Tuesday, December 29, 2009

'May the Sun Shine Bright as the Dickens'

(Photo: March Field, Riverside, CA)

Reading letters from 1918 is a bit like reading a much earlier form of English. Just like reading the Early Modern English of Shakespeare, or even more so, the Middle English of folks like Chaucer, I think the ever-changing language is slowly starting to see a shift from then and now. I can only imagine how the dialect will change by the next century.

After reading the below missives by our fair prince Ernest, one is left thinking, "Huh?" I am confused by much of what he says, except for the continued fawning. Part of it is because I don't know details about the events he speaks of, and part of it is just how he uses language. What I do understand, makes me smile; describing one's self as a "restless bird all aft" is so last century. And I just might have to steal the phrase "all a-jumble." Priceless. Where it gets fuzzy is when he says things like "pussy-footed son of a sea look." Okay, dude. Back up. Slow down. Translate for 2010, buddy. That's all I'm sayin'.

A few points stand out here, as you will see:

1) Mamie is either sick or hurt at the time.

2) Blatant racism in 1918 is tossed around like shiny pennies without a second thought. Ernest uses a word that made me suck in my breath, but he says it like it's an everyday word.

3) Ernest talks about getting letters from Mamie, and I don't have possession them. It finally dawned on me that many of the letters she mailed him somehow were either tossed or misplaced. It would be just like a guy not to keep them in a box like she did. Obviously most of the ones she kept would be from him. That only makes sense. Duh.

4) Ernest writes a letter in a plane!

Happy 2010 everyone. See you in the new year.


The Grammar Nazi

Barracks 3 also Squadron A

March Field

Riverside, Calif.

Nov. 13, 1918

Dearest sweet girl of mine:

Please dear, I’ve tried to write tonight but can’t write as I wish. Tore up letter after letter. It’s 11:45 now. It’s orders to be in bed, but am in the orderly room with the blinds down secretly burning midnight zzzs. And yet guess I’ll have to wait – a million years – till Sat. eve to see you dear. Didn’t get my mail this morn and believe me I was some restless bird all aft. Wondering wondering were you real sick and I know you weren’t happy. O girl of girls I so want you to be. Rec’d your dearest letter this evening. Honey, my thoughts and mind and heart and soul are all a-jumble. Have had several close calls and can crack a joke with death staring me in the face.

Yet tonight I don’t feel like joking. Earlier this eve several of the fellows tried to get me to let them see what I was or wasn’t writing. I told them to chase themselves.

One of them a kike showed me a letter he just got from a girlfriend.

It started out soft as the dickens and finally wanted to ask him a very intimate question. One she had lost sleep and everything over. Wanted the pussy-footed son of a sea look to lay down his friendship and tell her from the bottom of his heart would Jeff ever be as big as [?].

Gee I sure remember sitting there on the sofa with you dear and we saw him when he was. O girl! Girl! O gollie!

What’s that ditty about? If I were where I would be. Then I would be where I am not. But I am not where I want to be. So I must wait till I can be…or something. 1000 years like that.

It’s after 12:00 and I can hear all sorts of noises outside. Snores and snores.

Anyway dear, God bless you little lovely blonde heart, and may the sun shine bright as the dickens for you soon.

Night xx. Night, night and again. God bless you honey and keep you from getting hurt in this cruel world. Xxxxxxxxxx.

With a heart full of love dear, as ever your own.


Aero Sqdrn. A.

November 16, 1918

Riverside Calif.

Dearest Sweetheart:

Am scribbling this in the field. Will not have much time. Am studying to take exam for 1 cls. sergeant. It will be rather a severe one. May not pass, but was recommended, so here goes. Rec’d your dearest of letters yesterday.

Well, here come the ships …

P.S. am writing this bit 3000 ft up over Hemet. It looks so pretty. Couldn’t talk about it to the St. in the rear seat so this. Such a variety of color, autumn leaves, etc. and the clouds and their shadows, the Eucalyptus and the rugged hills and mountains surrounding the whole and grayback with snow on it in the background. We are circling now, all the ships chasing us, we are in the lead. Well, I’ll finish this on the [?] things are so at home. Gee I wish you could see it.

O girlie of mine, tomorrow is Sunday and I can’t see you – wanted to buy a pass but none of the fellows would part for love – or money. I sure feel awfully heart-hungry for you, you, u! Dear sweetheart! Gee but the coming week will seem ages long. And my little girl all crippled up. Dear I hope you are better when this gets there. Oh how I wish I could hold you close and kiss you o so lovingly and tenderly.

So Mable snubbed you. Are you ever so sure girlie? By gollie girls are funny. If a fellow, my chum were to do ditto, I’d just say lovingly hello, ya big stiff, whazza matter? Come on and kick thru. Why, please tell me why? Ah! Mamie, a fellah has gotta forgive lots of things in this world. Sure dear, it does hurt like the dickens – and it’s a queer predicament to get into. One is shocked and doesn’t know what to do. And at the moment forgetting, one’s power to hate is as great as one’s love was before. Huh! O I hope yet the way it happened it seems, well, funny. I hope you have made up. My sis and her chum used to get too thick and then they would get thin again. Then make up, etc.

Don’t honey. I’ll try not to spoil you, and I don’t think you’re spoiled. But I sure love to give sweet things to things sweet. Trouble is one can’t get real extra fine sweets at present. It’s all camouflaged. What was it on the margin of that letter? Wait till I see you dear and I will, again unless. Huh! – unless nothing.

I see they are going to let the fellows out of the army and maybe in quantity and bulk, etc. pretty soon. I don’t know yet what I’ll do. Whether I’d rather go or stay.

I would give a pretty penny to stroll around through the woodies with just you dear. Don’t tease me about making faces at you. Wish I could right now and sniff. There!

I wonder will I tear up this letter and everything and just write another and then tear it up, etc.

That one picture is my sister-in-law where I was Sunday. Well I must do some studying tonight. It seems so quiet in here right now. Most of the fellows are at the Y.A. We had our boisterous singing awhile ago.

Night darling girlie of mine and I just love you o so much!

X. Night.


Monday, December 21, 2009

That Town was 'Wild Ditto'

I'd say Mamie is happy the war is over, wouldn't you?

November 12, 1918

Oh Earnest, isn’t this a wonderful day! Think of what it means for the world. I wish you could understand just how I feel today dear. But you can’t I guess. I want to shout and sing and yet I want to cry. I wish I could be with you today.

I got up at 2:00 last night and Zella and I went up town. Of all the noise and fun. There was a [?] a mile long formed in less than fifteen minutes and we were second to the head. Fire truck led. We went all over Ontario and Upland and shouted and sang and screamed and blew horns and pounded tin cans till I can hear it yet. It lasted till 5:30 and then we came home almost froze to death and hoarse! I couldn’t speak! I went to bed and got up at 9:30. Ha ha! Am cleaning and decorating the machine to be in a big parade at 2:30 today. I only wish you could be here with me. Wouldn’t it be great tho?

Well, I’ll see you – Sunday? And don’t forget that I am thinking of you today and loving you.

Bye bye dear & love, Mamie.

She also must remind Ernest she's thinking of him and wishes he were there. Looks like they are making plans to see each other again. She's still engaged to Clarence, but she doesn't want ED to go away just yet.

She gets what she wants. He can't bring himself to say goodbye:

November 13, 1918

At home

Aero Squadron A., Riverside, Cal.

Dearest Dear Girl:

I wrote you last night and wrote that I did not at the moment know would I mail it or not. I did not. Gee gee gee, that was an awfully dear letter you wrote, but it sure got me. It made me feel worse than the whirling chair.

I read three letters – one from you, one from an old chum and the other from my sister-in-law. Read theirs in a hurry and wanted to keep yours of all the letters till I had a bit of time alone. Sis said some day someone would address me thus Dear Ernest oof! Chum says that town was wild ditto, as Ontario. Methinks all the towns in the world went wild. It’s certainly great that that hell has burned itself out.

