Friday, January 23, 2015


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

I was rather shocked to learn that author Ann Patchett married her dog, but it was in The New York Times so it had to be true. They reviewed one of her books and mentioned "her stabilizing second marriage to her beloved dog."

I understood Ann's feelings. Dogs never let us down.

But then I discovered this letter she wrote to The Times:

Puppy Love
To the Editor:
I was grateful to see my book “This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage” mentioned in Paperback Row (Oct. 19). When highlighting a few of the essays in the collection, the review mentions topics ranging from “her stabilizing second marriage to her beloved dog” without benefit of comma, thus giving the impression that Sparky and I are hitched. While my love for my dog is deep, he married a dog named Maggie at Parnassus Books last summer as part of a successful fund-raiser for the Nashville Humane Association. I am married to Karl VanDevender. We are all very happy in our respective unions.
Lord, help us. We can't even trust The New York Times to get their commas right.

Image courtesy of fishducky.

If you're look for a good book to read, I recommend Bel Canto, written by none other than the accused dog marrier, Ann Patchett.

 Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug


  1. I keep thinking of "Woman without her man is nothing"!!

  2. What a funny story! As an editor, you probably come across similar mistakes. I'm pretty sure I read Bel Canto years ago, though I don't remember much about it. I think it had something to do with an opera star.


  3. That is really funny. The clubbing seals aren't... I got that!

  4. Where would the comma be placed for that quoted sentence to make sense in a non-beastiality context without the quotation mark going before "from"? And shouldn't my quotation mark go after the question mark!?! And is an interobang appropriate for that last sentence or this one?!? Help me, Queen of Grammar, you're my only hope.

  5. Good, morning dear, Janie, Junebug,!,

    I can relate. I hereby confess to a sordid two year affair with a Peruvian Hairless. It ended badly and she won custody of the pups.

    I appreciate the image provided by fishducky. Good one!

    Have a fine weekend, dear friend Janie!

  6. Hi, are the queen of punctuation, for sure. So funny that commas make such a difference. Just saw some thoughts on this recently. Thanks for the book tip!

  7. It would not have occurred to me they missed a comma; marriage is like having a dog, or a succession of them.

  8. Oh my goodness-that is sad about The New York times but then again I heard the Wall Street Journal is letting Kendra (?) Kardashian Jenner write an article for them...Yup Heard this on the news. Thos baby seals are so cute and it is heartwrending to know they are clubbed so their fur can be worn as style or on a baby fur seal tourist thingy

  9. HA! Yeah, punctuation DOES matter. Newspapers, even the revered "NY Times" get it wrong way too often. It makes me nuts. (Have you figured out a way to turn off that annoying internal editor?)

    Capitalization matters, too. Consider, "I helped my Uncle Jack off his horse" versus the same statement without the capital letters...

    Happy weekend, kiddo!

  10. For one awful moment I thought the right-wing hatemongers had been proven true -- that same-sex marriage did in fact lead down the slippery slope to inter-species marriage. Phew! That was close!

  11. I don't really see where I could put a comma that would make that make more sense.

  12. I read Bel Canto, maybe one of the few men who did.

  13. I like dog fashion, but I don't want a dog to participate.

  14. I read Bel Canto, too. Great letter Patchett wrote. I'll bet somebody got called into the office because of that comma.

  15. Hysterical! Proofreading must be becoming as lost an art as cursive--LOL!

  16. Replies
    1. So are semicolons.
      Even better...intact colons.
      Less messy that way.

  17. Sometimes, the dog is the most compatible option. I have a crush on Franklin (shhh).

  18. That is too funny, see this is why I have an editor.

  19. NEXT you'll tell me you can't trust everything you read on the Internet.
    I'm going to the supermarket and pick up a copy of the Enquirer.
    They never let me down.

  20. I might've just peed my pants a little! Can you imagine having to write that clarification?!?!

  21. I'd marry my dog if it wasn't for my stupid wife getting in the way...

    Yes, commas are very important! This is also why we're fans of the Oxford comma. It just plain makes sense, people.

    The Importance of the Oxford Comma


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