Book Review: The Word Exchange by Alena Graedon

By now, the printed word must feel like a mashup of Tom Sawyer and the movie Groundhog Day. For probably a couple decades now, it has attended its own funeral over and over and over and over, ad nauseum. But if we assume one of those countless pronouncements of death is correct, what about words […]

Remembering Lenny Bruce

Today is the 40th anniversary of George Carlin’s “Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television” routine. So why is this blog post about Lenny Bruce? Because as an Atlantic look at the significance of the routine points out — and as Carlin would freely admit — Lenny Bruce paved the way.

Bruce has long […]

Tingo time again

About two years ago, I came across a British newspaper article on a book by a former BBC researcher exploring the breadth and often intriguing nature of about foreign words and phrases. I wrote about some of the words I enjoyed. The book wasn’t available in the U.S. then but I recently came across the […]

Are they so deadly I should eschew them completely?

Prompting a bit of attention in the book blogosphere this week is a NY Times blog post on the Seven Deadly Words of Book Reviewing. At first glance, I thought it unlikely I had sinned by using the words (poignant, compelling, intriguing, eschew, craft, muse, lyrical). When I checked, though, I have committed a few […]

The word you’ve been searching for?

English is a strange yet versatile language. Words that are spelled the same can vary in meaning or pronunciation depending on the context (a “lead balloon” depends on whether you’re talking about a balloon race or a bad idea) while others change depending on the tense (“read,” for example). Still, there are times when the […]