Monday, September 30, 2013

Hissing winged fruit

Having said -- or spelled, or something -- "bat" four times in the preceding graf:

“Oh dear. B-a-t, B-a-t, B-A-T! There’s a bat on the wall,” shouted Sue Snyder as she scurried up the basement stairs, along with four other slightly freaked-out women on a recent tour of the house.

... there's really no reason not to indulge in some "hissing, winged creature," one supposes. And come to that, with all the other fun in this 1A feature, you'd almost question the copy editor who zeroed in on the Elongated Yellow Fruit first. There's sloppy suturing:

Snyder* said an internationally known person who he wouldn’t identify — — was recently overheard raving about Mackinac Island and Michigan during a conference call from the residence after spending the night there.

If the Freep is going to side with the eradicateurs in the who/whom wars, that's fine, but what's going on (or was going on) between those dashes?

You could actually get 10% of the words out of this next one just by being unkind to one sort of prepositional phrase, thus ensuring that your readers aren't exhausted when they reach the indoor tile replica of Michigan's forests:

Work done on the home since the Snyders took up residence includes replacing the 30-year-old roof and restoring the chimney; restoring or replacing all the windows in the house; updating several bathrooms and bringing all the plumbing in the house up to code; rebuilding the sunroom with new walls and windows due to a deteriorating foundation; stripping, refinishing and repairing the outdoor porch; and upgrading the kitchen with new cabinetry, appliances and installing a backsplash that looks like a stone tile replica of Michigan’s forests.

More random redundancy:

The cost
of staffing the Lansing residence cost the state $545,699 since Snyder took office, according to records obtained by the Free Press.

If you don't know which "its" to use, here's a tip: Don't alternate.

“I do think it’s a great resource and its probably a great promotional tool,” said Lonnie Scott, executive director of the liberal advocacy group Progress Michigan.

And, yeah, the bat might be a leftover, but it's left over from before the roof was replaced.

Not too long ago, newspapers employed people, known as "copy editors," who sat around late at night fixing stuff that happened while writers were taking their various corners on two wheels and speeding off to the next target. I'm sure they would have found lots more than that if we hadn't found better stuff for them to do.

*The governor, not the first lady, if you're wondering about the pronoun.

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