Monday, April 27, 2015

An Emboldened Woman

Have you seen her? I have. She’s fearless. She’s brave. She’s … bold.

Sheldon’s roommate, Leonard, once complained that he hated his name because, when said aloud, “it has 'nerd' in it.” I suppose Sheldon has a right to bitch now too, because his name, when written in these TV listings, has prominent lady parts.

Sheldon doesn’t have a bold bone in his bony body. He’s afraid of birds, has a fear of nets and has nightmares about Goofy. He won’t talk about any of these phobias in public, mind you, because he doesn’t like speaking to large crowds, which he considers any group big enough to trample him to death. General rule of thumb is 36 adults or 70 children. Sheldon? Bold? No.


Why is She acting like that? He has no interest in getting in touch with his feminine side.

This print version of Sheldon, which boldly went partly bold, got off to a worse start than the actual Sheldon, who as a 5-year-old wrote a paper titled “A Proof That Algebraic Topology Can Never Have a Non-Self-Contradictory Set of Abelian Groups.” The theoretical physicist entered college at age 11, graduated summa cum laude at 14 and received his first Ph.D. at 16. That’s a compendium of bold achievements.

Making those first three letters stand out, however, was anything but a bold feat. Not that Sheldon would notice; he is oblivious to advances from the opposite sex.

Monday, April 20, 2015

"Back" Issues

It was rally time on the first page of my local paper’s sports section recently. It was rally time again on page 5. I attended the first rally and remarked about its redundancy. My comments, despite being made about their backs, not behind them, were unwelcome and, as such, my presence wasn’t requested at the second rally. This is proof, readers, that when it’s rally time, you’re not invited, back.

I’ve got your backs, sports writers. You can have them back. After rally (and, in the second example, rallied), a back is an affront to conciseness. So, heed my rallying cry: “We want a rally, without a back finale! We want a rally, without a back finale!”

Avoid redundancy, readers. Tell back to get off rally’s back. In the same vein, never “refer back” to something. Refer, like rally, includes back in its definition.

When rallying, and when referring, remember to trim the back fat.

Monday, April 13, 2015

The Definitive Guide to Indefinite Articles

A or an? An or a? It depends. On what? On the word that follows. When deciding which indefinite article you need, sound it out. Use a before a consonant sound and an before a vowel sound. Seems simple and straightforward. Its not, if the examples Ive shared here, here and here are any indication.

Independent begins with a vowel sound. So, applying what weve learned, we can conclude that an is the answer. Independent is dependent on it. Constantly. No independent variables here.

Monday, April 6, 2015

The Cicso Kid

Major League Baseball has had its share of what I’ll term “error wearers” — players who donned misspelled jerseys. I’ve blogged about some of these fashion faux pas before, here, here and here. Now it’s time to chronicle one about the City by the Bay.

Photo by Bob Levey / AP

San Francisco outfielder Eugenio Velez entered the April 7, 2010, game against Houston in the seventh inning. He walked in his only at-bat and scored the team’s final run in a 10-4 victory. 10-4 is more than a score; it’s CB radio lingo meaning, in essence, OK. You know what’s not 10-4? The farcical misspelling on Velez’s jersey.

I bet Velez could “CIC” himself for wearing a jersey with a Giant error.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Please Careful Readly

That’s a bad sign — a very bad sign. What is it driving at?

Only three simple words adorn that diamond-shaped sign in Northern California, yet two of ‘em are transposed, and one’s suffix is affixed to the end of another, creating a bogus word in the process.


PLEASE? Don’t go. You please me.

SLOW? I figured you’d come in last. Your second-place finish surprises me.

DRIVE? Put the pedal to the medal, man. You should be embarrassed about letting SLOW overtake you.

LY? You’re one wayward adverbial suffix! You’re parked on the wrong DRIVE. Like pokes and motions, you should follow SLOW.

Now I must confess. You’ve been (April) fooled. This “traffic wreck” was intentional. The sign, which went viral in the summer of 2013, was installed on private property near Bell’s Preschool in Auburn for safety reasons.

In a statement to the Auburn Journal, owner Lorraine Bell said: “This whimsical sign, which reads ‘PLEASE SLOW DRIVELY,’ was a gift to the school to be used as part of its campaign to get drivers to slow down when they pass by this school. Intentionally misspelled words are often used to draw the attention of the readers.”

Metaplasm* was employed purposefully, in hopes that drivers would slow down in an attempt to process that head-scratching sign. Speeds would plummet. Schoolchildren would survive. For that, please loud cheerly.

Having said that…

Couldn’t the mission backfire? A driver distracted by the jumbled mess could fail to notice a car in front of him — or a preschooler running into the street. For that, please stern condemnly.

* The intentional change to the spelling of a word or words