You just can’t spell-check a truck

typed for your pleasure on 22 October 2009, at 4.05 am

Sdtrk: ‘Kinetic harvest’ by Module

In urban areas, it’s not unusual to encounter hand-lettered adverts that turn their nose up so much at the conventions of normal spelling, that they border on folk art. This ice cream truck, which I’d photographed while driving home one day, would fall under that category.
As an aside, I’d like to point out that I shot this pic with my cellphone whilst driving alongside the truck, which is a fact that I’m needlessly impressed with…

Nothing wrong with the Cones, Sundaes, and Banana Boats that they have on offer, but Nacho? And Shackes?? ‘No no, we can only sell you a single nacho; any more than that would spoil you’. And a Shacke is a new invention; it’s a wee bit like a shake, a wee bit like a shack, a wee bit like a shackle, and a wee bit like Shaq. They have many in their truck, but by law they can only sell you one; any more would spoil you

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*picks up monitor, flings it across room* on February 22nd, 2005

The mission is terminated on October 31st, 2004


Dictionaries for dinner

typed for your pleasure on 12 March 2009, at 11.41 am

Sdtrk: ‘Each today doesn’t lead to a tomorrow’ by The caretaker

Some of you may have noticed, in skimming through ‘Shouting etc etc’ looking for stuff about Dolls, that I’m quite keen on words and language and all that fumfuh. You are correct! I like language, and it’s never done me wrong, for the most part. Further cursory glances at this godforsaken blog will reveal I have a certain fetish fascination with the obscure and the obsolete. So when I stumbled across the site Save the Words a couple of days ago, it was like a collision of… stuff that I like.

‘Each year hundreds of words are dropped from the dictionary,’ they say. ‘Old words, wise words, hard-working words. Words that once led meaningful lives but now lie abandoned and forgotten.’ The site is teeming with terms I’ve never previously heard of, like operiment (a covering), or somandric (pertaining to the human body), or vacivity (emptiness), or pication (application of warm pitch to the skin as medical treatment). Granted, it’s easy to see why some of those words have fallen out of the popular vernacular, but still. A broad vocabulary is something to be encouraged, especially in this day and age — have you seen my new category, the Surly Grammarian? — and dragging a forgotten word from the past and jump-starting its usage is a fun way to do it.

It took me about ten minutes of searching for a word that would be something that I’d actually use, as well as something that I’d identify with. I registered with the site, selected a word, and seconds later, they Emailed me a certificate of adoption.

What does affictitious mean, you ask? ‘Artificial; counterfeit; fake.’
But of course.

Do your part and adopt a word today! Someone needs to bring ‘pication’ back into use again; why not you?

Random similar posts, for more timewasting:

Let's hear it for Pedantry on December 16th, 2008

The mission is terminated on October 31st, 2004


Let’s hear it for Pedantry

typed for your pleasure on 16 December 2008, at 6.26 pm

Sdtrk: ‘Beechwood park’ by the Zombies


You Scored an A


You got 10/10 questions correct.

It’s pretty obvious that you don’t make basic grammatical errors.
If anything, you’re annoyed when people make simple mistakes on their blogs.
As far as people with bad grammar go, you know they’re only human.
And it’s humanity and its current condition that truly disturb you sometimes.

The It’s Its There Their They’re Quiz

Gotta love that last line — I agree with it 100%, but it’s almost completely non sequitur. What, did Light Yagami write that bit? Or Ragnar Redbeard?
Couple the results of this test, with the results of this one taken aeons ago, and these should be sufficient enough to nab me a proofreading job, as far as I’m concerned. Remember, potential employers: you could do worse

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Yet another death-knell for Mistress English

typed for your pleasure on 6 June 2007, at 1.39 pm

Sdtrk: ‘Albion Festival report’ by The focus group

I have absolutely nothing polite to say about this. Nothing whatsoever.

Mobile texts harm written language?
Reuters | Wed Apr 25, 2007 9:28 AM ET

DUBLIN (Reuters) – The rising popularity of text messaging on mobile phones poses a threat to writing standards among Irish schoolchildren, an education commission says.

The frequency of errors in grammar and punctuation has become a serious concern, the State Examination Commission said in a report after reviewing last year’s exam performance by 15-year-olds.

