OK, call me mean (hey, you wouldn't be the first one), but I'm just going to say this: Michelle Williams has neither the face nor the body to portray Marilyn Monroe. I haven't seen My Week with Marilyn, so you may say I'm being unfair, but all one has to do is look at a photo of Michelle and compare it to the other-worldly Marilyn, and you'll see what I mean. Yes, Williams has acting chops, as evidenced by Wendy and Lucy, Blue Valentine, Brokeback Mountain, etc. But please . . .
Anonymous (and we know who it is) sent this comment regarding alumnus as the singular noun for a graduate: "If one follows the Latin, an individual graduate might be an alumnus, if male. A woman would be an alumna. All women graduates are alumnae; however,the combined body of graduates are alumni. This loss of gender distinction not only appears in this Latin word but also in today's English. It seems more politically correct to say actor or host rather than actress or hostess. Why?????"
Some time ago, we covered this distinction between alumnus and alumna in our War on Words column, but failed to go into here on the blog, since we were speaking of male callers to talk shows. We appreciate anonymous's contribution, and we have no explanation for the androgynization (is that a word?) of certain terms. I have noticed, however, that female actors have embraced that word. Host/hostess is a little trickier. Terms like mail carrier or chair person can overcome the gender difference, but hosting an event defies that neat solution.
A reader writes to say that he saw a photo of a Pagan motorcycle gang member wearing a t-shirt with the word "Pagan's" on it. He wanted to know if perhaps the man wanted to indicate that the shirt belonged to the Pagans. I doubt it, but I'm not about to tell one of those guys that their t-shirt is grammatically incorrect.
More on Penn State
So now we find out that JoePa has lung cancer. Hope that makes all the haters happy. Can this story get any more tragic? Unfortunately, I'm afraid it can.