Monday, February 28, 2011

Quote of the Day

The confusion of the possessive "its" (no apostrophe) with the contractive "it's" (with apostrophe) is an unequivocal signal of illiteracy and sets off a simple Pavlovian "kill" response in the average stickler.

--Lynn Truss

From my Page-A-Day calendar that has excerpts from Eats, Shoots & Leaves.

Apparently, I am the average stickler. You don't want to be around when I see that someone has used the wrong "its" or "it's."

Friday, February 18, 2011

Who's Your Daddy?

You can tell by people's actions exactly who they owe their allegiance to. On my job my schedule is pretty flexible, so I can run quick reports for people in other parts of the organization. But when there's a conflict with my time, I'm answerable to my boss. She gets what she needs from me when she needs it, and everybody else has to wait. The other people understand, because that's the way of things everywhere.

The Democrats in the Wisconsin legislature have shown by their actions this week who they're accountable to, and it certainly isn't the voters who elected them. They're bought, paid for, and completely owned by the public employees' unions.

This is how the AP reported the reaction of the Democrats:

Faced with a near-certain Republican victory that would end a half-century of collective bargaining for public workers, Wisconsin Democrats retaliated with the only weapon they had left: They fled.

The Wisconsin state Senate needs one Democrat to be present in order to hold a vote. If they stayed in the state, they'd be subject to being arrested and brought back to the Capitol to vote for the losing side. So they did the scaredy-pants thing and ran off to Illinois in a desperate attempt to save the unions from having their chokehold on Wisconsin pried away.

In 2009, when Democrats were busy ramming Obamacare through Congress, they loved to say things like, "Elections have consequences." But since Democrats were turned out of office in 2010 in large numbers, they've stopped repeating that mantra. Just because they don't say it anymore, however, that doesn't stop the consequences of elections from happening.

It's 2011, and 2008 is nothing but old news. The election of 2010 is the one we're dealing with now. Last year voters overwhelmingly demanded fiscal responsibility by tossing Democrats out of office and replacing them with Republicans. Even in Wisconsin.

It's time for Democrats to face the consequences of the most recent election. In spite of what they may believe, their Daddy isn't the union bosses. Their Daddy is the voters, who won't be forgetting what a slap in the face the Democrats delivered. I see the back of a very big woodshed in the Democrats' future...

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Why You're Not Married

This was posted Sunday. The day before Valentine's Day. On (you'd never guess) the Huffington Post. It's remedial help for feminists who find themselves suddenly wanting to be married. If you're a regular reader of my blog, this does not apply to you. Here are her top six reasons why "you" the feminist are not married (tasteful editing of bad words is mine):

1. You're a B***h.

Here's what I mean by b***h. I mean you're angry. You probably don't think you're angry. You think you're super smart, or if you've been to a lot of therapy, that you're setting boundaries. But the truth is you're pissed. At your mom. At the military-industrial complex. At Sarah Palin. And it's scaring men off.

The deal is: most men just want to marry someone who is nice to them. I am the mother of a 13-year-old boy, which is like living with the single-cell protozoa version of a husband. Here's what my son wants out of life: macaroni and cheese, a video game, and Kim Kardashian. Have you ever seen Kim Kardashian angry? I didn't think so. You've seen Kim Kardashian smile, wiggle, and make a sex tape. Female anger terrifies men. I know it seems unfair that you have to work around a man's fear and insecurity in order to get married -- but actually, it's perfect, since working around a man's fear and insecurity is big part of what you'll be doing as a wife.

I'll just list the rest. You'll have to read the article to see the details.

2. You're Shallow.
3. You're a Sl*t.
4. You're a Liar.
5. You're Selfish.
6. You're Not Good Enough.

OK. On second thought, I'll explain that last one. She means that "you" the unmarried feminist don't think you're good enough, so that affects your relationships.

My overall take on her assessment of this kind of never-married women is that she's exactly right. Men don't marry angry, shallow, sl*tty, lying, selfish women who think they're not good enough. Men of good character (which is the kind of man a woman wants to marry) marry women of good character. Which I suppose can be kind of a shocker for women of low character.

And the comments aren't nearly as apoplectic as I expected.

Going After Issa

Darrell Issa (pronounced "EYE-suh") is my congressman. When the Republicans took over the House, Issa became the chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform (aka the Oversight Committee), and he promised to do plenty of investigating.

Funny thing, but the likely investigatees don't see Issa's promise as a good thing. So their friends have started what Politico calls an "anti-Darrell Issa crusade." (Can they say, "crusade"? I mean, Issa is Lebanese... you know, Arabic.... Isn't that hateful, racist, beyond-the-pale rhetoric? Just asking...)

