A moment with the grammar nerd.

The president gave a few remarks about race last Friday. They were excellent, in my opinion, but perhaps you feel otherwise. Discuss if you want, but I’m more interested in picking grammar nits.

This nit in particular:

Along the same lines, I think it would be useful for us to examine some state and local laws to see if it — if they are designed in such a way that they may encourage the kinds of altercations and confrontations and tragedies that we saw in the Florida case, rather than diffuse potential altercations.

I see this all the time. I think whoever transcribed the president’s extemporaneous (yep, no Teleprompter!) remarks should have written “defuse.” You defuse a bomb, which is what an altercation is. Diffuse, as a verb, means to spread over a wide area. No one gets this, and yes, people, it drives me crazy.

Everyone must have their own areas of expertise, where mistakes made by others rankle more. After the Newtown massacre, I was struck by how many gun nuts fixated on minor errors regarding gun technology in others’ comments: Anyone who doesn’t know the difference between an automatic and semi-automatic is not someone we need to listen to. Just the other day, I saw a reference to “a male horse” in news copy, and thought congratulations, you know what a dick looks like. We’ll handle the tricky stallion vs. gelding question tomorrow.

I want to be more aware of these things. And I want the world to learn the difference between defuse and diffuse.

So, did everyone have a good weekend? I feel like mine was all full of Win, as we somehow managed to not lose power after a series of rip-roaring storms blew through Friday night. I made a pound cake and a cucumber salad. Ate ribs. Enjoyed a good time on a patio with citronella candles. Did a little work. The older I get, the more fun I have with stuff like this. I can’t believe there are people who would rather go to P. Diddy’s white party in the Hamptons than a decent backyard barbecue in the rest of the world. But that’s me.

Bloggage? Sure. Bob Garfield winds up and lets ABC have it, for hiring Jenny McCarthy to co-host “The View.”

Alan says he sees these trucks rolling around town, moving giant aluminum ingots here and there. The NYT explains how Goldman Sachs is gaming regulations to manipulate the market in its favor.

Finally, I knew this guy, via friends. He was a husband and father, warm, funny and smart, as well as fat and diabetic. In recent years, he had a health scare, and cleaned up his act — dropped 40 pounds, got his diabetes under control, started going to the gym daily. In this country, at this moment in time, such an accomplishment isn’t truly real until you’ve cemented it with a public display — a road race or other athletic contest. (Newspapers have these stories on a user key, I’m convinced; they’re positive and inspirational. There was one in the Freep just last week.) So, he entered one of those trendy mud obstacle courses, finished, went to the medical tent, collapsed and died.

This is not to blame Rick for what happened to him, or the race for being the venue. It’s just to say that maybe improving one’s own health, losing weight and one’s bad habits, is reward enough. Maybe that’s the lesson here. Two girls lost their father, a wife lost her husband, and no participant’s ribbon will bring him back.

Be careful out there. And have a good week.

Posted at 12:30 am in Current events, Same ol' same ol' |

60 responses to “A moment with the grammar nerd.”

  1. Brandon said on July 22, 2013 at 4:43 am

    Our own paper used diffuse instead of the correct defuse just the other day.

    90 chars

  2. alex said on July 22, 2013 at 6:35 am

    I don’t know if it’s just a younger and much less literate generation taking the reins — yes, reins, not reigns — but a day doesn’t go by anymore when I see venerable news outlets publishing stuff that is riddled with such errors as discussed. The other day I snarked in the comments section of a Time Magazine photo essay that promised a “peak” behind the scenes. “Really? Where are the backdrops of mountain ridges that were promised?”

    It has always been my belief that in order to write well, one must read voraciously. You cannot have a strong command of the language if you’re not totally immersed in it every day of your life. I suspect that those who are now coming of age spend most of their time looking at what passes for language on the screens of their iPhones and seldom pick up a book. Part of the blame, of course, also rests with the publishing industry cutting back on its work force. As I’ve probably mentioned here before, I once worked in a publishing house where a middle-management bean counter weighed in on the future of the business. “Copy editors? Who needs those anymore? Computers have spellcheck.” I rolled my eyes in disbelief. Little did I know that I’d be living on a meager severance package within the year.

    As for the weekend, it couldn’t have been more perfect. I wouldn’t have traded it for a white party in the Hamptons either. I never quite understood the appeal of such events. In my day, they were little more than a casting call for male prostitutes who would line up to service nasty old farts who put out a lavish spread of drugs, booze and food. I’m not sure what P Diddy was after but I’m guessing he must enjoy having his pick of starstruck hookers and would-be groupies.

    1728 chars

  3. Suzanne said on July 22, 2013 at 7:39 am

    Sad about Rick.

    I know lots of people run to be healthy but for many people, I swear it is an addiction and they follow it no matter what. A few years ago, someone died running the Chicago Marathon and, if I recall correctly, race officials ended up calling it off early due to the heat. I read the coverage in the Tribune and the comments were, for me, the real story. Person after person angry that the race had been called. How dare they?? How dare they deny these runners the chance to finish?! I understand people train hard for these races and all that, but someone died!

