22 July 2007

The Data is In

Did you know that it is acceptable to use "data" as either plural or singular?

As I understand it, as a singular, it functions as a collective noun, the same way you would say, "The herd is...." This is explicit at dictionary.com, and implicit at Oxford English Dictionary Online (which you may not be able to access without a subscription), where multiple usage examples treat "data" as singular.

This is highly gratifying, as I often encounter smarter-than-thou types who feel compelled to interrupt presentations or discussions by shouting corrections when someone uses "data" as singular. When you assume, you may make an ass out of you and me, but when you hypercorrect, you just make an ass out of you.

05 July 2007

I am Breaking Up With Target

Dear Target,

We've had some good times -- remember the cute china I got from you a couple of years ago? And the mirror with the little birds painted on it that was awesome for my kitchen and I was so sad when I dropped and broke it (partly because reconstruction revealed that there was a piece of glass approximately one inch square lurking somewhere on my kitchen floor, but also because it looked so nice with my thrift-shop paintings of fruit) that I biked to the store (not you -- one that's closer) especially for superglue to repair it? And that time you had patio furniture at such a good price that I bought it right away and carried it home on the bus?

But the thing is, those were a long time ago now. Now, I can't even get the what I need from you; just today, I came looking for some simple things, and what happened?

What I Needed (and Why)
*Eucerin anti-redness night cream (allergic freak; pathological aversion to color in complexion)
*Dove eye cream (aging; prodigious eye-bags)
*Anti-allergy mattress pad, size full (allergic freak; thin spots in old mattress pad cause unseemly resemblance to linens in skid row boarding house)
*Clothes drying rack (global warming; also, landlord jacked up price on dryer)
*Microwave egg poacher (hankering for poached eggs; lack patience and motor skills to poach in pan of water first thing in the morning)
*Washcloths (old ones all mascara-stained)
*Silver polishing cloth (heartbreak of tarnish)
*Tapers (impulse-bought orange and yellow glass candlesticks last week)

What I Found
*Anti-allergy mattress pad in all sizes except full
*Twee, Michael Graves-designed clothes drying rack that holds no more clothing than my current system (laying out items on old beach towel behind the couch), which you would not part with for less than $20; weighty metal variation on collapsible wood-dowel drying rack, also $20
*Empty space on shelf teasingly bearing tag, "Micro Double Cavity Egg Poacher $3.99"
*Washcloths (10 for $2.99), admittedly acceptable but left behind in snit

Some of this, I know now, was not your fault, Target -- Dove has apparently discontinued my eye cream (in a panic, I chose a Neutrogena substitute at CVS that contains AHAs, which the label tells me increase sun sensitivity: am thrilled at the prospect of sunburned/eventually malignant eyelids) and you surely had tapers -- but really, this has happened the last several times I've come to see you. You've changed.

You used to be all about fulfilling my list of random crap I needed without going to the grocery, drugstore, and mall, plus delighting me with random crap I didn't need priced just low enough that I didn't have to choose between a toss pillow and dinner. Now you're all about hypnotic, mod commercials and ill-fitting $40 dresses. But the thing is, if I wanted to spend $40 on a dress, I could get a well-fitting one off the sale rack at any given ladies' clothing store. I don't need you for that.

I've had it with you, Target. I guess I'll see you around, but don't call me anymore, OK?