Snark Tank

Making the world a better place, one snark at a time. (For a fuller explanation see the blog post of the same title.)

Everywhere and anytime I have ever opened my mouth to sing, whether it is in church, at a ball game, or just wandering around the warehouse, someone has told me that I “missed my calling,” that I should try out for “The Voice,” that it isn’t too late, that, damn, I can SING.

With the notable exception of a band I went to see last Friday night.

Who found it necessary to insult their entire audience just to indirectly tell me to shut it.

Allow me to explain.

It is a tribute band that plays some really difficult music – difficult to do live, in tune, and accurately. And they do it really well. Intricate harmonies, great guitar licks, etc.

And they couldn’t know that I’m a widow, with a developmentally different adult child, who barely gets out at all, and loves to sing.

And a rock concert, to me, inherently includes singing along.

I love harmonizing and singing along, and there I was, off in a corner of the dance floor, just having fun and doing my thing.

But I can sing high- I mean really high, and high notes can be heard, even over electric guitars.

And apparently these fellows took umbrage.

When the song I was singing along to was over, the guitarists looked at each other and raised their eyebrows, and then looked over to the lead singer who also plays guitar, and he said, “here’s one you can help us out with,” and they launched into an a capella version of possibly the most difficult, tightest harmony from that tight harmony band of the 70’s and 80’s.

They might as well have just said, “Ok, you wanna sing along? Try singing along to this one, bitch!” or, “we’re here to be listened to, not sung along with, get it?”

Goodness, how some people do get ruffled if one causes the slightest, momentary diversion of attention from their spotlight.

But I don’t think it was necessary for them to insult their entire audience just to tell me to shut up, which to me was clearly what was going on.

I could choose to see this in a positive light – that they were genuinely inviting the audience to “help them out.” NOT.

Needless to say, we didn’t stay for the second set.

But let’s just get one thing straight:

I am the Ridiculous Woman.

I hereby declare myself exempt from any rules about not making a spectacle of oneself in public. Life is short, love should be lavish and abundant, laughter is good for you, get over yourselves.

Because I ain’t gonna stop singing.

And I ain’t gonna stop making a spectacle of myself singing, in public, when there is something to be sung along with.

Making a spectacle of myself is what I do best. OK, maybe second best – obsessive worrying is what I do best – but not about making a spectacle of myself – I don’t worry about that at all. I consider it my primary “area of strength.”

I’m not out to be disrespectful or spoil anyone else’s fun, and I’m open to gentle suggestions that I might be doing just that, and the audience came to hear them, not me – which is why I usually, if the environment permits (which it didn’t really, in this case, as you had to shout across a two top to be heard by the person you came with, and the server had to show you the iPad for you to understand a word they were saying about the check), give fair warning to the folks in my immediate vicinity and get their OK – and c’mon, I don’t sing along at the opera, because really, even I wouldn’t go that far. (But I do sing arias in the warehouse, before anyone else is there, and sometimes when they get there, they catch me at it and ask me to keep going.)

So even though I loved the music, I won’t be going to see that band again. I have all the recordings of the original band anyway, ON VINYL no less, for all you hipsters out there.

Time to crank the tunes, and sing along.

Whew. That feels better. We now return to our regularly scheduled programming, already in progress.


Welcome back, you illiterate swine!

No, wait, not you.

These guys:

The novel, published by a reputable publisher, which, in the first 10 pages, spelled the word “judgment” as “judgement.”

BZZZT! Thank you for playing! Novel, into the recycling. Next!

The other novel, a good one, also published by a reputable publisher, that expressed a quantity we’ll call ‘x’ as greater than a quantity we’ll call ‘y’ thus:

“x was more then y.”


After I finished screaming, “THAN! THAN! More THAN, you illiterate swine!” I realized I was too far into the book to toss it. But my heart wasn’t in it anymore, so I skimmed my way to the end. And then I put it in the recycling.

These lapses in literacy sent my mind reeling back to other instances of mangling or misusing words that drive me nuts.

The NPR reporter who consistently pronounces the three-syllable word “president” as a two syllable word, “prezdent.”

The ditsy morning DJ I stopped listening to because she consistently pronounces words ending in “ing” (which should rhyme with “ring” or “swing”) as “een” (rhyming with “sheen” or “mean.”) Really? REALLY? You are go-eeen to answer the phone that is ring-eeen causing the cat’s meow-eeeen because it is bother-eeeen you?

Worse, a certain public figure in my state seems to believe he can make himself seem “folksy” by making television ads in which he appears in an immaculate stage set meant to look like some sort of workshop, wearing a pristine lumberjack plaid shirt and droppin’; the “g”s off every word that should end in “ing” (to rhyme with “ring” or “swing”) – right, dude, I’ll be lulled into believin’ that you are just a regular guy, right in there fightin’ for a regular gal like me, makin’ things better (oops wait you haven’t made anything better – in fact I can’t see that you’ve accomplished much of anything, sorry, “anythin’ ” that you promised to do, sayin’ “I’m gonna…” another way you try to make yourself sound “folksy”… do this that and the other thing, seemingly all by yourself, because you seem to think, as billionaire businessmen are wont to do, that you can just decree something and make it so; news flash, dude – you can drop your “g”s from now until kingdom come and it won’t make a bit of difference – you will never be “folksy” and you are never “gonna” accomplish anythin’ all by yourself. Are you gettin’ this?

For the sake of our child, who loves to listen to the radio, I won’t get started on the spectacularly irritating pop song lyrics that make no sense at all, even though listening to them over and over makes my teeth curl.

Hopeen and hopin’ that you are haveen or havin’ a more literate morneen or mornin’ than I (yes, I, as in “I hope you are enjoying a nicer morning than I am enjoying.” You wouldn’t say, “than me am enjoying,” now, would you?)

We now return to our regularly scheduled programming.


OK, here we go:

Get this through your brand-addled, casual-Friday-ed, open-environmented, ergonomic- ball-chaired, giant post-it-note conference “spaced” head:

If you are having a discussion AROUND something, you are not having a discussion ABOUT it. In fact, you are avoiding having a discussion about it.

“Oh, we’re going to have a discussion AROUND the hideous failure of the new ad campaign! I’m so relieved! I thought we were going to talk ABOUT it!”

So, you’re actually going to have a discussion ABOUT something! Don’t forget to “take a deep dive” and festoon your “space” with giant post-it notes full of “brandstorming!”

Alright, now, Millennials, this one’s for you:

No. More. Periods. After. One. Word.

This is not emphasis. It is illiteracy.

Sentences, which end with periods, require a noun and a verb.

Now, don’t get me started on adverbs.

When I’m ready, I’ll post a full Requiem for the Adverb.

Which you can read quick while you eat healthy and work smart.

For “all intensive purposes.”

Hope this has “peaked” your interest.

OK, your turn. Toss ’em in. This is the Snark Tank. Open for grammatical and word-use pet peeves and examples of preventable stupidity. Go for it.

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