Friday, December 17, 2010

Tales from the Casting Ouch

The latest, from our Genuine Hollywood ActressTM friend, excerpted from actual casting calls:
A recent casting call informed me that the director was "norweigien."

Apparently, dancers are encouraged to choreograph pieces "on there own"
Where is that, then?
This just in: "The dead persons must act dead!"

"Looking for a slightly hippy girl." 
Methinks you meant a hippie, not an applebottom.

"She here's a truck outside."
Homonyms and apostrophes are crying.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Tales from the Casting Ouch: Thanksgiving Edition

Many thanks to our favorite Hollywood actress for sending along these assorted casting call errors, along with her witty rejoinders. We are so thankful!

Lot's of singing, lot's of solo's.
Lots of incorrect apostrophes.

Que cardAre you prepared to wait in line?
We will be auctioning actors.I really hope not, because people are priceless.
She suffers from skitsafrania.Unless that is a term you've made up on purpose in an attempt to be funny for a comedy skit, misspelling your character's condition on a casting call makes you seem uneducated.

Casting: All types. Send headshot resume. Email for more information.
How nice to be so specific!

Recent apostrophe catastrophes:

I Can't Take My Eye's Off You
2 partner's
All ethnicity's

A recent tweet from Steve Martin @SteveMartinToGo read:

Feeling slightly i'll. UH OH. ROGUE APOSTROPHE.

Friday, October 15, 2010

An Epidemic of Anus

Once was funny. Twice made us feel sick. A third time--even with a slightly different recipe--is an epidemic of ick. We're talking about restaurants that misspell the word "Angus."

Behold the McDonald's sign we swiped from our uncle's Facebook feed:

Here is a previous post on the topic. We recall writing a third one using a photograph our brother sent but were unable to dig the link out of our archives.

Ignoring the fact that two out of three of these sightings came from our own relatives, let us just say that it is wildly disturbing that the people with their hands on our meat supply don't know the difference between "anus" and "Angus."

There is a big difference. Gargantuan. Galactic. Ginormous. Gee, how we wish they'd learn it.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Of Mice and Men

We're not entirely sure what's going on here.

What's the dude in the chair doing on a billboard? And why would we want to go somewhere mice hang out? We spend a lot of time avoiding our basement for that very reason.

Nonetheless, we thank our globetrotter, Kjersten H., for the delightfully disturbing photo.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Justin Bieber, We Are Disappointed

Oh, Justin Bieber. We just saw that you're calling your memoir First Step 2 Forever: My Story.

We know you weren't born yet when M.C. Hammer was doing his "2 legit... 2 legit 2 quit" hands.

We also know that you were born in Canada, a land somewhat sheltered from our crazy brand of American cool.

But we need you to know that it's no longer cool or rebellious or fresh or punky or anything other than lazy to use numerals as a shortcut.

This is your book, Justin. It is forever--or at least until it goes out of print. When you're contemplating forever, we recommend taking the time to spell words out. Trust us. No one will think you're a dork.

If you are worried about such things, though, we think your hairstyle is the much bigger risk to your rep. You've taken the artfully tousled Zac Efron hair helmet from 2006 and turned it into something that resembles a blond bathing cap.

We do love you, though. We really do. Please get it right in your next memoir.

Monday, October 11, 2010

It Must Be Monday

So what'll it be for today? A nihilist mattress? (Actually, it might be existentialist, depending on how you read it. Discuss in comments if you care to; we need more coffee first.)

Or a government sign demanding that we do the impossible?

Thanks to Linnea D. for the inscrutable turn sign.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Worst Part about Big Government

You know government is too big when it takes away the letter N from protest signs. In solidarity, we will call that ufair. We will also complai about this scadal util someoe does somethig about it. Like the military. Or the police. Or maybe the fire departmet.

Oh, wait. Those are all governmental agencies. Never mind.

Thanks to Tamara K. for the photo.  

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Warning: Dirty Jokes Ahead

Close, but no, um, cigar. Wait, no. This sign--it is a hair off. Hoo-hah! Missing letters just make us crotchety, we guess.

If only the URL had been, we would have died of laughter (giddy and juvenile laughter, but still).

