Random shit that pops into my mind for no good reason while I’m doing my daily exercise walk

“I think the problem with ISIS is that they’ve never learned how to chill out. Think how beneficial it would be if we shipped an army of yoga instructors over to their training camps in Afghanistan. I mean, why not?—They’re already wearing loose clothing, and their prayer position is almost identical to a yoga pose—why not just continue with some Downward Dogs and Warrior (excuse the pun) poses too?And while we’re at it, instead of fighter jets, the Western world could send over fleets of crop dusters loaded with weed. They could fly over the training camps and douse everyone in clouds of smoke. How much happier would our world be if all that rage and drive for vengeance was replaced with giggling fits and cravings for Doritos!”

 

Random shit that pops into my mind for no good reason while I’m doing my daily exercise walk


“I’m looking up at the beautiful expanse of blue sky above me as I walk, and I’m thinking how amazing it is that it’s exactly the same sky that I played under when I was a little girl. The same sky that I gazed up at to watch clouds drift by on a summer day. The same sky that blazed with sunshine on my wedding day. The same sky that sent down a gentle dusting of snowflakes on the day that my daughter was born. The same sky that’s been above me for as long as I’ve existed on earth. And for infinite years before me. The same sky that dinosaurs and Neanderthals roamed beneath.

Will that same sky be there for future generations to appreciate? I can only pray.

As long as men like Kim Jong Ugh, Vladimir PU-tin, Donald Grump, et al., exist—
men who delight in their power to make things go boom—who knows?

For now, I am looking up at that blue, blue sky, and I’m so happy that it’s still there.”

Random shit that pops into my mind for no good reason while I’m doing my daily exercise walk

Every day, I go for my exercise walk outside, rain or shine. I put on my headphones, listen to great music, and walk to the beat. I’ve found that I brainstorm some of my best ideas for new projects or stories while I’m walking.

I’ve also found that some really crazy-ass, random thoughts will pop into my mind for no good reason, and I’ve started writing them down, just for fun.

Every so often, I’ll share these thoughts here because… well, why not?

A sample of the random shit that pops into my mind for no good reason while I’m doing my daily exercise walk:

“What’s it like to be dead?

I know that lots of people have died and been revived, then gushed about how beautiful death is and how sad they were to have to come back to life on earth.

But how about all the ones who didn’t come back? Is it possible that, during their journey through the tunnel, they kicked and screamed and told God to go find some other sucker? Might they have been screaming things like, “Blimey! Why didn’t I just eat that effing piece of cheesecake the other night! Like it matters up here what my ass looks like!” or
“It bloody well figures. Now I’ll never get to buy a Prada bag or Miu Miu heels! I penny pinched and plucked, and now my kid will be livin’ large—thanks to el cheapo!” or
“Shit! Did I turn off the stove this morning?”

And then again—just in case the powers that be are reading my mind right now—I take it back. I don’t really want to know the answer after all. I’d like to just forget about it and put my focus back on Diana Ross & The Supremes, OK?”

A churchy kind of poem

Spring is here… it’s the time of year when children begin to wind down the school year in preparation for summer vacation, and those in Catholic schools are getting ready to celebrate their First Communion or Confirmation.

My poem is for all the parents who’ve been there, done that,
and all of those who are about to.

Confirmation

Perched in church,
nephew’s confirmation,
swaddled in finery,
big family occasion.

Grandma on the aisle,
camera poised.
Grandpa hunched,
both eyes closed.

Cousins ahead,
aunties behind,
uncles a-twitch
in neckties that bind.

Impure thoughts,
flecked with guilt.
Long time since
confessions spilt.

Mind’s a-wandering,
what a sinner…
wondering what
we’ll have for dinner.

We sit. We stand.
We stand. We sit.
Unfold the bench
and kneel a bit.

We genuflect,
we sing a hymn,
we bow our heads
and pray to Him.

Ah, sermon’s over,
we’ve all been blessed.
Tumultuous minds
for now at rest.

We chatter, we shuffle,
our exit’s begun.
We burst through the doors.
Church is done.

