Faulty Pleasure

I’ve needed intermittent breaks from the flood cleanup, and so I selected an Indie-published space opera series to read for that purpose, forsaking all other reading–light, inconsequential, fun.

But fun marred by faulty execution. Oh, the plots are typical light space opera and the characters stalwart heroes and evil villains, etc. All Flash Gordon/Doc Smith Lensman (without the superman/superwoman aspect) type plots, etc. IOW, just good light fun.

Except. The writer bragged on his editor. That’s an almost sure sign that both the writer and his editor are not formally literate, and have a disconnect between their verbal fluency and subliteracy, evidenced in writer errors of grammar, punctuation, word misusage, and more that survive the “editing” process to publication.

And that’s a shame, because the books are otherwise quite enjoyable, light fare, something the writer stated he was aiming for.

Oh, well. It’s still better than discarding soaked boxes of books, ripping up and discarding carpeting, bleaching walls and floors, and more. And. . . all the errors actually provide a distraction of their own. *heh*

OK, one example of so very FREAKING many:

“A bright blaze of color shown from a split in the corpse’s suit.”

Shone (although “shined” would be preferable) or showed? Which did the writer intend with his misuse of “shown”? One can guess, but unless the writer (or at least his editor) improves his written vocabulary, one can only guess.


Signs of Subliteracy

Here’s one. When folks either misuse a word entirely (“effect” for “affect” for but one of many examples) or spell words phonetically (or nearly), it’s a pretty good sign that their literacy skills are pretty thin.

For example, I saw “amuck” used by someone whose verbal vocabulary exceeds his literacy. The word he was groping for, of course, was “amok.” (It’s a fascinating word.) I’m willing to give folks credit for trying, but I’d really rather folks used words they actually KNOW (as a result of good literacy) than spout off with words they really don’t know at all.

Actually, I’d be more charitable had the fellow typed, “amuk,” since that’s an early 17th Century variant spelling. Both spellings derived, of course, from “amuco.”

Oh, and yes I do know that some contemporary folks are arguing for “amuck,” but that’s really just because they’re too lazy to learn how to spell and use words well.

Danger! Danger!

Back when I was a lad, I used to have some seriously dangerous thoughts. For example, driving “into town,” as I thought of it, in my ’53 Chevy, there was a place in the road where the road curved to the left and ascended a wee bit. To the right, just over the curb and a wee bit of verge was an arroyo. Every now and then I wondered what it would be like to just keep going straight and launch myself off the roadway. Oh, these weren’t serious thoughts, and I was in no way (consciously) suicidal, but every now and then. . .

This morning, I had another such “dangerous thought” as I reached into the fridge to get the cream for our coffees. I almost picked up the buttermilk thinking, “I wonder what buttermilk in coffee would taste like?”



Lessons Learned

*sigh* Signed up for a writer’s email list in order to get a free “prequel” to a giveaway novel. That’s two freebies–coulda been pretty sweet, but. . . Read the prequel. *meh* So-so. Too many places where it was skimmed by incompetent (or no) editing, after having been written by a Dunning-Kruger-ite who thought he knew what too many words meant that he did NOT know the meanings of (well, either that or he was just intentionally writing gibberish in those places).

Got my first list emails. Yeh, incompetent writer goes on and on about how he’s trying to “change the world” with books that “mean something” (whatever THAT means). Yeh, didn’t read the freebie novel. The freebie novella was enough to convince me, but a fiction writer who isn’t FIRST concerned with being a good storyteller and writer is only, at best, going to change the world for the worse if his writing succeeds at anything at all.

Takeaway: sometimes “freebies” are more costly than they at first seem. I’ll never have back the time I spent on the novella or reading two of this writer’s emails.

Shoulda known, though. He refers to himself as “Author [So-and-so]”–an almost sure sign of an unconscious insecurity (based on REAL incompetence) covered over with a casually assumed expression of self-importance.

Law Enfarcement in America’s Third World County™

Just another *cough* typical *cough* interaction with putative “law enforcement” in America’s Third World County™. . .

