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Grammar
  • The Obamas' First State Dinner Was Lovely, Except for the Gaffes

    state-dinner-obama-tables
    As if our president hasn't humiliated America enough lately, now this, from last night's state dinner honoring Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh…

    The special dinner menu — a lavish mélange of Indian and American favorites as well as several excellent wines — was rife with typos.

    For their third course, the 320 guests who attended the event were offered a dish that, according to the menu, included potato dumplings with tomato chutney and "chick peas," which should in fact have been "chickpeas." That course, the menu noted, was paired with an excellent red wine, a "2007 Granache" from Beckmen Vineyards. One of the most widely planted varieties of red grape in the world, the correct spelling for the popular varietal is actually "Grenache," with only one "a," not two.

    I have no idea how such a travesty slipped past the White House — perhaps Sasha and Malia were allowed to type up the menus, for extra credit at school? — but I do know that one of you patriots needs to download this 2,074-page health care bill and proofread it immediately.

    Because if there's one thing Americans won't tolerate, it's an assault on the English language.


    Tags: Barack Obama, Grammar, India, Michelle Obama, White House
  • Levi Johnston "Writes" "Journalism" About Sarah Palin, Because of Course

    levi-johnston-red-carpetI suppose it is our duty to address the new Vanity Fair article "written" by Alaskan humping enthusiast Levi Johnston, because it promises to "turn a number of commonly held beliefs about [Sarah Palin]… upside down," and that sounds exciting, in an as-told-to kind of way.

    So do we learn that Sarah Palin is, in fact, the author of several economics textbooks? Do we discover that she has been studying foreign policy, or English grammar, in a secret office under a hockey rink? Well, no. We "learn" that Sarah Palin is a hypocritical twit who spends most of her time thinking up ways to become more famous and/or wealthy, which, wow, that sure turns a lot of commonly held beliefs about the former governor the opposite of upside down.

    I'm sure Levi Johnston "wrote" this "scoop" for reasons completely unrelated to any desire to become more famous and/or wealthy himself, and certainly he'll only take off his pants for Playgirl because of moral obligation, so to thank this young buck for service to his country, I've coined a new word in his honor:

    john·ston (jŏn'stən) noun. A thing that holds a prominent place in American culture for reasons that seem increasingly insignificant the more prominent the thing becomes; a thing whose contribution to American culture is, largely, to prompt discussion about whether or not the thing deserves to have a place in American culture.

    Feel free to use it yourself, in sentences also too — or just tell it to other people and have them write it down for you. Enjoy!


    Tags: Alaska, Grammar, Levi Johnston, Sarah Palin
  • Why Does Barack Obama Keep Answering Questions with Words?

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    He may or may not have quit smoking, but one thing's for certain: Barack Obama is an adjective-crushing, preposition-popping, verb-snorting, noun-mainlining word addict. Big words, small words, compound words, hell, it doesn't matter to him.

    As Fox News reveals, the president simply can't stop using words, even in public

    A look at President Obama's health care "town hall" Tuesday in Portsmouth, N.H., shows the president out-spoke his audience by a ratio of nearly 9-to-1.

    Here's the scorecard. Obama: 8,619 words. Audience: 1,186 words.

    That's hardly the kind of even-handed exchange of ideas that marked the town meetings of colonial America.

    Exactly! If this had been a real town hall meeting in the colonial tradition, Barack Obama would have sat there quietly and listened while the citizens of Portsmouth told him what to do, because that is what representative democracy is all about.

    And then everybody would have died of smallpox.


    Tags: Barack Obama, Fox, Grammar, New Hampshire, Town Hall
  • Will You Be Watching Barack Obama's Speech With a Red Pen?

    barackobama11Tonight, as you know, is President Obama's State of the Union-ish address (and the Indecision liveblog-ish liveblog). And given the current state of the union, the pressure is high. On him, not us…

    When President Obama speaks before Congress and the nation tonight, he will be facing some of his toughest critics.

    Grammar junkies.

    Telltale signs of a grammar junkie include semicolon-shaped track marks and dangling participles hidden under the bed along with "the works" (various editions of Strunk and White). They'll turn down social invitations to stay home and snort adverbs with the shades drawn.

    Since his election, the president has been roundly criticized by bloggers for using "I" instead of "me" in phrases like "a very personal decision for Michelle and I" or "the main disagreement with John and I" or "graciously invited Michelle and I."

    …A related crime that Mr. Obama stands accused of is using "myself" to dodge the "I"-versus-"me" issue, as when he spoke last November of "a substantive conversation between myself and the president." The standard practice here is to use "myself" for emphasis or to refer to the speaker ("I’ll do it myself"), not merely as a substitute for "me."

    Yes, well. These are important criticisms, but considering the aforementioned state of the union, I'm willing to give the guy a temporary pass on grammar and usage. Just this once.

    Tonight, there's only thing Barack Obama needs to say: "Me fix country. You no worry, guys. Me fix economy real fast so no recession." For all I care, he can say this using gestures, Pictionary, interpretive dance or a freestyle rap backed by Michael Steele and the Funky Bunch.

    As long as he says it.


    Tags: Barack Obama, Grammar