THE TRUTH ABOUT TRUTH:

All truth passes through three stages.
First, it is ridiculed.
Second, it is violently opposed.
Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.



Monday, December 3, 2012

THE MOST SEX YOU CAN HAVE WHILE IMPROVING YOUR GRAMMAR


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Q: What do Playboy magazine, Matthew McConaughey’s abs, Johnny Depp’s sweet nothings, Victoria’s Secret ‘Black Diamond Fantasy Bra’, Mary Ann’s tight shorts, Ginger’s coconuts, Barbie’s 39-18-33 measurements, Paris Hilton’s sex tape, Don Juan, Botox, a leather whip and handcuffs, penis envy, the female orgasm, Richard Gere and gerbils have in common?
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A: All of them are mentioned in the book ‘MISSED PERIODS AND OTHER GRAMMAR SCARES’ by Jenny Baranick, which I recently finished reading.
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In fact, I hadn’t seen the word “penis” printed in a single publication this many times since I last read the book ‘STICKS AND STONES: Male Sex Organs - An Owner’s Manual’ by Dr. Harrison J. Bounel.*
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No, I jest. The male member was not overly focused on in this very informative and entertaining book. In fact, Goldilocks, who stars in Chapter Eight – ‘Goldilocks And The Three Bars: En Dashes, Em Dashes, And Hyphens’ – would probably say that the number of times the word “penis” appears in ‘Missed Periods And Other Grammar Scares’ was “just right”. (In all seriousness, Jenny Baranick’s book is occasionally risque but never pornographic and almost always humorous. It’s rated J.R. for Just Right or Johnny Reads.)
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Move over, Suck & Writhe Strunk & White, there’s a new kid in town. The king is dead; long live the queen!
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Upon learning that the copy of ‘Missed Periods And Other Grammar Scares’ that I’d ordered from my local Barnes & Noble had arrived at the store, I had an awful thought: The title is incorrect! Wouldn’t the word “Other” in the title imply that “Missed Periods” are also “Grammar Scares”, when in fact they’re punctuation scares? But then I came to realize that “missed periods” lead to run-on sentences (see Chapter Four), and run-on sentences are indeed “grammar scares”. Whew! That was a close one. As Count Floyd would say: Ooh, vasn't that scary, kids?" But I should have known better than to question Jenny Baranick, the dominatrix of grammerotica.
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Paris Hilton said, “Life is too short to blend in.”
~ Jenny Baranick in ‘Missed Periods And Other Grammar Scares’
- page 141
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“Life is too long to take shit from people!”
~ Louie Banana at the '10 At 2 Kennel Klub Saloon' 
after gin & tonic #9, #9, #9, #9... 
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‘Missed Periods And Other Grammar Scares’ is not just about grammar, and it’s not just about sex. It’s also about something that can lead to sex and even lead to - *gasp!* - dancing! I speak of booze. Jenny gives a shout out to daiquiris, vodka, margaritas, and straight tequila. Mention four of the essential food groups like that and you’re sure to get the attention of a town drunk like me.
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Baranick’s textbook is also rife with pop culture references, especially to movies and TV shows; there’s something in it for everyone!
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This book may take a humorous approach to its subject, but if you think grammar scares aren’t serious business, think again! I’ll never forget the time I was driving on a long stretch of dusty highway not far from Bakersfield when I came up behind a good ol’ boy in his ol’ ‘55 pickup truck. On his head was a Stetson, he had the obligatory gun rack mounted in his cab, and the bumper sticker on the back of the horse trailer he was hauling read, If You Ain’t A Cowboy, You Ain’t Shit.
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There’s nuttin’ funny about a grammar scare like that! OK, yeah, there is, but you’ll avoid that sort of self-flagellation by studying Jenny Baranick’s unique way of teaching English in an entertaining, pain-free manner.
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I wish I’d had an English teacher like Jenny when I was in high school. Think of all those hours I wasted staring out the classroom windows, daydreaming about sex and learning nuttin’. But with ‘Missed Periods And Other Grammar Scares’ you can have your sex and punctuate it too!
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A person could read ‘Missed Periods And Other Grammar Scares’ for the entertainment factor alone. If they happen to learn important “stuffs” along the way (and they surely will), they can consider that a no-cost bonus to them. (For me, the funniest line in a book full of humorous lines may have been this: “Bill Clinton will go down in history for not having sexual relations with Monica Lewinsky.” Was it mere coincidence that this line appeared on page 69? 
Hmmm... I wonder.) 
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For a dude who was a C average student in high school and created an oil painting of a bullfight for extra credit to keep from failing the Spanish class, I don’t do too badly these days when it comes to my speaking and writing. My spelling was once “atroshus” and my punctuation not much better. But all the reading I did after graduating from high school made me reasonably proficient in English matters. Nevertheless, I did learn a few valuable things from “Captain” Baranick’s book.
