Language

Money Talks

Time is a piece of cake. I can’t remember when or why, but — long before my brother became known as Rabbi Nota Schiller — he decided to teach me…

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2¢ Plain

My Dad may have made the best egg creams in the world. I don’t know; I haven’t tasted every egg cream in the world. In the early 1930s, Dad worked…

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Escape Key

Woody Leonhard, the reigning maven of Microsoft Windows, has abdicated. When his publisher asked him to write yet another edition of Windows 10 All-In-One For Dummies, Leonhard pressed his escape…

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Words: Old, New, and Nu

Welcome to the factstory, where facts are manufactured by high-flying factonauts — artificers of enhanced reality. I just looked up factstory, factonaut, and artificer. They were all taken. I shouldn’t…

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Tongue Lashing

By Mordechai Schiller OK, take out your pencil. It’s quiz time. We’ll start with a word association: I’m going to give you a word and you write down the first…

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What’s Up?

Shabbos was ending, and my grandson Avraham Yitzchak wasn’t happy. I wish I could say that when Shabbos ends I feel a sense of loss. I’d also like to think…

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It’s All an Allusion

NO, that wasn’t a typo. Allusions can be elusive, but they’re not illusionary. An allusion is an indirect reference. To allude to something is to hint to it. Allusions can…

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Indefinitive

Don’t stop me if you’ve heard this. (As Leo Rosten said, old jokes are like old friends.): A guy walks into a bank and hands the teller a note: “I…

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Eat, Drink and Be Dairy

Sometimes, my wife asks me to taste something she’s cooking. It’s a tough job, but somebody’s got to do it. One time, when I hesitated a second, she said, “You…

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Capital Gain

The President has regained the capital. STOP: I am neither making any prediction nor promoting any candidate for election. House rules on this column declare: “Leave your politics at the…

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Back to the Race Track

As I write this, I’m wearing a face mask. I’m in my own room, at my own desk. And I’m sitting more than six feet away from anyone. So why…

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It’s a Guy Thing

I don’t know what kind of party my grandson Yaakov Chaim (AKA Yankel) was planning. Alas, I was 6,000 miles away, in Brooklyn. But two days before his sixth birthday,…

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Not My Type

Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend,” said a great wise guy. “Inside a dog, it’s too dark to read.” Stop. Hold your fire. Yes, I…

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Catapostrophe

All hail the conquered hero. A battle-weary wordslinger has hung up his guns. Too young to remember the Old West? “Hang up your guns” means “to put aside in disuse;…

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Glub, N.Y.

OK, so there’s no such place as Glub, N.Y. But if you think the sound of someone trying to talk underwater is weird, how about these actual place names? No…

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Sage Fright

I got caught in the crossfire of a dispute at the shtieblach in Beis Yisrael, Yerushalayim. Shtieblach is the plural of shtiebel — literally, a small house. It refers to…

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How Do You Jew?

Get out your pencil. It’s quiz time: Who is buried in Grant’s Tomb? No, he’s not. Ulysses S. Grant and his wife are entombed — not buried — in sarcophagi…

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Trite and True

If you think meme is the sound of an opera singer warming up, you are blessedly innocent to the ways of the web. Memes are images or phrases that are…

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Funny Is as Funny Does

About 30 years ago, I went into a shop in Manhattan and ordered two cups of black coffee — one of them decaffeinated. Before handing me the coffee, the Asian…

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Defusing the Killer Noun

My grandson Avraham Yitzchak came home from day camp one day, zonked from obstacle races. Frankly, that was surprising. When he was 2, and a training wheel fell off his…

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