The sterile and expensive Denver International Airport

November 6, 2022 • 1:30 pm

You know what really bothers me?

I have to cool my heels at DIA for several hours before catching a flight back to Chicago, and I swear that I’ve never seen a more sterile airport in my life.  There are long, soul-less corridors of gates, with nary a nom to be found unless you take a long hike towards Baggage Claim. The place may be efficient, but it provides little comfort.

Here are two panoramas of the corridor (click to enlarge):

Can you name a more sterile airport?

Well, at least the restrooms are clean. But the restaurant is also victim of another pet peeve: overpriced food. After you hike a mile to find something to eat, what’s on offer is grossly overpriced food.

Now all airports (like ballparks and movie theaters) have overpriced food, but it’s gotten worse since the pandemic.  One could explain this with reference to the captive audience: there’s not much competition, and if you remember what happens when demand is high and supply is low, well, that’s what you see.

In the San Francisco Airport I wanted a bagel with a schmear, and it was around five bucks. Here I had a chicken salad sandwich, and had to part with $12, not including tax. Now I have to admit the sandwich was good (photo below), but really—twelve bucks?  Do airport food places make a deal with the airport to charge astronomical prices, or do they kick back a lot of their profit to the place?

Well, if you Google “why is airport food so expensive?”, you get a ton of answers. This site gives six, and I was partly right:

  1. Airport rent and regulations, which include extra fees besides rent.
  2. COMMISSIONS TO THE AIRPORT. These can be as high as 10%
  3. Delivery fees of foodstuffs to airports are higher than delivery to normal outlets. For example, delivery people have to go through security
  4. Limited storage space, so you have to rent more space.
  5. Delivery people have to pass extra background checks.
  6. Airports are out of the way and that makes it harder to retain employees, ergo they have to pay them more.

Their solution is twofold. First, avoid beverages in airports, which have an even higher profit margin. But the best solution is to bring in your own food (but not drinks, which aren’t allowed to go through TSA!). That was not an option for me.

But the chicken sandwich was good, and on my Southwest flight I got a free can of cranberry juice (actually, a mixture of cranberry, apple, and grape juice, with the first ingredient being water and the second HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP. The damn can had two ounces (ca. 60 grams) of sugar in it!)



Online newspapers coddle their readers by giving them “reading times” for articles

October 11, 2022 • 9:15 am

Although this might have been going on for a long time, I just noticed it yesterday.  Two of the three “MSM” news paper sites to which I subscribe—the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal—are providing “reading times” for most of their articles. See below; I’ve put arrows by the times:

The Wall Street Journal does it, too (for long pieces they just note “long read”):

These times presumably allow a reader to judge whether he or she wants to or has time to read a piece. I guess if the time is too long, you don’t read it.

Of course this raises a number of questions. First, how do they estimate the reading time? Presumably it’s based on the number of words in the piece, divided by a “standard” reading time of words/minute.

I consider myself a fairly fast reader (not always a good thing when I’m reading prose that needs to be savored), so I took one article from the NYT to test the reading time for me. It’s this one (click to read), estimated at 6 minutes reading time.

Excluding the ancillary material at the end, which are notices about other unrelated articles, it took me 2 minutes and 23 seconds.  Although I am a fast reader, I am not that fast, and so the timings must be directed at those who read fairly slowly.

The second question is also obvious: Why are the newspapers doing this?

I will try not to be curmudgeonly here (and will fail), but it seems to me that you should choose which pieces to read based on whether their title interests you. If the article engages you, you read on to the end. If it doesn’t, of you have other pressing issues to attend to, you stop reading and move on.

It appears, in an age when there are a gazillion online sites competing for your time, that this is the way some news sites have chosen to help harried readers decide what to read—a way based solely on the title and the reading time. Perhaps that’s better than the alternative of using only the title, but it may be worse than the alternative of reading based on the title and reading the whole article because it’s interesting and informative, or giving up if you’re bored.

But if you’re going to use these times to decide what to read, you have to know your reading speed. How many readers have matched the estimated reading time with their own reading time?  Would you choose what to read based on estimated reading times?


