I'm embarrassed to say
I can't remember hardly any of the fiction written by John Steinbeck, a
great writer. I do, however, remember something he wrote about writing.
I can quote him exactly without even having to look it up. I remember the
quote so well because I believe it to be so true.
"In writing," Steinbeck wrote, "habit seems to be a much stronger force than
either will power or inspiration."
Someone asked me once if I ever got "writer's block." I said I never did.
I'm in the habit of writing and so I write. It isn't always good but I
always write. It's a 30-year habit.
Speaking of habit, people who write, especially news people, need to be in
the habit of being consistent, which is what this column is all about.
For example, is it BRAC or BRACC? Let's get it straight once and for all.
In the Boonville Herald and THE GRIFF, we refer to the Base Realignment and
Closure Commission as BRAC, as does Rome's Daily Sentinel.
The Observer-Dispatch, however, goes back and forth. In one report, BRAC was
used in the body of the article and BRACC was used in the headline.
Some websites call it BRACC, but others use BRAC.
In Associated Press articles and captions, as well as in the Sentinel, I've
seen this: "Base Closure and Realignment Commission (BRAC)." Alas, they have
the "Closure" before the "Realignment." That's certainly wrong. If that was
correct, it would be BCAR.
Now that I think about it, the correct way might be this: "BRAC commission."
Thank goodness DFAS (Defense Finance Accounting Service) is always DFAS and
NEADS (Northeast Air Defense Sector) is always NEADS. Both are based at
Griffiss, the place which has given rise to all these references to BRACC -
I mean BRAC.
I could go on with these sorts of questions, so I will.
Is it Veterans Day, Veteran's Day or Veterans' Day?
In newspapers, magazines and calendars I've seen it all three ways.
We have at least eight calendars in the building where I work. Half have it
Veterans Day and half have it Veterans' Day.
The calendar I get every year from Trainor Funeral Home refers to Nov. 11th
as Veterans Day. The calendar I get from another business calls it
The Weekly Standard in the November 21st edition of the magazine has
"Veterans' Day." The Associated Press, however, has "Veterans Day," which is
the way former newspaper editor Frank Tomaino, who has forgotten more about
journalism than most people will ever know, says it ought to be.
Here's one more: Is it email, e-mail, Email or E-mail? I've seen it all four
ways. I use "e-mail," but I'm not confident when I do.
Which reminds me of that place where you buy and sell stuff via your
computer. In this issue of THE GRIFF, which is published by the Boonville
Herald, we had "E-BAY" in a headline, and "eBay" and "e-Bay" in the article.
I went online - at least I think it's "online" and not "on-line" - and the
company refers to itself as "eBay" and so will we.
And here you thought you had a tough job.
Joe Kelly is the editor and publisher of The Boonville Herald & Adirondack Tourist and