And we wouldn't want to go to this school, either. Not with their non-standardized form of testing.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Tales from the Casting Ouch

And now for the September edition of our Hollywood bloopers feature. These are authentic casting calls sent to us by our friend the actress, along with her commentary:

Lot's of singing, lot's of solo's.
Lots of typos.

Queue card
Are you prepared to wait in line?

We will be auctioning actors.
I really hope not, because people are priceless.

She suffers from skitsafrania.
Unless that is a term you've made up on purpose in an attempt to be funny for a comedy skit, misspelling your character's condition on a casting call makes you seem uneducated.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Forgive Us--We Are Cranky

What the hell kind of word is "babyz"? Other than the perfect word to describe a game that lets people turn babies all tarty and stuff, that is.

We hereby challenge you all to find worse fake marketing words than "babyz." We doubt it can be done, though as we admitted before, we are wearing our crankypants and they are TWO SIZES TOO SMALL.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

We Won't Dispute the Accuracy of This

That said, we think the word they wanted was "collision."

Thanks to Greg Pincus for the screen shot from the AOL home page.

We're sure this has brought a post-mortem giggle to the cryogenically frozen remains of Dr. Freud hidden somewhere in our nation's capital*. (Has anyone thought to look for them in Joe Biden's liquor cabinet?)

* We originally had this as "capitol," which with a capital C refers to the Capitol building, but with the "a" properly refers to the capital city. 

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

We Want This Book Anyway

From the flap copy of How to Survive a Garden Gnome Attack:
There’s a new threat in town—and it’s only twelve inches tall. How to Survive a Garden Gnome Attack is the only comprehensive survival guide that will help you prevent, prepare for, and ward off an imminent home invasion by the common garden gnome. Once thought of as harmless yard decorations, evidence is mounting that these smiling lawn statues are poised and ready to wreck havoc. The danger is real. And it’s here.   

Class 1 gnome-slayer and gnome defense expert Chuck Sambuchino has developed a proven system—Assess, Protect, Defend, Apply—for safeguarding property, possessions, and loved ones. Strategies include step-by-step instructions for gnome-proofing the average dwelling, recognizing and interpreting the signs of a gathering hoard, and—in the event that a secured perimeter is breached—confronting and combating the attackers at close range.
It's wreak havoc, not wreck. We're just going to blame this one on the gnomes. The book comes out today, by the way. We would really like to watch a gnome attack, preferably on our neighbors who've been using a jackhammer all week.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Tales from the Casting Ouch

The following are genuine Hollywood casting announcements, with commentary provided by our friend the up-and-coming actress: 
Measurements should be 26-27" waste, 34-36.

What a waste of a casting notice.

Seeking perspective actors.

Actors seeking perspective would be wise to look elsewhere for a prospective job.

Our theatre company does improff.

Is that improv hosted by Spring Awakening star Jonathan Groff or what, exactly?

Seeking: Gymnists and Panamines.

Seeking: Spel chek.

Be apart of our promotional expansion.

I wanna be apart of it... space bar, space bar...

Friday, September 03, 2010

Friday Sign of the Apocalypse: Yeesh

You know, some things shouldn't need explanation. A sign on the door that says WOMEN means it's a women's bathroom.

So we are wildly disturbed that the proprietors needed to post a two-exclamation-point sign explaining what that "WOMEN" thing means. We are so disturbed, in fact, that we hardly mind the missing e in "absolutely," or the missing apostrophe in "women's."

Honestly, dudes. We don't want you in our powder room. We've heard about what you do to yours. Blecch.

Thanks to Charity E. for the photo.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Who Are Big and Small?

And why should no job go to Big or to Small? Oh, wait. They mean no job is "too big or too small" for them to consider.

Sigh. One could say the same about proofreading the signs painted on the back of trucks.

Every small business owner should consider hiring an editor for their signs, websites, brochures, and even business cards. Given the photos that come our way, we're fairly certain this could jump-start the entire U.S. economy.

Thanks to Randy J. for the photo.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Craiglist Post Raises Urgent Hyphenation Question

Would you hyphenate chill-out? Yes, we think we would. That is all. Thanks, Craigslist.


Music Vid - Female Astronaut Needed $150 (Central Los Angeles)

Date: 2010-08-16, 7:31PM PDT
Reply to: [Errors when replying to ads?]

Fit female needed for a electronic chillout Music Video.

