Thursday, August 30, 2007

We Love Mime!

Our editor at St. Martin's sent this error along.

Some background: Remember that O.J. Simpson book? The one called "If I Did It"?

It's going to be published after all, by the Goldman family, which owns the rights.

Denise Brown is apparently so mad, she's resorting to hand gestures and declining Oprah appearances:
"The Goldmans have retained a publisher who is rushing the book to market as we speak. And thus, has made the show a mute point for me." Brown also said, "I very much wanted to be on the show if I could have brought about a change for the positive but the Goldmans, Sharlene Martin the agent and Eric Kampmann the publisher, have made sure that could not happen."

Unless she's planning something with a mime, she should have said moot point.

The New French Perfume

Angelo B. sends this New York Times headline:

France: Anger Over Homeless Spray

Granted, headlines are tricky because they're short. You can compress writing so much, though, that you squeeze new meaning in. It's not as though the French would be happier about this spray if it were properly housed. They're angry that the spray is being used on homeless people (who in all likelihood smell bad enough and don't need any further assaults on their dignity).

A better headline would have been: French: Don't Use Spray on Homeless

This Got Her Goat

Karen S. sends this little horror from CNN:

The severed head of a goat was found near the corner of the building stuffed inside a pink gift bag.

... and later in the story...

She said that whomever it is has her attention and that of police.

That's a remarkable gift bag that can accommodate an entire building.

As far as the second error goes, yikes. Use whom only when it's the object of a phrase -- for whom the bell tolls; to whom she sent the goat's head. In this sentence, the sender "has her attention," and is the subject.

Punctuation Participation

This sentence caught our interest:
Iran is back to cooperating with the IAEA -- but only one comma or semicolon at a time. (See the story)

Punctuation is small, indeed. But this doesn't mean its power is minute. Entire court cases have rested on the semicolon (see the Texas semicolon court, or more recently the San Francisco gay-marriage decision that hinged on the same little wink). Likewise, misplaced commas have cost millions in contract disputes.

There's also that famous sentence that can be transformed through punctuation:
  • Woman without her man is nothing
  • Woman: without her, man is nothing.
Punctuation deserves more respect. Or at the very least, its own T-shirt.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Fun with Quotation Marks

For our 400th post, we thought we'd share this contribution from Craig Conley, who has a particularly funny cartoon on his blog right now. Craig writes:

Capital "A"and"Capital A"mean two different things in the context of this old architecture diagram.

The first refers to the Roman letter "A."

The second refers to a Greco-Roman article (the column's upper plate, or "capital," labeled "A").

This is an elegant reminder of the power we have in punctuation. It's not just the quotation mark that works this way. An apostrophe is the difference between hell and he'll, between can't and cant, a fancy word for cliche or jargon. And as Lynne Truss pointed out, extra marital sex is a good thing to have, while extra-marital sex is not.

At any rate, happy punctuating. (And thanks, Craig!)

Alberto Gonzales Has Really Lame Stationery

Worse, though, is his grammar:

After much thought and consideration, I believe this is the right time for my family and I to begin a new chapter in our lives.

Ignoring, for a moment, the tired metaphor of life-as-a-book, we will point out that it should be for my family and me.

The easiest way to tell whether to use I or me is to drop the other object of the preposition. Would Gonzales say, "I believe this is the right time for I"?

Probably not. We hope not. We can't say for certain.

Perhaps instead of comparing his life to a book, he should read one. We have just the volume in mind. It comes out in May, 2008 from St. Martin's Press, and we just finished a draft last night... (insert celebratory squeal here). It's called "Things That Make Us [Sic]," and it's based on the work of SPOGG.

The Gonzales resignation letter

Monday, August 27, 2007

Can You Find All 33 Errors?

A columnist at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram has a challenge for people like us. Enjoy!

We're Commatose It's good for Hollywood gossip, bad for punctuation. Behold this sentence:
Remember, Lisa Marie Nowak, adult-undergarment-wearing, crazy-in-love

Unless they're talking to Ms. Nowak, that comma after "remember" is unnecessary. An article before adult-undergarment-wearing would be nice, too. Like this:

Remember Lisa Marie Nowak, the adult-undergarment-wearing,
crazy-in-love astronaut?

The blog entry...

