A Closer Look … Misuse-of-words-English-People-Incorrect-Wrong-

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A Closer Look

with Anthony Newcombe

Let’s take a closer look

A “Blast from the Past” Edition (so much fun, we’ll re-publish it!) 

Flubbing our words and phrases?   

nother vs. another (“That’s a whole nother world”) 

Uh, NO it is not.  But it IS a whole incorrect sentence.  I’ve sat in professional meetings, witnessed intelligent people on television and interacting on large city streets misuse this term over and over.  How about “a whole OTHER” perhaps? It’s easy to remember because all you have to do to not be wrong is simply drop one tiny letter, the “a” 

uncharted vs. unchartered (“We’re in uncharted territory”) 

Here lies another constant.  It is used with such frequency that even we may, at times, become confused as to which is the correct choice.  When navigating areas (or waters) that are unfamiliar are we “in uncharted waters” or are we in “unchartered waters?”   

I always believed, being part of the general “charter” community, that the correct usage would be unchartered; meaning “not ever having sailed through these waters.”  However, if we think of “uncharted” waters, we could reflect on our childhood where gold, treasures & stuff existed – and envision other option of “attempting to navigate a map without any defined charts.”   Who knows…? 

pacificly vs. specifically (“I was pacificly talking about the last time I saw him”) 

We probably first heard this one around the holiday dinner table spouted from the mouth of our Aunt Ida.  ‘Pacificly’ is NOT a word.  Just noticing all of the red underlining will tell you that spellcheck specifically disagrees with you.  However, “pacifically” IS an actual word, but is still incorrect if used in this situation.  It may refer to a large body of the earth’s ocean separating numerous islands that we would love to charter (or chart). 

relevant vs. relative (“It’s all relevant!!”) 

No, it is NOT.  My understanding is of ‘relevant’ is that which is pertinent to or important to something else.  ‘Relative’ is more of an “it depends” or “relates to.”  See? It’s easy to remember… 

supposably vs. supposedly  (“She was supposably the one…”) 

Supposably is just horrible all the way around.  (Again, see all of the red in spellcheck if you don’t trust me) It sounds like you took the wrong advice of your Uncle Vito from that fantasy sports commercial.  However, it is a never-ending misuse of a pretty cool word…supposedly.  “Supposable” is supposedly a word, whereas “supposably” is a sign of, well, incorrect grammar. 

misconfuse vs. misconstrue  (“He misconfused what I said to him”) 

This was one I heard about a decade or more ago on one of those live court television programs where an actual hitman in a criminal case testified using (or misusing) one big word after another.  It was so amazing that I couldn’t turn the television off and was late to the office as a result.  However, it continues to be a source of humor that my spouse and I still occasionally giggle about to this day. 

One final note 

Back in high school (a few years back), I recall a hilarious moment in English class when our teacher informed us that one of her students required a tongue-lashing for incorrectly using a transition.  In a nutshell, the student stated his idea in one sentence but then attempted to transition it with a new sentence beginning with “Another words” instead of “In other words.” Though I felt bad that the teacher publicly shamed him (she’d probably be fired for it in today’s class), I must admit that I laughed at it as much (and as loudly) as anyone.   

A ‘word to the wise’ (Oops, I mean “words” to the wise) 

  • K.I.S.S. (no, not the Gene Simmons variety) 
  • K-E-E-P 
  • I-T 
  • S-I-M-P-L-E 
  • S-I-M-P-L-E-T-O-N 

Anything you have to say? 

-A.N. 

A Closer Look … Baseball, meet Covid

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with Anthony Newcombe

Let’s take a closer look

Topic: PLAY BALL!! (just don’t spit or argue…and get Covid tested often!!)

Issue: Can baseball players really refrain from spitting?! Or, arguing? Or …

I guess it’s a valiant effort to think we can “field” a troupe of MLB players and count on them to refrain from spitting before, during, and after a game. However, do you think it’s perhaps a bit far-fetched we can achieve such a lofty goal? 