Looking for a lady 18-30 to float around in outer space in your birthday suit and a helmet.
A dark complexion and being able to dance like a robot are a plus.

Please attach a body shot and any additional relevant information.
Pay is 150 cash.

Thank you.

  • Location: Central Los Angeles
  • it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests
  • Compensation: 150

PostingID: 1902912839

Friday, August 13, 2010

If It's Intentional, It's Brilliant

Because it is Friday the thirteenth, and because we are choosing to greet this day with optimism instead of paraskevidekatriaphobia, we have decided that this sign — on its face incorrect — is intended to prove the very point it's making.

You don't have to be perfect to be lovable. And so we love it, just (as it) is.


Actually, no.

We tried this optimism thing for the length of one ellipsis, and we can't do it. We just can't.

So forget optimism, at least when it comes to vinyl wall decals. Buyer, beware. Also, watch out for black cats. And for the love of all that is right, don't buy wall art that has antlers growing out of the letters. That's mad tacky, people.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Hey, Buddy: Your Ignorance Is Showing

SPOGG loves libraries. LOVES THEM. Among other things, you can:
  • check out books;
  • research subjects of interest (for some people, ahem, we recommend books that teach the proper use of the apostrophe);
  • get FREE access to subscription services (such as the Oxford English Dictionary); 
  • borrow DVDs, CDs, and audio books; 
  • hear authors speak (we shared an elevator at the Seattle Public Library with the literary genius M.T. Anderson!);
  • catch free concerts and performances for kids; and
  • enjoy the free wi-fi and air conditioning.
Also, there already is such a thing as a fee-based library. It's called Barnes and Noble (which we also love).

We can't help but notice this disturbing trend in cities across the country in which libraries are being shut down, pecked at, and put on the chopping block to balance community budgets. 

People have no idea how much pleasure they could get and how much money they could save by making the library their first stop in entertainment. Libraries also level the playing field somewhat for the poor.

That is why we say to the creator of this sign, "You are a moron. A MORON. Perhaps if you spent more time in your library you would know there is no apostrophe in 'fees'."

What's unfortunate and telling is that the person who made this sign lacked the courage to put his or her name and contact information on it. We do understand the cowardice, though. Who's proud to celebrate ignorance? Who wants to stick it to the poor, and to families with young children who can't otherwise afford books? Jerks, that's who.

Look, we get that we're in tough economic times. But you don't cut off your feet to save money on shoes. If you have a chance this fall to vote for library funding, please do. And while you're at it, stop by your library to see what you might be missing.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Actually, We Were in the Market for *Near* Wood

Look, we get it. English is not a phonetic language. The spelling is hard. Nonetheless, we recommend burning this sign.

Thanks to Matt K. "far" the photo.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Getting Down and Dirty in the Romper Room

The scout who sent us this photo can't say for sure where it was taken. (If she did, her source would have to kill her.) But let's just say the people getting an eyeful of "marital" arts in the "romper room" are probably going to have to take cold showers afterward.

In any case, they're really going to be able to lord it over those poor suckers who had to watch martial arts in the rumpus room. Live-action pornography vs. ancient Asian fighting techniques? No contest!

P.S. We don't really know how to make a joke about romper vs. rumpus, so we'll go with the facts.

A romper is a piece of clothing best worn on small children, despite the regrettable fashion trend that leads to items like this $228 Marc Jacobs piece. Seriously people. You are wasting the best years of your life, at least when it comes to your looks, on an outfit meant to go over a diaper. This model might be wearing one RIGHT NOW. She does have an "I'm peeing" look on her face.

But anyway. "Romper Room" is  a children's TV show remembered by people old enough to know that rompers are toddler-wear.

A rumpus is a wild party, often held in a rumpus room. In Where the Wild Things Are, however, the wild rumpus was held outdoors. You know the world is topsy-turvy when the grownups are wearing baby clothes and the monsters are partying outside so they don't wreck the furniture.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Book Publisher Seeks Photos of Bad Grammar

A book publisher is looking for photos of bad grammar. The categories are below. They'd purchase rights to print them (which would mean you'd have to be the photographer).

Contact Melody Tolson (  if you have photos in these categories:

Capital Letters
Needs an image showing incorrect use of capital letters or a lack of capital letters where required.

