Sh Is Cool!

Blog, Digital Wall of Shameon September 9th, 2007No Comments

The Kalamazoo (Mich.) Gazette featured a pretty hysterical misspelling on the streets of K-Zoo. Guess whoever painted the street should probably sit in on a few third-grade spelling lessons at nearby Northwood Elementary. [via]

I Almost Killed a Reality TV Star

Blogon August 29th, 2007No Comments

On Saturday, I decided to head to the Gold’s Gym in Newburgh, about a half-hour from my house, to check it out, because I’d heard great things about it. For example, there’s a “cardio theater,” which has dozens of cardio machines in a dark room with a movie-theater screen in front. It plays new DVD releases as you run or cycle. Amazing. And there’s a pool. And a sauna. And a whirlpool. But I digress.

I was driving there, I passed the future site of the Orange County
Choppers’ headquarters. (In case you didn’t know, the Orange County in
the TV show is MY Orange County, in New York, not the O.C. in

Apparently, a bunch of motorheads are pretty pissed off at our OCC pals, because they hired nonunion labor to build its HQ, and they decided to protest.

I pulled up to the stoplight on the corner of the protest and waited for the green. When it turned, I waited a few seconds (all New Yorkers run red lights. If you don’t, you’ll get rear-ended), then pulled into the intersection.

At that moment, the leader of the OCC family, Paul Teutul Sr., blasted through the red light on his bike to turn left. I slammed on my brakes and laid on the horn, barely avoiding throwing him across my windshield.

I’m lucky. Not only would I have killed a dude, but his death would have set half the hicks in America out to get me.

I Look Like a Typo

Blogon August 23rd, 20072 Comments

Kendra reminded me of this fun game, where you type “(your name) looks like” into Google and pick your favorite results.

Here are mine:

Elissa looks like her face is going to fly off.

Elissa looks like Cher.

Elissa looks like a pearl, a flower.

Elissa looks like a man and skates like a(sic) alien.

Elissa looks like it was a typo and meant to be Melissa.

Chance of Sprinklers

Blog, Digital Wall of Shameon July 26th, 20071 Comment

Today’s Digital Wall of Shame entry comes, once again, from The Alpena News. I am eternally grateful for the fact that I can still see a PDF of the front page even though I live across the country.

I’m actually heading back to Alpena tomorrow morning, and I’ll definitely make sure to pack my umbrella.

Don’t want to be caught unprotected when sprinklers are falling from the sky.

Plain Jane Can’t Get Publishers to Notice

Blogon July 18th, 20071 Comment

A Jane Austen fan submitted the first chapters of “Pride and Prejudice,” “Northanger Abbey” and “Persuasion” to 18 publishers, changing the names and titles but leaving everything the same.

Only ONE publisher recognized that it was plagiarism. Another called it “original” but didn’t ask for more chapters. Every publisher rejected it.

I guess it must make budding authors who’ve been rejected feel a little better, though.

Read the story here. [via]

Mountain Jam

Blogon June 20th, 2007No Comments

I realized I never posted any photos of Mountain Jam, which my friend Robin and I attended at Hunter Mountain, N.Y., on June 2. Most of the day was great … the weather was perfect, warm yet breezy, and most of the bands were good, with the exception of the crappy filler bands on the side stage.


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The Impotence of Proofreading

Blogon June 13th, 2007No Comments

“The Impotence of Proofreading,” by Taylor Mali

Gays Always Young

Blog, Digital Wall of Shameon June 7th, 20072 Comments

Today’s DWS comes to me from the the May 9 Alpena News, constantly a source of merriment and mockery thanks to its refusal to hire copy editors.

Since I don’t have a scanner (but I’m working on it; I swear!), I’ll just type the contents out for you:

Gays Always
Young Meet

Gals Always Young meet at the 19th hole for their April meeting. The small business meeting was chaired by June Cosbitt who presented each member with a gift. There was a discussion of donations and election of officers in May. Isabelle Damon won the mystery gift. The May meeting will be a brown bag luncheon and white elephant sale at the home of Dorothy Carr on Long Lake at 11:30 a.m.

Not gonna lie … I think a meeting of young gays sounds a lot more fun than an old ladies’ meeting.