Then I read your loving letter and re-read it several times since. O dearest of girls, ya give a fella an awful thump. O God! O girl! O you, forgive me darn sweetest darling girl. I almost wish I had never seen you, and yet I wouldn’t take the world for having seen you. I am afraid I haven’t added much toward your happiness since I’ve known you dear. But I wanted so much too. Yes, we ought to be engaged. Wish we were. Gee I used to think lots of those lovely things, but I guess it’s bye. Goodbye to the dearest most loving sweetheart an unworthy fellow ever knew. And those laughs and that hair that I was more crazy to have brush into my face (and nestle into) than you know. But g-bye and O sugar!

They informed us the other day that the quarantine was definitely on indefinitely and tighter than before. O Maim’! The more often I see you, the more it hurts me to leave. And were I ever to see you again, I would never let you go! Huh!!! But I want you to be happy to if you care for him so then bye.

But if he ever mistreats you and I find out … I can’t help it. Wish I didn’t love you so much. But I cannot help it. C. has stopped smoking. Guess I’ll start in smoking and ____. Our memory is what we forget with if necessary to forget until I’m an old old Batch and reflect. How you used to thrill me in so many many ways. O Geee whiz. Forgive me, I do not blame you dear. You have added much to my life and have taken (heart shape) away. You couldn’t help it. Such is life and love. But gee it hurts.

About 60 of the bunch are leaving for Honolulu soon. No I’m not in it, but I wish I were.

O Mamie, I can’t say goodbye – xx to you. Guess I’ll just have to do something awful and be confined indefinitely. Gee it’s getting late so goodnight darling and __________.


I don't know about you, but I am kind of getting tired of the sappiness of his letters. I might barf if I hear one more "oh gee" or "darling girl." I just want to tell Mamie to sh*t or get off the pot. Marry Clarence and let poor Ernest go, or dump poor Clarence and make this lovesick, pathetic man happy. Let's get the show on the road, lady. What do ya say? Stop toying with these men. I know you like the attention, but it's not doing anyone any favors. Now that the war is over, what's next for these long-distance lovebirds?

Thursday, December 10, 2009


A woman writes to Ernest about the end of the war:

Nov. 11, 1918

Dear Ernest:

I am still in bed but rejoicing over peace being declared and thought of you and am sending you these few lines to tell you so. Everyone in Exeter acts as though they were crazy. Closed everything up and just parading the streets in every way shape and form. And making all the noise they can. I don’t blame them if I was able to I would be among them and doing my bit. Can’t write very much but want to let you know I thought of you. Best wishes and hoping to see you before long. I remain as ever Your SST.

Mrs. E. Patten

Ernest writes to Mamie the day the war ends:

Nov. 11, 1918
Aero Squadron A., Riverside, Calif.

Dearest little girl of mine:

Rec’d your big little letter last week. Sure was glad to get it. Poor lil dear. Fellow sure feels helpless. Wants to do something and I can’t. Hope honey that you are alright again when this gets there and that it doesn’t take it long to arrive. Mail sure must go around some to get there.

That bit that you wrote on the margin seemed kind of funny. One of the words from the lines dropped it in two and I read the first part and then I saw. Ha ha. One half. Ha ha. Must be a dear sweet smile. Did you give the other half to Mabel?

We are still in quarantine but managed to get a pass and went to LA. And O boy I went on the stage Cadillac, and it was all I could do to stay on the stage office in Ontario to change. Hecktopinkus! Whatever that means – and everything. Visited one of my brothers for a while, rode around in their machine. Bummed around the rest of the time. Took a few pictures, etc. And now I’m back and the war is over and everything. Am awfully lonesome right now. A big bunch of fellows were to have gone to France and Honolulu from our squadron but they suspended it, as they did the draft.

Well I haven’t written anything. Did some washing and now it’s getting late again. Some of our things we can wash better than the laundry. Then have the post tailor presses them.

One of the fellows just made sergeant and he has [?] on his overcoat, coveralls and shirt. And they all kid him and say he has them on his underwear.

I just rec’d a letter and package from sis in Ohio, sent me some more socks. Gave several pairs to several fellows to wear at night. It’s been real cool here the last week. Frost every morning.

Well dear dear girl

I wonder wonder wonder wonder about so many things.

Hope darling that you will and can ½ ha ha yet – and not think I’m writing too often.

Honey if you do, I’ll just write anyhow.

And then tear up the letters. XX

I guess.

And when I just want to see you sooo, I’ll look at your sweet self in a picture and then say sugar oh sweetheart.

I want to say things but don’t know how. Wish I could write like you. Night and all the love in the world as ever. E.D. XX

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Drown Your Sorrows in a Piece of Candy

November 1918

Aero Squadron A.

So darling girlie –

Well I don’t know very much to scribble. Only that I miss you and O how I wish I were with you dearest, and I love you more than ever. The boys have been playing the pianola all evening, but it does no good. There is someone missing. You you you!

It seemed to take the stage an awful long time to get there Sat. evening – and then only a few moments and I had to leave. See I don’t think eternity would seem long at all…with little…dear little you.

Made another trip today dear to Hemet. O why wasn’t it Ontario and the only visitor we had was a young lady? A very modest one. Reminded me of the picture I have of you in overalls. She must have come half a mile but wouldn’t come up to the ships. About a hundred yards is as close as the dear would come. When we took off she waved and we circled and dove right down and waved.

Oh boy why wasn’t it Ontario – and different. It was pretty cold coming back and is pretty cold here. Now again I wish somebody was here and with cold that I could keep warm and lovely. Hope dearest that you get a good place at the Hot Point so your time will not be so miserably chopped up. And so full of unhappiness (what a very big word and how very much it means), huh! Was just going to the canteen a bit ago to drown my sorrows in a piece of candy when one of the fellows in my section sprung a box he just received. It’s g-gone now – (the candy is).

Mc. Jimmie (?) just asked, was I writing you? Said he rec’d a letter from mgnt (?). Hope it is lifted by then. On top of his four days of grace after quarantine, he is in charge of quarters Sat. evening. Poor boy – he said he was going to be away if he had to see the General. If he gets away with it, I’ll see the General too.

Dearest, that was just the most lovely treat to be with you darling and to leave so quickly just a wave and gone. O sugar! (but then – sugar is sweet, isn’t it?)

And Mamie. That is some chum you have. And please Mrs. Cod, don’t g-give Mamie the dickens the next morning.

Everyone is going to bed to keep warm, so goodnight deardeardeardearest girl! Hope you are well. Lots of love,


And remember I wouldn’t take anything for a Hello from you.

Wait, they are going to bed because it's cold? They are in Riverside, CA. How cold could it possibly be?

Ah yes, the pianola. My grandmother has a player piano we kids used to torment the family with at every gathering. We'd pull scrolls out of long red boxes, slide the wood panels open in the front of the piano, hook the paper to the player and spend hours pedaling for dear life, while we watched the keys go up and down like the ghost of Beethoven was at the helm. The braille-like pages whizzed before our eyes, and we got such a kick out of it. I will always have a fondness for ragtime piano music because of this. I'm sure the songs we "played" were much like the ones Ernest refers to here.

That he has a photo of my great-grandmother in overalls makes me smile. I used to wear overalls all the time.

I want to know what Hot Point is. Sounds steamy.

He's going to a canteen to drown his sorrows in candy. Sorry, a piece of candy. Not whiskey, not gin. A piece of candy. So Adorable and innocent.

Here we finally hear something quite substantial from the lady in question, and it comes just one day before the end of the war:

Sunday night, 11:30

Nov. 10, 1918

Dear, did you have a good time today without me? I hope you didn’t get lonely. I did. We got all ready for that blamed company and they never came. We were pretty well disgusted. My brother and family were out tho. Dear Ernest boy. I haven’t the heart to write a decent letter to you tonight. Know why? I’m so miserable. My heart aches so and there is no cure for a long time. I can’t answer your sweet letter either. I want to talk to you instead. I’m tired and sleepy and it’s late too. I wish you didn’t love me so desperately and both ways because it will be so hard to say goodbye to each other when the time comes. I hope that time never comes tho. Oh Ernest! I’ve got to be true to Clarence! My love and life means the world to him he writes, and he is so happy and proud of his little sweetheart. (So true!) Oh Ernest! If he knew how I love you it would break up his whole life. And I can’t do that after being engaged for almost three years and almost as close at times as if we were married. I mean mental and spiritual and – never mind. I can’t say it now to you dear. But you can guess. He loves me that way, but if he knew that I loved someone else better than I did him he wouldn’t hold me a minute, but would tell me to go to the man I loved and be happy because that is what he wants me to be – happy. Oh he is so unselfish and good. I ought to be too.

