Thursday, December 31, 2009

Farewell, 2009!

Thanks to all who have read and showed support for this blog this year. Your support makes it all worthwhile. Keep reading in 2010. I got a big pot o' grammatical gumbo cooking for the new year.

To send off 2009, I'll use this post to talk about something that always bothered me about Global Watch. It's this paragraph.


I'm not a car guy, so I had to do some research on what a Maybach 62 was. I found this:


"The heart of automotive luxury beats in the Center of Excellence in Sindelfingen, Germany. It is here at the Manufaktur that each Maybach vehicle is produced according to customers individual requirements."


Why is the head of a company named after George Washington being driven around in a German car?

Just asking. It seems bad for the corporate image. Company named after Father of America, using German cars. Maybe I'm being picky.

See you next year!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

No need for red ink.

I'm not going to use the red ink here. It's all bad.


How does a person type that paragraph and not see the slightest thing wrong with it?

"Consciences" is the most obvious error, so bad you almost don't notice there's no period after it.

Then there's the awkward phrasing that has the guy finding his head in a woman's lap. I know that the person who typed in Global Watch meant no decapitation, but how often do you hear somebody say, "I found my head in a cap," or, "I found my head being forced into a traumatic swirly"? You don't, and that's my point. The person who typed in Global Watch doesn't understand the language.

Put those errors together, and you have yet another sentence in Global Watch that makes absolutely no sense at all.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Synopsis

I'd like to step back for a moment, away from the text of Global Watch. If you look at Joe's Novel Idea, the blog set up by the person who typed in Global Watch, you'll see a brief synopsis of the story. That synopsis is the best summation of all the problems I've been pointing out in this blog, and it demonstrates why Global Watch should be avoided. I give you here three reasons, based only on the synopsis, why Global Watch is an affront to the craft of writing, a crime against grammar, and a shame to the English language.

1. The person who typed in Global Watch uses stale, cliched phrases.
Harry Truman’s greatest legacy, a secret organization called Global Watch, is suddenly put to the ultimate test as an international conspiracy unfolds which threatens the American way of life. Out of the chaos, an empire from the past is resurrected causing a global power shift. The lines of the map begin to blur pushing the new superpowers to the brink of World War III.


I Googled the phrase, "to the brink of World War III." It came back with 1,640,000 results. A good writer would have used a more refreshing phrase, or an idea that hadn't been used in about a million other cheap novels.

Same thing with this paragraph:
While the mission is risky and dangerous, and chances for success look bleak, failure is not an acceptable option for the forces of Global Watch.


As a typical reader, I like to buy books that I haven't read before.

2. The person who typed in Global Watch uses the wrong words.
Global Watch marks the first entry of a new action packed series wrought with political intrigue and international conspiracy. The fast paced twists and turns will keep the cleverest minds guessing until the very end, and holding their breath as the ultimate endgame unfolds.


The correct word here is "fraught." Just because two words rhyme doesn't mean they have the same meaning. Why should you buy a book written by somebody who doesn't care to use the right words?

3. The person who typed in Global Watch has a limited vocabulary.
"international conspiracy"
"ultimate"
"endgame"
"forces"
These are words with lots of powerful, vivid synonyms. Yet, Global Watch repeats them in the synopsis itself. If I am going to read a book billing itself as "action packed" and "fast paced," it had better not use words suited for non-fiction multiple times.

This synopsis is what the person who typed in Global Watch is using to get you to buy his book. This synopsis should be the best writing he can present. And, sadly, it is. There's no spark, or unique perspective, or fresh idea, or style to this writing. The words just sit in front of you on the page. The synopsis itself, like the book, is something the reader gets through, without having been entertained or challenged. What does it say when the only entertainment Global Watch provides is when I make fun of it?

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Short Chapter

This is the shortest chapter in Global Watch.

While I think that short chapters are a stylistic indulgence best used by real writers with real talent, I'll forgive this one because it's Christmas.

But I want to point out something. In this chapter, NOTHING HAPPENS. Read it a few times to yourself. There is no action or plot development in this paragraph. Nothing happens. If you're going to drop a short chapter into a book, make it count. Otherwise, what you're left with is what we have here: a plot summary. It's as though Global Watch is its own Cliff's Notes.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Simon

The evil President's last name is Simons. You'd think the person who came up with that name would know how to use its possessive form.
You'd think that if you hadn't actually read Global Watch. I have, so I can let you in on the joke that is the use of "Simon's" at the beginning of the paragraph, and "Simons" at the end of the paragraph. Yeah, I don't think it's that funny, either.