 

What do you get when you put Jack White + The Edge + Jimmy Page together in one room?

The only part of the Grammys that I bothered tuning in to this year was when Lady Gaga and Metallica strapped their TNT together and proceeded to detonate on-stage. As for the rest of the acts? They just didn’t spark my batteries.

Don’t get me wrong—I do love Adele. And Carrie Underwood. And Alicia Keys. And that Bruno Mars guy isn’t half bad (his music aside; I would kill to have his flawless skin!). 

 

But most of the meh music of today just doesn’t do it for me.

There is nothing—and I mean NOTHING—that makes my atoms hum like the thunder of drumsticks gone berserk along with the furious keening of an electric guitar. Obvious, isn’t it, that I was a child of the seventies?

Which takes me to an extraordinary documentary on Netflix that I watched the other night, called It Might Get Loud.

If, like me, you miss the days when you’d turn on the radio and hear the kind of music that made you drop whatever you were holding in your hands to play air guitar, you’ll relish this coming together of Jack White, The Edge, and Jimmy Page, during which they share their love of insane guitar playing.

Talented really isn’t a strong enough word to describe these three men, and it’s stirring to see the raw passion they have for their craft. Driven by this passion since childhood—that they’ve achieved such heights is kismet. What’s fun about the documentary is the way it was filmed—it’s just the three musicians sitting around a coffee table in an old warehouse, sharing stories of their musical journeys and their love for music and playing guitar riffs together, with flashbacks here and there of different key periods in their lives.

Jack White is an absolute force to be reckoned with. And The Edge is, of course, The Edge. But … holey moley ravioli! … Mr. Jimmy Page is ageless when he picks up his guitar. The man is truly a guitar god. 

There’s no doubt about it. You’ll want the volume on full, even though It Might Get Loud.

Can you remember your very first childhood crush?

redhaired-boyHe had thick, dark red hair, and was king of the playground.

I was in seventh grade and new nothing about love. But I did know that he made my heart flutter every time I looked at him.

His name was Paul Warner. It was obvious that he was a popular boy, since all the other boys (and girls) gravitated toward him at recess like a pack of wolves to the alpha.

Boys like him never noticed girls like me—girls who wore their shyness like a cloak of invisibility. If he had ever glanced my way, I know I would have blushed ten shades of red and found the toes of my shoes to be suddenly engrossing.

daydream-girlI daydreamed often about Paul Warner throughout that school year; sweet vignettes that materialized in my mind whenever I should have been focusing on a math problem or listening to the teacher’s commentary on the Hundred Years’ war…

What if Paul Warner bumped into me at recess…and smiled at me…

What if Paul Warner turned around in class…and asked to borrow my pencil… 

What if Paul Warner took the empty seat beside me on the school bus…and…

Perhaps this first crush was simply an omen of my future—a sign that a different Paul was predestined to enter my life someday, the Paul that I would fall in love with and marry happily ever after.

Alas, Paul Warner was never in the cards for me.

girl-dreamingSeventh grade reached its denouement, my family and I eventually moved away, and life rolled on. It wasn’t long before I was head over heels in love with my very first celebrity crush (that’s a story for another day). Paul Warner became as distant a memory to me as Scholz’s star is to Earth.

Although Paul Warner knows nothing of my existence, nor will he ever, I do hope that life’s been good to him. After all, there will always be a special place reserved in my heart for my very first childhood crush.

Now tell me—who was your very first childhood crush?

How creative are you?

I was reading an article the other day about creativity and the personality traits of creative people, and it brought on one of those “Aha!” moments—it described me to a tee, as well as all the other writers I know. I think it would be rare to find a writer who isn’t a creative type—think of all the entertaining stories in this world we’ve read or the articles that have inspired us or taught us something we hadn’t already realized.

