Foul Play on the Fowl at the Park

Am I getting more cautious or just older and nearing Alzheimer’s?  I find myself more and more checking the spelling and meaning of words at The latest example came when I wanted to e-mail a couple of friends about catching a baseball that went into the stands at a game I attended. On one e-mail […]

The Best Layed Plans (Pun Intended)

Okay, so I’m borrowing this from [tag]Stephen Wilbers[/tag], who writes a syndicated column on English grammar and mechanics.  This is a story of wordsmithing gone awry, as you’ll see. Right after World War II, Sears developed a device to turn a bathtub into a shower.  A hose went over the faucet, which connected to a shower head […]

Linking Verbs and Predicate Nominatives

I’ve written about [tag]linking verbs[/tag] before but never named the complement that completes a linking verb sentence.  This would be the famous [tag]predicate nominative[/tag].  Let me give you an example: "I am Gary."  The verb am is a form of the verb to be, which shows a state of being and therefore cannot take an object, […]

Here He Goes Again

[tag]Vincent Bugliosi[/tag], the Los Angeles District Attorney who tried and convicted [tag]Charles Manson[/tag], has come out with a 1,612-page book, with an additional 954 pages on a CD-ROM, defending the lone-assassin theory on the murder of [tag]John Kennedy[/tag]. I certainly haven’t read the tome, which is called Reclaiming History, nor will I since I have no […]

Here’s a Word for You: Quincunx

Somehow I got on this [tag]horoscope[/tag] e-mail list a while back.  Usually I ignore the e-mails but today decided to take a look and came across a word I had truly never seen before: quincunx. Dutifully, and feeling rather inadequate, I looked up quincunx in the dictionary.  Here goes the definition: “an arrangement of five objects, […]

Two Spaces or One?

When I took typing back in the seventh grade (personal computers weren’t even a glint in Steve Jobs’ eyes back then), I was taught to use two spaces after each period.  To this day I continue adding those two spaces as I type on my computer keyboard, a habit that is so thoroughly engrained in […]

Come On, Commish–Palaver?

Actually, [tag]NBA Commissioner David Stern[/tag] is not only a capable sports executive but also a learned, literate individual. On the [tag]Dan Patrick[/tag] show yesterday on ESPN radio, the Commish and host Patrick got into an exchange about the recent Phoenix-San Antonio player suspensions, during which Stern referred to the “palaver” on the airways about the […]

Don’t Listen to ‘Em

Your teachers, that is. Most will lead you astray.  Before they “teach” you how to write, read something they’ve written.  I bet nine times out of ten it will sound and read like aca-bureaucratic garble.  Aca here stands for academic, and I team it with bureaucratic because there’s been a great meeting of the minds […]

Rudest Language on Wheels

A survey is out showing drivers in Miami are the crudest, rudest in the States.  Now, I’ll have to tip my hat to these Floridian drivers if this survey is accurate.  If any drivers are ruder than those in my hometown of Los Angeles (which did rank in the top five on the survey), they […]