"Carved in stone (in stone, mind you) in a Florida shopping mall one may see the spendidly apt quotation from Euripides, 'Judge a tree from it's fruit: not the leaves'--and it is all too easy to imagine the stone-mason dithering momentarily over that monumental apostrophe, mallet in hand, chisel poised. Can an apostrophe ever be wrong, he asks himself, as he answers 'Nah!' and decisively strikes home and the chips fly out. Meanwhile a casual driver in America is quite as horrifying to a stickler as it is in the UK. Childrens home; readers outlet; please do not lock this door between the hour's of 9AM and 6:30PM.
"Either this will ring bells for you, or it won't. A printed banner has appeared on the concourse of a petrol station near to where I live. 'Come inside,' it says, 'for CD's, VIDEO's, DVD's, and BOOK's.'
If this satantic sprinkling of redundant apostrophes causes no little gasp of horror or quickening of the pulse, you should probably put down this book at once. By all means congratulate yourself that you are not a pedant or even a stickler; that you are happily equipped to live in a world of plummeting punctuation standards; but just don't bother to go any further. For any true stickler, you see, the sight of the plural word 'Book's' with an apostrophe in it will trigger a ghastly private emotional process similar to the stages of bereavement, though greatly accelerated. First there is shock. Within seconds, shock gives way to disbelief, disbelief to pain, and pain to anger. Finally (and this is where the analogy breaks down), anger gives way to a righteous urge to perpetrate an act of criminal damage with the aid of a permanent marker.
"Everywhere one looks, there are signs of ignorance and indifference. What about that film Two Weeks Notice? Guaranteed to give sticklers a very nasty turn, that was - its posters slung along the sides of buses in letters four feet tall, with no apostrophe in sight. I remember, at the start of the Two Weeks Notice publicity campaign in the spring of 2003, emerging cheerfully from Victoria Station (was I whistling?) and stopping dead in my tracks with my fingers in my mouth. Where was the apostrophe? Surely there should be an apostrophe on that bus? If it were 'one month's notice' there would be an apostrophe (I reasoned); yes, and if it were 'one week's notice' there would be an apostrophe. Then 'two weeks' notice' requires an apostrophe! Buses that I should have caught (the 73; two 83s) sailed off up Buckingham Palace Road while I communed thus at length with my inner stickler, unable to move or, indeed, regain any sense of perspective.
"Part of one's despair, of course, is that the world cares nothing for the little shocks endured by the sensitive stickler. While we look in horror at a badly puntuated sign, the world carries on around us, blind to our plight. We are like the little boy in The Sixth Sense who can see dead people, except that we can see dead punctuation. Whisper it in petrified little-boy tones: dead puntuation is invisible to everyone else - yet we see it all the time No one understands us seventh-sense people. They regard us as freaks. When we point out illiterate mistakes we are often aggresively instructed to "get a life" by people who, interestingly, display no evidence of having lives themselves. Naturally we become timid about making our insights known, in such inhospitable conditions. Being burned as a witch is not safely enough off the agenda. A sign has gone up in a local charity-shop window which says, baldly, 'Can you spare any old records' (no question mark) and I dither daily outside on the pavement. Should I go in an mention it? It does matter that there's no question mark on a direct question. It is appaling ignorance. But what will I do if the elderly charity-shop lady gives me the usual disbelieving stare and then tells me to bugger off, get a life and mind my own business?
"On the other hand, I'm well aware there is little profit in asking for sympathy for sticklers. We are not the easiest people to feel sorry for. We refuse to patronise any shop with checkouts for 'eight items or less' (because it should be 'fewer')...When we hear the construction 'Mr. Blair was stood' (instead of 'standing') we suck our teeth with annoyance, and when words such as 'phenomena', 'media' or 'cheribum' are treated as singular ('The media says it was quite a phenomena looking at those cheribums'), some of us cannot suppress actual screams. Sticklers never read a book without a pencil in hand, to correct the typographical errors. In short, we are unattractive know-all obsessives who get things out of proportion and are in continual peril of being disowned by out exasperated families."
