Entries in The Game is Afoot (30)


Fascistella and the Fairy Grammarian

Christine's question for today's Scavenger Hunt post is:

What would you do if you could wave a magic wand and completely remove from the world, or at least from the English language, one each of the following;
A colloquialism
A common written grammatical error
A single abbreviation
A homonym, in whole or part
A ‘mis-definable’ term (example if a tin-whistle is made of tin, then what is a foghorn made of? You probably even know the linguistic name for such a thing.)

Oh, how this Grammar Fascista wishes she had a Fairy Godmother to do just this sort of thing. Then she would not be reduced to yelling at the television and billboards in her frustration over The Decline and Fall of the English Language.

Here are my wishes, Dear Fairy:

Colloquialism: "My bad." Oh, how I hate this phrase; I don't really know why. It's just icky. I forgive my buddy (I wish) Joss Whedon, who used it once on "Buffy." And I forgive Amy Heckerling, who popularized it in the first place by using it in the script for the otherwise terrific movie "Clueless."

Common Written Grammatical Error: My biggest pet peeve in this area is the misuse of the contraction 'it's.' 'It's' ALWAYS stands for 'it is,' NEVER for the third person possessive form of 'it.' Here's an easy way to remember: his, hers, its. No apostrophes to be found, right? Right. It's easy.

Abbreviation: This will only make sense to LDS/Mormons. We have four books of canonized scripture: The Holy Bible (we generally use the KJV in English), The Book of Mormon, The Doctrine & Covenants, and The Pearl of Great Price. The Doctrine & Covenants, which is a book of latter-day revelations from the Lord to Joseph Smith and other prophets of our church, is often abbreviated 'D&C.' I find this to be an unfortunate coincidence; therefore, I never use this abbreviation (except when taking notes) and I cringe when I hear it spoken.

Homonym: I can't think of any I would eliminate. Could the fairy grant that everyone just get them straight from now on?

'Mis-definable term' (No, I don't know the linguistic term for this concept, Christine. Sorry to disappoint.): 'Clowning around' is supposed to be synonymous with 'fooling around,' but since clowns are EVIL and not at all funny (except in Springfield, where they are funny BECAUSE they are evil), I would prefer that this term never be used again.

Clap your hands if you believe in fairies, and maybe my wishes will come true!


Faced with the Dodo's Conundrum*

Today's post topic is brought to you by Christine. Christine is a close personal friend of mine, and also happens to be the stalwart mother of the award-winning Torie of the War Hammer. Though she does not blog herself, Christine is that rara avis who recognizes how welcome comments are to the blogger. She's great.

Christine asked, "What would you do if you knew you only had five more years left to live?"

After going through the Kübler-Ross stages of grief, I don't think I'd change very much at all about my life. I'm no paragon, but I do think my life is pretty great the way it is. (Delusion can be a wonderful thing.)

And maybe the silver lining would be that it would give me an angle with marketing my novels. "Dear Agent, I only have five years to live. Please consider my manuscript for publication before I go the way of all flesh...." Hmmmm.

* I've been wanting to use that line as a post title ever since I first heard The Shins' "Australia." Today seemed as good a day as any.



My dear friend (and very talented, very published writer) Annette Lyon requested today's topic. Annette, these 'Gertrude Jekyll' roses from my garden are for you.


Route 66

Once again, Pezmama (who is Jane Austen's newest fan, I'm thrilled to report) has come to my rescue with a topic for the ongoing extravaganza that is the Scavenger Hunt. Here my assignment for the day:

[Post] on blahhhhing: the sometimes subtle difference between blog posting that is "for clicks" and those that are truly an endeavor by the author to engage the reader... and how to tell the difference between the two.

Posting for clicks? Whaaaa?
My reaction upon reading her suggestion was the same as the one I had when I first learned as a poor, innocent child about the 'facts of life':

People really do that?

Subtle difference, indeed. Or perhaps I'm just not as discerning as I had thought; I have never noticed this posting-for-clicks thing happening before. But maybe there's a whole dark, secret side of blogging that comes under the heading of Too Much Information. Maybe it's happening all around me, every day. But I can't bear to think about that.

I have heard of commenting for clicks. This I understand, sort of.
There seems to be a need on the part of many bloggers to widen their circle of influence (or at least awareness) through random commenting on the posts of the more popular sites; maybe posting for clicks works the same way. But surely not on the blogs I read.

I am picky, picky, picky about the blogs I visit. It's not that I'm a snob; it's just that my self-allotted time on Planet Blog has to be short. I read the blogs of those with whom I feel a connection; when I comment, it's to let the blogger know that what s/he's written has resonated with me in some way. Of course I hope that the blogger will visit me and find something of value at my site in return, but I've been around long enough to know that many blogcrushes languish unrequited.

And that's okay by me. You all are at least as busy as I am. You spend time on what you really value, just as I do. Let's all resolve to be secure enough in our various and unique blog personas never to post or comment purely for clicks.
Say it with me, friends: I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!


She turned me into a newt!

(Er, I got better.)*

Today's post request comes from the operatic and Southern-living Painted Maypole. The Maypole is worth her weight in gold for her lovely posts about New Orleans alone, but her blog has much, much more to offer than that. Visit her, and you'll see what I mean.

The Maypole clearly harbors a touch of hostility when it comes to NaBloPoMo, and at this point in the month (thank heaven, halfway through at last), I don't blame her. From the comment she left when I announced the Scavenger Hunt, I gather that she suspects that NaBloPoMo is a Device of Evil. Which of course is why I quoted the witch trial scene from Monty Python's The Holy Grail for this post's title.†

But it's an equation with which I am not likely to agree, as exhausted as I am by a mere fortnight's worth of daily posting. I see NaBloPoMo as a neutral concept, like that of money.

And as the Perkins fam read just this very morning in 1 Timothy, it is not money, but the love of money, that is the root of all evil. In like fashion, NaBloPoMo can be used for either good or ill; it's just a matter of making sure the dog is still wagging the tail, and not the other way round. I hope my posts are adding to the good in the world (though this one is probably pretty useless), and not to the bad; that's certainly my intention.

What's bad so far about having committed to NaBloPoMo? 1) Having to type the silly half-acronym ad nauseam. 2) It has cut into my reading time; leisure reading is what I have had to give up in order to make room for posting every day while also fulfilling the strictures of NaNoWriMo.

What's good? 1) Even more fabulous posts to read from some of my very favorite bloggers. 2) I care far less about comments/feedcrack than I ever have in all my short blogging career. Don't get me wrong. I love comments from my readers; I wish I had more (readers and comments). But posting every day has gotten me to give up obsessively checking my email to see whether anyone has responded lately. And that, my friends, is worth a lot.

* See the second paragraph.
† Do you get it now?