usingtherightwords

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We Are Not All Created Equal — Some Are Comedians


Comedian Alex Nussbaum said, “Eyes are the window to the soul, but laughter is the doorbell.” Well, ding dong! Here are some more examples of comedians using the right words to elicit laughs on Zoom.

Sandy Stec admits she isn’t really into dirty bedroom talk. She’s too honest.

Her last boyfriend asked, “What are you wearing?”

“Pajamas. It’s a Snoopy onesie. I got it at JC Penney.”

He asked, “What do you want to do to me?”

“I want to go to a farmers market with you.”

He’d ask, “What’s your favorite position?”

“I like the end of the couch.” 

Stec said she recently had knee surgery, which required a donor part. “It means I’ve got a dead guy inside of me,” she said. “It’s been eight months since I’ve had a live — never mind.

“I’m lying. It’s been a year and a half.”

Moody McCarthy has a tip: Befriend a hoarder. They’ve got everything. “I bought a used pool table and it doesn’t have a six-ball.” “Oh, I’ve got that. You need it, or do you want two three-balls?”

McCarthy has an opinion of quinoa: “Quinoa is good … if you put it in something that was already good,” he said. “No one has ever said, ‘Hmm, this is bland. You know what it needs? A little quinoa.’ ”

Keith Ellis, who is African American, said he lives in Phoenix. “I used to live in Scottsdale, ’til I got robbed by a white guy,” he said. “I moved to a Black neighborhood so if I get robbed, at least I’m giving back to the community.”

Ellis also said he would take out the trash at 3 a.m. because that was when the police helicopters would shine their spotlights. He always looked up and thanked them.

Ellis said he remembers the days when preachers would carry Bibles. Now, they carry iPads. Once, a preacher was trying to quote a passage, but he had a bad connection. “I don’t think you have a good connection with God,” Ellis said.

At that moment, Ellis’ Zoom connection froze.

“I guess God didn’t like that last joke,” someone in the audience said. 

Until next time! Use the right words!

leebarnathan.com

July 29, 2021 Posted by | Communication, Humor, langauge, Religion, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Zoom Comedy, COVID Style


For more than a year, I have paid $5 every so many weeks to watch comedy on Zoom. Calling it “Comedy in Your Living Room,” comedian Jason Love invites three or four comedians to get online and do between 5-20 minutes each.

COVID has been a recurring theme, and last week’s show was no exception.

Love said he’s looking forward to getting back out in front of people, whether in clubs or on cruise ships. But he doesn’t want any more lockdowns.

He imagined the movie trailer: “Just when you thought it was safe to hug you neighbor, The Delta Variant! The horror movie where you wear the mask!”

Keith Ellis said COVID has made passing gas acceptable. If you smell it, OK. If you can’t, you’ve got COVID.

During the pandemic, Sandy Stec bought a weighted blanket “because I wanted to feel some weight on top of me.” She bought a 20-pound blanket, which she said feels like a drunk man. “Now, every night, I go yell at my blanket to get a job.”

Stec also said she was grateful the gyms have reopened. “I was so excited to continue not using them,” she said.

Alex Nussbaum said he got married during the pandemic. “I’m Jewish, she’s Chinese. Together, we’re the power couple of targeted groups,” he said.

Moody McCarthy recently came down with a cold. People asked him how he felt. “Great!” he said. “I don’t have to go sleep in the woods for two weeks.”

The pandemic turned many parents into homeschool teachers. McCarthy bragged about how great he was: “My daughters are 5 and 6. Now, they’re licensed Realtors. They flipped their bedroom.”

When the vaccines became available, McCarthy said he was first in line. He also was kicked out of line because he was wearing a doctor’s costume.

He recently read the people who took the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will soon need a booster: “two shots of Pfizer or Moderna.”

The Olympics were delayed a year by the pandemic, but McCarthy argued that fencing is built for COVID. “They wear masks, gloves, stay six feet apart, and don’t have any fans,” he said.

Next time: The comedians joke about non-COVId topics.

Until next time! Use the right words!

leebarnathan.com

July 27, 2021 Posted by | Communication, Humor, langauge, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Much About Marijuana, Cannabis and CBD


Seventeen states have legalized medical marijuana. Another 19 states and the District of Columbia have legalized medical and recreational marijuana. At least one federal government hasn’t, but that’s another issue. I’m here to write about how to use the words marijuana, medical marijuana and some related terms.

