Truth, Justice, and the ‘Merkin Spelling ► Unpacking The Writer

A recent meme about Emperor Trump’s payoff pick to head the Department of Education made me literally laugh out loud, or LLOL.

Long time readers know Unpacking the Writer as a semi-regular feature at the Not Now Silly Newsroom. Adressing new readers: It’s never is not about politics. However, this time I’m using politics to reveal the jumping-off point for this Unpacking. *

A meme quickly circled the information superhighway (which is more like a roundabout at times like these) after an internet wag corrected an ass-kissing tweet sent out by Betsy DeVos, Trump’s choice to oversee edjumacation for the entire country. There are many reasons why she’s totally unqualified for the job, not the least of which is this:


I felt the need to pass it along because it was simply HIGH-LARRY-US!

My quip at the bottom — what I think of as added value when I’m sharing — was based on an earlier meme. On his very first day in office Emperor Trump couldn’t spell “honerd” [sic] in one of his world famous tweets. It was eventually deleted (possibly breaking the Presidential Records Act) and reposted correctly, but only after the Unclothed Emperor was roasted on social media.

TRUMP VOTERS: Canada is that big place above ‘Merka

But, I digress. This isn’t about politics. It’s about being a writer from Canada. [You can read the entire discussion HERE]. Since I like nothing better than quoting myself:

When I first moved to Canada, all my editors would go crazy because I spelled [my words] ‘Merkin. It took a while, but I trained myself to spell properly to teh [sic] point that the Globe and Mail once printed my Letter to the Editor excoriating them for dropping all the “U”s in what they claimed was a way to save ink.

No. Really.

My complaint was that they could define their internal style guide any way they want, what they could not do is rename Harbourfront as Harborfront. [FULL DISCLOSURE: I worked at Harbourfront at the time.]

Anyway…I now type this way without thinking. When I have to type ‘Merkin ’cause I’m quoting one, my fingers stutter over it until I get it. It’s not smooth at all.

Bottom line: I don’t think I can type “humour” without the “U” automatically ever again.

There are other consequences to typing Canadian.

Recently I was wrestling with some simple HTML code and, no matter how many times I tried, I could not get it to format properly. I’d delete the tag, move the tag so it wasn’t nested in a tag, remove the tag from the nested tag, rewrite the tag, and nothing I did worked.

Until I realized I had been spelling it <centre>.

Similar happens when I use Der Googalizer to search for theatres, because that’s how I spell it. At least one no longer needs the exact case and spelling in search engines, the way it was in the olden days when I wrote for We Compute.

Not that it’s Canadian, per se, but I’m not giving up my Oxford comma either.

Look closely. There’s a divot in the shift key.

Tangentially, when I transitioned from typewriter to computer it took me a long time to give up the double space between sentences, as editors required back in the day. Occasionally, when I get into a Zen stream of unconsciousness, I’ll still hit the spacebar twice, but not that often anymore. I’ve also never adapted to how lightly one can hit an electronic keyboard and still form words. I bang the keys so hard that I’ve worn off the letters on every one I’ve ever owned. It’s a good thing I know where it stores the alphabet. Recently my sister needed to use my keyboard and it took her a few minutes to get acclimated.

However, when I went fully online and digital in 1988, far earlier than many, I embraced everything else about being able to make words out of electrons. I embraced CUT & PASTE most of all. To be fair: I always did cut & paste. In my typewriter days I would literally rip and move paragraphs around before typing a new, clean copy.

That was then. This is now. Paragraphs in this have been moved around.

Speaking of the Newsroom. How do you like the new look?

As long-time readers can attest: Before the New Year, Not Now Silly looked very different. We built a new site from the ground up. While the old site is still THERE, all of that material has been transferred here for your reading pleasure. However, it wasn’t without a few hiccups. One that I am finding frustrating — and the entire IT team is working on it — is that the archival posts were given a new date, the date they were transferred over here.

Another source of frustration is that some of the formatting from the old posts to the new ones are messed up. Worse yet, I recently learned that going back and fixing them — because they offend my OCD — changes the published date to teh day the page is updated. It must be related to the problem above. Until IT can tell me how to make a date stick, I guess I’ll have to live with it these 2 problems. But, they will be solved eventually.

As long time readers also know: I often use UtW to humblebrag about my discerning audience, and today will be no exception.

I am quite pleased with the posts that readers have elevated to the top of TODAY’S TOP TEN and ALL TIME TOP TEN (found in the right column on the front page) since launching the new, improved site.

Judging from the limited analytics we get so far (another thing the IT department is researching) reader faves seem to be the Monday Musical Appreciation, Saturday Morning Cartoons, and my Manifestos. Expect to see more Manifestos because — not only do they seem popular and I always give my readers what they want, unless I don’t want to — but I am getting angrier at Emperor Trump and what’s coming out of the White House, which has never been whiter, if you know what I mean. [Supremacist, if you don’t.]

Something I find very odd. While the ALL TIME list keeps changing, Roy Head has consistently held down the #3 spot, ever since it was posted. I can’t explain that and it feels like a glitch.

Speaking of glitches: Is there a law suit in my future? Seeing Tom Falco Libels Me Again. Then Runs Away as the #4 ALL TIME post gratifies me and reminds me that I need to use one of the 3 phone numbers of lawyers passed along unbidden by 3 separate people who read it. Eenie, meenie, miney, Moe. Was his name Moe?

Tom, if you’re reading this (and word gets back to me that you can quote me verbatim) all you ever needed to do — and still can do, for that matter — is retract your statements that I threatened you and a Miami Herald reporter. Deleting them doesn’t count. You might want to seriously consider that option because contingency lawyers salivate at the words “trust fund baby.” It might also be fun to subpoena the Herald.

Never mind, Tom. Stick to your lack of journalistic principles.

Meanwhile, I’m going to have to cut this short, even tho’ there’s more I wanted to say. I’m prepping for another community meeting on the restoration of the Coconut Grove Playhouse. [Read: The Coconut Grove Playhouse Trojan Horse; Part I, Part II.] I didn’t write about the last meeting because, quite frankly, I was underwhelmed. While I asked a question during the public comment segment, but I didn’t have the information at my fingertips to rebut the answer. That will be part of today’s prep. I want to be ready this time.

And, if I’m not underwhelmed, I may even write about it.

* As sometimes happens, this essay started as a comment elsewhere. This is an expanded version of those original, initial, thoughts.

About Headly Westerfield

Calling himself “A liberally progressive, sarcastically cynical, iconoclastic polymath,” Headly Westerfield has been a professional writer all his adult life.