But a handful of liberal political operatives in California — including a former Hillary Clinton hand — are taking their anti-Issa passion to a whole new level, launching a nonprofit group, a website and even paid media advertisements aimed at undermining and investigating the rabble-rousing chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

I didn't know my congressman was a genuine rabble-rouser.

The launch of this group — which calls itself The Third Lantern, and is naming the website the Issa Files — is remarkable because it’s wholly focused on the activities of one lawmaker who has no immediate plans to run for higher office. The purpose of this new group is to make public documents more public, make life difficult for Issa and sow seeds of doubt on his investigations.

They plan to run TV advertisements and other paid media in the future, saying they already have a “significant commitment” of cash.

The structure of the organization does not require that it disclose its funding.

But the goal is clear: Newman, Smith and the third partner, Sean Clegg, want to raise enough questions about Issa’s background and personal history that anything he turns up in probes of the Obama administration will be immediately discredited.

You can read about Issa's background and the kinds of incidents they're going to "expose" in the Wikipedia article about him.

Frankly, this smells of desperation on the part of the Left. They wouldn't want anyone to find out about the culture of corruption that's running rampant in the Obama administration.

Just be forewarned. When you read hit pieces about Rep. Darrell Issa, it's really about trying to keep the curtain shut that's hiding the truth about the man (Obama) behind it.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Gutenberg and Grammar

It's really about punctuation, but "Gutenberg and Punctuation" loses the alliterative effect, so I opted for taking alliterary license this time.

This year my boss gave a Page-A-Day calendar to each of us in our group. The lady next door got a Brevity calendar like the one I had last year, and I got Eats, Shoots & Leaves, which is all about the joys of proper punctuation.

Today, Lynne Truss quotes from the Oxford Companion to English Literature: "There never was a golden age in which the rules for the possesive apostrophe were clear-cut and known, understood and followed by most educated people." I must not be "most educated people."

I already knew, from my days trying to become a romance writer, that printers were responsible for the rule about the period ALWAYS belonging inside the ending quotation marks. The typesetting machines had a doohickey with a period-quote on it but a quote-period doohickey did not exist. Hence, the period always goes inside the quote. Same for the comma.

The last several days of my calendar trace the evolution of the use of the apostrophe, and all of the changes were the result of decisions made by printers.

First, in Shakespearean times, printers started using the apostrophe to substitute for missing letters. That's all the tiny apostrophe did. Possessives were on their own without any special punctuation.

In the 17th Century, printers started using apostrophes for singular possessives. In the 18th Century, printers added them for plural possessives as well.

If you've got your eyes open at all, you can see the trend. It's because of Gutenberg the Genius and his Marvelous Invention that we have apostrophes in use today, if only most of us could remember the right way to use them:

1. When letters are missing (gov't).
2. When it's a non-pronoun plural (the girl's dress, but NOT the dress is hers / the girls' dresses, but NOT the dresses are theirs).

And maybe there's a morphing of the language again, because people often choose to use it for plurals of acronyms or numbers (RUS's or 100's) because sometimes it looks funny without the apostrophe. But these haven't become hard-and-fast rules yet. Personally, I'm for using the apostrophe with plural acronyms but not with plural numbers.

Given a little more time, though, I'm guessing the printers will let us know what's correct for sure.

Saturday, February 05, 2011


While I was blogging about my Lazy Saturday, I naturally went to IMDB to get links to the movies I was mentioning in the post. They had a banner across the top inviting me to watch a clip (not a trailer) from the upcoming thriller Black Death, starring Sean Bean. The clip is about two and a half minutes long.

There's a moment toward the end of the clip where the spokesman for the town offers his right hand to Sean Bean, who hesitates...

And during that offer of a hand and the hesitation, I wondered if people really shook hands in the Middle Ages, or if it might be a more recent cultural invention.

... and then decides to shake hands. Then he shifts his sword, which has been in his right hand in readiness for whatever danger the village may have held, to his left hand and shakes.

That's when I realized that a handshake is much more profound than a "Howdy, good to meet you."

A handshake is a disarming of oneself, a laying oneself bare to the risk of fatal attack. Sean Bean left himself undefended by his own sword (yes, he had his men as backup) when he gripped the right hand - the sword hand - of the stranger.

We speak about certain people having a "disarming smile," and this moment in the movie captures what that term means: someone whose smile is so warm and reassuring that you would willingly put down your defenses before them.