The actual plant name is cannabis. There are three different plants: cannabis sativa, cannabis indica and cannabis ruderalis. None are native to the United States, but hemp is a variety of cannabis sativa that is grown for industrial use. Hemp also generally refers to the planet fibers that are used to make clothing, rope, paper and other products. Marijuana is the dried flower of the cannabis plant.

There’s also chemical compounds knows as cannabinoids, but since that’s a scientific term, it might be better to just use compounds, chemicals or derivatives, although I’ve seen many cannabis shops use cannabinoids when referring to them. 

Perhaps the most known cannabinoid is THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol. It is the main psychoactive component, so you might see “no THC” signs at cannabis stores who want to sell you on what they consider the benefits of cannabis without the “high.”

Outside North America, cannabis is used, sometimes because marijuana was popularized in the United States to stoke anti-Mexican sentiment in the early 20th century. Inside the United States, pot, weed, reefer, ganja and 420 are used, but all but pot are all slang terms and should be recognized as such and used sparingly.

In the U.S., when cannabis is used for medical purposes, it is generally known as medical marijuana, although medical cannabis is also correct. Regardless, it refers to the dried flowers that are smoked, vaporized or eaten.

Some of the cannabis plant’s compounds are in pharmaceutical or dietary supplements that the federal or state governments that haven’t legalized marijuana allow. Their active ingredients may be isolated naturally or in labs. One of these is the prescription drug Marinol, which contains synthetic THC and hemp oil. A popular hemp oil is cannabidiol, also known as CBD oil. If you use the term CBD oil, make sure it’s really that product.

There are synthetic cannabis compounds, such as Spice or K2 that some people describe as dangerous. It’s better to call them “synthetic marijuana,” “imitation marijuana” or “imitation cannabis” because that’s more accurate. Calling it “synthetic THC” is wrong because it generally contains other chemicals.

I don’t know about you, but I think after reading that, I’m, ready for some.

Until next time! Use the right words!

leebarnathan.com

July 22, 2021 Posted by | Communication, langauge, slang, Uncategorized, usage | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pick a Peck or Bushel in a Jiffy


When In was younger, I was introduced to standard measurements: inch, foot, yard, mile; teaspoon, tablespoon, cup, pint, quart, gallon; gram, ounce, pound, ton. The metric system never made much sense to me, although I now understand that everything is in tenths, and that’s easy to understand.

Recently, I came across the peck. It’s a unit of dry measure equal to a quarter of a bushel.

Huh? Bushel? It’s a unit of dry measurement between a pound and a ton. It’s about 32 dry quarts.

Huh? Dry quarts? It’s a unit of volume to measure bulk commodities such as wheat and dry beans.

Very confusing, indeed. Here are some other out-of-the-ordinary measurements.

Block — The distance between one street and the next street. The problem is that there’s no set distance, so there are long blocks and short blocks. In Manhattan, a block is 1/20th of a mile.

Brass — A measurement in India’s construction industry, it measures 100 square feet.

Cord — A unit to measure firewood in the U.S. and Canada. It’s a pile of wood stacked 4 feet high by 4 feet deep by 8 feet wide.

Dog year — OK, time to dispel a myth: One human year does not equal seven dog years. We don’t have any other way to measure a year beyond how we do it. Most dogs are sexually mature after one human year (humans are typically sexually mature at 13, but that also varies). And different dog breeds age at different rates. For example, giant breeds (Great Danes, Saint Bernards, Newfoundlands, Irish wolfhounds) and bulldogs age nine times as fast as an average human.

Football field — 120 yards long and 160 feet wide in the United States, but 150 yards long and 65 yards wide in Canada. In soccer (football in the rest of the world), it measures between 98-131 yards long and 49-98 yards wide.

Hand — Normally used to measure horses, it’s equal to four inches.

Jiffy — This really exists? Yes. It’s 0.01 second.

Length — In boat racing and horse racing, it measures distance. The approximate length of the boat or horse equals one length. In horse racing, that’s about eight feet. In rowing eights, it’s about 62 feet.

Metric foot — About 11.8 inches.