Needs an image showing incorrect use of numerals or incorrect use of the numbers spelled out. For example, with abbreviations or symbols, the numbers should be presented as numerals – “7 kg” rather than “seven kg”.

Cracking the Sentence Code: Subjects and Verbs
Needs an image showing incorrect usage, perhaps a mistake with prepositional phrases; E.g. “Many houses in our neighbourhood needs painting.”

Run-on Sentences
An image showing a run-on sentence; too much information provided in one sentence that could easily be broken up into shorter sentences.

Modifier Problems
Misuse of modifiers (dangling or misplaced) such as “only”, “almost”, or a phrase – e.g. “Alice discovered a magic mushroom walking through Wonderland.” Or “When writing, a dictionary is your best friend.”

Images that show a lack of parallelism in the wording – e.g. “No smoking, drinking, or loud noises.” “A SmartCar is great because they’re cheap, easy to park, and driving one is fun.”

Correct Verb Forms
Image should show incorrect verb forms – e.g., “I drinked it in one gulp.” Or use of the passive voice that is unclear.

Subject-Verb Agreement
Image that shows a lack of agreement between the subject and verb, such as a singular subject with a plural verb “Everyone on the team show great respect for the coach” – this should read “shows”

Incorrect use of the verb tense or mixed verb tenses in the same sentence – “I’m standing right behind Sophie when she suddenly screamed.”

Person Agreement
Errors including misuse or mixing of “you” and “one” or “everyone” and “their”. E.g., “If you wish to succeed, one must work hard.” Or “Everyone must hang up their own jacket.”

An image showing the incorrect placement of a comma, or the lack of commas where they are required. “A panda is a bearlike marsupial that eats, shoots, and leaves.”

An image showing the misuse of the colon, for example after “is” or “are” – e.g., The things that bug me are: mosquitos, parking tickets, and rap music.”

Quotation Marks:
An image showing misuse of quotation marks; perhaps where someone has put a word in quotation marks as emphasis, rather than to show a quotation – e.g., “He told he just wasn’t ‘that’ into me.”

Question Marks, Exclamation Marks:
An image showing misuse of question marks or exclamation marks – e.g., “I wonder if you know them?” where the “?” is not needed; or overuse of an exclamation mark at the end of each sentence.

Friday, July 23, 2010

We Wish!

This comes from a sign at Lowe's: 

Thank you for permitting your children to participate in the Lowe’s Build and Grow Clinic! In order to help us better serve you and your child, please fill out this Clinic Waiver Form in its entirety. Lowe's values your participation and we look forward to helping your child Build and Grow! The first 50 kids to register and be present at the store at 10am will receive a kit, aprons and googles.

Wow. We'd like to receive googles, too. We'd sell our stock, buy some goggles, and spend the rest of our lives lounging by the pool.

Thanks to Trisha W. for sending it in.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Truth in Towing Signs

Note the fine print on the bottom of this sign. We know they meant to write "ticketed," but "ticked" is so much more accurate.

A truly honest sign would read: "Violators will be ticketed and ticked when they see the size of the towing bill."

In other quibbling, we have never liked the "owners' expense" construction, even properly apostrophized. Who is the owner? Of the car? Of the business? Of the dog that peed on the nearby fire hydrant?

Why not just say, "Your car will be towed and you'll have to pay the fee?" 

Thanks to Paula B. for the photo.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Writing Is on the Wall (Unfortunately)

This comes from the genius parody site Regretsy by way of our friend Kim.

Who is this "mangement" character they speak of? And what has he done with the children in that room? We fear they didn't play nice and have been eaten ... or worse. We're not entirely sure what "worse" is, but it probably has to do with being used as child labor in the homes of people who make the other wares featured on Regretsy.

Be sure to click the Regretsy link above. There are a few more misspelled wall decals.

It's almost as sad as the misspelling of "fellatio" earlier this month on that Work of Art show on Bravo. The contestants were told to create a shocking piece of art. We weren't shocked so much by the art as by the misspelling. Yay to the judges for noticing.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Quotation Mark Abuse and Angry Rich Men

SPOGG has a confession: We were not riveted by the LeBron James basketball drama and thus did not care one way or another which team he chose.

We did notice when someone asked who "LeBon" James was, and after we got over thinking about Simon Le Bon circa 1985, we read the letter Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert wrote after James chose another team.