If I were the person who typed in Global Watch (and I wake up every day with a silent prayer of thanks that I am not), and I wasn't sure how to use apostrophes or possessive forms, I would not have made one of the central names end in "s." It would have been a lot easier that way, seeing as how actually learning a rule of punctuation is way too hard. It's hard. I would have his name be "Simon," or "Cheney," or "Pancake." It's really easy to make those possessive. As in "President Pancake's evil plot." The public would elect a ticket with "Pancake" in it.

The above paragraph can be admitted in court when I sue Global Watch for making me lose my mind.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Happy Christmas, Everybody!


I couldn't wait to bust this out on you.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Conspiracy?

The computer that I normally use to alert the world to the mangling of language that is Global Watch is out of commission for the weekend.

So, I can't access the copy of Global Watch that was residing on that hard drive. Which means I can't do my usual copy and paste from the copy I have. And I'll be damned if I'm going to buy it again and put another $1.99 into the pocket of the person who typed in Global Watch.

I'll be back by the end of the weekend with some extra special posts to make it up to you, but I have learned a couple of lessons.

1. Have a backup copy of your stuff available. It pains me to say this, but that includes dreck like Global Watch.

2. The person who typed in Global Watch may be behind my computer woes. I'm not sure, but the timing seems a little convenient.

You'll also notice I added some reaction checkboxes to my blog, so you don't have to post a comment to register your opinion.

In the meantime, go read something in a similar vein.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Literary Offenses

I acknowledge that of late I've been harping on how short Global Watch falls in its aspirations to be a piece of writing.
I also fully acknowledge that I am susceptible to fits of laziness, since it is the holiday season.
So, today, I'll point you to the guy who was doing this more than 100 years ago. His name was Mark Twain, and he did such a number on Fenimore Cooper that Cooper died of a heart attack straightaway.
I hope some day, years from now, the person who typed in Global Watch reads "Fenimore Cooper's Literary Offenses" and sees himself. Should that happen, I, on behalf of humanity, will accept his apology.
Some relevant passages:

In addition to these large rules, there are some little ones. These require that the author shall:

12. Say what he is proposing to say, not merely come near it.
13. Use the right word, not its second cousin.
14. Eschew surplusage.
15. Not omit necessary details.
16. Avoid slovenliness of form.
17. Use good grammar.
18. Employ a simple and straightforward style.


and

I may be mistaken, but it does seem to me that "Deerslayer" is not a work of art in any sense; it does seem to me that it is destitute of every detail that goes to the making of a work of art; in truth, it seems to me that "Deerslayer" is just simply a literary delirium tremens.

A work of art? It has no invention; it has no order, system, sequence, or result; it has no lifelikeness, no thrill, no stir, no seeming of reality; its characters are confusedly drawn, and by their acts and words they prove that they are not the sort of people the author claims that they are; its humor is pathetic; its pathos is funny; its conversations are -- oh! indescribable; its love-scenes odious; its English a crime against the language.


"Fenimore Cooper's Literary Offenses" is a great essay. Had Global Watch read it at any point in his life, the last four months of my life would have been much more productive.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Who/Whom



I'm going to let Grammar Girl handle this one.
Still too hard to remember? OK, here's the quick and dirty tip. Like whom, the pronoun him ends with m. When you're trying to decide whether to use who or whom, ask yourself if the answer to the question would be he or him. That's the trick: if you can answer the question being asked with him, then use whom, and it's easy to remember because they both end with m. For example, if you're trying to ask, "Who (or whom) do you love?" The answer would be "I love him." Him ends with an m, so you know to use whom. But if you are trying to ask, "Who (or whom) stepped on Squiggly?" the answer would be "He stepped on Squiggly." There's no m, so you know to use who. So that's the quick and dirty trick: if you can't remember that you use whom when you are referring to the object of the sentence, just remember that him equals whom.


I know "who/whom" is a little tricky, but it seems like something a writer who has been featured in his university's alumni magazine should know.

You can thank me later, Global Watch. Spend some time reading Grammar Girl, or Strunk and White, before you start typing away at the next exciting installment of the Global Watch series.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

"It is what it is."

It's not the "then/than" error,
nor the lack of a hyphen in "would be,"
nor the missing comma after "Well."



What has caused me to pour myself a double this evening is the phrase "the situation was what it was."

"It is what it is" is the laziest, most meaningless, least thoughtful, worthless phrase in the English language. It is so empty and devoid of content even USA Today criticized its use. And USA Today let Larry King have a column! Think about how bad a piece of writing has to be for USA Today to make fun of it. That's the level of writing on display in Global Watch.

As I continue to drink, I think back to what a degradation of language Global Watch represents. Look back 50 years to what people were reading. Books like Naked Lunch, The Tin Drum, and Goodbye, Columbus. In a mere 50 years, we've gone from
"I looked hard at the image of me, at that darkening of the glass, and then my gaze pushed through it, over the cool floor, to a broken wall of books, imperfectly shelved."

to
"Well the situation was what it was."