    Yes, it should be “that maybe improving one’s own health, losing weight and one’s bad habits, is reward enough.” But it seems it isn’t any more.

    739 chars

  4. coozledad said on July 22, 2013 at 7:53 am

    I’m getting some kind of age related dyslexia in addition to vision loss. I’ve noticed I reverse the sequence of letters a lot both reading and writing. I never was able to type worth a shit, but this makes it even more of a comic exercise.

    I got the results of my spit test from 23andme, and they say I have a genetic predisposition to macular degeneration, atrial fibrillation, and a tendency to age about three and a half years ahead of my contemporaries.

    Paradoxically,I also have the gene that will let me live to 95 or older if I don’t get the lung cancer, ulcerative colitis or stomach cancer to which I am prone.

    That should give me plenty of time to indulge a moderately elevated risk of alcohol dependence.

    729 chars

  5. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on July 22, 2013 at 8:15 am

    Didn’t know Rick, but glad to see Dave Hawk is still working in journalism; didn’t know where he’d ended up since I get back to NW Indiana so rarely and briefly then. Those Tough Mudder & Spartan Run races baffle me even without fatality, but after you’ve done a few of those with kindly three-striped cheerleaders urging you on, maybe you don’t feel the need to experience one for pay (yes, if you didn’t know, you pay as much as a ticket for a P Diddy concert for the privilege of blowing out knees and bruising sternums, etc.).

    I was between church events yesterday when “On the Media” came on the car radio, and I sat in a parking lot to hear Bob Garfield out — he did not diffuse his fury across too many targets, but attempted to defuse the assumption that this is just one more ratings-driven decision by a network . . . and yet he kept his tone remarkably even and reasonable. The audio is worth listening to, along with the well-crafted words.

    960 chars

  6. beb said on July 22, 2013 at 8:19 am

    A rich day of bloggage, Nancy. Where to begin?

    Alex hits the grammar police bit on the head. You can’t be conversant in a language unless you immerse yourself in it, and read, read, read.

    Like ROgirl my weekend was uneven. Lost power during the storm Friday. It came back as a brownout. Oddly while the voltage wasn’t enough to run the TV or the A/C it was enough to power the CFL light bulbs in the house and the cablebox and charge the laptops so we had Internet connection all through the brownout.

    Went to see pacific Rim Saturday, and thought it was a really great movie, came home and the power came back on full – for about an hour! Back to a brownout till late evening but the power was restored again and *knock wood* has stayed on. Sunday I went out to do some much needed yardwork and got a lot more done then I ever expected. The temps were warm but bearable, the humidity was way down.

    Finally, the man who died at the mudathon after losing so much weight, etc. is sad. And reminds me of the Boy Scouts Jamboree controversy (no fatties allowed). Just because one has lost weight and exercised and feel better than one has in years doesn’t mean one is as healthy as one was years ago. One needs to respect one’s age, start ACTING one’s age. And know when to quit.

    I see the pundatry has been teeing off on Union pensions again. Detroit’d pension shortfall is only one-fifth of Detroit’s total endebtedness, but it’s the only one professional gossips complain about. What about the other 80% of Detroit’s debt? Who’s to blame for that.

    Now, of course, the pension boards both considered that their fund were largely solvent. The $3.5 billion shortfall was calculated (I gather) using a different set of actuary tools. The consensus methodology assumes am 8% annual growth in investments, which a minority of actuaries consider too optimistic. They recommend using a much lower rate of return when calculating future net worth. Who’s right is hard to say, even though pension funds have been around for 50 years and therefore have enough history to say one way or the other. The conventional, optimistic formula has a lot of buy in from employers since it reducing the amount they have to set aside for their pensions. I kind of think that if the optimistic formula was too far off from reality it would have been apparent by now. But I’m not an economist.

    2388 chars

  7. alex said on July 22, 2013 at 8:28 am

    My dad had a young guy working for him back in the ’70s, a father with young children, who ran for fitness and competed in running contests. Even though he was fit as a fiddle, he croaked during one of these events. I knew him fairly well and remember summer weekends when I watched him play tennis with my dad and some of their other colleagues, and it was quite a shock for everyone. In a way, he was just like family. His death left such a lasting impression on me that I never took up running for exercise.

    510 chars

  8. Dorothy said on July 22, 2013 at 9:06 am

    I spent a big chunk of the day out of the house on Saturday, after being mostly a couch potato since July 6th, day after my knee surgery. We saw “The Way, Way Back” and it was a disappointment. It started out with Allison Janney stealing the opening scene, but after that it was one big downer for the most part. I’m so over movie previews being packed with all the funny scenes and then being so disappointed by the total package.

    Hubby cooked a pork roast on the grill last night and it was sublime. I just did some weed trimming in the garden and now have to sit with my feet up for a little while. I’m yearning to do “normal” activities but know it’s a slow process. I have The Burgess Boys on the iPad to keep me company. Has anyone else read it yet?

