The New York Times had a story on brick theft in St. Louis yesterday. I’m late getting to it, yes, but somehow I doubt brick theft is a big issue in the blogosphere. The gist: Scrappers, crackheads and other scavengers are taking advantage of abandonment and social disarray to steal the city’s red bricks, “prized by developers throughout the South for its distinctive character.”

The preferred harvesting technique is arson. Then,

“The firemen come and hose them down and shoot all that mortar off with the high-pressure hose,” said Alderman Samuel Moore, whose predominantly black Fourth Ward has been hit particularly hard by brick thieves. When a thief goes to pick up the bricks after a fire, “They’re just laying there nice and clean.”

It is a crime that has increased with the recession. Where thieves in many cities harvest copper, aluminum and other materials from vacant buildings, brick rustling has emerged more recently as a sort of scrapper’s endgame, exploited once the rest of a building’s architectural elements have been exhausted. “Cleveland is suffering from this,” said Royce Yeater, Midwest director for the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “I’ve also heard of it happening in Detroit.”

You have, Royce? You heard right:

I ran this picture a while back. I took it in the fall of 2008 while escorting a pair of French journalists around the city. They wanted to see the $1 houses, and this one was across the street. This house had been looted, scrapped, torched and, when we visited, was giving up its final harvest — the bricks. Two homeless-looking guys were at work with crowbars and a rubber mallet, taking them off one by one and knocking the mortar off. They were tossing them on a pile, but I draw your attention to the pallet in the side yard, the bricks neatly stacked and wrapped in plastic, awaiting the fork lift to take them off…somewhere. I guess to the south, where developers will prize their distinctive character.

In many ways, this photo inspired a screenplay I’ve been working on for a while now, and will finish — 30 more pages! — if I ever get a minute or two. It started me thinking about scrapping in general, how this economic disaster has made it so much easier to take the accumulated wealth of our region and distribute it around the world. Whole factories are being disassembled, their assembly lines cut out with torches, loaded onto freighters and shipped off to places where labor doesn’t demand a living wage and certain safety precautions. Abandoned houses are being stripped of their plumbing and window frames, which is trundled off to the scrap yards and sold by the pound. And now the bricks. Well, I can’t say I’m surprised.

See, it just slayed me how systematic all this was, how the sleazy mortgage brokers and other sharpies figured out how to descend upon a city that any fool could tell you was already a pretty well-picked-over carcass to begin with, and still find some marrow to suck out of its bones. This neighborhood, the Realtor told me, had been a functional concern until fairly recently. I wouldn’t have wanted to live there, but a lot of people a little closer to the margins had found it acceptable enough. And then the knock came one day, a former drug dealer trading up to home refinancing, and that was the beginning of the end. They wrote loan after loan against these modest little houses, aided and abetted by their friends in the business, who didn’t care they were loaning 110 percent of a house’s worth to someone whose residency in the working class — and chance of repaying even a fraction — was tenuous in the extreme; their end came out of the fees, the risk passed down the line to some other sucker. Who, it turned out, was us.

Then it all caved in, and the fun really started. Seen above.

A few years back, I toured the Edsel and Eleanor Ford estate with Kate’s Brownie troop, a Cotswold-style mansion on the shores of Lake St. Clair, the sort of thing built by the second generation of a great fortune. The guide pointed out all the architectural details that had been imported from some dismantled English country home — the windows, the floorboards — and it made me wonder if it hasn’t always been thus. Wealth is created, then stolen or traded, traveling around the world in tidal waves of destruction and reconstruction.

I bet the Fords bought their windows fair and square, however; the developers snatching up those nicely wrapped pallets of St. Louis and Detroit brick, not so much. But they have plausible deniability.

In case you’re wondering, I put a few human beings in my fictional story. My struggle is how to make a story that’s essentially about worthless real estate compelling. Get me rewrite.

