it's called copy editing or manuscript editing, I can't remember

It has been creeping up on my radar for years now. Even in respectable deadtree publications where people know better, such as American Spectator's print edition, I see the misuse of the apostrophe, or the confusion of rein with reign. It's the tip of an ugly and unnecessary iceberg.

Just now, as the straw that broke this fatigued blogger's back, I saw a whacked apostrophe in a post regarding Natalee Holloway's disappearance. But I see them everywhere, in places where they should not occur, where literate folk do not expect them, and frankly, in places where their authors can ill afford.

I can solve your problems. I know how to use the apostrophe. I compel subject and verb to agree in number. I have mastered the plural, the posessive, and the plural posessive. If I review your work, any risk that you will be revealed as a cad and poseur will arise solely from the quality of your ideas, not from your grammar, punctuation, or spelling.

Such insurance, bought cheaply, has built empires for the likes of the National Review, NYT, WaPo . . . yet have they fallen, as they neglected such insurance. So shall you rise, humble blogger, if you cross my palm with silver.

Those troublesome commas can also be brought into line, or into compliance with Strunk and White; if you haven't the time nor inclination to do it for yourself, let me do it. I might not have the time but my inclination is abundant. What remains is the matter of compensation.

Difficulty with homonyms? To, two, too? I can tell the difference so you don't have to.

Spelling? Three-times running spelling bee champion of Podunk, Pennsylvania. If I misspell something it's from fatfingering. The spelling rules are embedded so deeply I cannot consciously affect them. I have Miss Glossner, Miss Strayer, and Mrs McGill to thank, and so can you.

Effect versus affect? I've got you covered.

So think about it. If you want to enter the Big Leagues, you want to show the deadtree Media that you Are In Fact All That And A Box Of Chicken---that not only do you write but that you Are Edited---I am the lever with which you can move the world. You supply the place to stand.

Mind you, it has to be worth my while. I have to be maintained in the manner to which I am accustomed. After all, only a cad and poseur ends a sentence with a proposition.

Not much point in making house payments any more, is there?

My hands shook with rage over lunchtime today after hearing how the Supremes ruled on Kelo. I uttered "son of a bitch" in the company of women and officers, and had to explain myself with uneven voice. They graciously understood. What stunned me was how little they were aware that this was even an issue in a court in our country.

No pretense of justice can now be entertained with respect to the five who ruled. Even Kennedy's hedging cannot be forgiven.

Cannot be forgiven.

Bouncing between Fox and CNN, it appears that only Fox gets it. Shepard Smith, him of the Purty Eyebrows, summarized the import of the Kelo ruling ably before a break.

What does not stun me is that commenters on this ruling, such as here, view the ruling as a competition between conservatism and liberalism.

I've got a few bucks to help ship people up Mrs Kelo's house for a sit-in. Apart from that, there is little left to contemplate, after Raich and now Kelo, except bitter agreement with this post.

That, and watching the real estate bubble burst.


Good news day for dysfunctional gun-nuts

Army Times announces that .45 ACP sidearms are coming back. No permalink available.

Airborne Combat Engineer describes a game of tastes-great/less-filling between proponents of the 6.8mm SPC and the 6.5mm Grendel as candidates for a new service rifle cartridge.

  • ACE quotes a critic of both cartridges, "In a barrel that length, some of the powder of both rounds will be wasted burning outside the barrel, displaying the firer's position to the enemy (except to the extent it can be hiden with a flash suppressor), and not helping the bullet move downrange rapidly." Utter bullshit. Some muzzle flash is inevitable. If Uncle Sugar changes to either of these cartridges, he has ample talent at his disposal to formulate a propellant load that burns efficiently before leaving the shorter barrel, if he has the sense to make that a requirement, and to make up his Soldiers' and Marines' minds on how long that barrel will be. That seems to have settled at 14.5 inches (agree, ACE?), which won't throw the Grendel to its full potential. It may suffice for the 6.8.

  • ACE notes: "The Alexander Arms site only says the '26 Grendel' (its name for the rifle which fires the 6.5mm Grendel) is 'under development,' which leads one to wonder why rifle introduced last May is not yet ready to be purchased." Does a complete AR-15 upper count? A bit salty at $939, I'll admit, and backordered until the end of this month, but I'd call that "available." Note also, it's a 24-incher. An 18" is listed by AA, but none shorter.

Another proposal sure to draw fire

After reading this post (see "point 1"), I now notice much more pointedly how English should be the only language of our Federal government's official business. Filing a Federal form? English only. Voting in an election that includes Federal candidates, or is financed in part by Federal money? English only.

If I were running for Senate (idle conjecture, mind you) and wanted to reach Latinos, would I speak Spanish to them? Of course, and I'd learn more of it than I know now to do so. But I'd be telling them that we need English as the official language for Federal business, and that the States can do what they want with their own money.

If more States were irked that the Federal government dictated spoken or written languages to them, maybe more of them would take Federalism seriously and turn away the Federal dollars that carry such strings with them. And the people of those States would suffer, or succeed, on the merits of their choices.