Side note - Yes dear I could trust you to be good to the end of this world!

Another side note – 2:00 Monday morning – Oh Ernest! It’s come really and truly this time. Peace is declared!

He is coming … soon … not far away and we will be married. But there will be part of me that belongs to you and he can’t fill the empty space in my heart. I ought to be happy with him and I will try to be for the sake of being as brave as he.

I am afraid that the longer you and I know each other, the more we will love each other and I can’t bear to think of us parting. Can you? We ought to be engaged right now – the way we love, etc. But a girl can’t be engaged to two men at once can she, dear?

Clarence wrote me a beautiful letter and I received it Friday. It was a love letter right from his very soul and heart. And it made me feel like following him on my knees all the rest of my life.

I will admit that Clarence knows more about me than is right for him to know until we are married, but we have acquired a great and beautiful understanding thru any passionate love. I can’t write about it to you. You might misunderstand me and think me a bad girl. I am not, dear. I believe I could tell you all about it safely. But I can’t write it.

Don’t feel badly now. Maybe I’ll mark off this spell in a day or so and be willing to give myself all to you. I don’t know which love I love best - yours or “C’s.” They are so different yet so beautifully sweet. Good night dear and write soon, and I’ll see you soon and we can talk things over. I love you dearly, dear. Your Mamie.

It's no wonder he continues to pine for her when she's engaged to Clarence. She provides him with so much hope in this one piece of correspondence. She says it will be impossible to say goodbye, but she must because she is going to marry Clarence and be true to him. However, she then says she loves Ernest more than Clarence. Then she says she loves him differently. She's one confused woman. What does one do when she loves two people at the same time? No, really. What does she do?

It appears Clarence is overseas and will be home soon because the war is over. (Now I understand her request to Ernest to love her in his place.) I wonder if Ernest ever felt inadequate as a stay-at-home soldier, while Mamie's other love was actually fighting, if indeed that's what he was doing.

Mamie has shared three years of engagement with Clarence and he "knows" her more than he should. How is that supposed to make Ernest feel? Why is she so open about this with him? Is she trying to hurt his feelings or make him jealous? If so, it's working I'm sure.

The engaged one ends her letter with "your Mamie." The word "your" signifies belonging. One last way to hang onto to Ernest and not have him walk away just yet, not that he would. He's in this for the long haul, until she walks down the aisle with Clarence, whom she wants to follow for the rest of her life, or does she? The Queen of Mixed Signals has spoken and befuddled us all. What's next?

My head spins,

The Grammar Nazi

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Love me until Clarence comes back

We haven't heard from Mamie for awhile. She tends to write one letter for every two or three of Ernest's love notes. Either that or her letters are missing. Maybe they are tucked away in the jacket pocket of the clothes he's buried in. I wouldn't be surprised. He epitomizes lovesick. My heart bleeds for him because we've all been there: You are away from the one you love either because of distance or circumstance, and you think about that person every second of every day, and you ache because you can't be next to the object of your affection. It's a painful, yet obligatory experience. A rite of passage. Necessary torture. Typical.

The next letter is something I need to ask my grandma about: Who are the people being discussed? My guess is the writer, Sarah, is someone in Ernest's family, as are the others she mentions. I just don't know how they are related at this time. My favorite line comes toward the end of the letter. You'll know it when you see it. It makes me want to scream, "Too late!" It's a done deal. Ernest is in over his head.

Los Angeles, CA
October 18, 1918

Dear Ernest:

I wrote you a letter last week and failed to mail it. Isn’t that a fine thing to do?

Did you see Agnes? She hasn’t come home nor written so we don’t know anything about her trip. She went to Santa Ana Sunday, phoned Mama from there that she was going to stay a few days and we have not heard from her since.

Alex quit his job and came home Wednesday. He would like to get in the army as a flyer. He inquired about it and was told to report for physical examination Saturday. If he passes his examinations here, he will be sent to Berkeley. He also is thinking of going in the Signal Corp instead of waiting a long time for a commission in the aviation. He isn’t just settled in his mind what to do, but he’ll decide tomorrow.

Fred has been reinstated in his city job. He started work this AM at $125 a month.

We haven’t heard from your dad. He had a sore hand when he left here and that and the influenza epidemic has Fred worried about him.

Aren’t you ever going to give us a Sunday anymore? Please don’t fall in love with the other fellow’s girl!!!!

Dave is recovering from a very bad attack of influenza. He had a temperature of 104ยบ for several days!

Come see us soon, won’t you?


A $125 a month! Times have changed. Can you imagine surviving on that in Southern California now? That's slightly more than a third of my car payment.

Here's a juicy one from Ernest to that "other fellow's girl" around the same time:

Aero Sqdrn A.
October 1918
Riverside, Calif.

Dearest Darling of Mine…

Rec’d two of the loveliest letters from the dearest girl. There I won’t say any more or you won’t love me anymore. O girlie I just love you oodles anyhow, anyway and then some.

No, what you said wasn’t that I’ll tell you about it when, when I see you again dearest. They are talking of lifting the quarantine at the end of the week. But one can’t figure on anything in the army. But here’s hoping! I’d sure shout.

Dear, when you spoke of me loving you till Clarence came back, I didn’t understand you honey, either. I thought you meant we would have to part then forever and dearie, it just made me feel like saying I don’t know, and then some.

Yes! You did make me feel worse, since you are engaged and I love you sooo. I knew if I were to go allll the way and then lose you, O how awful awful punk I’d feel afterward. But dearest! I just want to see you now and just go all the way. Sure was glad to hear from you and that you feel scrumptious and spiffy.

Dear! Let me get one of those things for you. Haven’t you got another birthday now? Xmas is almost here too. Won’t you girlie? When a fellow does want to get something, it’s generally something useless and he doesn’t know what in the Dickens to get. Gee, I hope we get off this weekend.

This is only a short letter but will write another tomorrow and if I don’t mail this right away, it won’t reach you for another half day.

So with lots of love and I’d love to kiss you O sooo tenderly right now. Night! Dearest girl of mine.

And don’t forget where I live.


Whoa! Slow down there, Ernest! "Going all the way" with another man's fiance is probably not a wise decision, even if you love her. I wonder what he means by "one of those things" he wants to get her for her birthday. The most telling line of this letter alludes to Mamie wanting him to love her in Clarence's place until he comes back. Where is he? How can she justify Ernest as merely a placeholder? I'm not in her position, so I don't know what's going on in her head, but it does seem as if she's just toying with Ernest. Does she really love him? Does Clarence have any idea there is someone else? So many questions.

For those of you playing along, "Gee, I hope we get off this weekend" refers to him not working. Get your mind out of the gutter.

More to come,

The Grammar Nazi

Saturday, November 21, 2009

"Gee, I think I'll have to learn to smoke."

September 25, 1918
Aero Squadron A.
Riverside, Calif.

Dearest Girl!

Just read your letter over, didn’t really have time this noon. Anyway I love to read your letters. Makes it seem as tho you live right here (almost!) Gee you have presence of mind when you can throw a comeback like that in a restaurant. Fellow keeps cool in a critical situation sure wins. Psychology you know. Is that deep too – did I? what!

Brother and sister – yes, but dear girl. I have a sister and you have a brother. See one can’t have two nowadays with everything so high. I just wrote her a letter tonight were I to put her letter in your envelope and yours in hers, she wouldn’t understand and you wouldn’t either honey!

Wish I knew what else to write. I’d love to go to the LA Orpheum Sun. night tho with you. If. I can’t figure out anything definite in the army.

I must do some laundry. Can’t get it back in time from the laundry and they don’t do it like we soldiers do.

And O, I must write a dear aunty of mine in Ohio a letter. She is always sending things and things and things. So, night honeybunch. And write soon. E.D.

