Monthly Archives: May 2011

iPad Inconsistency

Imagine my surprise when I was watching a commercial for the new iPad and heard the following:

“If you ask a parent, they might call it intuitive. If you ask a musician, they might call it inspiring …”

I realize Steve Jobs and the Apple folks have a lot to do – and they rely on their marketing/advertising department to promote their products. But who approves the advertising campaigns? Whose responsibility is it to make sure the content is not only true (no false advertising!) but grammatically correct?

Were I in charge (and clearly, I should be!), the script would read one of two ways:

“If you ask parents, they might call it intuitive. If you ask musicians, they might call it inspiring …”

OR

“If you ask a parent, he might call it intuitive. If you ask a musician, she might call it inspiring …”

Singular or plural – pick one or the other – but please, not both!

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Me, myself, and I

photo courtesy of Ani-Bee

I should never watch TV, because out of the mouths of babes, Biebers, and billionaires is such a butchery of the English language that I want to jump through my new LED flatscreen and choke the abuser … make that abusers.

Me and my friends is used so frequently that I’ve lost count. (The correct phrase is my friends and I for those who aren’t quite sure what upsets me so!) Celebrity reality shows, on-the-street news interviews, morning news programs are rampant with it. At first, I found myself forgiving the speaker, thinking that perhaps the individual was nervous and uncomfortable. But then it occurred to me: why should bad grammar ever be excused? If I were being held up at gunpoint, would I blurt out, “Me and my friends will give you all the money we have!”? I’d rather be shot.

To make matters worse, as I watched one of my favorites, Law & Order: Los Angeles, I was astounded to hear a detective say, “Me and my partner are going …” Aaagh! This was not an ad-lib, live show, which means these words were in the script. So now I wonder, was the script grammatically incorrect because the scriptwriter didn’t know any better, or because the writer thought it was more authentic – meaning this is how real detectives talk?

Can me, myself, and I make a citizen’s arrest?

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Remembering Henrietta

Thought I’d share my review of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, which was just posted in the Las Vegas ReviewJournal’s Book Nook. A change of pace for me – and a wonderful respite from editing!

‘Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks’ by Rebecca Skloot
Posted by Jami Carpenter, Las Vegas Review-Journal guest reviewer
Monday, May. 09, 2011 at 05:00 AM

At first glance, “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” is a scientific journal, chronicling the story of cells taken from a poor black woman dying of cancer in 1951 and cultured — thriving, reproducing, and surviving more than half a century later.

But this book is so much more. Through years of research, interviews and investigative journalism, author Rebecca Skloot has written a passionate story that brings Henrietta — as well as her cells — to life. With infinite patience, she uncovers the truth about Henrietta, the unwitting donor behind HeLa, her remarkable cells that have impacted scientific and medical research so profoundly.

With unfaltering perseverance, Skloot tracks down the remnants of Henrietta’s family, learning of Henrietta’s strength as she and her husband struggled to raise five children, as she silently battled cancer, as the family fell apart after her death.

Skloot recalls her early fascination with HeLa, her decision to one day learn and write about the woman behind the cells. She speaks of the inequities of the time, when poor blacks were subjected to experimental medical treatment and substandard care. Skloot never wavers in her quest to help Henrietta’s children get their mother the recognition she deserves, though the family is bitter and wary and often resistant. Eventually, Skloot gains acceptance and earns respect from the family, making good on her promise to expose the medical community’s disregard of Henrietta’s — and other patients’ — rights, setting the record straight and changing policies for the future.

We are introduced to the many doctors and researchers who worked with Henrietta’s cells, and with Skloot’s skillful writing, we understand the complexities of cell culturing and can appreciate the moral and ethical dilemmas of the groundbreaking research of the era. Rebecca Skloot has given us a gut-wrenching, and ultimately, triumphant story of a tiny woman whose contribution made a big impact on the quality of all our lives.

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Be Forewarned

This was sent to me via email …  a little anecdote that illustrates a grammatical point quite effectively!

On his seventy-fifth birthday, a man was given a gift certificate from his wife. The
certificate was for a visit to a medicine man living nearby who was rumored
to have a wonderful cure for erectile dysfunction.

After thinking about it, he decided to give it a try. He went to the medicine man and
gave him the certificate. The old man handed him a potion, and gripping his shoulder,
warned: “This is a powerful medicine. You take only a teaspoonful, and then say
‘1-2-3.’ As soon as you do, you will become more manly than you have ever been
in your life, and you can perform as long as you want.”

Photo by Auntie P

The man was encouraged. As he walked away, he turned and asked, “How do I stop
the medicine from working?”

“Your partner must say ‘1-2-3-4,'” he responded, “but when she does, the
medicine will not work again until the next full moon.”

He raced home, showered, shaved, took a spoonful of the medicine, and then invited
his wife to join him in the bedroom. When she came in, he took off his clothes
and said, “1-2-3!” Immediately, he was the manliest of men.

His wife began throwing off her clothes, and then asked, “What was the 1-2-3 for?”

This, my friends, is what happens when you end a sentence with a preposition … a dangling participle.

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