usingtherightwords

Guaranteed to improve your English

Bonds. Types of Bonds (and Other Terms)


Here in California, an election always means numerous ballot propositions. And chief among them are bond measures. Here in California, it seems we never want to balance our books to pay for something. We want to go into more debt, so we authorize the government to sell general obligation bonds. These are bonds that the government promises to repay with interest.

A bond is a certificate issued by a corporation or government that states the loan amount, the interest to be paid, the time to pay it out, and the collateral pledged if the payment can’t be made. Repayment often usually happens after many years.

There are numerous types of general obligation bonds. A full faith and credit bond is another name for a general obligation bond. A municipal bond is a general obligation bond issued by a state, county, city, town, village, possession or territory. It generally exempts the holder from paying state and local taxes if the holder lives in the state in which the bond originates.

Beside general obligation bonds, there are convertible bonds, which carry a stipulation that it may be exchanged for a specific amount of stock in the issuing company.

A moral obligation bond is a government bond that hasn’t been approved by either the voters or a legislature.

A revenue bond is a bond backed only by the revenue of the facility that was built with the money the bonds raised.

Other terms:

Collateral — Whatever is pledged if the lender can’t repay a loan.

Coupon — The interest rate stated on a bond and paid to a bondholder, usually semiannually.

Debenture — A certificate that states the loan’s amount, interest and repayment period, but it doesn’t provide collateral. Instead, it’s backed by a corporation’s reputation and promise to pay.

Default — Describes when a bond isn’t repaid.

Maturity — The date the bond must be repaid.

Note — It’s similar to a bond, but the payout happens sooner, usually between one and eight years.

Treasury borrowing — A Treasury bill is a certificate representing a loan to the federal government that matures in three, six or 12 months. A Treasury note matures in 1-10 years. A Treasury bond matures in more than 10 years.

Until next time! Use the right words!

leebarnathan.com 

May 5, 2021 Posted by | Communication, Uncategorized, usage | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Networking Nonsense: Oh, the Words People Utter!


For the first time in more than a year, a networking group I belong to met in person. It was great to see the people again, but one thing didn’t change: Their abilities to say things that make me say, “What?”

I call these utterances “Networking nonsense.” In 90 minutes, I heard the following four:

They didn’t know I degutted the place — A CBD store owner described how thieves broke into her business but took nothing because she had removed all of her products. She probably meant to say “I gutted the place” because to de-gut the place would be to build it back up!

We’re supposed to open in June, according to Newsom. Don’t know if he’ll be around them. Maybe we’ll have Caitlin Jenner — California Gov. Gavin Newsom has targeted June 15 as the day the entire state reopens. Newsom also is facing a recall, and Jenner has announced she is running to replace Newsom should the voters remove him.

There’s just one problem: Voters will decide Newsom’s fate in November, thus guaranteeing Newsom will be around in June.

I had four hole-in-ones — Ah, misplaced plurals. Like with attorneys general and mothers-in-law, the correct term is holes-in-one.

My sewing machine business quadripled — I don’t know how many times that is, but if his business tripled or quadrupled during the pandemic, I salute him.

When I hear such things, I am reminded of the following scene from “Blazing Saddles.”

Until next time! Use the right words!

leebarnathan.com 

May 4, 2021 Posted by | Communication, Humor, malapropisms, Uncategorized, usage | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Chasing Away the COVID Blues with Jokes


As it’s now been more than a year since the pandemic struck, comedians have had more than enough time to come up with jokes about COVID. Here are some of the latest I heard at a recent Zoom show.

Jason Love, the host for these every-two-weeks shindigs, has a new definition of tweener: a person who has received their first vaccination shot and is awaiting their second.

He also told of a friend who complained that he feels invisible. “Have you tried coughing in public?” Love said.

Brandon Vestal recalled that early in the pandemic, he wanted to go into a store, but the guy working there wouldn’t let him because he didn’t have a mask — yet he was selling masks inside.

Vestal asked if the guy would sell him a mask. The guy said yes.

Vestal asked if he could come in and buy the mask. The guy said no.

“So we stared at each other. That was it,” Vestal said.

He also recalled spending a layover at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas in which the only restaurant that was open was Burger King.

He asked why. “COVID,” he was told. 

“Can I eat COVID?” he asked.

COVID, Vestal said, has taught him, “It’s going to be years, or generations, before people say they are retiring because they want to spend more time with their family.”