It is a case study in quotation mark abuse, and while our inner Jiminy Cricket thinks it's also a case study in poor sportsmanship, we'll focus on the punctuation for now.

Actually, that's sort of a lie. We'll insert some commentary as well. We can't help ourselves.
Dear Cleveland, all of Northeast Ohio and Cleveland Cavaliers supporters wherever you may be tonight[Why the semicolon, Coach? A colon would have done nicely. Or even a comma. Semicolons aren't an angry compromise for the indecisive.]

As you now know, our former hero, who grew up in the very region that he deserted this evening, is no longer a Cleveland Cavalier.

This was announced with a several-day, narcissistic, self-promotional build-up culminating with a national TV special of his "decision" unlike anything ever "witnessed" in the history of sports and probably the history of entertainment. [Someone doesn't watch enough reality programming on TV. Coach, try The Bachelor sometime.]

Clearly, this is bitterly disappointing to all of us.

The good news is that the ownership team and the rest of the hard-working, loyal, and driven staff over here at your hometown Cavaliers have not betrayed you nor NEVER will betray you.

There is so much more to tell you about the events of the recent past and our more than exciting future. Over the next several days and weeks, we will be communicating much of that to you.

You simply don't deserve this kind of cowardly betrayal.

You have given so much and deserve so much more. [Jiminy Cricket can't resist. Cheering at a basketball game is recreation, not a form of giving. Working at a soup kitchen is.]

In the meantime, I want to make one statement to you tonight: "I personally guarantee that the Cleveland Cavaliers will win an NBA Championship before the self-titled former 'king' wins one."

You can take it to the bank. [Actually, sir, people have to take a lot of money from the bank to attend a game. You, however, should profit. Wait. You were being metaphorical? OK, then. That's a cliche.]

If you thought we were motivated before tonight to bring the hardware to Cleveland, I can tell you that this shameful display of selfishness and betrayal by one of our very own has shifted our "motivation" to previously unknown and previously never experienced levels. [OK, when you put your own "motivation" in quotes like that, it makes it seem as though you never had any in the first place. You are a madman.]

Some people think they should go to heaven but NOT have to die to get there. [Wait. He's going to Miami. If that is heaven, we don't want to die, either. Not until we have a better tan and wax job.]

Sorry, but that's simply not how it works.

This shocking act of disloyalty from our homegrown "chosen one" sends the exact opposite lesson of what we would want our children to learn. And "who" we would want them to grow up to become.

But the good news is that this heartless and callous action can only serve as the antidote to the so-called "curse" on Cleveland, Ohio.

The self-declared former "King" will be taking the "curse" with him down south. And until he does "right" by Cleveland and Ohio, James (and the town where he plays) will unfortunately own this dreaded spell and bad karma.

Just watch.

Sleep well, Cleveland. Tomorrow is a new and much brighter day...

I PROMISE you that our energy, focus, capital, knowledge and experience will be directed at one thing and one thing only: [That you won't use unnecessary capitalization?]

DELIVERING YOU the championship you have long deserved and is long overdue...[Nope, apparently you are fully aboard the Unnecessary Punctuation Train. Also, an ellipsis at the end of a sentence needs that fourth period. Here, we would've just used the one period. If you really wanted an ellipsis, you could have put one and the resulting dramatic pause after "deserved." And with that, we have demonstrated the proper use of quotation marks around words that are not actually quotations.]

Dan Gilbert

Majority Owner

Cleveland Cavaliers

Thanks to Marla Smith-Nilson of Water1st for sending the letter. Water1st helps build water and sanitation systems for people in the world's poorest communities. This is an example of giving in its most inspirational form. For about $70--less than an NBA ticket--you can provide clean water, toilets, and hygiene education to a child for life, sparing that child a great deal of suffering, and even death. And no one makes you put on an oversize polyester jersey.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Friday Sign of the Apocalypse: Scariest Marketing Ever

We know that line-caught trout is served at fancy restaurants. We know that hand-crafted coffees and hand-dipped ice cream are all the rage.

We draw the line, however, when it comes to advertising who's cooking the fries--at least when they're being sizzled by that sort of professional.

