Tuesday, February 19, 2013


This year for the first time I realized that no one can agree on where to place the apostrophe (if at all) in President's' Day. A quick search on the internet shows that the definitive answer is obvious--call it Washington's Birthday.

But since I saw it in commercials for mattresses spelled three different ways I was compelled to figure out which way is correct.

Digression: Why mattresses and presidents? (though JFK and Clinton come to mind when searching for a connection). Can you imagine George saying to Martha, "Some day I hope they commemorate me and all the great men and women (in this Downton Abbey-like revisionist version I am making him a feminist) who hold my job in the future by offering great deals on mattresses!!"

No of course not. He would have wanted the day commemorated by giving our kids the day off of school so we can take them to Nickel City (local arcade) which, at this time of year, as my neighbor Danielle pointed out, could also be called Cesspool.

Or we could honor them by cramming the day full of orthodontist appointments and last-minute rehearsals for the high-school variety show. Whatever.

Back to the apostrophe. I am going to make a case here.

It can't be President's Day because that would imply we are only honoring one president which defeats the whole purpose of changing it from Washington's Birthday in the first place.

It technically could be Presidents' Day for obvious reasons.

But this year I noticed a lot of companies went with the somewhat confusing Presidents Day. I had this explained to me once by a colleague, Mary Brent who pointed out that if you use a noun enough it kind of becomes an adjective and you don't need to worry about possession anymore. Her example was Farmers Insurance.

I also noticed that Sears and BMW went apostrophe-free (in their TV ads anyway) and I choose to believe they have some of the best copywriters left in the world.

Tweeters don't do copy-writing so maybe I need to explain....Well kids, once upon a time there were people who, never mind. It gives me comfort to imagine a room full of smart English majors debating this over at Sears headquarters. Sears' headquarters. Errr...

So I make the case to go apostrophe-free. I have at least two regular readers who are English majors (Amy and Lorri) who may want to thrust and parry on this. Go for it.

And while I am suggesting we let go of that apostrophe, and we are fresh off the Family Christmas Card Season, a gentle reminder that you should not sign the card "Love, the Brown's" It is simply, "Love, the Browns".

Think about it a minute, I'll wait.

Oh, no, I do not think you are a silly goose for making this very common mistake and did it myself for MANY years. But stop it now.

So today's lesson is that with apostrophes, as with mattress sales, less is more and if I ever figure out commas I can share that with you too.

Thursday, February 07, 2013


The prettiest girl in my class back in the olden days of the late 70s was Amy Fitzpatrick. She had this adorable, short bob, with shiny black hair and a natural white streak just to the side of her face. In fact, when I think about it, most of the pretty girls in my class of 78 at Northville High School had short hair.

I was thinking about this because when I attend events at my kids' high school or when I watch TV shows with teenage girls and young women I almost NEVER see girls with short hair. And that got me thinking about the fact that not only did we have short hair but we didn't really wear much makeup. And we wore overalls, a style I am very thankful to say has not really made much of a come back over the years (although I did think I was adorable in my white painter-pant overalls and YES Andie Conder you WERE adorable in yours too).

Here's a nice example of a cute, short-haired girl who is my age, back in the day. She's Lady Grantham now in case you wondered:

At dinner the other night I mentioned this observation to my two long-haired, well-made up teenage daughters and Lilly said, "So, like what makeup did you wear the day you got married?"

"Mascara," I replied.

"And what else?"

"Just mascara. But I think I used a curling iron," I said, feebly.

This was kind of shocking and a bit hilarious to them both.

"Not even some eyeliner?" Grace asked.

"Nope. Even the girls who did wear 'a lot' of makeup did not wear eyeliner. Just a lot of blue eyeshadow and  lots of lip gloss."

Now-a-days even the youngest teen girls (not all, but many) have a working knowledge of eyeliner.

And then there is all that hair. Long hair was still popular too in my day but not tons and tons and tons of it. Extensions had not been invented so except for the odd slightly freaky girl who was going for the Crystal Gayle look (below) hair didn't go much past the shoulders.

I noticed that cute little Hayden Panettiere on "Nashville" plays a character who routinely wears her hair in three different lengths--her own (I assume), her longer going-out-in-public extensions, and then her even longer performing-on stage-extensions.

When she wears them at her longest, especially given she is petite, she kind of looks like Cousin It. Actually, so does her co-star, Connie Britton. That is a lot of hair between the two of them. You could coif half of St. Jude's with those extensions.

I believe you are always attracted to the look that was in when you came of age. That is probably why I still find boys with feathered hair kind of foxy. Like Shaun Cassidy. Just kidding, NO ONE has that hair anymore. By the way, do yourself a favor and DO NOT GOOGLE what he looks like now.

And why I think the most beautiful women in Hollywood are Halle Berry, Anne Hathaway (with short hair), and Heath Ledgers girlfriend.

This short hair, no makeup thing was really only a "thing" for a short time and if you look back at the past century really was the only time it was in for women to dress like ten-year-old boys.

Come to think of it, this also explains why I had no idea what a Lesbian looked like until well into my 30s because we all looked like Lesbians.

I'm not saying one way is better or not. I enjoyed the low-pressure almost non-existent grooming days (don't get me started on teeth whitening and body-hair removal) when I was a teen and in college but on the other hand, I kind of wish I had worn a little makeup and not sported a mullet in my wedding photos.

How about you? What look is still adorable to you because it was "in" even though it is most decidedly "out"? And what looks kind of ridiculous but is very "in" right now?