Another ridiculous day ahead, so better hop to the bloggage:

Ohio University’s Rufus Bobcat delivers an end-zone smackdown to Brutus Buckeye, and friends? I couldn’t be prouder. When your little MAC team is about to serve as an early-season hors d’oeuvre for the Big 10 behemoth 90 miles up the road, the least you can do is get a little mojo for the school any way you can. The guy says he’s not sorry, and he definitely would do it again. Hell yeah.

Gene Weingarten mourns the death of the English language, citing in his evidence:

The Lewiston (Maine) Sun-Journal has written of “spading and neutering.” The Miami Herald reported on someone who “eeks out a living” — alas, not by running an amusement-park haunted house. The Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star described professional football as a “doggy dog world.” The Vallejo (Calif.) Times-Herald and the South Bend (Ind.) Tribune were the two most recent papers, out of dozens, to report on the treatment of “prostrate cancer.”

I shared with him one of my favorites, which appeared in a small Ohio daily way back when: “(The film) contained more violence than a Peck & Paw production.”

Bonus for those who’ve read this far: The brick-theft story, in the venerable and still fully staffed New York Times, contains a similar homophone error deep in the copy. Find it, and I’ll give you…my sincere respect. UPDATE: Eh, never mind. It’s been fixed. Bricks are stacked on a pallet; the original version had them on a palette. That would have been hard to hold.

A good day to all.

Posted at 10:03 am in Current events, Detroit life |

71 responses to “Scrapping.”

  1. brian stouder said on September 21, 2010 at 10:21 am

    “Palette” was on the tip of my tongue.
    (although I bet that was a software error on their part; who – except for an NY Times reporter – would come up with “palette” instead of pallet?)

    btw – Time Magazine had a nice article on the Pointes, and the newer residents who buy very nice homes for half what they cost 4 years ago – and who have almost no chance of selling them for what they paid (not that they want to)

    Allow me to join everyone else hereabouts in looking forward to the screenplay that is emerging, magma-like, from these shifting economic plates

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  2. John said on September 21, 2010 at 10:27 am

    “Utter” was typed in the live subtitling this morning on the local AM news show during a segment about cows. Not the same as the NY Times, but I was amused. Not much else to do 7 AM on my exercise bike at the cardio-rehab than to watch TV. Not much eye candy in that room of the hospital. I switched from the 9 AM session to the 6:45 AM one when I went back to work, which sucks, but whatcha gonna do?

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  3. Peter said on September 21, 2010 at 10:45 am

    The local NBC outlet here is head and shoulders above the rest when it comes to typos – their rolling scroll at the bottom of the screen never fails to delight. My favorite so far: “Deloitte Mare Kwame Kilpatrick Found Guilty”

    If you walk along LaSalle Street, you can still see a few offices that appropriated a medieval castle for their suite – 231 S LaSalle still has the whole dining room from an English Manor – just look for the leaded or stained glass behind the exterior windows…

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  4. ROgirl said on September 21, 2010 at 10:49 am

    The architectural imports for the Edsel Ford Estate probably came about at the same time that the Cotswold cottage at Greenfield Village was acquired.

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  5. LAMary said on September 21, 2010 at 11:00 am

    Look at the upside of scrapping. If they take everything down to the bones all those materials get recycled or reused and you are left with an empty lot rather than an abandoned deteriorating building.
    I know it doesn’t really work that way but I was being optimistic.

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  6. Catherine said on September 21, 2010 at 11:12 am

    “Flush out” instead of “flesh out,” as in an idea or a plan. I don’t really want your plan that’s been flushed out, thanks anyway.

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  7. MaryRC said on September 21, 2010 at 11:15 am

    I always get a kick out of “eek”. I saw it somewhere just yesterday. And two minutes ago I saw “rest control” for “wrest control” which was sort of funny in the context (political parties in a struggle over control of the Senate, not exactly restful). But these were both from commenters on blogs, not newspapers with editors whose job it is to catch this kind of thing.

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  8. ROgirl said on September 21, 2010 at 11:18 am

    Just this morning I saw “poured over” for “pored over.”

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  9. Jeff Borden said on September 21, 2010 at 11:21 am

    One of my favorites remains “the grizzly crime scene.” I knew that bears were famous for breaking into cars and storage containers to steal food, but wow!

