Traveling: Ruidoso, New Mexico

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We happen to have some great friends who invited us to share their cabin in Ruidoso, New Mexico, over Memorial Day. It was great fun and I also happened to spot some curious signs as we drove our way and around town. There was also a large meeting of the Bandidos, although we weren’t invited to their hang-out…. 🙂

So thought I’d share some of these finds with you:

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Seen in store window downtown.

(Above) – Appropriate for the area, methinks…

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(Above) – Groaning of my writing soul….

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Above – Using apostrophes comes with responsibility… 🙂

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I certify that all the above signs are truth… 🙂

And the local bookshop was great. Props to Books Etcetera for implementing their Book Blind Date idea…

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So, of course I had to buy a book (Support a local independent bookstore today!) I ended by buying New Yorker editor’s “Between You and Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen” by Mary Norris. Joy in my heart!

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I’d like a large serving of typos please…

Superhero and I are big believers in giving our consumer dollars to small local businesses when possible and so we went out to a new restaurant in town. As I scanned the menu, I happened to notice this:

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And this:

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And this popped up:

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With this one being my favorite:

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I’m not going to name names, but this was a particularly high achieving menu writer, I think.

Eats, Shoots and Leaves – Lynn Truss (2003)

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Subtitle: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation.

This was a re-read of a title that I had read back when it was first published (2003), and this was still quite a fun (if rather over-the-top) journey through one person’s (very focused) perspective on grammar and how it’s used today. It also reminded me why it’s good to maintain a semblance of balance in these things, and so although some reviewers may think that she’s way too persnickety, my thought was that Truss was really exaggerating to make a point. (Grammar still counts. It’s not the be-all and end-all, but it counts.)

I have a small collection of photos of mis-written signs that I happen to see around town, and as the collection builds up, I have started to see so many comma splices that I was wondering whether the stylistic rules had changed on the national landscape and I just hadn’t known about it. However, after further digging around, I learned that the rules haven’t changed – it’s just that the majority of sign writers don’t really get comma splices. (Phew. Thought I was getting really old there for a moment.)

Truss has a fun dry sense of humor, and her asides were frequently pretty funny. I did have to remember that there are some grammatical rule differences between the two sides of the Atlantic, and so when I came across something that Truss was saying was correct, and yet wasn’t correct in the U.S. writing world that I inhabit, it was a bit confusing. However, it really all boiled down to just national writing style book differences in the end.

I’m not sure that everyone would be that interested in reading an English  grammarian’s manifesto on careful writing, but as an editor and writer, this was a good read with the addition of a sly humo(u)r. Readers will learn about some basic grammar (plus more esoteric points) and get some funny snarky comments at the same time (which is not a common combination). Grammarians like fun too!

I enjoyed this re-read.

 

New Words to Me…

Typewriter keys

Espial – the act of sighting or discovering something
Chaunted – past tense word of verb “to chaunt” which means “to talk”
Colloquist – a conversational exchange or dialogue
• “Panting like a robin” – don’t know this one…
Moiety – one of two parts (not necessarily equal)
Staggerer – to walk unsteadily; to astound; to hesitate
• “Men of the stamp” – not sure about this one…
Stone staddles – large stones put under buildings etc to lift it above the ground (e.g. with granaries to prevent water damage and vermin). (See pic below.)
Ashtoreth – mood goddess of the Phoenicians; related to fertility
Iridurating – don’t know. (Added later: Further research refers to this in old Victorian medical journals (e.g. “the iridurating ulcer”.) I imagine it’s something revolting and involving pus, but I’m guessing!
Supererogatory – beyond the call of duty; superfluous
Tergivisation – evasion of straightforward action; equivocation; deserting of cause
Punctilios – observance/strict adherence of point of etiquette
Ixion’s punishment – Ixion was a king who was punished by Zeus for his love for Hera. Ixion was bound to an eternally revolving wheel in Tartaras
Syllogism (should know this one by now!) – deductive reasoning
Froward – habitually disposed to disobedience
Elymas the Sorcerer – Elymas was struck blind in biblical stories

(Taken from Hardy’s Far From the Madding Crowd.)

Better than a thousand hollow words, is one word that brings peace. — Buddha

Staddle stones (holding up the building) in Somerset. (Pic: Wiki.)

Staddle stones (holding up the building) in Somerset. (Pic: Wiki.)