“The emergence of the mobile phone and the rise of text messaging as a popular means of communication would appear to have impacted on standards of writing as evidenced in the responses of candidates,” the report said, according to Wednesday’s Irish Times.

“Text messaging, with its use of phonetic spelling and little or no punctuation, seems to pose a threat to traditional conventions in writing.”

The report laments that, in many cases, candidates seemed “unduly reliant on short sentences, simple tenses and a limited vocabulary.”

In 2003, Irish 15-year-olds were among the top 10 performers in an international league table of literacy standards compiled by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Call me old-fashioned, or call me anal-retentive, but honestly, I think people in this day and age not having proper writing skills is embarrassing and shameful. Yes, I realise that language evolves through time for ‘better’ usage — arguably what comprises contemporary English is much less brain-destroying than say, Middle English — but these days I’m inclined to think that ‘better’ in the context of 21st Century society really means ‘lazier’.

My friend Wolfgang of vulne pro studios once argued that if the person who receives your message can parse what you’re essentially saying, despite any misspellings or grammar explosions, then that’s really the most important thing. Sure, I’ll grant him that, but I firmly believe that proper spelling should be encouraged. There are many people out there, myself included, who will almost entirely disregard an article, a blog entry, a post, or what have you if it’s typed ham-handedly. There may be an important message cleverly hidden within, but it’s as if the reader is being given a diamond ring cleverly hidden within a handful of shit. Frankly, if a person can’t be arsed to take the time to spell properly, why should anyone take the time to read it?
For a lot of people (and note, that’s ‘a lot’ — ‘alot’ isn’t a word), it’s a case of they’re typing so fast, that they don’t go over what they’ve written for errors before they submit it or hit the Send button; that’s how the Interbutt standards ‘zOMG’ and ‘teh’ began, for instance. There’s absolutely no sane reason why a person can’t give what they’ve said a quick check. And ‘that takes too long’ is hardly an excuse — if your spelling and grammar is up to snuff, it won’t take more than a couple of seconds, at any rate.

And as far as limited vocabulary, that rankles me just as much, if not more. Could you imagine if writers such as Wilde, or Burgess, or Machen, or Plath, didn’t have the benefit of an expansive vocabulary? Could you picture how incredibly dull their writing would be, or any writing, speech, or dialogue, for that matter? Language should be more than just a vehicle for basic communication; at its best, it should also paint pictures. Obviously, not everything that comes out of everyone’s mouth should sound like something by Edward Bulwer-Lytton (‘Yes, my good maiden; I would desire to place an order for a burger of ham, bedecked with intertwining spirals of tomato catsup and yellowed mustard, denuded of pickles, and accompanying that I wouldst like a singular order of French fries — crisp, golden-brown shards of deeply-fried potato — in the largest size a man can request. To quench my thirst which threatens even now to vanquish me, I will also require a chilled Coca’d-Cola, in a size that lay betwixt Diminutive and Titanic’) but a larger vocabulary is, at the very least, a sign that you’re trying to elevate yourself above the grunts and snorts that pass for common language.

In summation? Read more books, I suppose

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Grammatik macht Frei

typed for your pleasure on 14 September 2006, at 3.37 pm

Sdtrk: ‘Liar’ by the Sex pistols

Finally, a holiday that I can wholeheartedly get behind! Apart from Hallowe’en, that is. And, ah, Festivus.

Celebrate National Punctuation Day®
September 24, 2006

People all over the United States are celebrating the new holiday, National Punctuation Day®, which is listed in Chase’s Calendar of Events as a celebration of the lowly comma, correctly used quotes, and other proper uses of periods, semicolons and the ever mysterious ellipsis.

Jeff Rubin, owner/publisher of The Newsletter Guy, a newsletter publishing company based in Pinole, CA, founded National Punctuation Day® to draw attention to the importance of proper punctuation. It’s a day for librarians, educators, and parents — people who are interested in teaching and promoting good writing skills to their students and their children. It’s also a day to remind business people that they are often judged by how they present themselves.