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Punctuation City, USA III

The hilarious Jonathan Caws-Elwitt sends these three punctuation-city entries along:

  • –cino, California (that's an en dash)
  • DeKa#, Illinois (pound symbol, i.e. "lb")
  • Minneapolis=St. Paul (twin cities of equal stature)

Meanwhile, we are leaving Se-@-tle for a few days, so for your entertainment, please enjoy Jonathan's funny, funny writing:

The Omnificent English Dictionary in Limerick Form:

Jonathan's Web site, including essays, Q&A's, and song-lyric parodies:

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Punctuation City, USA II

Craig Conley strikes again:

  • Boston— (that's a long dash, in honor of the marathon)
  • {Las Vegas} (with braces, because what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas)
  • And what about: Colonial. Williamsburg ("Colonial period Williamsburg")


And if you haven't discovered his Semicolon's Dream Journal yet, you're missing out.

Punctuation City, USA

We found this on the wires today:

Flashback 1986: Hamilton Adds ! To Name

In 1986, Hamilton City Council members voted to add a punctuation mark... specifically, an exclamation point, to the city's name.

The move brought the city national attention. The mayor did television and radio talk shows on both the East and West coasts. Editorials in papers like the Washington Post and the Atlanta Constitution made Hamilton a source of curiosity for towns across the country.

Hamilton is the only city in the United States to legally have an exclamation mark attached to its name. The name was not accepted by United States Board on Geographic Names.

Naturally, it got us thinking about other punctuation and typographic marks that might be used to name cities:

- * Las Vegas *
- $an Franci$co
- Newark?
- Houston (Leans to the right - get it? Nyuk nyuk)

Have ideas of your own? Send them along.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Plural Trouble

People, people, people: It's Reese's. We're not sure what the plural of this is, but we're certain it's not Reeses's. On the bright side, they got Ho Hos right. But why just one Milky Way? Is there a shortage because of the war? It's about time we started with the rationing.

In any case, the moral to this is that there is is such a thing as too much fried food.

That Would Be a Strange Business

Leona Helmsley, the "Queen of Mean," is dead at 87. She's famous for making millions, for scaring the tuna salad out of her employees, and for being convicted of tax evasion.

According to The New York Times, she was also married to some sort of professional killer:
In 1953, she was married to Joe Lubin, an executive in his parents’ dying and finishing company.
Oh, wait... perhaps that's a dyeing and finishing company. Yes, that would make more sense. It would also be a legal enterprise. Our apologies for the confusion.

From the Unintelligible News Files

We hate it when reporters and their copy editors try to be cute with the news at the expense of clarity. We had to read several paragraphs of the story before we knew what had happened:
Eagles' smoking ban defiance snuffed in Yakima
Associated Press

YAKIMA — Washington's ban on indoor smoking ruffled the feathers of the local Eagles' club, but now its wings have been clipped.

More than a year and a half after the state ban took effect, officials of the Yakima chapter of the Fraternal Order of Eagles have agreed to ban smoking at their club.

The Yakima Eagles Club has finally banned smoking, more than a year and a half after the state banned tobacco indoors.

The headline looks like a triple negative: ban defiance snuffed. Say what?

Then, a misplaced modifier follows in the lead, which makes it sound as though the ban's "wings" were clipped. This could be rewritten to retain the bird metaphor: The state smoking ban ruffled the feathers of the local Eagles' club, but now, the group's wings have been clipped. Still, it's yucky.

Anyone still reading by the third paragraph can probably figure out what's happening, but this isn't how news reporting is supposed to work. Newspapers are suffering, and this sort of thing doesn't help.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Pregnancy: Not a Typographical Error

This why it's important to proofread -- and keep a close eye on your toddlers.

Mistaken Ark. law would let toddlers wed


LITTLE ROCK, Ark. -- A law passed this year allows Arkansans of any age - even infants - to marry if their parents agree, and the governor may have to call a special session to fix the mistake, lawmakers said Friday.

The legislation was intended to establish 18 as the minimum age to marry but also allow pregnant teenagers to marry with parental consent, bill sponsor Rep. Will Bond said. An extraneous "not" in the bill, however, allows anyone who is not pregnant to marry at any age if the parents allow it.

"It's clearly not the intent to allow 10-year-olds or 11-year-olds to get married," Bond said. "The legislation was screwed up."

The bill reads: "In order for a person who is younger than eighteen (18) years of age and who is not pregnant to obtain a marriage license, the person must provide the county clerk with evidence of parental consent to the marriage."