CreativityAre you a creative type? Read on and see if you identify with these traits:

  1. Creative people are intuitive. We have powerful instincts and are attentive to them, even when logic tries to tell us we’re wrong. Our intuitive nature is necessary to the type of work we do, because it helps us seek out and acknowledge our own truths rather than accepting what we’re told to believe. We feel a driving need to share the truths we discover by writing about them.
  1. Creative people have a directed purpose—a destiny that must be followed. We eat, sleep and breathe our passions. Without them, we would feel unfulfilled. We have a vision and, by George, we cannot rest easy until the entire world knows about it. And then… we have another vision. And another. Our only release is death. Maybe?
  1. bird-with-big-hair-copyCreative people are unconventional and won’t hesitate to open our minds to the most irrational of thoughts. We have a hard time conforming to “you should” and “you’re supposed to.” It’s not that we’re trying to be difficult, it’s that we’re bombarded with ideas that make us question why things have to be the way they are. We have a need to walk the path that deviates—“just to see what happens.” When we hear a different beat, it piques our curiosity.
  1. Creative people can see the big picture from many different angles. We visualize what isn’t yet there and we see infinite possibilities. We imagine a lot. And explore. And play with. We’re known to frequently stumble upon unique uses for ordinary things because we’re never content with the first draft of anything. Our imagination is as borderless as our universe. We love, love, love to dream.
  1. sense-of-humorCreative people have a great sense of humor. We like to seek out the fun in everything we do. We never did leave the “play” part of our childhoods behind. Because we look at things from so many different angles, it’s easy for us to see all of the humor in life. Many of us think our own jokes are uproariously funny, and have no idea why the rest of the room isn’t laughing too. (Ha!)
  1. Creative people are not motivated by financial rewards. Of course, if our passions generate money—bonus! But even if they don’t, our mission is still GO. We are rewarded emotionally and spiritually when we do what we love, and there is no price tag on that.
  1. feelings-and-emotionsCreative people are hyper-sensitive to feelings and emotions. We feel very deeply; we allow our feelings to guide us and we have a need to translate those feelings into words or art or what have you. When we’re happy, we’re HAPPY! When we’re sad, we’re SAD. When fresh ideas nuke our brains, we erupt into fits of manic glee and then we’re off—immersed in yet another thrilling new project.
  1. differentCreative people are not threatened by anything that’s “different.” Original concepts delight us. Unique intrigues us. We are extra-motivated when we see any of our fellow creatives cracking through the barriers. Different is the secret password that opens doors to all things possible.
  1. Creative people are independent. We don’t like to be told what to do. We do our best work when we have freedom to express our ideas in all their crazy glory. Try hemming us in and we’ll fold faster than a bad hand of cards. You want proof of this? Just observe the creative student whose teacher insists that they NOT color outside of the lines!
  1. Creative people love to learn. Learning something new—whether it’s a hobby or an informative topic in a magazine—stimulates our idea fountain and gives us something different to chew on. We source fresh ideas while we learn—and we pursue new opportunities to learn like vampires on the prowl for blood banks.

yellow-flowers-in-rocks-copyCreative people bring something extra special to the table of life. A beautiful painting, a thought-provoking story, a delightful stage production, a captivating song, a mesmerizing choreography, a remarkable invention… creativity brings a feel-good glow to daily living. When doors to creativity open, we step into a beautiful otherworld that has no borders, a place where we can be free to discover all the possibilities.

How to like exercise, believe it or not

As is evidenced in my New Year’s Resolutions post, I’ve been fighting to stick to an exercise routine for the better part of my life, while the Demons of Sedentary cackle in my face as they pat down a fluffy couch in front of the TV for me to lounge on.

healthy-person-woman-sportJoin the gym. Avoid the gym. Do 30 walking lunges. Take 30 steps toward the instructor and lunge at his throat. Get moving. Screw moving. Year in. Year out.

At 58, I’m SO done with this tug of war.

It was a tug of war because exercise was always about the goal of looking hot. Exercise to be skinny. Exercise to banish cellulite. Exercise to sculpt long, lean legs. Exercise to show off bikini abs instead of having to hide your gut in a suit that looks like a body bag from the county coroner’s office.core-exercise

Joining the age 55-60 club changed my life on so many levels. When they say, “you’re not getting older, you’re getting better,” what they should be saying is, “you are getting older, but that’s a gift because you’re also getting smarter.” Suddenly, I don’t give a rat’s ass whether or not I look hot. What I desperately care about is doing my best to remain on this earth for many, many more years while enjoying the best of health, being able to fend off the aches and pains that so many in my age group and older have to deal with on a daily basis, being here to watch my future grandchildren grow up and being able to roll up my sleeves and play with them without pulling something.

