Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Bob Dunning: Is it an error, or opportunity knocking?


From page A2 | August 30, 2013 |

CATCH ME IF YOU CAN … like a number of other folks in town, I received my copy of the very excellent UC Davis Magazine in the mail last week and was stunned to find a strange yellow “post-it” note on one of the early inside pages …

“OUR GOOF = YOUR GAIN,” it began … “Spot the misprint in one of our feature stories, visit go.ucdavis.edu/oops and take a reader survey by Sept. 10 for your chance to win an iPAD!” … holy exclamation points, that’s a whole bunch of commands in one simple sentence … spot, visit, take, win … where do I start? … then again, what a clever way to cover any and all mistakes you may inadvertently make in the production of your publication …

Now when a sharp-eyed critic sends a snarky letter to the editor saying “In your Summer 2013 issue you said ‘lay’ when you should have said ‘lie’ and I expected much more from a publication put out by an internationally renowned university,” the editor can say “Oh, we did that on purpose and you, oh wise one, caught us! Congratulations!! You now have a chance to win an iPAD!!!” … in fact, this is such a great idea that I plan to institute it myself …

Here’s the deal … every now and then over the next 20 years, I will misspell a word, misuse a phrase, misstate an opinion or make a factual error, all, of course, on purpose … catch me in the act and you will have a chance to win my old ’56 Schwinn that is parked around the side of the house … so be sure and read this column every day to increase your chances of winning … not to mention whining …

SPEAKING OF ERRORS … in a brilliant, sure-to-win-a-Pulitzer column last week detailing my personal history with the forlorn and scorned Central Park WPA bathroom, I noted its proximity to the old brick St. James Church and said “Mom spent so much of her church time hauling one kid or another back and forth across Russell to the bathroom that it’s a wonder she ever got to heaven.” …

Well, my friend Rich, an expert on Davis history if there ever was one, pounced on that statement like a tom cat on a backyard scrub jay … not the part about Mom making it to heaven, which is an established fact, but about my use of the word “Russell” … Rich’s point was that we were actually crossing Fifth Street, not Russell, which was technically correct, but for the fact that back then we all called that street “Russell” because that was the name of the street we used on our eastbound journey to get to Mass from Oeste (rhymes with “toasty”) Manor …

Nonetheless, Rich will now have a chance to win the very ’56 Schwinn I rode to altar boy practice on Tuesdays after school (see above) …

A DEADLINE LOOMS … OK, I know we go through this song and dance every year, so I’m going to repeat myself in a fit of self-plagiarism … put simply, it really is time to get started on a project that could change your life forever … yes, I’m talking of the Contest to Replace the Above-Pictured Columnist, which over the years has delivered fame, fortune and sometimes unprovoked attacks from angry readers in the 15-items-or-fewer line at Nugget …

The contest is open to everyone, though I will admit we’ve probably never had a winner from Woodland, Winters, West Sacramento, Willows, Williams, Winnemucca, Weed, Watsonville or West Virginia … perhaps this will be the year … there is certainly no shortage of topics to write about in this town, from Sacramento River water to Aggie football to the senior exemption from the school parcel tax …

Then again, you aren’t limited in any way if you’d like to wander off into the weeds and talk about Obamacare instead … truly, no subject is off limits … you should, however, probably avoid the seven deadly words George Carlin warned us all about if you hope to have a chance of winning … this is, after all, a family newspaper …

Please keep in mind that you do not have to agree with the many opinions expressed by the Above-Pictured Columnist over the years, whatever they may be … in fact, if you agree too much, I’m likely to lose all respect for you … rules for this contest are almost non-existent … your column should be between 400 and 800 words, though the Large Judging Body (see picture above) rarely enforces that rule, mostly because he can’t count past 100 … entries, due this coming Tuesday (by midnight), should be emailed to bdunning@davisenterprise.net … time’s a-wasting … the deadline looms …

— Reach Bob Dunning at bdunning@davisenterprise.net





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