Monday, April 30, 2007

"you" better be "careful"

thanks to reader Joy who sent this one to me today. I usually try to avoid more than one post in a day, but this was too good and I was too impatient.

Joy adds these two things:
1. The sign is not for "me" or my "dog." Although I do have one.
2. My favorite part of the sign actually has nothing to do with the quotes but the clarification (which, it seems, is neccesary) that reads in tiny writing "yes. you."

I didn't see that second thing without Joy's help, and now I love it more. Killer.

"Our Coffee"

Cafe Caribe
Supreme Selection
Coffee for the Latin Taste
"Our Coffee"

I'm sure that it would become "My Coffee" if I purchased it. But for now it's "Their Coffee".
I found myself wishing that the words "Latin Taste" would have been in quotes.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

they're talking about solitaire

I got this email from reader Martin (thanks!):

I spotted this sentence in an article about the $100 laptop (about 3/4 the way down the page):

It includes Windows XP Starter Edition and some of Microsoft's "productivity" software.


Friday, April 27, 2007

and by "you" we mean other people

Thanks to Jim who spotted this one this morning. Evidently, they may or may not come to you. Or somebody said that they do. Or something.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

I don't mind "working"...

thanks to new reader Paul, who sent me this picture and pointed out, "Apparently, Staples would like to remove the easiest parts of my work day."

For serious. And, also, like a "reassuring message" is going to keep me from doing "work."

Monday, April 23, 2007

The "Unknown"

I failed to see it.

Sorry if this post is a little blue. It is for adults only.

Sunday, April 22, 2007


I should know better than to make promises and then flake out on them. Sorry for not posting yesterday, here are the two pictures I still had stockpiled:

this one was on the outside of an independent airport parking lot in Atlanta. Evidently, it's not much of an office. I was glad I had plenty of time before my flight, so I could turn around, jump out of the car and quickly take a picture.

I noticed this on my menu last week while dining at gyro wrap in Athens, GA. Some of my dining companions pointed out that the place isn't DIRECTLY across from the UGA Arch.
I also sincerely hope that that isn't their tagline. Because "Across from the UGA Arch" is a LAME tagline.

and with that, I'm spent. Send me more!

Friday, April 20, 2007

it's really a chain

the top right corner of this sign says "original grill." Maybe it's not really the original. This is the second recent sign that has put platitudes in quotation marks. The food is "original" here, Ralph's prices are "good." It reminds me of the discussion in When Harry Met Sally about what it means when you say a woman has a "good personality."

(thanks to Jim, once again)

Thursday, April 19, 2007


Jim sent me this, skillfully caught off the back of a bus in LA. Translation "the best lawyer." And by "mejor" we mean "advertises on busses."

I have enough pictures to finish off the week having posted EVERY DAY. I am so excited about this. It's a little pathetic. Thanks for your help!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

a good podcast

Grammar sticklers and especially wannabe grammar sticklers might enjoy the grammar girl podcast. I enjoy a light-hearted discussion of grammar, and occasionally learn things I didn't know before. Or feel vindicated for already knowing it. So I reccomend it.

obviously, not as "hip" as this blog

you have to enlarge the above picture to see that the banner ad calls the new youtube blog "hip." Perhaps it isn't hip or hip is a pun that I don't get. Reader Kiraa, who spotted it, notes: "Turns out the internet isn't immune to stupidity either."

Monday, April 16, 2007


How does one take seriously this warning sign?

We learn in our driving instruction and in the third-grade that yellow signs imply caution, or in this case "caution." I think the producers of the sign think like my old coworker and his favorite story from truck driving school.

One day I told a joke that went like this:
Two guys went to truck driving school, they graduated and got their first job together driving a big-rig. On their first trip out, they had to take a detour and along the way passed a sign that read:
"Danger Low Bridge Ahead - 10' 11""
They continued driving until they came to another sign stating,
"Danger Low Bridge Ahead - 10' 11""
They drove on until they came to the bridge itself, it had a sign too, it read:
"Danger Low Bridge - 10' 11""
They got out of the truck and measured the height of the trailer at 11' 3".
"What do we do?" one said to the other.
The second young trucker looked around a bit and finally said, "Not a cop in sight, let's go for it!"
This is not the funniest joke in the world. The delivery was pretty good, but not hilarious. However, one of my coworkers looked puzzled.

After a few moments passed, he looked up at me and said, "There's no way that truck is getting under that bridge!"

That was much funnier than my joke.

Thanks to my friend Steve for the picture.

maybe evidence of sign-maker's rebellion...

