Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day: A Time to Remember

I really dislike it when people and companies wish us a "happy" Memorial Day.

Memorial Day evolved as a day of remembrance, a time to honor those courageous men and women who gave their lives to defend our country and the freedoms we hold dear. It is a somber holiday, not a "happy" one.

Veterans from nearly every major conflict in American history, from the Revolutionary War through the Vietnam War, appear in my family tree. So yes, I take Memorial Day a little more seriously than those who merely view it as a day off from work, an excuse to party, or the perfect time to hawk new cars and furniture.

To all those who have served, and continue to serve: Thank You.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Typos Go to University

It's amazing how one little missing letter can change the meaning of a word - and cause oodles of embarrassment in the process.

From a story on Yahoo! News about a missing letter - a very important letter, it turns out! - in a word on the cover of the commencement program for the University of Texas at Austin:

(In case you missed it, check out the line just under the photo - where it says "School of Pubic Affairs.")

Click here to read the entire article.

The story's writer makes some valid arguments about the significance of typos in the grand scheme of things. Yes, humans make mistakes. We're all guilty of that. However, mistakes of this caliber are entirely preventable. I have to wonder just how many people missed this typo during the creation, review, proofreading, and publication of this document.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Dangerous Times

You know the times are changing for the worse when inanimate objects start attacking humans.

Here’s a recent headline from a news station’s web site:

Man Attacked By Hammer In Springs

At first glance, it seems that this hand tool just jumped right up and attacked someone! The opening line of the story, though, clarifies the situation:

A man was allegedly attacked with a hammer on Thursday afternoon in a Springs neighborhood.

See the difference one little preposition can make?

But the attacks don’t stop there. Here’s a line from a story on the very same web site where the hammer story appeared:

(Police) found a man had been shot in the chest by a handgun.

Another inanimate object gone mad!

Oh – wait. Two competing news stations have a slightly different version of events:

(Police) found the victim with a single…gunshot wound.

A shooting…left one man in the hospital with a gunshot wound to the torso.

Even though these two reports don't specifically state that humans wielded the weapons, at least they didn't imply that the gun by itself was responsible.

And that's probably as good as it's going to get in local news...

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

I'm Not the Only One...

...who takes issue with erroneous words about fire.

Here is an excerpt from a corporate memo submitted to the Society for the Promotion of Good Grammar blog regarding a trash can fire (emphasis added):

"During the afternoon of March 9, 2012, the trash can near the smoking Kiosk area caught fire. After investigating the cause of the fire, it was determined, most likely, that a cigarette butt was put in the trash receptacle instead of the cigarette receptacle. If the maintenance team had not reacted immediately and DISTINGUISHED the fire, this incident could have put the Headquarters Complex in a dangerous fire situation." 

I can't even come up with a comment for that one...