A Monthly Meditation on Branding and Language
From Your Favorite Copy Shop, Editorial Emergency

Issue 21 (Oct. 31, 2008): Vocab Lab of Horror

Are you petrified? Is your heart racing with terror and dread? Do you dream of angry, howling ghouls and wake up in a cold sweat? Worry not — election season is almost over. In the meantime, we've got a few treats to throw in your bag, to wit: a fearlessly plus-sized discussion of the mysterious adjective "nonplussed"; the in-box-rattling final installment of The Fruitcake Files; a new poll asking the musical question "How often do you want it?"; a Halloween-themed DVD roundup; and more blood-curdling torture of the English language (aka Not Our Clients). Enjoy, pumpkin.

Vocab Lab: Color Me Nonplussed

Image"I've been really happy by how nonplussed they've been by the whole thing." — Senator Barack Obama on his daughters' response to the presidential campaign, People, Aug. 4, 2008

It seems even Harvard graduate/widely acknowledged smart guy Barack Obama doesn't know the meaning of the word "nonplussed." He's in good company. I'd wager more people get "nonplussed" wrong than right — frequently going so far as to use the word to express nearly the opposite of what they mean. As the misuse of "nonplussed" threatens to overwhelm the proper use, we at Editorializing feel duty-bound to set the record straight.

Read the rest here.

The Fruitcake Files: Final Report

ImageOur readers have spoken: In our runoff to name unwanted e-mail from folks we know, "jam" decisively beat out "fruitcake." A whopping 71% of voters felt that unsolicited in-box filler from family and friends was best designated in honor of preserves.

Hats off to Patrick Hart, who spread this suggestion around in the first place. We'd also like to thank those of you who voted in the first and second EE polls; it's our fondest hope that you'll continue to chime in. Just don't jam us.

Polling Place: How Often Do You Want It?

ImageHas it really been a month since we last corresponded? Whether it seems like only yesterday or a veritable dog's age, the fact remains, Editorializing visits but once a month, and we hope that feels about right. Still ...

I subscribe to a wonderful Web-based entity that sends me a weekly newsletter, which I enjoy very much. But a while back they started sending me a daily e-mail on top of my weekly e-mail.

Read the rest here.

Round and Shiny: Haunted DVD Edition

ImageIf the fever pitch of politics isn't enough to give you the creeps this Halloween, allow us to recommend a few scare-raising films. Pop in these puppies once the trick-or-treaters stop ringing your bell, and settle in for some shivers.

Full-Scale Freak-Outs

The Woods (2005): Set in a girls' school in the '60s, this elegant, atmospheric nightmare is full of ghostly twists — not to mention some brutal "mean girls" tormenting the heroine. Imagine Heathers as a moody fright flick. With its darkly undulating trees and dazzling dream sequences, it builds up an oppressive aura of dread.

Read the rest here.

Not Our Clients: Sign of Fear Edition

We've seen some ridiculous stuff during this presidential campaign, but this really takes the cake.

This is officially the most ironic sign we've ever seen.

If you have the stomach for it, feast your eyes and glut your soul on the accursed ugliness that is Not Our Clients. Have you been scared out of your wits by an egregious abuse of the language? Send it screaming our way at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it and, if we post it, we'll send you an iTunes gift card. You can use it to download "The Monster Mash" (which, by the way, holds up remarkably well).

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