Monday, May 28, 2012

A defense that can win

Found online: But even with improvement, this is not going to be a defense that can won't win games on its own.

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Headline: Cat caught vs. cat survives

Newspaper headline: Cat caught in steel trap survives

This headline forced me to re-read it. "Cat caught in steel trap" is a nominal here, and I think it would read better this way:

Cat survives jaws of steel trap

Survives works better up front. What do you think?

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Sunday, May 27, 2012

Where was his finger?

I once read a story that said that someone "went to work with a jammed finger on his hand."

Yes, he had a jammed finger on his hand. Where else would it be? On his head? If he'd said "left hand," that would have been fine. More information and welcome. But he didn't.

Similarly, I read a novel recently in which the writer wrote "He looked back and waved his hand." Again, what else would he have waved? His left ear?

The first guy had a jammed finger; the second guy waved. End of story.

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Nearly alone in the newsroom

Years ago, I was the slot guy for the sports section two or three (or more) nights a week. I was in charge of deciding what went on each page. I'd hand out assignments to the other copy editors, lay out the sports front and the jump page, and backread the stories that the other editors edited.

I went in a little early one afternoon, and there was one person in the sports department. The prep (high school) writer came in during the afternoon, and he thought he was going home early. He didn't own a car, and getting an early ride was important to him.

On any given night, at least one person was supposed to be helping me. I think I was supposed to have two copy editors on this night. 

By five o'clock, it was obvious I wasn't going to have any help, and I told a protesting Jack that he had to stay to help. I got the managing editor to take my place in the budget meeting, and I had a page laid out by the time she got out of the meeting.

Every few minutes, Jack would say he had to go home; each time, I said no ... emphatically.

 It was baseball season, and we had three editions. I flailed through three editions and six or more mostly open pages, and Jack took 67 inches of state and area report by telephone. Jack, who was probably disgusted with me at this point, was gone right after first edition came out. I answered phones after he left, and I was late for two of the three editions.

The next day, no one asked me what had happened, and no one complained that I'd been late.

 If they had, I'd have raised hell. IT AIN'T SUPPOSED TO BE THAT WAY!

P.S.:  Interestingly, the night editor at the local newspaper went through the same thing (although he wasn't laying out pages, as I was, and he didn't have as many phones to answer as we did). He found humor in it; I never have. It was the night from hell.

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Monday, May 21, 2012

Simple edit

Found online: Some of Robin's health problems seemed to echo the maladies suffered earlier by Maurice -- who was his twin.

I'd edit the last part of that sentence; you don't need the dash.

Some of Robin's health problems seemed to echo the maladies suffered earlier by Maurice, his twin.

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