[Phone rings]

Me: Hello.
Caller: This is [some redneck] with the [Third World County™] Sheriff’s Department. What can I do for you?
Me: You called _me_. What do you want?
Caller: Dispatch gave me your name and number and told me you requested a call.
Me: What name?
Caller: Junior [Redacted].
Me: Junior [Redacted] lives two miles from me. What number did dispatch give you?
Caller: [recites my landline number]
Me: That’s not Junior [Redacted]’s number.
Caller: Sorry.
Me: *click*

I should have asked if dispatched was referring to Junior [Redacted] or Junior [Redacted] Junior, his son, although they live (lived? Is Junior [Redacted] still among the “quick”?) in “manufactured homes” catty-cornered from each other. . . (and Junior [Redacted] Junior now runs the family business).

Dangerous to Whom?

The Puffington Host touts the bill referenced in the linked article as “The Most Dangerous Bill You’ve Never Heard Of.” Dangerous to whom? Certainly not to citizens who are concerned about the tsunami of “feddle gummint” encroachment on their rights. Hmmm, must be dangerous to statists and other anacho-tyrannists. . .

This bill is barely a start on reversing the illegitimate encroachment on God-given rights that darned near the whole apparatus of the “feddle gummint bureaucrappy” has become.

*meh* What Do I Know, Anyway?

Confession: I saw “It’s a Wonderful Life” once, when I was 18. Didn’t like it. I found it to be too artificially manipulative and full of stereotypes. The plot was also dissatisfying.

It’s a lousy Christmas movie.

*shrugs* What do I know, anyway. . .

Med Services as an Example of What Is Wrong With Society

After my Wonder Woman’s recent adventures in things medical, where every person asked the same questions over and over, in order to fill out yet another form (when multiple times the same questions had been asked, answered and entered into electronic databases), I am thinking of having a “medalert tag” made that says something on the order of,

“No known allergies to any medications. Severely allergic to being asked the same questions over and over. Will charge $100 for each time the same question is asked when it has been previously answered.”

I understand the “cover your ass” aspect of our current med system, brought on by stupid legal practices that are counterproductive for everyone but lawyers, and by (mostly) “feddle gummint bureaucrappic” interference in medical services, but really? Assholes asking the same question that has been asked by someone else and answered IN THEIR PRESENCE?

OK, maybe I can abate my charges a bit and only charge $50 for every 15 minutes of bullshit. *heh*

Pop Culture Is “Misunderedumacated”

Two simple examples:

Geographical “illiteracy”: time after time on “remodeling” or “house flip” shows, folks referring to a peninsula as an “island.” Sometimes, folks’ll refer to the same feature as both. Folks who have no concept of the difference between a peninsula and an island are illiterate.

N.B. “Material literacy“. . . ain’t. Literacy, that is. Having common, ordinary, everyday words in one’s (written or verbal) vocabulary and not knowing what those words mean? Yeh, “misunderedumacated.”

Here’s another very simple example, though just one of many in the long, long list of words people use without even knowing what they are saying: lay vs. lie:

“Lay” takes a direct object: one lays down a book. “Lie” takes a subject: I lie down on the sofa.

The (simple) past tense of “lay” is “laid.” The (simple) past tense of “lie” is “lay” or when “lie” is used in the sense of “wittingly utter a falsehood” the (simple) past tense is “lied.” At least the past participles are easier: lay?[has/had/have] laid; lie?[has/had/have] lain; lie (utter falsehood)?[has/had/have] lied. *heh*

Ain’t English fun?

If you ever have trouble remembering which to use–lay or lie–just remember: Bob Dylan got it wrong. “Lay, lady, lay, lay across my big brass bed. . . ” would have had red pencil through each of the “lays” had he submitted it in an English class. . . if the teacher had been literate, that is. 😉

BTW, the “subject/object” issue raises its ugly head all over the place, but it’s especially glaring when people use the first person personal pronoun,”I,” in an objective position, when “me” is called for.

It’s just people who aren’t really literate showing their “misunderedumacation.”