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In Chapter Five, ‘More Than A Feeling: Commas’, Jenny Baranick (J.B.) teaches the reader the comma rules. As a professional English teacher, she has actually questioned her students about why they placed commas in certain places. Most of them have responded that they “feel like it should be there.” Ha!-Ha! [Yeah, rereading that made me GOL – Guffaw Out Loud.] But Jenny says, “When it comes to matters of the comma, don’t follow your heart – follow the rules.”
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J.B. breaks down the Rules O’ Commas for us, and on page 45 she explains when you “MUST” put a comma before the word “and”. Well, I am more thinker than feeler, so when I’ve put a comma before “and” it was never because I “felt like it”; I’ve always had “a reason”. Was it a good reason? Did I always think correctly? Uh...  probably not...  but I’m afraid to look back and see what sort of disasters I’ve left in my writing wake.
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On page 67, Jenny explains the rules about capitalizing the first letter after the use of a colon. That’s something I have often wondered about, because I’ve seen it both capitalized and left lowercase but never understood why the editor chose the one way or the other. Now I get it. Thanks, Captain Morgan Captain Jenny!
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On page 149, Jenny teaches us how to do it “doggy style.” Uhm . . . proofreading, that is. (Get yer dirty mind outta da filthy gutter!) And in the very next paragraph on that same page, she explains to her readers how they can get “hard core” and “make writing errors their bitch.”
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Reading all these double entendres and lusty grammar lessons caused me to think about how long it’s been since I’ve had sex, and I wondered if I would even be able to remember how to do it. But then I thought: Oh, sure I would. It’s just like falling off a horse - once you’ve done it you never forget how.
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As much as I enjoyed ‘Missed Periods And Other Grammar Scares’ and believe that its time has come, I can’t say that I concur with Captain Jenny Baranick on every point. Heck, I don’t agree with anyone 100% of the time. Sometimes I don’t even agree with ME!
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In the Introduction, J.B. writes, “our public school systems are underfunded.” I beg to differ. Actually, I pretty much insist on it. Aside from the fact that the U.S. Constitution does not grant the federal government the slightest right to meddle in public education, we are spending more taxpayer dollars on education than ever before. We don’t need more money thrown at the problem; what we need is more teachers like Jenny Baranick who know how to make learning fun.
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Later, J.B. writes: “But to play it safe, it’s still not all right to use alright.”
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Mmmm . . . alright, Jenny, I’ll stop using “alright”. 
Oops! I did it again.
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I think ‘alright’ looks better than ‘all right’, and it emanates from the mouth as a single word, not as two separate words. Nevertheless, I’ll stop using ‘alright’ as soon as everyone else replaces ‘already’ with ‘all ready’ and ‘altogether’ with ‘all together’. In other words, I won’t stop using ‘alright’ anytime soon (unless I perish with the rest of y'all when the Mayan Calendar comes to an end on December 21st).
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And that brings me to my naturally rebellious attitude . . . 
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Sir Jack Daniels, my black leather jacket and me
At the ‘Statue Of Liberty’ in ‘83.
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As the photo above should illustrate, I’m a firm believer in breaking the rules. Not ALL of the rules, mind you, but those rules that one thinks he/she has a legitimate reason for breaking. However, I also believe Mark Twain got it right when he wrote, Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please.” You can’t really claim to have been deliberately breaking rules if you didn’t know what those rules were to begin with.
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That’s why, in order to be a real righteous rebel, you’ve got to know WHAT you’re rebelling against and WHY! Don’t just be a rebel, but be a smart rebel.
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I don’t fault Jenny Baranick, because she’s not responsible for having made the rules. But she does explain many of the “orthodox” (commonly accepted) rules of writing. For instance, she states, “We don’t capitalize the century numbers: nineteenth century.” Also, “Another thing I don’t understand is why we don’t capitalize summer or winter, or any of the other seasons for that matter. It seems like we should, but spring, summer, fall, and winter are all lowercase.” And lastly, on page 96, she explains which words we should and should not capitalize when writing titles of books, movies, et al.
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I’m sorry, but if we’re supposed to capitalize the names of eras, such as the "Paleozoic Era" (page 91), then I’m damn sure going to continue capitalizing the Nineteenth Century, which in my book is just as much an era as is the Paleozoic. I will also continue to capitalize huge chunks of specific time, like Summer and Fall, et al. And I’ll go right on capitalizing every single word in book, movie, and song titles, as I’ve always done. I don’t give a hoot if it’s only a small word like a, an, or the, or if it’s one of the “FANBOYS” (see Chapter Eleven). It’s IN THE TITLE and therefore, in my opinion, it DESERVES to be acknowledged, appreciated and CAPITALIZED!