If you’re like me and you have a baby aneurysm every time you see a sign that says ‘CD’S AND DVD’S FOR SALE’, or if you get the red mist whenever you encounter ‘it’s’ and ‘its’ being erroneously transposed, you’ll dig this holiday as much as I expect I will. Kinda makes you want to go shoot Myspace right in the face, eh? *nods vigourously*

There have been a shedload of punctuation faux pas since.. well, whenever, but my two recent faves would have to be ‘Alot’, and ‘Infact’. When did these become single words? Did I fall asleep one day, and wake up in The Land Where Language Gets Sodomised?
Yes; technically those would be misspellings, but punctuation fuckups are closely related. They’re the slightly less-inbred cousin.

Aaanyway, that’s National Punctuation day, 24 September. Learn it, live it, be it

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At the bedside of Mistress English Language, holding her hand as she wastes away

typed for your pleasure on 7 August 2005, at 3.03 pm

Sdtrk: ‘Little man, what now?’ by Morrissey

So recently I was ‘surfing’ the ‘Internets’, doing some research regarding a Japanese television show that Derek and I viewed a week or so ago, called ‘Densha otoko’ (‘The Train man’). What the show’s about is irrelevant to this post, but you can learn about it here. Needless to say, we got a big kick out of it, so Derek is going to download the rest of the series as the fansubbers release them. At any rate, in scanning various websites, I read an article from a 2004 issue of the Japan Times with a paragraph that really stood out:

[I am from the] analog generation, growing up only with television and land-line phones. In fact, an article in Spa (Sept. 7) informs us of digital gaps even between those in their 20s. Twenty-eight-year-olds are the pocket-paper generation; they tend to write long, letter-style e-mails. Twenty-four-year-olds were raised on cell phones (but during the transition period to broadband Net access), while 20-year-olds have only known fixed-fee, broadband access to the Net.

For the past couple of months I’ve been lamenting to mates about how I really don’t write Emails to people as much as I used to, cos I tend to write these rather long, detail-heavy affairs that take up quite a bit of time, so I urge them to read ‘Shouting etc etc’, and I try to ring them on week-ends, when my minutes are free. But I find it rather scary that there will be a whole generation of people who can’t form proper Emails or letters, let alone paragraphs, without ‘omg hi 2 u’ or some variant being in there somewhere, or worse. It’s not so much a feeling of ‘these consarned kids with their newfangled cell-u-lar phones,’ but more like, ‘As decades pass, future generations will be less and less capable of being able to write properly’. You know, when you’re in an English writing class, much like I was a couple of semesters ago, and the teacher feels that it’s necessary to point out that when writing papers, emoticons and Internet shorthand are unacceptable, and someone asks why, and you just want to stick your index finger through your eye, and into your brain, and swirl it around, just so you have something less painful to focus on.

I’d mentioned the quoted paragraph to Allison during one of our car rides in between shoots. She remarked that she’d read somewhere of an informal study that basically said that between the advent of Email and the beginning of text messaging, people were beginning to write on a regular basis. Their literacy levels didn’t necessarily go up (I’ve always said that the Internet is the largest bastion of illiterates anywhere — AOL, I’m looking in your direction), but people were actually getting back to writing. Of course, text messaging ruined all that for everyone, and now you have sites that look like this. That sure as fuck isn’t proper English. I’m not even sure it’s proper anything.

Now, as regarding my former style of writing (for examples, check any entry to ‘Shouting etc etc’ prior to Nov 2004), I knew that I wasn’t writing in standard English, and I was perfectly capable of doing so, but I was electing not to as an experiment. A ten-year long experiment, but nevertheless. That was the main reason I stopped it, as people would look at my writing style and say ‘well he says he’s a Grammar Nazi, but look how he writes,’ without knowing why I wrote that way. But I’d be hard-pressed to believe that that lass in the blog linked above has higher aspirations for her fast-and-loose take on English. Maybe she’s got the ESL (English as a Second Language) thing going, or you can chalk it up to ‘youthful rebellion’, but I’d say it’s a combination of the herd mentality and laziness. But that’s just me.

