Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Bursting the Comma Splice Bubble

Say you ask The Prude, aware of her moderate-to-severe punctuation obsession, to proofread something.
Just for fun throw in a comma splice for her to correct. Her joy will be complete.
The Prude prides herself in her recognition of a commas splice, she will pounce on it and pop the little dot on top of the comma struggling to keep the two independent clauses together all by its fragile little self.
(Did you catch the comma splice above snuck in for dramatic effect?)
The Prude always took great pride in her mad comma-splice-identification skills.
And now her bubble has burst.
The bursters?
Mr. Strunk and Mr. White in a nasty little tome called The Elements of Style.
"A comma is preferable [to a semicolon] when the clauses are very short and alike in form, or when the tone of the sentence is easy and conversational."
What!!!!! What??????

And then, taking the Prude’s burst bubble and mopping it up with a microfiber cloth, Anne Klinck gloats:
“[The commas splice] is the error beloved of composition teachers--easy to identify, just what we need to separate the sheep from the goats. But is it as clear-cut as we tend to think?”
("Coming to Terms: Unravelling [sic] the Comma Splice." The English Journal, Mar. 1998)

Of COURSE it isn’t. Grammar has fallen victim to post-modern relativism. The Prude’s last vestiges of pride are being wrung down the drain of antiquated grammar absolutes.
And Ms. Klinck states that comma splices are ‘easy to identify’, thus reducing The Prude’s original bubble of comma splice identification satisfaction to the size of a blister.

Ah, the vicissitudes of syntax. Never fall in love with punctuation stipulations. They will, some day, be torn from your grasp and leave you with a useless handful of semicolons.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Blame it on Bambi

The Prude and a little friend were reading a story before Thanksgiving.
A turkey plays a bit part in the story at the beginning, and plays it with charm, but The Prude was still worried.
When a turkey is introduced into a Thanksgiving tale it is seldom because tofu is on the dinner menu. How would her little friend handle the sharp axe of reality slicing through her glowing childhood world?
The Prude snuggled her little friend closer, ready to comfort her at the critical moment when the turkey’s head would leave its body.
But wonder of wonders! The author must have watched Bambi or read Beatrix Potter as a child. The turkey plays an impromptu walk-on role in the school play. Affection for him abounds and at the end of the story his warty head is still firmly attached to his scrawny neck.

The Prude looked in relief and satisfaction at her little friend.
Who looked back up at her in outrage and poked a small, wrathful finger at the last page.
“What? When are they going to kill the turkey?”

And The Prude realized that she was sitting next to a new breed of Hardy Girlhood.
A girl raised with animals whose main function is to feed growing children. A girl who has actually seen the birds and the bees in action. A girl who knows that the cute, cuddly bunnies will eventually turn up in her stew.

In short, this child did not cut her teeth on Bambi. She cut them on a nice turkey drumstick that only days before had been strutting around being charming and rehearsing, in futile hope, his entrance into the school play.

Monday, November 28, 2011


You see it on action adventure shows. The Heroine is strapped to a chair, her mouth taped shut. Her rescuer is about to cut the cord that binds her when he notices she is blinking in a surprisingly rhythmic manner.  Being fluent in Morse, he recognizes the code and reads her fluttering eyelashes: CHAIR—BOOBYTRAPPED––– DON’T- CUT– THE––– RED- WIRE--- YOU- DODO–––––

A Brave Hero trapped underground sends an urgent Morse code using traffic lights or neon signs. A Boy Scout or Navy Seal happens by, correctly interprets the signals, and clears the area before the evil genius,(who took time to loosely bind the Brave Hero in an inconvenient underground chamber instead of just shooting him point blank) can loose a dirty bomb.

You get the idea.  Someone is in trouble but can’t communicate via ordinary means. That Someone knows Morse. Someone blinks it or taps it or flashes it and another Someone who also knows Morse reads it and responds.

The Prude needs to learn Morse for 3 reasons.
- What if she is sitting at a frantically Morse Coding traffic signal? What if there are no Boy Scouts or Navy Seals around? How will she know what to do?