Aero Squadron A.
Oct. 3, 1918

So! Dear girl:

Forgive me for writing two to your not any. It’s been raining all afternoon, was through work early and I don’t have to stick around like most of the fellows till 5: So I didn’t have anything to do to keep from thinking. Been studying this eve. O, on aerodynamics. They just brought in the maid and there was none for me. Um hum. I just turned away and said “darn it” and everything just like that. I hardly know what to write. I only know I want to come to Ontario awhile Saturday eve. May I?

We were to have been paid yesterday eve, but the PM was away and didn’t come back till after nine. And we were all dolled waiting in the dark. They called it off and we went over this morning before 5: It was either then or – later. The other squadrons will have to wait. We won the relay race the other night and a game of ball so the K.O. felt pretty good. Gonna have a special feed soon.

The movie bunch has gone. They will show the pictures for the first time in the Y.A. in about two weeks. Dear, dear girl wish you could see them. They ought to be fine. Gee, I think I’ll have to learn to smoke. The other fellows are writing, smoking and writing. All I can think of is sweet music and you. They keep the piano busy. M-hmum! And how are you? Bet you rec’d a letter from him [Clarence] and he says he has no other girl. O Mamie dear, I want you anyhow.

It’s Friday again tomorrow and inspection and everything. But I can’t be bothered. Hope we get through early Saturday. This morning one of the machines kissed the ground. No one hurt. Had trouble with several of the others. Same circus, bunch of sparrows, etc.

Mc. Jimmie just asked, “What are you doing Saturday? Writing to her?”

It’s mailing time, so night dear.

Writing something anyhow. Will you hunnie?

Saturday, November 14, 2009

A Letter in Pencil

Ernest's last letter was a whopper, huh? I have so many questions. How was he rude to her when he felt "bunk"? (I love that word.) What is this about my great-grandmother considering the convent? We are obviously not related. She couldn't have been seriously considering it. She was engaged and flirting with another man!

What the heck is a fourflusher? Wait. I'm going to Google it. Be right back.

Okay, I'm back. Thank you, Wikipedia: A four flush is a poker hand that is one card short of being a full flush; a four flusher is a person who makes empty boasts or bluffs when holding a four flush.

I learn something new every day.

I wonder why Ernest has decided to quit going to church, and why the heck he doesn't drink. Surely he'll start now that he has given up organized religion.

Another new favorite word: "aviatrixey." An aviatrix is a female aviator, but he added an 'ey', which makes it sound like she would be his arm candy while he struts around in his flight gear.

He refers to a place called 'B,' but I'm unclear where that is.

The way he talks about being bothered by the guy next to him is funny; Ernest sounds younger than his 30 years by 2009 standards. That's one of the things I find so fascinating about 1918 language: It has an undertone of youth and innocence you don't find these days in adults.

Last, what a great phrase "the movie people" is as well. It makes film appear so "newfangled" and "mysterious," which it was.

Now if Ernest could quit beating himself up over Mamie, but alas, there's much more.

Aero Squadron A
September 25, 1918
Riverside, Cal.

Out in the field.

Not on a pink scented note paper, but on an empty stomach. Almost time to go to mess. Wish it was dinner with you. Was some busy this am. Motor’s on the blink all around.

Gee girl! I feel that I was mean to you Sunday. Dear sweet girl I just want to kiss and make up. Forgive me? I’ve asked you that lots of times already, but I guess I’m the big enough dickens to have to ask you dozens of times yet. Such is romance, huh!

But girl of girls, you did torment me toooo and everything. But I wouldn’t have missed being with you Sunday for anything.

Hope you are feeling scrumptious whatever that is. And will please please pretty please write when you can and I do want to see you Sun. M-may I?

Well here comes the circus and one ship missing, so bye dear. May have time to write a line later and may not. Wish the ship came down near there instead of anywhere over here. Bye! E.D.

Some ride bumpy, went over rough road. Yes the highways are rough sometimes.

P.S. Just need your dandy letter. I write too this week. Will have to mail this immediately with lots of love. E.D.

So they saw each other, but he's begging to see her again and begging for a letter, and just generally begging. I don't remember the last time a guy begged me for anything. It's somewhat sweet and somewhat annoying. Don't you think? What is this about him being mean to her again? However, as he mentions, and as you'll see, she does torment him. Here's a letter from her on the same day:

Ontario, California
September 25, 1918

My dear Ernest,
I’ve got 20 minutes before I go on duty at 5:00. The thing to do is I’ll just scribble a line to you.

Hope you will excuse the pencil dear. I left my pen at home.

How are you getting along dear? I expected a letter from you today and went to the post office especially for one—and didn’t get it. I was disappointed.

Dear when you come over next time, (Sunday), I’m not going to let my emotions get the best of me like I did Sunday. It’s my fault dear. I have no business sharing so much that I care for you. I’m going to love you just the same as ever, but it won’t show so much in my actions – if I can help it. Perhaps it will be easier for you then.

I haven’t heard from Clarence yet. It has been an awful long time but …

Today has been a hard day for me – as was yesterday. Had go for dinner each day between 12:00 and 1:15. I didn’t know whether I was living or dead. Both I guess. I’m thinking seriously of quitting but I want to have another job first. I want to talk to you about – something too. Something you spoke about Sunday, dear. I won’t go farther. I am quite tired tonight. But if you were to be here, I wouldn’t be tired at all.

I’ve just been playing this music box – the song you played Sunday. I hope to lose you and it makes me feel sad dear Ernest boy.

Well, it’s 5:10 so I guess I can’t say much more. That (bad girl) I told you about Sun. night just went by and looked in for me and [unclear word] comes her victim, the barber. He’s trying to draw me in too since “B” (the girl) told him a lot. I went to SD with her. I hate him dear. I wish I wish I wish I could be near you. If I could only go to Riverside – away from all these people!

Dear, I know I promised you I’d quit and I will, but I may be there Sunday so call in here when you come over and I’ll try to get the machine and we can have a good time. (I’ll tell the folks this time dear. No mischief. Ha ha ha.) Well, bye-bye dear, with love.

(Come as early as you can.)

Okay, let me get all this straight: First she apologizes for using a pencil. Who does that? Nowadays, people barely use pens!

Second, Sunday's meeting must have been hot! She let her emotions get the best of her. I wonder what that means? I bet there was some smooching going on. In the next breath, she mentions Clarence, just as a reminder to poor Ernest that he's not the only one wooing her. And so begins her awful teasing. This letter is full of mixed signals. She hopes to let him go, but she also wants him to come over again. Make up your mind, lady. Stop toying with the poor man. Last time he came over, the parents weren't involved and there was "mischief," but not next time because she's a good girl, and because it will help HIM if she doesn't succumb to her feelings. Sure...

I'm really confused about the bad girl and the barber, but that story is clearly not applicable to our saga, just intriguing.


The Grammar Nazi

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Goodbye, Grace

Okay, first of all, I'm not sure if women make men sweaters anymore as a way to woo them. I think the only women making sweaters are aunts and grandmas. It's sweet that Grace takes the time to do so for a man whom she may be in love with. "With love" sure indicates something, especially since my grandma mentioned she was Ernest's girlfriend at the time. As you will see below, however, a few months later, Grace is not happy with Ernest. His mind is elsewhere, and he "disses" her something fierce. Pauvre Grace. (By the way, I Googled Grace's LA address, and it still exists. She lived northeast of USC.)

In the first letter from Mamie, already we see her working poor Ernest. She's engaged and yet she calls him her "dear soldier boy." Here's a woman who doesn't seem to know exactly what she wants. (I have no idea what that's like. Yeah, right.) She dangles that proverbial carrot in his face because she adores the attention, and she probably truly is in love (or infatuation) with two men.

On the flip side, Ernest is taking the bait and sending her candy, letters and a photo of himself. He may be a glutton for punishment, and a bit of a doormat.

Did you notice the comment about their first day together being "short and sweet"? I wish I knew the details about their initial encounter, and how long before the letters started after it had occurred. We'll just have to use our imaginations.

Another "times have changed" moment in that last letter was when she said she hoped she wasn't "rushing" their relationship by writing him a letter too soon. Can you imagine someone saying that now?

