medication to treat arthritis

Meditations from the Track Changes Column

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In the course of editing the writing of clients, I encounter much in the way of ticks and bad habits, not to mention sheer ignorance, particularly in the writing of beginners and illiterati — of which I edit more than I’d like — in addition to the usual complement of routine mechanical . . . → Read More: Meditations from the Track Changes Column

Above and Below

Don’t you hate it when you see above and below used as nouns?

This lumpy construction usually occurs when the author wants to refer to material within text in a position relative to where the monstrosity occurs. (More precisely before and after, if you want to get literal about it.)

The above is what I believed at the . . . → Read More: Above and Below

There Are Not All Types of People

“There are all types of people in the world.” So claims an author I’ve been editing. Sounds like a truism, right?

No there’s not.

To say there is sounds as though there’s some master catalog of types, and that someone has checked to be sure there is at least one of each.

There are exactly as many types of . . . → Read More: There Are Not All Types of People

Uncircling, Unfriending, and Unfollowing

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Though I don’t maintain an ironclad bullet list of rules about who I follow in my social networks, certain annoyances move me to uncircle, unfriend, or unfollow persons posthaste. (All three italicized words are social networking neologisms.)

Give me full sentences in some reasonable semblance of English. Persons who write habitually in the abbreviated . . . → Read More: Uncircling, Unfriending, and Unfollowing

Pressing the Elevator Button

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Now and then I notice the way naive people make fun of more enlightened individuals who press elevator buttons repeatedly in an effort to make them arrive sooner. I’ve been known to beat on the call buttons of a few recalcitrant elevators myself. This actually works.

What these quipsters don’t know or have never . . . → Read More: Pressing the Elevator Button

About Legacy Posts

As of July 25, 2011, I have migrated over 130 articles from my Neologistics blog, where since August 2005 I have posted many unsorted articles, including items unrelated to editing, writing, or literature. The articles copied from the old site have all been labeled with the category LEGACY.

It has been a longstanding shortcoming of Google’s otherwise . . . → Read More: About Legacy Posts

My Visit with Queen Elizabeth II

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I had a dream last night about Queen Elizabeth II. Lovely woman, that one.

She came to our locality for a visit, accompanied only by a male attendant, whom I presumed to be a personal secretary.

She spoke at a function I was at, of undefined purpose.

I walked a few steps behind her as she . . . → Read More: My Visit with Queen Elizabeth II

A Former al-Qaeda Leader?

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Recently I read a news story that referred to Osama Bin Laden as the “former leader of al-Qaeda”. Former? Ha! Perhaps so in the same way that Hitler is a former Nazi, or Ted Bundy a former serial murderer, if we may refer to them at all in the present . . . → Read More: A Former al-Qaeda Leader?

Taking a Drink

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When we speak of taking some substance, in the sense of ingesting it, the verb take carries connotations of need, of measured and countable doses designed to satisfy a perceived deficiency.

Most people would not think of taking medicine unless they needed it to combat some physical malady. Each morning, when I make coffee, . . . → Read More: Taking a Drink

Running Only Four or Five Hours

Long ago I considered running the Mickelson Trail Marathon. It sounded like a good race to me, and besides, I hadn’t run a regular marathon in years; but running it would have required me to travel from Arizona to South Dakota.

When I proposed the idea to Suzy, her initial reaction was: . . . → Read More: Running Only Four or Five Hours

Reading in Installments

At any given time I have between one and seven books in my Recent Reading stack marked as current. These are books that I really am reading at present.

At this writing there are six on the stack:

Washington: A Life (Ron Chernow)
The Elements of Typographic Style (Robert Bringhurst)

The Associated Press Stylebook
Life (Keith Richards)
Marathon & . . . → Read More: Reading in Installments

Having a Thing

People will say “Such-and-such is not my thing.” People with “a thing” have too . . . → Read More: Having a Thing

Acquiring Wealth As a Writer

If I had a nickel for every time I said, “Schmork flump verwissenschatz und geheimlichen zonderfloozles,” I’d have . . . → Read More: Acquiring Wealth As a Writer

Living in a Caboose

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When I learned that a high school classmate moved to Israel to live in a caboose after we graduated, I thought that was a pretty weird choice. It was not until years later that I learned it was not a caboose he moved to, but a kibbutz.

It was still a strange choice, . . . → Read More: Living in a Caboose

Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself

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I’ve just finished reading a new book (2010) by David Lipsky, the title of this post. It’s about a five-day road trip author David Foster Wallace took in 1995 at the behest of Wallace’s publisher Little, Brown to promote his then new novel Infinite Jest, with Lipsky in tow, on assignment from Rolling Stone . . . → Read More: Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself

Moby Dick

Never read it. . . . → Read More: Moby Dick

Jefferson the Neologist

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In answer to some people who stodgily protested certain Americanisms that had crept into the writing of Jefferson’s founding requirements regarding the University of Virginia, he defended himself by asserting that as new discoveries are made, new words must be invented to name them. Continuing along that line, he said:

And give the word neologism . . . → Read More: Jefferson the Neologist

Take the Money and Run

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Wise and experienced persons ones solemnly proclaim, fingers a-wagging, that money and material prosperity do not bring happiness.

