The leaves are falling, the kids are complaining about homework—it's almost time for National Punctuation Day! Mark your calendar (September 24) and start making preparations. Bill Bronaugh, at Everything You Know About English Is Wrong, has already put up his Punctuation Tree. John McIntyre of the Baltimore Sun offers a set of Punctuation Day resolutions. As for me, I know what I'll be wearing to the big Punctuation Day parade. (Naturally, I'll be registering under my Palin Baby Name: Comma Liberty.)
Mr. Verb wants to know the best nickname for Sarah Palin: Caribou Barbie? June Cleavage? Visit his blog to cast your vote. A former copyeditor myself, I'm proud and happy to see Why Editing Matters, a write-in site from the American Society of Copy Editors. But entry #124 makes me want to weep.
Mr. Verb wants to know the best nickname for Sarah Palin: Caribou Barbie? June Cleavage? Visit his blog to cast your vote.
A former copyeditor myself, I'm proud and happy to see Why Editing Matters, a write-in site from the American Society of Copy Editors. But entry #124 makes me want to weep.
If you're curious about stuff like Go Girl Glo Energy Drink, Flamin' Hot Funyuns, Nature's Path Organic Frosted Strawberry Toaster Pastries, and Every Man Jack Citrus Scrub Body Wash—whether as potential customer or as horrified bystander—then The Impulsive Buy ("Putting the 'ew' in product review") is required reading. All the basic info (serving size, calories, price), plus new! improved! attitude. Here, for example, is what reviewer Ace has to say about Pringles Extreme Screamin' Dill Pickle:
Luckily, there is more to this damnation of cardboard tube than a stupid name, and believe me, it is a very stupid name. “Screamin’ Dill Pickle” was actually slang for gonorrhea where I grew up. It brought back some bad memories when I saw this on the shelves. Pickle flavoring on Pringles scared the shit out of me. I absolutely hate it when I get pickle juice on my fries, so pickle flavoring on Pringles would probably be that much worse.
David Foster Wallace's death still feels like a personal loss, but it has also motivated me to rediscover some of his writing, like this 2001 essay for Harper's titled "Democracy, English, and the Wars over Usage," in which Wallace writes:
Issues of tradition vs. egalitarianism in U.S. English are at root political issues and can be effectively addressed only in what this article hereby terms a "Democratic Spirit." A Democratic Spirit is one that combines rigor and humility, i.e., passionate conviction plus sedulous respect for the convictions of others. As any American knows, this is a very difficult spirit to cultivate and maintain, particularly when it comes to issues you feel strongly about. Equally tough is a D.S.'s criterion of 100 percent intellectual integrity — you have to be willing to look honestly at yourself and your motives for believing what you believe, and to do it more or less continually.
And here's a link to Wallace's eleven-page article on "the late, great John McCain," published in April 2000 after Wallace spent a week on the Straight Talk Express. (Hat tip: Wonkette.)
And as long as we're in that territory, I highly recommend Edge.org, where scientists and other thinkers take on Big Subjects in an open-forum format. I stumbled onto Edge through an essay by Jonathan Haidt, a professor of psychology at the University of Virginia, provocatively titled Why Do People Vote Republican? I'm not entirely convinced by Haidt's conclusion—that Republicans care more about "the integrity and identity of the collective" and Democrats care primarily about "a collection of individuals, each with a panoply of rights" (in fact, I think he's got it reversed)—but I am determined to have a civil conversation about these ideas.
Lighten up, you say? Okey-dokey. Let's click over to 23/6 ("Some of the News, Most of the Time") and chuckle at headlines like "Lehman Collapse Hurting the Kind of Men You Fall in Love with--Douchebags." And laugh liberally at this: