Wednesday, November 23, 2005


Just a quick note to wish my readers a Happy Thanksgiving. May you and yours have much to be thankful for and may the holiday in which you celebrate your many thanks be full of blessings. God bless you. God protect you. God grant you his many graces.

Alan Eggleston and family

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Lucidly clear

Word discovery: “Pellucidly”
Citation: Hardblogger, Bush Administration:
Parade of Lies (Bob Shrum), Nov. 2, 2005.
Usage: “He [Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito] was selected on Halloween, but the mask he’s wearing - that he hasn’t made up his mind yet - is pellucidly transparent.” [color mine]
Transparently clear
Comments: If you look at the root word, “lucid”, it makes some sense.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

O'Reilly: oh really?

Quotable phrase: "…several light bulbs short of a marquee..."
Countdown on MSNBC-TV, Nov. 15, 2005
Usage: Keith Olbermann describing
Fox News commentator Bill O’Reilly’s reputation after 30 years in the news business; said in discussion with Chris Daly, supervisor of San Fransisco (California) Board of Supervisors, about O’Reilly’s offending remarks in which he welcomed Al Qaeda to attack San Francisco after voters in the city placed an initiative on their ballot to do away with military recruiting on campuses.
Comment: Great recast of clichés like “one brick short of a full load” or “one card short of a full deck”.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Chicken Little Swings

Quotable phrase: "I’ve seen roadkill swing better."
Citation: Disney’s new animated movie,
Chicken Little*
Usage: Chicken Little’s father describes Chicken Little’s pathetic skills at bat during a Little League game.
Comment: Wonderfully sarcastic metaphor
*On Wikipedia page, scroll down to entry for 2005 movie description.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

A Caesar by any other name...

Quotable phrase: "You may call a cat a fish, but it will not swim."
Citation: “The Spoils,” Rome, TV mini-series on HBO Sunday, November 13, 2005
Brutus speaking to his mother of Julius Caesar
Comment: Possibly, a recast of Shakespeare’s “A rose by any other name...” or “A rose is a rose is a rose.”

Sunday, November 13, 2005

It's "regardless" not "irregardless"

Twice on my favorite news programs (Countdown and Hardball), I've heard someone use the word "irregardless." Most people know that "irregardless" is one of those words that experienced writers shun like a leper. Its reputation is regarded even more loathingly than many "four-letter words."

  • Last week, Wednesday (11.09.05) or Thursday (11.10.05) I believe, Chris Matthews used "irregardless" on Hardball during a bumper (scroll down to "bumper") into a commercial while promoting an upcoming segment of the show.
  • This past Friday (11.11.05) on Countdown, reporter Roger O'Neill used "irregardless" on a piece about language, indicating that it isn't a word and you can't find it in a dictionary. He made a big deal about it not being found in a dictionary.
Before I chided Chris Matthews on his use of the word, I thought I should make certain that it is indeed not a word. Boy, was I surprised! It not only is a word, although "nonstandard," it appears in several online dictionaries, such as the Merriam-Webster. In fact, to see how many online dictionaries list it as a word (regardless of whether they approve of its use), do a search at OneLook, which is a place to run a search to get results from multiple (although not exhaustive) sources.

"Irregardless" is one of those words that everyday Americans pull out of the subconscious like a magician pulls a coin out of an ear. Another example is the frequent misuse of the word "fortuitous." Both have been so frequently used, people don't give them any thought. That's probably why they are in the dictionary -- because they're used often, even if they're improper.

I decided to share with the Countdown and Hardball folks and you what I had discovered. A little fact-checking will do wonders to strengthen a claim (or avoid an error), especially with word zealots on-guard.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Turn-of-a-phrase turns the phrase clever

Quotable phrase: "impossible is nothing."
Citation: Adidas television ad Sunday, November 6, 2005
Usage: Tag line for Adidas after showing athletes doing the incredible.

Comment: A great turn of the phrase, “nothing is impossible,” a great American cliché. Makes the reference clever, very much like the shoe brand.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Novelist is "writing like flying fingers"

Quotable phrase: “I'm writing like flying fingers.”
Citation: e-mail from inspirational romance novelist Gail Gaymer Martin on October 29, 2005
Usage: After a response on her weblog about occasional writer’s block, Ms. Martin writes, “Today is a good one. I'm writing like flying fingers.”

Comment: I can just Gail her at her keyboard, her fingers tapping out her story like a pianist’s playing the Minuet.
• Visit Gail's website at
• Visit Gail's weblog at