…Or, maybe, pronunciation and clear diction have left the building. I’m hoping it’s the latter.

I don’t think it’s me. I’m not continually turning the TV’s volume up and down. I usually complain that callers are speaking too loudly on the phone. Of late, the bedroom clock’s ticktock has begun to bug me overnight. My cat, Tom, and I are responding to mysterious sounds in tandem. So it’s gotta be them.

Just now (and not for the first time), I was listening to a CNN report on “bum-sniffing dogs.” This go ’round, the reporter mentioned that the military has been looking for a machine to replace them. Really? I mean, for dogs, sniffing around the tail tells the tale. But why would the military want a machine that sniffs dogs’ butts? Or any butt, for that matter?

I can understand the need for bomb-sniffing dogs and the desire for a mechanism as able as a canine nose to do that job. That’s an interesting news story, science-wise, invention-wise, even doggie-wise. But that wasn’t what I was hearing…uh, listening to.

The other day at the grocery store, as best as I could tell, the country song on the PA was about…well, an act better suited for a certain genre of rap than county. Sometimes context is a saving grace, preventing an Emily Litella* moment. True, the store’s PA doesn’t have the best-quality speakers, yet I should be able to tell the difference between flock and other f-words.

I’m hoping to high heaven that Red Lobster® is holding a crabfest currently, because the TV commercial didn’t get my attention for its invocation of crustaceans (or of thin French pancakes, for that matter). Blue crabs, indeed.

I wonder, though, if what-did-they-just-say pronunciation isn’t a new ploy from advertising agencies. After all, the audience has learned to turn off awareness of commercials, even turning our backs to the screen while the ads are on. We still keep our ears on alert for audio cues that our shows have returned. A seemingly inappropriate word could break though our barriers and gain our attention. After all, what reputable agency would hire a marble-mouthed actor or announcer to present its client’s message? None that I can think of. Ads go through too many levels of approval and testing for that to happen.

Or maybe it’s just me. Nah!

I’m always



* If you’re asking, look it up.