Oh, Mamie. You big tease! "I'm going to San Diego, but I'm not going to tell you why." Just suffer, poor lovesick military man. Suffer and wait.

Here's another letter from Grace. She has been stood up:

July 28, 1918
Dear Ernest:

You don’t know how disappointed I am that you didn’t come tonight. What happened? Next time you come to LA, won’t you call as soon as you get in and come out to dinner? Promise me that you will. I enjoyed your letter so much and your picture is splendid. Many thanks. Maybe you will consider this a letter and answer soon. I hope so.

With love,

Ernest failed to call on Grace, even after she made him a sweater! He also sent her a letter and a photo, just like Mamie. That's just not very nice of him, but as you'll see below, he's all about Mamie, the woman he can't have. Sadly, I believe this is the last we hear from Grace. Their relationship must have fizzled fairly quickly that summer. Hopefully she found her true love elsewhere.

Aero Squadron A.
September 19, 1918
Riverside, Calif.

Dearest Little Girl –

Please forgive me. I feel as though I’ve been rude to you and then some. Yes you did try to comfort me and it did make me feel worse. Well because I care for you. But I had no business showing that I felt so bunk. O girl-girl if I could write a letter like you. (Some letters, full of life & love.) Forgive me for not writing sooner. We’ve put in some long days this week. If it wasn’t for lights out at 9, I too would have written till late several nights. I wrote several letters and then tore them up.

Do I care for you? Yes! Too too much. God I wish there were two of you and you were the one for me.

No dear if you go to a convent I’ll t-t-tear the walls down.

They say all is fair in love and war. Wish to goodness I knew who started that so I would know whether to believe it or not.

Imagine…I cannot. I don’t smoke cigarettes and I’m not a fourflusher. So I can’t fool myself. I do not drink so I cannot get drunk. And I can’t cry! Baby…

I think I’ll quit going to church. Yet when I open my eyes Sun. morning, hope your preacher is a good one.

Sweet girl I don’t know what to say, just sit and think and think till it gives me a headache. Oh why!

Several of us took exam yesterday to go to ground school. If I were put on flying here, would I turn down going to B? I said yes! I meant for the present, but that flunked me. Expect to be put on soon. If I make good I’ll be an enlisted aviator. Wish you could be an aviatrixey. It is some problem to decide wh-what to do. Huh!

Gee I wish I wish I wish. But what is the use of wishing.

It’s almost 9 again and they will not let one write in the washroom. There is a fellow reading the theory of flight and he is just bothering me.

Well dearest girl. Good-night.

Just look at the lovely moon! Ooo. Last night we had hash for supper and I, for the first time since I can remember, talked in my sleep. Nearly woke up several others and every once in a while, someone else would talk.

With lots of love. (Forgive me.)
Yesterday one of the lts. gave me a picture that the movie people took of another fellow and I. They had gone to Edendale and seen the films and it was given to them for me. They said there were five.

You are one girl I’d love to take to see the play when it is released. “Night.” “Lights out.”


Until next time,

The Grammar Nazi

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Players

My great-grandmother is on the right. I'm not sure who is on the left. Her sister perhaps?

The letters you are about to read mostly were written from 1918 to 1920. My great-grandmother Mamie had two twitterpated suitors at the time. One was Ernest, who wrote to her incessantly, professing his love and giving her day-to-day updates from March Field in Riverside, CA.

The other one was her fiance Clarence, who is merely discussed, as we never actually hear from him directly. One of these men is my great-grandfather; the other one had to settle for family picnics. (My grandma said the jilted and his future wife were around when she was a child and thereafter, which makes her wonder.)

I won't tell you which man ultimately wins her hand in marriage. That would ruin the surprise, since both seem to have a hold on her heart. She is, after all, a Gemini, just like me.

Mamie was born May 30, 1899 in Valton, Wisconsin. She grew up in Ontario, California, where these letters were written. She is 19 when they begin, while the hopelessly-in-love Ernest is ten years her senior, but who can tell by the way he talks?

After reading the letters in their entirety, I realize how much language and "social networking" has changed in such a short period of time. I am both thankful I live in a more modern era, and jealous of a simpler, more formal time. What I find interesting is that the people involved lived in California, where I live, not in some distant, foreign land. What I also find interesting is that the street addresses on the envelopes often didn't include numbers; that's how few people were in Southern California at the time.

Of course, it's important to note this love story takes place in front of the backdrop that is the end of World War I, which is mentioned throughout the correspondence.

Also, be warned: The letters drip with sap more than the trees outside my house. They are both sweet and ridiculous. Times really have changed. Once again, you'll see.

Oh, I forgot to mention: Letter number one is from a woman named Grace. I read most of the Ernest/Mamie letters before I got to Grace, and I was floored another woman was in the mix. My grandma nonchalantly said, "Oh, I think that was his girlfriend at the time."


So, here goes (Being the Grammar Nazi I am, I cleaned up many of the errors, but left some in for effect.):

Los Angeles, Cal.
April 9, 1918

Dear Ernest:

I am very sorry to have made you unhappy when you were up.

I have finished your sweater at last and am sending it to you. I hope you enjoy wearing it as much as I have enjoyed making it.

Each stitch is a wish for your happiness and success.

I received your cute little note after you were here.

Brad and Irvie are up in Oakland just now. You can imagine how we miss Brother.

Let us hear from you, Ernest, and whenever you are in Los Angeles, come and see us. Kindest regards from all.

With love,

Ontario, Calif.
July 17, 1918

My dear Soldier Boy:

Please don’t think I am rushing things. I mean our friendship, by writing so quickly, but I want to thank you so much for the nice box of candy and the lovely letter. I received the candy yesterday and I sure was tickled over it because it showed that you cared a little bit at least and I appreciate that oh! so much. And I love this little picture of yourself that you enclosed in the letter. I’m so glad you are smiling. It always makes me feel good when I see a soldier smile. Now, just laugh at me. Who can write any better letter than yourself? I sure enjoyed it. It sounded just exactly like the way you talk and that’s the way I like for a letter to be. It was short but sweet, just like our first day together.

But we are only about 25 miles apart and are liable to spend another day together sometime, let’s hope soon! I ask you now to please come over sometime. You don’t necessarily have to come with Jim Mac, do you? Just come some Sunday morning and call or telephone 14470 and ask for me and I’ll drive up to get you, etc. I’d love to have you come.

I am going to San Diego Friday morning on the 6:30 bus and staying until Monday, so you hadn’t better come this week you see.

I won’t say what I am going for because it wouldn’t interest you (ha!ha!) but I’ll say this much. I’m not going to get married. Oh! gee!

Your letter makes me laugh. It is so full of expression and it seems as though I were really conversing with you! I’d like to know you better, boy dear, because I like you much, only don’t call me dear sweet little girlie. It isn’t like you to say it. I like it but – don’t dear friend. You said you were rather upset yourself. What about? Don’t get upset about me. I’m not big enough to upset you. I shan’t forget the goodbye between you and I, dear “E.D.” (I don’t like to say Ernest either.) Let me call you Edie (E.D.) just between you and I. Please?


Comments to come,

The Grammar Nazi

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A Box of Letters

My grandma is full of surprises. Often those surprises come in the form of crass and hilarious words, such as the time my grandpa was accosted by a young prostitute on the street when he was walking his Swiss Mountain dog. When he came home with a phone number, my grandma called it and left this voicemail: "Listen up, you whore b*tch! Can't you leave an old man alone when he's walking his dog?" She threatened police action.

Did I mention my grandma is eighty-three?

Other times, she is full of generous surprises and produces rare family gems. One day last year, she got into one of her give-it-all-away modes and told me to follow her upstairs. In her weaving room where she keeps her loom and wool, she pulled open a drawer in one of her antique wood dressers and pulled out the beautiful, dilapidated box you see in the photo above.

I absolutely love the photo on the box, which is more a shredded pile of dusty cardboard than anything. What was inside, however, blew my mind. How could she have absentmindedly kept this secret from me for so long?

She pulled out a copious stack of letters and envelopes dating back to the early 1900s, and said, "They belonged to my mother. Take 'em." She acted as though she were giving me a few bucks for lunch, but I could tell the letters were important to her by her smile and the way she cackled telling me about them. "These are great!" she said.

