A gently appealing advertisement inspiring us to “Go RV-ing,” airing between Sunday travel shows, has a happy outdoorswoman in cuddly warm gear scooping up a handful of what appear to be cedar twigs and commenting on the wonderful smell of fresh pine.

Maybe I am being Maine-centric, Eastern-white-pine-chauvinist. There are a great many varieties of pine tree worldwide, so maybe there are pine trees with needles that look like cedar. Point taken. I could easily be wrong. I do not know where the ad was filmed or where our reveling camper purports to be vacationing, but those fragrant green softwood tips don’t look like any kind of pine I’ve ever seen. They look a lot like cedar. Nothing wrong with cedar; many varieties are delightfully fragrant and it would make perfectly good ad copy, in hopes of encouraging vacationers to the back-country, to remark on “the wonderful smell of fresh cedar,” but no.

We roll our eyes around here at the red lobsters who talk in cartoons, advertisements, novelty souvenirs, greeting cards, etc. “What? What’s wrong?” we hear from our friends visiting Maine from places where live lobsters are not a common part of the background. Note to readers in South Dakota: a red lobster, excepting the rare genetic anomaly, is a cooked, i.e., dead lobster. No dialogue bubble should be required.

Maybe that’s being overly persnickety. After all, if an illustrator puts a greenish-brown lobster on a coffee mug for sale way inland, people could conceivably say, “That’s not what color lobsters are.…” Fair enough. But we would not expect similar error in a “newspaper of record” or in a periodical which serves, specifically, enthusiasts of whatever relevant hobby. Yet in both, the spruce forest of Matinicus has been referred to in publication as being made up of “pine trees.” What is it about basic tree identification that so escapes visiting writers? These are not obscure trees.

The problem isn’t the occasional honest mistake; we all make those. The problem is an attitude that it doesn’t matter. I should travel to Iowa and do a story about corn and call it sorghum.

We used to laugh out loud at the television ad for “Quilted Northern” paper towels a few years back that depicted a cartoon image of a “quilting bee,” with simple line-drawn “quilters” resembling old ladies sitting around the perimeter of a sheet of the stuff, happily crafting the quilting … with knitting needles. Yup; click-click-click. For that matter, many images that depict people knitting — intentionally — but that are not actually about knitting have the pair of needles oriented with the points down, which is really doing it the hard way. Nobody knits like that.

There was an image going around recently where we see a young woman soldering. I don’t remember what the context was or what was being showcased; we are supposed to see a woman doing a traditionally male STEM-type job, I suppose; it involved electronics, after all. Only problem is, she’s holding what would be the hot part of the soldering iron. Those of us who have ever soldered see the picture and wince, immediately thinking, “Aah! That’ll hurt!” (I am told that the electrical engineers get quickly beyond the physical pain thing and ask, “Why is she soldering on that board? It’s already complete.” That is beyond my pay grade, but goes to show how easy it is not to notice if it isn’t your job.)

It used to be my husband’s job to pay attention to the power lines. Thus, he noticed something odd about the gradually shifting imagery in the stop-the-Central Maine Power–corridor message recently on television. The pictures sort of randomly mix up massive transmission lines which might carry, say, 115,000 volts (think steel structures, long strings of insulators) with roadside distribution (Hendricks’ suspension, pole-top pins, wooden cross-arms…). Oh well; nobody understands that stuff, right?

A favorite, both for its harmless silliness and shameless display of gentrified, affluent vapidity, depicts a man sitting on the ground casually playing an upside-down and backwards trombone. It’s a Macy’s ad. The horn is basically unplayable; we’re just supposed to notice how cool he looks in that leather jacket. (This one thanks to former Maine Public classical music host Suzanne Nance, by the way.)

Firemen, EMTs, and emergency physicians shake their heads at the boob-tube all the time, with actors bollixing up the rescue apparatus and everybody saying “Stat!” all the time. “That isn’t how that works,” sigh the professionals. A couple of friends who respond out of fire stations report, “We can’t watch those shows; there’s just too much yelling at the TV.”

My husband has his own stern lecture for the television, and these are words I hear fairly frequently as he watches the news: “Those are telephone lines, you idiot!”