Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Percolating Language Thoughts — A few word-related things on my mind as I waited for the coffee* to brew this morning
—A Barack Obama language tactic: He eschews the word “Republican" to use as an approximate synonym “the last eight years.” Seems like a clever way to try to lure all discontented voters while not alienating any who might defect from the other party.
—Wells Faigo is a good bank. I know this because they sent me a very conscientious and customer-oriented e-mail warning me that there has been some unusual activity on my account. All I had to do was click the link provided, which came right before the signoff, “wellsfaigo Internet Banking, N.A.” Good ol' Wells Faigo. I wonder if they're based in Faigo, North Dakota.
—A headline from either AOL news or Yahoo news: “Retail sales plunge 1.2 percent.” Not to diminish the seriousness of a slowing economy, but can anything “plunge” 1.2 percent?
—The misplaced modifiers that haunt my copy-editing work lately are all prepositional phrases. “… Jo-Jo’s triumphant return to the stage after a three-year hiatus in 1996.” He took a three-year hiatus "in 1996"? Neat trick.
—On my way to the freelance job in downtown L.A. today, I was behind a flatbed tow truck hauling a new-looking Ferrari with the license plate “FARRARI.” How desperate for attention must you be when, upon learning that the correct spelling of your conspicuous-consumptionmobile is not available as a vanity plate, you still decide it’s worth $80 or whatever to tell the world in misspelled form something that you’re already practically screaming? (Yes, the Ferrari was red. No, there was no visible damage to suggest why it was on a tow truck, unfortunately.)
—A made-up word on my mind: kitlers.
—I miss the word “percolate.” Nobody percolates anymore. Everybody brews.
* By reading that no coffee was consumed prior to the formulation of these thoughts, the reader waives all rights to hold against the writer any stupidity or lack of lucidity inherent within.