Saturday, June 30, 2007

plus we're expensive!

Congrats to Candice for capturing this moving target. I wasn't going to get my body pierced before, but if the prices are "low," well THEN...

there's just quite a few here

I've been directed to the Zigat Guide before because of their overwhelming number of quotation marks. I agree with Laura who sent this to me that these are quoting individual's opinions, but it is, well, excessive, don't you think? (click to enlarge)

Friday, June 29, 2007


Mike sent me this photo without context. I would really like to know what so-called toilet this sign is over.

input requested

I have been thinking about ways to supplement my meager grad student income and it occurred to me that I might benefit from placing google ads on this (currently ad-free) site. Joel at Crummy Church Signs seems to have had a bad experience with it, but then, I feel like I don't have much to lose by signing up. So here are my questions for you, dear internet:
1) is placing google ads likely to gain me anything?
2) will I lose credibility, self-respect, or anything else in the process?

in other words, is it worth it? I look forward to your collective input.

actually we use pasta these days

"What sort of rice substitutes, or rice-like grains, are these street vendors using these days?" asks Ryan, who took this picture in San Francisco.

I have to say, if it's not actual rice, that makes the whole thing a little bit less impressive.

Thursday, June 28, 2007


This sign is probably actually accurate, since the people who take your dry cleaning probably haven't worked there the whole 20 years. Taken by Jim, who is a senior contributor.

official? not? you'll NEVER KNOW!

Jon works at a testing center in Minnesota this summer. These pictures of inconsistent AND sketchy quotation marks are from an information sheet for a nursing test.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

you know... "homosexuals"

When Andrea was surfing the center for disease control and prevention website about HIV she discovered this article. Now, I'm hesitant to bite the hand that feeds me, but it does seem that "lesbian" is a word that is generally used without scare quotes. Just sayin'.

sounds like a good "movie"

Tyler got this message (you have to click to actually read it) on "myspace" from this person, who could probably be described as a "director."

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

"avoiding" identity theft

Taylor found this one at the DMV in New York City. Evidently in New York you can sign somebody else's application for a driver's licence.

way to go "chief"

My mom was having some surgery (everything went just fine and she's at home recovering) and I was wandering around the hospital killing time. I came upon a series of about 30 pictures of the Chief of Staff at the hospital. Most of the name plates on the pictures had the words "Chief of Staff" in a lovely script font except this one.

Poor guy.

Monday, June 25, 2007

"transit", as it were

Jeff is a hotel concierge and acheived funny looks by reading my site at work. I love that. He also, on the same day, received mail including this little gem. In his words, "It's from WageWorks, a program which allows me to buy a 30-day MetroCard pre-tax. I can't figure out why I'm a 'transit' rider. I think it might be WageWorks' commentary on the NYC subway system. After all, we do spend far to long waiting for those trains! It's as if they're saying 'here you go, I guess you can call it "transit" if you must!'"

(fellow pedants: is a quote within quotes within quotes back to double? I'm just not sure.")

necessary. Very necesary.

Here are some quotation marks that are neccesary. I need them in my house. Seriously. (thanks to senior contributor Jim)

Sunday, June 24, 2007

no really. the greatest.

You can even see Jim's reflection in the car he took this picture of. It's another one from my trip to LA, in fact. While the quotation marks here are borderline, what really puts this one over the edge for me is the part where it says it's a Beverly Hill Diner. You know, that one hill.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

this blog "is important"

Meg sends me this photo of a car she was stuck behind in traffic. Maybe they mean that the smoke detectors themselves don't save lives, they're just tools, after all...

so do "we"

Christo sends me this from downtown Cincinnati. This one is just so elegant. I'm posting it without further comment.

Friday, June 22, 2007


Julia apologizes for the blurriness of this photo, and asks "I don't think I'm crazy, and I do realize that the 'people' in the video games that I play aren't real. Therefore, this begs the question: is a profile for an imaginary character, in fact, a 'profile'? Is Little Mac the 'Minor' title-holder so that we don't get confused and disappointed when he doesn't appear on ESPN?"