    766 chars

  9. Judybusy said on July 22, 2013 at 9:46 am

    Our weekend was really fun, too: gabbing, drinks and food on a friend’s patio on Friday. Our 20-year-old niece came to visit, and we took in a St. Paul Saints baseball game Saturday, Sunday was the dog park, a local falls and a really good bakery. She had recently gone camping with her family and mentioned she’d read a couple books. I was thinking light summer fiction, but no: two books on how to succeed in business, with the emphasis on the social interaction bit. She’s planning on being a high school math teacher, and so we talked about how much of that could transfer. We then talked a lot about how to manage one’s finances, plan for retirement, etc. She blew me away, but then she has always been, ah careful (some might say stingy) with money. I have several books I’m going to recommend to get her going, stuff by David Bach, Suze Ortman and one called Your Money or Your Life. If folks here have any favorites on the topic, I would love to hear them.

    Dorothy, I haven’t heard of the Burgess Boys, so can’t say. I am about to begin listening to Wave, the story of a woman who lost parents, husband and kids in the 2004 tsunami. This is not my typical fare, but I am interested to learn how she is coping. I am afraid it will be unbearably sad, and with my work, I already hear tragic stories every day. So we’ll see if I flee to loving arms of Brother Cadfael!

    1376 chars

  10. Mark P said on July 22, 2013 at 10:11 am

    There’s really no relationship between running and death in such a situation. The article identified the reason he died: he had a history of heart disease. Heart disease kills people whether they run or not. He could just as easily have died while sitting on his couch watching TV.

    281 chars

  11. Jolene said on July 22, 2013 at 10:25 am

    I had a visit from a niece this weekend too. At 21, she is part way to a degree in nursing. She also likes cooking and movies, so she was both a good companion and a good caretaker–not that I need one, but part of the idea of her visit was to help in whatever way I might need.

    She is, at present, an interesting combination of competence and cluelessness–very good at managing her own affairs, but not very knowledgeable about or engaged in the broader world. Better that than the other way around, I suppose. There’s plenty of time for her to figure out politics, and, to her credit, she is fairly knowledgeable about some aspects of health policy.

    The high points of the weekend, besides good company, were Saturday night’s dinner mostly made by Jenna (mustard chicken, oven-roasted sweet potatoes, salad, ice cream with fresh fruit) and seeing 20 Feet from Stardom. Do see it if you get a chance. It’s a great bit of movie-making with many reasons to like it–reminders of the music that was happening when lots of us were young, displays of great talent, just enough appearances and commentary by more famous musicians (Mick Jagger, Bruce Springsteen, Sting, others), and a close look at what goes into music-making from a perspective you don’t usually think about–that of the backup singer.

    1375 chars

  12. Deborah said on July 22, 2013 at 10:54 am

    I wrote a comment early this morning but it seems to have disappeared. I was at a family reunion for my husband’s family this weekend, near St. Louis. The most interesting part was that a gay cousin brought his partner, a black man. I spent most of the weekend talking to them. My 94 year old mother in law said that she had never met an openly gay couple before. The father of the gay man, my husband’s uncle said at one time that he thought all of the slaves should have been shipped back to Africa after the civil war, talk about an awkward moment… Another cousin who lives in Texas said Jefferson Davis was his hero. We couldn’t say fast enough that Lincoln was ours. This all took place in a depressing small town where it was hot and muggy.

    748 chars

  13. coozledad said on July 22, 2013 at 11:06 am

    Deborah: Your husband’s uncle is Antonin Scalia?!

    130 chars

  14. adrianne said on July 22, 2013 at 11:21 am

    Deborah, I’ve been through those awkward moments before. Just keep talking, I advise.

    I’m with Nance in my love of the thrill of the grill. In last week’s horrible heat wave, I don’t think I turned on the oven once. It was grill, grill, grill, or takeout.

    258 chars

  15. Charlotte said on July 22, 2013 at 11:25 am

    Dorothy — I loved the Burgess Boys (but I’m a big fan of Elizabeth Strout) — got it from the library the minute it came in.

    My librarian friend refers to the grammar issues we’ve been looking at as “homonym abuse” — pet peeve — it’s barbed wire, not barb wire, and not bob wire.

    Helicopters helicopters helicopters here — fire up in the gulch behind my sweetheart’s cabin. Burning in the standing dead wood from the last fire in the 90s — so far, so good, but could blow up. He had both buildings rented to a family wit a bunch of kdis, so he stayed up there watering and mowing and setting sprinklers on teh roof and when they came back they seemed entirely oblivious to the situation — all they wanted to know was where to take the kids fishing tomorrow. And Utah plates — Westerners. Should have some fire sense. Apparently not.

    847 chars

  16. Prospero said on July 22, 2013 at 11:44 am

    Cal Thomas is an utter bonehead.

    So is Daana Perino.

