"I don't know who you are. I don't know what you want. If you are looking for approval, I can tell you I don't have any. But what I do have are a very particular set of skills -- skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you. If you leave my language alone right now, that'll be the end of it. I will not look for you, I will not pursue you. But if you don't, I will look for you, I will find you, and I will punctuate you."

Monday, May 28, 2012

Lester Chili S for Moda

The subject of this post is bit dated (for which I apologize), as evidenced by the fact that Google has apparently dropped its voice recognition search. With results like the following...

click to embiggen

 ...when I clearly said "lacertilia squamata", it's little wonder this type of search didn't seem to catch on.

You know what I wish someone would invent? A sort of reverse image search. If you had a picture of someone or something and you didn't know what who or what it was (this has happened to me more than once), you could scan it, input it into the search engine, and it could search the web for a similar image. Wouldn't that be cool? Are you listening, Google?


As long as the children aren't trying to learn how to use an apostrophe, I guess this site would be okay.

There Is An Error Occured

At least I am still smarter than my computer. Or at least a better speller and user of English than whoever wrote this program. There is an error occurred, indeed.


I would subcsribe, if I knew what that was.


According to the Free Dictionary:

tem·po·ral 1
1. Of, relating to, or limited by time: a temporal dimension; temporal and spatial boundaries.
2. Of or relating to the material world; worldly: the temporal possessions of the Church.
3. Lasting only for a time; not eternal; passing: our temporal existence.
4. Secular or lay; civil: lords temporal and spiritual.
5. Grammar Expressing time: a temporal adverb.
Definition #3 is almost identical to their definiton of "temporary":

Lasting, used, serving, or enjoyed for a limited time.
So, given that, I guess you could make the argument that this sign isn't wrong. It just sounds and looks funny as hell. It brings to my mind some scenario in which time does not pass within the walls of this liquor store. When they eventually open the doors to the public, all products with dates on them (a package of chips, for example) will appear to us to have passed their expiration dates, but the products themselves will still be as fresh as the day the owners shut the portals of their amazing time-traveling establishment. Maybe they plan to stay inside until sometime in our distant future. When they reopen they'll be able to sell antique bottles of booze at a substantial markup.

A more likely explanation is that this is yet another example of an all-too-common phenomenon: professional sign makers who don't know how to spell.

This is not the only problem with this joint:

No apostrophe for Spike and his Bottle Shop. Or do they sell spikes and bottles? Yet they got it right on another sign:

Why the inconsistency? Perhaps when Spike emerges from his TARDIS-store, the anti-apostrophe people will have finally achieved their goals and some member of the Apostrophe Patrol will have whited out that pesky punctuation mark for him.


You've probably seen a sign like this. The meaning is pretty clear: they don't want you to try to cross a street in the direction in which you are facing the sign. Instead you should use the crosswalk indicated by the arrow. Don't get me started about how many intersections are set up so that a pedestrian has to cross streets three times just to get to the corner he or she wanted. This may be great for traffic flow, but it is a pedestrian-hostile system. What if you're old, or in a wheelchair, or otherwise mobility-challenged? I guess you're just out of luck, huh? I guess you should buy a car, loser! Ahem. Sorry. I told you not to get me started.

Back to the subject at hand: the meaning of the sign above is fairly clear (if something of a pain in the ass). Well, what is one to make of the following sign, spotted at a round-about intersection in?

It's like the sign is trying to confuse people. "Hey, stupid! Can't you read? There's no crosswalk here! Use the crosswalk! Bwah ha ha ha ha ha!"


I pass by this sign a lot, and it bugged me because I could never figure out what the hell it was supposed to be. I would tilt my head or squint my eyes, but nothing seemed to help it come to me. The closest I could come up with was that it was some kind of letter R, but that didn't seem very satisfying. To me it looked more like a silhouette of Squidward Tentacles from the Spongebob Squarepants show.

I eventually found the answer on line, as you will see. I could have and should have started there, but being of a pre-internet generation, I still tend to try to solve mysteries the old-fashioned way: by piling into a cool van full of hip late-1960s characters and a talking dog...wait, that's not right. Anyway, I decided to start with the horse's mouth method and paid a visit to the establish. I asked the Indian (as in ""from India") man behind the counter what the symbol was. He said he had worked there for four years and still didn't know, even though people occasionally asked. Since I had never heard of another Reliance Gas, I asked him if they were a chain or an independent. He said they were independent.

Then I turned to the internet and quickly found the Reliance organization and their corporate logo, hence:

As you can see, there are some similarities, especially if you allow for the fact that the blue version at the top of the page is basically backwards. A major difference is that the flame shape inside the R in the real logo is...well, just all wrong in the blue version. It looks like someone tried to recreate the logo freehand from a dim memory or a hastily drawn sketch by another person. Maybe they at least had it right-side around, but the sign got installed backwards?

I wonder if the employee who said they were an independent was telling the truth or just didn't understand the question. Reliance used to have over a thousand stations in the U.S. They closed about 900 stations in 2009, then reopened about 800 of them a year later. Perhaps this station was part of the corporate family and kept the name when they were cut loose but had to change the logo. Maybe this station never was a part of Reliance Industries and is just blatantly ripping off the name and (sort of) the logo. The fact that the employee said he had worked there for four years, which would have put him there during the Reliance restructuring period, but apparently had no knowledge of the real Reliance logo seems to give credence to my second theory. We may never know.

I know this isn't related to grammar, spelling or punctuation, but logos, like all symbols, are a type of visual communication. When I see a symbol that just makes no sense, I feel compelled to point it out.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

I'm Ba-aack!

I'm ba-aack! I deleted the old The Punctuator! blog because I just wasn't keeping it up the way I wanted, but I just can't seem to stay away. Maybe it was the change of venues. Now College Town is my Home Town, but I shall continue to call it College Town, cuz that's what it is. What's more, now the URL matches the name of the new version. So, without further ado, first post:

Grandrimpyette One's new school has a cool playground. In addition to the usual hopscotch and whatnot, it has some pretty esoteric looking games you can move about on, plus interesting things like a cut-away diagram of a human heart and a giant skeleton. The creator of this extravaganza worked in a little advertisement for herself, and wouldn't you know it? She spelled the name of her business incorrectly. What about the children?