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Preview of coming attractions

National Grammar Day, March 4, will be upon us soon, and work has begun on “GRAMMARNOIR 3: The wages of syntax.” Expect the first installment of four near the end of the week.

Also, as previously mentioned, I plan to provide an account of the family dinner tomorrow evening at Bryan Voltaggio’s Volt restaurant in Frederick. Expect that Monday or so, once I have slept off the indulgences.

For additional attractions, I offer two things that you should not expect to see again.

No further posts are contemplated on Denise Whiting, Cafe Hon, or the hontroversy that has occupied such a disproportionate amount of attention. A couple of commenters have suggested that there are still worthwhile issues to explore, but the yahoo shouting tends to drown out any attempt to be objective or reasonable, and the game is not worth the candle.

Second, as much as Investigative Voice could benefit from editorial advice on its prose, You Don’t Say is not an eleemosynary operation, and no more will be coming to it from this quarter.


Posted by John McIntyre at 11:25 PM | | Comments (21)


Thanks for making me look up eleemosynary.

Thanks for a brief moment of feeling superior because I did not have to look up eleemosynary.

"Eleemosynary"...........hmm....... I could have sworn I'd seen that very word in the recently uncovered original long-missing manuscript of Conan Doyle's last Sherlock Holmes mystery adventure, "The Case of the Disappearing Tent", where in the final chapter we find the celebratory pair of sleuths, Holmes and Dr. Watson, ensconced in the dark and cozy Wolverine's Breath Tavern, having tossed back far too many Scotch single malt whiskies for their own good, teetering precariously on their bar stools, at least seven (if not eight) sheets-to-the-wind. Let's lend an ear, shall we?

Watson: Holmes, dear chap? (Hick!), old boy (Hick!) could you tell that young woman (Hick!) was lying? (Hick!)

Holmes: (barely able to stay anchored to his wobbly pub stool, he replies) "Eleemosynary, my dear (Hick!) Watson. Her left (Hick!) eye was twitch-twitch-twitching. HA! (Hick!) HA!(Hick!)

(Holmes head slowly descends to the gleaming lacquered bar top as his deerstalker cap gingerly leapfrogs forward into the abyss. He almost immediately falls into blacked-out bliss, a broad smile punctuating his craggy countenance. Holmes is now dreaming of other cases to solve, other miscreants, swindlers, murderers, and the like, to bring to justice. Watson, meanwhile, throws back yet another dram, and starts counting the myriad liquor bottles behind the bar. And so it goes.)

But seriously, folks. Is my pandering in this frivolity any way to start off a fine Super Bowl Sunday morn?

Well for one who has zero interest in the BIG GAME (or the BIG, 3- million dollar commercials), I guess it is. HA!

(Wow! This dude is such a loser. Must be from Mars, not to dig football. It's darn right un-American, I tell ya!)

Yes it's true. (Sob!) I'm one of those maybe10% of the adult (male) American population who won't be slogging down copious amounts of brewskies, Dorrito chips, buffalo wing, Papa John's artery-clogging pizza, and the like, while basically two years hence barely remembering the score of the BIG GAME, and hmm......... who the heck won that ONE anyway......... the Steelers, or the Pack?

Only your local cheesehead, or unemployed steel-rigger, knows for sure. HA!

Oh, and unlike the clearly superior Dahlink, like blogger Dick Moss, I had to look up "eleemosynary". It was HARDLY elementary. HA!

I guess 'charity' begins at home.


P.S.: Apologies to all you diehard, thoroughly stoked NFL aficionados out there. Didn't mean to rain on your parade, today. As if my contrarian, voice-in-the-wilderness opinion amounted to a hill of beans........... or a bowl of nacho chips. HA! You all enjoy the game, folks. And may the best, most deserving team take home that much coveted, humongous Super Bowl jug.

And let's pray there are no 'wardrobe malfunctions' at half-time, this time around. Just sayin'.

Superbowl? This is competitive pottery, I take it? Wonderful!

Picky, old lad. Right you are. HA!

Indeed, how we soon forget that electrifying final of the inaugural 'Pottery Bowl', at famed Wembley stadium----the mighty Staffordshire Wedgwoods vs. the decidedly milk-toast, yet jolly competitive, talented Royal Doulton squad.