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  10. Julie Robinson said on September 21, 2010 at 11:27 am

    Oh dear. Our home was constructed from used brick. We were told by the original owner that it came from dismantled public restrooms.

    Here’s a gem plucked from a freecycle post I just received: “My daughter had a large dog living with her, but he moved away and took his pet with him.”

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  11. Dorothy said on September 21, 2010 at 11:29 am

    We had 12 pallets of bricks delivered in May for our walkways and patio project, and paid a $17 deposit on each pallet, so I’m well aware of how to spell that word (well, I was even before I had paperwork in my hands from Mansfield Brick). I just emailed the radio station in Newark the other day, taking to task the D.J. who said he was going to be playing a song in the next half hour by BOZE Scaggs. Then when the freakin’ song was over, he said “That was LYE-do Shuffle by Boze Scaggs!” If he had been listening to the damn song he’d hear Boz SING the correct pronunciation of Lido (Lee-doe) Shuffle. I’m the self-appointed Corrections Mistress of the entire state of Ohio for cryin’ out loud.

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  12. Bob (Not Greene) said on September 21, 2010 at 11:32 am

    Nance, didn’t you get the memo? It’s the poor people’s fault! Don’t you remember our national hero Rick Santelli (who is taking credit for the Tea Party movement now, by the way) and his rant about all those traders and rich people being victimized by having to subsidize the goddamn poor people who forced the banks to give them the loans. The rich, they will always be with us.

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  13. brian stouder said on September 21, 2010 at 11:33 am

    Ohio Cor­rec­tions Mis­tress…

    I think we may have a title for Nance’s screenplay

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  14. LAMary said on September 21, 2010 at 11:37 am

    I’m liking Peck and Paw a lot. You have to wonder.

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  15. Courtney said on September 21, 2010 at 11:39 am

    well, kudos to you for making a story about brick theft even more interesting than the original. Breaks my heart to see those photos of those detroit homes, though – my husband and I both remain fiercely loyal to the city (despite moving) and defend it when our pittsburgh neighbors disparage it…

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  16. Deborah said on September 21, 2010 at 11:41 am

    As someone who works at an architecture/design firm I see both pallet and palette misused all the time. Another one is matte (a type of finish) and mat (the thing that goes in a frame surrounding art work).

    I got a boot for my ankle this morning, 6 to 8 weeks of this now. And two crutches instead of one.

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  17. Kim said on September 21, 2010 at 11:49 am

    Two very funny ones in the Tribune-owned paper here recently:
    And they’re among the most vulnerable as Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates embarks on an effort to dismantle the decade-old command as part of a Defense Department restructuring that aims to cut overhead costs and reduce duplicity. (from an A1 story)
    In a photo caption for a shot from a local farmers’ market they offset “Patty Pan Squash” with commas and capitalized it as if it were a person’s name.
    This is from a press release: Your conscious begs you to tackle a do-it-yourself home improvement project.

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  18. coozledad said on September 21, 2010 at 11:51 am

    Danville,VA looks like it’s going to be fertile ground for scrappers, with all its abandoned tobacco warehouses and the antebellum storefronts near the river. There are whole sections of the town that ought to be preserved as a monument to nineteenth century industrial architecture.

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  19. alex said on September 21, 2010 at 11:57 am

    We have a local right-wing columnist who writes about religious tenants. (He’s probably talking about all of the self-righteous a-holes awaiting his company in the Kingdom of Heaven, although he’s so incoherent most days it’s hard to tell.)

    I suspect the copy desk lets his mistakes get through because he’s such an insufferable dick.

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  20. LAMary said on September 21, 2010 at 12:38 pm

    Today is the International Day of Peace.

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  21. MarkH said on September 21, 2010 at 1:00 pm

    I vote LAMary wins the thread at #20. Not for humor or turning of a phrase, but she wins it any way.

    There is a difference between cite and site. Also a difference bewteen insure and ensure. Grrr.

