A Seriouse Lacke of Judgement

Okay, I’ve gotten used to the use of the misspelled word  judgement on Iron Chef.  However, now it’s also being used on ESPN Sports Center.

I did a little dictionary research to see if judgement, the misspelling, has gained acceptability.  The answer is yes and no.  One dictionary lists the "e" spelling as an alternative, but then goes on to illustrate the use judgement by citing sentence examples using judgment, the correct spelling.  It also defined judgement narrowly, saying it was "the legal document stating the reason for a judicial opinion." 

Bottom line–judgment is the only spelling, deriving from the French word jugement (which does use an "e," curiously).

Wording of the Second Amendment Examined

No one can ever accuse the authors of our Constitution of being grammar experts.  Take the Second Amendment, subject of yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling.  It reads:

"A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

Now, ignoring the fact that, in the 18th century, people often capitalized nouns for emphasis, the sentence still has structural problems.  It should read, "A well-regulated militia’s being necessary…."  Being is a gerund and thus must be preceded by a possessive.  Also, the comma after Arms separates the subject from the verb and is a real no-no.

What about the amendment’s meaning?

Read more

Credit Shakespeare With Oyster Supremacy

In irony of ironies, considering how poor I am, I woke up this morning and opened the shutters in my living room to see the sun rising from the east and said outloud (yes, I do talk to myself), "The world is my oyster."  Of course, it’s not, and actually I said, "The woild is my oyster," mimicking a Mafioso or someone from stereotypical New Jersey/New York.

That got me to look up the origins of the saying, and it is indeed something from The Bard in The Merry Wives of Windsor.

Said Pistol to Falstaff therein:

Why, then the world’s mine oyster,
Which I with sword will open.

Maybe I’ll just fall on my sword.  LOL

AP Takes on the Blogosphere

A site called the Drudge Retort, a liberal answer to the Drudge Report, was ordered by the Associated Press (AP) to cease and desist using snippets of AP articles in its own articles this past week.

Drudge II complied, but objected that copyright law permits the "fair use" of copyrighted material, in limited portions, for scholarly and academic purposes.

I doubt I’d consider either Drudge I or Drudge II scholarly or academic, but I defend their right to quote from published sources and comment on them.  This is the meaning, to me, of a free press.  I do it all the time here and on my other blogs.

Anyway, a spat ensued, and eventually AP backed away from its legal threat and said the organization "needed to rethink" matters.

What really galled AP, from what I can determine from reading between the lines, is that Drudge and other sites were using the quotations as tie-ins to advertising.

If that’s the case, then AP has a good argument. 

Happy Friday the 13th, You Paraskavedekatriaphobiacs

Paraskavedekatriaphobia is a word formed from three Greek words:  paraskevi (Friday,) dekatreis (thirteen) and phobia (fear or phobia), meaning "fear of Friday the 13th."  Triskaidekaphobia means just "fear of the number 13."

There you go.  Learn something everyday.  Happy Friday the 13th!

Nothing to Do With English Grammar, But Useful

I came across this site that lists the highest–and lowest–gasoline pump prices in each state and counties, parishes, areas, etc., within that state.

I checked it against my local knowledge, and while it was good, it didn’t list the stations that I know to consistently have the lowest prices.  Still, it beats not knowing where to save money.

It’s called Gas Buddy.

PS Unless I’m mistaken, look for gas prices to reach $5 a gallon by the Fourth of July, or shortly thereafter.  They’ll come down in September or October for the presidential election and then continue their upward march after the new president is elected.