Saturday, July 26, 2008

Oh, I'm so relieved

The Associated Press reports that Ed McMahon has a new gig, doing commercials for Jimmy Kimmel's show.

"I'm optimistic," said the former "Tonight Show" announcer, who last month announced he was fighting foreclosure after falling $644,000 behind on mortgage payments on his Beverly Hills residence.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

39 years ago today

4:17 p.m. EDT: Apollo 11 lands on the moon.

4:18 p.m. EDT: Abner Guernsey of King of Prussia, Pa., becomes the first human being to utter a sentence beginning: "Yeh, they can put a man on the moon, but....."

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Bring in the blackboard! Cue the fingernails!

As a career copy editor, I've had to know a lot about the niceties of language, including the difference between insure and ensure, imply and infer, lie and lay and other pairs of words.

In everyday speech, some non-editors often get these words confused. I think this drives some copy editors crazy. Some grammar sticklers even correct those who misspeak.

Not me.

Although such distinctions are important and need to be observed, there's no reason to go ballistic if someone, in speech, confuses imply and infer, for example. My mother got these words confused all her life. But she wasn't a writer, and she also played a key role in the successful raising and feeding of six children. And she had more common sense than a lot of folks who have doctorates.

In addition, correcting someone's speech could have its risks, depending on the situation, as I mentioned in this previous post (which for some reason has received a lot of hits, according to Site Meter).

But if you really want to get my goat (and you're welcome to the smelly creature), there's one area, involving not easily confused words but grammar, that can get to me (and my goat; he may be smelly but he does have some sense of literacy).

A local car dealership has an ad that includes the following jingle, which I've changed slightly to remove the name of the dealership (why give those folks a free ad?):



"NO NO NO," I want to say in full-blown Daffy Duck mode, "IT'S 'IT WILL BE A PITY.' OR CHANGE 'DON'T' TO 'DIDN'T'!"


I feel better now. Thanks.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Are you listening, Sierra Club?

I think I have uncovered another endangered species:

The American Game Show Announcer.

This species isn't exactly extinct yet: "The Price Is Right" has Rich Fields, Charlie O'Donnell remains the voice behind "Wheel of Fortune" and the aforementioned Mr. Gilbert (whom I first saw on "Yours for a Song," starring none other than Bert Parks) is still telling us that "This is 'Jeopardy!'"

But "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" has no announcer, and, more recently, neither does "Million Dollar Password." Meredith Vieira and Regis Philbin are such known quantities that they apparently, and literally, need no introduction.

I suppose this is a way of saving money; I also suppose not that many game shows these days end with those long lists of product plugs, which were the announcer's bread and butter (or Rice-a-Roni and butter).

Here's hoping that Rich, Charlie and Johnny hang on for a while.