    A local radio station in Idaho, I kid you not, used the following words, in news or ad copy, pronounced exactly as they appear: epitome, hyperbole. Double Grrr.

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  22. basset said on September 21, 2010 at 1:31 pm

    Peck and paw… teenage romance.

    Cooz, about the mountain lion from yesterday… checked with a wildlife biologist who knows the area, he says it may well have been a lion but more likely a bear, that area is apparently covered up with ’em.

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  23. Catherine said on September 21, 2010 at 1:32 pm

    Except and accept. Effect and affect. AS ROGirl said, pour and pore. I let this bother me, why?

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  24. coozledad said on September 21, 2010 at 1:35 pm

    Thanks, Basset. I never considered it might be a bear. Bet it was.

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  25. Colleen said on September 21, 2010 at 1:41 pm

    Right of passage. And free reign. Isn’t it rein, after horsey stuff?

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  26. MichaelG said on September 21, 2010 at 1:53 pm

    How about “drownded” and “realator”?

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  27. paddyo' said on September 21, 2010 at 1:54 pm

    Free reign? Isn’t that an organic and expensive chicken?

    As a first-year newspaper reporter, I wrote a daily about the discovery of an odd feline-looking animal underneath a parked car in some forgotten Reno neighborhood. In my story, I mentioned that animal-control department folks had “poured over” scientific volumes (this was, after all, a couple of decades before the Internet) in their quest to ID what later turned out to be a ringtail.

    The desk never caught my error, and an acid-penned letter writer set me/us straight a couple of days later. (“What did they ‘pour’ on those encyclopedias, pray tell?” my new pen-pal wrote, among other sarcasms.)

    But hey, “pore” was one of those verbs that, for whatever reason (the fact that I went to a state land-grant college?), I had never encountered before.

    Needless to say, I never made THAT misteak again. It’s affect on me was literally profoundationalistic. And Im not lion.

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  28. Julie Robinson said on September 21, 2010 at 1:56 pm

    Um, Alex? I despise that columnist too. But I think the word you were looking for is tenets.

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  29. alex said on September 21, 2010 at 2:24 pm

    No, the word I was looking for was the one he uses. Tenants.

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  30. Julie Robinson said on September 21, 2010 at 2:26 pm

    Oh, sorry, I didn’t catch the irony! I have stopped reading his columns.

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  31. Sue said on September 21, 2010 at 2:45 pm

    State Statues. Perhaps it’s this: § on a pedestal.

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  32. LAMary said on September 21, 2010 at 2:54 pm

    In my job we use something called an attestation form. The salaries of all union jobs are based on years of experience, so a new hire fills out an attestation form with all their years of RN or whatever experience so I can calculate the salary offer. The difficulty some people, specifically some people above my pay grade have with spelling and even worse pronouncing ATTESTATION is remarkable. Mostly I hear or read asstestation. I assume this is a place were asses get tested.

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  33. alex said on September 21, 2010 at 2:56 pm

    Sue, that’s what was known in the typesetting biz as a “sec symbol.”

    On edit: Titter, titter.

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  34. paddyo' said on September 21, 2010 at 3:01 pm

    Speaking of “scrapping”:
    I was reading a recent item in Romenesko News, the daily roundup of stories and items about the news biz, in which the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is sending a recently retired reporter back out on the road to retrace Steinbeck’s “Travels With Charlie.”
    Said reporter wrote in a memo to Romenesko that the newspaper “has been very kind and enthusiasic and it has done everything right,” and noted that the paper’s editors “even SCRAPPED some gas money together” for his travels without Charlie.

    Yeah, like fingernails SCRAPING on chalkboard . . .

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  35. Jolene said on September 21, 2010 at 3:10 pm

    The crawls and banners on TV are also great sources of these errors. Always makes me want to throw a shoe at the screen.

    BTW, the Senate has just passed on the opportunity to repeal DADT.

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  36. Jakash said on September 21, 2010 at 3:11 pm

    A new play called “Detroit” just opened at the Steppenwolf Theater in Chicago. Got a pretty good review in the Tribune.