A code revision commission - which fixes typographical and technical errors in laws - had tried to correct the mistake, but a group of legislators said Friday the commission went beyond its powers.

"You're either pregnant or you're not pregnant," Sen. Dave Bisbee said. "Rarely will that be a typographical error." [EVEN THOUGH COMMAS TOTALLY LOOK LIKE SPERM.]

The Arkansas Legislative Council asked the independent commission to reverse its correction. Several lawmakers said a special session may be necessary.

"We need a special session to fix this," Sen. Sue Madison said. "I am concerned about pedophiles coming to Arkansas to find parents who are willing to sign a very young child's consent."

Before the new law took effect July 31, girls could get married with parental consent at 16 and boys at 17.

The Legislature formally adjourned its session in May and is not scheduled to meet again until January 2009, unless Gov. Mike Beebe calls a special session. Beebe said he wanted to look at all options for correcting the error before deciding whether to call a special session.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

What Happens in Las Vegas

We read this sentence with interest:

According to a congressman's wife who attended a Republican women's luncheon yesterday, Karl Rove explained the rationale behind the president's amnesty/open-borders proposal this way: "I don't want my 17-year-old son to have to pick tomatoes or make beds in Las Vegas."
We've never been to Las Vegas, but had no idea the beds and tomatoes in Las Vegas could strike such fear into the heart of a parent. Now, Mr. Turd Blossom could have meant he didn't want his son to pick tomatoes, or make beds in Las Vegas. That comma changes the meaning of the sentence, if not the sentiment of its author.

But it still makes us wonder about the beds in Las Vegas. What could possibly be happening in them that would traumatize a 17-year-old forced to make them? We'll never know, because what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. Alas.

At any rate, we'd be happy to talk about the job we had when we were 17. We cut straps in a golf-bag manufacturing company. Every day, we came home with a sore back, burned hands, and the scent of hot rubber in our hair.

The job paid $4 per hour, but was worth much more for the lessons in humility it taught, along with respect for the would-be American immigrants we worked with. All 17-year-olds should be so lucky.

@-ta Boy?

This is probably the most unusual use for the @ sign we've seen, and we had no idea what the sound "at" meant in Chinese. Read on:

Couple tries to name baby 'at' symbol

BEIJING — A Chinese couple seeking a distinctive and modern name for their child chose the commonly used Internet 'at' symbol, much to the consternation of Chinese officials.

The unidentified couple and the attempted naming were cited Thursday by a Chinese government official as an example of bizarre names creeping into the Chinese language.

The father "said 'the whole world uses it to write e-mails and translated into Chinese it means 'love him,'"' Li Yuming, the vice director of the State Language Commission, said at a news conference.

The symbol pronounced in English as 'at' sounds like the Chinese phrase "love him."

Written Chinese does not use an alphabet but is comprised of characters, sometimes making it difficult to develop new words for new or foreign things and ideas.

In their quest for a different name, Li said that the parents of baby '@' were not alone. As of last year, only 129 surnames accounted for 87 percent of all surnames in China, Li said, suggesting that the uniformity drove people to find more individual given names.

"There was even a 'Zhao-A,' a 'King Osrina' and other extremely individualistic names," Li said, according to a transcript of the news conference posted on the government's main web site.

Li did not say whether police, who are the arbiters of names because they issue identity cards, rejected baby '@' and the others. But nationwide last year there were 60 million people's names that used "unfamiliar characters," Li said.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Spelling and Grammar at HBO

We enjoyed this column this morning:
Conglomerate, Spelt with a 'K'
by Lisa Johnson Mandell

HBO does it; Vanity Fair does it. Still, I could never bring myself to do it, even if you put a gun to my puppy’s head. We’re talking committing the heinous sin of the grammatical error, or the equally criminal offense of running something without having a sober editor take a look at it first.

I was horrified when I went to the HBO website on Monday, the 13th, to look up some details about that evening’s episode of Big Love. As someone who is quite familiar with the deep, down doctrine of Mormonism and its polygamous offshoots, I am stunned every week by the accuracy and thrilling cheek of the series, and I wanted to see if I could find out where the writers got their knowledge and nerve.

Right there, prominently featured on the HBO home page - in a box with a glowing picture of Ginnifer Goodwin, who plays Margene - is a sentence that reads (and I kid you not): “But how what does Margene feel when they run into a old acquantance?” There are so many things wrong with that sentence I don’t even know where to begin. If it doesn’t bother you, you might have a future as an HBO website editor.
Read more

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

So Picky, But...

