Sometimes I think about things for no apparent reason. I feel like I’m channeling Bill Blazejowski, Michael Keaton’s character from the 1982 Ron Howard film Night Shift. “I’m an idea man, Chuck,” Keaton says to Henry Winkler’s character, “I get ideas all the time. I can’t stop them if I want to.” While Billy Blaze’s ideas included running a prostitution ring out of the city morgue where the two worked (the main plot of the movie) and feeding mayonnaise to live tuna in order to make the preparation process easier (call Star-Kist!), mine are more along the lines of “did you ever notice…” and “why is blank like this?” or “why isn’t blank like that?”
Deep Fried Oreo’s
There are a lot of things that simply annoy me. These leap to the forefront of my mind because I can’t help but notice them when I see them. They are often grammatical in nature. I believe I have written before about how the misuse of homonyms like “to, two, and too” or “there, their, and they’re” tend to drive me absolutely bugshit. They do so because getting them right doesn’t take any special smarts or expended thought. They follow very basic rules of the English language that we should have all learned before we left the third grade. The violation of our grammar laws I’m about to write about is another of those simple rules. YOU DO NOT MAKE A WORD PLURAL BY ADDING AN APOSTROPHE “S,” EVER!
This fourth of July (today, as I write this, most likely yesterday as you read it), my girlfriend Tara and I along with her two daughters and her oldest daughter’s boyfriend went to downtown Las Vegas to “The Fremont Street Experience” as it’s called here, to enjoy the holiday festivities. I love living in Vegas, by the way, because it is still the tackiest and gaudiest place you’re ever going to be able to visit in these United States. Though I’ve lived in Vegas for close to ten years now, I’ve only ever been down to the Fremont Street area once or twice. So I was wandering up and down the street taking in the sights and sounds just like a proper tourist.
The Fremont Street Experience is just that: an Experience. This comes not so much from the copious amounts of neon and glitz that Vegas is known for, nor from the impressive light show that plays on the giant dome that stretches the entire length of the area, but from the people who one encounters there. The tourists and lookey-loos are interesting enough, but the people there trying to make a buck are the real attractions. There are go-go dancers and showgirls trying to lure passers-by into their various clubs and casinos (I love this town), some who are working their way up the Vegas ladder and some who are on their way back down. I saw one woman dressed in the full feathery showgirl uniform handing strings of beads to people entering the shitty little casino where she was employed who had to be just this side of sixty. She was shaking everything she had right along with her much younger African-American showgirl counterpart to the sounds of
the nearby 80’s rock cover band (they murdered everyone from Van Halen to Bon Jovi and even performed a gut-wrenching rendition of The Beatles’ Come Together that should have been a criminal act) as if she was still in her 20’s. It was near here that I caught sight of the thing that offended my delicate sensibilities and respect for the English language so much. A sign over one little eatery advertised something that sounds so vile it could only have been created in America and sold in Vegas or the deep south: Deep Fried Oreo’s.
I wish I had snapped a picture of it to share here. I’m not sure if perhaps the sign itself belonged to the Oreos or if they were taking ownership in advance of the medical conditions such a snack is sure to cause (that heart attack is the Deep Fried Oreo’s, for sure), but surely whoever made the sign knows that to pluralize the proper noun Oreo, one only needs to add an “s,” right? Right? If you are one of those people who has to stop to think about whether to add an apostrophe and an “s” to a word to make it plural, please stop doing it. It just makes you look stupid to the rest of the world. In fact it makes you look like the kind of person who thinks a deep-fried Oreo is a good idea.
In 1992 the first Mortal Kombat game was released in arcades and quickly became immensely popular. Largely due to its over the top depictions of blood and gore as well as gruesome and often humorous (darkly so) finishing moves known as “Fatalities,” it also sparked much debate over the merits or harms of violent video games. As such it is often cited as the game most singly responsible for the creation of the ESRB (Entertainment Software Rating Board), the governing body which provides the video game ratings intended to guide parents in deciding what games are appropriate for their children to play.
But that’s not what I want to talk about here. What I want to discuss is the way that the game creators chose to spell the word “combat” with a “k.” This in itself did not offend my grammar Nazi tendencies at all, in fact I kind of enjoyed it. I also liked the way that the game would replace almost any “hard c” sound with a “k.” The game would even display the legend “Insert Koin” as opposed to “coin” on the screen while awaiting a new player. By that reasoning, however, shouldn’t the game’s yellow and black dressed ninja character have been known as “Skorpion” as opposed to the more correct spelling “Scorpion” which is actually used? I guess Ed Boon and John Tobias (the game’s kreators) were just not that, um, klever.
Too for the Show
Why the hell is there a “w” in the word “two?” Do we need a “wuh” sound in that word? “W” works in “weekend” and “word” and “White Wedding,” sure, but why oh why is it there in “two?” If it wasn’t I suppose that I wouldn’t have to lose my shit every time I see someone use the wrong form of “to,” “too,” or “two.” Although usually it’s the two other forms of to (or too) that people mess up. Wacky.
Doesn’t it just seem like the word “double” should have a double letter? “Doubble” or “dubble” just seems to make so much more sense. Just sayin’.
Hey, Your Umlaut is Showing
Doesn’t it also seem like the word “umlaut” should be spelled with one? “Umläut” just feels right, doesn’t it?
The Baddest, Blackest Motherfucker in the Galaxy
Will someone please settle this for me? Its something I’ve been wondering about for more than thirty years, but George Lucas won’t return my calls and the judge said I can no longer be within a hundred and fifty feet of him at any time.
How does Darth Vader go to the bathroom?