The L word and the C word

I was excited to see the newspaper headline "Bielema liberal." "After all those neo-Nazis, we've finally got a coach who thinks right," I told friends. "I wonder if he belongs to the ADA."

Who's exasperated?

Jim Newell was gripped by exasperation himself after reading this item in the business section. "Exacerbated" is the word the writer wanted, he sagely suggests.

We will run no race before it's ripe

"What year would Oaklawn recognize as its 100th anniversary? After all, Oaklawn's advertising material is ripe with 'Since 1904,' but it's widely reported the first race wasn't run until 1905."

Big bee man

"David Hay, the bee master at the 45th annual U-T San Diego Countywide Spelling Bee, had to call a recess halfway through the two-student final round after the 92 middle-schoolers competing exhausted his supply of 500 words."

Commandeer the refs too

"This hashtag-heavy era of puffery places marketing weight on Anderson's claim to commandeer the fastest team in the country, but nobody would accuse any of his three squads to date of playing with much composure."

Bring the cauliflower too

What is the sound of one brussel sprouting?

Livestock report

This being an election year, many trite old political terms will be brought out for another interminable go. One such is dark horse. I recently stumbled across the fact that dark horse was created by none other than the Ol' Diz. No, not the great right-handed pitcher from Arkansas, Dizzy Dean. The other one.

It had to be byss

Among the things Winston Churchill knew that I don't (a rather lengthy list, incidentally): "There are learned men who do not know that byss is the opposite of abyss.

Local fatigue

Has there been a word or phrase so commonly used in political discourse recently, and so little understood, as "private option"?

As me no thans

They don't go together like a horse and carriage.

From Kipling to Jones

Some people, including me at times, have trouble with evoke and invoke.

Of quants and crackers

"How quants have led us astray," the headline said, and I thought, "What have those Dionne girls been up to now?"

Of against

We've talked before about there being no formal rules for choosing the correct preposition. Mostly, one learns through usage, by paying attention to what people say and write.


A reader asks whether a brazen lie is bald-faced or boldfaced.

The duke himself

As far as I can recall, I never knew that there was a difference between a lawyer and an attorney.

Butterball up creek

"A 26-year-old North Little Rock man who told police he abandoned a woman 'butterball naked' outside an empty house after breaking a promise to pay her for sex was sentenced to life in prison Thursday by a jury that convicted him of kidnapping."

Impractical donuts

I've fought the impractical/impracticable battle before. It's left me with scars and not much else.

Editing czar

Not much in the way of language error gets by the Arkansas Times' managing editor, Leslie Peacock. I've had personal experience with this. Leslie advises me there's a television series on AETN about a character named Doc Martin, "who is phobic about blood."

Birth of the boos

I can remember when fans didn't boo at Razorback games, or at college games generally. That's changed obviously, and it started me wondering about, among other things, where the word boo comes from.

Attorney seems nicer

The old Arkansas Gazette observed a distinction between lawyer and attorney, and if you worked there, you were expected to remember it. I did and still do, but I think that it's largely ignored in general usage today.