Olympic-size swimming pool — Since the Olympics are in meters, the pool measures 50 x 25 meters (164 x 82 feet).

Rick — It also measures firewood. It’s one third of a cord.

Until next time! Use the right words!

leebarnathan.com

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

A How-to Guide for Website Copywriting


Are these your pain points? 

*Your marketing doesn’t convert. 
*Your marketing doesn’t accurately reflect your brand. 
*Your marketing is too complicated to be understood, so it doesn’t convert. 

Just having an online presence isn’t enough. You need to know the right words to convey the message you want to send existing or potential customers and clients. You need to write in the most honest way. 

I recommend the following: 
*Use critical thinking to get to the point. 
*Ask lots of open-ended questions that start with who/what/where/when/how/why to get the information you need to write or edit. 
*Show empathy, sympathy and intellectual understanding so you show you get what the person’s saying. 
*Write or edit directly and to the point, using the words that match the voice and/or brand. 
*Get rid of unnecessary verbiage. 
*Make sure there’s no technical jargon. 
*Simplify the writing. 
*Include a call to action. 

A very common type of copywriting is website writing. But copywriting goes well beyond writing for websites. All of your advertising, commercial and marketing materials should be written by a professional writer who can quickly and creatively get out your message or tell your story. And in today’s economy, you need not just good copywriting, but SEO copywriting that will help you get found on the search engines. 

You need a copywriter who can tell your story, who can logically organize thoughts into a creative and coherent story. To help build a web page, you should have a copywriter with these skills. Content copywriters honestly tell the company’s history, philosophy and mission; the products and services offered, why you’re better than your competitors, why what you do is significant, that what you have to say accurately reflects your passion, and that the writing is true to your vision and brand.

Follow this and yo’ll feel grateful you can market with integrity and not have to sell your soul to do it. 

Until next time! Use the right words!

leebarnathan.com

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

On Global Warming and Climate Change


Tropical storms and hurricanes batter and drench the Gulf Coast and the Carolinas. Tornadoes wreak havoc in the Plains and up into the mid-Atlantic states. The Pacific Northwest sees triple-digit heat. Wildfires rage through several western states. Glaciers melt in Alaska.

The weather is a daily news item now. And it’s all due to global warming. Or is it climate change?

Actually, it’s both. These terms can be used interchangeably, although climate change is more scientifically accurate when describing the various effects that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases have on the world’s weather. 

Global warming comes from the rising levels of these greenhouse gases. The rising levels are mostly due to humans burning coal, oil and natural gas, deforestation and livestock raising. Science has repeatedly proven this, as a joint statement by the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the Royal Society of the United Kingdom in 2014 shows: 

Human activities — especially the burning of fossil fuels since the start of the Industrial Revolution — have increased atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations by about 40%, with more than half the increase occurring since 1970. Since 1900, the global average surface temperature has increased by about 0.8 degrees Celsius (1.4 degrees Fahrenheit). This has been accompanied by the warming of the ocean, a rise in sea level, a strong decline in Arctic sea ice, and many other associated climate effects.

Yet there are those who don’t believe. What do you call them? (I know what you’re thinking, and I’m not going there). Use climate change doubters or those who reject mainstream climate science.

It might be easier to say skeptic or denier, but the problem is that true scientists are often skeptics, and to say climate change denier puts people in the same category as Holocaust denier. Not a connotation you want, I’d say.

The bottom line is: Extreme weather is here to stay, whether you call it global warming or climate change.

Until next time! Use the right words!

leebarnathan.com

July 15, 2021 Posted by | Communication, Uncategorized, usage | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

BTW: The Younger You Are, the More You’ll Use These


In looking for a post idea, I came across zip code. ZIP is an acronym for Zone Improvement Plan, but that made me wonder about other acronyms.

One Google search later, I found the website Zipwhip. It surveyed 538 people and found that 62% of Generation Z participants use acronyms at least once a day, Fifty-six percent of millennials do, too, as do 48% of Generation X. Only 26% of baby boomers do.

Then Zipwhip posted a list of 110. Some are acronyms; others are abbreviations, but most are initialisms. How many do you know? FWIW, I knew 33, including that one.

