Solidus Feel Bad
So we have a client for whom we manage a monthly social media campaign. Not particularly noteworthy, right? Certainly not blogworthy. We have lots of clients for whom we manage monthly social media campaigns. So what makes these guys special?

Their website. Their awful, awful website.

Now before I start bashing them, please know that they're not a bad company. They're successful and they're good at what they do and they're doing all the right things when it comes to social media outreach. 

But oh, goddamn, that website.

To be fair, it's not even a website. It's a URL with a static image and the name of the company. The image, by the by, has nothing to do with the company. There's no tagline or indication of how to connect with them.

But here's the kicker. Are you ready for it?

The site is (and has been) "under construction." "Construction" is misspelled. And it's a construction company!

There is simply no excuse for a site like that in this day and age. Websites are so drag-and-drop easy that a chimp with ADHD could build one. Think about the message that such an awful site sends. The company's lazy. The company doesn't care about its image. The company won't invest a few bucks in a website that at least says something about who they are or what they do. It's simply unacceptable.

And as for the typo, well, that's a whole separate rant, but let me just say this -- I would rather see a site like this company has with a word or two spelled correctly than a deep, multi-level, interactive site riddled with poor grammar and spelling errors. This dead horse has taken quite a beating, but I'll say it again: If you can't spell, hire someone who can.

Or your site will be under consrtuction for a loooong time.

By Steve Boudreault

Solidus Time Travel
Dear Emily, Steve, and Emily:

I hope this email finds you well. It took a great deal of effort to get it to you, but hopefully that effort will not have been in vain.

I’m writing to you from what you would consider the future. Technology, in all its glory, hasn’t yet cracked the nut of time travel, but has perfected a means of communicating with the past. This wormhole email technique is not entirely legal, but then, I’ve never been much for the rules.

One of you is actually a great-great-great-great grandparent of mine, but in the interest of preserving the time stream as much as possible, that person will remain anonymous. Just know that at least one of you has a genetic line that carries on for generations.

As much as it pains me to say it -- and I’m sure pains you to hear it -- the written word in my world is gone. I often muse on the idea that human communication ended up as a bell curve -- Neanderthals grunted at cave paintings at the beginning; millions of people wrote billions of words across the Internet at its peak; and now at the end, we are little more than grunting cavemen once again. The only difference is that our pictures move.

When the written word went underground, it was handed down from father and mother to daughter and son in small enclaves to keep it alive. Now I’m all that’s left. I’m the only person that I know of in the entire universe who still uses the written word. That’s why it’s so important for me to reach you and ask for your help.

It began with the shortening of the language for the text message generation. Words got shorter and shorter until they virtually disappeared. People found it was easier to communicate with pictures and video.

Then a neurotechnologist developed an interface device that allowed the thoughts of a comatose patient to be transmitted to a video screen. It was hailed as an extraordinary medical breakthrough, but soon the technology was commoditized and sold to anyone who wanted one, and allowed people to communicate with their thoughts, which contained images and feelings, but no words or language whatsoever.

I’m sure you can divine what happened next. As soon as words were superfluous, they were gone. No one uses them any more. No one needs them any more. And there’s nothing I can do about it in my time.

So please, for me and for the good of humanity, keep reminding anyone who will listen how important words are. How nothing can replace a good book, a well-crafted letter, a compelling blog, or even a clever tagline. I know you’ll pass this on to your children -- I’m living proof -- but do whatever you can to pass it on to everyone.

Thanks for hearing me out. And I hope my spelling and grammar are correct. I don’t get to practice much.


Solidus Portmanteau
English, as we’ve expounded upon in various blogs, is a funny language. It’s a pastiche of European languages, Slavic languages, innumerable dialects, slang, regionalisms, and words created simply for the sake of creating them.

Some words start off as two specific, preexisting words that are combined in such a way that they create a completely new, standalone word. These are called portmanteaus. Which is French. From an Italian word. See what a rich tapestry it is?

Possibly the most famous portmanteau is smog. Everyone knows what smog is, but not everyone knows that the term was created by combining “smoke” and “fog.” Another is motel, which came from “motor” and “hotel.” And lest we forget electrocution, which blends “electro” and “execution.”

Below are some other popular portmanteaus, and some that haven’t quite caught on yet. My new favorite? “Tatooth.” (From tatoo and tooth; a reference to those who have implanted gold initials or diamonds, etc., on their teeth.)

  • “galumph” (gallop and triumph)
  • “chortle” (chuckle and snort)
  • “maffluent” (mass affluent; groups of people who have become relatively affluent because of the value of their stock investments)
  • “momentaneous” (instantaneous and momentary)
  • “splisters” (splinters and blisters)
  • “swifting” (shifting and switching)
  • “editated” (edited and annotated)
  • “splatter” (splash and spatter)
  • “squish” (squirt and swish)
  • “blurt” (blow and spurt)
  • “splutter” (splash and sputter)
  • “grumble” (growling and rumbling)
  • “flaunt” (flout and vaunt)
  • “flare” (flame and glare)
  • “squawk” (squall and squeak)
  • “slanguage ” (slang and language)
  • “escalator” (escalade and elevator; where escalade comes from Italian through French, meaning “the act of scaling or climbing the walls of a fortified place by ladders”)
  • “stagflation” (stagnate and inflation)
  • “cinemactress” (cinema and actress)
  • “sexperts” (sex and expert)
  • “Saniflush” (sanitary and flush)
  • “Bisquick” (biscuit and quick)
  • “netizen” (net and citizen)
  • “netiquette” (net and etiquette)
  • “modem” (modulator and demodulator)
  • “pixel” (pix and element; picture element, basic unit of an on-screen image)
  • “shareware” (share and software; free trial software often requiring later payment)
  • “emoticon” (emotion and icon)
  • “brunch” (breakfast and lunch)

By Steve Boudreault

Boogie Nights
Porn is a multi-billion-dollar industry. These days, it should come as no surprise, the biggest chunk of that pile of money comes from Internet porn. One wonders how much more money might be made if those online porn rascals bothered to learn spelling and grammar.

One pornographic video site that I … heard about from a friend ... states plainly that “Every photos in tour done freely you precisely will discovering members of a part we do not deceive you, every photos really is in members and even more!!!” Well, that’s … reassuring. I suppose we should be thankful they spelled “deceive” correctly.

Well everyone complains about the weather, I hear you all say, but no one does anything about it. Why doesn’t Solidus jump in and offer to fix these sites? I’ll tell you why.

Years ago, I applied for a proofreading position working on a website whose name has no place in polite company. The concept was that the site would review adult toys and videos, and I would proofread the reviews. I spoke to the site owner and asked him to send me some sample text from the site so I could show him my editing skills. 

“No,” he told me. “I’d rather meet you in person.” 

I asked him for the company address. He gave it to me, but it didn’t come up on Google Maps. 

“Oh, yeah, it won’t,” he told me. “It’s not an actual address. Look for a brick building, and it’s the unmarked black door around back.” 

With visions of Pulp Fiction dancing in my head, I told him thanks but no thanks. So yeah, proofreading porn is not a road we’d care to go down.

Heh. I said “go down.”

By Steve Boudreault