Duhh! Everyone knows that, but some who preach this less than profound truth seem to opine from the point of view that most people think that if they only had more money and material prosperity they . . . → Read More: Take the Money and Run

Ultrarunning Hyperbole

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Certain tainted words occur repeatedly in journalism about ultrarunning, all of which cause noisy alarms to go off in my head whenever I see them. The four most frequent culprits are:

crazy
grueling
test[ing] limits
extreme

Rarely have I ever read an article about ultrarunning by a non-ultrarunner that does not use the word crazy to describe the . . . → Read More: Ultrarunning Hyperbole

My Grandma

My Grandma Newton

had no automobile;
had no television;
had no radio;
had no telephone;
had an ice box instead of a refrigerator until 1952;
had no modern record player;
didn’t own a book except a Bible;
didn’t think much of music except hymns;
didn’t approve of my father’s choice of profession;
didn’t approve of dancing;
didn’t approve of alcohol;
didn’t approve of card playing;
would play Dominoes with . . . → Read More: My Grandma

The Real Inventor of the Internet

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An urban legend that circulated in 2000, one that persists today as a standing joke, was that Al Gore, then running for the office President of the United States, made the wild claim to have “invented the Internet.” Although Gore made no such claim, he did frequently talk about the . . . → Read More: The Real Inventor of the Internet

Rubber Baby Buffer Dumpers

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Can you say “rubber baby buffer dumpers” ten times real fast?

It is not without reason that this blog has not been updated regularly for the last year. I apologize to all zero readers who have missed it.

Once an author being interviewed on NPR mused that the truly great authors, a group . . . → Read More: Rubber Baby Buffer Dumpers

Real Men Love Work

Author’s Note: I wrote this piece in February 2002, but never got around to publishing it. It seems particularly appropriate in these times of economic crisis to do so now.

Some people work for pleasure, others for money. It’s a fact of today’s life that most adults—men and women alike—must work outside their homes to earn money, whether . . . → Read More: Real Men Love Work

Self Improvement

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One day in 1972, while browsing in a book store in Manhattan, I stumbled across a 246-page, cartoon filled self-help pocket book with the eyebrow-raising title How to Develop Your Thinking Ability—A guide to sound decisions by Kenneth S. Keyes, Jr., which I purchased on impulse for a whopping $2.45.

Given . . . → Read More: Self Improvement

Nuggets

As I prepare to move in a few days into our new house in the Berwick community of Columbus, these thoughts cross my mind.

Long ago I attended a church service on Communion Sunday, when they pass around bread and wine. Next to me was a lady I never saw before, one who struck me . . . → Read More: Nuggets

MANLY Sports

There have been far too many sissy sports allowed into the Olympics, and personally, I’m weary of it. I say it’s time to beef up the agenda a bit with a few more MANLY sports. Here are some suggestions.

Hitting other MEN in the face as hard as you can until they fall unconscious. Oh wait, they . . . → Read More: MANLY Sports

The Power of Negative Thinking

Dilbert

Some time ago there was a Dilbert strip wherein, when charged with having a bad attitude, Dilbert responds: “My attitude is proof that I am thinking clearly.”

In one of the conference rooms at the now defunct Motorola Computer Group there was a plaque with a quote from CEO Bob Galvin that said: “Come to work . . . → Read More: The Power of Negative Thinking

How to Tell the Difference

On a long walk though Columbus, as I headed up Neil Street, I saw an earnest looking young man sitting on the front steps of his Victorian home. He was holding something close and rocking back and forth rhythmically. As I observed him on approach, I guessed he was either religious . . . → Read More: How to Tell the Difference

Drivel

Here are some thoughts I’ve wanted to express for a long time.

Yesterday I thought of a great mnemonic device, but I forgot what it was. I’m fully aware of the irony of this situation. Or maybe I was just looking for a way to use “irony” in a sentence.
Have you ever noticed? There . . . → Read More: Drivel

On TV

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We often hear people say dismissively: “Yeah, most of what’s on TV these days is junk, not worth watching.” The point-of-view seems to imply that the ones saying it have actually watched “most of what’s on TV these days’” so as to make a proper evaluation, which says much about . . . → Read More: On TV

Life’s Great Ironies

Did you know that

M O T H E R   I N   L A W

is an anagram for

W O M A N     H I T L E R

That charming coincidence certainly applied well to my first one.
To her daughter too, come to think . . . → Read More: Life’s Great Ironies

The Consummate Word

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P.G. Wodehouse.

What he said.

How he . . . → Read More: The Consummate Word

What Is Jogging?

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Louis Armstrong allegedly said once, when asked what jazz is, if you have to ask, you’ll never know. In a roughly similar way, I’ve found that there are three types of people in this world who run: runners, joggers, and those who don’t know the difference. The attempt to define . . . → Read More: What Is Jogging?

From the Snake Oil Department

Tonight my wife brought home one of those ladies magazines full of self-improvement schemes targeted at desperate women of the type who are not in the habit of thinking things through clearly.