I see her point, but, then is the person in any profile a reflection of an actual individual? Should all virtual identities include quotation marks?

voters who "care"

Becca writes that this photo was "taken at an event in Jersey City, NJ, where it often is very appropriate and honest to say that certain politicians (like Russo, the one on the t-shirt pictured) and those who vote for them "care for their community". " ha.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

approximately 32 varieties

Jim (senior contributor, as he prefers) and I got bagels from this place in Larchmont last week. Maybe it's in quotation marks because all 32 varieties are not always available? Good bagels though.


Kathleen loves this sign in Bellingham, WA. Little does she know that when the dock gets slippery, it's not from ice...

some "plants"

Desirée writes "This was seen at a Michael's craft store near Northampton, MA. I can only hope that the use of quotation marks around the word 'spring' are to indicate that these are, in fact, fake (and ugly) flowers..."


Alisa sent me this one from a movie theatre in Sandusky. She says she's glad she didn't buy one. I am also glad she didn't buy anything. I mean, seriously, who wants balls that only have sarcastic superlatives?

Wednesday, June 20, 2007


Oh believe me, if there are "tests" then there will be "prayer"
in "public" "schools".

Thanks again to "The Shed"

"the law"

In Southern Mississippi, "The Law" is up to interpretation.

Found at a BBQ place called "The Shed" and yes... those quotes were on the sign for the joint as well.

other body parts

Comment and email direct me to a website that features, among other things, the new "face" of lotion glow. As go fug yourself comments, "Which I guess implies that she's something other than the face of the brand. I wonder which body part she actually is."

this one has an alien

From Mike, who took this picture in Halifax, Canada. This is another case where if quoted and unquoted had been inverted, it would be correct! Who does this stuff?


merritt took this picture in Utrecht. Maybe in Dutch the rules are different, but I doubt it. Although, to be fair, it doesn't look as though they really carry space kool-aid.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

can't "read" it.

Christy shares this and explains, "This error message came up when I closed out a program, I have no idea what it means"

me neither, actually. So if someone wants to explain why those quotation marks, I'm all ears. Except I won't really hear you, so maybe I'm all "ears"...

so basically it's limited

Kristi in Rochester writes: "The cell service Cricket has a big corner store, where they proudly proclaim their “Unlimited” service. They employ quotation marks in the time-honored “we are lying to you” format, more genteelly covered by the asterisk and footnote. In the new grammar of quotation marks, perhaps they are trying to emphasize the word, which, of course, was not covered by the larger, bolder lettering."

indeed. Leads me to wonder what the limits are.

yeah, I "work" all the time

Reva shared this newspaper clipping with us (see below for the full clipping). While the use of single quotes makes this one a little unusual, I think the spirit is the same. And, again, probably actually appropriate. Since when is being a psychic work?

Monday, June 18, 2007

really. "none."

Reader John writes, "This sign was on the drive-through window of a local Beijing Express in South Florida. Probably not a great idea buying Chinese "food" from a drive-through window. At least they made their return policy "clear!""

I'd like to see the person who tried to exchange their half-eaten wontons for something else, and whether or not it "worked."

we prefer to avoid "gas" or gas, actually

Angela writes in with this story:

Unfortunately I couldn’t get a picture of this one, but you’ll have to trust me on it: (Found at the returns desk at Home Depot. They probably wouldn’t have been amused if I had whipped out the camera.)

“Please” if you are returning gas-powered equipment, make sure there is no “gas” in it.

I was tempted to ask what “gas” would include, but the returns clerk was cranky to begin with.

Angela doesn't have the kind of commitment our friend Paul has. But we appreciate her nonetheless.

well, you can't give yourself a nickname

Catherine writes in with this one, suggesting "I wonder if everyone else in the Rotary Club had a nickname, but Malcolm just never got one? So he's Malcolm aka "Malcolm" Robinson...?"