    Pensions are compensation. What’s not paid in pensions must be made up in salary. Cutting pensions seems like a basic unilateral rewriting of a contract to me, and I don’t see how this can possibly be legal. I sincerely doubt there was duress involved in negotiating Detroit’s pension funds. Vendors should obviously take the hit before those vested in pension funds. I guess contracts are contracts except when they aren’t.

    715 chars

  17. MarkH said on July 22, 2013 at 11:46 am

    Charlotte – you said Utah. Explains everything. Or, most of it.

    64 chars

  18. Jenine said on July 22, 2013 at 11:47 am

    @Charlotte: but in some parts of Texas and Oklahoma it is definitely pronounced bob wahr. The homonyms get to me too. I also see a lot of breathe/breath and lightening/lightning confusion.

    My most language pedant moment recently: reading a novel in which a character writes a letter with a P.S. and P.S.S. at the end. I was forced to conclude that the author did not know it should be post-post-scriptum.

    408 chars

  19. Bitter Scribe said on July 22, 2013 at 11:52 am

    I saw “The Way, Way Back” over the weekend. A fine movie that left me with two conclusions: 1) Steve Carell is an excellent actor, not just an excellent comic actor (he plays an obnoxious jerk without the least sense of humor), and 2) there is not enough money in the world to pay me to be 14 years old again.

    Regarding the auto/semiauto distinction, I don’t quite agree that it’s minor, if only for this reason: A while ago, an especially weaselly politician running for the U.S. Senate in Illinois tried to evade his hard-NRA record by declaring himself against “automatic firearms,” which have been illegal for American civilians to own for more than half a century.

    I never got marathons. They seem like one of those things you punish yourself to do just to say you’ve done them, which seems like a piss-poor reason to do anything.

    841 chars

  20. LAMary said on July 22, 2013 at 12:00 pm

    Even if I cook it inside, we’ve been eating supper outside. It’s cooler and for some reason more conducive to conversation. There are two interesting distractions as well. One is watching the bats that appear right at dusk and the other is looking for the international space station. My son has a phone app that tells when the ISS will be visible in our area. We wave.

    370 chars

  21. Sherri said on July 22, 2013 at 12:01 pm

    I grilled salmon, zucchini, and onions for dinner last night. I’ve mentioned that my daughter is going to Whitman College this fall, which is in Walla Walla, WA; they sent the incoming freshmen a box of Walla Walla onions as a welcome gift! So some of those onions went on the grill last night.

    294 chars

  22. Prospero said on July 22, 2013 at 12:13 pm

    George Tieerney, Jr. of Greenville SC, professional douchebag.

    Barb Wire is Pamela Anderson’s greatest role of her illustrious career.

    245 chars

  23. alex said on July 22, 2013 at 12:23 pm

    Another mistake I’m seeing with increasing frequency is “publically.”

    Over the last few days our local media have been hyping a report that health insurance premiums are going to rise by 72 percent in Indiana because of Obamacare. I knew immediately that this was pure bullshit and that our doltish news outlets were just asleep at the wheel as usual. You can bet they won’t be making any retractions, nor will any reporter have the balls to confront the governor about his mendacity.

    599 chars

  24. Jeff Borden said on July 22, 2013 at 12:29 pm

    Any weekend that begins with picking up a new car is a pretty good weekend. . .especially when the vehicle in question is a much desired Fiat 500 Abarth in fire engine red that I’ve been lusting for ever since that Romanian supermodel primped and preened alongside a black Abarth. We drove it to a wedding in St. Charles, Ill. on Saturday, where one of my best buddies remarried at the historic Hotel Baker, with the ceremony itself on a big patio overlooking the Fox River.

    Any week that begins with a mechanic telling you your 14-year-old, 139,000-mile sedan is going to need a new transmission at a price of $3,700 is a pretty shitty week. I can drive it safely for awhile, but the writing is one the wall. I love this car –1999 Acura TL– and it has never let me down, but damn, that’s a lot of money to invest in a vehicle with zero book value.

    Talk about yin and yang. . .yeesh.

    891 chars

  25. adrianne said on July 22, 2013 at 12:48 pm

    Alex, this pure b-s from Indiana is already bolstering the anti-Obamacare crowd. They conveniently ignore the news out of New York, which is the new health exchange will mean a cut of 50 percent or more in premiums for individual health-care plans. But, you know, Obama=bad for too many people who don’t care about facts.

    321 chars

  26. brian stouder said on July 22, 2013 at 1:09 pm

    Here’s the best thing I’ve read, in reaction to President Obama’s heart-felt and incisive commentary on the Zimmerman legal fiasco –


    Imagine if Barry Obama had been shot and killed, unarmed, during a confrontation with a self-deputized neighborhood watch enforcer, perhaps in some exclusive development on the far side of Diamond Head after leaving home to get shave ice. The news reports would have painted a complicated picture of the young victim, a variation on how Martin was portrayed decades later in Florida:

    Lives with his grandparents; father not around, mother somewhere overseas. Pretty good student, sometimes distracted. Likes to play pickup hoops and smoke pot. Hangs out with buddies who call themselves the Choom Gang. Depending on who is providing the physical description, he could seem unprepossessing or intimidating, easygoing or brooding. And black.

