Monday, September 10, 2012


I cannot take full credit for the clever title of today's post.

Today, I welcome the lovely and talented Jenny Baranick, the author of the extremely funny and educational "Missed Periods and Other Grammar Scares" blog. as a guest poster on my blog.

This is all part of a feeble attempt on my part to add class to this column.

Speaking of class, Jenny is a college english teacher. So if you don't pay attention, you're going to end up in detention, writing "I will not fall asleep on the DiscConnected blog" a couple of hundred times on a blackboard.

While Jenny accepts that her students will never stand on their desks and salute her as ther "Captain," she had found a style that presents the "do's" and "don'ts" of grammar in an amusing way that helps get the message across while making the reader laugh along the way.

This is a mission Jenny takes seriously.

And just in case you are thinking (and you know you are) that no young lady can take the English language that seriously, here are a couple pictures of Jenny's car!

The next one is my personal favorite...

You can see all of the pictures of the Grammarmobile here.

Somehow in between teaching and pimping her ride, Jenny found time to write a book, her recently released debut masterpiece, titled, oddly enough, Missed Periods and Other Grammar Scares.

Similar to Jenny's blog, the book takes some of the more common grammatical transgressions and trespasses and shows the reader the enlightened path in an entertaining  narrative free of grammatical jargon.

If you like your grammar lessons on the risque side, this book is for you!

Today, in keeping with the musical theme of this blog, Jenny will compare and contrast the English language to the language of music.

I hope everyone who stops by will leave a comment to make Jenny feel welcome.

If you like what you read, why don't you buy the book HERE.

But enough from me-ladies and gentlemen, please give a warm welcome to Jenny Baranick !

Don’t tell my mom, but I am grateful that she made me take piano lessons.

I wasn’t quite as grateful when I was seven years old and complained that I had to practice my scales when I just wanted to go outside and play handball.

Nor was I grateful when I when I was twelve years old and wanted to repeatedly ride my bike past Matt Grey’s house instead of practicing chord progressions.

But as an adult, I love that I can read music.

Reading music is like being able understand and communicate in a different language.

It’s not just being able to read notes; it’s being able to understand the nuances of the composition.

It’s looking at the note and knowing how long it’s to be held.

It’s identifying a rest—and how long to hold that particular rest.

It’s comprehending the symbols for playing louder, for playing softer, playing faster, playing slower, for blending notes together, and for trailing off.

In a similar way, punctuation is key to written composition. It, too, can communicate tempo, volume, and flow.

Like a slur holds two notes together, a semicolon holds two sentences together.

A comma is like a rest we hold for half a count, and a period is like a rest that we hold for a full count.

An exclamation is like an accent symbol.

Parentheses are a bit like a diminuendo.

So, although our readers probably pay more attention to the words we use rather than our commas and periods, punctuation is an important part of the craft of writing.

So, don’t tell my ninth grade English teacher, but I’m grateful that he hammered us on punctuation.

Missed Periods and Other Grammar Scares is available from fine retailers like Amazon.

It is a very reasonably-priced book, and while it may not replace your copy of "The Elements of Style," it certainly deserves a place on the shelf alongside it!


  1. >> . . . Nor was I grateful when I when I was twelve years old and wanted to repeatedly ride my bike past Matt Grey’s house instead of practicing chord progressions.

    Maybe Jenny's next book should be titled 'FIFTY CHORDS OF GREY'.

    Looks like I'm destined to buy a copy of Jenny's book, seeing as how I was unable to win a free copy.

    I do have 'THE ELEMENTS OF SYLE' in one of my bookcases, and I'm sure I'll eventually have 'MISSED PERIODS...' standing right next to it. The latter, however, I will actually read because I know it won't be boring like the Strunk & White book is.

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

  2. Stephen-

    Jenny's book is laugh-out-loud funny, and for many will also be a good reference tool.

    I think it's worth reading even if you never write or speak English!

    I still hope she does a post on reflexive pronouns-if I heard one more NFL player talking about how "the coach was hard on myself" I'm going to abandon English entirely.

    I'll use the same language Prince got his symbol from!

  3. I though I already left a comment, but it seems to have disappeared, but if it reappears this is basically what it said:

    Thank you so much for allowing me to guest post, and thank you for the kind words about my books.

    AND ... if anyone falls asleep reading Disconnected, they will definitely get detention. Maybe even a Saturday!

  4. Jenny-

    Loved the post and was glad to have you as a guest poster-for one day, my blog went "high-brow!"

    As for the kind words on the book-they were well-earned! Grammar is a topic most young people do not enjoy, and by adding humour to the subject, you increase the chances of a lesson sticking!

    Thanks again!


  5. I can't believe I missed this post! Next to my wife, Jenny is my second favorite teacher! I must say that this post was a perfect way to join her blog and yours. And as a music guy, I can't believe that I never really thought of explaning the similarities the way she did. Well done!
    Thanks for going "high brow" - at least for once. ;)


  6. Jimmy-

    Jenny does have a gift, doesn't she?

    I was an English Education major in college for three years, and had I continued on to teach, I think I would have had to quit after coming upon Jenny's blog (if not then, certainly after seeing how she tricked out her ride!).