I’m at the point where I’m attempting to phase out Internet shorthand out of my own writing; after that, I’ll work on the emoticons. I do realise that language evolves over time, but that doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily a good idea

Random similar posts, for more timewasting:

End of an era on November 30th, 2005

Telephone or megaphone? on February 26th, 2007


*picks up monitor, flings it across room*

typed for your pleasure on 22 February 2005, at 6.23 am

Sdtrk: ‘Warner’s reverie’ by Mount Vernon astral temple

Right, so I see that I’ve wasted yet another hour desperately looking for interesting blogs by other people. And once again, I’ve come up trumps. So far, from what I’ve seen, the ‘Bloggerverse’ is 95% shite, plain and simple. Here, then, would be a small list of pet peeves regarding my blog surfing experiences:

+ Political blogs: I don’t give a steamy white toss if you think all Democrats are hippies, or all Republicans are Nazis. I honestly don’t fucking care. The more of these types of blogs that I see, the less I like people as a whole. People who write these aren’t going to convince a person who sits on one side of the political fence to switch to the other. You’re not just wasting your time; more importantly, you’re wasting mine

+ Religious blogs: see above

+ Adverts cleverly disguised as blogs: You’ve seen ’em. ‘Go Home Leukemia Newsletter Archives Leukemia Links Advertise on this site Add URL LeukemiaLeukemiaFeline LeukemiaLeukemia SymptomsLeukemia SymptomsChronic Lymphocytic LeukemiaAcute LeukemiaSymptoms Of Leukemia’ ad infinitum ad nauseam. Blogger needs to do what BlogExplosion does, and have humans check these sites, and verify that they aren’t just big adverts. Is that too much to ask? Apparently, yes

+ Blogs in a Foreign Tongue: I know this can’t be helped, and I hate to even mention it, as it sounds really bigoted/xenophobic. But if I’m madly clicking the ‘Next Blog’ button atop my site in a single-minded masochistic pursuit, I find that a good portion of sites are in either Spanish, Portugese or Italian. (Never French. I can handle French, but there’s never any French ones..) There should be a set of selection boxes you can check off, to indicate if you wish to view Blogs written in other languages

+ People who don’t fill in their profile: So you’re typing away, publicising your most private secrets, or even your day-to-day existence (such as it is) for the InfoBahn to scrutinise. Why have you not filled in your profile? Maybe it’s just me, but I view the profile question section as another opportunity to be witty (such as it is). Also, I like to know a wee bit about the author. Call me crazy, I know, but hey.
Besides, if you maintain that you’re so dreadfully boring that no-one wants to know about your boring details, then why did you start your boring blog in the first place?

+ That goddamned spelling ‘style’, where eVErY OtHeR leTTeR iS TypEd liKe tHiS: I swear, if I ever meet someone who admits to doing that, I will tie them down, break their hands, and make them watch as I set their Ashlee Simpson and/or Good Charlotte Cds on fire. Who started this bullshit, and why?? Furthermore, I should bloody well hope they have some sort of programme that mixes up the cases for them, cos if they’re actually typing like that, then they are irredeemably retarded. It took me thirty seconds to type ‘eVErY OtHeR leTTeR iS TypEd liKe tHiS’, and these people have their whole blog written like that. Do they start a post on Monday, and finish it Wednesday afternoon??

+ Blogs that have to have some sound file instantly load: I’m gonna hazard a guess, but if you have one of these, chances are very verrrry slim that it’s going to be something I want to hear. Do yourself and your intended audience a favour — get rid of your soundfiles. They slow the load time, and in any case, your taste in music is repellent

+ JavaScript abuse: Just before the site loads, some insipid dialogue box pops up, that you have to click on to enter the site. What in shit is that all about? You’re not clever, you know. And usually it’s something wRiTtEN LikE tHIs. If you’re doing stuff like that, you have just confirmed that your Blog is the equivalent to a Scandinavian black metal band: all ‘style’, no substance.
Even worse is when you leave the site, and another dialogue box pops up. I’m leaving your site. Let go of my hand now, and fuck off.

Lastly, my personal fave,
+ Spelling, grammar, and a lack thereof:

*exhales* Ahhh, all better now!
So send me links to blogs that don’t make me want to disconnect my Internet! Cos at this point, it really can’t get much worse

Random similar posts, for more timewasting:

Plans (scuppered) on September 15th, 2008

Peer into Tangental Thinking on December 28th, 2005


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