Friday, July 18, 2008
Thursday, July 17, 2008
They came out with this a little while ago. I could not get it to work. Then I got it working on one of my blogs but couldn't get it to work on the rest.
It seems that you can't do it by clicking the layout link from the Dashboard. You have to go to the blog and then click on the customize link up in the right hand corner of the screen. That takes you directly to the layout screen and you can then add the element.
I don't know how to get word to the blogger people. If you are having problems intalling this element, this should do the trick.
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Author: David Bowman, Precise Edit
About the author: David Bowman is the Owner and Chief Editor of Precise Edit, a comprehensive editing, proofreading, and document analysis service for authors, students, and businesses. Precise Edit also offers a variety of other services, such as translation, transcription, and website development.
10 Words to Avoid When Writing
Writing is a combination of art and craft. The art comes from much reading, talking, thinking, dreaming, and writing. The craft is primarily technique. Some techniques are complex, but a few are very simple and will instantly strengthen your writing. In many cases, however, strengthening writing simply means avoiding those things that weaken it.
We have identified 10 words that nearly always weaken writing. In no particular order, they are as follows.
1. Really: "Avoiding this word is a really great idea."
Reason: A really great idea is the same as a great idea. If you need to emphasize something, such as the "greatness" of an idea, use a single word that means what you are trying to say, e.g., "Avoiding this word is an excellent idea."
2. You: "Sometimes, you feel like writing is too hard."
Reason: I never feel this way, so this statement is not true. The writer probably means "I" or "some writers," e.g., "Sometimes, I feel like writing is too hard." "You" should only be used when you are actually writing to, and about, the reader, not when making general statements.
3. Feel: "I feel the government should stop people from writing poorly."
Reason: Which emotion is being "felt"? What is the writer touching and, therefore, feeling? Usually, the writer means "believe" or "think." "Feel" is also used by authors to describe a character's emotions, as in "He felt despondent." Instead, the writer should show the emotions through the character's words and actions.
4. Think: "I think the government should stop people from writing poorly."
Reason: If you write an opinion, the reader understands that you also think it. Just say what it is you think, e.g., "The government should stop people from writing poorly."
5. As: "As you write this word, poke out your eyes. It's weak as it can cause confusion."
Reason: A person usually cannot do two actions simultaneously, so "as" doesn't make sense in the first sentence. It could be rewritten, "Write this word, then poke out your eyes." In the second sentence, the writer should use "because." Until reading the rest of the sentence, the reader doesn't know if "as" means two actions are occurring simultaneously or means “because.”
6. A lot: "A lot of writing could be made better."
Reason: How much is "a lot"? 100 documents? 50% of everything I have written? 1% of one million books? The term "a lot" is meaningless without the context, but if you give the context, you don't need the term "a lot." Also, this is highly subjective. "A lot" to one person may seem like "some" to another.
7. Sort of/Kind of: "Using these words is sort of annoying to the reader."
Reason: If using these words is only sort of annoying, you haven't told the reader exactly what it is. If it is annoying, say so: "Writing this way annoys the reader." If it is not annoying, tell the reader exactly what it is, e.g., "Using these words bothers readers." Use words that mean what you are trying to say, and give the reader exact descriptions. This also applies to "kind of."
8. Like: "Using these words is like baking with spoiled milk."
Reason: If this is like something, then it is NOT that thing. Giving accurate descriptions and using correct verbs will reduce your need to use "like," e.g., "These words spoil your writing." A good simile can enhance your writing, but using too many makes writing tedious, so try to think of a different way to express your ideas.
9. Just: "Some people are just persnickety about writing. It's just the way they write."
Reason: The word "just" doesn't add any real value to these sentences. Leaving them out results in the same meanings and makes the sentences much tighter and more direct: "Some people are persnickety about writing. It's the way they write." Doesn't that just sound better?
10. Used to: "He used to write like this when he started writing."
Reason: Using fewer words to express an idea is almost always a good idea, so "used to write" can be written "wrote," as in, "He wrote like this when he started writing." The problem is that "used to write" and "when he started writing" both express events in the past, which is redundant. In nearly every case, "used to . . ." can be replaced with a past tense verb.
The sample sentences demonstrate poor uses of these words, but you will find good uses, too. In fact, some of them are perfectly fine in some contexts or when used in particular ways. Your level of formality, purpose, voice, and audience will determine whether or not to use these words. If you're not sure whether or not to use them in a particular sentence, our advice is to avoid them.
Precise Edit editors keep a sharp eye out for these troublesome and confusing words. We evaluate their use and, in most cases, find a way to revise the sentences so we don't use them. The result is stronger writing that more clearly and more professionally communicates the author's ideas.
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Monday, July 14, 2008
It's just a bit of fun - Flash games, videos, funny photos, jokes. -: "UK Useless Facts
* 95% of £5 notes have been in contact with cocaine.
* If you buy a lottery ticket at 7pm on Saturday, you are more likely to die in the hour before the draw than you are to win.
* No word in the English language rhymes with the word unicorn.
* The easiest way to become a millionaire is to convert £4 sterling into Turkish Lire.
* The Guiness Book of Records lists 'The sixth sick sheik's sixth sheep's sick' as the hardset tongue twister.
* The most dangerous part of a plane journey from the UK to Australia is the drive to the airport.
* An average of four people a year in Britain are killed by writing instruments.
* Three serious accidents a year in Britain can be attributed to pencil sharpeners.
* Last year, 43 British adults died in their bathtubs.
* 27 million porn mags are sold in the UK each year.
* Britons eat on average 2.2 curries a week - spending £2.8 billion every year.
* Lambeth council in south London owes £850 million (as of 1999) - this is more than the national debt of Guatemala.
* During December 1998, Barclays Bank's cash machines in the UK dispensed a total of £1.24 billion in notes."
Sunday, July 13, 2008
Some people may think that the taping of this was cruel, that the people should have rushed the poor squirrel to the vet. Have you ever been drunk. Did people bundle you up and take you to the doctor. Hell no. You sobered up. Poor squirrel probably had a killer headache the next morning along with a bad case of cotton mouth. You don't really want to make contact with the squirrel, so just let the poor little guy/girl sleep it off. You have to admit that watching a drunk squirrel is pretty amusing. Beats watch drunk humans, well, maybe not.