Of course, poor Malcolm is not at fault here. I've seen nametags using this convention before - if someone prefers to use a shortened name (say, "Mike" for Michael or "Sue" for Susan) then that's the bigger, quotation marks name. But as many people (including me) use their given name, it does end up looking kind of stupid.

(in other news, this post title is an obscure reference to Sports Night. Probably Jim and my dad are the only ones who get it.)

stop being "insensitive"

Reader Ed directs us to this anger management website, and quips, "Hmm, maybe your co-workers wouldn't be so angry if you'd take their concerns seriously and stop putting them in scare quotes!"

an excerpt:
Such persons are "culturally incompetent" and are not "sensitive" to other people "feelings" ways of seeing, doing and understanding things. They lack "insight" about other people beliefs, values and practices and are unable to "dialogue" about their differences. And when conflicts arise, their lack of "insight" and cultural competence makes positive cooperation difficult and sometimes, even impossible. This kind of cultural "narrow-mindedness" is then perceived as disrespect by others and triggers their anger (rage) and its violent consequences.
I have an "insight" into their grammar - it's weird. Also, they aren't sure whether cultural competence should be quoted or not. That's maybe the best thing of all. Thanks ed!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

you know, "falling balls"

Reader Taryn sends these pictures from her vacation in Vancouver. I'll show you 'engineering'...

dude. learn to spell. and punctuate.

William from LowercaseL sends me this photo, and comments:

"Found on 5th Avenue here in Park Slope, Brooklyn, the quotation marks on this Laundromat sign are technically not unnecessary, but there's more to it than necessity. Take a look at the first quotation mark at the front of ²The Kleen Machine². It seems that the sign maker used the end-quote mark character for the beginning-quote mark! It looks very strange. I'm
guessing the print error was not noticed until it was too late, and by then it was probably too expensive to correct."

Don't even get me started on intentionally misspelling the word clean. That makes me crazy. But it's not nearly as funny as misused quotation marks, which is why my blog is this, and that just makes me want to not patronize the store.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

my vacations benefit the "blog"

It's my blog, so I get to delay all your submissions and post something from my exciting birthday weekend. We went hiking several places in the SoCal desert (yes, it WAS very hot) and this was where we had to check in our car before hiking down to a lovely spot with a stream and some hotsprings. Rest assured, there was nothing uncertain about whether or not you had to stop - you needed to get out of the car to do things. Like fill out the slip for which there was an "example":

Thanks to those of you who left birthday wishes. My 24th year of life is starting out well!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

best "empanadas" ever

from Coleen in New York. She quips "they're authentic, but are they empanadas?"
I want to know what a semi-empanada state might look like...

jobs that "matter"

Jill in Corpus Christi, TX found this on a table (click to enlarge). While I might be able to pass "jobs that matter" as a slogan and therefore borderline, "rescue disaster victims" makes absolutely no sense. Why is that quoted but not "bust drug smugglers and save the environment." I would think that of all of those activities, the rescue is the most literal and straightforward. The rest are kind of large tasks you help work on but won't do completely. Maybe there is some question as to what counts as a "disaster" or "victim."

PS. Posting may be sporadic this weekend. My birthday is tomorrow and I'm in LA celebrating. These celebrations may take me away from the internets.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

"notified" and "contacted"

Rachel writes of this picture: "My principal is kind of crazy anyway -- he printed out the "instructional framework" for the school and hung it up in the bathrooms to encourage us -- but these posters just went up last week. And no, I have no idea how to "notify" or "contact" someone. I guess you ignore a rule everyone else already knew about, and then freak out when you get in trouble over it?"

What I like about this one is the subtle implication that one can be "notified" without being "contacted".

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

fake logs

Senior Contributor Jim (aka my boyfriend) found both of these examples within feet of each other. I like how they needed the combination of misspelling AND quotation marks to indicate that it isn't really a log. Also, probably really appropriate in the "natural wood fire."