I don't know anything more about this movie, except that IMDB called it a thriller. So I suspect that this village has one or two secrets that the clip didn't reveal. But it taught me something already, that sometimes the little things in life have much bigger stories to tell.

I'll be shaking hands in the future with a fuller understanding of just what that means.

Lazy Saturday

It's one of those wonderful Saturdays when I have nothing I have to do. I had a smoothie for breakfast, something I don't have time to make - or eat - during the week:

1-1/2 cups frozen berries (I have about 1 cup strawberries & 1/2 cup mixed berries and usually end up with closer to 2 cups, but who's counting?)
1 cup non-fat milk (or a splash more if I went extra on the berries)
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp ground flaxseed (optional)
Blend. Eat. The whole thing counts as ONE serving! It takes a long time to eat.

I had planned to help a friend, who moved recently, put her kitchen stuff away today. But when I called her to arrange a time, she said she couldn't sleep a couple nights ago, so she got up in the middle of the night and got it done. Her furniture is arriving this afternoon, so we'll see what she needs help with tomorrow. And that frees me up today.

One of my Lazy Saturday favorite things I do is to follow the rabbit trail of internet news and commentary links on the sides of interesting articles I read. Last night I followed a link from one of the Working Group websites (Hugh Hewitt?) to an article on one of Breitbart's sites (I forget which one off the top of my head and don't want to back my way into it right now), and that had a link to a video of MSNBC's Chris Matthews hyperventilating over Sarah Palin's not-really use of "WTF" and contrasting that to Matthews completely agreeing when Sen. Grayson really used "STFU." To paraphrase Sarah Palin, if Chris Matthews didn't have double standards, he wouldn't have any standards at all. Well, I was too tired to watch it last night, so I left that video up on my computer when I put it in Stand By mode before I went to bed. So this morning I watched it.

But over on the side of that video was a link to some wonderful news for California. A California judge stopped the implementation of the state Cap-and-Tax law, because an extreme environmental justice group filed suit because they didn't think the law did enough damage to the business environment in the state, or something. Useful idiots can actually be useful once in a while.

And that article had a link on the side to Big Hollywood's Countdown of the Top 25 Christian Films, which turned out to be a plea for nominations for a list that will be announced this Easter.

Imbedded in the plea was a link to someone else's list of the Top 25 Conservative Movies. I have a lot of these movies. Things like, We Were Soldiers (Did you watch the video of Randall Wallace's keynote speech at the National Prayer Breakfast? Amazing!), 300, The Incredibles, and Groundhog Day, as well as the reasons for each choice.

Watching movies is one of my other favorite things to do on a Lazy Saturday. My roommate has Netflix, and this week the movie we got is The Edge. It's on the Top 25 Conservative Movies list. Now that I don't have other plans, we can watch the movie today. So as soon as my roomie gets back from the bank, I'll be in my spot on the loveseat watching a movie I now know will be safely conservative.

Have a happy Saturday!

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Education Agenda

The light went on for me today. It's subtle but oh so clear.

Today's Page-A-Day calendar (daily excerpts from the book, Eats, Shoots & Leaves) has this quote:

The trouble with grammar books is that they are read principally by keen foreigners; meanwhile, native English-speakers who require their help are the last people who will make the effort to buy and read them.

I showed it to my next-desk office buddy, and she mentioned that they're not used by schools either. That's what flipped the light switch on.

The education establishment is dominated by people on the Left. People on the Left value "fairness" above all, with fairness meaning (to them), equal outcomes for everyone. Then-Candidate Obama said as much with his "spread the wealth around" comment to Joe the Plumber.

So what does that say about education?

It says that if America is on the top worldwide, that's not fair. After all, traditionally we have the biggest, best military (well, maybe China has more people in their military, but we're still the best); we have the biggest, most robust economy; we have the best advances in medicines and health care techniques. The Left just can't handle having all that best-itude in one place. They have to "spread the wealth around."

And they've decided to start with education. They don't teach our kids spelling and grammar and punctuation, but instead let them figure it out for themselves eventually. Which doesn't translate well onto the achievement tests.

A while back, my Page-A-Day calendar said that in the UK, by the age of 8 schoolchildren have been taught the three major uses of the comma (in lists, before dialogue, to set off a clause). So I asked my office buddy if her 9 year old has learned any of that. He hasn't. And the teacher is letting him spell things any way he wants to. There's some sort of psychobabble term for letting them keep their self-esteem over their spelling.

It's all part of the agenda. Make American kids do poorly so some other country's kids get a chance to shine. It's only fair.