Friday, January 16, 2015

Muphry's Law and Poor Little Rich Word

Muphry's Law struck again this week. (Yes that's Muphry, not Murphy. See "Eating My Own Words.")

Even though (or was it because?) I proofread it myself, the first line in my column went to print with a catastrophic error: Instead of "You can't be too rich or too thin," the first sentence said, "You can't be too rich or too poor."


Besides making no sense, it killed the whole lead of the article. Thank Heaven, the layout guy corrected the online article. (I told him I'm going to call him before Yom Kippur to remove some other transgressions for me.)

So, here it is again:

Poor Little Rich Word

Poor Little Rich Word

“You can’t be too rich or too thin.” Barry Popik, contributor to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), and the Sherlock Holmes of etymology, traces this slogan to several disreputable socialites.…

Monday, December 29, 2014

The Wizards of Oys - Hamodia


The Wizards of Oys 

It was some Shabbos in our Flatbush apartment. My daughter Naama and family were in from Israel; my son Meilech and family came in from Lakewood, N.J. Friday night, Meilech…

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Eating My Words: Muphry’s Law - Hamodia

In the first of these trips around the words, I quoted an essay by E.B. White. Reminiscing about when he revised William Strunk’s book, The Elements of Style, White wrote:…

Thursday, December 04, 2014

It’s Over - Hamodia

It's Over

It’s Over

I’m not a numbers person. The only thing for which I am indebted to the Arabs is coffee. Except for phone numbers, dates and prices, I rarely use numerals. I…

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Spinning Yarns - Hamodia

Spinning Yarns

Spinning Yarns

I’ve been noticing the word narrative in the news a lot. Taken at
face value, narrative means a particular interpretation or version of a
story. More cynically, narrative is an…

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Wired Services - Hamodia Language Column

Wired Services

If you’ve ever visited Israel’s Knesset, you know that no good speech goes unpunished. Certainly not one as momentous as when Prime Minister Menachem Begin presented his new peace treaty…

Monday, November 10, 2014

Saluting the Sarge

Salute to a Liberator
I just called the Sarge.

He's not feeling so great; can't hear with his left ear and the right ear isn't so great either.

At EaseBut he's still sharp as a bayonet. As soon as he heard my name, he thanked me for an article about Teddy Roosevelt I sent him a few months ago. And he promised to send me a copy of another article about TR.

I asked about Veterans Day and he said he doesn't get out much anymore.

For me, talking with the Sarge is a Veteran's Day Parade!