AFAIK: As far as I know

AKA: Also known as

AMA: Ask me anything

AMAA: Ask me almost anything

ASAP: As soon as possible

ATM: At the moment

Bae: Before anyone else

B4N: Bye for now

BBL: Be back later

BC or B/C: Because

BDAY: Birthday

BFF: Best friends forever

Bestie: a best friend or term of endearment

BRB: Be right back

BTW: By the way

COB: Close of business

CYA: See ya

CYT: See you tomorrow

DAE: Does any else

DIKY: Do I know you?

DIY: Do it yourself

DM: Direct message

EOD: End of day

F2F: Face to face

Finna: going to, intending to

FOMO: Fear of missing out

FTFY: Fixed that for you

FTW: For the win

FWIW: For what it’s worth

FYI: For your information

G2G: Got to go

GR8: Great

HBU: How about you?

HIFW: How I feel when

HMU: Hit me up

HTH: Hope this helps

ICYMI: In case you missed it

IDC: I don’t care

IDK: I don’t know

IFYP: I feel your pain

IG: Instagram

IIRC: If I recall correctly

IKR: I know, right

ILY: I love you

IMO: In my opinion

IMHO: In my humble/honest opinion

IRL: In real life

ISTG: I swear to god

IYKYK: If you know you know

JIC: Just in case

JK: Just kidding

JSYK: Just so you know

KMN: Kill me know

LMK: Let me know

LOL: Laughing out loud

MFW: My face when

MRW: My reaction when

MSG: Message

NBD: No big deal

NGL: Not gonna lie

NP: No problem

NTH: Nice to have

NVM: Never mind

OFC: Of course

OMG: Oh my god/gosh

OML: Oh my lord

OMW: On my way

OOO: Out of office

OOTD: Outfit of the day

OTOH: On the other hand

PNL: Peace & love

POV: Point of view

PPL: People

QAP: Quick as possible

QOTD: Quote of the day

RN: Right now

ROFL: Rolling on floor laughing

SFLR: Sorry for late reply

SMH: Shaking my head

SNMP: So not my problem

SO: Significant other

SRSLY: Seriously

Sus: Suspicious

TBA: To be announced

TBC: To be continued

TBD: To be determined or to be decided

TBF: To be frank

TBH: To be honest

Tea: Gossip, drama

TFW: That feeling when

TGIF: Thank goodness/god it’s Friday

THX: Thanks

TIA: Thanks in advance

TIL: Today I learned

TL;DR: Too long, don’t/didn’t read

TMI: Too much information

TTP: To the point

TTYL: Talk to you later

TY: Thank you

TYT: Take your time

V: Very

WDYM: What do you mean?

WFH: Work from home

W/O: Without

WYWH: Wish you were here

Yeet: To throw something or used as an exclamation

YGTI: You get the idea

YMMV: Your mileage may vary

YOLO: You only live once

YP: Yes please

Until next time! Use the right words!

leebarnathan.com

July 13, 2021 Posted by | Communication, informal speech, langauge, usage | , , , , , | Leave a comment

On Survivors and Victims


Last week, Bill Cosby was released from prison on a technicality. But the articles about his release mentioned how victims and survivors of sexual assault worried that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s decision would prevent others from coming forward.

I’m not weighing into the politics of the decision. But the news item prompted me to explore victim versus survivor.

The first rule is: be careful. These terms can be imprecise, politically fraught and legally challenging.

A survivor is someone who has lived through a disease or an injury, but it also can apply to someone who endured a threat and escaped injury altogether, such as a mass shooting survivor. The word also describes people who lived through a trauma. It is best to be specific when referring to individuals, which might explain why People magazine’s website referred to Andrea Constand as “Cosby survivor.”

Similarly, a victim can mean someone killed, injured or subjected to mistreatment, such as abuse. There are, unfortunately, inherent biases with this word. For example, AIDS victim doesn’t clearly state if the person is alive or dead — or even if that person is a victim, since many people with HIV or AIDS don’t consider themselves victims. It’s better to write neutrally: He has AIDS.

When writing about crime, be careful using alleged victim, for it might make people question if the person really is a victim. And in the Cosby stories, I saw some publications correctly call Constand not a victim but an accuser. This helps avoid implications of Cosby’s guilt. 

