Monthly Archives: February 2012

Covering your assets

My friend Chad Boliek turned what might have been a criticism into an advantage. Recall my having mentioned in a recent column that I had planned and planted misuses of the English language?

That week I received numerous e-mails, phone calls and hand-delivered responses to these assaults on the language, several people having caught expressions like “a blessing in the skies” and “cut off my nose despite my face.” But others, like Anne Kennedy, went beyond what I said was a deliberate misuse and corrected things I had not intended to be erroneous.

Well, after a lifetime of looking under rocks for comma splices, dangling modifiers and run-on sentences, I’ve almost reached the conclusion that one can justify virtually anything. Remember when beginning a sentence with “and” or “but” was verboten? Now we see it often, especially in advertising copy. Continue reading

The meaning of ‘omberrrs’

Question: Take a typical Las Vegas cholo with his pants sagging to the point where one inch lower might get him arrested, and with one of the pants cuffs being swallowed by his shoe a bit more than the other. What is the logical answer to his situation?

“Not even.”

Wrong! The words might be correct on paper, but the articulation of these words proves simply that one can’t always give an accurate rendering of certain words merely by looking at the orthographics.

Let me explain:

No self-respecting cholo would ever say, “not even.” Rather, that expression requires a warmup, a running start. Therefore, “not even” ought really be spelled, “hhnnott eee-vun.” Now doesn’t that give a more faithful rendering of this bit of Las Vegas Speak? Continue reading

Is ‘Chula’ a centurion?

The response to last week’s Work of Art, in which I planned and planted misuses of the English language, was great. The reaction ranged from the concern that your resident Language Cop somehow had “lost it” to a let’s-do-it-again attitude.

A half dozen readers either e-mailed or dropped off their responses, and one person went even farther, finding a stray question mark in my column and catching me on my capitalizing a word that shouldn’t have been.

The column was mainly about how people use words and expressions that seem correct but carry a different — sometimes humorous — meaning. It’s like cutting off your nose despite your face or getting knocked over with a fender. Continue reading

A doggy-dog world

A few weeks back, I told the saga of Heidi, my dachshund whose manners were bad, and in an effort to train the dog, my friend Bob McIntosh suggested we have Heidi meet and live with Bob’s Great Dane, “Duke,” the canine with perfect manners.

There was a doggone education that followed, but I don’t think Bob ever forgave me for owning a dog that passed her bad culinary habits on to Duke.

“I knew just where that was going when I read the first few lines,” said Mayor Alfonso Ortiz. And Travis Reames told me that dog-teaching-dog scenario couldn’t have ended happily. It’s a doggy-dog world. Continue reading

Locals give edge to Patriots

Except for the fact that more than half of them are Dallas Cowboy fans, it looks like a fairly balanced account of how this Sunday’s Super Bowl will turn out.

At 4:28 p.m., as the world sits down to a big helping of football and meatball stew, the New England Patriots take on the New York Giants. The game features some of the cleverest, new commercials on TV, and that’s the reason at least one person interviewed plans to be watching on Sunday.

And even though some of those randomly interviewed on their Super Bowl predictions are inveterate Dallas Cowboy fans, let’s still respect their opinions. Continue reading