I could share plenty more with you all, but I'm afraid I'm being terribly obsessive. These are select excerpts from Lynne Truss's brilliant book, Eats, Shoots and Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation. It's amazing; I'm afraid I have finally found someone who relates to my obsessive compulsive disorder over grammar and punctuation. It is such a delight to read this book--I feel as if I could have written it! My mom found it and bought it for me, thinking I would enjoy it, though I had heard many a thing about it from Mrs. Sylvia and Victoria who both described it as "Your book". My mom thought it would be perfect for me, though I had never mentioned it to her before. Great minds think alike, I suppose. Or, my mother knows me all too well. ;)
I'm sure this totally bored all of you, but I felt it my obligation to share it, because it brings me such joy and excitement. Reading this literally brings me to tears simply from laughing so hard. And, alas! An explanation for those who just don't know the proper way to use apostrophes. Not to mention "there" (there, they're, their), "to" (two, to, too), "your" (your, yours [no apostrophe!], you're), and "its" (its [possessive], it's [contraction]). They should make every person who reads, writes and speaks English to read this book. It's incredible!
Alright, I'm leaving now. I'm not having a very good day/week/month, etc...but I didn't feel like dumping that on everyone. Instead, I decided find something to be ebullient about; I think I've been somewhat successful. :)
After all of that rambling, you still can't decide if you're a stickler or not? Take the quiz; I got a 100%! ^_^
Rachel and Emily met Mamaw and me at the American Cafe, where we had nervous and/or gay waiter who was simultaneously "flirting with" Emily. He made us very uncomfortable. I think maybe his boss was considering firing him, so he was under a lot of pressure. Or maybe he was just wierd. "Bye Emilyyyy." :-p
We walked over to the theatre where we stood around for a little bit waiting for the doors to open. We went in right at 7:30, as soon as the doors opened, and found our seats--in front of the balcony on the center line of the stage. They were wonderful seats, though personally, I would have liked to be closer (i.e. not in the balcony) so I could see the actors' faces more clearly. Though, I shouldn't be complaining. I should feel bad for those who are literally blind and simply see little blobs of black moving around crazily.
Rachel, Emily and I were contemplating for several minutes whether or not their was an orchestra. We noticed, however, that the orchestra pit was open, and filled with chairs on which people were sitting. A few minutes after our discussion, Emily noted some music, and said it was the orchestra practicing. "That's just background music," I said matter-of-factly. "Nope. They're warming up." The curtain came up, and there was the orchestra - fully outfitted on the stage, outlined by a huge gold frame which was hung at a diagonal angle and it made the orchestra look as if it was a painting that had come to life. The play had limited proppage, but the orchestra was the primary backdrop and it was all incorporated into the play. At one point, Roxie Hart went over the the conductor, showed him a newspaper with her name on it, forced him to read it, and took his stick--attempting to conduct the orchestra herself. Very impressively, they stayed perfectly on tempo, and it made me wonder why they needed a conductor at all. I thought it was extremely clever though--the incorporation of the orchestra with the cast. The conductor even had a speaking part or two, introducing some of the numbers.
The whole play took place in front of the elaborate orchestra set up, and each corp cast member doubled, tripled, even quadrupled as various parts. From prisoners, to club dancers, to reporters, to court observers (and a one man jury), they did it all. And, not only did they switch characters, but a fascinating element was that they never switched costumes from the very beginning. So, kind of odd, but the reporters were wearing the same thing that the club dancers were wearing. In other words, Chicago was full of women in fish nets and 10 inch high heels and men in black leather pants and mesh shirts. So, very little props, almost no costume changes ... and the show was nonstop singing and dancing.
So, was it better than the movie? Well, having seen the movie first, I went into to see the play with that as my expectation, because it was all I knew. At first, I kept comparing the show with the movie. Finally, I had to separate the two deliberately so I would stop anticipating something only to be disappointed when it didn't match the movie. I don't think one is better than the other. I think the play is phenomenal, and if you like the theatre, you'll love the play. I think the movie is awesome as well, but it's a film. It's not the theatre. And they did try very hard to give the feel that it was on stage. But it's not. They are both completely different spectrums, and you can't really compare them. However, I think that the play was more entertaining in terms of the singing and dancing--because it's Broadway. And, you can't top that. Not even with a movie; not even with Catherine Zeta Jones and Renee Zellwegger. It's still a movie and it always will be, and Broadway will always be Broadway.