Picky, as you may recall, in the semi-playdowns to ultimately reach the final match, the Doulton side barely eked out a close, mud-slinging contest against their staunch, long-standing rivals, Royal Worcester, while the victorious Staffordshire Wedgwoods managed to make it a trouncing runaway win on the mucky, slopped up playing pitch against the totally outmatched, all-thumbs Liverpool Delft contingent. Talk about a sticky wicket. HA!

The 90,000-plus rabid "competitive pottery" fans gathered at storied Wembley that glorious day were not disappointed, as triumphant Wedgwoods' captain, right-wing clay slinger Cecil Dimplewhistle III proudly raised the gargantuan 'Pottery Bowl' glazed porcelain winning jug, the coveted 'Big Wedgie', o'erflowing w/ Whyte & Mackay, Isle of Jura single malt brew. Sport at it's finest.

Picky, I'm quite sure that that last image of the (wasted) whisky breaching the brim of the gigantic trophy is indelibly etched in your synapse-firing-on-all-cylinders gray matter, along w/ other treasured British sporting memories.

(Boy, that Bobby Jones was quite the golfer, eh? First blush, he hated the Old Course at St. Andrews, Perthshire, and stomped off before completing his first-ever round, complaining that it was basically a glorified sheep pasture. Thirty years hence, after playing it innumerable times and winning a pivotal Open championship on these very historic seaside links, he claimed it was his favorite course in the world, aside from his beloved Augusta National. The Scots eventually embraced wee Bobby Jones, particularly the town of St. Andrews, who honored him w/ the keys to the 'city' in an elaborate civic ceremony, not long before he passed. Jones had retired from the game at the tender age of 28 to pursue his law career, never turning pro, yet inarguably one of the true giants of golf's modern era. But I digress.)

Picky, thanks for your breath of fresh levity.

Have a great week to come.


As I am no fan of football, save for the Navy-Army game, I watched reruns of"Criminal Minds," went to Wegman's and knit. Tomorrow shall be normal. (Is the name "Volt" mean to imply that the prices are shocking?)

I've never heard the expression "the game is not worth the candle." Is that a Southernism? Do you know its origin? I quite like it.

I'm fairly sure this expression predates the US, north or south, MelissaJane. Not worth the candle applies to an activity that is not valuable enough to justify the expense of carrying it out. And, by analogy, something you could do, but isn't worth the trouble.

There was a time, of course, when you needed (expensive) candles to light many indoor activities (including games).

Patricia the Terse,

I would think the re-VOLT more aptly implies that "the prices are shocking".......... as in absolutely 're-volting'.

Re-VOLT clearly referring to a "used", or if one is in a more euphemistic frame of mind---pre-owned---- Chevy hybrid vehicle.

(Something tells me these not-exactly-cheap suckers won't depreciate, price-wise, that drastically over time. Hence the sticker-shock on the re-VOLT)

I gather, like the earlier pioneering 'green' car, (the almost instant driving sensation amongst rabid environmental protectionists), the Toyota Prius, the soon-to-be-released-on-the-world-market Chevy VOLT has a pretty 'revolting' sticker-price (new) of around $40,000 clams, or to be less glib, dollar$. (Wouldn't want to insult the clams, now would we? An irked quahog, razorback, or littleneck crustacean is not a pretty sight to behold. Darn right vicious, I tell ya. HA!)

Now IMHO, VOLT is a super appropriate, catchy name for a cutting-edge plug-in vehicle. It definitely has that metaphorical caché. But for me, one of the truly lamest car names ever, within recent memory, had to be the 1994-1997 Ford ASPIRE.

In my view, any vehicle make w/ the moniker, ASPIRE, just has loser, or dismal market laggard written all over it. Might as well not mince words and just call it the Ford ATTEMPT, or say The Ford UNDER ACHIEVER. HA!

Now, not to totally bash Ford Motors (whose fortunes thankfully look much rosier of late), their historically strong-selling TAURUS model has a bold, forceful signature name you can truly believe in........... and that's no bull. Vroom! Vroom!

Have a great week, folks.


