Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Hoo! Hoo!

It's that time again.

If I ever open a sports bar, it will be called the Superb Owl. Sunday's football game is the Super Bowl. Note that each name consists of two words.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Starsky and Hutch's Ford Is Another Matter

The site of the Winter Olympics is Turin, the Games' logos notwithstanding. English speakers should not use Torino unless they also refer to Rome as Roma, Spain as España and so on.

Are these Anglicized names a sign of how self-centered and imperialistic we Americans are? Not at all, unless you think the use of Estados Unidos proves that all Spanish speakers share those traits.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Firefighters Battle Blaze

Yes, they do. Every time. But what's the writer of a headline, caption or story to do? The obvious attempt to avoid "firefighters fight fires" is better than not avoiding it, I think, and there aren't too many other alternatives. ("Firefighters confront conflagration?")

Is it redundant to say such a thing? Not really, any more than "firefighters sit and wait" or "firefighters cook chili" or "firefighters score with chicks."

In a caption, especially, you sort of have to say they're doing something. "Firefighters do their job"? "Firefighters tend to ...," and then what? A fire? A blaze? Some flames?

Any ideas?

Thursday, January 12, 2006

It's Not All Liver

A story came to the copy desk yesterday with "participate" misspelled so badly that all the spell checker could come up with was "part paté."

Monday, January 09, 2006

'Good' Grief

In this week's On Language column, William Safire of the New York Times stops short of the silly "no problem"-style objection to the common "I'm good" response to a "Can I get you anything?" request (I didn't ask whether you were good or bad; I simply inquired about your potential desire for a Diet Pepsi!) but still expresses wonder at such a novel use of the word "good."

To me, the response makes perfect literal sense. Would you like a Diet Pepsi? No, thanks, I'm fine, or good, without one. I am happy with the status quo. I will inform you later if my thirst makes me less than good.