Monday, August 18, 2008

Last Vacation Day

Last vacation day for awhile. Tomorrow I have to go back to that Evil Place and shuffle papers. Oh well, things could be worse.

I feel a lot better than I did earlier. Just needed more sleep, I guess.

Heard from DF today; haven't heard from him in a long time. He's doing well, and we both promised we'd do better about staying connected. The sad thing is that we both really, really mean it.

I thought I heard the dog next door barking Thursday night, when I got home, but I haven't heard it since. Or seen it. I hope they're keeping it inside, not letting it run loose in hopes it'll run away and no longer be a problem for them. Maybe they don't know what happens when a dog ends up in the pound. Cute dog, too; kinda boxer and mutt mix -- loud bark but very friendly. People who don't take care of their animals are not people I want to know.

Finished maybe half of The Gift, and I highly recommend it to anyone with any amount of creativity whatsoever -- which means everyone. It's about, as Baron put it, the anthropology of poetry, but it's about more than that. It's a way of understanding and learning to live with what is valued in our society and what is not -- without diminishing the two.

And I am still trudging through The Art of the Personal Essay by Philip Lopate. It's in choronological order, and around about RL Stevenson I skipped ahead. The language in the earlier English stuff is too ornate for me, though I appreciate its value within its own time. I liked Seneca and the early Greek works.

I dread going back to work and seeing the English language butchered by people who truly believe themselves to be great editors and writers. When in reality they don't have a clue. Take capitalization, for example. The title of a job is NOT capitalized unless it's directly attached to the person holding that job. Chief medical officer is not capitalized unless it's Alice Doe, Chief Medical Officer. Yet these poor souls capitalize stuff like that repeatedly. More suck-up value. They don't capitalize nurse or technician or manager (and consistency is the first thing you learn as an editor). And when I refuse to capitalize non-proper nouns I get told I'm wrong and don't know what I'm talking about and to just do what the ignorant tell me to do. I refer them to any book on basic grammar, but of course, they already know everything and don't need to look it up.

I've heard people say that any noun preceded by "the" is automatically a proper noun and should be capitalized. And any title is a proper noun. Where on earth do people get this stuff?

A lot of it is stylistic, based on who makes the most money. Nurse isn't capitalized because they're mostly women and don't make as much as the male chief medical officer. It's as simple as that.

Earlier this year I came across a blog about Humphrey the parrot. His last entry was about being moved from England to America, and about being sick after quarantine. At least once every week or so I'd check on the blog to see how he was doing, but there were never any updates. The latest issue of Bird Talk reprinted some correspondence about a woman adopting a special needs bird of the same species as her parrot Humphrey, who had died six days after the last date of the blog. I wrote Bird Talk to forward a note to her. It was obvious from the blogs how loved and cherished Humphrey was, and when the owner said he was the light of her life and that his death devastated her, I knew she wasn't exaggerating. I'll take his blog off my bookmark list now.

I decided, at 10:47 am, to go to the movies today. It always feels so decadent to go to the movies during a work day. I went to see Brideshead Revisited, which I haven't seen in decades -- so long ago with Jeremy Irons that I'd forgotten what it's about.

Why is it that great literary works of art nearly always involve dysfunctional families?

1 comment:

Mary said...

Of course I have to preface this by saying I'm sure I've made mistakes on my blog, but I totally hear your frustration with poor writing!

I joined the Society for the Promotion of Good Grammar (free; they send occasional e-mails). You might find their blog funny.

I go nuts seeing signs with improper apostrophes and was rooting for the guys making changes on public signs. Too bad they were caught :(