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April 14, 2008

Comments

Jeff

I don’t feel as weird as I did having taken my [then smaller] family to the top of the Empire State Building and looking at the World Trade Center the week before 9/11.

My brother his wife were in Las Vegas and were staying at the New York, New York hotel ON 9/11. He said Vegas was very weird that day; everything was shut down (except gambling and food) and all the sports book TVs were on news coverage.

The Sheepcat

Ahem. You write that "the shooting victim’s brother was also struck in the lip by something."

Surely (following the thoroughly pedantic if charmingly colourful logic of the 1915 style guide), one is obliged to make it crystal clear that the shooting victim's brother has two lips.

Sorry, couldn't resist.

On a more serious note, yes, these incidents do remind us, "There, but for the grace of God, go I," don't they? The details are foggy in my mind now, but a friend of mine was in a London pub shortly before a bomb destroyed it.

SDG

Surely (following the thoroughly pedantic if charmingly colourful logic of the 1915 style guide), one is obliged to make it crystal clear that the shooting victim's brother has two lips.

Dang dang dang. Perhaps I should have said "suffered a lip impact." It is hard to write good.

bill912

"It is hard to write good."

It sure is, as that should have been phrased: "It is hard to write well".

However, I have a suspicion you did that on purpose.

SDG

Also, I should of used "written" rather than "said." And "Dang dang dang" would be more better with comma's.

Tim J.

I had no idea theme parks were so dangerous! Do they sell insurance at the gate?

SDG, you could always write about the incident from your own experience. Something like "A shot rang out, but the bullet missed me by 48 hours".

You know, spice it up.

I had a similar close call. I was wandering on a rocky beach in Alaska, collecting shells and minding my own business, and I found out that a couple of days later, the whole place was under water.

I was relieved that I escaped when I did, not being a strong swimmer. *Whew*!

Brent

SDG:

Would you please go into details about how you got mugged in the Haunted Castle? Did the mugger just pick-pocket you or stop you and ask for money, or beat you on the head and take your wallet by force? Considering the surroundings, I'm suprised you didn't think it was a joke and part of the act of the employees who were trying to scare you.

Brent

Tim J.

Having been mugged once, I can say with some degree of confidence that it would be hard to mistake for a joke.

SDG

Would you please go into details about how you got mugged in the Haunted Castle? Did the mugger just pick-pocket you or stop you and ask for money, or beat you on the head and take your wallet by force? Considering the surroundings, I'm suprised you didn't think it was a joke and part of the act of the employees who were trying to scare you.

To the best of my memory (I might have been 12 or so years old at the time), I was stopped by multiple persons in a pitch-black corridor and my pockets manually searched. I was not further abused.

While it's certainly occurred to me that the persons involved could have been doing it as a joke, and might even have been park employees, my thinking w/r/t this incident has long been as follows:

1. A haunted castle is supposed to be haunted, not just generically "scary." The thrills are meant to be of a numinous, otherworldly sort, not a Central-Park-at-night-in-the-70s sort. In movie terms, we're talking, say, Poltergeist, not Death Wish. This alone makes the prospect of such a "joke" at least completely out of place and a really bad idea, if not outright implausible.

2. In particular, such an incident necessarily ruins whole the haunted-house experience -- makes you acutely aware of being in a manifestly fake amusement-park setting, so that you can no longer even pretend to be scared by the spooky props and sound effects. The very prospect of muggers using the haunted-house setting as a cover to ply their trade takes you completely out of the haunted-house narrative. (In a "real" haunted-house narrative, would-be muggers would be at least as much in danger of ghosts and monsters as anyone else would be. The very boldness of the muggers blows the ghosts away.)

3. Leaping out at a park guest and shouting in his face is one thing. Physically touching him without permission, particularly intrusively enough to be going through his pockets, is totally over the line. A park employee doesn't have the right even to know what's in a guest's pockets, let alone to touch him to find out. Even interpreted as a joke, it's still a form of assault and probably a crime.

4. I happened not to have anything in my pockets, so I don't ultimately know for sure how to interpret the event. I can only wonder what happened to other guests who were carrying money or other valuables.

Brent

Did you fight back or just stand there?

Sorry to want some many details, but this sounds remarkably similar to a movie I envisioned writing one day. Haha.

Brent

edit: ...want so* many details...