The kind of exercise I need to do to be hot, involves a pricey gym membership, using machines that I don’t really enjoy using, working with an instructor who’s going to force me to do stuff I hate doing, joining classes where everyone moves like professional dancers while I stumble over my feet like an idiot. Never liked it. Don’t like it now. Will never like it. Ever.

BUT. I’ve discovered the kind of exercise that rewards me with the health benefits I need to extend my life, sleep well, raise my serotonin levels, strengthen my lungs and heart, burn some calories, grease my joints and muscles, and give me an overall feeling of well-being.

walking-1449015412a6dIt’s called walking. And I don’t mean going for an afternoon stroll through the park.

Since last fall, every single day, no matter what the weather is like, I dress appropriately, hook on my Sony Walkman that’s loaded with 800 of my favorite tunes, and I walk briskly for 45 minutes or so. I try to keep pace with the beat of the music, which gives my heart and lungs an excellent workout, and gets the blood flowing. The nicest bonus is that it’s not just about the exercise. I’ve also discovered the joys of being “in the moment.” While I walk, I’m also absorbing nature’s gifts—flower gardens and trees, blue skies and sunshine, rain pattering against my hood. I’ve never appreciated the seasons more since I’ve started walking with all of them.

I’ve also never felt better. Once I’d gotten into the habit of going every day without fail, I’ve actually begun to crave this feel-good midday break, and look forward to hearing the tunes that are up next on my Walkman.

The key here is that taking a brisk walk while listening to music is the one activity that I really enjoy. I’m not pushing myself to do a daily workout that I really don’t feel like doing. I’m doing something that makes me feel good on several different levels and that I look forward to doing. Am I going to look like Heidi Klum a year from now? I’ve never looked like Heidi Klum and I never will. But I’d say that I look pretty damn good enough for my age, and that’s good enough for me.

If I can live a good, healthy life in the years ahead by choosing to participate in an activity that I enjoy, and that helps make me a happier person—well that’s what I’d call hot.

hoodie-scarfA CROCHETED HOODIE PATTERN FOR WINTER WALKERS

My daily exercise walk has made me realize that I actually prefer walking in the winter months, a time of year that I used to despise. And why is that? Because of the awesome hoodie scarf that I crocheted to keep me as warm as a mug of hot cocoa with melted marshmallows.

It’s easy enough for a beginner to make, and if you use a soft, bulky yarn, it will keep you warm in any weather. Here’s the pattern:

bear-in-hoodieMy Warm & Fuzzy Hoodie Scarf

Approx. 8″ x 80″

3 balls of soft, chunky yarn; 6.5 mm crochet hook

Scarf: Chain 22

Row 1: (dc, ch 2, dc) in 4th ch from hook, *sk next 2 chs, (2 dc, ch 2, sc) in next ch, repeat from * across, turn.

Row 2: Sl st in next ch-2 sp, ch 3 (counts as first dc), (dc, ch 2, sc) in same sp, (2 dc, ch 2, sc) in each ch-2 sp across, turn.

Row 3-120: Repeat Row 2. Fasten off at end.

1Hood Assembly: Fold scarf in half with wrong sides together. To make the hood, starting at top of fold and on one side only, use yarn needle and yarn to sew through both thicknesses for about 10 inches. This creates the back of your hood.2

Hood Front Edging: Place a marker in 15th row down on each side of hood front.

3Row 1: With right side facing, join yarn in end of marked space on right side, ch 3 (counts as first dc), (dc, ch 2, sc) in same sp, *sk next row, (2 dc, ch 2, sc) in next row, repeat from* around to other marked space. End in last marked space with (2 dc, ch 2, sc).

Fasten off and weave in ends.

