Category Archives: Grammar Police

My Intellectual Contribution (So Far) to Presidential Election ’08

Yesterday, Dave Barry conducted a little live question and answer session, as part of his on-the-scene coverage of the New Hampshire primary. Common themes included voter trends, change, Cheez-Its, change, possible nicknames for Mike Huckabee and Dick Harpootlian (neither of whom need nicknames, since their real names are already so fun to say out loud) and also change. I submitted several questions, which Dave graciously answered, much to my school-girlish delight.

Here’s the intro to the Q&A, as written by a professional-type Miami Herald person and seen on The Herald’s website, followed by my questions and Dave’s responses.


Dave Barry is running for President of the United States — but because he is a trained journalism professional, he is also sporadically covering the other, lesser candidates. On Jan. 8, 29 and on future dates that he can’t disclose just yet, he’ll be chatting live from 1-2 p.m. here. That’s right, he’ll actually be sitting behind a computer at the very same time as you, the reader, send him questions and comments. Please keep in mind that while Dave will answer as many questions as he can, he will laugh at most of them and delete them. That said, Dave may actually answer a question, and it could be yours.

Q: Dave, I realize that you are vehemently pro-change, but generally, I find that it’s easier to type responses to questions if I’m sitting in front of a computer, rather than behind one. Please explain how you developed this specialized skill, which is impressive, yet disturbing.
KDF, Not Quite as Snowy as NH, but Close 1/08/08

A: .rorrim a gnisu epyt I
Dave Barry 1/08/08

Q: Dave, what is Governor Huckabee’s position on Cheez-Its?
KDF 1/08/08

A: I am sure he views them as a an important nutritional component. FACT: One bag of Cheez-Its supplies 8 percent of your daily requirement of little square things the color of a traffic cone.
Dave Barry 1/08/08

Q: Mr. Barry, I took all of my change to the Coinstar machine and now I just have regular old cash, equivalent mathematically to the amount of coinage I turned in (minus a 9% counting fee, of course.) My question: since “change” is all the kids are talking about these days, and given the fact that change is apparently gaining value by the millisecond, particularly in New Hampshire, can I look forward to a day when the people in charge of the various Coinstar machines in my neighborhood will actively compete for my business and will not only stop charging me this so-called “counting fee,” but will pay me a premium to use their machine above anyone else’s just so that they can post boastful signs claiming that they believe in change and have more than anyone else?
KDF 1/08/08

A: That is a LOT of typing.
Dave Barry 1/08/08

Please pardon my giggling, but it was a heck of a lot of fun to participate in that.

Dave’s entire Q & A, which in my humble opinion, is well worth the click, can be seen by clicking here. You must start at the end and go backwards in order to follow the Q&A in order, but hey, the internets are funny like that.


Target’s Salute to Educators

I was just minding my own business, running my usual errands. I rushed through my neighborhood Target in search of paper towels, shampoo and hair clips for the girls, AA batteries for Sam, salty snacks, and a string of Christmas tree lights. And then, in the Holiday section, I saw this ornament and stopped dead in my tracks:


I think my jaw actually dropped. I laughed out loud. People looked at me funny.

Yes, that is an apostrophe.

This kind of crap keeps me up at night.

To make matters worse, the copy on the packaging boasts this little beauty:

10% of this purchase price goes to
Support our teachers and classrooms.

That’s right, the capital letter was right there, taunting me, in the middle of the fricking sentence. It was at the beginning of a second line of text, so some poor sap who dares call him or herself a proofreader felt it was appropriate for some sad reason, but ALL OF THIS, a punctuation and a capitalization error, ON A CHRISTMAS ORNAMENT MEANT TO HONOR TEACHERS???


I want so much to believe that it’s somehow not wrong. I have tried to make it right, in my sadly obsessive brain. I mean, the sparkly yellow thing is a ruler, so their little play on words sort of works, with the apostrophe, if you believe that the “rule” belongs to the teacher.

Except that if they meant that, it would say farking “ruler,” wouldn’t it?? I can almost stretch my imagination to buy the whole “some people call it a ‘rule'” thing, but no, dammit, we call it a ruler. And really, the whole point of the thing is that teachers are great, that “Teachers,” in fact, “Rule,” so WHY oh WHY, for the love of teacher gifts and holiday cheer everywhere, is there an apostrophe!?

I’m hoping, in a sick sort of way, that this is some brilliant, evil person’s twisted attempt to cruelly toy with English teachers and language sticklers everywhere. It horrifies, while simultaneously sending our addled brains in endless and desperate circles of hope, which try to make it, for the love of education and teachers and ugly rulers everywhere, somehow, possibly, correct. Because then it would be cruel and awful, but it would be RIGHT. Maybe.

Except… it’s not. It’s wrong. It’s all so very wrong.

*weeps for the children*