Thanks, Global Watch. I hope you can call yourself a writer with a straight face.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Random thoughts in need of expounding

1. Does it bother anyone else that the premise of Global Watch is that there is this group of four perfect white people who act as benevolent overseers of mankind's tranquility? Delving deeper into the psychology of Global Watch, we see that the greatest threat to this group is a woman, Laura, who is romantically involved with no man, and who frustrates the group's perfect white leader by besting him in competition. And what does she get for this usurpation? Death. Dang, Global Watch. What are you trying to say here?

2. If Global Watch was set up by Truman, with the mission of protecting the world from "unseen threats and unimagined terrors," it has really dropped the ball on some big events. Where was Global Watch when the Russian tanks rolled into Prague in 1968? Or during that whole Viet Nam "situation"? In the words of the poet, "JFK blown away. What more do I have to say?" This is the best this organization can do to protect humanity? They. Suck.

I'll be back with more writing criticism, but I really needed to get those two points off my chest.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Today is December 1.

I've been blogging about the errors in Global Watch since August 22. 75 posts later, I am still at it.
75 posts, and 102 days of my life. All made possible by horrible, unschooled writing.
Like this.

The person who typed in Global Watch may not be able to write well, but is it too much to ask for consistent capitalization? Capitalize "secret." Capitalize "service." That's it. Set a rule and go with it. It's the literary equivalent of boiling water if you want to cook.

Thanks to all three of you who have read this blog these many months. Stay tuned. More masochism awaits!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Quotation Marks

Again with the little details that make a big difference.


How does the person who typed in Global Watch expect the reader to know when a character has stopped speaking? Without the proper use of quotation marks, it's all so confusing.

"Why do you care?" you ask.

I care because punctuation is the riveting that holds the machinery of writing together. I'm not going to exhort all of you to go and buy Eats, Shoots and Leaves, but I think the fact that that book sold a lot of copies indicates that punctuation is taken seriously.

Without that riveting, the machinery falls apart, and the reader has to reassemble the meaning from the words that are arranged on the page.

(I like this analogy. It seems to work. Let me extend it a little further.)
When the reader has to reassemble the writing without that riveting, the writing does not work as intended and it may not make any sense at all.

That's why I care. Because it seems that the person who typed in Global Watch is selling a pile of scrap and expects the reader to put it together.

Come on, Global Watch. Pay attention to those rivets.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Black Friday.

Rather than stand in line this morning hoping to snag some cheap merch at the local big box, I got back to the business of Global Watch.

I regret my decision already.



1. "Direction" should be plural.
2. The "then/than" confusion continues.

But the error in this paragraph that serves as Exhibit 853 that the person who typed in Global Watch was never taught the basics of writing is the phrase "their eyes were glued."

Whose eyes, Global Watch? The planes? You let "they" refer to the planes earlier, so I'm confused. You probably meant that the snipers' eyes were glued to the sky. But why didn't you write that?

By the way, I changed my comments settings so that readers can comment anonymously. I know many of you may have thought Global Watch was a real organization, so vivid is the writing, so I wanted to provide you with a way to voice your opinion without fear of covert reprisal.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving

You know what I'm thankful for right now?

That I have books besides Global Watch to read.

I'll post more atrocities shortly.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Actual Wolf Blitzer quote.

I've mentioned before how Wolf Blitzer plays a crucial role in Global Watch. And I've discussed how poorly the person who types in Global Watch writes dialog.

So, I don't know what to make of this. It's actual, real life dialog with the real life Wolf Blitzer.

BLITZER: You know what? I guess Saturday and Sunday -- we don't get on Sunday already.

NGUYEN: Yes.

BLITZER: I could live without the mail on Saturday, if it's going to save $3.8...

NGUYEN: Yes, if it will save some money, right?

BLITZER: If it will save $3.8 billion, that might be worth it.

NGUYEN: I don't know if it will do all that.

(LAUGHTER)

BLITZER: I don't think it will.

NGUYEN: Yes.

(LAUGHTER)

BLITZER: I was at the post office, bought some first-class -- you know how much a first-class stamp costs, Betty?

NGUYEN: How much is it now, 43, 45 cents?

BLITZER: Forty-four.

NGUYEN: Forty-four cents.

BLITZER: Yes, always...

NGUYEN: It seems like it goes up every year.

BLITZER: Bought a little roll of 100.

(LAUGHTER)

BLITZER: They're -- they're all self-adhesive now.

NGUYEN: Oh, that's lovely.

BLITZER: That's very good.


Oh, jeez, Global Watch. Why did you have to pick such a modern-day Cicero as a character in your novel? I appreciate now the challenge you faced in trying to depict the eloquence of this man. And I hurt for you.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

You betcha.

