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…and Now for a Few Hundred Words about Words

Words may be long, short, misleading, instructive, inspiring or denigrating. It’s time to take a break from current events for something that makes a little more sense. I will revisit a topic I’ve written more about over the years than anything else. I am referring, of course, to the fascinating English language. I don’t know where I’d be without it, even though I have abused, mistreated and even abandoned it on occasion. And yet I still love [...]


By |2020-05-27T17:52:38+00:00May 27, 2020|English, Euphemisms, Language, Uncategorized, Vocabulary, Words|

Emails from the Trumps to a Real Patriot

Do you really love me or is this the end of our budding bromance? I usually wait until Wednesday for my weekly blog, but I have some exciting news to share and I couldn’t wait. I had to get this on record before my 15 minutes of fame runs out. You see, I am apparently very important to the Trump family and several of their closest confidants. Go figure. The President asks about me a lot, even [...]


Curdling the Milk of Human Kindness

Sometimes it takes some digging to get to the truth I guess you might call this the era of fake news, so our biggest challenge as informed citizens is to get real and not live life like a reality show. It’s about exploiting our biases with adulterated or downright phony stories that get passed along until they amass hundreds of thousands, even millions, of believers. The 21st Century version is nurtured and promulgated by social media and [...]


Looking at the Decline of Civility in America

One of the definitions of civility is “the act of showing regard for others,” and that is how I see it. It is a synonym for politeness. But it is more than that. Politeness can be perfunctory with an air of detachment, as is the case with much learned behavior. Civility is about being considerate, even respectful, to both intimates and adversaries. “Civility costs nothing and buys everything,” Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, English aristocrat, once advised her daughter. That [...]


By |2018-07-24T15:21:52+00:00July 24, 2018|Uncategorized|

Our Greatest Gift? Keeping Enemies Off U.S. Soil

There seems to be widespread disagreement over just how bad things are nowadays on the home front, whether they rank among the most divisive times or pretty ordinary or downright inspiring. I see little of inspiration from either the White House or Capitol Hill, but apparently some do. The key here are the two words “home front.” That’s how we are all getting along here in these United States of America. Times of war — at least the biggest [...]


By |2018-07-24T15:19:40+00:00July 24, 2018|Uncategorized|

Newspapers Join List of Mass Murder Targets

The amazing thing about the mass shooting last week at the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, MD, is that it didn’t happen sooner at another newspaper. It marked the mass shooting No. 154 since the summer of 1966, with a mass shooting defined as one person fatally shooting and killing at least four people in a single event. Not one of those 154 shootings occurred at a newspaper, and I could find none since the University of Texas tower shootings [...]


By |2018-07-24T15:16:42+00:00July 24, 2018|Uncategorized|

Evil Grows Slow Until It’s Over Your Head

I am consistently drawn to two critical periods of the past — the American Civil War and World War II. They are fascinating because they beg you to try to understand, in the former, why the subjugation of other human beings, slavery, became a way of life in parts of our country and tolerated by the rest. We had to fight a war, mostly driven by the slavery issue with states’ rights as a subplot in the narrative, and [...]


By |2018-07-24T15:13:42+00:00July 24, 2018|Uncategorized|

Cyber Schooling Shouldn’t Cripple Public Education

When Wyalusing (PA) School Superintendent Jason Bottiglieri gave his State of the School District presentation recently, I was struck by one number — $600,000. That is what it is cost this rural district for students within the district who are receiving their education via cyber charter schools. Dr. Bottiglieri expects that expenditure to surpass $1 million in the coming school year because of changes in the formula that determines how much school districts have to pay cyber schools. While [...]


By |2018-07-24T15:07:47+00:00July 24, 2018|Uncategorized|

Do We Know Real Courage When We See It?

The list of those to whom we pay homage on Memorial Day includes all veterans who died in service, whatever the circumstances, and those who came home from their war and have since been laid to rest. That’s why many cemeteries place flags on all veterans’ graves for Memorial Day. My father and my father-in-law, both of whom served during World War II, have been laid to rest at their respective cemeteries in Camptown and Wyalusing. My father was [...]


By |2018-07-24T15:04:01+00:00July 24, 2018|Uncategorized|

Wondering about Origins of Our Words

I remember Hubert Humphrey as a jolly old politico who served as Vice President of the United States and then lost to Richard Nixon in the 1968 presidential election. I wasn’t quite old enough to vote then and memories of him are vague, but I do remember him for using the expression “pleased as punch.” He said it so often that comics impersonating him almost always used it. It was silly and seemed to make no sense. How could [...]


By |2018-07-24T15:00:53+00:00July 24, 2018|Uncategorized|
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