Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A Bookstore Anecdote

As promised below, here we have the first in what will probably become a short series! And this one deals with the Comparative Literature section of the Bookstore. Unfortunately, the signage in said section employed a perhaps unfortunate and anatomical abbreviation, one which I'll let you bright sparks figure out on your own. Thus it was that a couple of days into rush, the floor manager tasked me with removing all of the offending signs, and replacing them with something a little less controversial. I assumed that there had been complaints; however, it actually turned that somebody had taken a picture of one of the old signs and posted it on a widely read internet site. The only real shock was that it took as long as it did for this to happen, since the old signs had been up for years.

The funny bit occurred a few days after the signs were replaced, when a young fellow, accompanied by his girlfriend, stopped me and asked for directions to the Comparative Literature section. "Follow me!" I said, and they did. However, when we hove in sight of the section and its new signs, both their faces fell, and they stopped. I must have looked at them quizzically, because the male half of the couple muttered something about it being "far too complicated to explain," and then they scurried off, out of the store.

So yeah, we actually had tourists making trips to the Bookstore expressly and only to look at the funny Comparative Literature signs.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A Return, And A Departure

* Blows dust off blog, again *

I'm back! And where have I been for the last month? Well, toiling in the University Bookstore through the September textbook rush, for the most part. The scene below is a reasonable facsimile of the sort of job it was:

Trust me, there will be anecotes, oh my yes!

However, it is not the goings-on at the University Bookstore that concerns us today, but rather a somewhat odd news story that cropped up last week. Here it is:

Thousands of hyphens perish as English marches on
Fri Sep 21, 2007 4:54pm EDT By Simon Rabinovitch

LONDON (Reuters) - About 16,000 words have succumbed to pressures of the Internet age and lost their hyphens in a new edition of the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary.

Bumble-bee is now bumblebee, ice-cream is ice cream and pot-belly is pot belly.

And so, farewell, noble hyphen! Well, not entirely "farewell," as the article goes on to point out that hyphens will be hanging around in situations where confusion would result otherwise (the word "twenty-odd" is cited as an example). Furðermore, one must recall ðat ðere are æt least a handful of letters which have been þrown out of þe English language, so perhaps þe partial removal of a piece of punctuation is not such a big deal (For the record, the three obsolete letters used in that sentence are, in order, eth, ash, and thorn. We've also lost yogh and wynn). Still and all, I think I'm going to miss the ice-cream.