Sarah Palin writes better than the person who typed in Global Watch.

Read that sentence again. Think about the ramifications.

An excerpt from Going Rogue, Sarah Palin's new book.
"I had followed the Iran hostage crisis and remember wondering why President Jimmy Carter didn't act more decisively. From my high schooler's perspective, I thought the question was, Why did he allow America to be humiliated and pushed around? The new president being sworn in radiated confidence and optimism. The enemies of freedom took notice. In years to come people would ask, What did he have that Carter didn't? To me the answer was obvious. He had a steel spine."


This is a great paragraph to compare to Global Watch's mumbling. As Global Watch does, Mrs. Palin talks about enemies of freedom and a president that radiates optimism. Yet, unlike Global Watch, she manages to get through an entire paragraph without a grammar or punctuation or spelling mistake.

Say what you will about Sarah Palin, at least she had the good sense to use an editor.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Avert your eyes, children!

This is not how you write.


I'm trying to be generous and come up with the rationalization that this paragraph is Global Watch's use of "stream of consciousness" writing, in which all sorts of grammatical badness are excused in the name of being literary.
Check out, for instance, Finnegan's Wake:

The howtosayto itiswhatis hemustwhomust worden schall.
A darktongues, kunning. O theoperil! Ethiaop lore, the poor lie.
He askit of the hoothed fireshield but it was untergone into the
matthued heaven. He soughed it from the luft but that bore ne
mark ne message. He luked upon the bloomingrund where ongly
his corns were growning. At last he listed back to beckline how
she pranked alone so johntily. The skand for schooling.
With nought a wired from the wordless either.


But my rationalization doesn't hold up, because all Global Watch gives us in this Joycean endeavor is a run on sentence and an incorrect verb tense. As they say in English departments throughout the land: "Go big, or go home."

Friday, November 13, 2009

Harvard Beats Yale.

Statements like this keep leaping out at me. I mean, I know this is supposed to be fiction, but that doesn't mean you can simply state things that are not true.
Does it?



As Dwight Schrute would say:
FALSE.

Harvard has the distinction of graduating more Presidents than any other school.

Then again, maybe this is Global Watch's attempt to paint a dystopian alternative history, in which John Quincy Adams, Theodore Roosevelt, and Rutherford B. Hayes never attended Harvard (thus making Yale the number one feeder school to the Presidency). Because they hadn't attended Harvard, in this alternative universe, the world is plunged into World War II, and Harry S. Truman has to form the organization we know as Global Watch.

Admit it. I just blew your mind.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Of Course

How I hate that phrase.
It's condescending, useless, and doesn't explain anything.
And the person who typed in Global Watch throws it out there like he's throwing beads at Mardi Gras.
Sorry, Global Watch. I won't be lifting up my shirt for these.


As in the then/than debacle, there are many more examples of "of course" throughout Global Watch.

To get a sense of the egregiousness here, imagine if you had a friend who kept using the phrase "of course" when you talked to him or her.

"Of course I'm coming to the party."
"Of course I'm going on vacation to the Bahamas."
"Of course you think I'm a jerk."
"Of course my self-published novel will be the talk of the literary community once I sell it on Amazon for $1.99."

You'd wind up punching that friend in the nose, you would.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Fear not!

I just needed some rest.
I'll post more tomorrow.

It's not like I'm running out of material here.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Global Watch, your 'feet' stink.



First of all, it's "feint," not "feign." I thought we went through this already. Second, it should be "sprang," not "sprung."

But like so much of Global Watch, the larger problem here is that the person who typed it in didn't read the sentences to make sure they made sense. A person's foot does not "go for a finishing kick." Global Watch treats the feet in this section as though they are self-aware entities, uncontrolled by the person to whom they are attached. "What does it matter?" you ask.

It matters because sentences like these are hallmarks of bad writing and lazy editing, and Global Watch expects you to pay for them and spend your own time reading them.

It matters because the person who typed in Global Watch doesn't think you'll notice that the thing was barely edited.

If you think paying to have your intelligence insulted doesn't matter, then by all means, stop reading this blog and go buy some "Head On".

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Quit Dangling!

If you were to ask me what my most loathed grammatical error is, I would tell you that it is the dangling participle.
Then I would look at you suspiciously, and say, "How did you find out I've been blogging about Global Watch?"
Here we go.


Think about it, person who typed in Global Watch.
Is the "roaring sound" flying some distance away? No. You further complicate matters by throwing the passive voice in there. That sentence is the grammatical equivalent of a eunuch.
Try this:
"After flying some distance away from the cabin, they could hear the roar of an approaching 777."
It's simple and direct and doesn't have that accursed dangling participle.