Here is a misplaced comma in David Brooks's New York Times column:

As the trucker spoke, I was reminded of a book that came out a few years ago called “The Dignity of Working Men,” by the sociologist, Michèle Lamont, who is now at Harvard. Lamont interviewed working-class men, and described what she calls “the moral centrality of work.”
When comma is in front of her name, it makes her identity a non-essential clause. This is not the case. Even if Harvard has hired only one sociologist lately, her name is necessary information in a sentence written this way.

The comma after her name, meanwhile, is correct. "Who is now at Harvard" is a phrase modifying Lamont.

Perhaps we are extra-persnickety today, but shouldn't a columnist at the world's most prestigious newspaper -- and his copy editor -- get this sort of thing right?

We Had No Idea...

There is such a publication as "The Queen's English Society Journal." We will check it out. Meanwhile, here's an upcoming rant that will be published therein:

Academic takes stand against bad spelling

A BRITISH academic is publishing the spelling mistakes of his students to put pressure on education authorities to raise teaching standards.

Dr Bernard Lamb - a reader in genetics at Imperial College London - found the errors of his students resulted in them writing scientific nonsense.

In particular, undergraduates discussed cows inseminated by seamen, rouge genetic elements and plants sewn together.

Other common errors included writing compliment instead of complement, effect instead of affect and sun instead of son.

Faced with having to repeatedly correct students' mistakes he decided to compile a list of the blunders to demonstrate how bad the English of undergraduates really is.

The list - consisting of the mistakes of 75 second and third year students - will be published in the next issue of the Queen's English Society journal, Quest, under the title `Errors in the English of highly selected undergraduates'.

A Question

Is it "a number of empirical studies have examined (...)", or "a number of empirical studies has examined (...)"?



Number can be plural or singular. Here, we'd use the plural. The studies are separate entities, taking place at separate times and in separate locations. This requires plural construction.

If the sentence said, "The number of studies is small," then number would be singular. It's not the studies that are under consideration; it's just the total quantity of them.

The Checklist of Common Errors

This checklist, compiled by a writer and editor, lists 74 common errors in prose. How many have you made? We're confident we've screwed up in all of these ways, which is why we love a good copy editor.

Friday, August 10, 2007

This Story Bites

Karen S., queen of finding badly written news stories, sends us this:

From a creepy story on MSNBC about a man who was bitten by the detached head of a rattlesnake:

Mike Livingston, a Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife biologist, said the area where the Anderson’s live is near prime snake habitat. But he said he had never heard of anyone being bit by a decapitated snake before.

“That’s really surprising [sic] but that’s an important thing to tell people,” he said. “It may have been just a reflex on the part of the snake.

First, of course, the Andersons live near prime snake habitat (not the singular possessive Anderson's). And then -- although if I were editing, I'd let this go -- there's the gerund "being" that needs a modifier(anyone's being) and then there's "bit" that should be "bitten." And then, there should be a comma between "surprising" and "but." And THEN, the biologist says the bite "may" (but he should have used might) have been a reflex "on the part of the (detached head of) the snake!" (you think?)So, seems to me, this article is just downright SNAKE-BIT, er.. SNAKE-BITTEN!?

Thank you, Karen, for doing our job so we can start our weekend early.

Thursday, August 09, 2007


Members of the Surreptitious People Out Gathering Gaffes send us this unintentionally hilarious movie marquee:

Ocean's 13
Knocked Up
Mr. Brooks

It's not ungrammatical, but it sure is funny -- except for poor Mr. Brooks, of course.

She Drove Him to It

Lisa A. sent us this confusing bit from CNN:

Mom pleads not guilty to driving son, friends to kill teen

LONG BEACH, California (AP) -- A mother charged with driving her14-year-old son and six other juveniles to a skate park so they could attack another teenager pleaded not guilty Tuesday to murder.

Eva Daley is being held on $1 million bail.

Police said Eva Daley knew her son and the others planned to kill Jose Cano when she drove them to the park June 26. Cano, 13, died of stab wounds. Police said he had previously been involved in a dispute with the youths.

An angry confrontation between supporters of Daley, 30, and the slain boy broke out in the hallway outside the courtroom shortly after she entered her plea.
We don't want to make light of a sad situation, but this sure makes it sound as though the dead boy has come back to life for revenge.

Bad grammar can be a scary thing, people.