    It strikes me that the absurdity of the “stand your ground” law in 2013 America (or at least, parts of America) is that it would legalize a gunfight in the middle of town during lunch-hour (or any other time), right?

    If you and I face off in the middle of the street, hands menacingly poised near our firearms, and despite that an emergency dispatcher on the phone told us to stand-down, we – both of us – have every right to “stand our ground” and pull our weapons and begin shooting, right?

    Fellow citizens have NO rightful expectation to, say, living in homes without fear of errant gunshots hitting their windows, or that their children can go to the zoo or the park or to school without being hit by cross-fire?

    Doesn’t “stand your ground” legalize gunfights – even including gunfights wherein both parties are armed?

    As the president implied (more or less), Shit-for-brains-Sean would surely be singing a different tune, if a dead white teenager was killed by stray bullets from a rightfully armed black kiddo

    2002 chars

  27. Jeff Borden said on July 22, 2013 at 1:25 pm

    Amen, Brian.

    I wonder if the NRA really wants us to return to Dodge City. BTW, that bag of shit Wayne LaPierre travels with a security detail that would be the envy if any film star or rapper. So, he and his ilk really don’t need to worry about every Tom, Dick and Harry being armed. The rest of us just hope we don’t wind up in the middle of a shoot-out.

    358 chars

  28. Deborah said on July 22, 2013 at 1:27 pm

    No Coozledad, not Uncle Tony, this one is Uncle Dick, who lives up to his name.

    79 chars

  29. Prospero said on July 22, 2013 at 1:29 pm

    GOPer death panels. Is this a good thing or a bad thing?

    Sherlock is on its way back. Hoorah.

    409 chars

  30. Prospero said on July 22, 2013 at 1:42 pm

    Equal protection under the law is just so 1960s.

    Jeff@27: Not likely. Like Zimmerman , they’d prefer anything but a fair fight.

    228 chars

  31. coozledad said on July 22, 2013 at 1:57 pm

    Deborah: Here’s a little number for the Jeff Davis fan.
    Sung to:

    I’ve been in Dixieland
    governed by the snow cone klan
    listening to the facists
    talking out their asses
    Fracking up some Bobby Lee
    Puking from the poison tree
    Burn them down a little bit
    or chase them to the sea
    Burn them down, cause you don’t really need them
    Burn them down, cause your taxes still feed them
    Listen to the gobshites,
    beating off on lynch night
    beating off to propaganda
    proud to talk like a Neander
    Don’t let them snake it under
    make them eat another blunder.
    Burn it down, until they can feel it
    Burn it down, so there’s nothing to heal it.
    They wear the brownshirts.
    brown with their random squirts.
    Though you think it’s education
    it’s misanthromasturbation
    They want to torture you.
    Put the torch to NYU.
    All the guns you bought for them,
    they’re going to turn them on you.
    Burn them down, with whatever you have to
    Burn them down, before they fuck you, too

    Out in the Bedford Forrest,
    up in the deer stand,
    sucking with the good old boys
    clapping with their free hand.
    Fall down into the bracken,
    crackers crackin over laughing
    it’s no abomination when it’s with your kin!
    Burn them down until they can feel it.
    Burn it down. All they did was fucking steal it.

    1354 chars

  32. Prospero said on July 22, 2013 at 2:03 pm

    Who knew Harlan Ellison is still alive? And he has a new book. Thiis is wonderful news to me.

    I think of diffuse much more as an adjective than as a verb.

    My heros today are the three women that went into a mos

    379 chars

  33. Prospero said on July 22, 2013 at 2:06 pm

    que and removed theeir burqas, without benefit of undergarments. protesting Sharia. Wonder what Michele Bachman thought of that?

    128 chars

  34. Dexter said on July 22, 2013 at 2:26 pm

    Mourning time for us as we bury my wife’s brother tomorrow. Lawyers and funeral director day today, but the sisters are handling it all, and I was basically told to butt out…fine with me. I have already been told my wife and I get the ancient Ford van, which I don’t even want, but this too will be resolved one way or another.
    The deceased was 74, a retired car body man, later a machine operator at a small factory, a worldly sort of bon vivant whose favorite activity was travelling around to different cities with his buddies and enjoying gentlemen’s clubs. Once he startled the family at a holiday gathering by showing photo-slides of the Indiana Miss Nude America contest. That was rough, the kids shooed outside and all. He was quite a card, I’ll say that.
    Lately all he could do was get to Walmart and the doctor’s office. He dies after a short stay in a nursing home.

    887 chars

  35. Prospero said on July 22, 2013 at 2:27 pm

    How hot was it?

    • Ooh – Friday saw a new record high in Boston of 99 degrees. Nearby, the Plymouth nuclear plant was forced to cut its power output by 15 percent because the waters off Cape Cod Bay were too warm to cool the reactor, the AP reports. When the North Atlantic is too warm to cool a nuke,20 miles south of Boston, that is seriously hot. But climate change is a hoax perpetrated by crooked scientists grubbing after grant money.