Barbara

I was at a local mall the day before there was a Brinks robbery. One of the Brinks guards, as well as two police officers, were shot and killed.

About 12 years later, I was at the same mall the day before two college-aged guys were abducted at gun point, and later shot in the head (one survived).

SDG

Did you fight back or just stand there?

Sorry to want some many details, but this sounds remarkably similar to a movie I envisioned writing one day. Haha.

Be warned, the studio execs will want to up the age of the protagonist to at least 16 to connect with the date crowd.

I was (maybe) 12. I couldn't see a thing, there were a number of (larger) individuals (whose eyes were adjusted to the dark), and it was over quickly. I didn't fight back. I was just happy not to have had anything to take.

Guest

Tim J.

Who was that masked man?

Guest

Just a friend who knew SDG intended to turn the italics off.

Smoky Mountain

Why do you keep going to that mall, Barbara?

SDG

Thanks, Friend Guest, but I actually can and do clean up my own messes. :-)

Smoky: What I want to know is, after going to the mall, does Barbara warn her friends to postpone their shopping till the day after tomorrow?

Benedict

SDG,

Please do not visit the Grand Canyon. I fear you become the harbinger of doom while on vacation.

Vince C

Remind me to never go to a public place where you guys have just been or are about to go. Y'all got bad karma.

Smoky Mountain

You can still visit the Smokies, SDG. We Appalachian people have already been through it all -- neither you nor your bad karma can touch us.

Smoky Mountain

But we are a little bitter.

Minnie

was stopped by multiple persons in a pitch-black corridor... there were a number of (larger) individuals (whose eyes were adjusted to the dark)

If they were able to to see in a pitch-black corridor, maybe they were other worldly.

Be warned, the studio execs will want to up the age of the protagonist to at least 16 to connect with the date crowd.

Dating at 16 seems a bit old for Disney.

SDG

If they were able to to see in a pitch-black corridor, maybe they were other worldly.

Even with a modifier like "pitch," blackness is a relative term.

Dating at 16 seems a bit old for Disney.

Go ahead and pitch your script with a 12-year-old protag, and see what the execs say.

mary mi

Come down to SW Florida. We have Edison's famous summer home,the gorgeous Sanibel beaches like Lighthouse Park Beach, CAPTIVA...and the famous Everglades Safari, AND we'll show off Ave to you and you know NOTHING bad can happen at Ave Maria!

It's the most gorgeous place...like a piece of Italy plopped in the middle of the everglades.

:)

yep yep...SW. Florida next year or bust SDG...(you can skip the Safari)
m~

Minnie

Even with a modifier like "pitch," blackness is a relative term.

Gives room for stories to grow.

Minnie

The 16-year-old shooting victim. "Orlando police didn't control anything," a friend of the shooting victim said. "Orlando police let it get out of hand." The park erupted in chaos, with police placing students in chokeholds and spraying mace seemingly everywhere, he said.

A mother of another student said she was concered about security weeks before. "I called and asked about security-- will you search the students' bags? They have a rivalry against each other. I know from how my kids talk," she said. Her daughter tried to run toward the bus away from the scuffle, but an officer in blue told her to stay nearby and struck the teen with a baton, she said.

But she was reminded, "Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest her with the rod, she shall not die. Thou shalt beat her with the rod, and shalt deliver her soul from hell."

labrialumn

"a teenager suffered a gunshot wound to a leg"

SDG

"a teenager suffered a gunshot wound to a leg"

See, don't think I didn't try that, but it doesn't pass the tin-ear test.

The problem is the cumulative effect of too many indefinite articles, which passes a critical mass of indefiniteness. "A teenager suffered a gunshot wound" is fine, and "a teenager suffered a wounded leg" is fine; but string them all together and "teenager" and "leg" wind up so loosely connected that you lose the clear sense that the leg in question actually belongs to the teenager.

Thanks for trying though.

(Friend) Guest

Thanks, Friend Guest, but I actually can and do clean up my own messes. :-)


As I have seen. I only did it because you hadn't posted for a short while, and it seemed unlikely and overly demanding that you would take more time out of your day to update the page. Furthermore, the italics had effected the whole site, and had make it unbearable for my sleep-deprived eyes to read. Nevertheless, I will not do it again. :-)

Minnie

“He suffered a broken leg in a fall,” not “he broke his leg in a fall.” He didn’t break the leg, the fall did.