I'm presently at my mom's office, and anxiously awaiting her to get done with whatever it is she needs to do so we can go the the Town Center. Hm. I wonder if we're always going to call it the Town Center of if we'll always call it the new mall. Or the mall. Or St. Johns. :thinks: Anyway, that's where I'm going when my mom's done. Hopefully I'm going to find a sweater, shoes, and jewelry to go with my dinner cruise dress. :) Hope everyone's having a good Saturday!
I don't have any set plans over spring break, though there are some in the making, so let me know what you guys are up to. I'd love to hang out with some lovely people. :) Maybe...the beach when it warms up? ^_^
Spring break officially begins today, and I'm starting it off with a bang, literally, by going to see Broadway's production of Chicago--primarily about a woman, Roxie Hart, who murders her husband with a gun (>>there's the bang for you<<) and sings and dancers her way out of prison alongside Velma. How exciting! Haha. Mamaw, my grandmother, is my escort and Rachel and her older sister Emily are also coming with us. So, it should be a fun night. I'm bringing my camera with me. :)
The juniors are in DC and the seniors are in New York. According the Austin, the juniors are having a great time. I haven't talked to any of the seniors, but I would hope and assume that they are having a blast as well. I am highly anticipating my trip to New York this summer! June 6 (happy birthday em) cannot come fast enough. :eek: Oh, speaking of New York (and Broadway), I wanted to ask some of your opinions. While in NYC, we usually go to see 4, maybe 5 broadway shows. I've compiled a list of those which I personally desire to see, but I was wondering a) if anyone had opinions on my picks and b) if anyone had any other ideas and suggestions. You can go to Broadway.com to see which shows will be playing this summer. I don't know how many of you are into the Musical Theatre thing, but it's very exciting. Here is my "suggested list of Broadway musicals to see in New York City, summer of 2005":
- The Phantom of the Opera
- Little Women
- The Light in the Piazza
- Disney's Beauty and the Beast
- Disney's The Lion King
- Fiddler on the Roof
- The Producers
- The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
- Steel Magnolias (not a musical)
- Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf (not a musical)
Okay, so, I'm a nerd. What can I say? Anyway, let me know your opinions! I'd especially love to hear from those of you who have actually seen some of these. ^_^
Hope you're all doing wonderfully, and if your spring break is just beginning...maybe it be a safe and blessed week off!
I had an interesting day. I think it's one of those weeks, because, I was feeling slightly emotional and irritable. From the beginning of the day, I was ready to go crawl in a corner and hide. I was completely unfocused, unmotivated and uninterested in anything anyone (including teachers -- which is a really bad thing the day before exams begin) had to say. The only good part of the day was lunch with Erin, Amye, and Lauren. That's gotten to be quite wonderful, especially when we sit outside. Sitting outside puts me in a good mood. It was very nice out today too--very quiet and tranquil. Those girls make me laugh. They're very fun to eat lunch with. :) We have some very interesting conversations about :cough:coachmartin:cough:. Ahem.
We also got our artist essays back today in English .. and it put me in a bitter mood. I'm not even going to attempt to explain to everyone why, but just accept it. Haha. Just for the record, getting good grades is not always as fun and dandy as it may seem. They come with their price as well. :humph: I'll leave that free to personal interpretation.
So, I have to get through this week. Just this week. After this week, I'll be done with this hip hop dance that Katie and Max are absolutely brilliant at but that I want to run away and cry everytime it's mentioned (okay, I'm exaggerating). After this week, I'll be done with all of these review guides and 45 minute exams. After this week, I can look forward to going to see Chicago with Mamaw, Rachel, and Emily. After this week, I might be able to finally get caught up with my confirmation workbook that Ellie and I haven't really been working in much. After this week, I should be able to breathe a little bit again. I can't wait for this week to get over!
Well, I should run and squeeze in a bit of studying time before dance. Exam week is a bad time to be unmotivated, aye? I wish you all a good week, and, for my sake and anyone else's who is experiencing trauma similar to mine ...
"Life may not be the party we thought it'd be,Thanks to Victoria for that uplifting quote, by the way.
but since we're here, we might as well dance!"