It just doesn't sound sanitary. No, madam. We do not want fries with that.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Manners Be Damned

We know it's rude to write on other people's signs, and generally, we frown on the practice. Sometimes, though, it must be done. This photo, from Ashleigh W., comes from a certain section of the used bookstore:

There. We feel much better now.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Friday Sign of the Apocalypse: Attention, Urinal Users

If you thought you were going to use this urinal to travel through time, think again. It is temporally out of disorder (no doubt temporarily).

Or, wait, no... Maybe this urinal is out of "sink" with time.

Either way, "urine" luck. There's a fresh urinal cake!

Thanks to Tom for the photo.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Hollywood Blooper Reel

Here are the latest casting-call goofs sent to us by a Real Hollywood ActressTM. Enjoy!

You will be paided.
Well, ain't that grand! But being paid would be better.

She becomes a hooker to make ends meat.
Is she fishing and cooking decidedly non-vegetarian meals down by the docks? [SPOGG: Making ends "meat" for money is illegal in most states.]

Status: un-union
I think you mean non-union.

Type: White felmale
What exactly is a felmale?

If your not geting gigs, it could be those photos you have.
If you're not getting submissions, it could be that casting call you posted.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

So Close, But Yet So Far

Sarah M. sent along this misspelled caption from her local newspaper, along with the hope that someone who graduated from journalism school would know how to spell.

A few things: Not everyone who works at a newspaper goes to journalism school. We never did (and instead, studied Classics and English literature, which probably explains a lot).

Photographers tend to write photo captions, or "cutlines," as they are often called in newsrooms. Although these should be proofed, we tend to give creative people a bit of slack when it comes to spelling. No doubt there are many photographers who spell well. We knew enough who didn't, though, to be sympathetic with our wincing.

There are a lot of expressions like "do to" — ones that are fouled by a homophone. "Half to," "could of," no doubt the members of SPOGG could generate a long list. The question we have, though, is what to do about it. For people who don't learn language through reading it and don't form mental pictures of words when they write it, it is very difficult to convince them that these are, in fact, errors. Trust us. We have a 9-year-old at home who repeatedly writes "half to."

Monday, May 24, 2010

Then vs. Than

This comes from The Oatmeal. Enjoy!

Friday, May 21, 2010

One Little Letter

Then and than. So close, and yet they are not interchangeable. Use "then" when you're talking about something related to time. "Than" is what you use when you're comparing things.

For example: "Then she turned on the cassette player in her car and played More Than Words by her favorite early '90s hair band, Extreme."

Sara J. sent this real estate listing our way. After we got over how much house you can get for $129,000 in some parts of the country (we live where that wouldn't buy you a closet), we had to shake our head sadly at the ad promoting this home.

A Lesson in Antecedents

Pronouns can be so unclear sometimes. That's why this T-shirt is an essential part of a thoughtful writer's wardrobe. Buy it on Zazzle.

(SPOGG won't earn a penny from this. We just want people to remember to keep their antecedents--the stuff that comes before the pronouns--nice and clear. And by "stuff," we mean words, phrases, or clauses.)

Sunday, May 16, 2010

We Will Not 'Yeild'!

Here's a bit of happy news from Nevada: 

SPARKS, Nev. -- Residents no longer have to shake their heads over two "Yeild to bikes" signs along a busy Nevada street.

Officials in Sparks say the misspelled signs were replaced after they were featured on MSNBC's "Countdown with Keith Olbermann" show on Thursday night.

The senior vice president of the construction company that is extending a boulevard in the city near Reno says a contractor didn't notice the misspelling of the word "yield."

Lance Semenko says it was an honest mistake.

It's not the first time misspelled words have turned up on signs and roadways in the Reno area.

In the past, roads in school zones have been painted with the words "scool" and "shcool."

Friday, May 14, 2010


Thanks to Samantha G. for the photo.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

This Gave Us Contractions

Here's a Facebook comment thread sent to us by our old friend, Sarah K.

Last names have been abbreviated to protect the innocent--and the guilty, even though he doesn't really deserve it. Enjoy!

