Thursday, December 21, 2006

Don't bogart that weekday

Ever pick up the paper and find yourself playing a round of "See how many things you can find wrong with this chuckle-choked picture-puzzle"? Such, such is the case with this cutline from the beloved crosstown competition:

Going to jail (1)
Sheriff’s deputies with (2) police arrest Naughty Localwoman, 21, right, (3) on suspicion of third-degree domestic assault, unlawful use of a weapon, tampering with a victim and knowingly burning yesterday (4) on the 4300 block of Readosa Lane. Deputies went to the area at about 11:05 a.m. after a report that someone was brandishing a knife, burning items on the front lawn and trying to drive one vehicle into another. (5)

Where to start?
1) Let's save the Monopoly references for the feature section, shall we?
2) You probably want "and." Or do you have some good examples of "with" as a coordinating conjunction in this position?
3) Thanks for clearing that up! Otherwise, I might have thought she was the one who was handcuffed and didn't have a handgun and a radio.
4) Knowingly burning yesterday, was she? Look up the transitive and intransitive uses of "burn" and report back when you have it figured out, OK?
5) I can't tell if this is the circus or a really good Christmas/nativity scene. Knife in one hand. Lighter in the other. Driving with her feet?

A few broader observations:
6) Generally, use the present tense in cutlines to talk about what's going on in the frame (and don't talk very much about stuff that's evident from the photo). The prepositional dogpile that starts after "right" would have been a lot easier to digest had it been sectioned off and put in the past tense.
7) It's usually better to go from general to specific, rather than specific to general -- or, here, from neighborhood to block, rather than specific block to "the area." On the way, we'd probably notice more ways to unpile those godawful prepositional phrases.
8) Is there a particular reason this set of offenses is worth singling out with a photo? Or did this somehow become newsworthy because of the photo?

Also from the same distinguished pyem journal, an example of why you don't declare that a suspect (that'll be the specific person who's suspected of or arrested in the crime) is the one who committed the crime itself:

A receptionist at the Assured Property Management office near the Dollar General Store watched Lambert walk up and down the strip mall for about 10 minutes before he entered the discount store.

"He had a hood on, so I couldn’t see his face," said the receptionist, who asked not to be named. "He was walking around the cars and looked suspicious."

Not to be rude or anything, but if the receptionist couldn't see his face, how is it she or he knew it was the alleged perp?


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