PERORATION [per-uh-REY-shuh n]: a long speech characterized by lofty and often pompous language.


Every time I hear one of President Roosevelt’s speeches I am struck by the fact that he does little if anything to disguise his elite background.  His speech is that of a man who has had a superb education, was schooled in eloquence, and has a vocabulary of a scholar.  He thinks nothing of dropping […]

GOTCHA [GOCH-uh]: a vernacular term for “got you”

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Some words in our American English are more utterances or expletives which are spoken in rapid conversation.   They just burst out without a lot of thought behind them. Gotcha is one of them.  It is a vernacular utterance someone utters when they have snagged somebody in a joke, a trick, or a moment of just […]

ARTICULATE [adj., n. ahr-TIK-yuh-lit; v. ahr-TIK-yuh-leyt]: expressed, formulated, or presented with clarity and effectiveness


President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) has to have been one of the most articulate public speakers in our nation’s history.   His ability behind a microphone or on the back end of a campaign train was incomparable.  FDR’s ability to make a difficult point in words that could be understood by people with many levels of […]

IMPERIOUS: haughty, overbearing

My late friend, Phil, was imperious.   He lived out the cliche, “looking down his nose” at people.  Whenever he spoke he tilted his head back, and in his best Ivy Leaguish speech, could put you down with pain and agony.   That’s what made him so lovable.  He was truly one of my best friends for […]

SOCIAL SECURITY: a social insurance program funded through payroll taxes

A potential candidate for the Republican Presidential nomination, Governor Rick Perry of Texas, has enjoyed labeling Social Security as a Ponzi Scheme. He has a right to do that, and there appear to be a number of people who agree with him.  I don’t. First of all, labeling Social Security as a scheme implies that […]

WORK ETHIC: A set of values based on the moral virtues of hard work and diligence.

The vast number of people unemployed in the United States is overwhelming.  It is a phenomenon which has not been this vast since the days of the Great Depression, although it was even more disastrous then.  Unemployment may be the root cause of a period of unrest, increased violence, depression, political anger, and who knows […]