Of course they are. They are pieces of her mother's heart, a mother who died well before her time.

And she gave them to me.

I have since scanned the letters and am in the process of retyping them. I never want them to be lost, and I want to share them with you because they are history and about love, a universal theme with which I have much (failed) experience.

It seems trouble in love runs in the family. You'll see.


The Grammar Nazi

Friday, October 16, 2009

Chemistry.com Part 24: I am who I am

That sums it up nicely. None of us are going to change all that much. After reading hundreds of profiles on chemistry.com, I can say with conviction that basically, we all want the same attributes in a mate: friendship, love, respect, humor and a quiet night on the couch watching a movie. So, what it comes down to are these last few profiles, and after today, I wash my hands of online perusing. I will just have to find that special guy in the real world. Go figure.

Here's a guy who is obsessed with the gym and goes every day. He used to "weight 312 lbs now [he weighs] 263 lbs and still going down."

Yet, he still doesn't know how to fix a run-on sentence, but whatever. Grammar Nazi is tired of pointing this sh*t out. Kudos to you for losing weight.

He says the person he's looking for "can melt ice cream with a smile."

Actually, you can melt ice cream if you set it on the counter. It doesn't take much.

"Who doesn't mind a guy with facial hair."

I married a guy with facial hair. The only time I ever saw him without it was in photos. I'm down with that.

"A business person by day and you know what at night."

I have no idea what you do at night. Or is he talking about me? You need to be more specific. That's what this space is for. I'm not a mind-reader, last time I checked. That would be really cool though because then I could figure out what the hell people are thinking, which most of the time totally eludes me.

"I don't care how many b/fs you had or relationships you had."

Aren't boyfriends and relationships the same thing in this case? You were vague before, and now you're redundant. Argh.

"I'm a man I won't lie that I do like a nice arse than breasts."

As usual, I am more offended by the botched sentence than the actual content of said sentence. Run-on, run-on, run-on. Oh, and "than" should be "then," but even if that were correct, the sentence would still sound lame. You like butts more than you like breasts? Is that what you're trying to say? Oh, who the F cares? Next.

Here we have another man who can't even spell his profession; he's an "analysr."

You people are killing me.

He is "looking for someone that is attractive and unmarried."

Well, sh*t. I would hope so. By the way, it's "who is attractive and unmarried." Not "that." I can't take it anymore. Stop the insanity.

I don't know whether to feel sorry for the next guy or to think he's full of it: "I have a 12 yr old daughter that means the world to me living in AZ with her mother and stepfather."

Either he's a deadbeat, or his ex-wife is a biznatch for taking the kid away from him. Either way, I don't want to get involved in such a complicated situation. Oh, and it's "WHO means the world to me." Not "that." Come on, folks! It's not that hard!

I wonder about professional descriptions such as this one: "Price tags??? Just throw it in the bag!"

It's time to play twenty questions to find out what this guy does for a living. Retail is my first guess. Thief is my second.

He's the "quiet type. Pay no attention to what people say about us."

Why not? It's usually true.

"I always take care of number one. That would be 'ME.'"

Hurray! You're number one! You're number one!

Two more to go! Are you still with me? Good. This one has his "heart wide open wallet ready."

Cute. Missing a comma, but cute.

"I've never dated two people at once."

Define "dated." I plead the fifth.

"Don't run with scissors, measure once cut twice."

Is he saying he doesn't run with scissors, or is he suggesting that I not run with scissors? "Measure once cut twice" makes no sense. He put a smiley face after it, but I don't think it's funny.

Finally, the last guy whose profile I will ever read on this silly website says, "My loving mother is putting me up to this online business."

He sounds about as hesitant as I am. Amen, brother.

Okay, I think that's a good place to stop. Phew. I'm beat. Someone get me a drink. Vodka tonic with a lime, please.

Blog topic number two coming right up!

Adieu, with a big middle finger to the online dating world,

The Grammar Nazi

Monday, October 12, 2009

Chemistry.com Part 23: No dates were harmed in the following...

Not yet, anyway.

So, "the good time teddy bear hugateria" would like you to know he had "FUN" driving his motorcycle from LA to New Orleans and back in torrential rain.

That sounds like a blast.

He continues, "For some reason when I typed 'fun' in all caps I thought of the dancing old dude from the six flags commercials. He's the personification of fun!"

No, he's not. He's the personification of annoying. If this guy's idea of fun is dancing spastically to cheesy techno music, then we have problems. Also, Six Flags is capitalized.

"BTW, he's a really super old guy with make-up on so he looks younger."

Um, I think you got that backwards. Also, what does that have to do with anything? You're getting sidetracked, when you're supposed to be talking about - oh look! a penny!

The next headline says, "looking to actually date for the first time in my life."

So what have you been doing for the previous 36 years exactly? Is this his way of saying he's never had a girlfriend before? Where did you go? I can't see you through all the red flags.

"Cynicism and sarcasm are two of my biggest turnoffs."

He would LOVE me then.

We're getting closer to the bottom of the pile. The next one says he "sheds a tear every time [he] sees a Mcdonalds in a third world country."

How often do you visit third-world countries? (Also, my grammar itchiness wants to correct McDonald's. There. I feel better.) A McDonald's can be found on every corner in America. How is that different from anywhere else? I don't eat there, and neither should anyone else, but it's not the biggest problem facing third-world countries.

Music-wise, this guy had a "country phase, but a 12 step program took care of that!"

Here's the thing about country music: It's not a phase. It's a soulless disgrace. Any time spent, even for a second, enjoying country music is a check mark in the "no" column. Also, hyphenate "12-step." K. Thanks.

I have to laugh at an IT data analyst who says, "Who knows? Maybe I'll be making my own feature-length movies someday."

Who knows? I know. You're thirty five and you have yet to get involved in the film industry. Feature-length films don't just drop in your lap. It takes years of passion and hard work for that to come to fruition. Just face it: techie for life.

All I need to say about the next guy is that he's wearing a cowboy hat and he's a "sprinkler fitter."


Douchenozzle alert! "Sports guy" is a diehard Cowboys fan.

I hate the Cowboys. And the Raiders. I know he didn't mention the Raiders, but I feel compelled to state the facts.

He has "seen Metallica 7 times in concert."

I guess the "shortest straw has been pulled for you." I wouldn't be spreading that around. I'm not proud of seeing Depeche Mode more than once, but I don't go around telling people. Oh wait. Dammit!

Here we have a man who dislikes "spiders, most bugs, overt rudeness, and the Dodgers."

Well, the mop on Manny's head is starting to resemble the legs of a spider, so I can see how LA baseball and arachnids would be similar. Besides, I like the Angels.

His last line says, "No ballerinas. Okay ballerinas."

What about former ballerinas? I quit ballet the day we were supposed to put on toe shoes. Does that count?

Now we're really powering through 'em. Once I'm done with this short stack, I'll be chemistry.com-free, as I happily deleted my profile today. Woot.

Okay, here's the next one: "I'm interested in people who have a blend of street smarts, emotional smarts, and smart smarts. I also like Smarties. And Fun Dip. Not so much Big League Chew. or Razzles. I mean, are they gum or candy?"

Who cares? Let's go back to Smarties and Fun Dip. Smarties were the candies I used to pick first out of my pillowcase full of Halloween treats. Well, besides the chocolate, of course. I love those. And Fun Dip reminds me of when I was a kid at the beach. Oh man, talk about a sugar rush. Anyone have any Big Sticks or Bomb Pops they want to share?

One more for today: "I practice tantric sex - when I don't get sex, I throw a tantrum."

For some reason, I'm picturing a screaming brat in the aisle at Target lying on the ground, pounding his fists. "But MOM! I. WANT. SEX. YOU. SAID. I. COULD. HAVE. SEX."

"Okay, honey, but you can only pick out one today."


Happy rainy day,

The Grammar Nazi

Friday, October 9, 2009

Chemistry.com Part 22: Would you be my Valetine?