Optional: Add fringe to scarf ends if desired. Here’s a link to an easy fringe tutorial at wikihow: http://www.wikihow.com/Add-Fringe-to-a-Crochet-or-Knit-Project

Another Year, Another Hope Dashed. That’s Right. It’s Time To Make A New Year’s Resolution.

new-years-eve-pixabayAs the New Year looms ahead, I remember that it’s almost time to choose which of my shortcomings I’ll target as my resolution to tackle in January. After all, is there any better way to punish myself for my overindulgence during the month of December?

I wonder if the Romans realized how much grief they would cause someday when, back in 153 BC they voted to declare January 1st the beginning of the New Year. Way back in 2000 BC, the early Babylonians, who had originally named March 23rd the beginning of the New Year based on the start of crop-planting season, weren’t nearly as hard on themselves as we are today. After all, their most popular New Year’s resolution was to return any farm implements that they’d borrowed from their neighbors.

We should be so lucky. Every December 31st, we modern-day folk insist on looking back with a critical eye, looking forward with an idealistic eye, and coming up with at least one way to put a damper on the month ahead. Thanks to the Internet, I discovered that we even have a top ten list of the most popular New Year’s resolutions:

  1. Spend more time with family and friends. Magazine polls show that more than 50% of us vow to appreciate our loved ones and spend more time with family and friends this year. My family and friends already take up far too much of my time. I plan to spend more quality time with myself this year.monkeys-pixabay
  1. Exercise. Anyone with half a brain knows that exercise reduces the risk of certain diseases, increases longevity, helps achieve and maintain weight loss, enhances mood, lowers blood pressure, etcetera. So why is it that most of us spend not only the month of January, but every month that follows, beating ourselves up over the fact that we can’t seem to stick to it? I already know that exercise will, once again, be at the top of my list of resolutions for 2017 since it’s been reappearing there every single year since 1986.fitness-frog-pixabay
  1. Lose Weight. According to statistics, the vast majority of us are clinically overweight, so (surprise!) weight loss is one of the most popular of all the resolutions. With this also being my resolution for the past twenty January firsts, I’ve alternated donating fat clothes and, later, skinny clothes to the Salvation Army for so many years that I know I could walk into the store at any one time and find pieces of my clothing in every size category.diet-pixabay
  1. Quit Smoking. Smoking harms nearly every organ in your body. It increases your risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, impotence, infertility, lower bone density and more. It also adds wrinkles to your skin that wouldn’t otherwise be there, stains your teeth and makes you smell like a dirty firepit. Ick. Even if you’ve tried to quit before and failed, don’t despair. On average, smokers make the attempt about four times before they quit for good. Really, why would you want to risk shortening your life span with all these resolutions to look forward to every January 1st?smoking-pixabay
  1. Enjoy Life More. I know we lead hectic, stressful lifestyles these days, but do you really need to be told to do this? Come on, people! Pick up the phone and call in sick!hammock-in-the-forest
  1. Quit Drinking. If you have decided that you want to stop drinking alcohol, there’s a world of support available right in your community. In my case, I don’t imbibe enough and I’d probably be doing myself a favor by substituting a glass of red wine for every coffee I chug throughout the day.wine-pixabay
  1. Get Out of Debt. Money is the number one cause of friction between spouses. Most of us don’t need all the stuff we already have, so why buy more? With that said, try chopping up your spouse’s credit cards on January 1st (but find a good hidey hole for your own).credit-card-pixabay
  1. Learn Something New. There is so much to learn in the world around us. So get moving. Learn a language, master a hobby or a dance step. Whether you take a course or read a book, education is one of the easiest and most stimulating of all the resolutions to keep. A challenged mind is a sharp mind. (Now, where did I put my book?)knitting_pixabay
  1. Help Others. When you help others, you help yourself in a most spiritual way. Whether you mentor a child or build a house or volunteer at a hospital, volunteer organizations can always use your help.helping-hands
  1. Get Organized. Unless your entire life has somehow been electronically wired so you just have to clap to find everything in it, you probably need to organize all your nooks and crannies. Cleaning out the flotsam is empowering. Begin with a closet. And this spring, when your mate can’t find the golf clubs, simply remind him/her about Resolution number one!50s-housewife

Advertising bloopers that drive me nuts

spelling-errorThey’re everywhere—on posters, signs, in flyers, menus, and even in radio commercials.

