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Saturday, September 11, 2004
  The Articles' Long Shadow : You've gotta love Bill Walsh, copy editor for the Washington Post. A real stickler for grammar and usage. His website is called The Slot, after the traditional place for a copy editor to sit at the horseshoe-shaped desk of a newspaper editor. The various department editors, known as "rim men," would sit around the outside.

Walsh is from the old school (read: a hardass). In my view that is appropriate, because he is at the top of his game. As would be true in any profession, he has a right to expect as much from his colleagues/workers/pupils/etc. as he expects of himself. That's how I feel about professors here at the law school. It is fine for them to expect a lot of me--in fact I appreciate it--as long as they themselves aren't just "phoning it in" as J.L. would say. Most do not. Here's a tidbit from Walsh that lawyers will appreciate. It's a post from the blog section of his website:
Childrens Hospital Los Angeles. No apostrophe. Unreal. Would you trust these peopleses with your singular child?

The error, for the record, is that they tried to use "childrens" as an adjective to describe their hospital. The word "children" is already plural, however, so if they really wanted to do that it should have been "Children Hospital," which sounds rather strange. In any case, the presence of the "s" can only signify possession, here, but you need an apostrophe for that.

Here's the part that lawyers will like:
(Update: I wrote to the hospital through its Web site, and a PR person was nice enough to answer. Apparently this question comes up a lot. It seems the error is an old one, and attempts to insert the apostrophe have been rebuffed by staff lawyers in the name of consistency with the articles of incorporation. Still reprehensible, but to my mind not as bad as...
He goes on to reference an even more "reprehensible" practice discussed in one of his earlier posts. Let's not go there. He's a bit too much of a crusty curmudgeon for me to parrot his entire rant. But he's Walsh. He's in the slot. I respect him.

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