Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Words on Wednesday

Lesson 6 TEST - And here we go again... Based on the underlined word(s), choose the correct phrase from Columns A or B:
AB
1.a Florida Gators fanan Florida Gators fan
2.a Auburn Tigers fanan Auburn Tigers fan
3.a UF studentan UF student
4.a University of Florida studentan University of Florida student
5.a honoran honor
6.a housean house
7.a FSU fanan FSU fan
8.a Florida State University fanan Florida State University fan
9.a LSU fanan LSU fan
10.a Louisiana State University fanan Louisiana State University fan
11.a FEDEX employeean FEDEX employee
12.a historic eventan historic event
If you chose the following correct answers, congratulations! If you did not select the correct answers, click here to review.
1) A2) B3) A4) A5) B6) A
7) B8) A9) B10) A11) A12) A
Well kids, I gotta tell ya, I'm bored with grammar right now, so I don't have a new lesson for you. Consider it a "movie day" for English class today and enjoy the goof-off time! Until next week.....Love, The Grammar Police

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Words on Wednesday

Lesson 5 TEST - Yay, another quiz! Based on the underlined word(s), choose the correct sentence/phrase:
#1A. Hollywood discovered it's Golden Boy in Jake Gyllenhaal.
B. Hollywood discovered its Golden Boy in Jake Gyllenhaal.
#2A. It's unfortunate that Jake has not discovered me, yet.
B. Its unfortunate that Jake has not discovered me, yet.
#3A. Our’s would be a whirlwind romance like no other.
B. Ours would be a whirlwind romance like no other.

If you chose B for #1, A for #2, and B for #3, congratulations! If you did not select the correct answers, click here to review.

Week 6, Lesson 6, is going to be an easy one: a vs. an. Okay, we all remember learning that you should use a if the next word starts with a consonant and an if it start with a vowel. For example: a Florida Gators fan; an Auburn Tigers fan. (F in Florida=consonant; A in Auburn=vowel) Sounds perfectly logical, right?

Of course there's a trick. What they forgot to tell us (or, more likely, I may have been off-task that day) is that it's not just a vowel you have to look out for, it's the vowel sound, which gets especially tricky when you're talking about abbreviations or acronyms.

  • Even though "u" is a vowel, it makes a consonant sound, therefore a goes before it. A UF student; A University of Florida student.
  • Even though "h" is a consonant, sometimes it makes a vowel sound and gets an and other times it makes a consonant sound and gets a. An honor; A house.
  • For abbreviations, you have to think of what the sound is rather than what the letter stands for. So "f" makes a consonant sound when it starts a word, but a vowel sound when it starts an abbreviation. (Same with h, l, m, n, r, s, x.) An FSU fan; A Florida State University fan; An LSU fan; A Louisiana State University fan.
  • For acronyms (abbreviations that are spoken like words), you treat it the same as you would the word. A FEDEX employee.
  • Of course there's a screwy one. Ya know how sometimes people say "istoric" instead of "historic"? If you're one of those people, you should use an. However, even though there's a lot of leniency from the Grammar Police on this issue, a is preferred in formal writing.

Have an awesome day and a fabulous week! Until next week.....Love, The Grammar Police

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Shake, Rattle, and Roll

The first thing everyone says to you when you live in California is, "Aren't you afraid of the earthquakes?" Ummm, no, not any more than Florida's hurricanes. In fact, I kinda thought earthquakes were an urban legend, having never actually experienced one. All the times I'd traveled here and nary a jiggle. The closest I'd ever come to even caring was when my sister called after the Northridge one to inform me that she and her hubby were having sex during it and she really did feel the earth move. Yeah, TMI, but funny. Even while living here my experience with earthquakes has been minimal, until just recently, that is. I actually lived here 3 years before I even felt my first one. And can I tell you, what a letdown! I was sitting on the couch and felt a bump - like maybe a truck backed into the building - and it lasted all of 1 second. For the next one, I just thought it was Thumper - our upstairs neighbor who walked like a marching band. Again, it lasted for about 1 second. However, a few weeks ago I finally experienced a real one. And then again a few days ago. And then again today. Now, I know I'm not supposed to say this, but....it was really fun! Each of them lasted for about 10 seconds and it felt like sitting on a vibrating bed or one of those massaging chairs. I have to admit, though, it kinda made me nervous when it went on for more than a couple of seconds and I did have a fleeting thought of "what do I do?" Plus, it's kinda weird to walk in a room and see all the drawers flung open or glasses bobbled to the very edge of the china cabinet shelves. 