Better Late Than Never

Michelle C. saw this sign a month ago, and we're only now posting it. Our apologies for the delay, as it sounds like we missed a great party:
"Under new management. Please bare with us as we reorder new stock."
Wow. A nude reorganizational free-for-all, just because they've hired new management. We must live in a dull part of the world.

More Monkey Business

We found this headline inside MSN today:
Man smuggles monkey onto airplane in his hat

Boy howdy. That must have been some hat, to be able to accommodate a man's head, a monkey, and an airplane.

What a Nice Wine

It's so complimentary to shrimp, reports Karen S., who took the photo above.

Your googly eyes reflect the moonlight on the sea so beautifully, my many-legged love...I could just eat you up. I really could....

Oh, they meant complement. Never mind.

The Importance of Hyphens

Lest anyone dismiss the importance of hyphens, we submit this headline from the Associated Press:

Wis. cops capture diaper-wearing monkey

Had the copy editor neglected to include the hyphen, police would have been searching for a diaper wearing a monkey. As little sense as a diapered monkey wandering the streets of Wisconsin makes, a diaper on the lam would be even more senseless.

Here's to the hyphen, and to people who keep their monkeys safely on leashes.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

SPOGG Has a Second Name

From Fuse #8:
If I were to name SPOGG I might call it the Social Philanthropic Order of the Gentle Grammarians.

From this day forth, we shall be known as the Society for the Promotion of Good Grammar, and/or the Social Philanthropic Order of the Gentle Grammarians. We will happily consider additional names based on our acronym.

Read the whole blog post here, written because they appreciated our defense of Junie B. Jones.

Shouldn't Roseanne Barr Know How to Spell Rumor?

From her MySpace page:
The fired intern from MySpace (Not Joey) has also stolen my private sex tape. Iam offering $25,000 for it's return (unless someone would like to distribute it — then I'm willing to deal). The rumer mill says that Perez Hilton knows who took it.
Then again, Bruce Willis and Demi Moore's daughter is named Rumer. Perhaps Hollywood has some sort of grinding device that is used on the spawn of celebrities. That could explain a lot.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

For a Good Laugh

Stop by the "blog" of unnecessary quotation "marks."

The Hard Part About Writing

Craig Conley sends this our way from Bill Pere's "Writing in the Key of W":
A large part of the difficulty is in finding the balance points between specificity vs. blandness, and imagery vs. vagueness.

For Mr. Pere, those pesky prepositions seem to be the hard part of writing. Vs. is an abbreviation for versus, and it means "against." Had he replaced "vs." with "and," his sentence would have been much more clear.

Things That Make Us Go "Duh..."

Sue sends this headline from the Houston Chronicle:

Sex businesses set for appeal
Oh, good. We were afraid the prostitutes had once again pimped themselves in their repellentwearTM.

And then this:
Pancreatic cancer a risk many not willing to take
As Sue points out, pancreatic cancer is no laughing matter. But when a headline is this obvious, one wonders where the news is.

Monday, August 06, 2007

But Was Tori Spelling?

The New York Times ran a long series of corrections detailing misspelled names. This is one of the first things journalism teachers address. If you spell the name wrong, no one will trust the other facts you report. We have no comment on this, other than to say we're glad we're out of the newspaper business.

An article in some copies on Wednesday about Congressional efforts to pass legislation to expand the government's electronic wiretapping powers misspelled -- yet again -- the surname of the attorney general of the United States, in three of four references. He is Alberto R. Gonzales, not Gonzalez. (The Times has misspelled Mr. Gonzales's name in at least 14 articles dating to 2001 when he became White House counsel. This year alone Mr. Gonzales's name has been misspelled in February and March, and in two articles in April.)

An article on the Street Scene page in Business Day on Friday, about the law firm Cravath, Swaine & Moore's entry into bankruptcy law practice, misspelled the name of another law firm that recently lost a bankruptcy specialist. It is Willkie Farr & Gallagher, not Wilkie. (The Times has misspelled the firm's name in at least 50 articles since 1958. The "Willkie" comes from Wendell L. Willkie, who joined the firm shortly after losing the 1940 presidential election to Franklin D. Roosevelt and remained there until his death in October 1944.)

A credit for pictures last Monday with an article about a reunion of the comedy troupe the Kids in the Hall misspelled the given name of the photographer. He is Yannick Grandmont, not Jannick.