I just don’t get it. Advertising is an investment. It costs a significant amount of money to advertise your company or product, but making every effort to ensure that the content is 100% correct doesn’t seem to be all that important to a lot of businesses. Even big-budget companies aren’t immune. I’ve heard mispronunciations in radio commercials that have set my hair on end. I’ve also seen glitzy ads with shockingly sloppy punctuation.pies blooper

There’s nothing like poorly written advertising copy to deflate a company’s credibility. After all, if they haven’t taken the time to ensure that the messaging that represents their brand is 100% correct, who’s to say that their service won’t be as shoddy? Or that they haven’t cut corners with their products too?

real estate blooperYou might think your ad piece looks marvelous, but I guarantee that 75% of the time, a fresh (and well-trained) pair of eyes will find something that needs to be corrected. A good proofreader/editor will spot something you’ve missed—either because you’ve read through it too many times already, or because you aren’t equipped with the right training. In the end, the extra attention to detail will pay for itself by weighing the scales of credibility in your favour.

Here’s a micro list of my peeves (since my full list would probably run too many pages for you to read in one sitting):

LCD display.
Listen up you merchandising people who like to write your own ad copy. LCD is an acronym for Liquid Crystal Display. So unless your intention is to write: Liquid Crystal Display display, please do skip the extra “display.”lcd display

With that said, there are far too many techies and merchandising people writing about product and sending it to print without first passing it by an editing professional. Unfortunately, that’s why it’s now standard to see units of measurement written with no spacing between the number and the unit: 32GB, 20kg, 5ms, 8MP, and so on. Would you write 32gigabyte with no space between 32 and gigabyte? Well then why do you think it’s ok to eliminate the space just because it’s been abbreviated? It’s not ok. It should have been corrected the first time out by an editor.

Adding “st,” “nd,” “rd” or “th”
after a numeric day when the year follows, e.g. October 25th, 2011. What purpose does the “th” serve, other than to add unnecessary clutter? Eliminate it.

apostrophe misuseApostrophe train wrecks.
Example: The store’s are all open on October 25th, 2011. ARRGGHH! If you don’t realize that apostrophes: (1) show the possessive use of a noun (John’s car), (2) are used in place of missing letters in contractions (I’m/I am), and (3) are never used with nouns that are already possessive (its, theirs, yours, etc.), then please, please, please hire an editor.

Double spacing double spacing
at the end of every typed sentence. Yes, back in the day when we used typewriters this practice was drilled into our heads. But guess what? It’s an antiquated rule that no longer applies in our advanced era of perfectly spaced type fonts. Really, it’s beyond distracting to see so many gratuitous spaces throughout a page of text. Only one space after a period. Always.
save-2-off
Save 10% off doodads.

I see this so often that if I had nothing better to do, I would spend all of my time sending out letters offering 10% off my proofreading/editing services. Attention advertisers: When you take 25% off the price of your doodads, your customers will save 25% on said doodads.

Again, it’s either 25% off or Save 25% on. Take it off. Save it on. Now, repeat this over and over again until it sticks and the next poster you produce will not make me want to rip it off your wall and run over it with my car.

See store for details. see store for details
I’m sure this qualifier was originally written without much thought by some lawyer who was in a hurry to get the details out of the way so he could cram more billable hours into his day. Does this mean that if I drive by the store, I’ll see the details written on the front windows? That would sure save me the bother of having to stop, park my car, and enter the store to ASK for more details, or ASK in-store for more details, or ASK an employee for more details. I see a person. I ask them for details. Now if, in fact, you have written the details on the front windows, you can ignore my rant.