Emily and Tiffany: You guys are amazing. Thanks. :-D
We just got done reading H.G. Wells's Time Machine, and are being tested on it tomorrow. I strongly disliked the book, as I have never really taken much of a fancy to science fiction. It was slightly adventurous and exciting seeing as Mrs. Sylvia was teaching it, but the book itself was "dreadful" (to put it in Tiffany's terms). I found quite a few loops holes, which Mrs. Sylvia said many scholars, if you will, had publicy pointed out and scoffed at the many mistakes which were hidden beneath the surface of Time Machine. Needless to say, the movie (from the 1960's; not the God-awful one from several years ago which only made everything worse) was not any better--in fact, it may have been worse. I don't want to undermine Wells, because he must have been quite a brilliant man. He had a vision for this book, but I think it was much clearer in his head than it was on paper. So, besides the dull writing, the list of loop holes, and the unclear situations, the concept was very interesting. The Time Traveller, or Wells if they are one in the same, is very pessimistic about the future of mankind which is one of his incentives to travel through what he refers to as "the fourth dimension". After his travels, his pessimism is only increased because of the tragic fate that had come upon the world in the year 802, 701. Humans have apparently evolved through the course of the years into small, dwarf like creatures called Eloi who spend all their days laughing, bathing and playing in the sun. There is no intellect, no knowledge, and no depth. They are entirely vapid and apathetic. He visits a library, and finds the books there are only held together by the dust -- one touch, and they would crumble instantly. His frustration increases when he finds that the human race has actually been split into two drastically divided creatures: not only the oblivious, shallow Eloi, but also the pallid, disturbing Morlocks. I won't ruin anything more for you all who haven't read the book, but, I wanted to discuss the Traveller's pessimism and the reason I think he is entirely wrong.
What is the point of all of knowledge of today, and the inreasing advances we have every moment in technology and intellect of any importance if, in the end, it will simply be decaying in a rotted library? And, from a Christian perspective, why would God have even given us the opportunity for advancement if it was simply going to be useless to us in the future? We must embrace knowledge and intellect, as the narrator of Time Machine does. Despite the Time Traveller's incredible stories of futurity and the decay of knowledge and technology, the narrator (whose name I think is mentioned once as Hillyard--once more than any of the other human characters' names are mentioned) chooses to look upon the future of mankind with optimism and hope, represented by the unidentifiable species of flower which Weena, a friend of the Traveller's from the dark futuric age, gives to the Traveller and which he brings home to show as a token of his travels. I am so thankful that this awful place which the Traveller went to and experienced is not what we have in store for us. I can say this with authority, because I know God has created us as wise, brilliant people in His image. When that is gone (when we are gone), there will be no more earth. There certainly won't be fuzzy little teddy bears and skinny white apes running around controlling it. If this was Wells's outlook on life, and the eventual fate of mankind, I pity him greatly--for he must have lived a dreadful life drinking a half empty glass of water.
Whew. I'm sure you all were incredibly interested in all of that nonsense. :-p But, I had to think of something to talk about! Tomorrow is Friday, and I am so grateful for it. Next week we have quarter exams, Friday the 11th we have a half day, Monday the 14th through Thursday the 17th we have Stanford Achievement Tests which means half days, and no regular classes, Friday the 18th we have off, and Monday the 21st through Friday the 25th we have Spring Break! What a fabulous schedule I have to look forward to. :) Lots of down time; hopefully I will get some good quality reading time and maybe even become well acquainted with the vacuum which needs to come visit my bedroom! Haha.
I wish you all a wonderful Friday, and an exciting weekend. And, for those of you who have been there for me recently, and have been wonderful listeners (you know who you are ^_^), I appreciate it more than I could say. Thanks. :)
~On A Side Note~
*Jericha: Miss Congeniality (love the poem, by the way. It was fabulous)
*JuliAnne: Most Photogenic and 2nd runner up (Ah! Your sign language was beautiful--very heart felt and meaningful)
*My should-have-been-big-sister, Austin: Most Talented and 1st runner up (You danced so beautifully, and nearly moved me to tears. Ee; I was so proud of you!)
* Katie: Miss Providence 2005-2006 (We probably couldn't have a picked a more sweet, gentle-spirited person than you to represent our school!)
*And to everyone who competed in the pageant: You all were so wonderful, and each of you deserve to represent the school invidiually. You don't have to be Miss Providence to make an impact. Go out, and be the people that I saw on the stage Friday night. Live the way you told the audience you want to live, and be a light to God's kingdom!