Of course it’s no longer news that George Carlin died yesterday. I saw him in concert once when I was in college. At the time I found his comedy really amusing, the play with words, the willingness to question things no one else would. Listening to interviews with him years later I came to have a better appreciation for the principles behind his comedy, and I’m glad I did.
Always do what’s next – – George Carlin, 1937-2008
I am not a linguist, a grammarian, or a teacher, nor do I play any of those on television. However, I am a good speller (city-wide champion in eighth-grade back in 1976 – – you do the math), and I try not to mistreat the English language too much. One thing I am especially careful not to do is to abuse apostrophes (commas and dashes are on their own, as you can see).
Sitting through a presentation yesterday I nearly lost consciousness after being beaten about the head and shoulders by apostrophes strewn around PowerPoint slides like dead bugs on a windshield (“tech’s” for “technicians,” “x’s” for “times,” for example). Whenever I see an apostrophe being abused I feel its (no, No, NO! not “it’s”) pain. A sign in someone’s front yard on the way home:
Puppy’s for sale
I wanted to march up to the front door and demand what belonged to the puppy that they were now offering for sale, and how the puppy felt about this. I didn’t, of course, because I really like having my own teeth (in my mouth, that is).
And in the supermarket bakery section:
But the worst offense to apostrophes, I believe, is in mistaking the second person possessive pronoun for the contraction of “you are.” I cringe when I see “your welcome” (what?) or “your my hero.”
Stop! Just stop!! Panda says NO!
Alright, alright, I admit it, I’m a stickler and a pedant. We all have our faults. Just ask Lynne Truss.
The latter part of May and early June are particularly crazy times, both at home and at work. So, I’m really not off the air for good, you see. It’s more like having concluded my broadcast day and taking a breather.
What? You don’t remember when TV stations used to sign off for the night? Well, now I feel really old.
Thanks a lot.