An obituary on July 21 of Shirley Slesinger Lasswell, who marketed memorabilia and toys based on A. A. Milne's children's books about Winnie the Pooh, misspelled the name of the department store that agreed to let her set up Pooh Corners for children. It is Neiman Marcus, not Nieman Marcus. (The Times has misspelled the company's name in at least 195 articles since 1930.)

On the Peculiar Anatomy of Giants

We've heard that giants have big, square teeth. We've heard they have fingers like jointed wine barrels. We'd easily believe reports of terrible breath, scrubby hair and myopic eyes -- placed singly, or in pairs, beneath their humongous, protruding brows.

It's news to us, though, that giants are sharing just one shoulder. Thanks, Oasis, for letting us know with your album "Standing on the Shoulder of Giants."

Thanks to Marcus P. for the notification.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

A Bunch of Loosers

You'd think that reporters and editors at Newsweek would know the difference between lose and loose. But they don't. From an article about bad workout habits:

“One of things that continues to amaze me after 30 or 40 years is that people still try to sweat fat off,” says Mark Occhipinti, president of the American Fitness Practitioners and Associates. “They exercise in a hot environment, thinking that they’re loosing fat or weight, but all they’re doing is dehydrating themselves.”

Read the story here.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Misplaced Modifier on NYT

The New York Times chose this user comment to place on its home page this morning:

Comment by Jennifer Pedtke: “As a practicing architect . . . it just didn’t seem right that a bridge undergoing that type of work would be open to the public.”

The "as a practicing architect" phrase should modify the word "I," not "it."

Beware sentences that begin with phrases like this; they're often going to be misplaced modifiers.

Ain't Nothin' But a Noun-Dog

English has always turned nouns into verbs. Sometimes, though, the results are hideous.

Carolyn sends this example from the Web site
"Organizations should use this data to trend improvement over time, to bonus call center executives, to impact support representatives' compensation and training, and to benchmark against the industry."

Ugh. Anyone else feel slimed?

Trouble in Paradise

The Palm Tree Pundit sends us these disturbing coconuts from paradise:

First, this headline from the Honolulu Star Bulletin:
One man's pets is another man's food

There are two things wrong. The first is that pets need a plural verb. It should be One man's pets ARE another man's food. The second problem, of course, is that we shouldn't eat pets. That's a waste of expensive obedience school.

Our friendly pundit found a second error in the story:

Both believe they are trodding the moral high ground.

Trod is the simple past tense of the verb tread (treaded also works). Treading is the form the writer was looking for. (See the story:

Who Doesn't Like a Rhetorical Question?

Up until now, the only problem with them has been the clumsy punctuation we use. If we use a traditional question mark, some yahoo might answer. If we use a period, we sound like Eeyore, the donkey who needs Prozac.

So thank you, Craig Conley, for this, the rhetorical question symbol. Why didn't we think of that? (Wait, don't answer -- it was rhetorical.)

See more of Craig's mad genius here:

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Shoo, Fly

We found this error on PerezHilton:
Whoopi is joining The View as their new co-host and moderator, Barbara Walters announced on the show Wednesday morning.

No word on a second hiring, though Sherri Shepard was pretty much considered a shoe-in. Whoopi joked that she watched the show once or twice before she was considered.

It's shoo-in, not shoe-in.

The Difference One Letter Makes

Sometimes, a spelling error is an ethical violation (or an opportunity to weasel out of one). Check it out:

A capital idea

Rep. Tom Tancredo of Colorado has come up with a novel way to try to boost his very long-shot hopes for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination.

He is offering a reward to anybody who brings 25 people to the Iowa straw poll in Ames on Aug. 11 -- including an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington and a tour of the Capitol.

One problem: A tour of the Capitol would violate House ethics rules which prohibits the building's use for political purposes.

Bay Buchanan, Tancredo's national campaign chairwoman, blamed the whole thing on a spelling mistake.

The pitch should have said that guests would be taken on a tour of the capital -- with an "a" -- city. That would include the same tour of the Capitol -- with an "o" -- building that is available to any member of the public.

"I did intend it to mean the nation's capital," she said.

What's more Glamourous than Polygamy?

The magazine, apparently. Karen sends this our way from CNN:
"My hope is that they, they'll see it, and it'll mean something," the 36-year-old said. Nicholson recently co-authored an article about leaving her polygamous community for Glamour magazine and is planning to write a book as well.

It's also amusing that she co-authored the article. That group thing must be a hard habit to break.