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Holiday bonus

They also labor who have the holiday off. In addition to the joke of the week, I offer these items.

Item: Mike Pope knows the words and the tune. Yesterday I posted this on Facebook and Twitter: “Maryland plates LNB 883, perhaps you could find someone to help you interpret what a YIELD sign means.”

Mr. Pope commented thus: “Yielding is not American, and represents an unwarranted intrusion of the government into my right to drive. There is no Constitutional basis for regulating traffic in this way, and the government has no right giving entitlements like ‘right of way’ to pedestrians, many of whom pay no income tax at all. Yield signs are obviously a conspiracy by the elites to cripple American drivers and bring about a one-world tyranny of pedestrian-only cities. Why do they hate our freedom to drive?”

Item: I hope you got your paper on time this morning. Mine was faithfully delivered. (And if you don’t subscribe to a print newspaper, shame on you.) But Andy Bechtel identified a salient point about newspapers at The Editor’s Desk last week after talking to a friend who canceled his subscription to the News & Observer because calls to the paper’s automated complaint line and to a person in the circulation department failed to get a problem resolved.

Crappy customer service may not have done as much as any other factor to motivate people to give up on print newspapers, but it has been so widespread for so long that it cannot be ignored as a contributor. Where else would you be expected to take in stride the periodic failure of delivery of a product you have paid for?

Item: I’ve been intrigued by the talk by Gov. Rick Perry of Texas and other conservatives about the possibility of repealing the 17th Amendment to the Constitution, the one that provides for the popular election of United States senators. It was a reform measure ratified in 1913 because in the nineteenth century business interests—often railroads—controlled the state legislators, which elected senators under the original Constitution.

I assume that corporate interests continue to control much of what the state legislatures do, so it looks as if the main motive behind repeal is a solicitude for corporations, since purchasing legislatures would be cheaper for them than purchasing general elections.

Item: Your word of the week is tergiversation.



Posted by John McIntyre at 12:20 PM | | Comments (7)


Oooh! One of my favorite double dactyls, credited to Anthony Hecht when I found it online:

Higgledy piggledy
Archangel Rafael,
Speaking of Satan's re-
Bellion from God:

"Chap was decidedly
Given to lewdness and

Yield? Never!

Perhaps we should open a contest for the best double dactyl on John Early McIntyre.

Higgledy Piggledy
John Early McIntyre
wears a straw hat and a
seersucker suit:

even a male and an
blessed with a tailor, can
still look a beaut.

I did want to write one that starts "Higgledy Piggledy, John Early McIntyre, Night Content Manager, Baltimore Sun." But I got stuck. Can one rhyme Sun with Hon in Baltimore?

Regarding Mr. Pope and yielding, I remember once overhearing a conversation in the checkout line. A young woman on crutches was explaining to her friend that someone hit her as she pulled out from a YIELD sign.

"I slowed down and everything, and then the car coming up the road just hit me! What did they expect me to do, stop?"

Apparently the young woman failed to grasp the meaning of the word "yield".

Yielding to all of you,

My favorite double dactyl:

Said Agatha Christie
To E. Philips Oppenheim:
"Who is this Hemingway?
"Who is this Proust?

"Who is this Vladimir
"Whatchamacallum, this
Rabble?" she groused.

--George Starbuck, _Pith and Vinegar_

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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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