Author Archives: debooker

About debooker

A brief (and somewhat ambiguous) biography. One hundred words, more or less, about David Booker might include the following: though lost in the cosmos without a compass, he has nonetheless managed to find his way into middle age. As to what he will do now that he is there is still a matter of speculation. He often seeks guidance from his youthful daughter as he alternately approaches and retreats from the slow expansion of his waistline and the slow collapse of Western Civilization as he knows it. He hopes the two will reach a libration (or libation) point and he will creep into old age with some dignity and clothes intact.

Monday morning writing joke: “Time out”

There once was a sports writer extraordinaire, /

Who knew nothing of football and didn’t care. /

Touchdown, first down, /

He watched them all from a bar downtown, /

Where his vast knowledge he could share.


And a few football quotes and additional humor to help liven the week before college football begins.

“I don’t expect to win enough games to be put on NCAA probation. I just want to win enough to warrant an investigation.”
–Bob Devaney / Nebraska

“In Alabama, an atheist is someone who doesn’t believe in Bear Bryant.” –Wally Butts / Georgia

“I never graduated from Iowa. But I was only there for two terms Truman’s and Eisenhower’s.”
–-Alex Karras / Iowa

“I could have been a Rhodes Scholar except for my grades.”
–Duffy Daugherty / Michigan State

“If lessons are learned in defeat, our team is getting a great education.”
–Murray Warmath / Minnesota

“The only qualifications for a lineman are to be big and dumb. To be a back, you only have to be dumb.”
–Knute Rockne / Notre Dame

“We didn’t tackle well today, but we made up for it by not blocking.”
–John McKay / USC

“He doesn’t know the meaning of the word fear. In fact, I just saw his grades and he doesn’t know the meaning of a lot of words.” –Urban Meyer / Ohio State

Why do Tennessee fans wear orange? So they can dress that way for the game on Saturday, go hunting on Sunday, and pick up trash on Monday.

What does the average Alabama player get on his SAT? Drool.

How many Michigan State freshmen football players does it take to change a light bulb? None. That’s a sophomore course.

How did the Auburn football player die from drinking milk? The cow fell on him.

Two Texas A&M football players were walking in the woods. One of them said, “Look, a dead bird.” The other looked up in the sky and said,” Where?”

What do you say to a Florida State University football player dressed in a three-piece suit? “Will the defendant please rise.”

If three Rutgers football players are in the same car, who is driving? The police officer.

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Filed under 2016, Monday morning writing joke, poetry by author

Random Acts of Poetry: “White feathers”

White feathers and flat tires: /
Lost dreams to which we aspire /
Ride the wild wind and rocky road /
As we struggle through life’s occluded code. /
We plug in experience and face neglect. /
We bet on love with a gambler’s regret. /
We dare to be bold, but run a timid race, /
Girding our loins, defending our space. /
The night is young, but the day is old. /
The young seek mercy; the old only scold. /
Wisdom is a feather forgotten by the roadside. /
We leave nothing to chance, not even the rock slide. /
We bury our tomorrows in things we bought /
And deal with the past as if it were a bill best forgot.

by David E. Booker

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Filed under 2016, poetry by author, Random acts of poetry

Photo finish Friday: “Clean through”

"Since you didn't hear me the first time, let me clean your ear out and say it again: It's National Dog Day!"

“Since you didn’t hear me the first time, let me clean your ear out and say it again: It’s National Dog Day!”

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Filed under 2016, photo by David E. Booker, Photo Finish Friday

Haiku to you Thursday: “Bruised”

Bruised, you come to me: /

flowers darkened into night, /

love purpled by regret.

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Filed under 2016, Haiku to You Thursday, poetry by author

Writing tip Wednesday: “Idioms, you idiot”

7 idioms almost everyone gets wrong

by Matt Wilson

The English language is old. Like, really old.

Getting to the heart of the matter.

Getting to the heart of the matter.

It’s old enough that its speakers use a good many idiomatic sayings that were thought up decades or even centuries ago, and that use words people don’t really say much anymore.

That can turn into a problem when those out-of-date words sound like other, much more common words. Especially if the sound-alike word makes a certain sort of sense in the context. Here’s the thing, though: It’s still wrong, even if it seems right.