First of all, it's "Valentine," with an 'n,' and second, it's WAY too early to be thinking about that dreaded excuse for a holiday that only serves to make single people feel that much lonelier. Don't give Hallmark and 1-800-flowers any ideas about beginning their advertising campaign well before Thanksgiving. You definitely need a new profile headline, as do most, including myself. On second thought, I don't need one. My time on chemistry.com is up in less than a week, and I won't be renewing. Shocker, right?

Next we have a guy who needs a GPS to be able to navigate back down to earth. "I read like a librarian but never learned to spel. Although I'm already in practice, I'm less than a year away from my phd. I'm not rich but I wiil be soon...my weightloss books will sell millions."

There is no way anyone would award this Bozo a PhD. "Wiil" and "weightloss"? For real? If you can't even spell what you are writing about, how do you expect to sell millions? Delusion is not only a river in Egypt, or something like that.

Next we have a hopeless romantic who asks, "Do you ever wonder whether these things work?"

Answer: Not anymore.

He says, "I like to spoil emotionally, mentally and physically."

Translation: I will smother you.

I'm confused by the following post: "Freddie Starr ate my hamster!"

Who's Freddie Starr? Should I know him? Why would he want to eat your hamster? Why do you have a hamster? That's a pet for eight-year-olds who wait to clean the poor fluff-ball's cage until the smell of stale pee permeates the entire upstairs of the house. Hamsters are cute until you get them home and realize they are nocturnal and will keep you awake running that squeaky wheel all damn night. No adult owns a hamster. They're just not that dumb.

He adds, "I read books by or about people who have died, or will die someday in the future."

In other words, he reads everything, including trashy romance novels and the Choose Your Own Adventure series. Who has the patience and time for that? Way to be choosy.

"I like long walks on the beach, but only if there are no dead bodies..."

For someone who is looking for love, you sure mention death often.

"I'd like someone who isn't bothered by the occasional kitchen fire or small-scale explosion."

Funny, but worrisome. I guess he won't be cooking for us anytime soon.

Okay, you have to help me out with this next one: He has "participated in a meat eating contest" and has "stuck [his] arm inside a cow that had a plastic window in its side."

My sick mind envisions those two events happening simultaneously. Did he eat the raw meat of a cow that had its pound of flesh brutally removed only to be replaced with a plastic window? Is Window Cow a real cow? How is it still standing if it has a big chunk out of its side? Was he the one to rip flesh off a cow so he could shove it in his mouth to win a few hundred bucks? This nutbag won't be hearing from any vegans. I hope that doesn't bother him.

Here we have a man "trained as a genetic light and color therapist." (Huh?) He says, "You, who is divine in all aspects of what is means to be a woman in the real and practical world and at the same time in love with life and so filled with the information that Spirit always holds beyond time and space."

First of all, you, who ARE divine in all aspects of what IT means to be a woman...

Second, why is everyone bat sh*t crazy?

Nutbag says his energy is focused like a laser - "Like the force of Niagara Falls pushed through one squirt from your garden hose."

I don't even want to tell you what this conjures up, but you can probably imagine, and now you wish you hadn't, but the image is already there, and it will be for some time. You can't even will it away. Sorry about that.

Here's another case of "which one of these kids is not like the other": This one "loves the ocean, children, all animals, cooking, enjoying food and drink, the symbolism of dragons, chocolate and the gym."

Did you notice what item doesn't fit into that very normal list? What does the symbolism of dragons have to do with anything involving the beach, food, exercise and loving little creatures? What DO dragons symbolize? Evil fire-breathing hell on earth? Yeah, that goes with the rest of the list. Sounds like a fun Saturday night to me.

Speaking of children, here's another mindboggler who says, "Given that I have to interact with numerous and random people every day, I have to constantly wear 'kid gloves.'"

What the eff are kid gloves? Did you borrow them from the Michael Jackson Sequined Glove Collection? The word 'creepy' keeps popping in my head while reading these profiles. I can't imagine why.

Happy Friday,

The Grammar Nazi

Monday, September 28, 2009

Chemistry.com Part 21: Rorschach Profile

Are you saying your profile is just one giant symmetrical inkblot splat?

He says he "once danced on Richard Nixon's grave."

Weird. I don't know whether to shout, "Good for you!" or "What a freak!"

"I always drive it like I stole it."

And then do donuts on Richard Nixon's grave?

"I ask lots of questions. Some of them even have answers."

I ask a lot of questions, and many of the answers are still elusive, but that's what makes life interesting.

"I recently watched my beloved classic Porsche being totally destroyed by an engine fire."

"A man with priorities so far out of whack doesn't deserve such a fine automobile."

Okay, his promise of a Rorschach profile did not disappoint. It was definitely all over the place.

The next guy wants a girl he can have fun with "scaling a rugged peak or just wandering around IKEA."

How about scaling the peaks of IKEA? Those are some tall-ass buildings. They may even exceed the height necessary for base-jumping. Let me get out my measuring tape. Pass me my chute. Let's go!

Here's the part of the day when we stop to question the more confusing profiles on chemistry.com: statements that make you say, "Wha?" Ponder this puzzler, for instance:

"I'm looking for a woman who wants to be related."

You know what they say: Incest is best. That, however, is not legal, my friend. I don't think the word "related" means what you think it means. Unfortunately, he does it again:

"I like spending time together and getting more related."

If you're already related, how do you get "more" related? She's either your cousin, or she's not your cousin. You can't force her bloodline to be similar to yours if it didn't start out that way.

Here's Puzzler Man Deux:

"And not sure of what kind of relationship I want..." and in the next breath, "pretty much straight forward with what I want."

He doesn't know what he wants, but he's really straightforward about what he wants. Pretty much. That makes sense. To no one.

Puzzler Three:

"I am a single father of a ten year old son and have been for the past 8 years."

When I first read that, I thought his ten-year-old son was somehow eight-years-old because it sounded like he has been a father for that long. Now I get it. It took me a second. I glossed over the word "single." My bad.

Puzzler Man Four:

"I process by processing the process."

I delete you by deleting with the delete key.

It's time for spelling errors! Yay! My most favoritist part of the day.

(Yes, I know favoritist isn't a word. If you know the rules, you're allowed to break them.)

"People are so much more animated in 3 demensions don't you think?"

Is that like watching demons at an IMAX theater? (Also, run-on sentence alert!)

The same guy says, "I still listen to electornic music and work with some film students on thier projects..."

I'm also dyslexic. Did you notcie?

Now it's time to play a little game called "Right Spelling. Wrong Word."

You must be "subject to approval by a panel of my piers (I have two sisters)."

Do your sisters hang out at the beach, hover over the ocean, get crapped on by seagulls and trampled by tourists?

Contestant number two says, "Weather it is just hanging out in the evening, throwing darts..."

I didn't know the sun, clouds and that thick morning marine layer could play a fierce game of Cricket. Bullseye!

Last, we have an endearing prospect whose headline reads: "Every other guy on this is a creep with an STD. I'm sure of it."

What a gentleman. Get me out of here.

Signed, Sealed, Delivered,

The Grammar Nazi

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Chemistry.com Part 20: 32 Flavors and then some

Is one of those flavors triple chocolate fudge brownie mousse extravaganza? If so, I'd like a date with you, sir. If not, ew.

This Altadena resident says, "Being weird is hard..."

It's actually fairly easy to be weird. I think you're confusing "weird" with "creepy stalker." Just look at that photo! You'd give Norman Bates a run for his money.

"Looking for someone who is passionate and committed and maybe a little bit dirty (secretly dirty or overtly dirty - doesn't matter.)"

He must fall under the "Lot-a-bit dirty" category, and surely, he's overt about it. I would like to know his definition of "dirty" because I doubt it would coincide with mine. On second thought, I'll just run away.

The next profile starts with, "Is it me, or is this place comedy?"

You said it! This guy is my new best friend. He gets it.

"Ok this is like my 9 millionth attempt at this..."

You have more patience than I do. I have already "checked out." I am definitely not the online dating kind of girl, and I'm okay with that.

"I am a man. I have all my limbs. I am fond of using toothpaste..."

This guy is funny.

"If you don't like to laugh...then we're probably going to fight and then I'll have to get on craigslist and say horrible things about you in multiple cities..."

This guy is really funny.

