Friday, January 27, 2012


I've gone around with my newsroom colleagues about the difference between a tugboat and a towboat and the difference between a towboat and a barge. And I chuckle when folks on TV say after a heavy rain that Huntington's viaducts are flooded. I tell my colleagues that if the viaducts flood, the whole city is in trouble. I guess they like the word "viaduct" over the word "underpass" because "viaduct" sounds a lot fancier. But if they ever bothered to open the dictionary that every newsroom has, they would see that the viaduct goes over the underpass. You, the underpass passes under the viaduct.

It's kind of like when a TV anchor talks about picketers outside a building, I grind my teeth. A picket line is a line of pickets. Those people carrying signs are pickets.

I say all this because I was cruising the Internet a few minutes ago looking for updates on the bridge collapse in western Kentucky. First reports last night said the bridge had been struck by a barge. Now that I think about it, a pier might have been hit be a barge, but I doubt the bridge itself was.

This morning, some news accounts describe the Delta Mariner as a supply boat. Most refer to it as a cargo ship. One story described it as a "huge cargo ship."

This comes back to some fussing I've been doing with myself lately over exactly what riverboats are Dravo Vikings and what boats look like Vikings but aren't. Same with the 3200 series or "Steel" boats or those that look like them but aren't. By the way, don't anger school bus fans by referring to some older Thomas Built models as an FS-65. Take my word for it; don't do it.

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