Niagara Gazette

Columns

May 18, 2013

LETTERS FROM THE ISLAND: The 'write' way to do things

Niagara Gazette — Dear Mainland Nit-Pickers — In memory of the late grammarian and linguist J.J. Kilpatrick, Doug presents his quarterly roundup of sentence-structure demolition, as effected by people who oughta’ know better. English finals soon? Pay attention:

“Paul, GOP senator from Kentucky, told the Christian Science Monitor on Wednesday that his recent visit to Howard (University) didn’t go so bad after all …” syndicated columnist Leonard Pitts. But it went bad if he spoke to the English Department, where it should have gone “badly.”

“All the major-league teams are based in American cities,” Michael Liedtke, Associated Press. So Toronto’s one of ours now, eh?

“Citing sequestration — the draconian automatic budget cuts that took effect March 1 — as the reason for the control tower cuts …” Associated Press on Niagara Falls Airport. Wonder if the feds tapped into this one? “Draconian” traces its roots to Draco, who ran a tight ship in ancient Greece, and means “unusually cruel.” The “sequester” cuts of less than 3 percent make old Draco seem like Santa.

“It’s important for retailers to stick to a strategy that is complimentary to their brand promise,” said Martin of ShopperTrak. – Associated Press piece on Penney’s. Strategies don’t sweet-talk their brand promise, they complete them. Hence: “complementary.”

“As author of the 2004 book ‘Why Lincoln Matters: Today More than Ever,’ you can literally say Cuomo wrote the book on the 16th president …” popular political columnist. Sorry, Bob, we did not write “Why Lincoln Matters,” though we wish we had. Exquisite grammarian Honest Abe would have put it: “As author….Cuomo wrote the book on the 16th President, you can say, literally.”

“As Neil Schmitz quite rightly observes in the book forward …” big-city book-review editor, on a new biography of Mark Twain. Excuse us for being forward, but it’s “foreword” in this context. Spell-check, where is thy sting?

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  • NIA Davis, Vincent mug VINCENT DAVIS: Pledge your allegiance to the Slurpee, America's treat By now you must be aware that it is, in fact, summer. And since summer is a season not characterized by any obvious weather events (sometimes it's hot for days in a row, sometimes you get a bunch of rainy days and chilly nights) but instead activities, I'd like to bring attention to an underrated staple of summer sun enjoyment: Consuming the brain freeze-inducing snack classic, the Slurpee.

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  • NIA Hamilton, Ken mug HAMILTON: Popeye's '7-Minute' guide to educating southerners -- and me! Writer Mark Twain said that when he 14, his father was so ignorant that he could hardly stand to have the old man around. But upon turning 21, Twain said that he was astonished by how much his father had learned in just seven years.

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  • NIA DeLuca, Michele mug DELUCA: Wegmans call warns of bad fruit I was humming to myself the other day, getting ready for work on a lovely summer morning, when I decided to check my messages on the house phone. I hit the play button and heard a message from Wegmans warning me about some fruit that I had bought at their store. As quick as that, a message with the scary potential to change my life or the life of someone I love.

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  • NIA Glynn, Don mug GLYNN: Ortt jumps on drive to repeal the SAFE Act It was a no-brainer for North Tonawanda Mayor Rob Ortt, a Republican candidate for the 62nd Senate District seat, to join the forces to repeal the state's SAFE Act.

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  • Verplank: Turn back the clock at the Porter Cup

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  • NIA Bradberry, Bill mug BRADBERRY: Tourists attracted here by history, beauty, politics As my friend and colleague, writer Don Glynn has so artfully portrayed over the decades, "For many years after the dawn of aviation, U.S. presidents visiting Western New York started at the Niagara Falls Airport. The reason: The main runway here was longer than that of the Buffalo airport and could easily accommodate Air Force One, the presidential aircraft."

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  • NIA Confer, Bob mug CONFER: A constitutional convention is not the answer For the past few years it has been popular for folks of the right persuasion (Republicans and neoconservatives) to call for a constitutional convention ("Con-Con") in hopes of passing a balanced budget amendment (BBA.) A lot of people have jumped on that bandwagon; no doubt your email inbox or Facebook news feeds have shown that.

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  • NIA Scheer, Mark mug CITY DESK: Hobel will be missed

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  • NIA Higgs, Norma mug HIGGS: More pastors, a new church and more of everything Before I go further back in time, I want to just go back to last week where I took my own advice and spent a couple of hours at the Como, where I enjoyed one of their traditional "parade of bowls and plates of great salads, pasta and meat dishes" and listened to longtime friends of Tom Darro roast him with humor, accolades and best wishes. And best of all no one who came to the microphone mentioned garbage totes or carts. It was a welcome relief.

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