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grievance: abuse of the english language part deux (english 102)

I've gotten tons of responses about my "English 101" blog. However, most were simply of amusement. The rules I outlined then are still repeatedly offended by people who have read it. With that said... I don't care. You're all getting a D and barely passing. So now onto English 102....

1. This rule is near and dear to my heart and offending it makes me so wildly and insanely angry that you really should heed the warning. In a written, yet informal conversation, à la AOL Instant Messenger or e-mail, actually READ the words that your fellow interlocutor has written. I've made it absurdly clear (in other ways other than this series of blogs, incidentally) that while I may make typos, I pay a great deal of attention to spelling things correctly and formulating grammatical functions as they are intended to be formed. So, instead of CORRECTING people when they offend these rules, I simply say it or write it back to them, correctly. And yet, people ignore what I've said or written and continue to say or write what they please. I am SO personally offended by this irreverence for language that I have named this my CARDINAL SIN. Especially when the word in question is the name of a friend of me (note rule 8) or my name. The first time someone speaks to me and calls me "Jen," I'm okay with that. When I say "Jenn" back to him or her regarding myself, and then am then called "Jen" again, I'm liable to break the darling's face. Just PAY ATTENTION.

2. While "better than me" can be used correctly, it's seldom the case. Used correctly: "he hit her harder than me," as in "he hit her harder than he hit me." But this goes back, in some ways to the "who"/"whom" bit with using the correct cases of words: "she's smarter than me" is COMPLETE AND UTTER GARBAGE. Constructed correctly: "She's smarter than I." I do understand that this sounds austerely stuffy. An easy way around it? "She's smarter than I am." And that flushing out tells you EXACTLY why it ain't "me": "she's smarter than me is"? The holy gods of grammar frown upon you, young word-abuser.

3. "A whole nother." Really? REALLLLYYYYY? The reason there is an "n" between "a" and "other" when contracting to "another" is because "a other" sounds like garbage. Know what else sounds like garbage? Your face. No. I kid. "Nother" sounds like damned garbage. The "l" at the end of "whole" functions as the "n" does. It's just unnecessary and... (let's hear it, everybody, for my favorite word) gratuitous.

4. Stop using "that" because you're too lazy to put together a construction like "which" (I know, real hard that one) or "who." You sound like a five year old.

5. Commas ALWAYS go inside quotation marks. As do periods. It doesn't make sense. But you HAVE to do it that way. Tough shit.

6. "Quote" is not a noun. It's a verb. "Quotation" is its noun form. "I was reading some of her quotes"? That sentence makes me want to hurl. On your face. Which, according to rule number three, also sounds like garbage. Yes I just used a quotation of my own.

7. "CD's from the 1980's." = my worst nightmare. Apostrophes never ever ever ever ever denote pluralization. They have two jobs: contractions (like "it's") and possession ("Mary's" ). What the holy hell made people start doing this? I'm actually curious as to what spawned this sheer idiocy.

8. "S"s (not "S's") and apostrophes have a complicated relationship. For that matter, possession in English is a little complicated. So allow me to indulge myself in a full explanation of some things you may not know about this strange system:
Rule 1: When making something possessive that ends in an "s," you have two choices. You can either add an apostrophe AND an "s," like so: "Marcus's." Or you can simply add an apostrophe: "Marcus'." IMPORTANT NOTE: if you decide to use "Marcus's," you must, when speaking, say "Marcus-iz." If you decide to go with "Marcus'," you must simply say "Marcus." No "iz." Either is totally acceptable as long as you maintain some kind of consistency between the written word and spoken.
Rule 2: The add-an-apostrophe-but-no-"s" rule also applies to words or names that end in "s"-sounds, such "Maurice," or "Liz," or even "instance," becoming "Maurice'," "Liz'," and "instance'." Or you are welcome to put those "s"s in if you'd like and get "Maurice's," "Liz's," and "instance's" (which is DEFINITELY different than (not "then") "instances." However, you must maintain the way you speak these words based on rule 1.
Rule 3: Making nouns that end in "s" plural: ALWAYS add an "es." As simple as that. The family of Mr. Jones is "the Joneses." If you want to make THAT plural, as in, belonging to the Jones family, you can go with "the Joneses's," or the "Joneses'." And this is why I ALWAYS go with NOT adding "s"s after apostrophes. "Joneses's" must be pronounced "Jones-iz-iz." WHAT! No, no, no... (just like Destiny's Child said).
Rule 4: Alternate ways to manifest possession: the "of _____" construction. An easy way to avoid this "Joneses's"/"Joneses'" nightmare is to simply say "of the Joneses." However it is not "of the Joneses's" or "of the Joneses'." That is just silly. You're essentially doing possession TWICE. So if THAT's the rule, why would you say "a friend of mine"? "A friend of me" or "a friend of myself" is what should be there instead. Same goes for "a friend of Katie." N.B. I understand that saying "a friend of myself" sounds like a vouchsafeing tactic, so I don't actually expect anyone to SAY that in informal talk. But if you're writing, you'd better watch it, bitches.

