How to start a flame war about grammar and the World Cup

Warning, petty bitching ahead. I harbor a real pet peeve for people who go about criticizing the 'grammer' of others when they can't master the teensy little basics. Mind, I'm not usually at the receiving end of such silliness personally. I am, however, subject to it in a broader sense in that many flame wars over 'u' usually include a variation on the 'All Americans' theme.

It's then I feel a patriotic duty to point out that usually the originator of such comments isn't exactly a sparkly clean example of perfection for Writing 121 and you shouldn't target Americans for grammar disrepute when so many foreigners do the same! Holy crap, people who aren't American sometimes write isnt instead of isn't. Who knew?

In fact, many of the comments about Americans on the Internet by people who aren't even from the United States actually look like this:

RWB | June 9th, 2006 at 9:31 am

what a web site.
american ignorance at it’s best, besides the week grammer.
americans cant resonate with the rest of the world.

Note the incorrect punctuation, the contraction where no contraction was needed, the mispellings of 'weak' and er, grammar. The whole comment looks like a 5th grader scribbled it down in retaliation for someone saying they look retarded. In fact it was in response to a a post on the World Cup blog about an anti World Cup blog.*

I know, I'm at a loss as well.

So, I retaliate and hopefully point out how silly it is to pick on writing ability when one has virtually no grasp of English themselves:


It’s weak not week.

Americans not americans.

Can’t not cant

Best of all, it’s GRAMMAR and not GRAMMER.

We not be able to resonate but at least we know our contractions from a hole in the ground.*

* This comment brought to you by people criticizing the grammatical skills of others when they can’t manage the basics themselves.

Anyway, go USA, I hope you make it out of Group E.

I thought that was the end of it. He (assuming) didn't say anything until today when I received this little gem mailed to me from the comments.

I can't stop laughing.

How can you bitch about someone grammar when this person's mother tongue isnt english. especially to say that its not "cant" but "can't". By the way, its "can not" when your writing, but even though, me too in this comment, i wrote "isnt" instead of "isn't", "your" instead of "you're", or "its" instead of "it's". We are not writing a novel but just some FAST comments.
The day u can write turkish without even one mistake, u'll be able to bitch. And believe me, im learning this language as we speack and its a pain in the ass asian language. So for them, english is a pain in the ass european language. And "grammar" is written "gramer" in turkish (they got some french influence) so you can forgive him his few small mistakes... And dont even start bitching about my english, except of course if u (oops, i meant "you") speack and write perfect french (my mother tongue).

I love the references to 'this person,' like it's not actually the same person. Am I being ganged up on by two people who don't know how to use question marks? Or what contractions are? But apparently speediness precludes appropriate use of apostrophes. I didn't know. I also like how they think I'm really passionate about English and how it's written, when in reality I'm only invested for the amusement.

* No, I'm not sure why it's necessary either. Most of my countrymen don't care anyway right? So, someone writing about how they don't like the World Cup on a very small blog shouldn't matter then. At least that's the way I think.

Neighbors from hell

For the last 5 years I've enjoyed the auditory version of the taste of vomit blasting through our walls. I've done everything right, I think but am now really at the end of my tether with my neighbors. They've taken to fighting in the streets now, instead of just pissing their music taste all over our block. So not only are they noisey, they're also violent and stupid. Such prime examples of humanity.

For the full outline, here's my post at nfh.org.uk (Neighbors from Hell) and any subsequent advice I may receive. The long version is at my Livejournal under the neighbors tag. Any advice or suggestions for brutal retaliation would be more than welcome.

Cancel the account! AOL John

What happens when you try and cancel an AOL account. (Link goes to the Consumerist.)

I had to listen to it twice it's so funny.


Powell's redux

I received an absolutely lovely e-mail from Beth in customer services today. Well needed considering my (warning, full of foul language that has my LJ banned by more than a few work places)Monday start wasn't so fantastic.

My name is Beth [edited]

I just saw your blog post about missing Portland and Powell’s…….

Being a Powell’s nerd, too –even though I work here – I really enjoyed reading the post.

Coupled with Willametting by mimi in NY, I've reminded of precisely how nice the people are, cheap the beer is and how much my favorite bookstore rocks.

It's no wonder why people get and want to get stuck in Portland.



Powell's City Of Books

One of the things that inspires my homesick whimsy is Powell's City of Books. When I was a high school student I spent many an afternoon sitting cross legged in one of its sections, pouring over books. Then we learned that we could take books into the coffee lounge to read them whilst we sipped a lovely beverage and that we did. My friends played chess whilst I looked through whatever subject had stricken my fancy that day. When we go home for a visit, a trip to Powell's is the lifeblood and justification of our ticket prices. (Besides family and friends, obviously.)

So strong is my love of Powell's and its reminders of home that I carry at least one of their branded water bottles with me at all times. To you it may sound sad, to me it's a pleasant reminder that big bookstores still lurk, musty shelves still stand and condescending employees still purchase just off Burnside back home. It makes me smile. It makes me a nerd. It makes me happy.

When the LA Times says that Powell's has some fierce customer loyalty, they're talking about people much worse (better?) than me.

via the Consumerist

Happy Hell Day!

Happy Hell Day everyone.

