Leading Off (11/19/13)

City Workers Remove White “X”s From Road in Dealey Plaza. The official word from city spokesman Frank Librio: “We are laying asphalt to level out the streets and remove any trip hazards. With thousands visiting the area this week, we think that is prudent.” Not buying it. But if the city hopes to keep the street clean of the white “X”s that mark where JFK was shot, they’d best have 24-hour security from now till Friday, because someone will try to repaint them.

People Are Coming to Dallas. CBS Channel 11 brings us this shocking headline: “Tourists Flock to Dealey Plaza As Dallas Remembers JFK.” Oddly, USA Today ran a story yesterday for which they asked Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders for tips on what to do on a trip to town. The lead: “When you’re going to the ‘Big D’ — Dallas — it’s all about living large with flash and cash, and a flair for country.” Oh, man. I’m not going to be able to watch TV or look at the internet on Friday at all, am I?

Millions of Little Black Bugs Visit Dallas. Yesterday the 21st-floor windows of the downtown world headquarters of D were covered with bugs. I didn’t give it much thought. NBC Channel 5 has better news sense than I and found out what is happening. The answer: hackberry nipple-gall maker bugs. Here’s hoping that today your nipples and mine are not as galled.


  • RAB

    Is it “X”s (Frontburner), X’s (DNM), or Xs (RAB)?

    Note that although the DNM had it as X’s, on the same page they used VIPs (without the apostrophe).

  • Tim Rogers

    Actually, that DMN post I linked to was inconsistent in its usage, so you know right away not to trust them. It certainly is NOT done the way they did it in the headline: “X’s.” The apostrophe isn’t necessary. The “X” doesn’t own anything. And it’s not a contraction.

    The quotes, I think, are a matter of taste; there’s no right or wrong. But here’s the way I think of it: when you refer to a word as a word, it goes in quotes. E.g.: the word “nipple” makes me giggle, especially when it’s hyphenated with the word “gall.” Similarly, when referring to a letter as a letter, throw quotes around it.

    Now on to the pluralization. Let’s say you own a small law firm. One day you arrive at work to find that someone has vandalized your storefront. The vandal has written the word “nincompoop,” repeatedly, in spray paint, all over your building. You would not write: the vandal sprayed “nincompoops” all over the building. The vandal, after all, did not spray the plural. Thus the correct punctuation gives us: the vandal sprayed “nincompoop”s all over the building. Which leads us (or at least me) to “X”s.

    Thank you for your question.

  • ian

    AP style on plurals:

    SINGLE LETTERS: Use ‘s. Example: Mind your p’s and q’s.
    MULTIPLE LETTERS: Add s. Example: She knows her ABCs. Four VIPs were there.

  • Mess Wright

    “When you’re going to the ‘Big D’ — Dallas — it’s all about living large with flash and cash, and a flair for country.”

    Why didn’t one of my girlfriends tell me this fourteen years ago? I’ve been doing it all wrong.

  • Sarah Bennett

    So many things wrong with the USA Today article. I can’t pick a favorite.

  • Jose-y

    The removal of the X is so ridiculous. James McAuley was right. Old Dallas has not come to terms with the assassination of JFK. They are still at the “acknowledgement” stage.