-Things get a little crazy at a 12-foot long Thanksgiving table. The person on the opposite end  hogging the gravy boat who claims he can’t hear repeated requests may take The Prude seriously if she blinks ‘PASS- THE- GRAVY-NOW-OR-I’LL-MAKE—SURE-YOU-GET---NO-TURKEY–––

-And finally, The Prude may need rescuing from herself.
Her mouth, taken captive by a gluttonous and overindulgent desire, may say ‘Just one more sliver of the Tollhouse Pie please. With just a smidge of whipped cream’  
But maybe she can dredge up enough willpower and memory of last year’s gastronomical misery for her short lashes to bat out,

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Turkey trot

Here's a fun little Thanksgiving game. See if you can count the turkeys.
Of course the last three photos don't count. The Prude just wanted to throw in a challenge.
Happy Thanksgiving Eve!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thanksgiving Prayer...

...of a Pharisee  Prude

I thank you God, that I am not as other middle aged women.

I thank you that I haven’t become one of those hypercritical, nit-picking old 50 something biddys. 
You know the ones- they wear their jeans up around their chins and they still ask for a Farrah Fawcett haircut and they think it  looks cute to wear their Izod sweaters draped over their shoulders?

I thank you that, unlike those other poor  ‘older ladies’, I am in control of my mood swigs---- what! For Pete’s Sake! Why couldn’t this crummy spellcheck catch that!!!!!! I don’t not have mood swigs! My moods don't SWING! Good grief! But to be fair, I can’t blame poor spellcheck. It’s doing the beest it ca– NOW what? ‘beest’ it can? I need to give someone a piece of my mind…

I thank you that my memory isn’t as fuzzy and unreliable as so many other women my age who thank you that my memory isn’t as fuzzy and unreliable as so many other women my age.

I thank you that I haven’t turned into one of those empty nesters with have nothing better to do than nag their husbands. Thank you that my husband is blessed with a wife who corrects his faults with sweetness and submission and restraint.

I thank you that I am not a tiresome lady who has to brag without ceasing about her grandchildren. When I finally have grandchildren I’ll show those women what brag-worthy grandchildren really look like.

I thank you that I have a full and active life, unlike those women who do nothing but watch NCIS all day Wednesday and  Monk on Thursdays and I Love Lucy starting at 5 am on channel 967 and at 2pm  on that channel I can never remember, or who have to wrestle the channel changer from their husbands when it is time for the Project Runway finale...

I thank you that I don’t have to constantly interfere in my grown children’s lives,
because I raised them right and because they know that when I call them to give advice it is truly wise and wonderful and useful, unlike the blathering advice that those ‘other’ middle aged women who have nothing better to do than interfere and inquire about their grandchildren and–
say God. that brings up my next point. How come someone as wonderful as me doesn’t have grandchildren yet?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Have yourself a merry little ______________

It’s that time of year again. The air is redolent with the aroma of spices wafting from baked goods. Candlelight flickers. Friends and family gather to celebrate and reminisce.
And the sound of Thanksgiving carols can be heard in the land.

Pardon? You weren’t aware of the existence of Thanksgiving carols? You may as well say you don’t know about the Great Pumpkin!

Anyone who knows The Prude knows she is a Thanksgiving purist.
No Christmas  tree, Christmas TV, Christmas cookie or Christmas carol will step foot across her threshold until the day after Thanksgiving.

So over at The Prude’s, with it’s pumpkin-pie-spice redolent aromas and it’s flickering harvest-scented candles and its anticipation of Thursday’s Gluttony-With-Loved-Ones,
you will hear Thanksgiving Carols.
If you doubt for a moment that there is such a thing, take a minute to peruse the playlist. Your assignment, should you choose to accept it, is to see how many songs you can find.
I recommend listening while eating something that has either turkey or pumpkin as its main ingredient.

-Over the River and Through the Woods
-Come Ye Thankful People Come
-We Gather Together
-Turkey in the Straw
-Shine on Harvest Moon
-Let All Things Now Living (A Song of Thanksgiving)
-Everybody Eats When They Come to My House
-Theme Song from ‘A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving’
-For the Beauty of the Earth
-Praise and Thanksgiving
-Now Thank We All our God
-I’ve Got Plenty to be Thankful For (Bing Crosby)
-Thanks Be to God (from ‘Elijah’)