Likewise, little Tommy didn't break the vase; the fall did. And on her Sunday drive, granny didn't knock down the light pole; the accident did.

But, "Guns don't kill people; people kill people."

Say a leg, not his leg, because presumably the man has two legs.

If a man is well known to have two cars, and yet I see him wandering around in a parking lot after leaving the store, I'm not going to say he's looking for "a car", "a car of his" or "one of his cars." I'm going to say he's looking for "his" car, in obvious reference to "the" car he parked, regardless of how many he might have in some larger sense.

And if I say a man has a hole in his shoe, I'm not making an issue over how many shoes he may have in some larger sense. He could have a thousand shoes, even if he has only two feet, for all anyone knows. My statement would obviously be focusing solely on the one shoe that is his that has a hole.

Likewise, in the story, "his leg" is about the one leg that was shot, regardless of how many legs he might have. The focus of the story and of the statement is only on the leg that was shot, not on how many legs he has otherwise.

"a teenager suffered a gunshot wound to a leg"

If I didn't care to disclose the victim's gender or dramatize the matter with tales of suffering, I might simply say, "A teenager was shot in the leg, receiving minor injury." One would presume the victim has two legs, not just one, so "the leg" is the leg at issue, not a reference to some side issue of how many legs the victim has. (Even the style commentary itself speaks of "the leg" as being acceptable in reference to a leg.) What's more, because you can't shoot someone in someone else's leg, "the leg" could only be the victim's own leg.

Or I might say something else.

SDG

A thought just for you, Mini:

"I should like balls infinitely better," she replied, "if they were carried on in a different manner; but there is something insufferably tedious in the usual process of such a meeting. It would surely be much more rational if conversation instead of dancing made the order of the day."

"Much more rational, my dear Caroline, I dare say, but it would not be near so much like a ball."

Let the reader understand.

Minnie

Conversation, dancing. Is there a difference to you? It's all a ball to me. And when it came to legs, Ernest, with two legs of his own, didn't follow the style guide. In his own words, "I looked at my leg and was very afraid."

The gun used may or may not have been a .22 recovered at the scene

"Use revolver or pistol, not gun, unless a shotgun is meant," says the style guide.

the shooting victim’s brother was also struck... by something, but it could have been a rock

And, "He threw the stone," not "He threw the rock." Rock is unquarried stone.

The Masked Chicken

Dear Minnie,

Ahem (Chickens sound horrible when they clear their throat ...enough to frighten would-be readers away...)...

Since when do shotguns use.22 caliber "bullets"? According to the redoubtable Wikipedia:


Shotguns come in a wide variety of forms, from rimfire models with 5.5 mm (.22 inch ) bores up to massive punt guns with 5 cm (2 inch) bores, and in nearly every type of firearm operating mechanism...

Ammunition for shotguns is referred to in the USA as shotgun shells, shotshells, or just shells (when it is not likely to be confused with artillery shells). The term cartridges is standard usage in the United Kingdom. Single projectile loads are generally called shotgun slugs or just slugs.


The poor style guide forgot to add (so, I'll add it for them), "Use revolver or pistol, not gun, unless a shotgun is meant...that is, unless a .22 caliber bullet is directly or indirectly mentioned in the sentence, so that the word "gun" may be assumed to be used in a more generalized sense to refer to any device that operates on a similar principle as a shotgun...ambiguity being assumed only in rare cases ."

Also, since when should writers be allowed to define the status of the lowly, little word, "rock"? Leave the technical distinctions to those who get paid to make them, i.e., geologists (I know geologists. They use the word "rock," quite often). It may be true that the word, "rock", originally meant unquarried stone, but time has modified the usage, as it often does, to refer to the more general object. Talk to a linguist about the concept of drift.

Yours, pedantically

The Chicken (who probably has stones in his head for posting this and should be shot with a revolver or pistol, but definitely not a .22 caliber shotgun bullet).

Tim J

“He suffered a broken leg in a fall”

For that matter, usually, it's not the fall that breaks your leg, but the landing.

SDG

Dancing, conversation. Is there a difference to you? It's all a ball to me.

A solipsistic ball, all in your head.

We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not weep.

Will you, won't you? Will you, won't you? Won't you join the dance?

LarryD

Potato, Po-tah-to, Tomato, To-mah-to?

