What’s happening this weekend on March 3 is that my spouse and co-author, Jim Macdonald, is going to be doing his stage magic at the Vermont Winter Faire in Essex Junction, Vermont. This is an indoor faire, being held at the Champlain Valley Exposition event center.
Once again, he’ll be doing walkaround magic all day; this time, he’ll also be doing a stage performance at 2:30 PM.
If you’re in the area, come by and give him (and all the other vendors and performers) a look!
From Texas Monthly online, a discussion of the phrase “fair to middlin’” (as in, “How’re you doin’?” “Oh, fair to middlin’ – can’t complain”), which wanders through the Texas cotton patch, the Texas oil patch, cotton-grading systems in Liverpool and cotton mills in Lancashire, the rivalry between Midland and Odessa, and the transatlantic popularity of country music.
This sort of thing is, as they say, my jam.
While idly mousing about the internet the other day, I followed a link to this page, which is all about an artist in Texas who’s been re-imagining images of classic Western heroes using female models, with awesome results:
And my thought, instantly, was “Damn, I want to read the books that those are the covers for!” Because behind every powerful image is a good story.
Because I have cabin fever, and cabin fever makes me peevish.
(It also makes me want to listen to Stan Rogers’s “Canol Road” on infinite repeat, but that’s another story.)
And my peeve today is this: If you’re going to enrich your prose with Latin tags and Latinate derivatives, for heaven’s sake at least get the spelling right. I’ve already blogged about the annoying practice of spelling the Latin phrase per se (“by itself; in and of itself) as per say – which is what it sounds like, granted, but which is still just plain wrong. Today I’d like to rant for a little while about another couple of frequently-misspelled Latin bits: memento and in memoriam. They both go back, ultimately, to an Indo-European root word meaning “mind” or “thought,” but after that they part ways.
Memento is by now a fully-acculturated English word, as it were, meaning “a keepsake or souvenir” – a thing that exists to be a reminder of something. The original Latin form of the word is derived from the verb meminisse, “to remember”, and it is spelled memento-with-an-e, not momento-with-an-o.
In memoriam is a Latin phrase meaning “in memory [of something].” It’s spelled memoriam-with-an-a, not memorium-with-a-u, because memoria is a first declension Latin noun, and first declension nouns end in -a for the nominative case (the form that is the subject of a sentence) and in -am for the accusative case (the form that is, among other things, the object of the preposition in.)
I don’t necessarily expect every writer in the world to remember this every time, but I’m afraid that I do expect it of every copyeditor, on the grounds that copyeditors are supposed to know these things.