More Trips Down the Rapids
of my Writing Conniptions
I prefer to think of them as inner convictions. And if the trickle I let loose last week happens to swell into a flood, why, then I'll go swirling down the drain, pitching my conniptions as so much frothy gurgles.
What the hell am I even saying?
Oh, right. That grammar and usage thing.
Some other somethings on my mind (funny how once you let one rant out, the next four elbow up to the front of the line):
Silly Announcers, English is for Americans
It occurred to me: why are sports announcers so eager to save face by dumbing down plural team names to the singular?
As I said, I don't recall this being a problem back in the days when I'd catch Jack Buck doing the Cardinals over my radio late at night as a kid. Probably the proliferation of teams like the Heat and Lightning and Magic gave our modern-day talk jocks commentary diarrhea. But why so insistent on "the Cleveland Brown sideline" or "New York Met cap"?
Is it the fear of screwing up a plural when it should be possessive? You know, New England Patriots bench, or the Patriots' supply of itch-proof protective cups. That sort of thing, the sort of thing most of us think twice about when writing anything in an official capacity.
But wait: they're saying it on television and the radio. So the Giants' postgame spread and the giant's postgame spread (up at the top of the beanstalk) sound the same when spoken aloud. What gives? Last night, in the Packers-Giants pregame, only Curt Menefee went with "Packers" consistently. Terry, Howie, whoever else was there, they all shuddered back into "Packer" bench, sideline, locker room, etc.
We don't change Staples to "Staple office supply store." We don't alter Reese's Peanut Butter Cup to "that confectionary delicacy that Reese whips up."
Oh, all right (two words, lady's and gent's (double parenthetical, to note my whimsical use of the apostrophe there)), I'll shut up about it now.
Keep the Madness in Your Family
We just made it through Christmas card season. Anybody get one where the family name is signed like this:
The Warren's what? The Dupree's card? The Cruise's handwriting?
Last time I checked, if you're referring to one or more members of the Foutz family, you may call us Foutzes. Even better, drop a line like "we invited the Foutzes to our wedding reception, and heck yes there is an open bar."
Now, I'm less committed when it comes to seeing the plural use on a mailbox or decorative front stoop plaque (if you must). Because it could be referring to your house: The Warrens' abode, The Duprees' castle, The Cruises' compound of insanity. But for the love of Amos Apostrophe (and his love child, Amber Ampersand), don't let me catch you pulling a "The Foutz's" or "The Jone's" or the like. Unless you're referring to the throne room, which around here, mornings, is definitely "The Foutz's", meaning mine.
And if your name is Showers, and you're trying to parse out Showerses or Showers' or Showerses' -- Josh, how do you do it? -- better just use the old journalists' trick and WRITE AROUND IT: "the Showers family". Or put the money you could spend on a mailbox decal or decorative pigeon-stained stoop plaque into a big gulp bottle of Wite-Out instead.
Scratch 'n Sniff -- It May Smell Like Teen Spirit
This is a phenomenon I've lately witnessed on MySpace, the tortured exclamations of my fellow friendlies, bellowing things like:
or signing their names "Janeeeeeeeeee".
Let's traipse around a bit in Phonetic Spelling Land, shall we? It's a nifty little realm, ruled over by a benevolent prose stylist, forgiving of lapses in decorum as long as they provide the barest glimmer of entertainment, and are readily understood, hence the name of our kingdom.
So... sound it out, as Miss Molly used to say. What does "Welllll" sound like? Probably Bill Cosby with a cheekful of the old Pudding Pops. I can't even contemplate "Awesomeeeeeee" or "Janeeeeeee". Did you step on a mouse or perhaps get something sticky on your "e" key while typing? Where are you connecting from anyway?
Same goes for "loverssssssss" and "good timesssssssssss". Is the only place you can get to a computer the local snake farm?
So... sound it out. I think you mean to say:
"Weeeeeeell, gotta go, 'cause I got a bad case of the nasty poops."
And: "Monica and Ross dancing in that club on Friends -- awesoooooome."
You can't say you "loveeeeeeee" your "loverrrrrrrs". But I'm betting you loooooooves you some good tiiiiiiimes.
And you won't catch me longing to "danceeeeeee". But I might get down enough to daaaaance. Yeah. Ross-style.
Enough conniptions for one night.