Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Comma 'gain?

I was just over at “The Journal's” website, and I ran across a very witty poem that I would like to repeat here to save you the trip over there, but I’m not sure it’s okay. You know how those professional writers are about using their stuff without paying them. So, make the trip over there and come back here. Then we’ll discuss it.

David Holper wrote a very witty poem about punctuation, I think. But, it really hit home with me, because I’ve always had a tough time with punctuation, and I’ve noticed that a lot of us amateur writers have problems with punctuation, and grammar, and spelling, but we always seem to get our point across. It used to be that when I wrote something, I would spend a long agonizing time trying to clean up the way that I wrote it. When I got through, it was not even anything that I would say, or even recognize.

I finally figured out that most people don’t use correct English. So, I decided that I would try to communicate by using the language that people “really use” instead of correct English. My rule was; if I can understand it, anyone can. And, I adopted the philosophy that; “Language is not about correctness, it is about communicating”.

I find myself falling way short on my punctuation skills, but I try hard to get my point across, and usually people “get it”.

One time when my wife and I were at a concert, and the band was exceptionally good. I was feeling pretty insignificant, because I can’t play a note, it occurred to me that probably none of the band members could build a refrigerator, and I’m darn good at it, and it made me feel a lot better.

Now, whenever I'm very impressed with someone else’s talents, I lean over and tell my wife that I don’t think that person knows how to build a refrigerator. I'll bet David Holper doesn’t know diddley about building a refrigerator.

What do you do well, or like to do? Or, I'll make it easier, what don't you do well, or don't like to do. How about, what would you like to do better?... I wish I could be a better writer.


EkoVox said...

Ernie, I know David Holper and you ain't no David Holper. Ha!

It reminds me of when I was in high school. In our senior year, the school chooses the top-10 students for the yearbook. After four years of schooling, the time comes to show your worth. Well, after all was said and done, I placed 9th out of 10.

Oh, then came the crybabying.
I was taken to task because I was a band student. I didn't take upper division math or upper division sciences and in those days. The ones doing the complaining had taken those classes and just didn't pull the grades.

They ridiculed me for taking all the easy band courses while they were breaking lead and injesting Tylenol pouring over calculus.

I argued vehemently and won. At least in the eyes of the school counselor. I said a very simple statement that won the argument. "Can you read music?"

My father always said we are given God given talents. I had a coworker who was brilliant with computer math. He had a company that serviced IBM main frame computers in the 1970's and early '80's. He could hack into early Apple computers to make them do what he wanted.

But for the same token, he couldn't spell C-A-T. He would have to write engineering reports for the corporate office and before sending it to them he would have me correct it. And my God was it filled with mistakes. That showed me that we all have our strenghths and weaknesses.

It still amazes me how a house is built. First the foundation is poured, then a bit later, up goes the framing, then the roof and and so on.....What? If I were to do that, it would fall down. No, seriously.

But, I am pretty good at telling a story via a Sony DSR-390L.

The Boy Most Likely to ... said...

I liked that poem, and I recalled the Victor Borge, and his punctuation bit he would do during his concerts. The sounds he made for each; the period, semicolon, colon, question mark. That always made me laugh.

Now.. both of you, Ernie and Eko, please visit my blog soon to see the pic I took of a service station in Fillmore, CA that has a familiar name. You will have to scroll down passed the cats to get to it, but I had to snap the pic the moment I saw it.


Anonymous said...


You use a semicolon to prove you went to college.

If you want to correctorize your punctuation there's a slim volume called "Eats, Shoots & Leaves" by Lynne Truss that will help you out.


Anonymous said...


Nice site…… one thing that I’d like to do better is play the bass guitar. I do all right but I’d really like to play like flick of the Red Hot Chili peppers. When thinking of things that I like to do or would like to do better they don’t seem to have anything to do with work, what do you think that means?

Carson Park Ranger said...

Eats, Shoots & Leaves is rife with errors (even in the introduction).

"Language is not about correctness, it is about communicating”.

So very true!