"I drive fast, eat rare steaks, argue with cops and gamble with parking meters."

I drive defensively, eat medium rare steaks, comply with cops and feed meters quarters like candy.

"I think people who drive manual transmissions are better lovers."

I learned on a stick when I was 15.

"Dogs should weigh more than a PC."

And cats should weigh far less.

"No photo = no dice."

Bingo! You're speaking my language, G-Money. I want to be friends with this guy.

I don't, however, want to be friends with the next guy: "Okay, I'm a total bumb."

Bumb? Like bumb on a log? or like bumble bee without "le bee." You're a bum. There's no extra b, buddy.

"I stay at home and watch tv all day."

How boring.

"My parents support me..."

Lucky you.

"I play darts with my pants around my ankles."

*Raises hand.* Excuse me? Mister? Um, how does that help your aim? Also, you might want to make sure you don't release the dart as your arm is coming back down. That could hurt. Just a tip.

Next up: another techie. Mr. Mac Support says, "If you are constantly looking up, you're probably missing something right at your feet."

My shoes? Gravel? What? Never mind.

So, here's a product designer who also doesn't like drama.

Because really, who does?

If there's drama, "games end and with only 2 players there's a 50% chance looser will be you."

Looser than what? I'm just full of questions today. It's spelled LOSER. Like that. See?

Always here to help,

The Grammar Nazi

Friday, September 18, 2009

Chemistry.com Part 19: NO CHEESY FIST LINE

It's amazing what one little forgotten 'r' can do to change the entire context of a malformed headline. It a) does in fact make his first line cheesy, and b) inadvertently references something that shouldn't be discussed with total strangers. Or at all.

This same man likes to "lern new things."

Let's start with the word "learn," shall we?

His friends and family are "vary important" to him.

Are they really? "It varies." Har har.

He likes "4-wheelrs" and enjoys sharing his "intrests."

Apparently his interests do not include the usage of vowels.

Unlike Mr. Spelling-Challenged, the next poor chump says, "HOWDY!" and then points out that he purposefully wrote a "cheesy intro, but [he lives] in Norco. Sometimes that rubs off on you."

Last time I checked, the only thing that rubs off on you as a Norco resident is the putrid stench of cow manure. Have you ever been to Norco? It's kind of like Chino. If your car windows were rolled down before you got there, they are quickly rolled up while you hit the A/C recirculate button on your dashboard and pass through town with Cheetah-like speed. No one, except the owners of the aforementioned cows, actually lives there. Oh, and this credit analyst.

Nerd alert! Nerd alert! Nerd alert! Hold everything and try to analyze this:

"Leader of the Great Old Ones. Cthulhu exists in a deep sleep of death in the watery depths of R'lyeh silently dreaming, waiting for the day when the stars are right and his worshippers raise R'lyeh from the Pacific Ocean."

It's on like Comic-Con. His whole paragraph goes on like that, and the fact that I have no idea what he's talking about affirms my position as a member of the "cool kids." Although this paragraph says nothing direct about Geek Boy, it says EVERYTHING I need to know. I believe he's going to star in the 40-Year-Old Virgin 2: Electric Boogaloo.

My fellow Grammar Nazis: Prepare yourself for what's about to come. Don't say I didn't warn you: "I could honestly say that I;m loal respectful very considerate and when it comes to satisfying or accommadating the person I;m with. I am deffinetly not selffish"

We have reached Defcon 5, people. This is not a test. Improper use of a semicolon. Lack of commas. Misspellings. No period at the end of the sentence. A lengthy fragment. This is a grammarian's worst nightmare, and the guy is even cute! Is there no justice? Pass the oxygen mask. I'm hyperventilating.

Let's move on to someone who can relate to my love of the English language: an English teacher. He teaches because [he likes] supporting kids, and [likes] figuring out how to make them stronger thinkers and writers. And it's fun."

Fun? Did he say fun?
There is nothing "fun" about teaching English to teenagers. Painful? Yes. Mortifying? Yes. Debilitating? Yes. Fun? No.

Oh my. The next Enemy of Words writes a long paragraph and puts an apostrophe before every 's' at the end of every word. He writes "take's," "event's," "eye's," "feeling's," "enjoy's," and "say's," to name a plethora.

Why do you insist on making me cry, Mr. Camera Security Systems Man?
It's as if, because he doesn't know when to put an apostrophe 's' at the end of words, he just hedges his bets and does it for all of them, knowing every once in awhile, he'll get it right. In this case, he's wrong more often than not. I'd say, go the other way, and don't throw in an apostrophe, even when one is required.

Finally, we have a guy who works for an "online social networking company."

You mean like this one?

He says, "I like watching movies in the dark."

As opposed to in broad daylight in the middle of the street? Isn't "the dark" normally where films are shown?
Just stating the obvious. Don't ask him. He just works here.

La La Love you,

The Grammar Nazi

Monday, September 14, 2009

Chemistry.com Part 18: Not a Bone Head!

Nice headline. I like "not a bone head" in my man. It's a nice quality. Also, bonehead is one word. It's one of those "compound" thingamajigs we learned in third grade.

I think the anger quotient has gone up in recent days on chemistry.com. Thinly veiled references to past dating disasters abound. Take this one, for instance:

"She has a steady job and can support herself if needed, so I know she isn't just with me for a meal ticket...She also knows that you don't have to go on a vacation every single week-end...Sorry I had to say it."

Won't you take me to Bitter Town? Won't you take me to Bit-ter Town? Are there really girls who expect you to take them on vacation every weekend, or even want to, for that matter? That sounds exhausting.

Over-the-Dating-Scene Guy #2 has "dated a string of hot psychos and I'm so over the high maintenance voodoo mind games some young women play."

Somebody knows how to pick 'em. Maybe, like the rest of us who have failed at love, this guy needs to look inward and figure out what it is that's causing him to choose such women. We're not all the way this guy describes them. Guys say they hate mind games, but when you're straightforward, they freak out. So what exactly does this guy really want?

Guy #3 is "tired of getting slammed down."

I feel your pain. Join the club. I'm a co-founder. Punch and cookies are in the corner. Coffee is on the right. The bathroom is down the hall. The meeting will start in ten minutes. Feel free to bring your friends next time.

Guy #4 says, "I find that neither party is usually willing to change and it just adds stress to the relationship."

This is true. It's not really something to put in a dating profile, but true nonetheless. However, when you meet the right person, there isn't really much change that is required. It shouldn't be that hard. Right? Right? Someone please confirm.

Guy #5 doesn't want someone "high strung. High maintenance drama has no place in my life."

It apparently has had its place at some point, or you wouldn't be making it a central focus. Where are all these high-maintenance drama-causing chicks? I want to round them up and give them a stern talking to.

He also wants someone who does "not depend on me to make EVERY decision."

Don't you want to know the back story on these guys without actually asking them?

Guy #6 is "cynical and sarcastic, but only if I really like you."

How are you when you DON'T really like me? Nice?

He adds, "i believe punctuation matters...sometimes."

But you don't believe punctuation matters in this case when you were supposed to capitalize the first word in your sentence? Blargh! He, in fact, doesn't capitalize any of his words. That drives me batty. Is it really that hard to hit the shift button on your keyboard?

I'm done with the indignant crowd for now (except that I have to live with myself, of course). Next we have a prospect who "sat at the 'cool' lunch table in elementary school."

Elementary school this is not. Although, I do remember sitting with my friends who used to tease me for bringing peanut butter and banana sandwiches to school. "THAT'S GROSS!" Don't knock them until you try them, kiddos. As for sitting with the "cool" kids, I honestly don't remember who the cool kids were in 1981. That was a long time ago.

Here we have a high school teacher who wants someone who "enjoys exercise and sex."

Like magic, let's combine those two things into one and save some time going to the gym. Presto! Burn calories and have fun simultaneously. What a concept. By the way, who DOESN'T enjoy sex? If you fit into that category, my deepest apologies.

Finally, I just want to point out that someone referred to Monty Python as "dumb comedy."

Don't ever do that again. Monty Python is genius. Someone get me a comfy chair so I can beat this guy with it.

Off to build a giant badger,

The Grammar Nazi