weekly reading: women’s health

When Women’s Health launched a few years ago, nearly every woman I know went crazy over it. Like its male counterpart, it’s heavy on the departments, with lots of quick tips, stats and factoids. Features tend to be shorter, especially the celeb cover stories, which is fine with me since celeb profiles are so controlled and rarely illuminating these days.

But one of the magazine’s October features really blew me away. “What’s Lurking in Your DNA?” details one reporter’s experience with a mail-order company that promises to reveal your particular health risks, based on a saliva sample you provide. I think this is one of the most interesting issues in health today: We now have the opportunity to peek into our future—but is that a good thing? Often technology evolves faster than we can create morals and guidelines for it. Writer Gretchen Voss does a great job capturing the complexities of the issue. I’m pretty convinced that I prefer blissful ignorance.

On a side note, I’d like to point out that this was actually my second-favorite women’s magazine feature this month. The first was a fantastic take on the typical breast cancer awareness story in Glamour. But since they don’t put all their print content online (the kind of shortsighted old-school thinking that many of the major magazines still cling to), I can’t really recommend it. Bummer.


national novel writing month, or nanowrimo

I now have a Pavlovian response to seeing Halloween candy in stores: I start thinking about ideas for a novel. National Novel Writing Month starts at midnight on Oct. 31, and I can’t recommend it enough for anyone who’s ever said, ‘I want to write a novel someday.’ Someday is here. You’ve got two weeks to dream up an idea (but no writing allowed). Or start writing Halloween night by the seat of your pants. What’s more scary?

Read my longer love letter to NaNoWriMo from last year, and then go sign up!

when you need an apostrophe

I guess I’m unwittingly doing a series on apostrophes, because after last week’s rant about unnecessary ones, I was watching Keeping Up With the Kardashians and spotted this. I’m hoping this was just a typo, and that the caption writer doesn’t actually think a possessive doesn’t require an apostrophe.

A more advanced tip, which I’ve touched on before: Since the house belongs to Khloe and Lamar as a unit, “Khloe and Lamar’s” is preferred over “Khloe’s and Lamar’s.”

johns hopkins’ sexist column

There are really no words for this “opinion column,” i.e. misogynist screed, that Jezebel unearthed from The Johns Hopkins News-Letter. I’d hesitate to give it even more page views, but it’s already been taken down. (You can get the gist of it from the Jez post.)

I’ve written before about the lessons I learned as a college paper opinion editor, but you can be sure this wouldn’t have run on my watch — or even that of my least enlightened male colleagues. Also, what’s up with the use of “bear” instead of “bare” in the headline? Stupid mistake or stupider joke?

ETA: Here’s the cached version.

Update: Ah, the old “satire” defense

an errant apostrophe

Oh, CVS. How I love your Extra Bucks, which allow me to purchase way more lip glosses and eyeshadows than anyone could use in one lifetime. I do not, however, love your grammar.

This is the kind of mistake that makes me judgmental, because I can’t fathom why people get it wrong. I sometimes see unnecessary apostrophes on a plural word ending in a vowel (like pajamas) or acronym (like CDs), because some people (wrongly) think you can’t pluralize those words without it. But what on earth would make you think the plural of “shot” needs an apostrophe?

There’s about a 1% chance the person who authored this sign meant “The flu shot’s here” and just dropped that initial “the.” But that would be oddly grandiose. Just ditch the apostrophe, dude.

p.s. I never get a flu shot. Am I tempting fate?

tim gunn’s typo

Usually I think Tim Gunn can do no wrong. I’ve especially enjoyed the campaign against rudeness he’s embarked upon in the last few weeks, calling out everyone from Taylor Momsen to Anna Wintour for diva-like behavior. But I just cringed to see the mistake in his recent Facebook post. It’s so common, but I expect better from such a conscientious character.

Can you spot the mistake? I’ve covered it before. And I even name-checked Project Runway in that post!

the worst place for a typo

I wanted to post this story on Facebook to comment on the utter absurdity of a (tiny) cover model not fitting in her dress, but I can’t get past the hideous typo in the headline. People, if you proofread nothing else, check the headline!