Thursday, December 13, 2012

Leaving on a Jet Plane

I’m off to DC this evening for my book readings. So far I’ve only done book signings; this will be the first time I actually speak about my book in front of an audience. The good news is that I love attention, so public speaking is right up my alley. And I’ve been practicing what I’m going to say, which always helps. But I need your opinion about one of the jokes I plan on telling. In my book’s introduction, I show examples of emails students have sent me asking why they failed my class, and these emails are grammatical disasters. So I was going to make a joke along the lines of how sending grammatically incorrect emails to an English teacher to question a failing grade is as absurd as Mel Gibson questioning why he wasn’t invited to the Bar Mitzvah (or Hanukkah party because 'tis the season). 

I think it’s funny, but I think I’m always funny.  Is it in bad taste? Is it not funny? Do you have something better I can steal and not give you credit for?

Have you booked your tickets yet?

Here are the times and locations again:

December 15 @ 2pm
11 Dupont Cir NW (at Connecticut Ave. NW) 
Washington, DC 20036

December 17 @ 6pm
Busboys and Poets
4251 South Campbell Avenue
Arlington, VA 22206

Monday, December 3, 2012

Give the Gift of Grammar

No, this is not a post that’s going to try to convince you to buy MY book as a holiday gift for all your friends and family. Why would you want to give a gift that will not only give the gift of laughter but also provide your loved ones with the writing skills they need to be successful in their careers, get promotions and raises, and end up millionaires (which will make them so grateful they will buy you lavish gifts for the rest of your life)?

That stupid, pointless gift is available here.

But that’s not what this post is about. 

This post is about another grammar resource, one that doesn’t compare spelling to orgasms or proofreading to foreplay. This is a wonderful grammar resource for kids. It’s called Grammaropolis.

As described on the Grammaropolis website
“Grammaropolis is where grammar lives! Hailed as a Schoolhouse Rock for the 21st Century, Grammaropolis uses the parts of speech as animated characters starring in books, songs, videos, and interactive games. Our innovative, classroom-proven approach blends character-based content with more traditional quiz-based assessment and is designed to address students' varied learning styles. Because the parts of speech are personified based on their roles in the sentence, the characterization provides students with a more effective way to visualize and internalize the roles of the parts of speech and to identify how a sentence is put together.”

The mayor of Grammaropolis sent me some books and a CD, and they’re great. I mean, it doesn’t get much better (i.e., nerdier) than driving around in my grammarmobile rocking out to “Noun Town” and “Lights! Camera! Action Verb!”

And now you have the chance to rock out to them too. In order to win one of the three copies that will be given away, all you have to do is answer this question: 

If you were mayor of Grammaropolis, what law would you pass?

There will be a drawing, and the winner will be announced next week.

My law would be that those who fail to capitalize the word “I” will have their iPhones, iMacs and iPods confiscated until they can prove they are free of Mac’s grammatically unsound influence.