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Greg Hill’s Weekly Column


admin : April 15, 2014 10:44 pm : Greg's Weekly Column

Successful jokes depend greatly upon their recipients. Some listeners recoil at puns while others revel in them. Dante must have reserved a special sitting room in his inferno for those who appreciate grammar jokes. Are you one? Try this test: Do you laugh after hearing “A pregnant woman went into labor and began shouting ‘Couldn’t! Wouldn’t Shouldn’t! Didn’t! Can’t!’ She was having contractions.” Or “A noun and a verb are at a bar. The verb sidles up and asks, ‘Wanna go back to my place and conjugate?’ The noun replies, ‘I decline.’”

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Dialect or Hick

admin : April 2, 2014 6:40 pm : Greg's Weekly Column

Hillbillies were mentioned in my last column as being synonymous with hicks, rednecks, and Hoosiers, which is “the official demonym of residents of Indiana.” In so writing, I presumed that “demonym” meant “derogatory nickname,” but it actually means “place-name-based label that describes the resident of a particular city, territory, or country,” according to Assumptions can be dangerous things, and ditto for generalizations. Unfortunately, as author Ted Cook noted, “The narrower the mind, the broader the statement.”

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Hoosier Who

admin : March 26, 2014 7:22 pm : Greg's Weekly Column

A recent trip to Indianapolis to attend the Public Library Association conference led to copious entries in the small, plain notebook I habitually carry. Also known as a “commonplace book,” it’s a hodgepodge of observations, ideas, book titles, etc. in no particular order. They originated in the late middle ages, flourished in the Renaissance and Enlightenment periods, when commonplace book writing was taught at the college level. They were kept by many famous thinkers, and in 1706 John Locke wrote “A New Method of a Common Place Book.”

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Snow, Springtime and Carpets

admin : March 11, 2014 6:53 pm : Greg's Weekly Column

It’s snowing in Fairbanks, but springtime for professional baseball teams, including my beloved Texas Rangers. Though never much of a player, I learned to appreciate and savor the game, and love summer evenings at Growden Park with the Panners. Thankfully, there’s solace to be had in well-written books on the sport, and this winter’s reading included “Hit By Pitch,” a nonfiction graphic novel by Molly Lawless about the fatal beaning of Ray Chapman in 1920, and Baseball Prospectus’ “Baseball Between the Numbers: Why Everything You Know About the Game Is Wrong.”

There are scads of fine baseball books, but none ever quite capture the full sensations of actually being at a game. However, like all good books, they do preserve and convey enough to be informative, illuminating, and sometimes even transformative. That’s what Alex Rios, the Texas Ranger right fielder, is hoping for. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported last week that Rios “is aiming to read 99 books in the next couple of years … The 99-book goal comes from a website by Josh Kaufman that lists the 99 best business books that can help people earn their ‘Personal MBA.’”

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Proof Reading and E-Books

admin : March 3, 2014 8:59 pm : Greg's Weekly Column

Self-editing is the path to the dark side, warns writer Eric Benoit. “Self-editing leads to self-delusion, self-delusion leads to missed mistakes, missed mistakes lead to bad reviews.” I entered the dark side when I deluded myself into sending an early draft of last week’s column to the News Miner, instead of the smoother, more cogent final version, that’s obtainable by emailing me at

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