In fact, Joe Sib said he now can die knowing he’ll never regret the time he spent with his family. “No more family vacations,” he said. “We did that for six months!”

Vestal also noticed dogs are tired of walking. He saw a dog that looked like it was saying, “If you take me out again, I’m going to bite a kid, and they’ll put me to sleep, because I’m so exhausted.”

Sib said he got his first shot. “It came with a side of ranch.”

That got him thinking, “Why not get Budweiser involved? If (every shot) came with a 12-pack, everybody would get involved.”

Finally, Mia Jackson found one advantage to the pandemic. Now that she’s venturing out again, she’s meeting up with friends, and they notice she looks different.

She tells them she’s lost weight. “How much?” they ask.

“Fifty pounds,” she tells them.

“It’s really 10, but they don’t know.” 

They’re all on YouTube. Check them out, and then check them out in a comedy club when you can.

Until next time! Use the right words!

leebarnathan.com 

April 21, 2021 Posted by | Communication, Humor, Uncategorized, usage | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Where are You? Can You Be More Specific?


I live in Los Angeles. The vast majority of people know where Los Angeles is.

But what if you live in Kansas City? Are you in the largest city in Missouri, or are you seven miles away across the Kansas border?

What about Portland? Is that the largest city in Oregon or the largest city in Maine?

It is important to be able to tell people where you are without confusion. Since I’m from L.A., when I mention Hollywood, it’s a safe bet I’m talking about the entertainment mecca. But there’s also a Hollywood in Florida.

Every New Year’s Day (except when there’s a big war or pandemic), many gather in Pasadena to watch the Tournament of Roses Parade. People who watch in person (and tune in on TV) know that’s in California. But there’s also a Pasadena in Texas.

So, here’s a list of cities that you can pretty much say without having to specify what state they’re in:

Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Honolulu, Houston, Indianapolis, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, New Orleans, New York, Oklahoma City, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, Washington.

This by far is not a complete list. For example, it’s likely that if you refer to Albany, people are automatically going to think you mean the capital of New York. If you refer to Tacoma, it’s a safe bet you’re referencing that Washington city.

Football folks are safe to simply say “Green Bay” or “Buffalo.” Basketball buffs know “Sacramento.” Hockey heads don’t need anything beyond “San Jose,” “Nashville” or “Columbus.” And I’ll bet baseball fans fully understand “Oakland,” “Anaheim” and “Arlington.”

But that brings me to a point about context. In baseball, Arlington means the city where the Texas Rangers play. In another context, Arlington is a national cemetery outside Washington (and Washington, like New York, could refer to a city or a state).

And I haven’t even mentioned Canadian cities (Toronto, Montreal, Quebec City are understood; hockey fans know Edmonton and rodeo followers know Calgary, but is Vancouver in British Columbia or Washington?).

Nor have I said much about other international cities. Mexico City, Guatemala City, Kuwait City, Panama City and Vatican City are understood to be in those countries. Most everyone knows where Amsterdam, Baghdad, Bangkok, Beijing, Berlin, Brussels, Cairo, Geneva, Hong Kong, Havana, Jerusalem, London, Madrid, Moscow, Paris, Rio de Janeiro, Rome, Shanghai, Stockholm, Sydney, Tokyo and Vienna are.

When in doubt, spell it out. Say the state, province or country name. Know your audience. Some of these tips might seem contradictory. That’s language for you.

Until next time! Use the right words!

leebarnathan.com 

April 20, 2021 Posted by | baseball, Communication, langauge, Uncategorized, usage | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Comedians Riff on Hawaii and Getting Older


Continuing my series on good writing from comedians, here are some more nuggets I heard from a recent Zoom show.

As always, Jason Love, the host, had a few good lines. He acknowledged that with more people getting vaccinated, they soon will be getting out and doing more than in the last year. Sports fans have started or will soon be attending games again. But he paused when it came to baseball because the games are too long.

“Any time you have to incorporate a stretch, that’s a red flag,” Love said.

An event pairing he doesn’t look forward to: wine tasting and hot air ballooning. “Now that you’re buzzed, risk your life,” is how he described it.

Kermet Apio said he grew up struggling with his name. When he came home from school, his mom would ask how it went.

“My name’s Kermet, Mom, what do you think?” he replied, “and the green bell-bottoms didn’t help.”

