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Category: language

Education is a cross I must bear

A recent TV commercial for Cancer Treatment Centers of America is making me cringe and is killing CTCA’s credibility. With me, anyway. The man talking about his treatment speaks of […]

Banished words

This year’s banished words, phrases

How I’ve missed it in past years is beyond me, but there is an annual Banished Words List produced by Lake Superior State University. This year’s list: fiscal cliff kick […]

What to do about Westboro Baptist Church

Unless you live in a cave, and even if you do, you’ve probably heard of the despicable Westboro Baptist Church whose members picket funerals with hateful, cruel homophobic signs. And […]

Lincoln was ‘socially hypergamous’

Just learned a new word: hypergamous. In the History Channel’s program “Lincoln,” Gore Vidal describes Lincoln as “socially hypergamous.” Sounds like something Vidal would say. Anyway, according to Wikipedia, “Hypergamy (colloquially referred […]

Chris Christie

Choked up over ‘full-throated’

I recently indulged in a little rant about unimaginative reporters who seem to think “hunkering down” is the only way to prepare for a hurricane. Today I came across an […]

hunker down

‘Hunkering down’ for hurricanes

I have restrained myself for approximately four years, so I’m giving myself permission to rant again about a particular pet peeve of mine. Back in 2008 I wrote: When reporters […]

West Wing, Martin Sheen

And now … Sorkinisms

If you’re a fan of Aaron Sorkin (I’m a huge fan), or even if you’re not, you’ll find this interesting. Now that I’ve seen it, however, I’m wondering if I’ll […]


Spell checkers and pullet surprises

I have a love/hate relationship with spell checkers. They’ve saved me some embarrassment on more than one occasion, but as often as not, they simply frustrate me. They flag words […]


Got apophenia?

Today is 11/11/11 or 11.11.11 or 11-11-11. It’s lovely to look at. A palindrome even. But there’s nothing special about the date other than its interesting appearance. The apocalypse is […]

Wordplay: newfangled

Newfangled. We all know what it means. But I started wondering if there was simply a fangle (there is), or such a thing as oldfangled (didn’t see it). The surprise […]

Pop vs. soda vs. whatever

(Updated May 19, 2013) It’s hard to imagine anyone spending much time browsing the Internet without coming across the colorful coke-pop-soda map, the one showing the preferred term for a […]

You’ll really sound precocious

Still scowling into my coffee this morning, I flipped open the laptop to read my email. And there was that word, leaping from the screen: supercalifragilisticexpiali-fuck-it Big. Bright blue. A […]