"Roaring sound" is also painfully redundant.
"Distance" gets used twice.

Word for word, this might be the worst sentence in Global Watch. And that's truly remarkable.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

I wish someone would recant Global Watch.

I hope someone buys the person who typed in Global Watch a dictionary for such occasions.
Max showed Kyp the intense burns and bruises all over his body as he recanted a truly amazing story.<br />'Air was wearing thin as it became clear that I would not be able to open the emergency hatch as

Recant: transitive verb
1 : to withdraw or repudiate (a statement or belief) formally and publicly : renounce
2 : revoke
intransitive verb
: to make an open confession of error.

Can't really top the good folks at Merriam-Webster.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

You forgot one.

Global Watch does not think the Coast Guard is a "real" branch of the military.
Why else would he not include it in the following paragraph?



In solidarity with the brave men and women of the United States Coast Guard, which is one of the U.S. Armed Forces, I would like to extend to the person who typed in Global Watch a very patriotic "Screw you."

Semper Paratus.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

L-E-D.



It's "led," Global Watch. The past tense of "lead" is "led." How do you not know this?

"Lead" is what alchemists hoped to turn into gold. And I think we all know what material Global Watch is made of.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

This is the Halloween edition of GlobalWatchWatch. And it is pretty scary.


How does a fully educated adult, fancying himself a novelist, make it to a point where he can produce 350 pages of text, and still not know the difference between "everyday" and "every day"?

To be clear: "Every day" is an adverbial phrase, and "everyday" is an adjective. You can read about this distinction here.

You'll notice I haven't posted for the past few days. I've been wrestling with an issue: Is this blog really addressing the cause of bad writing in Global Watch?
Yes, it is true, the person who typed in Global Watch made a conscious choice, without a gun to his head (which was my initial theory, by the way), to produce this dreck, create a blog, and sell it on Amazon. But as this blog has shown, he is oblivious to rules of grammar and good writing. Such obliviousness is rarely deliberate.
To some extent, he is the product of his environment. The schools he attended clearly did not instill in him a sense of the importance of how to write well. Nor did they identify his deficient skills and try to improve them. At the very least, his teachers could have recognized his lack of talent and ridiculed him until he was too demoralized to try to write a novel.

Poor Global Watch. I think he should sue Emory University, which he attended for his undergraduate education, and where bad habits such as these should have been corrected and remedied. The teachers there let him down, and yet took his tuition money and student fees without teaching him vital skills that could help him in this endeavor. Emory University should be ashamed that they let this person attend there for four years and graduate, producing nothing better than the horror that is Global Watch.

This leads me to this quote by the great Flannery O'Connor:
Everywhere I go, I’m asked if the universities stifle writers. My opinion is that they don’t stifle enough. There’s many a best-seller that could have been prevented by a good teacher.


Happy Halloween, everybody!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Acting



I jolly well hope that was acting. It's not going to win any Oscars, but "acting" is the only excuse for speaking that way.

Also, Global Watch, "Rachel's new pet name" is in a bad place in the sentence. It's shoehorned in there, in a manner that brings to mind the colloquialism, "five pounds of sh** in a three-pound bag."

We conclude this episode of GlobalWatchWatch by pointing out the misspelling of "possess." As it reads now, the word is the plural of "posse," which is another foreign word Global Watch does not know how to use.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Another French error

I've pointed this out before , but I'll repeat it: Global Watch should learn to use English words properly before trying to use French.


It's a pretty simple rule: Suppose a man and a woman are engaged to be married. The man is the fiancé. The woman is the fiancée.

The other egregious error is in "try to save." It should be of similar construction to "infiltrated this paramilitary group." Thus, the sentence should read:
His fiancée, (well, ex-fiancée), was going to be the one who would infiltrate this paramilitary group and try to save the day.

See how easy that was? It's Sunday morning. I've had little coffee, and the engine in my brain is just starting to turn over. Yet, I've vastly improved this one paragraph of Global Watch. Imagine somebody with real motivation going through every line of Global Watch, and catching these errors and fixing them so that the whole thing reads better. Imagine that, person who typed in Global Watch.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

"Death to society!"


The tragic thing about this paragraph is that the person who typed in Global Watch views the world this way. He thinks that there are ancient societies of anarchists running around wanting to kill society. Their plans involve futile attempts. Why would anyone PREPARE a futile attempt at ANYTHING? "Comrades, our plan to X will fail, and will result in Y number of deaths. Who's with me?"

I am, admittedly, intrigued by this group. Their mission statement probably reads something like:
"Our goal is to stockpile weapons in Brazil, and prepare futile attempts to get rid of organized government. We are an ancient society of anarchists, and have been doing this for a long time. As part of getting rid of government, we also will kill society."

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Lincoln Memorial

This is what it looks like.