Apio noted one positive during the pandemic. In May, he was in line at a store wearing his mask and socially distancing. A man with no mask came up and stood too close to Apio for his comfort.

The man asked Apio, “So, do you think that mask is helping?”

Apio replied, “Well, you aren’t looking at my boobs, so yes.”

Much of the show had two themes: Hawaii and getting older. Love said he read that a guy tried to sue a company that makes Hawaiian bread because it wasn’t made in Hawaii. 

“Are you telling me that Dr Pepper isn’s a real doctor?” Love asked in mock incredulity. “Tell that to my diabetes.”

Apio said he’s from Hawaii and objects to what people call Hawaiian pizza “because we Hawaiians really love our Canadian bacon,” he said with great sarcasm. “If you want a Hawaiian pizza, put Spam on it. Hawaiians love Spam. It wasn’t until I left Hawaii that I realized nobody else likes it.”

As for aging, most of John Wing’s set dealt with it. He said he was 61 “but I’m reading at a 65-year-old level. I don’t dye my hair; I bleach my face.”

Then he gave several examples of being old enough to remember…

—when his pediatrician smoked throughout his examination when he was 6.

—when he entered the “looks good naked” and “looks OK naked” phases of life. Unfortunately, he said he’s now in the “doesn’t look good naked” phase.

—not having to shave his ears.

—when there was just one TV in the house. His parents called it the idiot box. Now, we have idiot phones, but that’s too long to say, so it’s been shortened to iPhone.

He also notices that when he drops something now, he has to think about whether he really needs it. And he purposely walks around with his fly open because he has to pee every 10 minutes “and with arthritis, I can’t be playing with my zipper.”

Nick Cobb said his father recently turned 70, but he didn’t know what gift to get him given his current economic situation. He thought about a hand-traced turkey or a Cheerio necklace and then suggested, “How about you take $60 out of what you give me every month and have fun?”

Apio said he’s in his early 50s, and for everyone who thinks that’s old, “I take the Walkman out of my Members Only jacket and ignore them.

He’s also found “9:30 is the new midnight.”

They’re all on YouTube. Check them out.

Until next time! Use the right words!

leebarnathan.com 

April 7, 2021 Posted by | Communication, Humor, langauge, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

One Word, Hyphenated, or Two Words?


I have often said that I’m grateful to have learned English as a first language because I’m not sure I could learn it as a second language.

It’s hard to speak, and it’s hard to write. Case in point: those words that, when spoken, don’t matter if you mean one word or two. But when you write it, you need to know which way.

Here are some examples. See if you see a pattern emerge.

Anyone/any one — One word for an indefinite reference: Anyone can do that. But two words to single out one element of a group: Any one of them may speak up.

The same rule applies to anybody/any body.

Breakup/Break up — As one word, it’s a noun with several definitions, including “the ending of a personal, especially a romantic, relationship.” It’s also one word when used as an adjective. As two words, it’s a verb meaning the act of ending that personal relationship.

Cover-up/cover up — As a hyphenated word, it’s a noun meaning “any action, strategy or means of concealing or preventing exposure.” It’s also hyphenated when used as an adjective. As two words, it’s a verb meaning to place something completely over it.

Dead-end/Dead end — As a hyphenated word, it’s an adjective that refers to something hopeless. As two words, it’s a noun meaning something that has no exit.

Fiance/Fiancee — One e at the end refers to a male who’s engaged. The other refers to a female who’s engaged. 

If gender-neutral words are needed, use engaged or planing to marry or something similar.

Hang-up/hang up — As hyphenated, it’s a noun meaning “a preoccupation, fixation, snag, impediment.” As two words, it’s a verb meaning “to fasten or attach so that it is supported from above”or “to end a telephone conversation.”

Letup/let up — As one word, it’s a noun that means “cessation, pause, relief.” As two words, it’s a verb meaning to allow to rise or elevate.

Makeup/make up — One words usually refers to cosmetics. It’s also an adjective. Two words is a verb meaning “to invent, create or reconcile.”

Stand-in/stand in — They mean the same thing: “substitute.” Hyphenated is a noun and adjective, two words is a verb.

Until next time! Use the right words!

leebarnathan.com 

April 6, 2021 Posted by | Communication, langauge, Uncategorized, usage | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

All the “News” That’s Fit to Print in Stylebooks


What’s new? In looking through stylebooks, I came across many entries that start with n-e-w.

