if you think those are watermelons. You feel me?

Good. You should.

A watermelon is a large melon, and the term pumpkin comes from the Greek work pepon, meaning “large melon,” but a watermelon is not a pumpkin. Watermelons are oblong fruits with hard green or white rinds. Pumpkins are spherical orange fruits. Both are grow-on-a-vine, seed-producing members of the gourd family, but it’s not like they’re bananas and plantains, peaches and nectarines, Mary Kate and Ashley — everyone should be able to tell them apart.

It’s time to make a change that will bear fruit (that can become jack-o’-lanterns), Walmart. Be certain the first two words on that eerie sign mimic Cinderella’s horse-drawn carriage at the stroke of midnight.

My cats, Willow and Dickens, would like to wish everyone
a Happy Halloween. Eat (pumpkin), drink and be scary!

Monday, October 27, 2014

House Doctored

It’s close to midnight, and something evil’s lurking in the dark.

Does the house at 1345 Carroll Ave. in Los Angeles look familiar? It may, because in October 1983 it was a setting for what is arguably the most famous music video of all time. In the 13-minute video for his hit “Thriller,” Michael Jackson, wearing blood-red pants and a matching jacket to “dye” for, raised his arms from side to side, hands clawed, as his backup zombie dancers did the same. His frightened girlfriend fled to an abandoned house — this house.

Three years after securing permanent residency in the pop culture world, the house sold for $150,000. The following year, it was built.

You see a sight that almost stops your heart. 
You try to scream, but terror takes the sound before you make it.

According to Zillow, an online real estate database, the Victorian home was built four years after appearing in the video that made it famous, and it sold a year before its fabrication date. (Those last two words can be interpreted in one of two ways.) No realtor is that talented!

You close your eyes, and hope that this is just imagination.

The house is assuredly not the same age as Blake Lively, the Fox network, GIFs, Full House and everyone’s favorite purple dinosaur, Barney. It was built well before “Baby Jessica” fell in a well.

I’ll save you from the terror on the screen.

The house was not erected two years after the failure of “New Coke,” back when Michael Jackson was Bad. This dwelling was built in the 19th century, so why don’t we, ahem, dwell in the past? Travel with me back to the Gilded Age, to a time when only 38 states existed and to a year when Georgia O’Keeffe and Frankenstein’s monster himself, Boris Karloff, graced Earth’s canvas. It was a world without escalators, zippers, airplanes, traffic lights, aspirin, Australia, the Eiffel Tower or motion pictures, though Coca-Cola had poured into our lives the year before.

No nines should reside in Zillow’s “built” date. It’s time to ring in a new year, with assistance from an old year. Your time is now, 1887.

Thank you to my friend Lindsay, of IAMNOTASTALKER, for notifying me of today’s uninvited houseguest. The error thrilled me ... to death!

‘Cause this is thriller, thriller night!

I took this 2008 photo of 1345 Carroll Ave. 21 121 years after the house was built.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Monday, October 20, 2014

On Shaky Ground

Months ago my brother sent me a link to an article about an upheaval of sorts during a live TV weather report. The article may have been proofread, though no proof exists.

In the midst of a 4.2 magnitude earthquake, the meteorologist managed to get rick back to the forecast. I have so many questions: Who is rick? Why doesn’t he spell his name with a capital letter? Why did he need to get back to the forecast?

Oh, right: rick is wrong. That rickety word would be correct if it were right. Unfortunately, it’s in the right place at the wrong time.

At least that was the only mista—

Whoa! What’s up with woah? That h is making like a galloping horse. I know of an exclamation that may make it stop. If I use it, I’ll place the h in the second position. Why? Well, whoa is me.

We’re not out of the (trembling) woods yet, readers. Errors are being generated faster than seismic waves during a temblor. Check out the last sentence. The contributor scarred one of the words, I’m afraid.

I don’t heart sacred. I wish I could force it to sit next to Pennywise and watch Final Destination aboard a dark cabin filled with snakes during a turbulent flight over shark-infested waters, because that hallowed word should be scared.

A sturdy table or desk can shelter you during palpitation. An editor can do the same, in a sense, during publication. All the errors in this article were, like a 4.2 magnitude earthquake, detectable to the average person — but two of the three would have circumvented spell check. That program has more faults than an area prone to Richter scale readings.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Hump Day, Dump Date

The trick is making sure all identical dates match. The treat is blogging about them when they don’t.

Memo to TV Guide: Check your calendar. Or check mine.

In its 2014 Halloween Preview — a “guide to the holiday’s creepiest offerings” — TV Guide shared scary fare, or posed its Calendar Ghouls, if you will. Anyway, the three episode summaries seen here strike error, not terror, into TV Guide readers.

Melissa & Joey airs on Wednesday, Oct. 22. Baby Daddy airs on Wednesday, Oct. 22. Modern Family — a personal favorite — airs on Wednesday, Oct. … 23?


That’s like reciting at a play and playing at a recital — it makes no sense.

When I got to the Modern Family recap at the end of this particular fright night of programming, I expected to catch 22*. Instead, I found a weekday with a weak date.