Patricia the Terse,

Boy, did I totally miss read your post re/ "Volt" and your associating it w/ the "shocking" prices. (Just hand me the dunce cap.)

Here I thought you were talking about the new 'green', Chevy plug-in sedan, the Volt, and had nary a clue that it was actually the name of a snazzy Baltimore eatery where our blogmeister, his wife Kathleen, and friends were about to dine this very Super bowl weekend. Oops.

Curses to that darn Evelyn Wood speed reading class I took many moons ago. I completely sloughed over Prof. McI. little announcement in his earlier post, namely that he would be trying the Volt's undoubtedly pricy fare, and potent potables. I guess my beady, darting eyes glommed onto his Cafe Hon and investigative Voice updates, and complete missed the dining-with-the-McIntyres bit.

Well today's post by Prof. McI. giving a brief item-by-item account of the restaurant Volt cuisine pretty much took the wind out of my Chevy Volt smart-Alexy commentary from earlier today.Drats!

Prof. McI., sorry to hear your dining experience wasn't a 4-star gourmet delight, and that you actually may have picked up a smidgen of food poisoning from (likely) you lobster dish. And lamb, in my limited experience w/ the beastie (cooked that is), can often be somewhat tough, and a tad gamey.

As regards your less than sensational New England clam chowder, which, IMHO, can often be too laden w/ corn starch, and have fewer clams than potato chunks, I've actually had more success at sundry seafood eateries w/ the red, brothy Manhattan style clam chowder, although you don't see it as often on most menus.

Patricia, I'll try to be a little more focused in my reading of the blog postings on this site, going forward, and avoid the embarrassment of getting lobster thermidor all over my face. HA!


P.S.: -----Ironically, my two Captcha words are "became verissic". That very well could have been the fate of Prof. McI. from his latest repast at restaurant Volt. "Verissic" has such an Italian-American, fractured English flavor to it, (the conflation of "very" and "sick"),no? Just sayin'.

That's a bit of a volte face, Alex

I'm really lloking forward to the new grammar noir episode. The past offerings have been excellent.


Oh sagacious one. You nailed it once again, working in a most clever pun, to boot.

Indeed, my flip-flop over the "Volt" 'misunderstanding', was, as you so aptly put it, "a bit of a volte-face", to say the least. (As you may have noticed, I took the liberty of adding a dash to connect "volte' and "face".)

I must confess I was forced to look up the term "volte-face" on the Web, and soon discovered it basically translates as an about-face, or more precisely a total shift in one's philosophic, or even political, position. I understood that it could apply to either an individual, a group, or even an entire nation's change of heart, or fundamental stance, or position.

Live and learn.


I never heard of the Investigative Voice blog before this post. (I never read the Washington City Paper's screed on Dan Snyder before he brought it up in public, either. Funny how that works.) After reading the IV entry, I would say it's wise John chooses to pick no fights with them. Most of us, I'm sure, have been counseled in the past not to wrestle with a pig: it just gets you dirty and annoys the pig.

PS: I've been criticized by other posters here before for extolling the virtue of spelling bees. Apparently some folks think they're a waste of children's time and intellect. Thanks to spelling bees, however, I did and do know the meaning of eleemosynary. That is their value: some of those words actually arise in prose or conversation later on in life.

Considering there is no charge for enjoying both blog and commentaries, John's enhancement of our vocabulary by the use of the word eleemosynary turns out to be exactly that...


Not to belabor the obvious, but Volt is in Frederick, Maryland, not Baltimore, and the chef is one of the Voltaggio brothers who topped the competition in a previous season of "Top Chef." They are hot hot hot.

Sorry, Dahlink, but as a speaker of a different dialect can I ask: does hot hot hot mean good good good, or fashionable fashionable fashionable?

Sorry, Dahlink, but as a speaker of a different dialect can I ask: does hot hot hot mean good good good, or fashionable fashionable fashionable?

Picky, I would say that many women would agree that there is nothing sexier than a good-looking man at the stove cooking up something wonderful.

Oh lord, it's as simple as that is it? Sexy, sexy, sexy? Would you go to a restaurant because you think there's a sexy beast all unseen in the kitchen?

@Picky: Yes and yes.

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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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