Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Writing (still) matters

 I’m not one of those writers who go looking for typos. I don’t point and giggle when I find them. But find them I do, everywhere I go.

You would think that computers wouldn’t allow typos, or misuse of grammar, or bad punctuation. Would Siri? I don’t know; I don’t have an iPhone, much less an iPhone 4S, but she seems like a benevolent computer interface who might let things slide.

Others—real people who live and breathe—aren’t always so forgiving. Twitter, Tumblr, and other social media sites have several “Poorly Proofed” accounts. It seems there’s no shortage of signs, posters, brochures, menus, and other printed material that need a sharp red pencil taken to them. Or the spotlight of public ridicule.

My own recent run-in came after visiting a new bakery in the area. Thank goodness I wasn’t greeted by the aroma being touted. "Step through our doors and be/ greeted by the aromas of our chefs/ custom cakes..." Without an apostrophe, this could easily be just a bunch of smelly cooks.

And, while we're at it, I’d like a single word or a hyphen for “mouth watering desserts” and to move the comma to the other side of “using.”

So, what did I say to the owner after skimming her brochure?

I’ll have a cruller, please.

It was delicious.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Shiny side up, pointy end forward

I’m aware of the irony in going to the Philadelphia Auto Show. We get in our own perfectly wonderful car. We navigate city traffic, where it’s stop-and-go because of all the cars. We jockey for parking, surrounded by a garage facility packed with cars. Then we pay an admission price so we can see more cars.

Ah, but these are shiny, new cars. And my husband is an autoholic. Here, we can touch all the buttons, sit in the seats, and breathe in that heady new-car smell. The Auto Show is even advertised as "a giant metal petting zoo."

My 2011 GTI is now last year’s model. It’s old news, even though there’s only 5,000 miles on it. Already my husband is on to the next new thing, and I think those Mini Coopers are awfully cute. But if past performance is any indicator of future buying patterns, I’m sticking with the GTI for the long haul. I held onto my last car, my beloved BMW 3 Series, for 13 years (and only 80,000 miles).

Considering that my husband just got his dream car last month – a sports car he’s been drooling over since he was a teenager – we’ve got our wheels for the foreseeable driving future. We just have to keep them on the road and safe from wacky, distracted drivers who have cell phones in one hand and hot coffee in the other.

As my husband promises every time he climbs into his 2005 Porche, he’s keeping the shiny side up, pointy end forward.