9. "He"/"she"/"they" and "his"/"her"/"their" are making me want to throw things. Let's get this straight for the last damned time: if you are talking about a single human being, "he or she" CANNOT be referred to as "they." He or she must be referred to as "he or she" or "he" or "she." "They" is used to describe a collective group. "People are stupid. They don't know how to speak proper English." (Low blow, I know.) "There is a person reading this blog who is an idiot. He or she does not know how to speak proper English." 'Nuff said.

Can someone, just ONE person, who reads this at least pretend to try?


raging out at... people who may or may not be dead

It can't be explained as to why, but nothing (and by nothing, I mean most things) enrages me more than not knowing if someone is dead or not. I hate that I have to sit there, wasted at a bar, and google things such as "Betty White dead." Nearly all of my drunken googles are for either song lyrics or finding out if someone is, in fact, dead.

And to be honest, I am mostly pissed at myself for this one. Someone will pass a remark about someone such as Abe Vigoda and then someone else will ALWAYS chime in with, "Aren't they dead?" I immediately become devastated and start in on the "Dead Inquisition." As my slow Sidekick loads up "Abe Vigoda dead," I attack the party who felt Abe was dead. "When did he die? Are you sure? What happened? How come I think I saw him in that new Macy's commercial? Oh, that was Usher. Whatever. I don't think he's dead. You're wrong. You're dead. Why would you say a thing like that about Abe Vigoda if you weren't sure??"

Now if the allegedly dead celebrity meant that much to me that I would attack a friend, shouldn't I have been up on whether or not they were dead in the first place? And why in the hell does everyone think everyone is dead anyway? 9 times out of 10, the person in question isn't dead.

Don't tell me someone's dead and crush my spirit unless you are sure.


shit that sucks - vending machines

An incorrect haiku.

I'm really thirsty.
I have no cash in my wallet.
I'm a debit card kind of guy.
I'm really thirsty.
There's a vending machine outside.
Why don't you take debit cards?
Why vending machine?

-orion's belt buckle

raging out at... abraham lincoln

I don't care. I hate Abraham Lincoln. I hate him with every fiber of my being.

Now, maybe my sheer disdain for Old Abe isn't necessarily his fault. It might be more fair to say I hate the pedestal people have put him on with total disregard for the fact that he was an opportunistic bastard with a stupid beard. To prove my point, I would like to provide you with some basic Facts de Lincoln which I will then irrationally rebut.

Fact 1: Abraham Lincoln had a massive ridiculous beard. Beards were a sign of status and are regarded even today as a symbol of stature. (Is this true? I made it up.) So Abe gallantly wandered around stroking his beard to show people that he, in fact, was a public figure to be respected.
Rebuttal 1: Abe had Marfan syndrome.
Marfan syndrome is a genetic disorder that manifests itself in a typically tall stature and disproportionate limbs and other really creepy abnormalities. Abe had crooked creepy Shannen Doherty face and grew a massive beard to hide it. He could have truly been a man of the people, let his real face show, and given hope to others who were affected. But did Abe do that? Nope. There's a role model.

Fact 2: Abraham Lincoln was largely self-educated and spent most of his time reading to better himself.
Rebuttal 2: Neighbors of Abraham's reported the belief that Lazy Abe spent most of his time reading to avoid doing any manual labor whatsoever. He was 700 feet tall and strong but was such a slothful bitch that he wanted no part of helping around whatever farm or plantation or wherever the hell he lived.

