Grammar Lesson

Reader Alex F asks the question:

“Kim, what’s the difference between before and after, and fore and aft?

Unlike many grammatical explanations, this one is best done wif pichurs.

Before and After:

…and Fore and Aft:



Speed Bump #2,593

Once again, we have an excellent example of near-illiteracy from a newspaper (no prizes for guessing which one, although they’re all equally terrible):

A huntsman spider has been captured devouring a frog after luring it into a fake shelter made of leaves, in Madagascar, Africa. The grizzly spectacle was discovered by a team of scientists (top right) conducting a bird count in the village of Ambodiala, in Marojejy National Park in the island country’s northeast.

Excuse me, but a “grizzly spectacle” would be the sight of eight bears taking it in turns to butt-fuck Kamala Harris*.

The proper word to be used in the above report should be “grisly” — G-R-I-S-L-Y — which means gruesome or nauseating.  Not that that the above-mentioned gangbang wouldn’t be just as gruesome to watch — those poor bears — but the fact remains that there is a massive difference between grisly  and grizzly, as any fourth-grader of my generation would have been able to point out.

Grisly —–>  <—– Grizzly

Also, to pick a further nit, the spider wasn’t “captured”, it was captured on film  — another seemingly-small but important detail.

And finally, Madagascar is an independent nation located on an island off the coast of Africa.  Carrying the DM ‘s example further, it would be like saying that helium-voiced singer Kylie Minogue comes from “Australia, Southeast Asia”.

All that sloppiness in one paragraph.  Is it too early for a second gin?

*I’m not wishing violence upon our beloved Vice-President, of course;  this analogy is purely for illustrative purposes.

Good Question

From Insty:

…also: “Whom do you vaccinate first?” [takes off Grammar Nazi armband]

That irritant aside, the question is a good one and is especially troubling in a case such as now, when the quantities are likely to be quite limited at first — especially when viewed against the global population of some six billion.

I’m going to be completely on the side of civilization here and say that whichever country developed the vaccine should have first call on the stuff (the dreaded “nationalist” worldview, fuck off, snowflakes).  The fact that Brits, Americans or Europeans (i.e. Western civilizations) would end up being likely ahead of the hapless denizens of sub-Saharan Africa or Southeast Asia… c’est la vie.  So that’s easy:  Western civilization (as the creators) benefits its members first, the rest later.

Let’s look at the situation within two countries who might develop the vaccine (needless to say, at huge cost in terms of research).

Ordinarily, vaccinations start either with children or with the most in need of vaccination — i.e. the populations at greatest risk from whatever pox is being vaccinated against.

Doesn’t work today, though.  In the first place, kids are the ones least at risk from Teh Chinkvirus, so there’s no need to start with them.

Of course, the population group most vulnerable to death from the Chinese Pox is that of the elderly;  but in today’s culture, where we Olde Pharttes are but a step or two away from being shoved onto ice floes by politicians and State institutions (cue:  granny-killer NYGov Cuomo and Britain’s NHS), there would be fainting fits all over the place at the thought of “wasting” the vaccine on people who don’t have long to live anyway.  So those two groups are, arguendo, excluded.  Which leaves the rest.

Then the “meritocracy” argument begins.  In Britishland, it’s easier at least for the first half-dozen or so available doses:  the Queen, and those members of the Royal Family closest to the line of succession.  [cue the Socialists’ and republicans’ grumbling]

Over Here… well, that’s a little problematic, isn’t it?  The thought that a President (any President) should get the first shot is justifiably abhorrent to us egalitarians, ditto any members of government — and of Congress, we will not speak.  (“Fuckem” would be the most common sentiment, I suspect, and rightly so.)

Then we come to the closest group we have to British nobility:  Teh Rich.  Uh huh.  In twenty words or less, explain to me why Bill Gates, some Saudi “prince” or that asshole who runs Google are any more deserving than the guy behind the counter at your local 7-11.  [hands out popcorn]

And the same is true for anyone else whom society may deem “special” and worthy of being at the head of the line.  The thought of Kim Kardashian being more worthy of the vaccine than, say, my Son&Heir… [hands out more popcorn]

The simple truth is that nobody “deserves” to get the vaccination ahead of anyone else:  not in the U.S.A., anyway.  So what’s the solution?

Actually, the answer is really simple:  hand the job over to Social Security.

Social Security numbers are arguably the closest thing we have to a national ID (I know, I know), and it would be the work of a few hours to create a lottery system which would rank the universe of SocSec numbers into some random order which would leave the delivery of vaccinations to pure chance.  Unfortunately, this would exclude all those in this country who are here illegally and thus don’t have a Social Security number, but I see that as a feature, not a bug.

When it comes to survival, life in Earth is pretty much a crapshoot anyway, so why should this situation be any different?

Speed Bump #922

When did the noun “gift” become a verb?  “I gifted her a birthday present” sounds retarded, not to say redundant or even worse, pretentious.

It’s even made even worse by adding the superfluous preposition “with”.  “I gifted her with a birthday present” sounds so stupidly convoluted and verbose, it could be Jesse Jackson speaking.

There’s a perfectly good word to describe the act of giving:  it’s called “giving”.  By definition, when one gives something to someone, it’s a fucking gift.

I know that I am somewhat guilty of turning a noun into a verb is that I call this same foul trend “verbing” — but of course I’m being ironic by turning the concept against itself.

Don’t get me started.  Every time someone spouts that nonsense, I want to gift them with a kick in the groin.

Speed Bump #768

If The Federalist  didn’t exist, where else would I get my daily dose of grammatical irritation?

Here’s today’s offering:

Democrats’ abolishment of the filibuster is one reason the GOP-controlled Senate under Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has been able to confirm so many federal judges.

The word is “abolition”, and spoils what was otherwise an excellent take on the current political situation.  Even the barely-literate Microsoft spell-checking routine flagged that one, which makes me wonder what software the Federalist  writers actually use publish their articles (absent, it seems, any kind of editorial review).

Probably NotePad, come to think of it.  Then they don’t have to bother with all those messy issues of typesetting, spelling and grammar.

Speedbump #328

Here we go again.  In this article, the following sentence emerges to stick itself like a needle into one’s eye:

A huge fire has erupted in the rubble of Beirut’s port just 37 days after an explosion decimated the city.


The original meaning of the word “decimate” was to reduce by 10% — for example, the punishment for a Roman legion which fled the battle field was to line them all up, pull every tenth legionary out of the ranks and execute them — hence decimation, from the Latin word for “ten”.

I know that in modern parlance the word “decimate” has been clumsily used to indicate catastrophe, and it’s become so widespread that I now only register mild irritation — say, 20 rounds’ worth — when I hear it thus used.

But good grief, can we at least stipulate that decimation can only be applied to a numerical value?  The Chinkvirus, say, might decimate a group of people in a retirement home;  but you can’t “decimate” a city, or a field of wheat, or a river — it just makes fuck-all sense, not that modern journalists ever apply that yardstick to their silly scribblings.

Is it too early for a mid-morning martini?  I think not.