    Interesting and optimistic piece on Detroit bankruptcy.

    785 chars

  36. Connie said on July 22, 2013 at 2:40 pm

    Harlan Ellison is a jerk. At the Hugo Awards in 2006 he groped Connie Willis’ breasts on stage. And while he apologized a few days later he didn’t appear to have a clue. Read more about this at: http://blog.shrub.com/archives/sigel-phoenix/2006-08-30_375

    Sexism in the science fiction and atheist/skeptic world has been a big topic lately. In the last couple of weeks a long time editor at Tor has left his job after numerous reports of sexual harassment at conferences.

    476 chars

  37. paddyo' said on July 22, 2013 at 2:59 pm

    I feer that speling and curreckt meenings will go the same way that slovenly treatment of syntax, pronouns and other forms of language usage and grammar are going.
    Blame it on txtng or blame it on La-Z-ness (or “cute” phonetic spellings by brand names, such as La-Z-Boy) . . . but blame somebody, damn it. I know that “living” languages change, but when there are still separate and distinct words with separate and distinct meanings and uses, how hard is it to learn, speak and write them properly?

    Yeah, yeah, grumble, grumble. Old journos/copy editors don’t die, we just fade away, grousing all the way. Somebody call the bomb squad and defuse us before we blow and diffuse all that bile all over the place.

    BTW, the Bob Garfield piece was wonderful . . . as was his riff about the Royal Baby Bump ridiculousness, also on the On The Media website. NPR News (I forget now whether it was Morning Edition or All Things Considered) carried a truncated version last week that was simply brilliant.

    1044 chars

  38. Prospero said on July 22, 2013 at 3:20 pm

    Harlan Ellison is definitely a jerk, but he’s also a very entertaining writer. It’s not wholly surprisisg that the guy that wrote A Boy and his Dog would be a sexist pig, buty that is one funny movie.

    200 chars

  39. Connie said on July 22, 2013 at 3:46 pm

    Well he did his great writing back in the 70s.

    46 chars

  40. brian stouder said on July 22, 2013 at 3:54 pm

    Dexter – condolences to you and yours; especially Mrs Dexter.

    Haven’t lost any siblings yet, but I suppose that’s next on the “so this is how that feels” list.

    Today’s big news isn’t that Princess Kate’s baby boy is now in the world; it is that George Zimmerman is – honest to God – now being transformed into a super-hero by the flying monkeys of the right wing airwaves…and of the “we’re not mainstream” mainstream rightwing media (aka Fox News).

    Seems our wannabe super-cop/Charles Bronson guy helped out at a car crash in Florida…or at least, that’s the story so far.

    598 chars

  41. mark said on July 22, 2013 at 3:58 pm


    Thank goodness Chicago doesn’t have those “legal shootouts”

    129 chars

  42. brian stouder said on July 22, 2013 at 4:06 pm

    Mark, I’m pretty sure the Chicago police would arrest any of those shooters, if they get the chance.

    Remember that the Sanford police didn’t even arrest Trayvon’s killer, Mr Zimmerman, for a month; and even then didn’t want to.

    And the judges instructions to the jury handed the defense a huge Christmas present, with that prattle about the requirement to acquit in light of “stand your ground”, if they thought GZ was in imminent danger of serious injury.

    If this “stand your ground” thing isn’t superseded and/or struck down, I honestly cannot see how a good defense lawyer, or the judge that presided over Zimmerman’s acquittal, could fail to acquit any and indeed every chucklehead who shoots anyone to death, assuming no other witnesses to the shooting.

    816 chars

  43. adrianne said on July 22, 2013 at 4:08 pm

    And your point is what, exactly, Mark?

    38 chars

  44. coozledad said on July 22, 2013 at 4:17 pm

    adrianne: His point? Chicago is full of blahs.

    46 chars

  45. mark said on July 22, 2013 at 4:26 pm

    We/you exagerate the impact of questionable stand your ground laws to postulate “legal shootouts” with homes threatened by stray bullets. What a lot of bullshit. Meanwhile, plenty of bystanders and others are getting killed and maimed in Chicago and elsewhere, most often by black on black violence.

    But it’s so politically incorrect to talk about that. So lets pretend that the real threat is racist Hispanic wanna-bes luring young black men into dangerous situations in order to manipulate stand your ground laws to commit murder without penalty.

    Sure. And of course all of those stray bullets from stand your ground inspired shootouts wounding and killing bystanders. How many of those were there last year, brian. How many ever?

    And brian, just because you honestly can’t see something doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. There are plenty of criminal convictions arising from shootings, even in the 30 plus states with SYG laws. Your worry that everybody gets to shoot everybody and walk away by muttering self-defense is misplaced.

