usingtherightwords

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Word of Wisdom from Somebody Wiser Than Me


My wife sent me this. She got it from the Smart School House Facebook page. I thought I would share.

If you fail, never give up because FAIL means “First Attempt in Learning.”

End is not the end because END means “Effort Never Dies.”

If you get no as an answer, remember that NO means “Next Opportunity.”

Positive thinking!

Until next time! Use the right words!

leebarnathan.com

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February 22, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

Medical Terms I’ve Come to Know Personally


To my followers: I’m sorry I’ve been gone for more than a month. It wasn’t because of my not having anything to write about. It’s because I’ve been ill, and as a result, there are medical terms I’ve now come to know personally. These are below in bold type.

On July 6, I awoke, turned over in bed and immediately felt like the room was spinning. It felt like being on a playground merry-go-round that never stopped. And because it never stopped, the nausea I felt — and the vomiting that went with it — was as terrible as any nausea and vomiting I’ve ever experienced. I couldn’t keep anything down, not that I was hungry. But anything I drank came up, and so did the bile.

The only time I didn’t feel sick was when I laid flat on my back, and that made any kind of moving nausea-inducing. I couldn’t get down the stairs to get to the car to go to the doctor without several times looking down into a bucket. I had to lay the passenger seat flat so I could lay flat while my wife drove me to the hospital.

At first, the general practitioner diagnosed my condition as benign paroxysmal positional vertigoa condition in which crystals (real name: calcified otoliths)  in the inner ear move, causing dizziness. These episodes typically last an hour, and since I was suffering for longer, the doctor put in for a CAT (computerized axial tomography) scan and a magnetic resonance imaging test.

The CAT scan revealed nothing, but the MRI revealed a two-centimeter lesion in my cerebellum, the part of the brain that deals with balance. I was admitted to the hospital and stayed there for four days. In that time, I slowly learned how to live with my head spinning, which I experienced because my left eye was jumping in my head. I learned how to eat, drink and go to the bathroom while spinning. I took meclizine, which helped with the nausea. I could hardly read or watch TV, and when I read, I needed my reading glasses at all times instead of just early in the morning or late at night. When I watched TV, I needed my head to be pinned against a pillow. I likened it to an infant who can’t keep his head up.

Doctors gave me prednisone, a steroid that could speed up the healing (blood tests showed an elevated white-blood-cell count, so I was trying to heal myself). It has a side effect of elevating one’s blood sugar, so several times I was given insulin. I now know what a diabetic experiences.

Also in that time, the neurologist recommended I meet with a more specialized neurologist, one whose expertise was in multiple sclerosis. This was set for July 20th.

I wanted to stay in the hospital until the spinning stopped, but on the 10th, I came home still spinning. When I was able to read, I looked up MS and found it was a  demyelinating disease in which the insulating covers of nerve cells in the brain (the myelin sheaths) and spinal cord are damaged, probably because of the failure of the myelin-producing cells.

I was weeks away from my 49th birthday. All I cared about was how to get the spinning to stop. I’d deal with the diagnosis later.

On the 17th, I met with my general practitioner who recommended I try scopolamine, the drug people take by putting a patch behind their ear before going on a cruise ship, to combat the spinning. All that did was make me spin faster, so the doctor suggested lorazepam (better known as Ativan). This did nothing.

On the 20th, I met with the neurologist and learned I had clinically isolated syndrome and not MS because I had only one lesion, so it isn’t multiple. I joked that I had S and not MS. The neurologist explained that only 15 percent of people with CIS ever get MS. I’ll take those odds. He also said there would always be scarred brain tissue. My wife said she didn’t care because she couldn’t see it.

Over time, the spinning got slower and slower until on Aug. 4, the day before I was to leave for a vacation in Lake Tahoe, it finally stopped. I posted on Facebook, “Today, for the first time in about a month, I got off the merry-go-round.” I’m not sure everybody who responded or liked the post knew what I meant.

But it doesn’t matter. I’m home, the spinning has stopped, and I’m ready to resume life. I have a follow-up MRI on Sept. 21 to make sure no other lesions have appeared. So far, it doesn’t seem so.

My wife and I started watching “The West Wing” on Netflix. How coincidental that President Josiah Bartlet has MS.

Until next time! Use the right words!

leebarnathan.com

August 15, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Commonly Misused Words


My wife sent me something on Facebook from a Harvard professor named Steven Pinker, who lists commonly misused words. Although the article, from Business Insider, is dated Dec. 17, 2015, it is nonetheless accurate to today.

Here are eight, which include some I’ve misused.

Adverse means “detrimental” and does not mean averse (“having a strong feeling of opposition) or disinclined (“lacking desire or willingness).

Begs the question means “assumes what it should be proving,” not “raises the question.” This is one I would misuse if I used it, but I don’t use it because it’s a cliché and I believe you should avoid clichés like the plague.

Speaking of which, Cliché is a noun, not an adjective. The adjective is clichéd.

Bemused means “bewildered.” It does not mean amused (“pleasurably entertained”)

Hung means “suspended.” It does not mean “suspended from the neck until dead.” That is hang.

