A friend, Luke Phillips, who used to work in the composing room at the Optic, when it was on Lincoln Avenue, dropped a note recently, in which he explained that the city council session he covers in a California town had been meeting for three hours and had yet to finish Item #1 on the agenda.
Ah, the glamour people in the news business can experience amounts to pure splendor!
It’s true that members of the press try their darnedest to keep the public informed, even if the topics are mill levies, referenda, sewage treatment plants and endless processions of proclamations. And yes, I’ve done my share. People who cover government meetings generally receive that assignment the day they’re hired.
Even Jason W. Brooks, our new editor, has already written several items on our government.
I covered public affairs, first in Las Vegas, in the days when we had two municipalities, two school boards and two town councils. That kind of schedule doesn’t conduce to providing quality nightlife. The next batch came when I moved to Gallup and was allowed to cover the Town Council, the Indian Community Center, and the local school board. Continue reading
During my years of teaching, I don’t believe I ever had students — even at the college level — who consistently spelled “a lot” as two words. To that I say, “’Alot’ of students can’t tell the difference.” I believe the bigger problem is simply using the wrong word. There are, after all, many synonyms for “a lot,” including “many” and “plenty.”
When was the last time you heard someone confuse “compose” and “comprise”? I’ll wager that most people who (mis)use “comprise” do so in a sentence like “The U.S. is comprised of 50 states.” No! The U.S. comprises 50 states, and not the other way around. The country is not comprised of anything.
Yet another form of verbal confusion is using “compromised “when we mean “comprised,” which has an entirely different meaning and takes us in a different direction. For example, when my wife says, “I took out the meat from the freezer to “unthaw it,” I have had to compromise my grammar-cop personality in order to remain married.
Similarly, people often confuse “condone” with “condemn” and come up with something like, “I condone your stealing the money,” when they mean they don’t approve of the theft. Continue reading