Archive for April, 2010

Shane Marshall Brown, He Who Has Three Names, sent to me a link to a New York Times article about self-appointed Twitter scolds. I love it.

Even though I usually give people a pass for Facebook and Twitter, I’m happy to see others carrying the torch for proper grammar and punctuation.

I wonder if they noticed the Deen Brothers’ tweet with the incorrect apostrophe:

Meanwhile, I’m still busy with loathsome words such as “partner.” Here it is, offending me from behind a glass enclosure at Memorial Health University Medical Center.

Why can’t they just join Memorial? Or be listed as co-sponsors? Or just have the logos without text? Sigh.

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We didn’t need another dog. But it looks like we have one.

I think Eddie and I both knew when we took in Mona that she would end up staying. We made (half-hearted) attempts to find another home for her. We thought our friend Sarah’s mom might take her. But I’ll admit we didn’t push too hard.

Yesterday, I broke down and got her this:

That’s a big step. Pretty permanent. Kind of like a wedding ring. But how could we resist this face?

Or the fact that she looks like this when she chews her toys:

But I am worried about one thing: She is very interested in Shelly and Jeanne. Eddie built the coop next to the playroom window so we could check on the chickens easily (ie. see if there is an egg before we have to walk out there). (And yes, convenience equals laziness.)

Maggie the Murderer better not be giving her any ideas.

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Though it pained me to do it, I cleaned out Trish’s coop last weekend. (Sad.) Shelly and Jeanne had grown fast, and it was almost time for them to take over the coop.

I knew the time had come last night when I heard a commotion. My feathered friends had found their wings and were pretty darn excited about it. I wish I had a recording of their chirps.

This morning, they moved into the coop.

They seem pretty happy about it. It is a much bigger place, with no nosy, noisy neighbors. Shelly likes the yard, while Jeanne plans to become involved with the neighborhood association. She heard about the crime in the area, and wants to make sure she does all she can to keep the place safe.

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I have a friend, He Who Shall Not Be Named, who enjoys pointing out every mistake I make on Facebook or in this blog. What? You say you are surprised I make mistakes? Oh it is true.

I often make mistakes when my iPhone is involved. It is the spell check feature trying to be helpful. “Thing” turns into “think,” and “the” turns into “Tje” (whatever that means). If I don’t use it, though, “Heidi” becomes “Gefidi.”

I’m not making excuses. Like everyone else, I need to proofread. When I can, I have someone else proofread my work. It is almost impossible to catch all mistakes in your own work by yourself.

It may come as another surprise to learn that I cut people slack in text messages and on Twitter and Facebook. I know people are usually entering status updates on their phones, and may only have a few minutes of attention to spare.

But I often point out (and make fun of) mistakes in the wild, such as ones on signs, fliers, menus, etc., because people have spent money and/or time and effort to create something permanent.

For example, I love Zunzi’s because the food is fantastic. I don’t like to look at the menu because it makes me want to scream.

What is the salad possessing (besides an apostrophe that shouldn’t be there)?

So He Who Shall Not Be Named, you had a typo in one of your Facebook comments this morning. I didn’t point it out. But if you ever make a mistake on a sign or menu, I’m on it like fur on a weasel.

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As soon as I posted the list of the top five words I hate, I knew I would have a sequel. Here are five more words/phrases:

In order to
Like “currently,” this is unnecessary. “To” works just as well by itself.
Incorrect: In order to get his yard work done, Eddie had to take off a day of work.
Correct: Eddie had to take a vacation day to finish the yard work.

I don’t hate this word. I hate that people don’t know how to use it correctly. People often spell it “peaked” or “peeked.” But it is a French word derived from “piquer,” which means “to prick.”
Incorrect: A student peaked my interest in peopleofwalmart.com
Correct: A student also piqued my curiosity about textsfromlastnight.com.

Hors d’oeuvres
This is another French word that I like when used correctly. The trouble is that people want to use it, but don’t know how to spell. It means “out of the main work,” and refers to appetizers. People mangle the “oeuvre” in a variety of ways, including “ourve.” One enterprising student wrote it “orderves.” Either write “appetizers” or look it up.

Is it every two weeks or twice a week? “Biweekly” can mean either. I hate the ambiguity. AP Style uses “biweekly” to mean “every other week,” and “semiweekly” to mean “twice a week.” But not everyone uses it that way. So let’s be specific.
Incorrect: He updated his blog biweekly.
Correct: He only updated his blog every other week.

