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.