(Thanks, Mom!)

President of Tommorrow?

Blog, Digital Wall of Shameon June 3rd, 20071 Comment

One of those “Jobs for Tommorrow” had better be a copy editor.

Fine Literature Meets Sarcastic Columns?

Blogon April 20th, 20071 Comment

A few months ago, I was contacted by a textbook publisher about a column I wrote in college (see here, ignore the horrendous picture). They wanted to use it in an anthology of writings for a college writing class. I was excited but wary; I assumed there was a catch or it was some kind of scam.

But today, I got my book in the mail! My column is printed, along with an interview with me, some vocabulary words used in my column, an explanation of how I used persuasive writing and a bunch of essay questions analyzing my writing.

In the interview, they asked me the response I got about the column, and I included an e-mail my friend Ed sent me:

“Deer Ms. England,
You’re column of the 14th was absolutely transpired.  I especially
liked the way in witch u pointed out people’s common failings that even
spell-czech wont catch.
I hope u find many dates in the future who either already appreciate or grow too realize the true beauty of grammer.
Thank’s for the laughs, witch made me disrupt the quite calm of are newsroom here in South Bend.”

It’s so funny to read some of these essay questions, which break apart my writing like it’s a piece of 19th-century literature, not a grammar-rant column about online dating and “Saved by the Bell” written in less than an hour.

But who am I to kid? I’m so excited.

Here is a sampling of some of the essay questions, taken from “America Now.”

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Three Good Book Sites

Blogon January 2nd, 20071 Comment

I discovered Shelfari a few weeks ago, and I’m completely obsessed. On Shelfari, you create a virtual bookshelf of all the books you own and all the books you wish you owned. It’s a good way to show off your library without having scores of people poking around your house. Check out my bookshelf here.

Bookcrossing is a site where you “release” a book into the wild and see where it goes. You register the book on the site, print up a sticker with the book ID number, and stick it on the book. When someone finds the book, they log on, and you get to watch it travel from hand to hand. It’s a fun way to get rid of books you know you won’t read again and promote literary knowledge … or something. See my swaps here.

On What Should I Read Next, you type in a book you loved, and it suggests other books for you to read. Sometimes it’s really random; if you type in “Atlas Shrugged,” for example, it suggests ”
All Marketers Are Liars: The Power of Telling Authentic Stories in a Low-Trust World” by Seth Godin. Interesting.

Happy Holidays!

Blogon January 2nd, 2007No Comments

For me, New Year’s Day officially marks the end of the holidays, so after this point, it’s a little weird to have a Christmas tree up.

This year, however, I didn’t even get around to putting it up until Christmas Eve, so I’m going to allow the holidays to continue for a few more weeks, just so I can enjoy the brightly lit goodness a little longer.

Here’s the tree, in all its Charlie Brown splendor, and my (moderately) new piano that I bought in August — isn’t she a beauty?

(Stay tuned for a New Year’s Eve update as soon as I can upload the pics.)

Pictures 038

Best. Ad. Ever.

Blogon December 30th, 2006No Comments


The Norwegian Accordion Association took out this ad on the side of a bus to advertise the World Accordion Championship. Brilliant. [via]

Look, I’m Knitting!

Blogon December 29th, 20061 Comment

I finally learned to knit after years as a self-righteous crocheter who insisted that crocheting was just better and easier and prettier. (Knitting is definitely harder, but it’s fun hard. So maybe there’s hope for me yet.)



Melted-Bead Bowl

Blogon December 29th, 2006No Comments

I gave Kristin and Laura melted bead objects for Christmas this year. I had found the idea in a couple places online and couldn’t resist trying. It was a ton of fun, other than the horribly toxic fumes that were created when the plastic melted. But really, what’s a few extra limbs on my firstborn child when you have such a pretty result? To find out the details on how to make it, see my post at DIY:happy.

And here they are!

Here are the beads lined up in a bread pan before baking. I did this as a practice one to see how long it needed to bake, but I ended up really liking the result as a little tray for tealight candles.


And after baking:


And here’s the bowl/tray I made for Kristin!


