Why must a federal case be made out of using bad words?

November 10, 2008 Special to the Star-Telegram   This is like one of those cartoon caption contests. You know, like there’s this completely frazzled fish lying on a psychiatrist’s couch, distraught eyes fixed to the ceiling. And the super-serious but disinterested shrink sits across the room, pretending to listen . . . as he reads … Read more

Semantic pollution fouling the airwaves

August 9, 2008 Special to the Star-Telegram   One of the overlooked and under-reported aspects related to drilling in the Barnett Shale is the negative impact to our local linguistic environment. We’re not talking particulate matter here. This is the worrisome increase in measurable propagandulate in the lower levels of what is technically referred to … Read more

But what if …?

May 10, 2008 Special to the Star-Telegram   Today is graduation day at Texas Christian University. I teach a class in general semantics there, and seven of my 46 students will walk across the stage. Congratulations to them! Their last semester in college provided a variety of learning opportunities — and one notable missed opportunity … Read more

The Texas Spring Palace and the Fall of a Brave Man

February 2, 2008 Special to the Star-Telegram   The 2008 Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo concludes tomorrow. Since its inception in 1896, the show has grown to world-class proportions, attracting almost a million visitors each year and pumping an estimated $100 million into the Fort Worth-area economy. The “Texas Fat Stock Show,” as it … Read more

Friendship: football, band, church and a major talk

November 12, 2005 Special to the Star-Telegram   Jim was my best friend in high school. He and I did everything that best friends do: We hung out, talked, double-dated and “made the drag” around town. We played together on the football field, in the band hall and at church. During my sophomore year, I … Read more

A long winding stream

August 27, 2005 Special to the Star-Telegram   Next week, I begin a new job. I’ve been invited by the Department of Communication Studies at Texas Christian University to teach a course in general semantics. There’s a bit of irony in this. In 1979, I was an Air Force lieutenant, navigating KC-135 air-refueling aircraft at … Read more

A word by any other name

February 26, 2005 Special to the Star-Telegram Words have been in the news a lot lately. Of course, one could make the argument that what we call “the news” is nothing but words. We hear and read about “the news” in the words that are handed to us by others. Even when we view wordless … Read more