Strange Radiation

Andrew Willett, unreliable narrator.

Category: the avenging virgo Page 1 of 3

More Fun With Headlines

As seen on Towleroad today:


I was very happy to see that I was not the only person who had a “Wait, David Tennant did what?” moment there.

In other news, I’m still looking for work. Perhaps I should offer my services to Towleroad as a copy editor.

raked across the gravel

AAAARGH. I am getting really tired of seeing writers use “Zenlike” (et al) to mean “posessed of a vague and indescribable coolness.” Your new couch is not Zen. Your bathroom tiles are not Zen.

Unless you can explain to me what you mean by “Zenlike” — in a way that actually relates it to Zen practice — then use something else. That is all.

can may I just say?

It bothers me that nobody bothers to mark the glottal stop in Hawai’i anymore.

And, for that matter, that the apostrophe in Hallowe’en has been similarly deprecated.

That is all.

the avenging virgo goes to the movies

I have had a couple of movie dates recently. Yes, they were very nice, thank you. One of the films was Enchanted, which is a great date movie, funny and sweet and not particularly taxing and full of great New Yorky stuff; and the other was Sweeney Todd, which is… well, it’s a better date movie than The Young Poisoner’s Handbook, which I saw on a (rather awkward) date many, many years ago. Actually, hell, I enjoyed Sweeney Todd very much. Totally worth your $12, and if you’re a fan of the show then you’ll certainly have things to discuss over dinner afterwards. But be aware that it’s also unflinching in respect to the violence. Tim Burton seems to have been hanging out with David Cronenberg lately. Eesh.

Wait, I’m getting off track. (Because this is what happens when you suddenly decide to bang out a blog post at 1 in the morning instead of going to bed like a sensible person.) I just needed to say something: a little shout-out to the producers of Enchanted, and any other movie types who may be listening.

If your Big Romantic Costume Ball Scene hinges on having two characters dance together to a song introduced as “The Kings and Queens Waltz”?

Please, please, please at least have the cheesy lite rock ballad that follows be in three-quarter time. You know. Make it a waltz.

Thank you.

copy-editorial tidbits

From the August 15 issue of the Reno Gazette-Journal, the following headline:

Nigerian families pass on culture

Yeah. The mental pictures are kind of good on that one.

On a better note, word of a decision I hope will prove a harbinger of things to come: Wired News will no longer capitalize the word internet. Nor the words net or web, for that matter. Yay. Capitalizing the word internet is like some writer 100 years ago capitalizing electricity. There’s no point to that capital letter beyond a sign that it’s something strange and new and possibly dangerous. How long it’ll take Major Publication to come to the same conclusion is another question entirely: with a battleship of that size, sudden stops and turns are well beyond them. But it is a sign of hope nonetheless.

ny moment #43,165

Okay, so, um, local grocery store? On the way home tonight? Buying ice cream? And there’s this sign over the little refrigerated sushi case? And it says:



the avenging virgo writes a letter

Dear Spike TV:

Perhaps I am not your target audience. I’ll admit, I do enjoy the occasional megadose of CSI, and sometimes I even sit on the couch and watch a late-night episode of Star Trek: Voyager while updating the swim team’s website and my own blog and stuff. But I can’t stomach your many “ultimate fighting” shows; that ad where you showed some combatant getting an incisor knocked out in slow motion to the music of — what was that, Sinatra? — I found merely nauseating. Sure, half the fighters look like they could make a good living in the gay-porn industry, but hot though they may be I like my pinups with all their teeth.

Anyway, like I said: I’m probably not your target audience. I nonetheless feel obliged to point something out.

You have a new show: Guys’ Choice. In the phrase Guys’ Choice, there is a punctuation mark. You have left the mark out in all the show’s promotional spots, on its website — indeed, in all materials referring to the program in any form; so I am drawing your attention to the omission with this note. Let me explain: the choice belongs to the guys, in this instance the guys who vote on such world-shaking issues on which band kicks the most ass, or which, um, cybervixen is the most naughty. This posessive case is traditionally indicated with A FUCKING APOSTROPHE.

Please address this oversight at the earliest possible opportunity.


quote for the day

Because I love it so: James Nicoll on my native tongue, and the habits thereof.

The problem with defending the purity of the English language is that English is about as pure as a cribhouse whore. We don’t just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat them unconscious and rifle their pockets for new vocabulary. ‘[source]’:

As it happens, this Mr. Nicoll has said a lot of amusing things, and many of them are listed on Wikiquote.

comma chameleon

For a while I thought this job would kill me. Not because it is hard — although it still kicks my ass from time to time — but because it requires me to violate a fundamental law of that which is right and good. And you know how I feel about those.

I speak, of course, of the serial comma. I am a serial-comma kind of guy. And this job requires me to — oh! the horror! — strip out serial commas wherever I find them. Yes! Each time I had to do this, a little black mark was left upon my soul, one with a tail that drooped forlornly. The only thing that eased the pain was I knew that these commas were going to a better place. Because that’s what they told us. Slowly, though, I realized the truth: there was no happy upstate farm where these newly homeless commas would spend the rest of their lives among the flowers and the butterflies. They were not cheerfully barking at semicolons out in a pasture somewhere. Eventually, on my lunch break, I found the dingy closet where the Copy Chief unceremoniously drowns them in a mop-bucket.

The fact that I did not quit right then and there should be read as a testament to (a) how much I otherwise enjoy this job and (b) how much I need the cash. Instead, in the little free time I have available, I have undertaken a new project: The Comma Rescue Society. We take commas that would otherwise be consigned to shelters and eventual euthanization and place them in loving homes.

Won’t you consider giving to the CRS — or sheltering a comma or two in your own household? And if you need a testimonial just ask our first satisfied clients: my parents, Ayn Rand and God.

the avenging virgo sends a letter

Dear Past Perfect Tense:

I thought we were friends, but clearly I was wrong. Today’s refresher on the subtleties of your dark art has made my head hurt. I get it now, really I do, but you have taken up far too much of my day. I hate you.

Go sit in the corner with Numbers.


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