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LAST HURRAH: Jaycee Carroll high-fives fans as he leaves the Spectrum court after what was likely his last home game. Click Arts&Life for a link to photos. / Photo by Tyler Larson

Today's word on journalism

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Grammatically Speaking:

"We owe much to our mother tongue. It is through speech and writing that we understand each other and can attend to our needs and differences. If we don't respect and honor the rules of English, we lose our ability to communicate clearly and well. In short, we invite mayhem, misery, madness, and inevitably even more bad things that start with letters other than M."

--Martha Brockenbrough, grammarian and founder, National Grammar Day

SPEAK UP! Diss the Word at


Strange musings from the bakery: Thoughts from Salt Lake International

By David Baker

I think David Copperfield yeah, the magician, not the Dickens character is sitting in terminal D3 of the Salt Lake Airport watching an HD TV tuned to some British version of CNN, getting the down-low on Tiger Wood's comeback victory in some, no doubt, excruciatingly boring golf tournament.

If it's not David Copperfield, the bastard's a dead ringer a doppelganger. At any moment I expect him to make the chair he's sitting on levitate. Maybe even do some cheap, mile-long handkerchief trick. Pull a rabbit out of this overall-wearing farm boy's ear.

At 12:02 a.m., the mind tends to wander, especially if there's a world famous magician sitting in shiny black shoes and stylish, worn-out blue jeans and an olive Diesel t-shirt. He acts like nobody recognizes him. Ha. You can't fool me.

Either way, I need to stop focusing on him it's be better to see that bastard who had his arm gnawed off by the tiger, Siegfried or Roy, one of those Germans because I need to prep myself for my arrival in Atlanta, the Deep South. When I wake up tomorrow, I'll be thrown into a world that I've only dreamed of.

I've never been east of Denver or south of Phoenix. And now, in my unprepared condition, I'm going straight into the kettle of residual Civil War anger post-Sherman Atlanta.

Why didn't I brush up on my NASCAR lingo? Maybe get familiar with the spectacular career of Dale Earnhardt. What about corn bread? Will these Southern-fried geeks understand that I don't eat bread of any sort very often corn-filled or not? Will people be offended that my knowledge of ATL rap music or the movie ATL, for that matter? Should I have loaded my mp3 player to the gills with all variety of cancerous, dirty south rap?

So many questions.

Would they understand the Michael Vick jokes? Could I say something like: So did you hear Cesar Milan agreed to give Mike Vick some exercise, discipline and affection? Or: Mike Vick, yeah, probably not going to get to do a voice in "All Dogs Go to Heaven 2."

My main concern is these good ol' boys won't take kindly, or find the humor in me saying:

"So what about that William Tecumseh Sherman? He was a real son of a bitch. Am I right?"

"What'd ya say boy?"

"Nothing. Nothing. Wow, so Jefferson Davis was underrated."

"Are you talking about the Civil War?"

"No, no Jefferson Davis, the defensive line recruit the Georgia Bulldogs just picked up. Yeah, real good. I think he throws 105, too. Braves are looking at him, to be the next John Rocker. Coincidently, has there ever been a better closer than Rocker?"

With my luck, the man would probably be a Georgia Tech fan.

You'd be half-stupid or totally drunk to start spouting off about Sherman. I imagine these people are 10 cups of crazy still about the Civil War. I mean, the South will rise again.

I don't know why I'm worrying about this. My family roots must be Southern. A bit too much redness around the shirt collar to not be able to relate to these people on a certain, basic level.

- I had a cousin get married in a Real Tree, camo-print wedding dress.

- There's never been a Baker wedding without a truck bed full of beer and whiskey. Without it, attendance would be dismal.

- Hunting season, not Christmas, is the most wonderful time of the year.

- My dad and all my uncles have at least two trucks: one to haul the trailer/boat and another to haul the beer coolers.

It could go on forever. I really don't know why I was worried. I'm going to Atlanta to hang out with a bunch of turkey hunters at the National Wild Turkey Federation National Convention, so all I'll have to do is just pull some standard gibberish about standard vs. full chokes in shotguns or the advantage of using decoys.

Phew. Now all I will have to do is find a reason why I'm looking for Ted Turner when I wander through the CNN Center, where the convention will be, and I'll be staying.

The elitists are boarding. It won't be too long now. A late-30's lady in a denim jacket and a huge wedding ring across from me is putting down her Anne Bishop book, which I would imagine is some sort of romantic garbage. She looks like a rougher version of Andy McDonald. She may have been her stand-in on "Groundhog's Day."

I think David Copperfield may just be an Italian man. I can't be sure. From one angle he looks like a magician capable of cutting me in half with gaudy knives if I were willing to jump into his big box. He doesn't have the box with him, so I'm beginning to be skeptical.

Nope. He's not a magician. I just caught a certain Euro trash quality to his get-up, or maybe it's the orange-hue of his tan. I wonder how Atlanta Braves fans would take to him.

Probably better than they'll take to the "U.S. Grant in '08" t-shirt I just had screen printed.


Copyright 1997-2008 Utah State University Department of Journalism & Communication, Logan UT 84322, (435) 797-3292
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