Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Laying Down the Law

Lance Armstrong, in an attempt to "flip the bird" to his detractors, has tweeted this photo of himself lounging  at home with his yellow jersey collection.

The insouciant caption reads:
"Back in Austin and just laying around..."
Hang on there, pedal-pusher. When used in the present tense, as it is here, lay requires an object--that is, laying is what you do to something (or to be vulgar, someone). If it's just you and your yellow jerseys, what you are doing is "lying around." 

Then again, we all know that lying is something Lance Armstrong would never do.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Strange Bedfellows

Like just about any politics junkie (currently going through post-election DTs) I find David Gergen to be alluring and curiously seductive. The tight but creamy voice, that fascinating comb-over, those sexy non-partisan analyses...well, don't get me started.

Still, I have to admit I was shocked to find that Gergen was in fact the "woman" CIA chief David Petraeus forfeited his career for. At least that's what comes across in the opening paragraph of this Salon piece:

David Gergen — a friend of Gen. David Petraeus as well as the woman he reportedly had an extra-marital affair with — said on “Face The Nation” this morning that great men have affairs — and that those relationships can be very important to them in difficult times.

First of all, I have had a well-documented romance with m-dashes myself--I think they are great for setting off a parenthetical thought with vigor and panache--but three in one sentence? That's a punctuational high-wire act I wouldn't attempt without a safety net.

But the real problem here is that description of Gergen as being a friend of Petraeus "as well as the woman he reportedly had an extra-marital affair with." Friends with benefits, indeed!

If we slip another of before "the woman" we get a simple unexceptional story of a man with friends. By eliding that crucial of, however, we invite mental images of David Gergen in drag "servicing" a (hitherto) respected retired serviceman. And that's a whole different story.

Monday, November 05, 2012

November Surprise

It seems that awhile ago, in an effort to cast my online ballot in a survey of favored podcasts, I allowed a sketchy outfit named Stitcher to pollute my Facebook wall with banal "updates" such as this election-eve crap-poll:

Did you catch it? No, not the missing question mark, although that is annoying. I'm talking about Mitt Romney's apparent last minute gambit of ditching running mate Paul Ryan (he of the washboard abs and flexible memory) and replacing him with Ron Paul (he of the geriatric crankiness and inflexible positions). Worth a shot, I suppose.