    1048 chars

  46. coozledad said on July 22, 2013 at 4:34 pm

    I see even the “libertarian” brand of the Republican party has abandoned the “MLK was one of us” posture. It’s refreshing to know those old N-jokes from the civil rights era will persist in a kind of oral tradition among readers of Reason and National Review. We’ll never have to guess just how fucked-up those crypto-Nazis were.

    329 chars

  47. Jeff Borden said on July 22, 2013 at 4:59 pm

    No one in Chicago doubts the truth of “black on black” violence, Mark, least of all those who are devastated by it. Our city encompasses something like 239-plus square miles, but week after week, month after month, the killings are mostly confined to areas that account for about 8.5 square miles. Police are trying all kinds of strategies including flooding these areas with officers, but the situation remains toxic and defies any easy solution. One very real problem, of course, is that too many in these communities see the cops not as law enforcers working to keep order. Too often cops are seen as an occupying force and a hostile one at that. Rather than the controversial “stop and frisk” tactics in NYC, Chicago police tried to enforce loitering laws and wound up rousting a lot of kids just hanging out. The ACLU was instrumental in ending that particular tactic.

    Many right-wingers delight in noting our gun violence toll despite having a ban on handguns, a ban which has now been tossed after years of litigation and lobbying by the NRA, but of course, it’s only a 15 minute drive to Indiana, where firearms can be easily purchased by straw men and sold at immense profit to the gangbangers.

    Guns suck. They allow anyone the sense of indestructibility. . .fearlessness. . .superiority. You think a candyass like George Zimmerman would have exited his vehicle and confronted a healthy young man if he hadn’t been packing? His fucking gun gave him all the courage he needed and a 17-year-old boy died as a result.

    Stand Your Ground laws just make everything worse. . .much worse. They turn wannabe coppers and secret agents into dangerous people. The sight of a gun –particularly a handgun– does not make me feel safer. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.

    1774 chars

  48. Brandon said on July 22, 2013 at 5:16 pm

    Another essay on Detroit:


    88 chars

  49. Prospero said on July 22, 2013 at 5:33 pm

    Another absolutely nutso FLA law. Whaqt could possibly possess a legislative body to pass this shit. Inmates in charge of that asylum in FLA.

    244 chars

  50. Prospero said on July 22, 2013 at 5:36 pm

    It’s a boy.

    11 chars

  51. brian stouder said on July 22, 2013 at 5:39 pm

    And you can blow this “black on black” meme out your ass.

    “White on white” violent crime is almost equally as monolithic as the black-on-black percentages; and in any case, how does this exculpate Zimmerman’s cold (deathly cold) profiling/confrontation/termination of Trayvon Martin?



    455 chars

  52. Prospero said on July 22, 2013 at 5:56 pm

    Food assistance programs are the justification for ridiculous entitlements like farm subsidies, paid to multi-nationals like Con-Agra. And some members of the House. It’s a tradeoff situatioon. Now thanks to the Teabangers in the House, we’ve got the subsidies but no more SNAP programs. Hope nobody has an elderly parent that is losing Meals on Wheels. AAnd ;these dickheads talk about Christian values. Jesus said “”Suffer the little hildren to come unto me”, not “starve the little bastards”. This is evil bullshit, bordering on criminal.

    660 chars

  53. alex said on July 22, 2013 at 6:07 pm

    The right-wingers also seem to be delighting in circulating garbage about how the liberal media conspired to make Trayvon’s name a household word and yet had nothing to say about various white teen-age murder victims. One such meme is about a kid from South Carolina named Marley Lion. Of course, those whose prejudices are validated by this shit accept it uncritically. It would never occur to them to make a real comparison and see that there is no comparison.

    For starters, the police in the Lion case didn’t need to be shamed into doing their jobs by the national media. They immediately arrested the accused killer, a black man. What’s more, the defendant isn’t going to be represented by fancy lawyers hired by the NRA and he isn’t going to go free when his trial concludes.

    The person of my acquaintance who’s circulating this crap and brought it to my attention is an absolute dick who loves to sermonize about Obama giving away everyone’s hard-earned money to welfare queens, yet his wife is a Social Security Disability cheat who now works under the table and doesn’t pay any taxes on the income she’s fully capable of making. Both of them are so proud of how they’re bucking the system and they think it’s a real laff riot. One of these days I’m going to rat them out because I find them so despicable.

    1320 chars

  54. Deborah said on July 22, 2013 at 7:01 pm

    Well said about Chicago, Jeff Bordon.

    37 chars

  55. Prospero said on July 22, 2013 at 8:20 pm

    MLB suspended Ryan Braun for the rest of this season. Dishonest little turd got off on a technicaltiy and then lied his butt off abouty using PEDs. It was a travesty he got the MVP two years ago 2h3n h3 ws juicinga, and Matt Kemp had a better season anyway.That is going to cost himm some serious cash.

    And this isn’t really such a big deal, but I find it incredibly annoying when people use acronyms and pronounce the last word. It’s pretty ignorant to talk about MLB baseball and ATM machines in my opinion. Bugs the hell out of me.