Try to watch the new episode of Modern Family on Wednesday, Oct. 23. You’ll have more trouble than Dracula dining at The Stinking Rose.

I refuse to accept this material, as I would a witch, warts and all. It’s my duty to cope with the terror on the erred line. Modern Family must be brought up to date, of corpse!

Twenty-three, skidoo!
* Actually, I should have been seeking a 29. A new episode of Modern Family airs on the 22nd, but the holiday special, titled "Halloween 3: AwesomeLand," is a week later.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Drop Dead, Date

Wrong. So, so wrong. Almost seven years wrong, to be exact.

In Sports Illustrated’s 60th anniversary issue, the date (April 26, 1982) listed for an old Tony Mandarich issue wasn’t even close. Sports Illustrated overinflated the day and underinflated the year.

You can’t judge a book by its cover. Mandarich’s career provides marrow to that idiom’s backbone. Back in the late ‘80s, the colossal man looked like the perfect offensive lineman specimen, so the Green Bay Packers took him second overall in the 1989 NFL draft. Mandarich started 63 games over six nondescript seasons before his career fizzled. For comparison’s sake, the other four players drafted in the top five that year (Troy Aikman, Barry Sanders, Derrick Thomas, Deion Sanders) are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. You can, however, judge an old magazine by its cover date. The date of the Mandarich Sports Illustrated issue, shown below, is April 24, 1989. It’s in the upper right. You can’t miss it.

And yet SI did miss it — by this* much. The magazine, like “the best offensive line prospect ever,” fell far short of expectations.

On April 26, 1982, Mandarich was 15. It’s rare to come across a 6-foot-6-inch, 315-pound 15-year-old. Give a green boy nearly seven years to grow (and take steroids), however, and he can blossom into an incredible bulk.

* 6 years, 11 months, 29 days

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Blog the Bounty Hunter

Im offering a $10,000 bounty for Ed. Hes missing, and I fear he may have been injured as part of some scandalous scheme that offers payouts for knockouts.

Oh, when the Saints went marching in to games from 2009 to 2011, New Orleans targeted opposing players in an infamous bounty system. The target of todays post is design, which has had its -ed knocked off, helmet and all.

I doubt it was the writers design to make the design suffix suffer. No intentional harm done. It was more by accident than by design.

Monday, October 6, 2014

A Star Is Born

The baseball writer got off to a blazing start, bursting out of the batter’s box, shining like a star. He ran with purpose, as if he were being chased by a pack of voracious wolves. He picked up speed as he rounded third and headed for home, but he stumbled just before crossing the plate, falling on his noggin and seeing stars. The promising star imploded, a not-so-super nova.

Go to the end of the line (the one with got at the outset), and you’ll notice the end of the word could use a finishing touch. It’s the beginning of the end. Well, not quite. It’s the end of the start. The start of start merits a gold star. The end of start is startling. By failing to hitch a t to his star, the writer suffered a false start.

To make a fresh start, I say we add a t to star’s starboard side. With that, our star trek is complete, readers. I have finished what I stared, er, started.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Kiss -ing Goodbye

This newspaper article offers four tips to eliminate bacteria from totes. Unfortunately, the paper doesn’t use parallel structure, which is a kind of repetition using similar (or parallel) grammatical elements. The tips are presented by using the base form of a verb, in its present tense, in all spots — except one. To eliminate bacteria, we wash and clean and wrap and use and … avoiding.

To eliminate errors:

FREQUENTLY CHECK your work on your monitor.

CLEAN ALL AREAS where you place unnecessary endings.

AVOID LEAVING extra letters on a word’s trunk.

WHEN EDITING, examine the article closely before sending it to the printer, and use two eyes to identify mistakes.

To maintain rhythm, let’s stay away from avoiding, which is unnecessarily toting an –ing.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

North vs. South

Just do it … correctly.

In 2013 Nike created a shirt for the Carolina Panthers, an NFL team based in Charlotte, North Carolina. The black, short-sleeved shirt featured an NC and the team logo inside a state outline of Carolina. One problem: The outline was of South Carolina, not North Carolina.

The Panthers do represent both states. The team trains in Spartanburg, South Carolina, and played regular-season home games in Clemson, South Carolina, in its inaugural season (1995) before moving to Charlotte. The owner purposefully christened his team the Carolina Panthers (as opposed to the North Carolina Panthers or Charlotte Panthers) to appeal to people from both states and create a wider fan base. Still, Nike corrupted its slogan and just blew it. If you’re going to run one state’s outline on a Panthers shirt, it’s got to be the one referenced on the shirt — the one where the team literally plays. In other words, it states NC, so its state should be NC.

On the left sleeve is Nike’s familiar Swoosh, which resembles a check mark. An x would have been more appropriate, because the footwear and apparel giant got this one wrong. If Nike wants to make a shirt along these lines, how about one with an NY and a Giants (or Jets) logo in the state outline of New Jersey? That would, oddly enough, be accurate.

This isn’t the first time a problem has arisen involving the Carolinas, but it may be the first one that hit the shelves. Nike recalled the erroneous $32 T-shirt, but not before some were sold … and many were flipped on eBay for profits as large as a certain wild cat.