Of course after discovering the earthquakes are not urban legends, I had to learn a new mantra. Ya know how when you're a kid and you learn "stop, drop, and roll" for fire drama? Well, for earthquake drama you're supposed to learn "duck, cover, and hold" as in get under a table and hold onto it. However, make sure it's not the kitchen table, because supposedly the kitchen is the most un-safe place because of the flying pots/pan/knives/glass. Also, if the power goes out, use a flashlight instead of candles because apparently gas leaks are common and it would kinda suck to survive the shaking and then blow up the house with a flick of a bic. So now with all this extensive research, I'm pretty much an expert, don'tcha think? And no, I'm still not afraid. Or impressed.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Words on Wednesday

Lesson 4 TEST - Here we go again... Based on the underlined word(s), choose the correct sentence/phrase:
#1A. The Gators wish they had 10 Tim Tebow's.
B. The Gators wish they had 10 Tim Tebows.
#2A. Tebows' skills are pure awesomeness.
B. Tebows skills are pure awesomeness.
C. Tebow's skills are pure awesomeness.
#3A. All little boys' dreams involve playing Gator football.
B. All little boys dreams involve playing Gator football.
If you chose B for #1, C for #2, and A for #3, congratulations! If you did not select the correct answers, click here to review.

Week 5, Lesson 5, as promised, addresses the apostrophe as it relates to contractions and the dreaded its vs. it's dilemma. Okay, basic review of contractions: two words combined to make one. For example: it is = it’s, is not = isn’t, you are = you’re, he is = he’s …and many, many more. As you can see, when you combine them, the apostrophe replaces the missing letter. Easy, peasy.

Now, here's the thing:

  • It’s only has an apostrophe if it is used as a contraction. Only! “Hollywood discovered it’s Golden Boy in Jake Gyllenhaal,” should be “Hollywood discovered its Golden Boy in Jake Gyllenhaal.”
  • When its is used for possession, no apostrophe is necessary. Ever! “Its unfortunate that Jake has not discovered me, yet,” should be “It’s unfortunate that Jake has not discovered me, yet.”
  • Same with any possessive pronouns. There’s no such thing as your’s or our’s. Not ever! “Our’s would be a whirlwind romance like no other,” should be “Ours would be a whirlwind romance like no other.”

If you can take away one thing from this lesson, let it be this: just because you see an “s” does NOT mean an apostrophe will make a good date. Be careful in your matchmaking! For more information to make your brain explode, check out this apostrophe usage flowchart. Until next week.....Love, The Grammar Police

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

I'm sure you've all heard this before, but just in case you haven't.....Click on the picture to hear the funniest Mother's Day song EVER. And yes, this is an actual picture of my room as a teenager.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Words on Wednesday

Lesson 3 TEST - I think I'm enjoying this a little too much. Here goes... Based on the underlined word(s), choose the correct sentence/phrase:
#1A. I bet your sick of hearing about Jake and Colin by now.
B. You're right - I spend way too much time talking about them.
#2A. I'm open to you're suggestions for new pretend-boyfriends.
B. Maybe I could have your pretend-boyfriend, instead.

If you chose B for #1 and B for #2, congratulations! If you did not select the correct answers, click here to review. 

Week 4, Lesson 4 involves something I wasn't going to address here, but I've had requests. See, I'm not a big fan of punctuation. I hate commas, I use way too many ellipses and dashes, and I'm never sure whether to put punctuation inside or outside of quotation marks. I also write in incomplete sentences, inappropriately capitalize words, and sometimes even use slang. (However, when I do write "ain't" or "dunno" or "gonna", you'd better believe they're spelled correctly.) None of which I plan to address here, because I'm more about the correct spelling/usage of words. Just the words, ma'am. But there is this one teensy tiny little punctuation error that I wish to rid the world of: the dreaded apostrophe mishap. Don't feel bad, folks. I don't think I learned this until I was a senior in college. A senior in college as an English major. Probably should've picked that one up a little earlier in my studies, huh?
Anyway, here's the deal:
  • Plain ol' plurals never get apostrophes. Ever. So "The Gators wish they had 10 Tim Tebow's" should really be "The Gators wish they had 10 Tim Tebows". No apostrophe necessary. Ever.
  • If something owns something else, it gets an apostrophe s. Always. "Tebow's skills are pure awesomeness", not "Tebows skills are pure awesomeness" or "Tebows' skills are pure awesomeness". (Tim Tebow owns skills.) And yes, awesomeness is a word. Sorta.
Here's the tricky part:
  • Plurals that own something still get an apostrophe s. For example, "All little boys's dreams involve playing Gator football" is absolutely correct. (Plural boys own dreams.) However, the reason you don't see s's that much is because we usually reduce it to lowest terms, just like math. In other words, you don't want an extra s hanging out, so it gets lopped off and that's how "All little boys' dreams involve playing Gator football" becomes the more common of the two sentences. To be honest, I don't even know what "reduce to lowest terms" means in math, but that's how it was explained to me, so I roll with it.
Next week I'll address the apostrophe as it relates to contractions, plus the dreaded its vs. it's dilemma, but I've had just about enough apostrophe talk for today. Until next week.....Love, The Grammar Police