    Retired Justice John Paul Stevens doesn’t think mush of the Court’s VRA decision, particularly dread Justice Roberts’ opinion.

    1016 chars

  56. Bitter Scribe said on July 22, 2013 at 10:39 pm

    I have never understood this mentality that says black crime statistics somehow makes it OK that Martin got killed and his killer walked.

    137 chars

  57. coozledad said on July 22, 2013 at 10:55 pm

    Scribe: What’s to understand? It’s what the Republicans drag the filth along with. Another distraction so’s they can steal them some more shit.

    They’re also fraudulent statistics. If you are white in America, you already have a few inches of white dick up your ass. They’ll even bury your damn children in the desert and you’ll forget it in five years.

    But the Republicans will flood the streets with guns and bewail the tragedy of black crime, and old white ass will suck his prolapsed guts up every election and vote his fears.

    535 chars

  58. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on July 22, 2013 at 11:30 pm

    Arguing in a community forum for unarmed block watch in areas that I would, stubbornly, refuse to call “high-crime” even if the incidence of property & violent crime is higher than the surrounding neighborhoods, still gets you very odd looks and accusations of being “an apologist for anti-gun extremists.” The fun part is responding with the observation that what I learned in the Marine Corps was that you don’t actually make a patrol safer by adding to their armaments, but by doing things like sending them out with a knife and clearly defined mission, rather than giving them an automatic weapon and general instruction to wander about an area and react as seems appropriate . . . this leaves both “sides” a little disconcerted. And gives me the room to return to my argument: the best neighborhood watch is an unarmed neighborhood watch, and I would have said this before I’d ever heard about a paunchy underemployed Hispanic guy wishing for a law enforcement shooting a young African American who was still upset about getting suspended from school earlier in the day. Yeah, bad situation all around — but it has nothing to do with the fact that if we’re talking about encouraging armed neighborhood patrols, I’m out.

    Since it’s “my” church that’s providing the meeting space and offering to handle phone calls and mailings, there’s some grudging agreement that we should probably tell people not to “carry” when on patrol. “What about my Second Amendment rights?” asks one erstwhile volunteer. “I respect them,” I answer, “and I don’t want you carrying a weapon on your person if you’re doing a neighborhood watch patrol.” He shakes his head as if to disagree, but doesn’t argue any further.

    That’s one viewpoint from one community. My only other comment: can we ease up on telling people to blow things out their anal orifices if they don’t wholeheartedly and scatalogically agree with our perspective? Because when that becomes the default general response to disagreement, I’m not even sure we’re talking to each other here at all.

    And I hate (a word I try hard not to use casually or with intent, either way) the loose use of “high-crime area.” It means nothing other than an attempt to be racist about the right minority sub-group, and it doesn’t work. On the other hand, I guess “despair zone” isn’t good either. But you’ve got areas with the most frequent police calls on weekends, areas where property crime is increasing compared to the recent past, and you’ve got areas where gun and drug offenses are concentrated within a bullseye of unemployment, abandoned buildings, and listed sex offenders. Not sure what you call any of them, let alone all of them as a group.

    2698 chars

  59. Brandon said on July 23, 2013 at 2:10 am

    And this isn’t really such a big deal, but I find it incredibly annoying when people use acronyms and pronounce the last word. It’s pretty ignorant to talk about MLB baseball and ATM machines in my opinion. Bugs the hell out of me.–Prospero

    Me too.

    263 chars

  60. Prospero said on July 23, 2013 at 4:46 pm

    I really wish Wills and the missus would name the kid Nigel:


    Or go old school (iconic, OK?), with Arthur (nickname Wart):


    Well, time to make like Masefield and indulge some fever. It’s a little tricky between here and Charleston. Several times a year some fool makes a wrong turn and ends up in open ocean. Our craft is large enough to handle that without a problem, but it would be embarrassing to have to be fetched in by the CG. I always liked this boating poem by Rimbaud:

    As I was floating down unconcerned Rivers
    I no longer felt myself steered by the haulers:
    Gaudy Redskins had taken them for targets
    Nailing them naked to coloured stakes.

    I cared nothing for all my crews,
    Carrying Flemish wheat or English cottons.
    When, along with my haulers those uproars were done with
    The Rivers let me sail downstream where I pleased.

    In high school, Rimbaud was an easy way to impress girls, like, but not like, explaining existentialism. If you hear about an East Coast Coast Guard search, it might be me and my friends in The Drunken Boat, or the Ship of Fools. Our route has some great place names, like the Coosaw, Ashepoo,and Stono Rivers, Elliot’s Cut. We made this trip once before, several years ago, and the cap’n is very experienced. It still makes S. nervous, but that is her disorder talking, and once we’re underway, she’s fine. I’m looking forward to sleeping on the water with the ceeiling fans (Yep, ceiling fans in the cabin) ventilating. Heavenly comfort.

    The best neighborhood watch is armed only with phones withh911 on speed dial. Best thing is, you don’t end up shooting each other or your fool self.

    1747 chars