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Tuesday January 27, 2015
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Words and all that

Word time

Time for one of my periodic rants about the misuse of words. I've encountered two big ones in the same week, one of them twice.

The twofer is "slight" of hand instead of "sleight" of hand to mean prestidigitation, magic, fooling people, etc. Look, they sound the same, but mean different things, 'K? The only correct way to use "slight of hand" is to mean somebody with teeny, tiny hands. One of the goofs was in a newspaper article that should have been edited better, the other in a best-selling novel by an author who should know better.

The write stuff

I'm always on the lookout for good writing tips, both to improve my own work and to pass along to others who want to do likewise. Here's a good piece with six tips from Harvard's Steven Pinker. Two are expecially worth mentioning here.

The first is "Don't bury the lead":

Now they own it

Finally, they've come up with a name for our war/not war in Iraq in Syria, and it's exactly the kind of name you would expect for a futile, politically driven operation by an utterly incompetent administration:

More than two months after the U.S. first launched airstrikes against the Islamic State, the military mission has a name: “Inherent Resolve.”

Y'all come

Can we talk?

Compassion

Oh, for God's sake: Paul Ryan's Plan: Rebooting Compassionate Conservatism:

The ex-VP candidate has been touring the country has he formulates an anti-poverty plan Republicans can get behind. Now he’s unveiling some of the details.

[. . .]

And don't spit, either

If you go to Brighton, Mich., better watch your !@#$% mouth:

Quite the event

OK, class, your new word of the day is "eventize":

NEW YORK (AP) -- One day into the annual week where television's biggest networks reveal their future programming plans and it was clear what the buzzword was going to be: Eventize.

Go be generous, but not with my money

People Francis has coined my favorite new oxymoron:

On Friday, Francis called for the United Nations to promote a "worldwide ethical mobilization" of solidarity with the poor in a new spirit of generosity.

Yo, Will, congrats

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