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A crowded day

You, dear readers, are not on the agenda for today: an early–morning editing class at Loyola, the funeral of a friend, the weekly on-time meeting, and, of course, a stimulating shift of night content production.

But tomorrow—ah, tomorrow, best beloved—you will have the first installment of “Grammarnoir 3: The Wages of Syntax.”

Stay tuned.



Posted by John McIntyre at 8:28 AM | | Comments (10)


I just had to post this somewhere because these folks need an editor BAD

Prof. McI.,

Thanks for the heads-up on your 'packed' itinerary for today. Much appreciated, as some of us neurotic creatures-of-habit have mild abandonment issues if our ordered worlds aren't unfolding as we expect. HA! Just sayin'.

Sorry to hear of your friend's passing. My sympathies are w/ you and the departed's loved ones and dearest friends. About ten days ago, I too lost a fairly close friend----a fellow Canuck I had managed to stay periodically in touch w/ since the mid-'70s, who for the past six years, or so, had been living and working in Tucson, AZ. His death from some sort of heart-related trauma, was very sudden and quite unexpected. Peter left us far too young at 56.

Prof,, it's never really easy when we lose someone we hold near and dear to us. Somehow we become much more aware of our own fragility, and how precious, and unpredictable our mortal journey really is.

On a brighter note, I'm really looking forward to tomorrow's "Grammarnoir 3: The Wages of Syntax".

By the by, I happened to have picked up prolific author Bill Bryson's "Dictionary for Writers and Editors" at Vroman's books in Pasadena, CA, yesterday. It's not a newly published tome, but appears to have had a 2008 reprinting, from its initial early-'90s release. It's basically a very cool, concise, and informative A-Z compendium of useful pointers on proper grammatical usage, pronunciation, word derivations and such, addressing largely troublesome, quirky, or inherently puzzling words, or phrases. (Right in your wheelhouse, Prof. HA!) From a quick first perusal I would say it's definitely worth adding to one's personal reference library.

Prof. McI, make sure to stop and smell the roses, today. Remember Valentine's Day is a mere four days hence, and cherubic little Eros, downey wings all aquiver, is sharpening the points on his little 'love barbs', destined for unsuspecting lovers' throbbing, smitten hearts.

Hmmm............... Belgian chocolate truffles, scarlet roses, or lily-white undies w/ a scattered-mini-hearts motif? Decisions, decisions.

Ta! Ta!


As I said earlier this week, I am really looking forward to the grammar noir offering. I feel like a kid on Christmas Eve.

Alex, The professor's friend was also my dear friend, and she left us far too soon. She was given a beautiful send-off by hundreds of people. It was my pleasure to meet our own Prof. McIntyre in person as we were filing out of the church.

I feel a cents of taxes on synwages coming.


Thanks for that personal revelation re/ your recently departed friend. It truly is a small world when you find that she was a confrere of our 'prof', as well. Very cool that you had the opportunity to meet face-to-face w/ Mr. 'Mac'.

At least you were able to recognize Prof. McI.'s amiable, bespectacled mug, but sadly far removed from the usual context of his more familiar exposed visage w/ his "joke of the week" from the bowels of the 'paragraph factory', and of course, his 'portrait' pic on the masthead, on this very blog.

Again, sorry for your loss. Your friend sounds like she was a much-loved soul, and a dear friend to many.

Jim Callahan-----Valiant effort w/ your, "I feel a cents of taxes on sywages coming." However, respectfully, I'm afeared that your attempt at levity may be suffering a tad from a degree of 'can't move your vowels', or more precisely, 'punstipation'. (Groan) As they say, this too shall pass. HA!

Jim, are you basically saying that our punitive professor is going to demand a 'sin tax', filthy lucre, for our unwitting grammatical malapropisms? The nerve.


Alex, around here we call it "Smalltimore." It's not even 6 degrees of separation--more like 2 or 3. Very different from growing up in California!


I like that "Smalltimore" bit. Not to be confused w/ "Smallville", that Superman-inspired long-running TV serial drama. HA!

Living here in La La Land for going on 31 years, i've managed to 'encounter' countless notable entertainment-related celebrities, from a rather lengthly impromptu conversation w/ veteran actor Richard Dreyfuss at the crazed 2008 Comic-Con geek-fest in San Diego, to me and my girlfriend sitting in our local Encino Laemelle Theatre to discover actor John Lithgow & family (his wife, son and daughter), seated directly in front of us, chattering away prior to the main feature.

Not to mention three separate 'run-ins' w/ pop-folk balladeer Jackson Browne back in the '80s. On one occasion, he was literally 'running on empty' as he pulled into an Arco gas station on Sunset Blvd.. He was running late for some studio recording session, and politely asked if he could use my pump so he could gas-up pronto, and split for his gig. I admit I was pretty awe struck, and obliged him. My then-wife, and mother-in-law who were w/ me, had no idea why I'd become so animated, and who this handsome dude w/ the Prince Valiant-style haircut I was rapping w/ really was.