I'm glad you stayed away from Myrtle Beach, SDG. Our family was there all of last week. No shootings, no broken legs, no rocks or stones (lots of sand and shells, though - but not shotgun shells).

I broke my leg in the spring once, but never in the fall.

Minnie

The poor style guide forgot to add (so, I'll add it for them)... time has modified the usage

Chicken, with your updated style, you'll be a hit of the party.

A solipsistic ball, all in your head

De gustibus non est disputandum, SDG.

We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge, and you did not weep... Won't you join the dance?

Pa rum pum pum pum.

I broke my leg in the spring once, but never in the fall.

Spring break.

Minnie


Minnie

Since when do shotguns use.22 caliber "bullets"?

Chicken, were you just clearing your voice, because it seemed like you said something about "bullets", though SDG said ".22" without mention of either bullets or shells, only "the gun." His line was, "The gun used may or may not have been a .22 recovered at the scene."

What do you think about the chicken dance polka?

Ben Bentrup

I doubt the teenager broke his/her leg or even suffered a broken leg. Isn't it more likely that the bones inside the leg were the broken body parts?

The gun used may or may not have been the one discovered at the scene and it may or may not have been the one in my sock drawer, for that matter. The good Lord knows.

Spanish uses "lávate los [the] dientes" instead of "lávate tus [your] dientes". Furthermore, "se quitaron el sombrero [singular]" is the correct translation of "they took off their hats," with "sombreros" inferring that they had more than one hat on.

Maybe the victim had a peg-leg and the universe is still hunky-dory.

labrialumn

Humph! A 'gun' is an early firearm consisting of a miniature cannon placed on the end of a pikestave.

This is what "no guns allowed" signs must be referring to.

A small firearm carriable in a shoulder or leg holster is a "sidearm." A longarm with a rifled bore is a 'rifle.' A longarm with a smooth bore is a 'musket.' A longarm firing grape is called a 'shotgun' though single slugs (see 'deer slug') can be fired with those weapons.

A firearm that requires a trigger pull, but no other reloading steps, to reload and fire again, is called a 'repeater', not a machine gun.

And other related pet peeves.

Tim J

So, what's a pistol?

LarryD

"So, what's a pistol?"

A mortar weapon.

SDG

...handgun...?

SDG

You know, the National Rifle Association really has no business pontificating on behalf of all those unrelated firearms and such. Not to mention ammunition.

And really, I can't see how anyone in this day and age can really get worked up about gun control. What on earth does the right to bear arms have to do with miniature cannons? You couldn't carry those things around if you tried.

Amy P.

The talk about incidents at Six Flags reminds me, has anyone heard or know of updates about the teenage girl who lost her feet when a ride malfunctioned last summer?

Deusdonat

Wow. Keep them guns a-comin' y'all!

David B.

What on earth does the right to bear arms have to do with miniature cannons?

It is the means the Bears use to defend their rights to their own arms...

(groans)

The Masked Chicken

Dear Minnie,

SDG said:

The gun used may or may not have been a .22 recovered at the scene.

To repeat, does .22 refer to the size of the barrel or the bullet? Since the person was definitely not shot with buckshot and a shell would be so unique as to bear explicit mention, one may safely assume that the object being shot was a bullet. As such, one should assume that the word gun is being used in a generalized sense. It happens all of the time in non-specialized English prose.

Since we are being really pedeantic, did you know that the origin of the word gun comes from a woman's name? It etymology is:

gunne "an engine of war that throws rocks, arrows or other missiles," probably a shortening of woman's name Gunilda, found in M.E. gonnilde "cannon" and in an Anglo-L. reference to a specific gun from a 1330 munitions inventory of Windsor Castle ("...una magna balista de cornu quae Domina Gunilda ..."), from O.N. Gunnhildr, woman's name (from gunnr + hildr, both meaning "war, battle"); the identification of women with powerful weapons is common historically (cf. Big Bertha, Brown Bess, etc.); meaning shifted with technology, from cannons to firearms as they developed 15c. Great guns (cannon, etc.) distinguished from small guns (such as muskets) from c.1408. First applied to pistols and revolvers 1744. Meaning "thief, rascal" is from 1858. The verb meaning "to shoot with a gun" is from 1622; the sense of "to accelerate an engine" is from 1930. Gun-shy is 1884, originally of sporting dogs. Son of a gun is originally nautical. Gun-metal (commonly an alloy of copper and zinc) used attributively of a dull blue-gray color since 1905. Gunboat is from 1793; gunboat diplomacy is from 1927, originally with reference to China.