Unfortunately, this won’t be the last time I read about victims and survivors. As I wrote this, Pasadena police are continuing their investigation into Dodgers pitcher Trevor Bauer, who allegedly sexually assaulted a woman. The New York Post called her victim. TMZ called her alleged victim.

Until next time! Use the right words!

leebarnathan.com

July 8, 2021 Posted by | Communication, langauge, Uncategorized, usage | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

In The News: Funny Headlines Make People Laugh


As far back as I can remember, I’ve read the newspaper. I have many memories of me waking up early (because I was a light sleeper, not because I wanted to get the paper first), collecting the paper from the front walkway, door or porch, and spreading it out on the living rom floor to read the sports, comics and entertainment sections.

Later, I read just about the entire paper cover to cover. Now, I read just about everything, and I regularly do the word jumbles and crossword puzzles.

I majored in journalism in college and chose the newspaper as my emphasis. One rule was that any article I wrote for the school paper would automatically be graded a D if I misspelled any proper noun. I misspelled Tucson, Ariz., as “Tuscon.” Never again.

In my first newspaper job, I got introduced to the Columbia Journalism Review and its highlighting badly written headlines. Jay Leno and David Letterman also lampooned this on their late-night talk shows.

Last week, as I cleared out emails, I came across one my wife sent me. It was called “Why I Read the Newspaper Everyday, For a Laugh.”

OK, everyday should be two words. But following were some of the headlines. Enjoy!

Until next time! Use the right words!

leebarnathan.com

July 6, 2021 Posted by | Communication, Humor, langauge, malapropisms, Uncategorized, usage | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Be Famous! Have a Disease Named for You!


Would you want a disease named after you? On one hand, you’re immortalized. On the other hand, it’s a disease. 

Good thing your name isn’t Cancer.

Still, many diseases are named for the people who discovered or identified them. Here are some:

Alzheimer’s — I wonder what German neuropathologist Alois Alzheimer would think if he knew that the disease named for him since 1906 has been generalized to encompass all sorts of dementia.

The truth is all Alzheimer’s sufferers have dementia, but not all dementia sufferers have Alzheimer’s. 

Crohn’s — It’s an inflammatory bowel disease, but what’s most interesting to me is that three people first wrote about it: Burrill Bernard Crohn, Gordon Oppenheimer and Leon Ginzburg. Because medical papers list authors alphabetically, the disease bears Crohn’s name.

Down syndrome — This disorder, caused by the presence or all or part of third copy of the 21st chromosome, is named for British doctor John Langdon Down, who described it in 1866. French psychiatrist Jean-Étienne Dominique Esquirol, in 1838, and French physician Édouard Séguin, in 1844, described some parts earlier.

Parkinson’s — In 1817, James Parkinson wrote, ”An Essay on the Shaking Palsy.”

Tay-Sachs — Warren (also spelled Waren) Tay and Bernard Sachs didn’t work together, and I couldn’t find definitive proof that they even knew each other. Tay was a British ophthalmologist who in 1881 reported a cherry-red spot on the retina of a 1-year-old patient. Six years later, Sachs, an American neurologist, described cellular changes and noted how prevalent it was in Ashkenazi Jews.

Tourette — George Gilles de la Tourette had the affliction that bears his name, but he called it “maladie des tics” and published a paper on it 1885. Neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot renamed it in Tourette’s honor while Tourette was still alive.

Here are three others misnamed.

Bell’s palsy — Charles Bell did not have this type of facial paralysis. Nor did he first describe it. By the time he described it in 1829, five people had already done so: Persian physician Muhammad ibn Zakariya al-Razi and Persian physician Ibn Sina in the first millennium, Cornelis Stalpart van der Wiel in 1683, Scottish physician James Douglas in the 18th century and German pathologist Nicolaus Anton Friedreich in the 19th century.

Salmonellosis — The salmonella bacterium is actually named for a veterinary pathologist named Daniel Elmer Salmon. But the person who discovered the microorganism, in 1885, was the epidemiologist Theobald Smith, who named it after Salmon.

Lou Gehrig’s disease — The famous Yankees first baseman had amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a neuromuscular disease first described by Charles Bell in 1824. French neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot first used the scientific term, in 1874. 

Until next time! Use the right words!

leebarnathan.com

June 30, 2021 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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