A Special Hell

So there I was, listening to The Dinner Party on NHPR, specifically Episode 243: Pharrell, Carrie Brownstein & Fred Armisen, and Much MØ , where we learn of musical ice cream, a Broadway show called “The Moose Murders” (that closed after one performance) expressed in the form of a cocktail, and Stonehenge.

But that isn’t what I’m going to talk about. Later on in the program we got an Etiquette Advice segment. And right around minute 34 we meet Jordan, from Greensboro, North Carolina, who has a problem. When he’s watching movies at home with his wife, she “multitasks.” She spends the time talking on her cell phone.

“…you’re going to burn in a very special level of hell. A level they reserve for child molesters and people who talk at the theater.”
— Shepherd Book (Firefly)

The advice-to-the-etiquettely-challenged folks said that it was no big deal, that different people enjoy movies in different ways, and he should just get over it. After all, “You’re spending time together.”

My instant reaction was: Divorce her. There is no future in this marriage.

Supposing that he can’t divorce her (it’s against his religion; her father owns the company where he’s pulling down an executive-vice-president salary just for showing up), he has two choices: either watch movies alone, or get a mistress who knows that talking during a movie is just Not Done.

Which gets us around to today’s Grammar Trivia: when do you capitalize the first word following a colon?

The rule is this: Colons separate sentences. The second-and-subsequent sentences explain or illustrate something in the first sentence. If only one sentence follows the colon, its first letter is not capitalized. If two or more sentences follow the colon, the first letter of each sentence is capitalized.

Examples (taken from our own works; the permissions weren’t terribly hard to get):

Harlin turned the switch patching the EDS to Records, and closed out the comm log on the transmission: time, date, duration, frequency, signal strength.

and

Here’s the thing: It’s written in no known language, in no known alphabet. It’s illustrated with pictures of no known plants, and with star charts showing no known constellations.

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One Response to A Special Hell

  1. Laurence Brothers says:

    And here I thought I knew the rules of punctuation. Learn something new….

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