Ever want to slap a landlord? Apparently we do.

Bloopers • ADELE YOUNG

At this time every year, we like to look back at the typographical and grammatical errors that almost made it, and some that actually did make it, into a few of Greater Media Newspapers’ publications during the previous year.

Damning with faint praise

One of our Word on the Street respondents wrote about her biggest pet peeve: “I like my toilet paper on the roll in the ‘pull down’ position. My sufficient [significant] other likes it in the ‘pull over’ position.” We never met her sufficient other, but if he at least makes an effort to change the roll, he sounds more than sufficient.

Getting tough on crime

In one of our cover stories, we explained that the municipal fire director would “slap property owners who violate fire codes by subdividing homes and condos into smaller units.” An alert editor thankfully changed that to “slap a fine on,” but some may argue that a simple slap might go far in unclogging the court system.

More landlord problems

The ordinance provides, “Should the property owner fail to remediate the violations … such violation shall be punishable by fine of $500 to $2,000 per week for every week that the violations remain unpremeditated [unremediated].” We would assume that fines for premeditated violations would be doubled.

A different kind of slap in the face

In a community notice item, we said that a place of worship “will hold a free health fair and fitness/nutrition workshop Jan. 11. Nomembers [nonmembers] are welcome.”

Ouch, that hurts

In one story we quoted a town official regarding a planned freshening of municipal areas: “We are going to [give] everything a fresh coat of pain [paint].” Many downsized and furloughed employees know what a fresh coat of pain feels like.

R rated

Perhaps this nature walk should have been held at the clothing-optional beach at Sandy Hook: “The Environmental Commission held a Winter Fall Nature Walk at Joe Palaia Park to show participants’ parts …” And who knew that an apostrophe could lead to something so risqué.

New matchmaking service

“[The former official] pleaded guilty in 2002 … for his role in helping developers secure zoning and subdivision approvals for three separate projects in the township in exchange for cash brides [bribes].” As if one bridezilla isn’t enough?

Do not be alarmed if you feel the need to


“During a home invasion, the alarm caused the would-be thieves to flea [flee] the premises.”

Through the licking glass

In a police item, we had a case of the Creepy Tom: “The windows had been licked [locked] and there were no signs of entry.” At least the police would have the suspect’s DNA.

STD alert

In a story about police layoffs, a reporter quoted a local PBA official who said that “current nationwide trends indicate a ‘dramatic increase in crime in categories across the board. And we sincerely hope that the Township Committee and administration can work to find other cost-cutting measures to fill their budget gap. Pubic [public] safety is not a luxury, it is a necessity, especially in these tough economic times.’ ”

Political boardom

In a Board of Education story, a candidate was waxing on and on about his campaign promises, and it was probably a Freudian slip that our reporter typed the following: “As a member of the boar [board], I will continue to set realistic goals …”

What’s in a name?

In a story about USO hostesses during World War II at Camp Kilmer, we almost called it Camp Killer. If we had, no one would wonder why their reunions were so poorly attended.

Shared-services agreement?

Obituaries are no place for humor, so we’re especially pleased that these gaffes were caught in time.

In an obituary, we typed that a gentleman died at Raritan Bay Medical Cemetery [Center], Old Bridge division. Some might say that this is an efficient use of facilities; others might say, OMG, I think we found Obama’s first death panel …

Another obituary might have given readers pause, too: “She is survived by fur [four] daughters.” Obituaries are getting more personal, even quirky, these days, but there’s certainly no need to mention the ladies’ whisker problems.

Don’t leave me dangling

Position can be everything in a sentence, as evidenced in the following dangling modifier. In a photo caption we described a man receiving a commendation “for saving a drowning woman at the Aug. 4 Sea Bright Borough Council meeting.” Was this a flash flood at the council meeting in the flood-prone borough?

The shear delight of it

One of our articles described an author who compiled a book of “phrases of wisdom, insight, humor and shear [sheer] enjoyment that she heard repeatedly while she grew up.” Any sheep will tell you shear enjoyment comes when it is relieved of that itchy wool coat.


A letter writer described a new report from the National Consumer Law Center titled “How Reverse Mortgage Lenders Put Older Homeowners’ Equity at Risk.” Apparently, according to the report, “Predators who once reaped profits from exotic loans have now focused on wrestling [wresting] more wealth from vulnerable seniors.”

In politics, anything goes

In a story about political parties choosing candidates for an upcoming election, we initially wrote, “The Republican Party has also chosen a candidate to gun [run] for the seat now held by [the incumbent].” We wonder if anyone would have been surprised at this heavy-handed political tactic.

Best of the bunch

Our story about a soldier in Iraq probably takes the top spot for the most amusing mistake we almost printed. You’ll see why: “She currently works in a Baghdad detention center, processing prisoners from 3 a.m. to 3 p.m. six days a week. Exhausted after the sh-ts [shifts], she said there is little downtime for anything but sleeping.”

Egg on all our faces

Some copy editors at other print and online publications are apparently vying to gain entry into this column. In a letter to the editor in another publication about concerts at the PNC Arts Center was the following: “They have limited tailgating to certain shows to reduce underage drinking while also maintaining their exuberant [exorbitant] prices for draft beer.” You can almost hear the cash registers’ joyful laughter.

Arrested for philanthropy? What next?

Also in another publication was a frequent visitor to this column, the misplaced modifier: “A real estate mogul …, [Solomon] Dwek had been revered by many in the close-knit Sephardic Jewish community before his arrest for his frequent acts of philanthropy.” No wonder Dwek’s attorney is outraged! The importance of position in a sentence can’t be overstated.

Wassup with this?

One of our readers found a petition online addressed to the speaker of the N.J. Assembly, protesting the many restrictions of the proposed Kyleigh’s Law that would place limits on teen drivers. The petitioner noted that such laws are “ludacris [ludicrous].” Rapper Christopher Bridges, aka Ludacris, undoubtedly would be proud that his name has apparently officially entered the English language.

It’s back-k-k-k

Despite our glee that we thought we found the word pubic before a story went to press — no such luck. This annual Bloopers staple once again made it into one of our publications: “The Department of Pubic [Public] Information will be able to supply an answer on the next business day.”

Try as we do to prevent it, this word has quite a history of slipping into our publications. When we did a global search on our website of about a decade’s worth of articles, there were quite a few slips, and of course just as many chuckles.

AdeleYoung is the news editor and head of the copy desk for Greater Media Newspapers.