This is the setting for a very important scene in Global Watch.
The President is slated to give a speech in front of this memorial, but his role in the worldwide conspiracy gets exposed. Under the Great Emancipator's approving gaze, the people rise up and overthrow his tyranny.
Here's how the person who typed in Global Watch describes these events.

See the error here?
As anyone can deduce from the picture I posted, there is no building or hall or room in front of the Lincoln Memorial.
Now, I'll give Global Watch the benefit of the doubt and think he just forgot that he had placed the President in front of the Lincoln Memorial, and absent-mindedly had the action take place in some hall or room or building away from the National Mall. But I can't let this one go.
In an interview about Global Watch, the person who typed it in had this to say:
"readers from the D.C. metro area will feel right at home."
No, they won't. Readers from the D.C. metro area will probably think, "Has this joker ever BEEN to the Lincoln Memorial?"

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Oval Office is not an auditorium.

Where did Global Watch learn about the White House?
I don't know.
I can't explain this scene, in which the President gives an address from what Global Watch refers to as the Oval Office.


I don't think the Oval Office can accommodate a stage and dozens of reporters and news cameras.
I just don't.
Something tells me I should verify this and post pictures and dimensions here to prove my point. But, in all honesty...who do you think is right here: me or Global Watch?

I thought so.

Added atrocity: "one of the world's most powerful alliances on earth."

Monday, October 19, 2009

I needed a break.

Sorry for my absence.
That last post really did a number on my health.
But I've returned, and found this piece of hackery. I'll set the scene for you.
The President of the United States has been exposed as a murderer, and has shot himself in front of a large crowd at the Lincoln Memorial. And, action...

This seems like an important moment, right? This is the kind of moment where a speaker, faced with the monumental task of bringing a nation out of the night of chaos and uncertainty, has to deliver a great speech. I'm no great historian, but I would imagine such a speech would have to be memorable and powerful and well written.
Think "Gettysburg Address."
Think "Day of Infamy."
Think "Long national nightmare."

What does Global Watch give us, at this fictional crossroads of history? Cliff's notes. The person who typed in Global Watch might as well have written "Presidential suicide yadda yadda yadda rebuilding times and bright future." This is the equivalent of a history book talking about the 1963 March on Washington, and rather than printing the "I have a dream" speech, giving the following description:

Lots of people came to Washington. Martin Luther King, Jr. told them about what he thought of the American ideal of equality. America was going to be OK.


This paragraph illustrates another problem I have with Global Watch: It tries to involve complex history and important institutions, but presents them in a way that trivializes them. Dammit, Global Watch, if you're going to kill off two presidents in a book, at least give us a great speech. Don't simply tell us that it will all be fine.

Speaking of great speeches, here's an excerpt from one that I think describes Global Watch perfectly:
"it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."

Friday, October 16, 2009

This hurts.

I am posting this while in the fetal position, between vomit sessions, while I pull out my toenails just to distract myself from the headache this paragraph has caused.

87 chapters? The Book of Revelation doesn't have 87 chapters, and actually makes the end of the world seem kind of interesting. 87 chapters into Global Watch, I started hoping for nuclear war.

Wolf Blitzer again, Global Watch? Like The Whore of Babylon and the Book of Revelation, Global Watch wouldn't be complete without Wolf Blitzer. Please, Global Watch, kill Wolf off in the sequel. That's all I ask. Just please stop using him.

Oh, criminy. I'm glad I don't have an icepick nearby. I would drive it through my eyes right now.

In a way, these things almost make "banned" and "superpower's" tolerable, if only by comparison.

Pray for me.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Adjectives

Ho hum. Another paragraph with multiple errors in it.

Still, there is a lesson here for the person who typed in Global Watch.
Think about what your adjectives are modifying.

For instance, consider the sentence, "She then proceeded to break the vase over the unsuspecting head of Mikhailov, knocking him out."

Is Mikhailov's head "unsuspecting?" Are separate parts of Mikhailov's body capable of sentient thought and awareness? If Rachel had hit him in the leg, would the phrase have read "the unsuspecting leg of Mikhailov?" No. It is Mikhailov who is unsuspecting, and Global Watch should have written this sentence better.*


* Which is kind of like saying Jeffrey Dahmer's parents should have spent more time with him.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Writing 101

Aside from the sloppy editing and lazy wording, my biggest complaint with Global Watch is demonstrated by this paragraph.


One of the first things writers learn is to show, don't tell.
Here's a useful, understandable primer on this maxim.
In describing a scene, a writer should use vivid language to paint the picture in the mind of the reader. The person who typed in Global Watch does way too much telling over 350 pages.
In this paragraph, he could have thought about explaining the following:
1. What does "magnificent" mean?
2. What is it about the engravings on the bedposts that made them works of art? What are they engravings of?
3. What about the furniture is reminiscent of the Russian Czars? I don't have a lot of education in Russian history, but I'm pretty sure one notable episode involved some violence and Anastasia screaming in vain. Is this what the furniture evokes? Bloodshed? Throw me a clue, Global Watch.