Nowhere do I see a reference to the word gun being used exclusively to refer to a shotgun.

Dear David B.,

Cute :) although I think what you meant to say is that there is a difference between the right to bear arms and the right to arm bears...

As for the original sentence is question, I would have written soemthing more "newspaper-like":

A .22 caliber revolver recovered at the scene may have been responsible for the slight wound sustained on a leg of a nearby teen.

I hate it, however, when someone edits my copy, so apologies for the attempt, SDG.

The Chicken

The Chicken

David B.

Dear David B.,

Cute :) although I think what you meant to say is that there is a difference between the right to bear arms and the right to arm bears...

That's very funny too, but I meant that the bears have the right to their own arms (limbs) :-). The double meaning of "the right to bear arms" is what I was shooting (No pun intended) for.

Ben Bentrup

"should of used..." That one really irks me.

Two more favorites I've seen: "peanut butter in jelly" and "it's been a pleasure." How about this treat? - "bare with me for awhile". For those who know Spanish, the latter is similar to how one student in my class bragged how he went rock-climbing "sin ropa".

Deusdonat

Hmmm. Since we're on the subject:

"All of the sudden".

"A whole nother"

"I could care less"

"nukyular"

but ABOVE ALL...

"irregardless".

P.S....Ben, you do you know the student isn't a weekend nudist?

Minnie

To repeat, does .22 refer to the size of the barrel or the bullet? Since the person was definitely not shot with buckshot and a shell would be so unique as to bear explicit mention, one may safely assume that the object being shot was a bullet.

Not so. What's presented as definite is that a "gun" was fired, and that there was a minor leg injury of some sort at the scene. Beyond that, it's speculation. .22 refers to a side issue of something unspecified that was recovered. It is not established as having any connection with "the gun" used. If we read "the gun" in a broad sense not limited by the style guide, then that gun may shoot BBs, buckshot, shells, bullets, and in fact, might not actually shoot anything at all. It is as if SDG wrote "The gun used has not been established. There was something of .22 caliber recovered at the scene, but it's not been established to have anything to do with the incident, and therefore it's not safe to assume that the gun used had either a .22 barrel or a .22 bullet. For that matter, it's not established as fact that the gun caused any injury to anyone, though there was a leg injury at the scene, 'since my sentence now fails to specify that the teen was shot, rather than, say, skinning his — er, a — knee in a fall'."

As such, one should assume that the word gun is being used in a generalized sense.

The style guide cited says one should not write "gun" unless shotgun is meant. Hemingway called it the best rules he ever learned in the business of writing. If you don't want to follow that century old guide, you don't have to. Hemingway didn't always follow it either.

Nowhere do I see a reference to the word gun being used exclusively to refer to a shotgun.

Check the style guide cited. "Use revolver or pistol, not gun, unless a shotgun is meant," says the style guide.

The Masked Chicken

Dear Minnie,

...Says the style guide...Which style guide? Just curious. I don't mean to be argumentative.

The Chicken

The Masked Chicken

Dear Minnie,

...Says the style guide...Which style guide? Just curious. I don't mean to be argumentative.

The Chicken

Minnie

Says the style guide...Which style guide? Just curious. I don't mean to be argumentative.

The one Amanda Shaw blogged about, "this amusing and instructive catalogue of writing dos and don’ts, compiled in 1915 by The Kansas City Star and given to Ernest Hemingway during his stint as a police and emergency-room reporter." Though not available at the location cited in her blog, it can otherwise be found here.

Deusdonat

Hmmm. If we're using style guides from 1915 to dictate our speech and writing patters, why don't more English speakers use the word "Mohammedan" these days? Dang gummit! Now fetch me my spectacles so I can mosey over to the box social with my barbershop quartet.

Fr. Benedict (Benoit)

Hey, how about that. I was on vacation right across the street from Wet N' Wild this week when the incident happened. Fortunately, I visited and concelebrated Mass at the national shrine of Mary Queen of the Universe that day instead of, well, getting wet and wild (!). (Although I did get pretty soaked in one of the Universal Studios ride)...

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