Category Archives: Words and phrases


by Categorized: Words and phrases Date:

One of the most felicitous word choices of the year in this article:

Dr. Simons began his advances to Annarita Di Lorenzo, the Italian researcher, 18 years his junior, on Feb. 12, 2010, by slipping her a handwritten love letter in effortful Italian.

Oh. That effortful. It says so much.


Hole Foods

by Categorized: Words and phrases Date:

Wormhole, buttonhole, pigeonhole, cornhole.

So many holes.

Buttonhole is not the same as pigeonhole.

Ideologically, Hopkins-Cavanagh is hard to buttonhole. She was once a registered Libertarian. And when she ran unsuccessfully for mayor of New London in 2011, she was on the ballot as an unaffiliated candidate who had asked Connecticut’s Green Party for its support. She won 96 votes out of about 4,400 in that election.

No. She would be hard to buttonhole if lobbyists could not easily draw her aside.

Grammar Watch

by Categorized: Words and phrases Date:

We’re doing a show episode on grammar next Tuesday. 

Here we have a “fatal” example of a misplaced modifier.  I’m fairly certain the judge didn’t do any of those horrible things. (h/t R.R. Cooper)

Hartford Man Sentenced To 50 Years for Murder

The Hartford Courant

6:47 p.m. EST, February 27, 2014

HARTFORD — A year to the day after he wrapped his fingers around Krichindath Sawarie’s neck and strangled her, then slit her throat and stabbed her to make sure she was dead, a Hartford Superior Court judge sentenced Robert White to 50 years in prison.

Broccoli is an inflorescence

by Categorized: Uncategorized, Words and phrases Date:

A beautiful new (to me) word:

These plants, Brassica oleracea, or wild cabbage, were likely used as a food from Neolithic times. It is the parent and ancestor to a large number of cultivated offspring that are divided into seven or eight groups representing different plant forms. For example, the Capitata Group encompasses the common heading cabbages like savoy, green, red or spring greens varieties, with a terminal bud, botanically speaking. The Acephala Group includes most of the common leafy types like kale and collards, while kohlrabi is a swollen stem of the Gongylodes Group. Additionally cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and Tronchuda (Portuguese kale) each represent a different group. Broccoli is in the Italica Group, which, like cauliflower, is an inflorescence (flower cluster), yet the tissue has a number of single flower buds rather than being condensed into a solid head as it is in cauliflower. Altogether the plants of Brassica oleracea represent thousands of varieties, yet only one species.

Masters of Prochronism

by Categorized: Uncategorized, Words and phrases Date:

I am so happy to find out that somebody else is being driven nuts by this kind of thing.

My Significant Other is all-too-familiar with my muttering during many television shows — but especially “Masters of Sex.” — “They would not have said that then.” I’m amazed they haven’t said “Significant Other.” That’s exactly the kind of mistake they make all the time.

“Steep learning curve?” in the 1950s?  Are you kidding? That’s not even close.

And “parenting” on Downton Abbey! I croaked to the S.O. about that one too.

None of this, however, impinges upon my feelings for Liizy Caplan.