Wednesday, November 29, 2006

From the Forest to the Bird Cage

The opening of "Lou Grant": A great piece of nostalgia -- and I had forgotten that the intro was a clever little mini-movie depicting the life cycle of a newspaper. (Too bad this is the early Rebecca Balding-as-Carla Mardigian version and not the more familiar Linda Kelsey-as-Billie Newman one.)

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

A Conclusion of Mine

The double possessive is a matter of some controversy. Some insist that constructions like "a colleague of Gates's" are redundant and therefore should be avoided. Others see "an old pal of mine" and extrapolate that, because you'd never say "an old pal of me," you also must reject "a friend of Bill."

I say trust your ear over either dogma. "A friend of Bill's" probably is better, except in the Clinton-era coinage, but it's not a must. The following over-the-cliff application of the principle, which appeared recently on the front page of my newspaper, shows what can happen if you treat it as mandatory:
Lanier has long been a favorite of Ramsey's, who gave her key patrol commands and later put her in charge of the bomb squad, SWAT team and other special units.
Extra credit if you spot the other problem in that sentence. Extra extra credit if you also spot the thing that people who are wrong about such things would wrongly call a problem.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Just for Fun

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Midland

"You have a Midland accent" is just another way of saying "you don't have an accent." You probably are from the Midland (Pennsylvania, southern Ohio, southern Indiana, southern Illinois, and Missouri) but then for all we know you could be from Florida or Charleston or one of those big southern cities like Atlanta or Dallas. You have a good voice for TV and radio.

The Inland North
The South
North Central
The Northeast
The West
What American accent do you have?
Take More Quizzes

Thursday, November 09, 2006

All Publicity = Good Publicity

I didn't realize I was that big in the world of notional agreement, so please put your six-year-old "Al Gore invented the Internet" jokes away. I don't think I'm even particularly radical on the topic, either, but I'll take my Ruth Walker shout-outs where I can get them.

I do, however, want to dispel any impression that I would ever write "South Carolina is looking for their third win." (Hell, it would be "South Carolina are" if you went down that road. Which I wouldn't.) I am also on the record against the likes of "The New England Revolution are currently selling season tickets."

See Pages 85 and 86 of "The Elephants of Style."

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Party Like It's 1995

Blog? What blog? There's a good old-fashioned lovingly-HTML-coded update back at The Slot.