There are far too many paragraphs like this throughout Global Watch, in which the person ends up saying a lot without saying anything at all.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

I don't even want to know.



One shudders to think what Global Watch meant by "pubic recognition."

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Hyphens and Blindfolds.

Following up on yesterday's post, here's another instance of Global Watch using two different forms of a word within a short distance of each other.


But what makes this one special is that neither is correct.
It's "blindfold," Global Watch. No space. No hyphenation. Writing doesn't work like a roulette wheel, where if you place bets on enough numbers you'll eventually get something. You have to know what you're doing. It also helps to take off your blindfold and look at what you've just typed.

Friday, October 9, 2009

White House.



Sweet Georgia Brown.
How do you arrive at the conclusion that "White House" is one word, change your mind and decide that it's actually two words, and leave the first mistake uncorrected, all in the same paragraph?

Maybe the person who typed in Global Watch wasn't very good at Concentration as a kid. He was probably so bad all the other kids made fun of him. And maybe that experience traumatized him so much he dedicated himself to becoming a famous writer and showing them all. Well, Global Watch. That plan didn't work out so well.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

"Gentleman"

This is getting embarrassing.


How do you make the same error four times?

As a bonus to my readers, I threw in the line with the f-word. Global Watch typed that word in to let us know that his books deal with real life, man. Kids shouldn't read Global Watch. It's too rough for them. Because Global Watch is raw, man. The characters use the language of the street.


This is the official uniform of Global Watch agents. It's what they wear under their battle suits.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Torpedoes

I struggled for a while with this one.


First, the academic. Global Watch could use some help with apostrophes. "Subs" should be "subs'."

Now, the juvenile. For the life of me, I tried to make a comment about "furry torpedoes" that didn't sound like a junior-high euphemism for something dirty. I can't. Thanks, Global Watch. You stay classy.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Cyrus the Great

First geography, now history. Is there ANY school subject Global Watch passed?



A casual reader might read that and see no problem. But anybody writing about Cyrus the Great, and having a character who is a professor and brilliant madman speak about Cyrus the Great, would know one important thing about Cyrus the Great.

In 500 BC, he was dead.
Having died 30 years earlier.

It took me two minutes to find this piece of information. With Wikipedia.

Would you read a novel about the late 19th century in which the author tells you that Abraham Lincoln was alive in 1895? No, you would not. Unless you were dumb. Maybe Global Watch thinks you are dumb. I know I feel dumber after reading Global Watch.

Final note, upon further review: Cripes. How many times do you need to use the word "empire?"

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Sorry for the absence

Contrary to rumor, I was not spirited away to Global Watch headquarters to have a grammatically flawed, haltingly phrased conversation with the agents there.
Here's this week's first slinging of Global Watch badness.


Two missing commas and "Stated" for "States."

I feel the need to reiterate myself for any new readers. It is not these specific errors that make me writhe in pain. It is that Global Watch is so full of these errors that I have been able to carry on this blog with a new posting every day (more or less) since August 22. That is more than 30 paragraphs with some sort of error in them. Most grievously, it is that the person who typed in Global Watch expects you to give him money.

Fie, I say. Fie.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Diabolical Robots = Less Suck.

I've read enough dialogue in Global Watch to make the following pronouncement:
The characters in Global Watch speak like robots.
That got me thinking.


Turning the Global Watch characters into robots makes the story make sense.
This leads to my suggestion for the person who typed in Global Watch: Rewrite the ending so that it is revealed that all the characters were actually robots.

Global Watch, you should be paying me for this blog.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Maryland.


It's almost as though Global Watch REALLY wants to abbreviate "Maryland." Step one: Postal abbreviation. Step two: Period.

This is like saying, "Dr. Jones, MD," but much more dumb and lazy.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Somebody's got issues.

Any paragraph that begins with the phrase "pink snow warrior" is crying for attention.


Laziness. That's all I have to say about the two errors circled above. If the person who typed in Global Watch meant "arctic" instead of "artic," then why the heck is this goddess in the Alps, where this scene takes place? I know I keep saying it, but Global Watch doesn't know the meaning of the words he's using. And that's the shame here.

P.S. Does anybody else get a creepy vibe from this scene?

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Council Grove

If I were a "proud citizen" of Council Grove, I would be insulted by Global Watch.



First, the person who typed in Global Watch misspelled the name of the town. Twice. Council "Gove," Global Watch?