New Brunswick — one of three Maritime Provinces of Canada

New Delhi — the capital of India. You don’t need to write or say the country’s name after it.

New England — Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont.

Newfoundland — a Canadian province. It’s full name: Newfoundland and Labrador.

New Hampshire — “Live Free or Die,” home of the first presidential primary (although Nevada is trying to change that).

New Jersey — a mid-Atlantic and northeastern state, fourth smallest in size but 11th largest in population and the most densely populated state

New Mexico — fifth largest state by area but 36th largest by population. It’s one of the Four Corners states.

New Orleans — the largest city in Louisiana. You don’t need to write or say the state’s name after it.

News Corp. — publishing conglomerate owned by the Murdoch family

Newsstand — not news stand

New Testament — the second division of the Christian biblical canon. I have always found it odd that Hebrews is here and not in the Hebrew Bible.

New World — the Western Hemisphere

New World Order — may refer to a conspiracy theory, any historical period where there was dramatic change in thought or balance of power, teachings in the Baha’i Faith, a 1997 Curtis Mayfield album, a song title by at least seven groups or artists, a video game, a card game, a 2017 British TV comedy show,  or a professional wrestling stable from the late 1990s.

New Year’s Day — Jan. 1. It’s capitalized when referring to that date, so “New Year’s resolutions” and “Happy New Year” would be correct. But it’s lower case if you’re just talking about the new year.

New Year’s Eve — Dec. 31. The capitalization rules for New Year’s Day apply here, too.

New York — It could refer to the city or the state. Some people will say “New York City” to distinguish it from the state. The city is the country’s most populous; the state is the fourth most. The city is a cultural, financial, media and economic capital. Four of the 10 most visited tourist attractions are in the state, including three in the city: Times Square, Central Park, Niagara Falls and Grand Central Terminal.

Until next time! Use the right words!

leebarnathan.com 

March 31, 2021 Posted by | Communication, langauge, Uncategorized, usage | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Heeeeeeerrrrrrreeeee’s Carnac!


As I perused YouTube the other day, I came across several Johnny Carson clips in which Carson as Carnac the Magnificent divined the answers to questions that, as any child of 4 could plainly see, had been put in hermetically sealed envelopes and placed in a mayonnaise jar on Funk and Wagnall’s porch since noon today, as Ed McMahon so often said.

Some of them were pretty clever, if sometimes crass.

A D-cup bra — What runneth over?

A full moon — What would you call it if Orson Welles dropped his pants?

“A Thousand Clowns” — Who put together the NBC fall schedule?

An apple a day — What’s the minimum wage for a fruit fly?

“An Unmarried Woman” — What was Elizabeth Taylor between 3-5 p.m. on June 1, 1952?

Black and white and 20 feet tall — Describe Sister Mary Kong

Blood sugar — What should a vampire cut down on if he’s on a diet?

Ed McMahon and “Sanford and Son” — Name three people who sell a lot of junk.

Gatorade — What does an alligator get on welfare?

“Have it your way” — What does Burger King say yes to but your wife says no to?

Pecan, almond, Saddam Hussein — Name two nuts and a maniac.

Sitting Bull — Describe talk shows.

Spit, scratch and complain — What are the three qualifications to be a major league baseball player? 

Striking air traffic controllers — What do the people at the airport feel like doing?

Superfly — What do you find on Wilt Chamberlain’s pants?

Three Dog Night — What’s a bad night for a tree?

V-8 — What kind of social disease can you get from an octopus?

UCLA — What happens when there isn’t any smog?

And now, the last envelope.

Sis Boom Bah — Describe the sound made when a sheep explodes.

May the winds of the Sahara blow a scorpion up your caftan!

Until next time! Use the right words!

leebarnathan.com 

March 30, 2021 Posted by | Communication, Humor, langauge, Uncategorized, usage | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Seven “Alleged” Usages to Watch


Maybe you’re going to closely follow the trial of Derek Chauvin (and let’s face it, if you know his name, you more likely will). He is the former police officer accused of killing George Floyd last year. Opening statements are scheduled to start around March 29, and like with O.J. Simpson, the trial will be televised.

So, for those who will be watching, listen for this word: allege.

