Author Archives: Bob Welbaum

Facing Your Fears

In a previous post I mentioned aibohphobia as the fear of palindromes (and which itself is a palindrome).  Which leads to the question — how many things are there to be afraid of? Lots. My Webster’s New World College Dictionary  lists phobia as “an irrational, excessive, and persistent fear of some particular thing or situation”,

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What is a Buckeye?

A judge told this anecdote during a speech I heard a long time ago. He was about to sentence a young man, and asked him if he had anything to say. The young man replied, “Yes sir, are you a Buckeye?” No, the judge wasn’t, but the question was so unusual it piqued his curiosity.

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The Importance of Proofreading

This is a true story from a friend in the advertising business. He had designed a calendar for a client as a beginning-of-the-year promotion.  Each month was introduced with a wise saying.  One month’s saying was “Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.”   The following month’s was  “Well

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Brave New World… of Food?

Something about the menu didn’t seem quite right. We were at one of our favorite restaurants for our weekly Saturday dining-out. The menu had been redone, and one of the new offerings caught my eye. It was an appetizer: Chicken Fingers with dipping sauce $3.99 Maybe it was the fact that I was unusually alert

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Thai Words in English

Yesterday’s column piqued a friend’s curiosity. In an email he asked what Thai words that I remember have made it into English? My tour of duty in Southeast Asia was 1972-73, but I quickly remembered one word — nitnoy. It’s online in the Urban Dictionary. Nitnoy — “A little bit” – from Thai “Nit Noi”.

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Why is English So Popular?

If the English language is so idiomatic (as discussed yesterday), why does it enjoy worldwide popularity?  Language-wise, the book The Story of English gives three reasons: — Unlike all the other European languages, gender is determined by meaning, so a noun doesn’t have to be matched with the right article. For example, in French the moon

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