I have documented this historical calendar moment for the offspring with this photo:

Unfortunately I'll probably need to continually upgrade it because the jpg format will die. Like everything else.

Also, note that the apocalypse hasn't happened yet. That could be owed to the West Coast not yet being awake... I doubt it though.


How to write articles for female gamers.

Nothing quite makes me froth like reading the pretentious musings of some baneful boy about why more 'girls don't game.' Never mind that we make up around 49% of the industry if you include Arcade games and their ilk. Forget that I was playing Quake when many of these young buck bloggers were still in grade school. And there seems to be an amnesia about a close friend of mine doing some important work for the XBox live project. There's a huge gaping void in the shape of a vagina where female gamers should be. No doubt due to our insecurities about Lara Croft's titties. I mean, how could we possibly enjoy games when there's such a plethora of breasts in some titles?

Richard Cobbett has created the perfect guide to writing about women gamers. It is quite good. And remember that you can't possibly disagree with me for I have ultimate female voice authority.


Amir's girlfriends, the origin of Sam and Christina

Much speculation has come of the origin of Amir's photos. Are they just downloaded porn? Does the little scamp have friends? Well, one intrepid commenter on the comment blog has discovered who two of the lovely ladies are.

1/2 of Sam and Christina have this website over at AOL. Guessing by the writing style (LOL, WTF <3) and the prom pictures, these are very young ladies indeed. But at least the site seems like a graduation missive of some kind, so they may just be legal.

Way to go Lawboy1976 :)

Kitzhaber and the Archimedes Vision

When I start to get wistful for the green trees and rain of home, Mom reminds me that I have something here in the UK many Americans currently don't: free healthcare. It's not exactly free, 26% of my income goes to the UK government in one form or the other which doesn't include Value Added Tax. It could also be debated by its detractors as to whether it's actually healthcare but instead health harm with the concern over atrocious hospital hygiene spawned superbugs. But at least I have it and that's not something to take for granted.

And besides, despite the expense and the potential for mistakes from overworked and poorly trained staff, they have kept me from dying from asthma attacks. I haven't had any preventative medicine, investigations into the source of my asthma, or follow ups with my GP but the nurse has me blow in a tube every 6 months and they keep giving me prescriptions I pay a lowly 6 GBP for. So that's something.

I also have the confidence that if I break a leg or an arm that someone may eventually get to setting it. I know that if I have breast cancer that I may or may not get some Herceptin. In contrast to the US though, I don't have to fight my HMO for Salbutamol. I can schedule my lady appointments with abandon and know that I have a decent chance of getting accurate results from my smears. My trepidation about going to the doctor doesn't stem from potentially bankrupting charges but whether I'll be able to understand their advice.

It's surely better than nothing?

Yet I remain convinced there must be a middle ground between a failing public service and an expensive corporate system. And others do as well, former Oregon governor John Kitzhaberthe man behind the Oregon Health Plan has an end result in mind for healthcare coverage for all Oregonians. No plan just yet, he's still trying to convince people that basic health cover is something that should be a right. But he has the seed and he wants that seed to germinate into policy. It will be interesting to see if Oregon can manage to prevent and overcome the problems of other socialized healthcare systems. I hope so, then it will at least be proven as a viable option instead of a decaying dinosaur of socialist principles past.

The Vision

1. The goal of our health system should be health, not just the financing and delivery of health care services.
2. As the means to that end, all of us must have timely access to at least a basic set of effective health services.
3. Our vision involves an effort to reallocate only public resources in a way that maximizes the health benefit across the population.
4. The part of the health care system financed with public resources should be organized along the lines of the “Public Education Model,” which is posted on our website.

Archimedes Movement


Do not buy David Pogue of the NYT anything for Christmas.

David Pogue has had an awful time with a Magellan RoadMate 300 he was given as a gift for Christmas. Yet, instead of making apologetic grunts about how bad he is with some form of technology everyone hates when asked about it, he instead decided to post a rant in his New York Times blog about how much he hated it.

With the following advice for all and sundry:
For the gift-giver: Do your research. Read the customer reviews. Beware outdated products on store shelves.

I have my own advice for the giftee, if you couldn't stand to keep your dislike to yourself, how about having a quiet word? You know, instead of splattering it all over the Internet.

Vigilante Week: Von Erck and Perverted-Justice.com

The current edition of a free weekly in my home town, Willamette Week has a story about another example of web vigilante justice. Von Erck runs Perverted-Justice.com, a website aimed at rooting out pedophiles on the Internet.

Sounds noble right? But like Laptop Guy's detractors over his tactics to get revenge on Amir, Von Erck has his own critics. Corrupted Justice would have you believe that the tactics of Perverted Justice's operatives are akin to entrapment and are, above all else, completely immoral.

We are simply concerned parents, computer experts, students, activists, and primarily, very concerned citizens. We strongly believe in the concept of the rule of law, and do not believe ANY group, regardless of the evil they purport to combat, is justified in trampling the rule of law by the use of intimidation, public humiliation and harassment. We mean to see it stopped.

It could be argued that what PJ does is appropriate. After all, if they weren't preying on the innocent, then surely they wouldn't be found in that position at all? It isn't like the PJ guys are inventing the chat logs they post. These guys are out there combing for vulnerable kids and law enforcement doesn't always have the resources. Surely, us citizenly types should get involved as well?

Share it