Certain radio commercials
have tried to sell me “joo-lery” instead of “jew-el-ry.” I have no desire to shop at your store because after hearing that terrible mispronunciation, I believe that your advertising people are either slawppy or dum. And that makes me wonder if perhaps your joo-lery buyers are too. Before you drop gazousands of dollars to advertise your product in a commercial, don’t you think it’s worth the extra effort to make sure that the talent you’ve hired pronounces it correctly?

select and off onSelect versus selected.

Select” means “special; chosen because of its outstanding qualities.” For example, if you have slashed the prices on an assortment of run-of-the-mill sofas that you want to bounce from your inventory, then you would advertise a sale on “selected sofas,” not “select sofas,” unless of course the sofas on sale are truly superior to every other sofa in your store and aren’t simply stock that you’re trying to move out.
Select” means the best; “selected” means chosen by you. If your chain of stores is offering a huge sale on backscratchers this week and you tell me that they’re only available at “select” stores, you’re telling me that some of your stores are superior in quality to your other stores, and that the backscratchers are only available at those few superior-quality stores. If that’s the case, I’m only interested in shopping at your “select” stores, so please don’t direct me to any of your lesser-quality locations.

Serial exclamation marks.
We’re having a sale! On everything in the store! You won’t want to miss it! See you there! Not on your life!!!

An asterisk explosion.
The minute I see asterisks, I feel skeptical. “Aha. There is a catch.” Most of the time, the statement qualifying the claim is perfectly visible at the end of the copy block, and I would have seen it whether or not an asterisk was placed prominently beside the price. In cases like these, customer suspicion is piqued for no good reason (most likely caused by the paranoia of a few corporate honchos who believe they’ll be sued if an asterisk doesn’t follow anything and everything). Not smart when you’re spending countless dollars in an effort to not only persuade consumers to buy your products, but also to build trust with them so they’ll want to become regular customers.
asteriskHere’s a very easy rule of thumb to remember: Do not use an asterisk when your qualifying information appears in the same general vicinity as your claim. If your qualifying information is located in a distant, murky section of the page, or there are several items shown together and the qualifier only applies to one item, or the qualifier has to be placed on a separate page, then you should use an asterisk to let people know that a “by the way” exists somewhere else in the ad. Otherwise, simply place your qualifier in brackets underneath your copy. Not only will your butt be covered, you’ll avoid using a psychological marker that screams, “Strings are SO attached to this offer.

An aside: And then there are the many instances where a proofreaderCarpetOneInvite/editor is on the payroll, but certain people who are in more of a hurry to get a job out the door than to make sure it’s correct will “forget” to run it by the proofreader. Always a Big Mistake.

Now… the flip side of the coin:

Oh, the joys of being a writer/editor in corporate advertising:

1. Oh c’mon… Anybody can write! No sweat. And then, once they realize that it’s not the picnic they’d imagined, the poor writer is dragged in to clean up their crime-scene of a mess.

2. Give this a quick proofread…but don’t make any changes because it has to go to press in an hour. Sure thing. But are you going to let your shareholders in on the fact that the copy in the ad that they’ve spent a fortune on could have been far more appealing and properly punctuated had you scheduled enough time for a writer/editor to work on it?

frustratedUnfortunately, this is all too often how the process works: a marketing manager with the grammatical skills of a chimpanzee throws some copy together two days before a project has to go to press; it’s then circulated to everyone from the VP to the tech manager (an entire troop of chimpanzees) so they can add their two cents… and circulated again… and circulated again… with each person deciding each time that another word should be changed here or another sentence there. By the time it appears before the eyes of a proofreader (if at all), parts of it no longer even make any sense.

Here’s a cutting-edge idea: How much more powerful might the results be if you actually allowed the writer to write it and the editor to edit it in the first place?

3. I can’t count how many times people have changed my corrections back to the original errors because “well, we’ve seen it written that way before.” Oh hell then, it MUST be right! While we’re on a role, we should of just skipped hiring an editer in the 1st place!

And on and on and on. Before I begin to froth at the mouth, I’ll end this now with a sensible Latin quote:

Abusus non tollit usum
which means

Misuse does not nullify proper use.
bad vintage ad

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