Sunday, May 3, 2009

"My name is H.I. McDonnaugh. Call me Hi."

I love Nicolas Cage. It's true - weirdo that he is - he is one of my perpetual favorites. Once upon a time when I was 20-something and made my first trip to CA with my friend, Lin, to visit our friend, A-squared, he became the first victim of my stalking obsession. Of course back then we were way less sophisticated (because I'm super sophisticated now) and actually thought buying a "Map to the Stars' Homes" would really direct us to the stars' homes. So Lin and I set out one day to find Nicolas Cage's home. It was an apartment building, so we walked right up and, lo and behold, discovered "the doorman". Like I said, we were 20-something and obviously had never lived in a building with any type of security at that point in our lives. So, since we couldn't get in to walk right up to Nic's apartment, knock on his door, and invite ourselves in for dinner, we sat on the bus-stop bench across the street to devise a plan. Then we realized it was around 5ish, so he would probably be coming home from work soon. (Because all actors work 9-5, right? And even if he did, making it home any sooner than the required 2-hour stint on the 405 would be a miracle. But, hey, what do we know?) So, we decided to walk circles around the apartment building to see who had the prettiest curtains up at the penthouse level, because that would probably be his place. Brilliant, I tell you! Then we patrolled the parking garage for all the cool cars coming in to see if he was in one of them. More brilliance, I tell you! Hey - at least we didn't break in and try on his clothes.

Although we never met Nic that day, Lin did meet him years later at Gladstones. He was sitting at the table next to her and spilled his beer on her leg. (And no, of course she's never washed that leg - have you been paying attention?) I think he apologized and then asked her to run off to a remote island with him and they lived happily ever after. I think. I could be wrong, though.

Anyway, the reason I'm tripping down Nicolas-Cage-memory-lane is because I read this article the other day about his weirdness. And it just made me love him even more. If you thought he topped out at naming his kid after Superman, think again...

Nic once ate a real cockroach in a movie. Actually, he ate a trio of real cockroaches, because it took three takes to get it just right. While filming 1989's "Vampire's Kiss," Nic did his own stunt eating and swallowed the crusty insects. The script had his character eating raw eggs, but Cage didn't think that would be weird enough.

Nic admitted once to having a pet octopus, claiming that studying beings that are totally different helps him with his acting. Guess that also explains the salt-water sharks, the lizard, and the crocodile. For a time, he even had two pet King Cobras (Moby and Sheba) that he would observe for hours from a specially constructed cell in his home, with a glass of wine in his hand and a bottle of poison antidote very nearby. One night he mentioned his pets on "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno," and his neighbors immediately began fighting to get the poisonous reptiles removed. Cage donated them to a local zoo a short time later.

He proposed to Patricia Arquette the day they met. The story goes that Nic told Patricia on the day they met that he loved her and was going to marry her. (Which is exactly what I would do if I met him, so why is that so odd?) She then gave him a scavenger-hunt list of impossible tasks to prove his love. When he returned with several of the items she requested (including reclusive author J. D. Salinger's autograph), Arquette fled, frightened by the intensity of his enthusiasm. It wasn't until they met again eight years later that they fell in love and wed. The couple separated after nine months.

Nic once had the biggest celebrity comic book collection ever, which sold at auction for $1.68 million. He and his older son, Weston, wrote a comic book series called "Voodoo Child". In fact, Cage loves comics so much that his stage name was taken from a comic book character, Luke Cage, and his son with his third wife, Alice Kim Cage, is named after none other than Superman himself, Kal-el. (Or as Lin says "Nic, what the hell-el were you thinking?")

So far the closest I've ever come to meeting Nic was pole-dancing on the giant martini glass at the Copolla winery in Napa. Another story for another time. And you thought he was the weird one!