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'Grammar Vigilante' Is Correcting Street Signs, One Apostrophe at a Time

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When bad punctuation strikes storefront signage in Bristol, England, a self-styled apostrophe avenger springs into action. The BBC reports that an unidentified man has spent years venturing out at night to correct infractions against the English language spotted in public street and retail signs.

Although the man holds grudges against all forms of errant punctuation, he spends most of his time addressing wayward apostrophes using a tool he built himself. Dubbed the “apostrophiser,” it can either add or subtract apostrophes from signs, depending on the correction needed, using adhesive tape. He also carries a ladder.

Often referred to as "the Banksy of punctuation," this human version of Wite-Out says he was lured into a life of mildly invasive graffiti when he decided to scratch out a misplaced apostrophe on a whim in 2003. “It was a council sign—Mondays to Fridays—and had these ridiculous apostrophes,” he said. “I was able to scratch those off.”

Jon Kay via Twitter

While some businesses appreciate the unsolicited correction, others consider the forced changes rude. A shop called Tux & Tails previously identified itself as a “Gentlemans Outfitters” before the rogue corrected it to “Gentleman’s Outfitters.” Owner Jason Singh says the defacing of the sign could cost him thousands of dollars to fix because the paint the man used isn’t meshing well with the vinyl surface. Singh promises to bill the vigilante for the damage if he ever learns his identity.

The BBC did not reveal the man’s name, nor did they appear to hand over any information to authorities. Despite the sketchy legal nature of his work, the vigilante said it was “more of a crime” to leave the incorrect punctuation standing. A half-hour BBC Radio 4 documentary on his work aired on Monday.

The Bristol vigilante isn’t the first of his kind: Two anonymous artists in Quito, Ecuador, have been correcting that city’s graffiti for years, using red spray paint to point out spelling and grammar mistakes. Known as Acción Ortográfica Quito (Quito Orthographic Action), they’ve inspired a rash of imitators worldwide. All of which is good reason to hire a copyeditor before you write in public.

[h/t BBC]

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Art
Art Lovers in England, Rejoice: France's Famous Bayeux Tapestry is Coming to the UK
Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

One of France’s most prized national treasures, the Bayeux Tapestry, is officially heading to England for exhibition. The loan will mark the first time the fragile 11th century work has left France in nearly 1000 years, according to The Washington Post.

French president Emmanuel Macron announced news of the loan in mid-January, viewed by some as a gesture to smooth post-Brexit relations with Britain, ABC reports. The tapestry depicts the Norman Conquest of England in 1066, a historically important event replete with guts and glory.

Stretching for 210 feet, the Bayeux Tapestry’s nine embroidered panels tell the tale of Harold, Earl of Wessex, who swore an oath to support the right of William, Duke of Normandy, to the English throne once King Edward (a.k.a. Edward the Confessor) died without an heir. But after Edward's funeral at Westminster Abbey, Harold breaks his oath to William so he could be crowned king instead. Believing he was the rightful ruler, William—today remembered as William the Conqueror—decides to wage war and ultimately defeats Harold at the Battle of Hastings.

The historical narrative has endured for centuries, but the tapestry's provenance has been lost to time. Experts think that the artwork may have been created in England, shortly after the Battle of Hastings, although it’s unclear who designed and embroidered the scenes. Its original owner, Bishop Odo of Bayeux, the half-brother of William the Conqueror, may have commissioned the Bayeux Tapestry. He became Earl of Kent after the Battle of Hastings, and this new title would have afforded him access to skilled artisans, The Guardian explains.

The Bayeux Tapestry is currently on display in the town of Bayeux in Normandy. It likely won’t leave France until 2020, after conservators ensure that it’s safe to move the artwork. According to The Telegraph, the tapestry might be be displayed at the British Museum in 2022.

[h/t The Washington Post]

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Photo composite, Mental Floss. Car, ticket, Simon Laprise. Background, iStock.
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Design
This Snow Sculpture of a Car Was So Convincing Cops Tried to Write It a Ticket
Photo composite, Mental Floss. Car, ticket, Simon Laprise. Background, iStock.
Photo composite, Mental Floss. Car, ticket, Simon Laprise. Background, iStock.

Winter is a frustrating time to be on the road, but one artist in Montreal has found a way to make the best of it. As CBS affiliate WGCL-TV reports, his snow sculpture of a DeLorean DMC-12 was so convincing that even the police were fooled.

Simon Laprise of L.S.D Laprise Simon Designs assembled the prank car using snow outside his home in Montreal. He positioned it so it appeared to be parked along the side of the road, and with the weather Montreal has been having lately, a car buried under snow wasn’t an unusual sight.

A police officer spotted the car and was prepared to write it a ticket before noticing it wasn’t what it seemed. He called in backup to confirm that the car wasn’t a car at all.

Instead of getting mad, the officers shared a good laugh over it. “You made our night hahahahaha :)" they wrote on a fake ticket left on the snow sculpture.

The masterpiece was plowed over the next morning, but you can appreciate Laprise’s handiwork in the photos below.

Snow sculpture.

Snow sculpture of car.

Snow sculpture of car.

Note written in French.

[h/t WGCL-TV]

All images courtesy of Simon Laprise.

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