Friday, May 23, 2008

Quotation Mark Abuse

Karen sends this in:


A "pill mill" run from a Biloxi doctor's office and pharmacy is to blame for nine fatal drug overdoses, a federal agent testified Thursday.

Co-conspirators amassed millions of dollars from the drug operation, attracting "droves and droves" of locals and out-of-state residents seeking narcotics, said DEA agent Terry Davis.

The Family Medical Center and Tran's Pharmacy on Division Street were considered "the place to go," said Davis. He described one incident involving several medications that shouldn't have been prescribed together as "a cocktail for danger."
The DEA agent, testifying 1½ hours, described what he and four other agents experienced while going undercover as patients. The clinic operated on a "cash only" basis, said Davis, and the doctors provided little or no examination. Davis said his first visit with Dr. Thomas Trieu was only a couple of minutes of "face to face" time.

Davis said some patients appeared to be legitimate, but some were "reeking of marijuana," said Davis, "and I suspected some were armed."

Now it's true the reporter is quoting people directly in those snippets. That doesn't mean it's not an annoying practice. If you're not going to quote a whole sentence, don't quote at all. Just fold those words into your own prose. The source is not going to accuse you of plagiarism, especially because you're giving attribution.

And Xavier sends along this picture from his new neighborhood, where law enforcement apparently has a bit of a Rodney Dangerfield problem. No respect! No respect!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Global Possessive Screwup

Nick S. sends this in--a shot of the interior of his new Lexus, which has a GPS in the dashboard.

Oops! That should say "its" display settings. "Its" is a possessive. "It's" is a contraction that means either "it is" or "it has."

We remember this by thinking of his, hers and its towels (those are for drying the dog, which has been spayed or neutered to prevent unwanted puppies).

Monday, May 12, 2008


No one ever said you had to be smart to be a criminal. Check out the phishing scam we just received:
After the last annual calculations of your fiscal activity we have determined that you are eligible to receive a tax refund under section 501(c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Tax refund value is $189.60.

Please submit the tax refund request and allow us 6-9 days in order to IWP the data received. If u don't receive your refund within 9 business days from the original IRS mailing date shown, you can start a refund trace online.

If you distribute funds to other organization, your records must show wether they are exempt under section 497 (c) (15). In cases where the recipient org. is not exempt under section 497 (c) (15), you must have evidence the funds will be used for section 497 (c) (15) purposes.

If you distribute fund to individuals, you should keep case histories showing the recipient's name and address; the purpose of the award; the maner of section; and the realtionship of the recipient to any of your officers, directors, trustees, members, or major contributors.

To access the form for your tax refund, please click here [link removed]

This notification has been sent by the Internal Revenue Service, a bureau of the Department of the Treasury.

Sincerely Yours,

John Stewart
Director, Exempt. Organization
Rulings and Agreements Letter
Internal Revenue Service
The numskull who wrote this tried so hard to mimic government jargon, but couldn't resist slipping in a "u" for "you." So pathetic. Really.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Marriage: It's Not *That* Bad

This headline appears in the Seattle Times:
Man marries, receives 18-year assault sentence
We've been married 10 years now, and we don't find it anywhere near that bad.

Thanks to Wendy M. for the tip.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Happy 600th Post from SPOGG

SPOGG will be out of town for a few days, so we thought we'd leave you with this inspirational image, pilfered without shame from

America's "offical" language? Only when she learns to spell.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Oh, the Difference One Letter Can Make

Oh, the difference one letter can make... (or two letters, if you can count better than SPOGG can).

Another good one from Ashleigh:
The scale of the operation suggests that Texas was ready. Dozens of heavily armed police went into the compound with an armored personal carrier. They met almost no resistance.


A personnel carrier is used to transport employees. A personal carrier? Well, we're thinking that's the sort of thing best used to transport infants. And while it is a tough world out there for babies, it's not yet so tough that we need to walk them in armored Snuglis.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Who's Amused?

Ashleigh sends this in from her law office. It's an ad from a monthly newsletter that goes out to the entire Colorado Bar Association and--oops!--confuses "who's" with "whose."

They do sound exactly alike, but they're not interchangeable. "Whose" is a possessive pronoun. "Who's" is a contraction for who+is. If you can substitute who+is, then you know to use "who's" instead of "whose."

Commady from the Onion

Click the link above to learn, more, about the plague of commas, appearing in, our sentences.