Aerial shot:


The bowl I made for Laura was even cooler, becuase I baked it in a small metal mixing bowl, so it was an actual bowl, not a tray. This one was done in the world’s largest mixing bowl, so the edges melted down to make it look more like a plate.

I think I liked Laura’s better, but, being an idiot, I forgot to photograph it. Sigh.

“How to Write Good”

Blog, Uncategorizedon December 28th, 20061 Comment

These are just a few of my favorites … go here for the whole list.

  • Prepositions are not words to end sentences with.
  • Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) are unnecessary.
  • Parenthetical words however must be enclosed in commas.
  • It is wrong to ever split an infinitive.
  • One should never generalize.
  • Don’t be redundant; don’t use more words than necessary; it’s highly superfluous.
  • Understatement is always best.
  • Exaggeration is a billion times worse than understatement.
  • Who needs rhetorical questions?
  • Don’t use commas, that, are not, necessary.
  • Never use a big word when a diminutive alternative would suffice.
  • Placing a comma between subject and predicate, is not correct.
  • Eschew obfuscation.
  • Place pronouns as close as possible, especially in long sentences, as of 10 or more words, to their antecedents.
  • Take the bull by the hand and avoid mixing metaphors.
  • And always be sure to finish what

Girl Parts and Grammar

Blog, Digital Wall of Shameon December 26th, 2006No Comments

A few years ago, the weekly newspaper near my hometown of Alpena, Mich., misspelled its flag. Instead of Presque Isle County Advance, it read:

Presque Isle Cunty Advance

Today, I got an e-mail from my aunt Colleen with the new lovely genitalia error shown above.

I really can’t say it better than Coll did:

“I think every community should have a pubic safety director, don’t you? FYI, I found a copy of the Presque Isle “Cunty Advance” and it’s in the mail! If any community needed a pubic safety director, they do!”


Blogon November 28th, 20061 Comment


I’ve become completely infatuated with Compound Word Project, and it seems that I’ve passed the addiction on to my co-workers. I actually woke up last night with what I thought was the answer to one of the questions, then realized it was sleep-induced babble. Sad. Go do it. It’ll ruin your life/entertain you for hours.

A Guide to U.S. Newspapers

Blogon November 7th, 2006No Comments

NewspapersI thought this list on Misscelania was hysterical:

1. The Wall Street Journal is read by the people who run the country.

2. The New York Times is read by people who think they run the country.

3. The Washington Post is read by people who think they should run the country.

4. USA Today is read by people who think they ought to run the country
but don’t really understand the Washington Post. They do, however like
the smog statistics shown in pie charts.

5. The Los Angeles
Times is read by people who wouldn’t mind running the country, if they
could spare the time, and if they didn’t have to leave L.A. to do it.

6. The Boston Globe is read by people whose parents used to run the country.

7. The New York Daily News is read by people who aren’t too sure who’s
running the country, and don’t really care as long as they can get a
seat on the train.

8. The New York Post is read by people
who don’t care who’s running the country either, as long as they do
something really scandalous, preferably while intoxicated.

9. The San Francisco Chronicle is read by people who aren’t sure there
is a country, or that anyone is running it; but whoever it is, they
oppose all that they stand for. There are occasional exceptions if the
leaders are handicapped minority, feministic atheist dwarfs, who also
happen to be illegal aliens from ANY country or galaxy as long as they
are democrats.

10. The Miami Herald is read by people who are running another country, but need the baseball scores.

[via Neatorama]

White Teeth Fading

Blogon September 12th, 2006No Comments


I just finished Zadie Smith’s White Teeth, and I am not even sure what to say about it. The writing is great; I spent most of the time reading parts out loud to anyone who would listen and giggling at Smith’s clever wordage.

The basic story is about two war buddies, Samad and Archie, who end up being neighbors. It tracks them, their families and friends through their life in a way that is both sympathetic and mocking. Peppered throughout the story are funny, tongue-in-cheek comments on racism and general society, written in a way that didn’t annoy me, which is often a rarity in so-called “social commentary.”

The book was zany, fun and sweet at the same time.

The problem? It’s just too damn long. The humor and originality start to get old. The issues become a bit preachy. And the plot isn’t strong enough to sustain it all.

But that said, it was still an enjoyable read, even if it did lag a bit.