Saturday, February 17, 2001

Is All Publicity Good Publicity?

This might not be truly ironic in the eyes of a constipated purist, but I'm pretty sure Alanis Morissette would let me get away with that term. My book, which decries bad writing and editing, received a good review in the Feb. 12 issue of the Weekly Standard. Tracy Lee Simmons, director of the Dow Journalism Program at Hillsdale College, called it "thoroughly delightful" in a review in which he also praised Barbara Wallraff's "Word Court." But you might not get a positive impression of the two books if you merely look at the headline. "Writing Right: A pair of recent books get it wrong," it reads. The reviewer and the magazine's managing editor have apologized for that very odd misstep. Damn copy editors! Isn't it ironic? Don't ya think?

Thursday, February 15, 2001

Falling Off a 'Cliff'

"Cliff Notes to the Post's 'Deadlock' series," reads a Slate headline. You'll find "Cliff Notes" on 14,214 Web pages, according to AltaVista. I used Cliffs Notes as much as anybody, but apparently only I (and the authors of a pitiful 5,382 Web pages) remembered seeing an "s" in "Cliffs." I wish this didn't bother me so much.

Tuesday, February 13, 2001

No Uhmail or Webzits Here

With dictionaries and other mainstream publications tripping over their feet to use "website" and "email" in an attempt to look like Techie McTech to their readers, I find it deliciously amusing that the excellent PC Magazine, of all publications, continues to stick with "Web site" and "e-mail." I guess that's the difference between being secure in your knowledge of the subject matter and being a big, fat poseur wanna-be.

Friday, February 09, 2001

But No Country Muffins

A new retronym came with my overpriced Web order from Joe's Stone Crab in Miami Beach. A retronym, for the uninitiated, is a term that seems redundant but may (or may not) have become valid as the world evolved. Before the electric guitar, acoustic guitars were simply guitars. Before roller skates, ice skates were simply skates.

And so now Joe's Stone Crab sends me its signature product packed in wet ice. Yes, I know about dry ice, but wet ice? . . . Several of my co-workers are arguing with me in defense of a similar term: unique visitors. Webheads writing for dimwits use this term to make it clear that multiple visits to a site by the same person are not counted as multiple visitors. Duh! Note my use of the terms visitors and visits. If you told me four of your relatives came over for dinner last night, I'd rule out the possibility that it was just Uncle Joe and Aunt Minnie but both stepped out for a smoke at one point. Visitors means visitors.