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

#45 (November 5, 2010): Capitalization Phase

In this issue we blow the lid off the random-capitalization racket, recommend some rockin' boxed sets for your holiday gift list and kick the tires of a Not Our Clients entry that's truly a lemon. And since you won't hear from us again before Thanksgiving, know that we're deeply thankful for you, loyal reader. We'll feast on turducken (or a bustergophechiduckneaealcockidgeoverwingailusharkolanbler, if we're feeling ambitious) in your honor.

Red Pen Diaries: Das Kapitalization

ImageThere it was again — a random capital. The offender was the "M" at the beginning of "Mother," as in "Her Mother was the first to notice she could really sing."

If it had been "Mother told me she thought I could really sing," it would have been fine and dandy because "Mother" would have been serving as a proper noun there, referring to a particular maternal figure. But when it's not standing in for a name, "mother" should not be capitalized.

I've recently seen the following capitalized for no reason: "high school" (in the same sentence as "middle school," which was NOT capitalized), "million," "mission," "federal," "program," "child," "metro area," "board of directors," "legislature," "alumni," "entertainment industry," "civic" and "downtown" (yes, I've been doing a lot of nonprofit reading).

Read the rest here.

Round and Shiny: Treasure Troves From Bowie and Tull

ImageNeed holiday gift suggestions for your favorite music geek? Presenting some weighty classic-rock reissues for your consideration: David Bowie's Station to Station — in both a three-CD "Special Edition" and a five-CD/three-LP/DVD "Deluxe Edition" — and a three-disc set commemorating Jethro Tull's Stand Up.

By the time David Bowie began work on Station to Station in 1975 he was, to put it charitably, a mess: strung out on coke and speed, pale of cheek and spindly of frame, a nihilistic, anhedonic shell of a man wallowing reflexively in the pleasure pit of Me Decade Los Angeles.

Gone were the swagger and flash of his fiercely coiffed, gender-bending alter egos Ziggy Stardust and Aladdin Sane. The languid soul of his recently completed (and highly successful) Young Americans album had given way to paralysis, chaos and addiction. Indeed, Bowie resembled all too closely the fragile, reclusive space alien he'd just portrayed in Nicolas Roeg's ponderous sci-fi flick The Man Who Fell to Earth. But however down, he wasn't out — in fact, he was on the cusp of a bold new phase. It would begin with a very different incarnation: the Thin White Duke.

Read the rest here.

Not Our Clients: Baby, You Can't Spell My Car Edition

Though we're encouraged by news of the domestic auto industry's resurgence, quality control apparently still has a ways to go.

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That "Cuogar" is a MILF — a Mistake I'd Like to Fix.

You can inspect more gas-guzzling gaffes here. Have you spotted a clunker of a mistake that made you slam on the brakes? This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it If we park it on our lot, you'll receive an iTunes gift card; you can fill 'er up with tunes like "I'm in Love With My Car," "Ignition" or the very relevant "Mercury Blues."


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