Wednesday, November 23, 2016

In? One R. And Out? The Other

I'm going to say something that my mom, a home-shopping addict, never would: I'm not buying that, QVC.

I'm not buying what host Kristen Wiig and Cecily Strong were selling in their "QVC Auditions" sketch on last week's episode of Saturday Night Live. I prefer the variant spelling, pendant, but that's not the basis for my frugality. Neither is the missing hyphen in money-back. Are our ladies in red selling nautical ropes used to fasten a corner of a sail to the yard? No? Then don't dangle earings in front of us. Repair your broken jewelry.

Earings is to earrings what cubic zirconia is to diamonds. They're similar, but not the same.

What do I have in common with a small, button-like earring mounted on a metal post? Not much. Only one of us is a stud.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Place Your Betts

Ah, the Redskins. No team nickname in professional sports evokes stronger opinions. Some find it honorable; others consider it offensive. Is it right? Is it wrong? That’s debatable.

Ah, Betts. No player surname in professional sports is much easier to spell. Is it right? Is it wrong? There’s no debate — it’s right. Except when it isn’t.

Ladell Betts, a former running back, played eight seasons for the Washington Redskins. During a preseason game against the Baltimore Ravens in his final season with Washington, Betts sported a jersey that really, well, gets under my skin.

On Aug. 13, 2009 — less than four months after another D.C.-based team suffered a uniform breakdown, which I blogged about here — someone confused Betts with a different running back, Jerome “the Bus” Bettis.

You missed the Bus, Redskins; Bettis, a six-time Pro Bowler with the Pittsburgh Steelers, retired following the 2005 season.

So, lose an I. That’ll bring out the BETTS in Ladell.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Playing Hooky

Time for roll call.

S? Here.

C? Present.

H? Uh-huh.

O? [Raises hand.]

O? Here.

L? … L? … L? … L?

Where’s L?

Maybe he’s sick. After all, my best friend’s sister’s boyfriend’s brother’s girlfriend heard from this guy who knows this kid who’s going with the girl who saw L pass out at 31 Flavors last night.

Illness plays no part in L’s absence, in my estimation. I have a few theories about why that consonant, whose presence is as expected as “Have a great summer!” comments in your yearbook, is missing.

1. A child wrote the caption. I know lots of children dream of making school shorter.

2. The L wanted to be like Katy Perry, Al Pacino, Quentin Tarantino, Mark Zuckerberg and Charles Dickens, among others. They all dropped out of school. Some withdraw to support their family. Others do so to pursue Hollywood careers. Bullying, poor grades and an unexpected pregnancy are other reasons. Perhaps an expectant L was having a little l. Maybe L hoped to follow in the footsteps of his counterparts in the third and fourth positions on the famous sign overlooking Los Angeles.

3. An editor was careless.

Whatever the reason, my advice to the alphabet’s 12th letter remains the same: Finish school.

Mitra Farmand

Monday, November 7, 2016

An Err-Er

Is it ironic if you err when you err?

To err is human. To err instead of er is hellish — to an editor, anyway.

Err is a verb meaning to make a mistake. Er is an interjection expressing hesitation or uncertainty, similar to uh or um. Examples: Fourteen times six is, er, 84. The capital of Illinois is Chicago, er, Springfield.

When you're not sure what to say, say er. Otherwise, you err.

I'll let the writer off the hook, though. After all, to forgive is devine, er, divine.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

"Players" Came Out of Left Field

Er, delete er.

In the (doctored) words of Hamlet on the eve of The Murder of Gonzago, the plays is the thing.