Monthly Archives: February 2018

Memories of Smilin’ Jack.

If you’re older than your millennial kids, you may remember Smilin’ Jack, the comic strip about a hot-shot aviator of the same name. Aviator: it brings up memories of guys wearing leather helmets, goggles, at the stick in an open cockpit of a bi-plane, in dog-fights with enemies like the Red Baron. (Check out “Smilin’ Jack” on Google and you’ll see a classic aviator in action.) What brings this up… Read Article →

Which story to believe?

You read Bloomberg BusinessWeek of Jan. 22, 2018, and find this story: “Out from Under the ‘Bamboo Ceiling,’ ” with the sub-head: “Silicon Valley is losing talented Chinese engineers to, well, China.” And in the story: “While many recent Chinese college graduates still covet American citizenship and a prestigious Valley name on their resumes, many are quickly tiring of what they call a ‘bamboo ceiling,’ a relative lack of opportunities… Read Article →

Rusty laser focus out of focus

“Laser focus” is journalese for a quality of a politician or business big-shot admired by the reporter. This was applied to Mitt Romney in a Boston Globe story Feb. 17, 2018 about his announcement he’s running as a Republican for the Utah Senate seat being vacated by Republican Orin Hatch: “His laser focus on Utah in a two-minute video announcement revealed how eager the 70-year-old Romney is to tout his… Read Article →

Everyone is a curator.

Ever notice how everyone who puts something together in a list or show or event is now a curator? Curate, as a verb, is not even listed in my edition of the American Heritage Dictionary of the American Language. OK, it’s not the latest edition. Merriam-Webster defines the transitive verb curate: “to act as curator of; curate a museum: an exhibit curated by the museum’s director.” Yeah, that’s the dictionary…. Read Article →

Disovering the obscure

Our journalese dictionary definition of “obscure” is: “Anything not known to the reporter before working on the story.” It’s a favorite explanation for missing an important detail or an entire story. An example was in a New York Times story Feb. 10, 2018, headlined in the Boston Globe: “Trump won’t declassify Democratic memo.” The story explains, “Under the obscure rule invoked by the House Intelligence Committee to initiate the document’s… Read Article →

Relax, Bambi, it’s only a managed harvest.

When advertisers, lobbyists, promoters, politicians, flacks and hacks use a euphemism long enough it usually gets adopted by the media. Our dictionary definition of “gaming” is defined as: “Euphemism for gambling. Used by papers supporting a casino. A specific lottery is always a ‘game.’ The effect is to make high-takes gambling sound like Scrabble or Monopoly.” And sure enough, Massachusetts passed a casino-enabling law overseen by an official “Gaming Commission.”… Read Article →