Monica F.  I am far from stupid!!! I do not want to be treated as if I am stupid, not now, and not ever!
Yesterday at 9:08pm · Comment · Like

Joseph W  But youre female?
Yesterday at 9:12pm

Sarah K  you're
Yesterday at 9:19pm ·

Joseph W  Im lazy, sue me
Yesterday at 9:20pm

Sarah K  I'm
Yesterday at 9:21pm ·

Joseph W  Dont lecture me
Yesterday at 9:21pm

Sarah K  Don't
Yesterday at 9:22pm ·

Joseph W  Isnt this crazy?
Yesterday at 9:22pm

Sarah K  nope.
Yesterday at 9:23pm ·

Joseph W  Monica wouldnt appreciate us hijacking her thread, shh, shes stupid, so she cant read this.... Jk Monica!!!!! Anyone who works hard for her family isnt stupid.
Yesterday at 9:26pm

Megan O  I adore Sarah Kietzer. :-)
11 hours ago

Monica F  I adore Sarah as well :))) HEY I adore you too Megan :)))) and JOE's not too bad

Friday, May 07, 2010

Friday Sign of the Apocalypse: Spring Fever Edition

Thanks to Alex in Wenatchee, Washington for sending along this sign. Either they're REALLY excited about a shipment of springs that's arrived, or this is an apostrophe catastrophe and they meant to say "spring's here."

Friday, April 30, 2010

Friday Sign of the Apocalypse: Unacceptable

They do not except them from what? From bouncing?

The word they wanted was "accept."

Thanks to Karie P. for the photo.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Award for Convoluted Writing

We are fans of the Center for Plain Language, founded by a longtime federal employee who got sick of all the crazy and convoluted writing she encountered on the job.

NPR carried a story yesterday about a new award her organization is handing out. Here's an excerpt of the "winning" language--which appears on the form the Department of Homeland Security gives to people entering the country.

As the NPR story says, "The person who nominated the form sums it up like this: 'Welcome to the United States -- you diseased, crazy, drugged-out, criminal, lying, spying child abuser!'"

Read the rest of the article here. (And thanks to Erin Redd for sending it.)

We do, of course, have some thoughts on where this writing gets its start. When we taught at a private high school, some of the smartest kids embraced this horrible style--and they were rewarded for it. You have to be smart to use all those big words, right? One student in particular went ballistic when we suggested how she might simplify her paper. She thought the result made her sound "stupid." Last we heard, she is now a law student.

Bigger words are not necessarily better words when it comes to writing. Simple, clear sentences really work.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Friday Sign of the Apocalypse: Apostrophe Catastrophe

A few years ago, we reviewed a film called "Happily N'Ever After."

We hated the movie, finding it hard to get past the unnecessary apostrophe in the title. Get it, everyone? It's a play on ever after, because ever is in never and we know people are too stupid to figure that out on their own.

Oh, you Hollywood wags.

We thought of that when we saw this sign. Honestly, how does stuff like this happen?

Thanks to Denis for the photo.

Friday Sign of the Apocalypse: Halitosis Edition

It's a little hard to read, but this truck says "breath" cleaner air when it should say "breathe cleaner" air.

Forgive us, but that is some bad breath.

Thanks to Karie P. for the photo.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Case of the Politically Active Kitten

Here's a photo taken in a veterinarian's office, a place where animals can be encouraged to be as politically active as their hearts and whiskers desire.

This kitten is FOR adoption! Yeah! Kitten's for adoption! Can we hear some thunder?

Oh wait. Do the seemingly unnecessary quotation marks around Kitten's name bother you?

Don't worry. We're sure they're actually an official part of her name, sort of like the ones used by the band "Awesome." Just don't ask "Kitten" her age, though. She's sensitive.

And finally, the three exclamation points. Those are...wait.

We got nothin'--nothin' but diagnosis of bangorrhea. Seriously. What a sad little sign.

Thanks to Barry L. for sending it. 

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Yeah, Someone's Credibility Was Strained

This little doozy comes to SPOGG from (by way of our friend Kat G). They've cut so far back on copy editors at the Los Angeles Times that they've started hacking away at the alphabet itself. The letter i is the first to go, apparently.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

More Tales from the Casting Couch

Here's the latest in our regular feature of embarrassingly bad and 100-percent genuine casting calls sent to us by a Hollywood actress we know and adore.

This month's theme is role-playing. What are directors seeking?

