Tuesday, September 27, 2016

An Unusual Period of Time

Minutes turn into hours. On very rare occasions, minutes turn into the absurdity seen below.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016


I often yearn for simpler days, when as a boy I leaped from couch to chair because the living room rug was lava or shark-infested waters. My imagination took me places. Today I could reach into the deepest recesses of my mind, mustering whatever child-like imagination I have in reserve, and still I'd be unable to conceive that such an error could be a possibility.

My strongest objection is that toward the end, there's an inc- blot in our path that doesn't ring true.

Having too much of something — even something that always arrives first in a crisis and never makes a sound during an indictment and is big in California and can always be found in a pinch — isn't good. Don't binge-c.

It's time for incdulgence to hit the gym. Feasting on c rations has made it bigger, much like a first-year collegian packing on the freshman 15. If you exercise — caution, that is — when you're spelling, nouns like indulgence won't tip the scales.

Using one c I can see, but two c's? Cease. Please.

Monday, September 12, 2016

A Univer-city

Today’s error is reminiscent of “Affidavit Justice,”* a 2003 episode of King of Queens.

The law firm where Carrie (Leah Remini) works as a secretary is having a company picnic. Her deliveryman husband, Doug (Kevin James), begrudgingly tags along and ends up playing in a low-key softball game. Low-key for everyone other than Doug, who plays so intensely that he injures one of the corporate lawyers in a collision at home plate. Doug’s hustle and ability impress the firm’s senior partner, who recruits Doug as a ringer for the firm’s flailing team. Carrie is adamantly opposed to the charade, but Doug plays along. He’s even set up with a phone line … that Carrie must answer.

En route to the first game — in a limo — Doug is drilled by Carrie about his “law” background so he can cover his pretense. Here’s their conversation:

Carrie: Where did you go to law school?
Doug: I didn’t. I was home-schooled.

Carrie: Doug, c’mon! You said you’d let me coach you through this.
Doug: All right, fine. If anybody asks, I’ll just say I went to Stamford.

Carrie: I’m sorry, did you just say Stamford, with an m?
Doug: Yeah. Stamford Law School.

Carrie: OK, the school you’re thinking of is Stanford, with an n.
Doug: No, it’s Stamford. I know — I deliver there. I’ve seen the sign.

Carrie: OK, dumbass, you’re thinking of Stamford, Connecticut. OK? Stanford Law School is in California.
Doug: You know what? I don’t like all this negativity before a game.

The writer pulled an anti-Doug. He was thinking of the Connecticut city less than 20 miles from where I live but opted for the California city and its eponymous university.

Those two humped letters look similar and are adjacent in the alphabet, yet using the wrong one puts you off by miles. In this case, 2,583.5 of them.

* The title of that sports-themed episode is a play on words. It sounds like David Justice, a former Major League Baseball player.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Off by an Inch

Oh, the poor Sports Illustrated writer. He came within an inch of diverting disaster. Well, disaster is a strong word, but in the 20 seconds or so that it took you to read those three SI blurbs, Washington State running back James Williams shrank.

Hard to believe something like that could happen. It's probably a tall tale. But how tall? That is the question.

The height listed in the third blurb doesn't measure up to the one listed in the opening blurb.

Is it a case of early-onset osteoporosis? Does Williams have compressed discs between his vertebrae? Have the arches of his feet abruptly flattened?

No, no and no.

The case of the incredible shrinking man is simply a reflection of the good times and the bad times — the heights and the lows.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Dying to Be "Than"

I had no issues with the first seven words. Things were fine until then.

Until then.


Not now.

Use than. Then you’re right. Because in this instance, than is better than then.

Than is a conjunction or preposition used when comparing things. Some popular examples:

Blood is thicker than water.
The pen is mightier than the sword.
Superman is faster than a speeding bullet.

Then, primarily an adverb but occasionally a noun or adjective, denotes time, in the sense of “at that time” or “soon after.” Some popular (and not-so-popular) examples:

First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes baby in a baby carriage.
Life sucks, and then you die.
I saw an e and then realized the word was incorrect.

Than and then look and sound similar, but understanding their differences is key. Did you know, for example, that some people who use the words incorrectly would rather cuddle than have sex? The rest of us, on the other hand, would rather cuddle then have sex.

To make sure you’re one of the lucky ones who cuddles and has sex, try this mnemonic device: Then has an e. So does time. Than has an a. So does comparison.

OK, I’m finished. Come back in a week. I’ll have another post then. I hope it’ll be better than this one.