Second, like Global Watch's belief that the Appalachian Mountains are in Switzerland, this section also suffers from poor knowledge of geography. I went to Google Maps to find out about Council Grove on my own. Here's what I found.


There's Council Grove, alright. Now look closely at the highways. Where is "highway 355"? Maybe "highway 355" is in Switzerland, too.

How many more errors are there in this one brief sample? Well, let's see.

At first, I thought that "Highway" should be capitalized. As in, "Highway 70 or 335." If that's what their names are, then they should be capitalized. But that isn't their name. They're Interstates. So, calling them "Interstate 70" and "Interstate 335" would have been correct.
The construction about Council Grove "hitting" said highways is awkward. If anything, the two roads would be doing the hitting. Get your idioms right, Global Watch.
The phrase "populated by migration from the railroad" is also badly worded. Were people migrating from the railroad? I don't understand.

I'm just going to put it bluntly: Global Watch is crap.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Be vewwy vewwy "quite." I'm hunting for ewwors.

I've already referenced one example of this error here.



I have yet to find one page that does not have at least two errors on it.

The person who typed in Global Watch is working on a sequel. I think it's time for an intervention.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Read the Constitution, Global Watch!

After all is said and done, and the republic still stands, Global Watch posits this as the condition of the United States government.


And with that, any iota of willful suspension of disbelief I had crumbled away to nothingness. Why? Because I had civics class when I was 12.

In Global Watch, the Constitutional order of succession gets ignored so that the dead President's wife and secretary can run things and restore order. This must be the way of things because the "Senate and Congress" decided it was too dangerous to have any of the evil President's people in power.

Guess what, Global Watch. The Constitution already provides for that. After the Vice President, the next two in line for the presidency are the...
Speaker of the House of Representatives
and
the President pro tempore of the Senate.

So you see, Global Watch, keeping the order of succession in place would still have kept the President's cabinet from gaining the presidency.

Finally, do you really think the Speaker of the House would willingly turn down the office of the presidency by voting to allow the former President's wife and secretary to run the country? Or don't you know what "unanimous" means? Ugh. I bet you don't. You probably meant to type "anonymously," and screwed that up, too.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Remind you of anyone?

From George Orwell's Politics and the English Language
As I have tried to show, modern writing at its worst does not consist in picking out words for the sake of their meaning and inventing images in order to make the meaning clearer. It consists in gumming together long strips of words which have already been set in order by someone else, and making the results presentable by sheer humbug. The attraction of this way of writing is that it is easy.


When one watches some tired hack on the platform mechanically repeating the familiar phrases -- bestial atrocities, iron heel, bloodstained tyranny, free peoples of the world, stand shoulder to shoulder -- one often has a curious feeling that one is not watching a live human being but some kind of dummy: a feeling which suddenly becomes stronger at moments when the light catches the speaker's spectacles and turns them into blank discs which seem to have no eyes behind them.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Enemy Mine

The semicolon is a tricky little bit of punctuation when one writes fiction. Like adding a harmonica to your band, if it's not done well, the result is putrid. Faulkner could pull off the semicolon.



Global Watch, on the other hand, can not. Anybody who thinks colons and semicolons are interchangeable and who doesn't know that plural nouns don't take apostrophes ("sub's") shouldn't be messing with semicolons. As I said: putrid.

And even after that, we see another "then/than" error. Also, I circled "thing" because Kyp is a person. He is not a thing. Think before typing those words in your head, Global Watch.

"What's the big red box for?" you ask. Well, that big red box cordons off one of the most spectacularly horrible pieces of melodramatic prose in the entire story. Read this part out loud to yourself. "The battle lines would be drawn and he would have to face Kyp Sanders, president of the student government." All that's missing is a flagpole and some varsity jackets, and you almost have a scene the late John Hughes would have used as toilet paper.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Self-diagnosis

I figured out what bugs me about yesterday's excerpt of Global Watch: it has absolutely no connection with the rest of the book. Imagine you're watching John Wayne's Vietnam War classic "The Green Berets" (I can hear you singing now: "Fighting soldiers from the sky...Fearless men...who jump and die!") and right in the goshdarn middle of the movie, they insert a scene from "Born on the Fourth of July."
That's kind of what happens here.
We start out Global Watch with that amateurish fight scene, in which Rachel beats up three of our nation's finest soldiers.


Then, as described yesterday, we see how such Rachel-trained troops fare in battle:


Duuuude! Rachel teaches her students never to hesitate and never to listen to what the opponent has to say. And here we see Global Watch troops listening to what the opponent has to say, AND hesitating!

So, either Rachel is a really bad teacher, or her students are brain-damaged, or the person who typed in Global Watch couldn't keep track of the story he came up with and just made it up as he went along. I think you all know where I stand on this one.