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Trying to Stay Relevant with an Aging Mind

Words and phrases that show your age. Uncool or rich in history and meaning? Now I’m too old to worry about whether I’m cool or not. Or is that too cool to worry about how old I am? I do know that it is still cool to use cool to mean something is, well, cool. It is one of the long-standing tidbits of slang that has lasted through multiple generations. Then again, that may not be true [...]

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By |2021-09-15T21:23:12+00:00September 15, 2021|English, Humor, Language, Phrases, Sayings, Words, Writing|

Nothing You Needed to Know about Minds and Brains

Don’t mind me if I pick my brain. The potential of the human mind is limitless. That’s a no-brainer. Well, without a brain, you couldn’t have a… Never mind. Anyway, I’m not talking about people who don’t have brains. Their potential for having a mind is severely limited. It has been demonstrated after years of pseudo-psychometric research and exhaustive testing of people (who don’t seem to mind) that if you still don’t have a mind once you [...]

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By |2021-07-22T00:46:41+00:00July 22, 2021|Brain, Human Mind, Humor, Memory|

Remembering Words We Seldom Use Anymore

Words come and go as the years go by. One of the great things about being young— as in late adolescence and well into the vague parameters of young adulthood— is you get to make up your own language and toss words and expressions your parents and grandparents are fond of onto the scrapheap. Words like scrapheap, for instance. I explored that subject a few years back in a newspaper column entitled: “Outliving a Big Chunk of [...]

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By |2021-06-17T20:24:44+00:00June 17, 2021|Pop Culture, Vocabulary, Words, Writing|

Making Our Points with Exclamations!

Exclamations should be used sparingly for impact. Get the point? I’m not big on exclamation points. I have to be exceedingly excited, angry or enthused to use them in my writing. You use such things sparingly for effect. And yet, as someone who edited many articles, commentaries and letters to the editor over the years, I’ve seen exclamations used so liberally it’s like the written form of shouting. You have undoubtedly seen correspondence, email and social media [...]

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By |2021-04-07T18:19:45+00:00April 7, 2021|Exclamations, Language, Punctuation, Sayings, Words|

A Man of Letters Fools Around with Acronyms

Digging up a growing glossary of acronyms. We are flooded with a sea of acronyms, which are essentially language shortcuts. They may be organizations or expressions that we know pretty well and are usually comprised of the first letters of most of the key words used, often excluding the definite (“the”) and indefinite (“a” and “an”) articles that tie them together. That’s why most of us say or write NASA and not National Aeronautics and Space Administration. [...]

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By |2021-02-24T19:58:03+00:00February 24, 2021|Acronyms, Names, Uncategorized, Vocabulary, Words|

For Those with a Longing for Length

Looking at some legendarily long words that will give you writer’s cramp. I have to confess that the unrelenting, verging on overwhelming, abuses of political power have left me in a temporary state of dumbfoundedness. Now that’s a long word, unrecognized by my spell-checker and even in some dictionaries. But it is legitimate and means being dumbfounded or amazed to the point of being unresponsive, flabbergasted or gobsmacked. My spell-checker doesn’t recognize the last one either, but [...]

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By |2020-09-23T17:33:27+00:00September 23, 2020|Extremes, Language, Longest Words, Vocabulary, Words, Writing|

It’s Getting Tougher to Say what We Mean

Is that your head or someone’s misshapen big toe? Just one letter can change meaning. The political landscape is getting crazier and crazier, but is it crazy in a good or a bad way? Are facts important to you— such as the things people actually do and say— or do we really have the option of alternate facts? How about the alternative of optional facts? My recent blog about the overwhelming evangelical support for President Trump was [...]

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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 [...]

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

Our Language Connects Us to Our Past

We say a lot of things without thinking much about them. And so it is with sayings and phrases we all use— many with ancient origins. A surprising number come from various translations of the Bible and, not so surprisingly, the Bard himself, Shakespeare. Some are regarded as clichés, but that only means that they are durable and we feel comfortable using them. There are so many of them that I can only randomly pick and choose my examples. [...]

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By |2016-06-08T14:43:27+00:00June 8, 2016|Bible, Euphemisms, Language, Sayings|
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