Lawyers (and the general public, for that matter) should use this word very carefully. As you watch the trial (and listen to news reports leading up to it and during it), see how many of the following you hear.

1. Let’s start with a definition: “to assert without proof.” The trial — and any possible accompanying verdict — is the proof. Therefore, listen to how attorneys use it — or not. Don’t be surprised if the prosecutors don’t. They want to hammer home Chauvin’s guilt. The defense might use it, but don’t be surprised if they don’t either. They want to hammer home Chauvin’s innocence.

2. Next, always name the source of an allegation. In a criminal case, it could be an arrest record, indictment, statement by some person in authority, or a video. A reminder: If watching video of Chauvin on Floyd’s neck causes squeamishness, don’t watch the trial. You’re going to see it a great deal.

3. Use alleged when you want to make clear that an unproved action is being treated as a fact. The defense will probably use this a lot, since there’s video of Chauvin on Floyd’s neck. The defense likely will want to cause the jury to question whether Chauvin’s actions really led to Floyd’s death. 

4. Be wary of anyone using alleged victim because it too easily makes people doubt a victim’s account. Floyd can’t testify, but if a family member does, watch out for this term. It also could come up if unrelated witnesses testify. The defense might want to discredit them, and this term might appear.

5. The word should not be overused. I doubt you will hear a prosecutor say something like, “The people accuse Derek Chauvin of allegedly killing George Floyd.” But if you do, the prosecutor’s credibility is taking a hit.

6. As there is video, it’s unlikely an attorney will use allege to describe the event that actually occurred: Chauvin did place his knee on Floyd’s neck for between 7 minutes, 46 seconds and nine and a half minutes, depending on the account, so that won’t be alleged.

But sometimes, the word is misused. Somebody might say or write, “He attended the alleged meeting,” when in reality, “He allegedly attended the meeting.

7. Finally, see how often the word is used. It should not be used as a routine qualifier. Better choices are apparent, ostensible or reputed.

Enjoy the trial, and let justice be served, whatever that means to you.

Until next time! Use the right words!

leebarnathan.com 

March 17, 2021 Posted by | Communication, langauge, Uncategorized, usage | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Does DACA DREAM of Asylum or Fear ICE?


With President Joe Biden promising to do something about immigration, it’s a good time to be reminded of certain terms.

DREAM Act — The Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act is congressional legislation that would allow young immigrants in the country illegally who were brought here as children to remain here if they meet certain criteria. These include being of good moral character; having graduated from an American high school, obtained a GED or been admitted to a college or university; be between ages 12-35, and have proof of residency for at least five consecutive years.

The legislation, originally introduced in 2001 by Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.), has been rewritten and reintroduced in both legislative chambers several times. It passed the House of Representatives in 2010 but has never been able to overcome a Senate filibuster.

Although closely related, the DREAM Act should not be confused with DACA, the Deferred Action fo Childhood Arrivals program. This is an Obama-presidency immigration policy that aims to let young immigrants living in the country illegally who were brought here as children to remain in the country. People who would qualify under the DREAM Act qualify under DACA, too, but the DREAM Act is legislative, DACA administrative.

Illegal immigration — It simply means to enter or live in a country without authorization or in violation of civil or criminal law. DO NOT refer to people as illegal immigrants; they are people engaging in an illegal action: illegal immigration. 

Asylum — People seeking this have chosen to leave their country and are applying for asylum status, usually to flee persecution and violence in their homelands. They are not refugees. Those people have been forced from their homes, usually to escape war, persecution or natural disaster.

Sometimes, people are called migrants because no one knows if they’re refugees or asylum-seekers. But migrants really are people who move from place to place for temporary work or economic advantage. If somebody moves between the states or territories to another state or territory, that person is migrating.

Emigrate/immigrate — One who emigrates leaves a country, so they emigrate from and are emigrants. One who immigrates comes to a country, so they immigrate to and are immigrants.

ICE — Refers to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the investigative arm of the Dept. of Homeland Security.

Border Patrol — Part of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, an agency within Homeland Security. If you’re writing it, always capitalize it when referring to the agency.

Customs — It’s capitalized if you’re referring to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement or the U.S. Customs and Border Protection. But if you’re just talking about what you have to pass through upon entering a country, it’s customs. If you’re talking about that officer, he or she is a customs officer.

Until next time! Use the right words!

leebarnathan.com 

March 16, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

%d bloggers like this: