You could piece together a pretty good pitching staff with just the players who have had significant elbow problems this year.

(Associated Press)

No, you couldn’t. They all have had significant elbow problems.


Police Reporting 101

At least three people were killed and a 15-year-old boy was in critical condition after shootings at two Jewish community facilities in the Kansas City area on Sunday, officials told the Los Angeles Times.

Over scanner traffic, Johnson County, Kan., officials reported taking a suspect into custody shortly after the shootings.

(Los Angeles Times)

When you quote “scanner traffic,” you’re asking for trouble.



Looks like the Los Angeles Register staff falls a little short.



From the commentariat

From, no kidding, “Bronx Teacher Says She Was Fired For Refusing a Threesome With Boss”
“and Memos’ boyfriend”

Memos’s boyfriend.


Either way is fine. The possessive “s’ ” is just an older style, but it’s not officially archaic.


Both are technically correct.Memos’ is the traditional possessive form, whereas Memos’s is increasingly the expected standard in newer editions of style guides.


The general rule extends to proper nouns, including names ending in s, x, or z, in both their singular and plural forms, as well as letters and numbers.


According to whom? The only ambiguity I’ve ever been aware of has concerned whether or not to add the s when forming the possessive of a proper noun ending in a silent s, but I don’t believe that’s how Memos is pronounced.


Names like “Euripides.” The possessive is formed without an additional s for a name of two or more syllables that ends in an eez sound. [Examples: Euripides' tragedies, the Ganges' source, Xerxes' armies
The Chicago Manual of Style:

Q. When indicating possession of a word that ends in s, is it correct to repeat the safter using an apostrophe? For example, which is correct: "Dickens' novel" or "Dickens's novel"?

A. Either is correct, though we prefer the latter.

s' was also how I was taught back in the 1980s, and looking at how style guides have been revised over each edition, I think the hard shift to s's is a more recent expectation.


Of course, Chicago also offers the caveat "such usage disregards pronunciation and is therefore not recommended by Chicago."


7.18 POSSESSIVE OF NAMES LIKE "EURIPIDES"In a departure from earlier practice, Chicago no longer recommends the traditional exception for proper classical names of two or more syllables that end in an eez sound. Such names form the possessive in the usual way (though when these forms are spoken, the additional s is generally not pronounced).

Euripides's tragedies
the Ganges's source
Xerxes's armies


Sargent is correct. When the name ends in "s," an apostrophe appended to it indicates possession. There is no second "s" properly appended. That that error has become so popular that even the Chicago Manual of Style is letting it pass indicates only the death of the integrity of the Chicago Manual of Style.


Well, I never!


it's not Jesus's, it's Jesus'.


Fraid not. As it turns out, getting that distinction wrong, as well as insisting that Jesus is supposed to be a white dude, are the fastest ways to get yourself kicked out of heaven.
[Rule #] 1. Form the possessive singular of nouns by adding ‘s. Follow this rule whatever the final consonant. Thus write, Charles’s friend, Burns’s poems, the witch’s maliceExceptions are the possessives of ancient proper names ending in-es and -is, the possessive Jesus’, and

such forms as for conscience’ sake, for righteousness’ sake

Elements of Style, Strunk & White.


My god’s a Chicago man.

Marx’s theories

Jesus’s adherents

Berlioz’s works




Oh, shut up

Apparently bank robbers aren’t in the habit of worrying much about grammar and spelling when it comes to writing demand notes.

Not so for the “Good Grammar Bandit,” who we might imagine turned to a life of crime because it proved more exciting (and lucrative) than being a copy editor.

TheFBI says the slender-built, 5-foot-9-inch to 6-foot-tall black male in his 30s is being sought in at least four bank robberies north of Denver since the beginning of the month.

According to the bureau’s Denver office, a distinguishing characteristic is that “[the] demand notes presented by this individual to the victim tellers are typed with proper spelling, grammar, and punctuation.



Welcome sense of humor

I found this update summary on an online article most refreshing:







I enjoyed the self-deprecating humour in this; would it be considered by some to be unprofessional to publish it?


How to write good (headline division)


First, my limitations. There are broadly two kinds of people in journalism: reporters and copy editors. The two might be friends or lovers, but never the twain shall meet. Each has different skills, and, critically, different sensibilities. Both are needed for any good news organization. So: I am a reporter/writer personality, not a copy editor.

(Reynolds Center)



Crash blossoms 2.0




(Post and Courier, Charleston, S.C.)


Pol Pot: ‘Good husband’ or murderous tyrant?

Ghaleb al-Bihani is either a one-time, gun-toting cook from war-torn Afghanistan turned yoga-practicing pacifist inside Guantánamo’s communal prison blocks — or he is a trained extremist ripe to rejoin al-Qaida if he’s returned to his native Yemen.