The titles on the cover featured articles designed to help women lose “winter toxins” (toxins??? name one), another about how to make a . . . → Read More: From the Snake Oil Department

Do-Tasks and Not-Do-Tasks

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There are two kinds of tasks: Do-Tasks and Not-Do-Tasks.

Most of the big life goals we set out to accomplish are achieved by Doing a sometimes complex array of tasks, often in some logical order. For instance, say I want to run an ultramarathon: I know I must train for it, so . . . → Read More: Do-Tasks and Not-Do-Tasks

Neglected Pianos

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Sometimes I hear about neglected pianos, upon which I go on a bit of a rampage. As the owner of a Steinway model K, which I bought brand new from the dealer, an instrument I have always tuned and cared for myself, the idea of a piano sitting in a . . . → Read More: Neglected Pianos

A Thought on Literary Precision

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Compare the consequences of a lack of a single punctuation mark in English and in software. Imagine what would happen if high school students were not permitted to graduate for failing to insert a quotation mark in an essay.

I’ve heard the likely apocryphal story of how the lack of . . . → Read More: A Thought on Literary Precision

Mechanical Aids in Races

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The use of mechanical aids to assist a runner in moving forward is against the rules in most ultramarathons. For instance, a runner will be disqualified for getting a lift in a car, riding a bicycle, or hopping along on a pogo stick.

Some fools classify trekking . . . → Read More: Mechanical Aids in Races

The Paradox of Censorship

Censorship imposed on one sector of society by another is an act of the first group’s taking away freedoms that belong to the second group, regardless of the first group’s intent.

Censorship is perpetrated by persons, organizations, committees who have seen, heard, read information they don’t like or approve of, and so set . . . → Read More: The Paradox of Censorship

Failed Diets

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Some diet plans, notably Weighwatchers, depend on logging everything that is eaten, playing on the theory that if you have to log it, you may eat less.

One reason some people fail miserably in all attempts to control weight is because they become obsessed with food, and in the process . . . → Read More: Failed Diets

Routines

A friend once told me: “The more I repeat things the more good things happen.” He spoke of living his life according to an orderly daily routine.

Most lives progress in cycles with controlled variations, from which emanate all that becomes one’s productivity, that by means of which we will make our mark, . . . → Read More: Routines

Boredom Yet Again

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Time for a rant: About being bored on the track—speaking as one who has spent a total of twenty-three 24-hour days and nights circling various tracks and short, flat pieces of road. The topic comes up often.

Persons who say that they are bored, as distinguished from those who fear they may . . . → Read More: Boredom Yet Again

Such a Lonely Word

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We recently heard a Bible talk that touched on honesty. It included exhortation to students to avoid looking at someone else’s paper during tests.

My high school (attended 1957-1961) prided itself on what it called the “honor system,” something they began to prepare us for as early as seventh grade. . . . → Read More: Such a Lonely Word

What Is Economy?

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Recently I mentioned to a friend that it was difficult to communicate with some persons I need to keep in touch with because they either do not use computers, or do so infrequently. Sending them email is next to useless, and other means of contacting them is way too slow. He suggested that . . . → Read More: What Is Economy?

Half Crazy

Most distance runners have been asked by non-runners: “How far is that marathon you’ll be running?” We all have our own saucy answers. I’m sure somewhere there’s a smart aleck who replies: “It’s just a standard marathon.” “Ummm … Oh! Great!”

One day a man at the gym asked me as I whizzed . . . → Read More: Half Crazy

Chips Off the Workbench

Welcome to my verbal webcam. It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything, as I’ve been busy with work and the upcoming race Across the Years. Meanwhile, here are a few thoughts that pass through my eccentric mind.

When people ask me why I run so much at my age I tell them I’m hoping to be . . . → Read More: Chips Off the Workbench

The Dumbing Down of Holidays

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Modern American society has dumbed down so-called holidays. The word “holiday” is derived from and sounds like an Old English expression “holy day,” a day set aside for religious observance, for worship of and paying tribute to God. These days few people are willing to be thought of as devoting . . . → Read More: The Dumbing Down of Holidays

On Being a Soldier

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People can put any spin they want on words to defend war and those who join the military — willingly or otherwise. They can call them freedom fighters or defenders, and imply they had a choice by saying they make sacrifices. The one that gets me is when they . . . → Read More: On Being a Soldier

To-Do Lists

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I don’t do things unless I’ve added them to a to-do list. Sometimes my wife will ask me to do something. I’ll say, “But that’s not on my list.” She’ll say, “So put it on your list.” So I put it on my list. Then I’ll do it . . . → Read More: To-Do Lists

On Saying God

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Near the beginning of John Updike’s novel Rabbit, Run the main character Rabbit and his wife Janet are having a minor tiff while Janet watches Mickey Mouse Club on TV. Chief adult Mousketeer Jimmy appears onscreen and the following takes place, beginning with Jimmy’s words:

“God doesn’t want a tree to be a waterfall . . . → Read More: On Saying God

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