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  37. Sue said on September 21, 2010 at 3:23 pm

    Jolene: AAAAAnd of course Blanche Lincoln voted with the Republicans.
    This can only mean one thing – not everyone is a fan of Lady Gaga.

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  38. Jeff Borden said on September 21, 2010 at 3:33 pm

    Whatta country we live in. Men and women who WANT to serve in the armed forces, but must live in the closet to do so. Absolutely sickening. Gays serve proudly all over the world, but I guess “American exceptionalism” means we’re the exception when it comes to treating gay people fairly. Shameful but not surprising.

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  39. Kirk said on September 21, 2010 at 3:36 pm

    At least they didn’t say “palate.”

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  40. LAMary said on September 21, 2010 at 3:55 pm

    The crazy thing is most people support repealing DADT. I guess there is a very vocal group of voters out there who oppose it.

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  41. Jeff Borden said on September 21, 2010 at 4:00 pm

    True, but the people who count are the GOP lawmakers and the weak-kneed Democrats who joined them. The vast majority of Americans also believe in taxing the wealthiest citizens at a higher rate –by a substantial margin, too– but you wouldn’t know that to hear all the talk in Congress.

    God help us after the midterms.

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  42. Sue said on September 21, 2010 at 4:04 pm

    Two things to remember: this vote was just to talk about the bill, not pass it; and, the bill is part of a greater military funding bill.

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  43. Rana said on September 21, 2010 at 4:09 pm

    “Tow the line.” “Deep seeded.”

    One thing I’ve been amused to note is the way that “woah” – which was probably originally a misspelling of “whoa” – has shifted its meaning from something like “Stop” and more to something akin to “Wait, what, back up and say that again.” It’s like the literal meaning of “whoa” and the figurative, metaphoric meaning of “whoa” have been separated, with the latter now designated by this new spelling, “woah.”

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  44. MichaelG said on September 21, 2010 at 4:10 pm

    Jeff B., “weak-kneed Democ­rats” is repetitively redundant.

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  45. LAMary said on September 21, 2010 at 4:16 pm

    I used to have some respect for John McCain. This was a long time ago. Has anyone ever sold out as spectacularly and fundamentally as this guy? And he brought down the curse of the Palin upon us.
    What a dick.

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  46. paddyo' said on September 21, 2010 at 4:33 pm

    What LA Mary said. My contempt for Mr. McC grows with every new soundbite . . .

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  47. Dave B said on September 21, 2010 at 4:50 pm

    The misuse of the word “troop” is a pet peeve of mine. However it’s becoming so common the dictionary definition may change. “Troop” used to be a collective noun meaning a group of individuals be they soldiers or boy scouts. But recently the word is being used to mean a lone soldier. As in a recent newscast that stated “Today an American troop died in Iraq” and then gave an individual soldier’s name.

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  48. Kirk said on September 21, 2010 at 4:55 pm

    Yes, I’m afraid the battle on “troop” is lost.

    I love the sportswriters (and most of them seem to do it) who write that a football team “committed” five penalties.

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  49. Christy S. said on September 21, 2010 at 6:46 pm

    The Brutus vs Rufus skirmish made for some great ESPN moments this weekend (they’re still playing it today, actually). Small schools play the Buckeyes because the gate receipts from that one day can practically fund their program, of course. I was all excited a few years ago when OSU was skedded to play San Diego State but then SDSU agreed to move the game to Columbus — for the gate receipts. And then the Aztecs almost kicked their ass, which was funny. I’m sure every other small-school team hopes to replicate that to victory. Remember when Appalachian State beat Michigan in ’07? It happens.
    This year, Ohio State only plays four of its 12 games away. Just doesn’t seem fair, but until the NCAA decides to step in, OSU is going to keep attracting small programs for that money.

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  50. Mark P. said on September 21, 2010 at 8:29 pm

    The “Shaw” of Iran. A reporter I worked with in a previous life wrote that and it got past the copy editor, maybe because it was in the Deep South.

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  51. coozledad said on September 21, 2010 at 8:39 pm

    Shouldn’t that be “pshaw”?

