Thursday, April 06, 2006

Tribune Surprise! TY!

This booktalk written in the summer of 2005 for the Southern Reporter appeared in the DeSoto County Tribune today. My picture was on the cover, inside "Life" cover, and with the article. I think someone is trying to encourage me…Thank You Tribune!

You may not know this, particularly since I scramble the English language regularly, but my mother is a retired English teacher. So, you will be assuming right if you think she’s a stickler for the King’s English. I remember distinctly the first time she used her powers of correction on me.

I was 5 years old when I excitedly announced my grandfather’s appearance in the tobacco field. “Here comes Papa! With a load of ‘mators thru tha ‘bacca field!”

A swift, “Margaret Carol! Say that right!” was issued from my mother.

Now in my stubborn head I thought, ‘what is her problem?’ “Um…Here comes Papa thru the ‘bacca field with a load of ‘mators?”

As she shook her head in disgust, she could only be thinking, that’s my child.

Enter British stickler, Lynne Truss and her entertaining little book, Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation. Her crusade is much needed in our world of slang and short-handed e-mails. I’m particularly guilty of the usage of CU later and […], she calls ellipsis.

Author Truss came about the idea for this book after seeing one too many grocery store signs misrepresenting the English language. We have all seen, ‘Egg’s $1.29 doz.’ and wondered what does the egg possess? Her boiling over point was the American movie Two Weeks Notice. Those lackadaisical Americans had no right removing the apostrophe even in their own language.

Truss has given us an engaging look at the history of certain punctuation marks and their common use and abuse. Readers will not only find this book an informative read, but surprisingly funny. It is only after reading the book that I realized she didn’t actually tell the panda joke…

A Panda walks into a deli and orders a sandwich. After eating the sandwich, he pulls a gun and fires two warning shots.

The manager, stunned but otherwise unhurt, asks him, “Why?”

The panda replies with, “I’m a panda!” and throws a badly punctuated wildlife manual at him.

As the grumpy bear leaves, the manager flips to the explaining entry: Panda. Large black-and-white bear-like mammal, native to China. Eats, shoots and leaves.

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