Month: May 2008

NOPEC Shows Government Garble at Its Standard Worst

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The politics is bad too, but I’ll leave that aside.

Congress recently passed a piece of legislation known affectionately as NOPEC, which may as well stand for No One Possibly Expects Clarity, but instead is an acronym for The No Oil-Producing and -Exporting Cartels Act."  Okay, I added the hypens because no one in Washington, D.C., could possibly understand compound adjectives, let alone writing basic, clear English.

What this act does is allow Congress and its designated henchmen to sue OPEC countries if they feel the latter has been withholding production of oil and thus artificially raising prices through manipulation of supply and demand.  Good luck with these lawsuits, but let’s take a look at the enabling language of NOPEC:

"It shall be illegal and a violation of this Act," declared the House of Representatives, "to limit the production or distribution of oil, natural gas, or any other petroleum product … or to otherwise take any action in restraint of trade for oil, natural gas or any petroleum product when such action, combination, or collective action has a direct, substantial, and reasonably foreseeable effect on the market, supply, price or distribution of oil, natural gas or other petroleum product in the United States."

As I said, good luck with NOPEC. And good luck with writing clear English.  You’ll need it in both cases.

Categories: Grammar Sucks

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Nice Use of Juxtaposition in Newspaper Story

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The sports journalists of the world made hay this past week with allegations that USC college basketball phenom O.J. Mayo had been on the take the whole time since high school.

A few days after the story broke, Mayo met with Los Angeles Times reporter Ben Bolch to deny the allegations, saying:

"So for them to say I received $30,000 or whatever the case is, I definitely don’t think that’s enough to sell out myself and my family."

That was in the next-to-last paragraph.  Here’s what the last paragraph observed:

"Following the interview, Mayo slipped off into a new red Porsche Cayenne GTS with two friends and drove off."

Nice juxtaposition.  Or was it irony?

Categories: Grammar Sucks


Metaphors Are Like, Well, Similes…

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Every year, English teachers from across the country submit their collections of actual analogies and metaphors found in high school essays. These excerpts are published each year to the amusement of teachers across the country.

Here are last year’s winners:

1. Her face was a perfect oval, like a circle that had its two sides gently compressed by a Thigh Master.

2. His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances like underpants in a dryer without Cling Free.

3. He spoke with the wisdom that can only come from experience, like a guy who went blind because he looked at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it and now goes around the country speaking at high schools about the dangers of looking at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it.

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Categories: Grammar Sucks

Is There a Difference: Truth v. Honesty?

I was watching an ESPN telecast when the host brought on a PR expert in reclaiming one’s reputation.  The subject, obviously, was Roger Clements and his string of lies ever since he was revealed to be a ‘roids monstrosity.

This PR guy said there was a six-step process to recover one’s reputation and that the first two steps were "truth" and "honesty."

"There’s a difference?" I kept thinking.

So I looked up the two words:

Truth is defined as "the true or actual state of a matter" by (the first meaning given).  Honesty is defined, first meaning, as "the quality or fact of being honest; uprightness and fairness."

So, I assume what PR guy meant was that, first, one had to begin telling the truth, and second, one had to adopt a policy of always telling the truth.

I still think the two are redundant since, if you adopt either truth or honesty as a policy, you’ll achieve the same goal.

However, it’s highly unlikely that Roger Clements has any intention of telling the truth or adopting honesty.  Deceit is his only mode other than bullying others.

Categories: Grammar Sucks