G'day folks,

Time to clear up a few words that might give you grief from time to time.


Are you talking about showing off? Then you don’t mean flout, you mean flaunt. To flout is to ignore the rules. You can think of flaunt as the longer showier one, with that extra letter it goes around flaunting. You can flout a law, agreement, or convention, but you can flaunt almost anything.


Phase is the more common word and usually the right choice, except in those situations where it means “to bother.” If something doesn’t bother you, it doesn’t faze you. Faze is almost always used after a negative, so be on alert if there is an isn’t/wasn’t/doesn’t nearby. 


Loath is reluctant or unwilling, while to loathe is to hate. You are loath to do the things you loathe, which makes it confusing, but you can keep them clear by noting whether the word has a "to be" verb on one side and a to on the other (he is loath to, I would be loath to), in which case loath is correct, or it can be substituted by hate (I loathe mosquitoes), in which case you need the e on the end.


The word wave is far more frequent than waive and has a more concrete meaning of undulating motion. It’s often used for waive, "to give something up," perhaps because it fits well with the image of someone waving something away. But when you waive your rights, or salary, or contract terms, you surrender them. You can think of the extra i in waive as a little surrender flag in the middle of the word.


Intensive is a word that means strong or extreme, but that’s not what’s called for in this phrase.  To say “practically speaking” or “in all important ways” the phrase you want is “for all intents and purposes.”


Run the gauntlet and run the gamut are both correct, but mean different things. Running the gauntlet was an old type of punishment where a person was struck and beaten while running between two rows of people. A gamut is a range or spectrum. When something runs the gamut, it covers the whole range of possibilities.


This pair causes the most trouble in the phrase sneak peek where the spelling from sneak bleeds over to peek, causing it to switch meaning from "a quick look" to "a high point." If you imagine the two Es as a pair of eyes, it can help you remember to use peek for the looking sense.


Fortuitous means by chance or accident. Because of its similarity to fortunate, it is commonly used to refer to a lucky accident, but it need not be. Having lightning strike your house and burn it down is not a lucky event, but according to your insurance company it will be covered because it is fortuitous, or unforeseen.


To refute a claim or an argument doesn’t just mean to offer counterclaims and opposing arguments. That would be to respond or rebut. To refute is to prove that a claim is false. If you refute, the disagreement should be over because you’ve won. If someone accuses you of not having paid for something, you refute the accusation by producing the receipt.

Clancy's comment: I hope you have printed this off and plastered it on the wall of your office ... With all the other important tid bits.
I'm ...

25 May 2017 - Crowning Achievements of Maya Angelou

Crowning Achievements  of Maya Angelou

G'day folks,

I've always had a lot of time for this very talented lady. Considered to be one of the most consequential figures of the 20th century, Maya Angelou had a diverse career spanning five decades — first as a singer and dancer, then as a journalist and civil rights activist, and later as a memoirist, poet and screenwriter.

So, what did she achieve?



She was a Civil Rights Activist

 Having traveled the world and met with Malcolm X while living in Ghana, Maya Angelou returned to the U.S. in 1964 to help the black leader in his political efforts. However, soon after she arrived stateside, Malcolm X was assassinated. 

Despite his death, Angelou continued working with the Civil Rights Movement and helped fundraise for Martin Luther King, Jr. Unfortunately, the young artist found herself devastated once again, when King was murdered on her birthday in 1968. It was during this time that novelist James Baldwin encouraged Angelou to write and she began work on I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.

 'Caged Bird' became one of the most prominent autobiographies ever written


Recalling her childhood experiences growing up in Arkansas to becoming a mother at 16, Angelou published I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings in 1969. It became an instant bestseller and stayed on the New York Times paperback bestseller list for the next two years. Nominated for a National Book Award in 1970, it is considered her most famous work. In 2011, Time magazine ranked it as one of the most influential books of modern times. 

 She was the first black woman to write a screenplay for a major film release


In 1972 Angelou expanded her writing and musical talents by writing and scoring Georgia, Georgia, a Swedish-American drama that would later be nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. She would go on to write for television, theatre, and would eventually reach her goal of directing a film with Down in the Delta in 1998.

 She was the first female inaugural poet in U.S. presidential history


In 1993 Angelou recited her poem, "On the Pulse of Morning," for President Bill Clinton's inauguration. She became the first African-American poet and first female poet to participate in a recitation for a U.S. president's inauguration. The only inaugural poet that came before her was Robert Frost who recited "The Gift Outright" during President John F. Kennedy's ceremony in 1961.

She was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011

Having garnered a plethora of prestigious literary and humanitarian awards as well as over 50 honorary degrees, Angelou was bestowed the 2010 Presidential Medal of Freedom the following year by President Barack Obama. The award is distinguished as the highest civilian honor in the United States. 


Clancy's comment:  Maya Angelou was an American poet, memoirist, and civil rights activist. She published seven autobiographies, three books of essays, several books of poetry, and was credited with a list of plays, movies, and television shows spanning over 50 years. Not only, her quotes are gob smacking.

I'm ....