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Or maybe we should just stop capitalizing the names of the actors and actresses who played Munchkins in ‘The Wizard Of Oz’ because, after all, they were so very small. (I’m sorry, charlie becker, although you were the Mayor of Munchkinland, you were so small that your name does not warrant capitalization. Make room, Randy Newman, I’m comin’ to join ya!)
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“I am old school”.
~ Jenny Baranick
‘Missed Periods And Other Grammar Scares’ – page 130
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“If Jenny Baranick is ‘old school’, that makes me ‘Paleozoic School’, and, frankly, I resent the appellation (whatever ‘appellation’ means).
~ Stephen T. McCarthy
‘Ferret-Faced Fascist Friends’ – blog bit #299
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And speaking of schools . . .
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In her book’s first chapter, Captain Baranick tells us that ‘Heathers’ (1988), starring Christian Slater and Winona Ryder, is “the best ‘80s high school movie EVER.” She writes: “If you’ve never seen it, put this book down and add it to your Netflix rotation before you forget. I’ll wait.”
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This has nothing to do with the subjects at hand (i.e., grammar, punctuation, sex and booze), but I went to school where the Heathers did. Granted it was many years before them. The external shots of the "high school" in ‘Heathers’ were filmed at John Adams Middle School in Santa Monica, California (it was called a ‘Junior High School’ when I graduated from it in ‘74).
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The shots of the school parking lot were taken in front of (what in my day was) the Music Department building at 17th and Pearl streets (for all I know, it might still be the Music building). And the scene where Christian Slater makes his explosive exit and Winona Ryder lights her cigarette was filmed in front of the school’s Auditorium which stands on the Southeast corner of 16th and Pearl in Santa Monica - page 49, C-1 of your Thomas Bros. LOS ANGELES /ORANGE COUNTIES Street Atlas And Directory. [Jenny, does that little bit of ‘extra credit information’ boost this review’s grade from a C up to a B? Sure, it’s not an oil painting of a bullfight, but then this is an English class, not a Spanish class.]
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On page six, Jenny Baranick lists the 'Dirty Dozen': Twelve words that are frequently confused with other words. I don’t have any trouble with her Dirty Dozen, although when I was in grade school I thought There/Their/They’re were real sons-of-bitches and they gave me fits. I eventually mastered them and now they are like my obedient little eunuch servants.
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However, it occurred to me that there are other common confusions that I run across regularly while reading crap online:
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whose / who’s
desert / dessert
me too / me, too
And my absolute biggest pet peeve, which is incorrectly expressed nine out of ten times regardless of the person’s education level:
I could care less / I couldn’t care less
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Maybe Jenny Baranick will address these ‘problem children’ in a future book titled, perhaps, ‘Diphthongs, Homophones, Pregnant Pauses, The Bilabial, The Copulative, And Other Sexy Parts Of Speech’.
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[Decades ago my brother Nappy gave me the formula for getting desert / dessert right 100% of the time: A desert consists of sand – one s; a dessert consists of sugar and spice – s one and s two. I never misspelled them again.]
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Alright, so maybe Jenny Baranick’s ‘Missed Periods And Other Grammar Scares’ isn’t going to inspire teenaged boys to begin spray-painting "Grammar Rules!" in urban alleys. Regardless, it is a very educational book that is fun 'n' flirty, and it would make an excellent Christmas gift for the semi-literate lover chained to the mattress in your bedroom.
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HOKEY-SMOKE! Did I really just write “fun 'n' flirty”? Sheesh! In a single sentence I’ve lost my ‘Man Card’ for life. I’ll get you for this, Jenny, and your little Auntie Em Dash, too!
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~ Stephen T. McCarthy 
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Postscript: Any grammar and punctuation errors in the above review are not a reflection on Jenny Baranick’s teaching ability, but on my C average ability to learn. (The C stands for crappy.)
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* Footnote: ‘STICKS AND STONES: Male Sex Organs - An Owner’s Manual’ is not real and neither is the author, Harrison J. Bounel. But you should Google his name anyway, just to see what results you get. They may surprise you.
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YE OLDE COMMENT POLICY: All comments, pro and con, are welcome. However, ad hominem attacks and disrespectful epithets will not be tolerated (read: "posted"). After all, this isn’t Amazon.com, so I don’t have to put up with that kind of bovine excrement.
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11 comments:

  1. Stephen....

    Shouldn't that book be titled "STICK and Stones?"

    Well written! I agree that Jenny's book should be on everyone's book shelf.

    LC

    ReplyDelete
  2. TODDFAN DISCMAN ~
    Thanks.

    >>...Shouldn't that book be titled "STICK and Stones?"

    I don't think so, because the book is about the collective sex organs of men. However... you "raise a good point" (pun semi-intended) because the last part of the title - "An Owner's Manual" - addresses the individual rather than the collective.

    There's probably only one person who can answer this question for us, and you know who that is...

    JENNY! JENNY BARANICK! WHERE ARE YOU?

    Well, if the title is grammatically incorrect, don't blame me - blame Harrison J. Bounel. Let's face it, most of the confusion originates in the White House. Always has.

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

    ReplyDelete
  3. Wow! This IS the best review ever! Thank you so much. It's so great that I couldn't care less if you capitalize every word in a title.

    I think it should be "Sticks and Stones" because I just read that some men have two penises. You wouldn't want to alienate them, would you?

    ReplyDelete
  4. Very well written review, McBuddy. I am sure it is a great book, but - in spite of the "flirty" content - I have a semi-hard time believing that my participle would not still be dangling when I finished reading it.

    ("Prematurely," he ejaculated.)

    ReplyDelete
  5. MISSED PERIODS ~
    I'm glad the review met with your approval, Captain.

    >>...I just read that some men have two penises. You wouldn't want to alienate them, would you?

    Alienate them? No! I have no time for that. I'm much too busy "envying" them.


    SHEBOYGANBOY SIX ~
    Thanks for the praise, Brother.

    If you've never visited Jenny's 'Missed Periods' blog then you'd have no way of knowing that she drives what she refers to as a Grammarmobile. It's covered with clever grammar-related remarks.

    If I recall correctly, one of the sayings on her car is "Honk if you dangle your participle."

    Her car is probably responsible for an untold number of accidents. (Has she never wondered why so many drivers seem to crash in her vicinity?)

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

    ReplyDelete
  6. Miss Jenny might want this review put on Amazon.com. If that issue comes up, you could be the new "Harrison J. Bounel", or better yet, "Harrison T. Bounel".

    She looks hard to refuse.

    SigToo

    ReplyDelete
  7. WHAT?!

    You mean she's already used the most obvious double entendre in all of grammar?!

    You are right: I've not read Missed Period's blog, but not because it is not wonderful. Time constraints keep me pretty much only here. Once in a great while I visit one of your blog buddies, and I promise to drift over to MP's blog soon.

    If she's not already made a bumper sticker for it, she should stick one on her "Grammermobile" for the INTERROBANG.

    Right?!

    ReplyDelete
  8. MASTER SIG II ~
    "Miss Jenny" is actually "Mrs. Jenny".

    Back to the drawing board for you!


    SHEBOYGANBOY SIX ~
    In keeping with that theme...

    Someone told me years ago that if a person wants to attract a lot of attention to a blog bit they've written, they should put the word "sex" in the title.

    I'm now a fully convinced believer!

    This will give you some idea about how true that advice is:

    According to the statistical record on my Blogspot.com dashboard, the Ferret-Faced Fascist Friends blog bit titled "Before You Move To Arizona...", which I posted on August 2nd, has been viewed a total of 66 times.

    The blog bit titled 'A New American Game Show: Who Be Blacker Than The Prez?', posted on November 18th, has been viewed 46 times.

    THIS blog bit, 'The Most Sex You Can Have While Improving Your Grammar', posted just 21 hours ago, has already been viewed 84 times!

    Yep. Color me "convinced". If you want people to find yer stuffs, use the word "sex" early and often!

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

    ReplyDelete
  9. SBB 6 ~
    POSTSCRIPT:


    >>…If she's not already made a bumper sticker for it, she should stick one on her "Grammermobile" for the INTERROBANG. Right?!

    Is there any question about it?!

    Hell, anything BANG or BANG anything!

    Ya know, I’m not usually this dirty-minded.
    Blame ‘Missed Periods’.

    ~ D-FensDogg
    ‘Loyal American Underground’

    ReplyDelete
  10. Haha, great post :) I usually skip book reviews because--well, I find I rarely agree with anyone on anything, let alone something as personal and individual as what to read. But this one--really, grabbed me from word one, didn't let go. Not only has MISSED PERIODS gone on my TBR list, but I'll be back for more :)

    ReplyDelete
  11. GUILIE ~
    Thanks! It feels good to know that my review may have actually helped sell a book for Jenny. And her book IS worth buying, being "fun 'n' flirty". (Crap! I've written it AGAIN! Sheesh. I might as well get my ears pierced and buy myself a pink Prius!)

    >>... I find I rarely agree with anyone on anything

    That would make two of us... except I REFUSE to agree with you about that.

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

    ReplyDelete

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