(Miami Herald)

No middle ground here. Take your pick


Lunar eclipse news

The coming red moon, which you may have heard called a “blood moon,” is a perfectly natural occurrence.

(Los Angeles Times)

If it weren’t? That would be news.



But it’ll probably win a contest



(NT News, Australia)

Someone thought they were awfully clever, but forgot what a headline is supposed to do.


A new low

Even by the low standards of “FloriDUH,” this stands out.

Apparently this dude got into some serious pumping action at a gas station that made at least one person fume.

Deputies jailed a Cape Coral man, identified as Christopher Cole , 25, who is accused of masturbating in a gas station bathroom, reports WBBH NBC News-2 in Fort Myers.

(South Florida Sun-Sentinel)

It gets worse.

This is not weird, wacky or strange. It’s obnoxious clickbait and no news organization could justify running it.



Cliché corner


Complete the headline. Aw, c’mon, do it. Rhymes with wet, set, yet, let, met, get, net, pet, Tet, vet.


(Wall Street Journal)


Tom Friedman, boy scientist

The New York Times columnist sails under the “Arctic ice cap”* and explains to his landlubber readers that nuclear submarines don’t run on rubber bands, baking soda or a really long extension cord.

You certainly learn how self-contained a sub is. The New Mexico repairs its own broken parts, desalinates its own drinking water, generates its own nuclear power and makes its own air by taking purified water, zapping it with electricity, separating the H2O into hydrogen and oxygen, then discharging the hydrogen and circulating the oxygen.

*He’ll get mail on that one. An ice cap is on land, such as the glaciers that once buried Greenland. Wilson Follett noted that no one has yet sailed under an ice cap. What Friedman meant was the polar pack.


Breaking news

There’s some trouble tonight in Albuquerque.

Albuquerque police have thrown around a dozen tear gas canisters to disperse a crowd of unwieldy protesters on Central Avenue near Princeton.

Police continued to warn the protesters that they would deploy the gas if the protesters did not disperse peacefully. They then threw the gas at protesters on the north side of Central Avenue, and protesters have since largely dispersed into the parking lot north of Central that lines Johnson Field.

State Sen. Joseph Cervantes (D-Las Cruces) said his daughter in the UNM dorms on Girard and Central has been impacted by the tear gas, according to a tweet he posted Sunday night.

(Albuquerque Journal, 9:33 p.m. MDT)

Cervantes tweeted something like that, but not that his daughter was “impacted” by the tear gas.







This may or may not say something about the wisdom of publishing on the fly.


1 lede, 3 strikes

Call it Apple v. Samsung the Sequel. Call it Return of Apple v. Samsung. Or Call it Apple v. Samsung: The Empires Strike Back.

(San Jose Mercury News)

First-year copy editors know that the “call it” lede is near the top of the Don’t Do This list. Hang your head, San Jose, for letting through what might very well be the first triple “call-it” lede.


Good luck with that

“Anonymous quotes shouldn’t be used for wild speculation, for smearing someone, or in any unnecessary way,” [Margaret Sullivan] says. “And I would set a high bar for what’s deemed truly necessary to the story.”

(USA Today)

Newspapers like to have “ombudsmen” or “public editors” to give the impression that they care about standards. In reality, these people are regarded as scolds — unpleasant but necessary for public relations purposes. It’s a pointless, hypocritical exercise.


Astronomical psychedelic shack

While the dwarf planet is incredibly far out, it’s still not far enough to be part of the Oort cloud, a hypothesized cloud of icy debris that surrounds the solar system’s disc in a spherical shell that stretches a mind-blowing 5,000 to 100,000 astronomical units from the sun.

(Los Angeles Times)


No degrees of separation

I’ve heard we’re all connected, the entire human family. But really. …




Events such as the disappearance of the Malaysian jetliner have far-reaching consequences and in one of them, a woman in the Montgomery County jurisdiction of Chevy Chase was carjacked at gunpoint.
The incident started about 10:20 p.m. March 13, when a Chevy Chase couple parked their car in their driveway after returning from dinner. The man went inside, and the woman said she remained in the car to listen to a news broadcast about the missing airplane.That, she said, was when a stranger* opened the car door and pointed a gun. He took her handbag. She ran into the house, and he drove away.

(Washington Post) Hat tip: Jim Romenesko

* Much, much worse than being carjacked by the friendly neighborhood carjacker.


Blanket coverage

Almost half of the people surveyed by Pew think there’s been the right amount of coverage of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. Thirty-three percent said there was too much coverage and 12 percent — seriously? — said they haven’t heard enough.


Everyone is free to watch and read as little or as much of the coverage as they want. It’s still easy to dodge a story you don’t much care about.