I mean, these guys (I do know a little bit about them) have been “takin’ a dip,” “puttin’ in a chaw,” and otherwise hockin’ loogies since practically tee ball. In fact, I could tell you some stories about guys who filled up 2-liter soda bottles with the “after-sauce” of Apple JackSkoalCopenhagen, or … well, take your pick, big boy.  

The point is that a good argument can be made that spitting is just as (if not more) linked to baseball than both apple pie and hot dogs are to the American culture. Baseball players spit … period.  Even the ones who don’t chew tobacco.  It’s part of the game folks. 

To add insult to injury, players will also be commanded to “not argue” with the field umpires and be available for plenty of Covid testing. Baseball and testing?! C’mon, man! Did you see what happened during the (steroid era) 90s and early 2000s? Again, testing and baseball haven’t mixed too well in the past. Let’s just leave that argument for a different day. 

Okay, so even if we can clear the above hurdles, we must also understand that, in lieu of screaming and adoring fans, the stands will be filled with … cardboard cutouts of fans. Yes, I said it, cardboard! If ever there was a reason to spit on something, this may be it.  

In this technological age, couldn’t we have come up with something more life like? How about holograms that are programmed to behave like regular fans? Or how about cartoons of fans who drink gallons of beer, scream obscenities at the top of their lungs, and hurl batteries (and other unmentionables) onto the field – without provocation?  Sounds kind of fun, huh? 

Or, how about this? How about making the holograms, well, (fake) spit! That way, the players will feel more at home for the opener … wait a second, did the rules committee just tell baseballers that they can’t adjust their, uh, “pant legs” either?  What is this world coming to?!! 

What do YOU think? 

-A.N. 

Seriously though, stay safe my readers! 

10th year anniversary re-release of book review

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of Last Words, by the masterful, late comic genius, George Carlin

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Last Words – by George Carlin (with Tony Hendra), 297 pps., 2009 

What I liked about this book 

Okay, full disclosure first.  I am a life-long fan of this man.  Although I never had the opportunity to see him LIVE, I did see many of the HBO specials and listened to many albums from childhood into adulthood.  It is no wonder that he and comedians like Richard Pryor were “joined at the hip” during their first days of comedy. 

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We Were Eight Years in Power

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narrated (audio book) by Ta-Nehisi Coates

publisher: Penguin Random House (audiobook version, 2018)

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Anthony’s FB Master Reading List (WritePlus)

What I learned from this book

Coates offers to us a deep understanding of what it is like to be living as an American through the eyes of a much different viewpoint than many are accustomed to hearing – that of the African-American male .  It is an eye-opening discourse on the “flip” side of the American dream and its historical remembrances – as well as many other accounts of the events that took place in this country over the past 400+ years. It really offers a brand new angle for the American public in how we might finally want to address both the answers (and new questions going forward) concerning our legacy.

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Becoming Michelle Obama

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  • written by Michelle Obama (pub. 2018), 415 pp.

Becoming Michelle Obama

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What I learned from this book

Actually, I was shocked at how much of the book was apolitical.  I thought going in it would be much more concentrated on White House events, but, much to my relief, there were many more life experiences in the overall mix.  My expectations were for 80% politics and 20% personal.  In fact, it was more like 90% personal!  It is much less a book about living in America’s equivalent of a “Royal Palace,” and much more about one woman’s “journey in its totality.”  It is about identity, the struggle, self-doubts and the dream.  It is about perseverance.  It is also about letting go when you need to let go. But, most of all, it is about family, good friends and, most importantly, always standing firmly alongside the ones you love the most – warts and all!!

What I liked about this book

I’ve read hundreds (if not thousands) of books in my lifetime.  However, rarely have I run across an autobiography that is this honest and forthright.  Seriously, one would think that autobiographies are meant to be the most candid, but, for the most part, most fall dreadfully short of this goal.  I know it sounds cliché, but Michelle Obama really knows how to “put the reader in her shoes.” She understands how to make the reader feel the way she felt in a specific moment, to hurt in her personal moments of real pain, and to feel joy when she was uplifted in one of her finer moments.  She is a real person, a “one-of-a-kind” – and that is a rare find!  (And I’m a poet and didn’t know it!)

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