The Aresan Clan is published four times a week (Tue, Wed, Fri, Sun). You can see what's been written so far collected here. All posts will be posted under the Aresan Clan label. For summaries of the events so far, visit here. See my previous serial Vampire Wares collected here.

Friday, July 8, 2011


In Oak Park, MI they have a law that says that front yards must have "suitable, live, plant material." A woman decided to plant a vegetable garden in her front yard, but a city planner, Kevin Rulkowski subsequently decided it violated that law. Clearly it wasn't the "live, plant material part," since her vegetable garden is unambiguously that. The problem was with the ever-vague and subjective "suitable."

Of course what is "suitable" is entirely up to personal opinion, but Rulkowki decided to justify his decision by claiming:
If you look at the definition of what suitable is in Webster's dictionary, it will say common. So, if you look around and you look in any other community, what's common to a front yard is a nice, grass yard with beautiful trees and bushes and flowers
Since I was pretty sure that there is no connection between "suitable" and "common" in the english language, I went to my dictionary, and sure enough it uses words like "right" and "appropriate" but not "common." Just to check, I went to Merriam-Webster's online dictionary for a definition of "suitable," and again found words like "fitting" and "proper," but not a whiff of "common" there either.

Unsurprisingly, I'm not the first person to go to Merriam-Webster to confirm Rulkowski's mistake. It's actually led to a number of comments, 19 at the present count. My favorite is, "Suggestion for new antonym: Rulkowski."

An even better one can be found on the commentary to this story at The Agitator, where commenter "Jeff" says: "Walking through my little city, I occasionally see gardening boxes in a front yard. It always makes me smile, as it seems like a good use of space. Dare I say suitable?"

I would speculate that perhaps Rulkowski's dictionary is broken, though I suspect the problem is user errror.

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