But I digress. Be ready to pick your jaw back up from the floor.

English should be the only language spoken in the American uniform.

I am finding myself training people in my own broken high-school Spanish, because when I speak to them in English they don't understand me. That is unacceptable. An occasional vamanos isn't irksome, but an entire conversation among trainees surely is. Potential mishandling of an expensive test instrument or a weapon would be catastrophic.

There may be a First Amendment problem with a DoD regulation mandating that all official military conduct take place in English, but I'd argue for a good-order-and-discipline exception, the same exception that covers the expressions of disrespect for superiors or disgrace of the uniform.

This is not motivated by any animus towards the language itself, nor the people who speak it. I've conducted business in Latin America, with and without translators, I like the pace of life I saw there, and I'd consider moving my family there for a year or two if my career called for it. But Uncle Sugar's uniformed services have acronyms, brevities, their own language as it were, for a good reason. And that language is based upon English. If you have not served, you might not understand the importance of this point, and any servicemember will be able to explain it to you.

It seems that I have also run afoul of Governor Lamm's eighth point, cited in Emigre's post. Que lastima.

And a belated welcome, Emigre, to the blogroll.

Update, mere hours later: D'oh. After asking around, I am told there already is such a DoD reg. Looking . . .


Wish lists, updated

We're launching two wish lists here at WUTT!, one the traditional Amazon-style, which we hopefully will build and link so that readers may browse to it and resupply Barbaloot with new Calphalon, if they become so generous.

The other, however, aspires to something less crass, literally less commercial, appealing to the nobler aspects of simple desire. This list will capture those things we long for, but cannot be bought with a PayPal account and delivered to a shipping address.

My first entry on this wish list: a live performance of the theme from Monsters, Inc somewhere in the south Denver suburbs.

My second entry on this wish list: to see Drew Carey and the Whose Line Is It Anyway? improvs do a variation on the Questions Only skit; instead of Questions Only, it will be song lyrics only. Each comic is limited to using lines from song from a given band or artist. Colin does Billy Idol, Ryan Stiles does Led Zeppelin, and Greg Proops does The Temptations.

Third: to hear Shania Twain perform a cover of Led Zeppelin's Hot Dog.

Fourth: another live performance of a Disney movie theme, The Incredibles.

Fifth (20080712): To hear and see Blue Man Group perform Depeche Mode's Policy of Truth.

Sixth (20110916): To hear R. Lee Ermy jody-call I Like To Move It Move It.

After-Christmas Wish List (updated)

Yet another list of Things I Want, now that Christmas is out of the way and the list is pretty much day late and dollar short. This list will grow as the year wears on, because someday it will be time for Christmas shopping again---or Our Birthday, Preciousss.

  1. A rappel harness and a couple of carabiners.
  2. Crankandstein grain mill

  3. A Dillon dress belt, 1-1/4", black. Strictly for Sunday churchgoing.
  4. A hard case for, er, golf clubs. Used would be just fine, as long as the hinges, latches, and locks are sound. Scratches and dings are OK.
  5. A Dobbshead apron for the X-Day cookouts.
  6. iWork
  7. A set of 500-lb rated Husky Hang-alls (this one qualifies for anniversary too)
  8. An in-car gun safe.
  9. A pair of Bionic Boots.



This Sosh Scurty privatization proposal sounds suspiciously like one by Durk Pearson in June '05's issue of Liberty (article not online, it's at p. 31 in the deadtree, to which you should be subscribing anyway).

It would create no new debt for the government because, unlike President Bush's proposal, the personal accounts would use only the surplus payroll taxes now flowing into the Treasury. That surplus will hit some $85 billion next year, and grow in succeeding years . . . Preventing that money from being 'raided' by a spendthrift Congress and White House could be enormously popular with a cynical public.
(HT Instapundit)

To this:
Simply return each worker's annual surplus payment in the form of a check marked "For deposit to a Social Security Roth IRA only" . . . The appearance of increased deficits from not allowing Congress to continue to steal the Social Security surplus from non-Social Security spending is not a cost of Social Security; it is a cost of a spendthrift Congress, and the blame should be placed right where it belongs---on those politicians who will not reform.

Yes, the DeMint-Graham-Santorum proposal uses the surplus to buy Treasuries, which Pearson disapproves because they would shift the moneys to a form of government debt, therefore a form of "I owe mes" that each worker writes out to himself. Pearson proposes Roths that channel the money back into the productive economy, rather than Ts that will have to be repaid by revenue taken from, in all likelihood, the same guy whose SS surplus bought them in the first place.

Still, I find it refreshing that some minds are still working at the SS problem and zeroing in on a particularly abusive aspect of the SS system, the misdirection of surpluses. I'd take pleasure in seeing that gigantic dripping teat being yanked from the lips of Congress.

Pearson's proposal also changes the incentive from early retirement to continuing productive work, anticipating significant advances in life extension. As they say, RTWT.