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.