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  52. Linda said on September 21, 2010 at 9:54 pm

    Re: the death of English.

    Did anyone do the classic “for all intensive purposes?”

    And a New York Times (!) online story re: a basketball time getting a “birth” in the college tournament.

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  53. JayZ(the original) said on September 21, 2010 at 10:01 pm

    Another one that we seem to have lost is “drug” as in “I drug it across the floor.” Recently I saw it defined in a dictionary as the past tense and past participle of drag.

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  54. nancy said on September 21, 2010 at 10:06 pm

    “Impact” for affect, “swapped out” for exchanged. I got a million of ’em.

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  55. Jean S said on September 21, 2010 at 10:35 pm

    and let us not forget phase/faze. The Oregonian makes that mistake often–no surprise–but I nearly fell out of my chair the day I spotted it in the NYTimes.

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  56. Kirk said on September 21, 2010 at 10:51 pm

    Setting my teeth on edge far too often lately is “impactful,” which too many illiterate newscasters and sportscasters seem to think is an English adjective.

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  57. Rana said on September 21, 2010 at 11:00 pm

    Mark P., I had to endure that confusion when I was a kid, having that last name when the Shah was big in the news.

    Another one to add to the pile, just seen: taught/taut

    “Impact” and “impactful” make me twitch. So much so that I’ve been known to give a demo in which I show my students what it means if chalk affects a board (I write or draw on it) and what it means if it impacts the board (I hurl it, with much force, so that it blasts into powdery specks). Slamming a book on a table with a loud bang also works to illustrate the principle.

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  58. brian stouder said on September 21, 2010 at 11:00 pm

    I realize we have this very same discussion more or less annually, but still – it’s important. It’s not just mis-spelling words, but also changing the meaning of words, until one wonders “What does that mean?”

    “For all (intensive/intents and) purposes” is a great example; as is “religious tenets/ten­ants”. It changes the language, and in the case of tenets/ten­ants, pretty radically.

    I’ve been thinking about the meaning of words lately, because of the essentially meaningless term “RINO” – Republican-In-Name-Only.

    Well, I should say that term is either meaningless, or else amazingly totalitarian. Afterall, isn’t every Republican a “Republican in Name Only”? Or, is there some genetic trait that makes one truly, existentially Republican?

    If a person says that they’re a conservative FIRST, and then a Republican (as most of the righty radio lip-flappers attest), and in the next breath attack all those terrible “Republicans in Name Only”, how does one differentiate a “good” RINO from a “bad” RINO.

    Muddled thought like that really is untethered from logic; and it really does trouble me that so many people are so quick to abandon reason in favor of passion.

    By way of saying, writing clearly is an important – even indispensible – part of thinking clearly, and ultimately acting rationally.

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  59. A. Riley said on September 21, 2010 at 11:20 pm

    You want to hear about someone who bites her tongue every hour on the hour — take a former copyeditor who’s now writing fundraising copy for a do-gooder nonprofit. Holy crap. Every freakin’ thing is impactful. Everyone wants to make an impact. You too can have an impact on this trouble.

    I write fundraising letters for a living now. I *need* another word. Help me, I beg of you!!!

    (Oh — and the outside designer/consultant who puts together the specs & lays out the stuff? Manuscript & photos to her are “resource.” It is to weep.)

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  60. Catherine said on September 21, 2010 at 11:28 pm

    DH had a new one tonight: “The spacecraft is safeing!” Meaning it’s confused about where it is/what it’s doing, and is going into safe mode, i.e., pointing toward the sun and shutting down nonessential functions. The question wasn’t whether safeing is a word, but whether it is spelled with or without the “e.” When engineers make English…

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  61. Rana said on September 21, 2010 at 11:29 pm

    “You too can change the world” perhaps? “Make a real difference”? “Put your values in action”? (Yeah, they’re all waffly, but perhaps that’s because they all lack impact. *grin* )

    Part of the reason all the impacted/impactful usages make me twitch is that some of the things that are impacted (teeth, colons) are not really all that savory.