Maybe the fact that I've been a long-time professional caricaturist (aside form my animation and sculpture pursuits), has been an advantage in readily sniffing out Hollywood celebrity types. An innate sensitivity, or penchant for identifying distinctive facial features I guess. Not that I'm some sort of star stalker, or crazy papparazo.(sp. ?) HA!

Celebs just seem to have appeared out of the woodwork w/ an uncanny regularity in my experience. I generally assess the potential celebrity encounter, whether to engage the individual, or just leave them be. Usually my judgement has proved appropriate..... no harm, no foul.

Meeting "The Simpsons" creator, Matt Groening was quite a treat for me back in the late '80s. I recognized the then rather rotund gentleman directly seated across from me at the U-shaped bar at the popular local family-style Westside eatery on W. Pico Blvd., John O'Groat's. I basically had the decency to allow Groening to finish his ample breakfast before I took the liberty to introduce myself. What stood out in my short conversation w/ this most amiable, down-to-earth guy was the fact that he actually asked me what animation project I had been working on at the time, while I was just itching to get a little inside stuff on his already smash-hit FOX TV series. (Doh!)

Now Dahlink, as far as running into actor Kevin Bacon. Hmmm...... I still haven't had the distinct pleasure. I think I'm roughly within 20 degrees-of-separation from that guy. Just sayin'.


Alex, I know what you mean about celebrity sightings in California. My parents had friends in Hollywood, and my father made 8mm films, so there were connections there. Here we tend to spot John Waters (not that there's anything wrong with that!)


You sly little fox, you! HA!

"........ John Waters (not that there's anything wrong with that.)" Naughty you.

Clearly you're an inveterate "Seinfeld" aficionado reprising that classic code-line for 'so what if he (or she) is gay, or not...... no big deal.' John Waters gay? You think? HA!

Dahlink. Makes me want to put on my 'puffy shirt' and hit the clubs down on Santa Monica Blvd. (Not that there's anything wrong with THAT. Right? HA! Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrgh!)

That priceless "Seinfeld" line was right up there with, "They're real....... and they're absolutely fabulous!", don't you think?

Of course, that was the parting big reveal from a slightly piqued girlfriend played by Teri Hatcher (way before she made it big on "Desperate Housewives"), referring to her ample bosom. During the entire episode poor Jerry was in a state of confused angst, not quite sure if her breasts were silicon-enhanced, or the real McCoy............ well more precisely, the real McCoys. (twins. HA!) They were 100% natural, of course, and once again hapless Jerry was foiled in love, or more like lust. The story of his sitcom life. Fear of commitment was definitely an abiding issue w/ this neat-nik Peter Pan character.

Great stuff.

Still on the Seinfeld theme, and adding to my earlier L.A. celeb-alert phenomenon, about 8 years back I spotted the actor who played the portly postman, and one of the constant irritants in Jerry's life, Newman, at the annual Pacific Asian Tribal Arts Show at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium. He was obviously an avid collector of native cultural artifacts, (clearly he has the buck$ to afford these ofttimes pricy items), but what struck me was his majorly modified physique. He had shed maybe 60 pounds from his very portly "Seinfeld" days, and was just a shadow of his former Newman character self.

Wouldn't it be ironic if they decided to do a "Seinfeld" reprise 'special' w/ the entire main cast (highly unlikely), and the Newman actor would have to put on a 'fat suit' to look the part?

In the more than a decade since "Seinfeld" finally wrapped, all the other ensemble cast members haven't physically changed that radically. Jerry has gotten a tad jowly, putting on a few pounds, Jason Alexander (George) remains pleasantly plump, and Michael Richards (Kramer) is pretty much his wiry-framed self, now sadly almost persona non grata, ever since his infamous racist rant at a local L.A. comedy house about six years ago. Louise Dreyfus (Elaine) has done very well w/ her 'Old Christine' sitcom. I believe she's even garnered a recent Emmy for her efforts.

None of these folks will be showing up at the local food bank any time soon. Basically, they all have to be richer that Midas from their long and mega-successful "Seinfeld" run, plus all that ensuing residual income. Technically they could all more than comfortably retire from 'the biz', but being still relatively young and talented, they are still driven to grab the proverbial lime-light. Who can really blame them?

Well, I'm off to iron that puffy shirt. No small feat. Too many pleats and frills, darn it.

Haven't a clue where I put that snazzy eye patch. Arrrrrrrrrgh!

(Strains of the Village People's "Macho Man" drift off into the great miasma as we iris out. HA!)


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About John McIntyre
John McIntyre, mild-mannered editor for a great metropolitan newspaper, has fussed over writers’ work, to sporadic expressions of gratitude, for thirty years. He is The Sun’s night content production manager and former head of its copy desk. He also teaches editing at Loyola University Maryland. A former president of the American Copy Editors Society, a native of Kentucky, a graduate of Michigan State and Syracuse, and a moderate prescriptivist, he writes about language, journalism, and arbitrarily chosen topics. If you are inspired by a spirit of contradiction, comment on the posts or write to him at
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