Issue 190, page 3

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Guestmudgeon Dick Timberlake will zeroscape YOU if you don't pronounce xeriscape correctly!

Here in Colorado Springs our utility "company" (i.e., armed arm of the city government, which can fine you for watering at the wrong time) encourages xeriscaping. They would like us to grow only plants that use little water, because they are bureaucrats and don't want to provide us citizens with the water we demand. (Slap!) (Ow!) (Richard, stick to the point and stop the political diatribe!) (Oh, all right, Dick!) Ahem, excuse me, just a couple of my personalities arguing. To the point.

Alas, the populace here generally pronounces xeriscape"as "zeroscape", with the "o" clearly articulated, not a schwa. I suppose that a xeriscaped area has little or nothing growing on it, hence the confusion with zero. But it still drives me (and all of my personalities) quite nuts (or perhaps nuttier). 

The word, folks, is XERISCAPE, the xeri- part from the Greek meaning "dry". It has nothing to do with zero (which is not Greek to me or anybody, but from Arabic). There is no "o" in the spelling, and none in the pronunciation. Please help all of us keep our sanity by eschewing "zeroscape"! Thank you.

Your friends,

Dick Timberlake

Have you heard or read similar or equally distressing usages?

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