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  62. MarkH said on September 22, 2010 at 12:50 am

    Strictly OT, but is Men’s Health Magazine on the level??

    Top 10 most sexually charged cities. You will NOT believe the first four (well, two of them anyway):

    You Hoosiers make of this what you will. Me, I need to get out more.

    BTW, in keeping with today’s topic, it’s just Boise, not Boise City.

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  63. Dexter said on September 22, 2010 at 2:05 am

    Kirk: This is serious. Edinson Volquez was great last night. This means the world, as in the world is the Cincinnati Reds’ oyster, if Volquez can pitch like that in the playoffs…Magic Number 4. I am a lowly bandwagon jumper in late September, but if you hardcore Reds fans will have me, I am onboard!

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  64. coozledad said on September 22, 2010 at 3:16 am

    Via The Straight Scoop.
    Jesse Helms, Senator from Taiwan

    “Senator Jesse Helms (R-NC) reportedly embarrassed his staffers by referring to North Korean President Kim Jong Il as “Kim Jong Two” when reading from a prepared speech. To correct this mistake, in Helms’s next speech the staffers helpfully spelled the name phonetically as Kim Jong Ill. Helms referred to him that time as Kim Jong the Third.”

    Reason Magazine
    May 1995

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  65. DEdelstein said on September 22, 2010 at 7:05 am

    I’m thinking Peck & Paw Productions would be a killer name for a production company, especially one that’s run by a shrew & a lecher, which would describe a lot of the female-male producing teams I know, stereotypes be damned.

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  66. brian stouder said on September 22, 2010 at 7:31 am

    Mark – we here in Fort Wayne would probably prefer to keep that strictly word-of-mouth; midwest modesty and all.

    But there is an upside when a town rolls up it’s carpet at 8 pm most every evening

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  67. David in Chicago said on September 22, 2010 at 8:47 am

    Years ago, when I was still living in Cincinnati, there was a billboard I used to drive past put up by a pro-life group. It had a picture of a weeping tin soldier, and the legend “Cincinnati’s toys have less children to play with.” I used to growl at my steering wheel, “Fewer… fewer!”

    For a holiday project when I was in first grade, our teacher had us write out A Visit to St. Nicholas. She would write 4 lines on the blackboard each day for us to practice our letters. Being the helpful boy I was, one day I walked up to the board to make a small correction: she had written “and the bread on his chin was as white as the snow.”

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  68. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on September 22, 2010 at 9:10 am

    . . . and teachers just looooove it when you do that, don’t they?

    I still remember the look I got from my second grade teacher in a similar situation.

    Meanwhile: Indianapolis & Columbus? In the words of Seth Meyers — Really? Fort Wayne, sure . . . (Cincy? No way.)

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  69. MaryRC said on September 22, 2010 at 2:53 pm

    Just saw this one: “the dredge of society” (for “dregs”).

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  70. brian stouder said on September 22, 2010 at 3:21 pm

    Mary – that one that you dredged up got me laughing!

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  71. paddyo' said on September 22, 2010 at 5:37 pm

    Speaking of dregs, I now work in public affairs for the federal gummit, so you can imagine the bureaugrammatically insulting sediments I have to scrape off the bottom each day. I’m fighting a brave (or maybe just foolhardy) and doomed battle against “impact” both as verb and noun, and “effect” as verb (“effect change,” as in “bring about” or “cause,” perfectly serviceable old-school words with none of the bureaucratic baggage, not to mention the effect/affect confusion).

    Impact crept in with the rise of “environmental impact statements,” those involved studies of the EFFECTS (noun!) that a course of government action might have. It has stuck around and now impacts the senses, and sensibilities, at every turn.

    Anyway, something else that impacts my sensibilities is the turgid diplo-politico-governo-bizspeak phrase “going forward,” a jargon-basement utterance that lazy, self-important wonks of all kinds “utilize” all the time. Sadly, alleged journalists, mostly on the tube but sometimes in print, use it more and more, too, instead of the eminently more sensible, one-syllable-shorter “from now on.”
    (END RANT)

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