Police Do Be Out

Submitter Susan adds that "This sign comes from a gun club (a clubhouse for men with guns who like to drink beer in the woods) in Northeastern PA."
This is classic. I think there are quotation marks around "when leaving party" because, I mean, if you're that fun, you ARE the party - so you never leave it. Also, the duct tape holding it up is a nice detail.

Monday, June 11, 2007

"dunk" your "pet"

Jim, my wonderful boyfriend who deserves special honor for sending me so many signs, offers this one. Again, this is the slogan grey-area. But maybe we aren't just grooming "pets"...
Also, "let's go to the Doggy Dunk" doesn't sound too appealing.

well, you see, I only "trust" you...

reader Matt submits this which he also discusses on his own blog. Nothing like a brand name that's "trustworthy."

I'm "happy" for you too

Chris in Boulder shares this story:

My landlady, whenever she sends me a receipt for my rent, always says things like "Thank you" and "Have a great day!" (In quotation marks, of course.) I've never quite been able to figure out if it's because she wants me to imagine her saying those words out loud or what. But today, I received the best letter from her so far. I'm leaving my apartment after two years because I've accepted a job out of state, so my landlady writes:

"Congratulations." We are so "happy" for you. My family and I hate to see you leave, but that's the way progress goes.
We wish you the best in your new endeavors. So let us hear from you once in a while.

It would have been better if it had said, let us "hear" from you once in a while. Then I could "contact" them telling them how "thankful" I am that I had such a "fun" time living in their "apartment."
My own apartment managers tend to send curiously worded and punctuated notices, although never inappropriate quotation marks.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

heh heh... "delicacy"

Reader and submitter Martin suggests I can save these two pictures for when I'm short of material, as he believes they're a little "lame." I am beginning to believe that day may never come, plus they aren't that lame, so here's a twofer for your enjoyment:

enlarge to see better the wording under the circle - it says "creative plastic." I can't imagine how creative storage boxes can possibly be, so maybe it's accurate.

you know how much I love eating "delicacies" (especially "real" and "authentic" ones)

no "cuts"

oregoncoastgirl passed on this image which she found here (more context available at the original post). As I understand it, this is a situation like in my hometown, Holland Michigan, when before the big tulip parade people will reserve their place on the parade route using string and stakes, placing chairs or blankets out, etc. The time when this kind of activity began kept creeping earlier, and earlier, and got a little ridiculous, not to mention ugly when the parade routes themselves (lined with tulips) are part of the tourist attraction. So the city legislated how early this kind of activity could take place. Perhaps advisable in Portland to avoid passive aggressive signs that misuse quotation marks....

But I think what's really important is that nobody wants to be the kind of person who "cuts in line." Is that some kind of euphemism?

(I jumped the queue for this one as it seems timely and is already on the internet - other submitters rest assured I will get to you too! And sorry for the delay. Things happen.)

Saturday, June 09, 2007

I love "authentic" food...

I suppose since Jon found this sign in Minneapolis (or perhaps St Paul) the sandwich is only as Mediterranean as it can be in the American midwest.

"no standing around" either

Reader Raj explains this picture: "Several years ago I spotted this sign somewhere in downtown New York (probably the East Village.) Is it a euphemism? Who can say? UrbanDictionary fails me."

Friday, June 08, 2007

some doubt as to this woman's name

Reader John shares this picture and explains, "this cake was made for our friend Rina's baby shower. Notice I didn't say "Rina" 's baby shower, I said Rina. Rina is her name."

Cake-orderer was thinking, "we'll get a cake for Rina... if that IS HER REAL NAME!" (I know, I used that quip for "Keith Ellison" too, but when you have a good joke, once just isn't enough).

"thanks" for the "gift"

Jm sends me this one from somewhere in LA. Where they have "gifts for him." I think a belt makes a kind of mediocre gift anyway, so maybe that's why it's in quotation marks.