Ironic means “uncannily incongruent.” It does not mean inconvenient (“no easily accessible; untimely; not suiting one’s needs”)  or unfortunate (“suffering from bad luck; unfavorable; regrettable; marked by misfortune; sad”). Not is irony coincidence (“something that occurs by chance”).

Nonplussed means “stunned” or “bewildered.” It does not mean bored (“made weary by dullness, tedious repetition, unwelcome attentions,etc.”) or unimpressed (“not affected deeply or strongly in mind or feelings”). This is one I have misused.

Phenomena is a plural noun. The singular is phenomenon. Phenomenons is incorrect.

Until next time! Use the right words!

leebarnathan.com

January 17, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cause and Effect, and Football


Here’s another example of how you mean something, but a day later, you realize it means something else.

And it comes from me.

My high school reunion was last weekend (it’s been 30 years since I graduated). Beside the main dinner on Saturday, there was a bar crawl, golf tournament and football game in the days leading to it. Being the sports guy I am (and because my volleyball game I was supposed to officiate got canceled), I attended the football game.

The day before, I wrote on Facebook: “Looking forward to seeing many of you at tomorrow’s football game. Go Bulldogs! They’re currently 0-2 unfortunately, but that changes tomorrow!”

Originally, I optimistically meant that the team will get its first victory, but later I realized that, duh, of course that changes tomorrow. It’ll either win or lose (no tie because of overtime).

The team lost 35-0, falling to 0-3.

It’s here! My début book, “If You Experience Death, Please Call: And Other Fatal Mistakes We Make With Language” is available on Amazon for only $14.95.  Order here.

leebarnathan.com

September 13, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Let’s Face It: English is Crazy


Inspired by something my wife found on Facebook:

Sometimes, I think all English speakers should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane.

Consider:

— There’s no egg in eggplant, nor ham in hamburger, nor apple or pine in pineapple. A guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor a pig.

–English muffins and French fries were not invented in those countries.

–Quicksand works slowly.

–Boxing rings are square.

–Teachers taught, but preachers don’t praught. Writers write but fingers don’t fing, grocers don’t groce and hammers don’t ham.

–Vegetarians eat vegetables but humanitarians don’t eat humans.

–People recite a play and play at a recital. They ship by truck and send cargo by ship.

–Noses run and feet smell.

–A slim chance and a fat chance are the same, but a wise man and a wise guy are opposites.

–Your house burns up as it burns down, and an alarm goes off by going on.

–English was invented by the human race, which isn’t a race at all.

Aren’t you glad English is your primary language?

Until next time! Use the right words!

leebarnathan.com

April 20, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Example of Spellcheck’s Limitation


Once again, from Facebook. What starts as a definition …

Acyrologia — An incorrect use of words, particularly replacing one word with another word that sounds similar but has a diffident meaning, possibly fueled by a deep-seeded desire to sound more educated, witch results in an attempt to pawn off an incorrect word in place of a correct one. In academia, such flaunting of social morays is seen as almost sorted and might result in the offender becoming a piranha, in the Monday world, after all is set and done, such a miner error will often leave normal people unphased. This is just as well sense people of that elk are unlikely to tow the line irregardless of any attempt to better educate them. A small percentage, however, suffer from severe acyrologiaphobia, and it is their upmost desire to see English used properly. Exposure may cause them symptoms that may resemble post-dramatic stress disorder and, eventually, descend into whole-scale outrage as they go star-craving mad. Eventually, they will succumb to the stings and arrows of such a barrage, and suffer and complete metal breakdown, leaving them curled up in the feeble position.

Thanks to Jackie J.

Until next time! Use the right words!

leebarnathan.com

April 3, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

It’s Really Not That Difficult


My wife found this on Facebook. Don’t know where it came from or who to credit.

You’re — You are

Your — It belongs to you

They’re — They are

Their — It belongs to them

There — A place

We’re — We are

Were — Past tense of are

Where — A place

Then — A point in time

Than — A method of comparison

Two — The number 2

To — Indicates motion

Too — Also or excessively

Until next time! Use the right words!

leebarnathan.com

April 2, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Something to Ponder at Christmas


I saw this on Facebook, attributed to that prolific writer, Anonymous (Does that person know a multitude or what?). Merry Christmas to all!

Why English is Hard to Learn

We’ll begin with box; the plural is boxes,

But the plural of ox is oxen, not oxes.

One fowl is goose, and two are called geese,

Yet the plural of moose is never called meese.

You may find a lone mouse or a house full of mice;

But the plural of house is houses, not hice.

The plural of man is always men,

But the plural of pan is never pen.

If I speak of a foot, and you show me two feet,

And I give you a book, would a pair be a beek?

If one is a tooth and a whole set are teeth,

Why shouldn’t two booths be called beeth?

If the singular’s this and the plural is these,

Should the plural of kiss be ever called keese?

We speak of a brother and also of brethren,

But though we say mother, we never say methren.

Then the masculine pronouns are he, his, and him;

But the imagine the feminine … she, shis and shim!

Until next time! Use the right words!

leebarnathan.com

 

December 25, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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