Take a look at these eight examples of often-misused idioms and be sure to use the right word in your own writing.

Wrong: “She hung in there like a trooper.”

Right: “She hung in there like a trouper.”

Groups of actors and dancers still travel around in troupes today, but not nearly as much as they once did. Far more commonly discussed nowadays are military troops or police troopers. It makes some degree of sense to think that a saying that describes fortitude would refer to a tough cop or soldier, but it’s actually about the “show must go on” mentality of an actor.

Wrong: “Let’s give him free reign.”

Right: “Let’s give him free rein.”

We’re talking about offering someone full independence to make a decision, so it’s understandable that someone might think this saying would be about royal authority. It’s really about horses, though. When someone is riding, “free rein” means they’re allowing the horse to move about as it wishes. This is simply applying that horse lingo to a person.

Wrong: “We’ll tow the line.”

Right: “We’ll toe the line.”

Folks are used to talking about boats or trucks towing other vehicles using a rope or a chain. It’s easy to make the connection to this saying. The correct word is toe. The origin of this phrase is cause for some debate. We might be talking about the digits of a foot. Some say it’s about kids lining up for the roll call at school, others say it’s about barefoot sailors lining up to stand at attention. Still others say “toe” means to draw, as in a boundary line.

Wrong: “She was chomping at the bit.”

Right: “She was champing at the bit.”

Once again, we can thank horses for this idiom. It’s got a pretty cut-and-dried meaning, in that it’s about figuratively chewing away on a metal mouthpiece, which would be showing impatience or eagerness. In fact, “chomp” is a sort of variant of the older “champ.” They both mean noisily chewing on something, but “champ” is the term that has long been associated with this idiom.

Wrong: “Wrack your brain about it.”

Right: “Rack your brain about it.”

To “wrack” something is to wreck or destroy it. Sometimes, when you’re pounding your head against a wall to come up with an idea, it can definitely feel like you’re doing some damage to the old noodle. But the correct term here is “rack,” which isn’t related to the noun form of the word. The verb form literally means “to strain.”

Wrong: “He’ll get his just desserts.”

Right: “He’ll get his just deserts.”

Sayings such as, “Revenge is a dish best served cold,” have created a sort of connection between food and someone’s getting their comeuppance. A lot of people think this saying extends that connection, but it doesn’t. The problem is that “desert,” which is a wholly separate word from the one that describes big, dry, sandy places, is a homophone for “desserts.” Here, “deserts” means “what one deserves.” That meaning has almost entirely fallen out of use, except in this phrase.

Wrong: “I’m waiting with baited breath.”

Right: “I’m waiting with bated breath.”

Let’s get past the very confusing notion of how someone would bait his or her breath to begin with and simply say that “bated” here is actually a contraction, despite the lack of an apostrophe. The full word would be “abated.” The person is holding his or her breath, not attracting something with it.

What are some other idiomatic phrases you see people often getting wrong in their writing?

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Filed under 2016, writing tip, Writing Tip Wednesday


P,S, Bring the donuts,,,

P,S, Bring the donuts,,,

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Filed under 2016, cartoon by author, CarToonsday

Monday morning writing joke: “Ship shape”

Redford Lane decided the only way he was going to become a better writer was to face his fears, starting with his fear of water. If nothing else, it would give him new material to write about.

He first tried to learn to swim, but failed. He then tried to learn to paddle a canoe, but failed there, too. Finally, he decided a bigger boat would be the answer, so he bought a barge, not realizing it did not have an engine or a sail. Still, he named the boat “O’ Courage” to both challenge and help him, and he could at least walk up and down on it while it was docked. He even took to living on it, at least some of the time.

One day, the barge slipped free of its mooring and started drifting down the river. Red grabbed a pole and tried to navigate the barge toward shore, pushing against the current with all his might. He almost had the barge stopped when the pole broke. He fell overboard and drowned.

The boat continued drifting down the river, passing by a couple of his friends who were fishing on the river. One of whom looked over and said, “Isn’t that Red’s barge, O’ Courage?”

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Filed under 2016, joke by author, Monday morning writing joke