  • An attractive heroin.
  • A heart braking soft hero.
  • Leading bably beutifull girl star with good eyes.
  • Oh, and don't forget:
  • please only submitt if your that flaVOR. dont waste yours or our time.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Friday Sign of the Apocalypse: Irony Edition

We are in favor of any protest that demands more money and attention for schools. The signs at this protest serve as case in point, while simultaneously offering up an elegant lesson in irony.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

So that's why cliches are annoying

Craig Conley illustrates:

Friday, April 09, 2010

Friday Sign of the Apocalypse: Exclusive Hotel Edition 2

We don't know what these people "exerience" when they "exercies," but we know this hotel sign gets our pulse into the heart-attack zone. That counts as cardio, right?

Thanks to John for sending this.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Teabonics: Taking Freedom of Spelling Too Far

Just one of the great examples of misspelled and ungrammatical protest signs. Visit the Teabonics collection here.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Punctuation Puzzles: Now and Zen Edition

Here's another Craig Conley special. What punctuation mark can make this sign mean the opposite?

If you think you know, give your answer in the comments area.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

SPOGG Has a New Hero

Meet Christian Wilkie-Fredrickson of Minneapolis:

And now, meet his new tattoo:

Christian is a copy editor/proofreader, and to celebrate his 40th birthday, he put our punctuation warrior on his bicep. (Oh, Christian--why there and not, say, on your rear end? On second thought, don't answer that.)

You can read what he has to say about it on his delightful blog.

We are, needless to say, thrilled, honored, and deeply amused. Happy birthday, Christian!

Friday, April 02, 2010

Friday Sign of the Apocalypse: The High Price of Free

Yeah, the kids are free. But the upkeep will bankrupt you.

We think they're giving away kids' movie rentals. We hope that's what it is. Otherwise, the economy is in worse shape than anyone will admit.

Thanks to Sue C. for the photo.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Thursday Bumper Sticker of the Apocalypse

The unlicensed image of Calvin peeing aside, this is a disturbing little sticker. It's "ex" wife's, not "x."

That "x" suggests the driver did something worse than urinate on his Mrs. In any case, good riddance to him.

Thanks to Logan for the photo.

Would You Use a Serial Comma?

If we were writing these instructions, we would write "Do not attempt to install if drunk, pregnant, or both." This is because we have, of late, become fans of the serial comma.

Long ago, when we worked for a newspaper (remember those?), we were told never to use a comma before the third element in a simple sequence. As we argue in our book, however, it can make writing a bit more clear if it's consistently included.

Anyhoo, we're really only posting this here and going on at length because it's April 1. This has to be a joke, right?

Thanks to Lance for the submission.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

From the Department of Bad Headlines

A few weeks old, yes. But, for your amusement, we present an accidentally hilarious headline sent our way by a few sharp-eyed readers.

Can a Pelosi titillates Congress headline be far behind?

Sunday, March 28, 2010

A guest post from Craig Conley

Craig is author of a number of strange and unusual reference books that revel in the oddities of and possibilities for our language. You can view many of them here.

He wrote this guest post for us, and we liked found it to be "expecially" charming.
Jeff Stone* is perfectly correct in colorfully noting that "there's no freakin' X in the word 'especially.'" Yet we can't help fondly remembering those centuries when the word "expecial" meant "singular" or "exceptional," as in the context of accessories designed "to meet the expecial needs of the physician" (BROOKLYN MEDICAL JOURNAL, Vol. 8, 1894) or European colonists in the Potomac being advised not to expose themselves to the danger of the Tuscarora War of 1711 "without expecial necessity" (James Rice, NATURE AND HISTORY IN THE POTOMAC COUNTRY, 2009).

Our favorite context for the word "expecial" is, of course, the world of algebra! Back in 1919, a textbook entitled FIRST COURSE IN ALGEBRA embodied "an expecial effort to connect the elements of algebra in a clear and forcible manner with the affairs of every-day life." If any field is qualified to put an X in "especially," it's algebra!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Friday Sign of the Apocalypse: Exclusive Hotel Edition

You know you're in an exclusive hotel when there's only one guest.

Do you think they maybe meant to write "guests'"?

Thanks to Susan H. for the photo.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Friday Sign of the Apocalypse: Workin' Hard for It Edition

The Progreso "Shcool" Board: They're working for our children, but not very well. [Corrected after sharp-eyed Steph hunted down the real way "Progreso" spells the school's name.]

Or, the school board that puts "cool" in school! Unfortunately, it doesn't belong there.

Thanks to Mike Clark for the photo.