Monday, January 25, 2010

Great Lines

I'm on my own here at the "end of the road", and I’ve taken to talking to the cat. This happens routinely if the Cowboy is away any length of time. Sometimes we have pretty good conversations. Other times, like this morning, I’m less than pleased with the cat, and he hears, “You're Not Playing Auntie Beth, Now!”

This is the line at my house that indicates, “I’m serious. I mean business.”

It all started about 25 years ago. My (then 6-year-old) son was just starting to play checkers. And for a 6-year-old, he was pretty good. His grandpa loved a good game of checkers, and agreed to a match with the new player.

Being a most proud mama, I explained to grandpa, that the kid was pretty good. “In fact,” I stated proudly, “He even beat Auntie Beth!”

Grandpa responded, with a twinkle in his eye, “Well, he’s not playin’ Auntie Beth, now!”

Grandpa was not at all the type to purposely make bad moves, in an effort to encourage a new player. No, no, not by a longshot. He was all business, and soundly beat the boy in a very few swift moves.

Fast forward ‘til today. After cleaning up a ‘mess’ on the sofa, I really meant it when I told the cat, “You’ll become a barn cat, if this ever happens again. You’re not playin’ Auntie Beth, now!”

And I mean it!

Friday, January 22, 2010

The Apostrophe Just Wants to be Your Friend

Some of you might know that I am completely apostrophe-obsessed. These tiny marks serve a large purpose in our written language; reading English riddled with apostrophe errors (or worse yet, with no apostrophes) is very difficult and distracting.

Recently, I learned that Birmingham, England, does not share my view on apostrophes. In an act of war on the Queen’s English, this city banned the use of apostrophes on road signs.

Does this make any sense to you? Apparently, the city fathers (surely they weren't women!)grew tired of complaints about apostrophe errors, and rather than encourage sign makers to learn something as important (and, might I add EASY?) as apostrophe use, they voted to abandon the apostrophe altogether. What message does that send to our students? If something is too hard, (whiny voice) you can just change the rules so you won’t have to bother with it.
If my community follows Birmingham’s lead, I will be the last person defending the poor apostrophe and its correct usage. Please join me. If you need to brush up, click here to check your own skill with the darling little apostrophe. I know you'll become good friends.

Imagine a world without apostrophes. I begin to hyperventilate -- just thinking about it.

And while I'm at it, please encourage your circle of friends to stop with the 'u' in their text messages. Two more letters won't kill them.