Reader and new submitter John sends these two great examples:

he writes: It was only "5" minutes until Lewis Black came on stage -- it was really about "20," so that must be what they meant. They replaced it with "3" and "1" (still with plural "minutes") too.

I add: maybe this SHOULD become the convention. or they should write "5ish minutes until curtain"

John writes: Inside a box at World Market. I guess they were forced to put the label in, and that's their way of imparting sarcasm.

You readers are on a roll this week - keep up the great submissions!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

I feel "safer" already

Bethany from Atlanta (a different Bethany from me) spotted this fantastic scene off of I-20 in Missisippi. I really think the image speaks for itself on this one.

I double-checked with the submitter and this is actually the way she found this scene - it was not posed. That's so great.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

My new ambition

Friends, several weeks ago our colleague in snarking signage, William at Lowercase L, was featured in the New York Times. That's awesome. And I have to say, I'm a little jealous.
As further evidence that silly language weblogs can get into newspapers, literally, a weblog once had an article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
I now desire to see the humble "blog" of "unnecessary" quotation marks in the pages of print media. I figure that perhaps by expressing this desire, I'm one step closer to finding the connections that will make it happen. Suggestions for publicity strategies (ones that aren't expensive or very time consuming - I'm not that serious about this ambition yet) are welcome.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

"our service is okay"

I don't know what to say about somebody who has to put "good prices" in quotation marks.

(I forgot to credit Jim for spotting this. He's basically a quotation marks hero.)

Muskegon's "Best"

Leave it to Muskegon to give us its "best".

Believe me, in Muskegon, this is the "best" they could do.
This sign not only substitutes the number 4 in place of the word "for", claims to have the "best offer ever", creates a sense of panic with the phrase "last chance", but also uses that time honored staple of graphic design - the smiley face.

Way to Go!

Saturday, April 07, 2007

"Alcatraz Island"

This is a movie poster I found hanging in a gallery of other movie posters about Alcatraz in the Alcatraz gift shop. The gallery contained such feature films as:

"The Bird Man of Alcatraz" - starring Burt Lancaster, "Escape from Alcatraz" - starring Clint Eastwood, and Clint Eastwood as Dirty Harry in "The Enforcer", which by the way includes this fabulous line of dialog:
By the "minority community" I suppose you're talking about the hoods.
But enough about the man whose acting philosophy is "Don't just do something, stand there," and allow me to move on to the poster in front of us.
"Alcatraz Island"
1) While it is proper to place movie titles within quotation marks, I maintain that it is unnecessary to do so on the promotional poster for that movie. Clearly, it's the movie title. However, if one were to assume that everything in quotes on the poster was the title, it could easily have a different title.
2) "The Rock" (there was also a movie poster for this Sean Connery -Nicolas Cage picture) - if one follows the precedent of proper use of quotation marks, it's just as likely that this movie is called, "The Rock". "The Rock" of course is the "nickname" of Alcatraz and may or may not require the quotation marks. However, that's really the tag line of the movie, as if it were said by someone - so perhaps the entire phrase, "When no other jail can hold them ---- they send them to 'The Rock'!" should appear in quotes? That leaves other lines open to interpretation.
3) "The prison fortress all gangland dreads!" It's another tag line. No quotes there, but if they set the stage with the movie title in quotes, they should be consistent and follow through with their standards.
4) "They'd even bust out of Alcatraz to get to a dame like her!" How many tag lines can one movie have? Does anyone else think it's funny that this tag line is about the star of the movie, Ann Sheridan, and it uses the euphemism "bust" instead of "break out" or "escape from"? I believe the correct phrase should be "burst out of Alcatraz..."
5) This leaves only one phrase that doesn't have, and shouldn't have quotes. And that phrase is "and hundreds of others". I would really like to suggest to the poster author that he or she should have gone ahead and thrown some random quotes around either "hundreds" or "others" just to confuse things further.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007


Despite the warning, I indulged.
The Tri-Tip was fantastic. The "Killer" aspect has yet to be determined. After all, I'm still alive, am I not? The Tri-Tip was not running about the restaurant with a three-bladed sword, hacking people to death. The Tri-Tip was not, to the best of my knowledge harvested from a bovine that either once belonged to or was a great fan of Jerry Lee Lewis. Perhaps "Killer" referred to the amazing noises both my friend Steve's and my stomachs produced about an hour after dining. However, we did not "die." However it reminded me of this actual quote:
What does not "kill" me, makes me stronger.
Friedrich Nietzsche, Twilight of the Idols, 1888

I found this at the Red Smoke Grill in Pleasanton, CA while on vacation. Clearly this is not the most inappropriate use of quotes, but after searching West Michigan dutifully for so long and finding it lacking, I've now taken advantage of this, my first opportunity.