Fact 3: Abraham Lincoln cheated at a duel. There's no need to even rebut this one. The man CHEATED at a duel. Aren't duels supposed to be for defending honor and all that? You kind of lose the point of the combat when you fricking cheat. Abe was challenged to a duel by James Shields pretty much for anonymously talking shit. Abe was such a man that he felt the need to throw around his smacktalk secretly. Yeah, that's who I want running my country. You want to talk shit, do it up. Don't be a little ass-bearded bitch and do it anonymously. So because Abe was challenged by Shields, Abe was permitted to select the weapon of choice. Abe, being a sneaky little hoe's beast, decided they should both wield the largest swords imaginable. He was a giant ogre with disproportionately long limbs!! That sort of weapon could only create a fair fight between Abe and Andre the Giant. Uncool, Abe.

Fact 4: Abraham Lincoln was notoriously anti-war because of "unnecessary bloodshed."
Rebuttal 3 (yes, I screwed up my numbering): Abe had zero combat experience. ZERO. The commander in chief's only experience with battle was when they let him help bury bodies from battles already fought. Great, the head of all military probably couldn't shoot a gun or strategize or even wrap a wound like Florence Nightingale. But if you wanted a creepy middle of the night body bury, you could totally hit Abe up.

Fact 5: Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves because of his great love for justice for all humankind.
Rebuttal 4: If you don't know that entire platform and declaration was done for financial reasons and not reasons of actually giving a shit about people as a whole, I don't care to explain it. Look it up.

Fact 6: According to recent theories by historians, Abraham Lincoln may have been a homosexual.
Rebuttal 5: Go back to rebuttal 1. Be proud of who you are and don't hide behind the beard like Tom Cruise. Hmm, now I am wondering if that is actually wear the term beard comes from. I may have just solved a great mystery.

Fact 7: Abraham Lincoln was the first Republican President. See this quote from John Diggins. "Lincoln presented Americans a theory of history that offers a profound contribution to the theory and destiny of republicanism itself."
Rebuttal 6: Thanks for that.

So in summation...
I hate Abe. I hate his laziness and inqualification to run the military. I hate his false politics and the facade behind which he lived. But mostly, I really hate his beard.


shit that sucks - peacocks

Everyone's favorite network with the xylophone scaled sonic branding ending their deal with iTunes to sell on and their own proprietary website.

First of all - NBC has the best original programming with the exception of F/X and HBO. Chuck, The Office, 30 Rock, and Las Vegas are some of the most brilliant shows on the air today. But, like everyone else in the modern world, I stopped being down with appointment television with the advent of TiVo (okay really just generic Time Warner DVR). Then, the iTunes Music Store added television series and I could put them on my iPod and plug that into my TV and watch whatever I wanted even if I'd forgotten to TiVo (read: DVR) it.

This is how I discover most shows. I'm a pop culture addict - it's what I do.

Long story short, NBC pulled the plug on iTunes because it wanted more money. What they don't understand is that TV shows have no value really. DVDs of TV shows are purchased because they are physical products. Consumers are purchasing the box to place on a shelf because it is representative of their tastes. When people put The Office DVD on their shelf they are doing it so when they have guests they can say "oh, you like The Office?" Or else you watch the episodes once through, and put the box back on aforementioned shelf. In fact, if you notice most people lose at least one of the DVDs that come in TV show boxed sets. Go open your friends Lost Season 2 - tell me if Disc 3 is in there or if it's sitting under the couch scratched up like a cat toy.

So why not be happy at making 1.99 for a TV show that you were otherwise making nothing for. Advertisers aren't going anywhere yet. Use iTunes as a promotion - in fact it is credited with launching The Office into the mainstream. Let clips sit up on YouTube, you can't really monitize 30 second clips (don't get me started on ringtones). Let fans be fans and share their enthusiasm of your product.

So now there's a writers' strike, so I'm preparing for new TV to disappear to make room for America's Best Choir (yes - there is a real series coming with that premise this January). So in celebration of my new iPod Touch I bought Season 1 of Heroes, a show I'd always wanted to start watching. So now I'm hooked on that, and almost through with it (even though new episodes of programming are still airing and I'd meant not to start watching Heroes until the strike was affecting my life - I have no self control). So, I want to get episodes from Season 2 - but they're not on iTunes. They are available only on's Unbox service - which of course isn't compatible with a Mac and can only be viewed on a PC in Window's Media format (can't be played on the iPod) - or it can be viewed on, another PC only website which isn't even open to the public - it's in invite only beta.

Thanks NBC. Way to get viewers to your shows.

Shit sucks.

-orion's belt buckle