PIN number
“PIN” stands for “personal identification number,” so “PIN number” would mean “personal identification number number.” And that’s silly. Same with “VIN number” (vehicle identification number number) and “UPC code” (universal product code code).
Incorrect: Give me your PIN number so I can steal your money.
Correct: “Give me your PIN,” I said.

I’m probably not done yet with the “words I hate” topic. People subject English to so much butchering.

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Screen saver

We are dogsitting this week, so that means our grand total of dogs is three. Those of you counting at home may say, “What? I thought ‘plus one’ would be four!”

Vince went to live with my father. Maggie and Vince had an extended stay at Grandma Dad’s because Eddie and I were traveling so much. Vince got along so well with my dad’s girlfriend’s dog “Li’l Bit” that it seemed like a good idea for him to stay. And it helps ease the pain from my dad having to put his dog Rufus to sleep yesterday.

RIP Rufus (1996-2010)

So that leaves Maggie, Mona and Jack, the visiting Cocker Spaniel. Mona also is supposed to be just visiting, but … well.

Maggie is on the naughty list, though. Here’s why:

We closed Maggie in our bedroom yesterday to keep her away from Jack. She must have spotted something in our backyard that needed her attention, so she just headed right out through the screen.

Handy Manny is not pleased

Luckily, we just happened to have some screen on hand, so Eddie fixed it quickly.

Eddie replaces the screen while Mona investigates

He’s really tired of fixing things around the house, though. I can’t blame him.

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Some students in my classes have asked for a list of words I hate. Here are the ones that are always at the top:


If there is a verb in the sentence, then you don’t need that adverb. It is redundant.

Incorrect: Beth is currently a writing professor. “Is” means it is happening right now. “Currently” is overkill.

Correct: I can’t think of an occasion where you would need it.


This is one of the most misused words in the English language. People use it to mean “I hope.” If that is what you mean, then use, “I hope,” for Pete’s sake! It is an adverb, which means it needs to modify a verb.

Incorrect: Hopefully, the envelope contains a bonus check. How is the envelope behaving in a hopeful manner?

Correct: She looked hopefully at the envelope, convinced that it contained a bonus check.


I’ve mentioned it before, but it bears repeating: There is nothing wrong with the word “use.”

Incorrect: Utilize your knowledge of grammar to start a blog.

Correct: Use your knowledge of grammar to start a blog. See? “Use” is a perfectly good word.


People use this word to mean “I am sick to my stomach.” But what they should say is “nauseated” because that is what they are. If they are nauseous, then they cause nausea in others.

Incorrect: “I’m nauseous now,” said Eddie after riding The Flying Critter at the fair.

Correct: “The Flying Critter made me nauseated,” he said.


This is a noun, not a verb. Stop trying to “partner” with people, and just team up, join them or just combine completely in the sentence.

Incorrect: The SCAD writing department is partnering with the graduate studies department to present a lecture by Rebecca Skloot.

Correct: The writing and graduate studies departments are sponsoring the lecture.

There’s more, but this list has made me nauseated, and I need to lie down.

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I’m about to take Gideon to soccer practice. I always feel like an elephant at the rhino watering hole when I go to soccer practice. I just don’t fit in.

But I do like to watch my kids having fun.

Trish the Human took this picture of Dominic in his first game. Notice the concentration.

Also notice something else. It’s on the left. What is this?

Does this woman not own a mirror? Make sure to look at the back view, people!

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AAAAAAAAHHHHH! (Is that how you would write a guttural scream of mortal fear?)

That’s just Shelly in shadow, but it’s a pretty creepy photo.

I imagine that is how I seem to Shelly and Jeanne. Every time I come near their enclosure, they freak out. I try to talk to them and handle them every day, but they are just more skittish than Trish ever was.


I brought Jeanne over to the couch tonight to hang out with us, and Maggie looked over with interest. Eddie said, “Go lay down, Murderer!” And she kind of hung her head and walked away.

They are growing fast and soon will be headed out to the coop.

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Say it with songs

Warning: This post contains language that may be inappropriate for some readers.

I’ll bet that got your attention. Certain things get my attention too. Like the names of songs spelled out on my satellite radio screen.

And this one is classic too:

I think 7 a.m. may be too early for that.

It is a good think my kids can’t read yet.

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