Thursday, May 31, 2012

My Answer to Yesterday’s "Quick Quiz"

To make sense of this post, you need to first read the previous one, which lays out the context in which PBS panelist Susan Davis of USA Today used fuselage when she meant a similar sounding but completely different word.

There is no question that the word she had in mind was fusillade, the definition for which is: 1. a discharge of firearms, either simultaneously or in quick succession. 2. something resembling a fusillade; a vigorous or rapid outpouring of something.

By substituting fusillade for fuselage, her sentence “(Senator Dick Lugar) was hit by a fusillade of negative attack ads…” makes perfect sense.

Incidentally, fusillade was featured in the January, 2009, edition of my “Words of the Month.” Click here to review my nine examples illustrating its use.

© Copyright 2012 V. J. Singal

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Quick Quiz: Which Word Did the “Washington Week in Review” Panelist Have in Mind? Case of Synaptic Malfunction

In the May 11, 2012, edition of “Washington Week in Review,” while discussing why Senator Rich Lugar was defeated in the Republican primary in Indiana earlier this month, USA Today’s Susan Davis said, “… He bumbled the response to (questions about his not having owned a home in the state since 1977). …He was also hit by a fuselage of negative attack ads which defined that race….”

Clearly, fuselage, which refers to the central body of an aircraft and which accommodates the crew, passengers, and cargo, is not what Ms. Davis meant. Can you guess which similar sounding word she had in mind? Tune in to this blog tomorrow for the answer.

Incidentally, the above is a case of “synaptic misfire,” just as happened to President Obama during his “60 Minutes” interview about a year ago, when he mistakenly uttered denigrate in place of a similar sounding word. [See the “Quick Quiz” post of May 15, 2011.]

© Copyright 2012 V. J. Singal

Vocabulary Enhancement Words: New Edition of “Words of the Month”

The latest edition of “Words of the Month,” my free vocabulary enrichment feature, has been online for the past couple of weeks. The six featured words, all of which lie within the conversational vocabulary of America’s most articulate (as is the case with all of the words featured in my book, “The Articulate Professional-3rd Edition”):

1. punctilious
2. imperious
3. highfalutin
4. megalomaniacal
5. corpulent
6. cynosure

Thank You, George Will, for Giving Us a Humorous but Piercing Expression to Describe Someone Who Habitually Utters Nonsense

Chances are that even if you missed last Sunday’s edition of “ABC This Week,” you’ve heard the two harsh but humorous words that were uttered spontaneously by conservative panelist George Will to describe Donald Trump. That piercing expression, which sent everyone else seated around the table into peels of laughter, instantly became airborne in the news media. Here’s what happened:

When the host asked Will why Romney, who wants voters to take him seriously, keeps making televised appearances with Trump, the extraordinarily intelligent and verbally gifted political commentator & columnist replied: “I don’t understand the cost benefit here. The costs are clear…The cost of appearing with this bloviating (pause) ignoramus is obvious. Trump is redundant evidence that if your net worth is high enough, your IQ can be very low and you can still intrude into American politics. Again, I don’t understand the benefit.”

© Copyright 2012 V. J. Singal

Sunday, May 13, 2012

High-Impact Public Speaking: Example of a Pregnant Pause in Action From a Historic Speech by LBJ

The 30+ second video clip below illustrates a highly experienced and admirable public speaker employing the pregnant pause masterfully to emphasize a key word or phrase.

The historic clip—yes, it's kind of faded—is from President Johnson’s first address to Congress after assuming the presidency. In exhorting the audience to get going on the late President Kennedy’s “stalled” agenda, Johnson uses a strategically placed pregnant pause to emphasize that by so doing, the nation will be ensuring that the assassinated president’s life and death were “not in vain.”

The clip was cut from Rita Braver’s stirring segment on the famous LBJ biographer Robert Caro (yes, it is Ms. Braver’s voice in the background), featured in the April 29, 2012, edition of CBS’s “Sunday Morning”--my favorite television program by far!

© Copyright 2012 V. J. Singal