July 23, 2022 • 9:00 am

Look it up and learn some Yiddish!  I decided to go grocery shopping on Saturday instead of Sunday, as it was raining and the ducks were in hiding, so NO BREAKFAST FOR THEM.

The good bit was that because of the fairly heavy thunderstorms, the grocery store, which opens at 6 a.m., was almost empty at 7. Further, I did all my shopping in record time and got bargains on yogurt, bread, tuna, grapes, my weekly t-bone (a porterhouse, actually, since they were on sale), and chicken thighs. Total bill: $23 and change.  I breezed on through the store, and when I got to the checkout counter, I saw that there was only one guy ahead of me in the express lane, and he had only one item.

Then the bad news. Here’s how he paid:

Yep, IN PILES OF PENNIES, which all had to be counted out and put into the till one by one. (It’s hard to pick them off the slippery grocery belt, too.) It took forever. Why didn’t the guy put them in rolls? (That’s what the cashier asked me when we chatted.) He must have been saving up for months.

I’m sure you know the feeling: it’s always the person just ahead of you whose debit card doesn’t work, and has to go rummaging through wallet or purse to get one. Or writes out an entire check (not pre-filled-out), with the checkbook first fished with difficulty out of a purse. Or doesn’t have enough money to pay, and has to decide which items to leave unbought at the counter.  Or has 30 items in a 15-item express line. If I were paranoid, I’d say that this guy knew I was coming, emptied his penny jar, and then found a way to get right ahead of me in line.

But of course that’s dumb. But it does seem that the slow people are always ahead of me. I think everyone must feel like that sometimes.

One more bit of tsouris. (I get to gripe because this is my site.) Above the first floor mailboxes in my department a pipe in the ceiling is dripping condensate, which fall into the office as well as the mailboxes, are set into the wall outside the office. (It can’t be fixed without removing the wall, so they’ve set drip pans inside the office. GUESS WHOSE MAILBOX IS DIRECTLY UNDER THE DRIP?  You got i!! Mine!  There’s nothing like reaching into your mailbox and grabbing a handful of soggy envelopes and magazines. No other mailbox has this problem. Fortunately, the lovely office staff moved my mailbox, so that one’s solved. But I’ll never get the time back that I waited watching the cashier count those pennies.

Oh, one more: it’s always when you’re in a hurry when your shirt catches on the door handle—and sometimes rips.

As my father used to say to me in (bad) Yiidish when I was a kid: “Tsouris mit mon”: “Troubles as numerous as poppy seeds”.

Feel free to have a Saturday vent below. Tsouris mit mon!

Why keep a landline?

June 25, 2022 • 11:00 am

I’m in a conundrum that many share: I have a cellphone and an AT&T landline (at home), as well as a work phone. I never get calls on my landline and I use it only when I’m calling my cellphone because I’ve misplaced it in my flat and need to find it by making it ring. But I can do that on Skype, too, for you can use Skype as a telephone, buying ten bucks’ worth of calls, which will last for months (overseas calls by phone using Skype can be as low as 2¢ per minute, and of course video calls are free).

So why do I keep a landline. Laziness, I suppose, but also I have the fantasy that one day I won’t have my cellphone and need to call 911, which you can’t do on Skype. In that case I’d use the regular phone. But I always have my cellphone, so that is an improbable event.

I pay about $45/month to keep the damn landline (I also have AT&T wireless), but while I use the wireless, I never use the landline. Give me one reason why I should keep it!

It’s strange, as I usually have no trouble getting rid of stuff I never use, but this is an exception.

I just found an article from 2020 (I knew I would) called “8 reasons you should consider keeping your landline“. It turns out that it’s somewhat of a geezer thing: 60% of adults over 45 have a landline, and I bet that many fewer under 30 would have one.

The reasons given:

1.) “It’s a connection to your past.”  I don’t give a hoot about that.

2.) “The sound quality is better.” It’s fine on my cellphone.

3.) “It costs almost nothing.” Not for me, as I don’t have a phone bundled with cable.

4.) “You need it for medical devices or security systems.” I don’t use these things, and anyway I suspect these will now be compatible with cellphones.

5.) “You send and receive faxes”.  Nope. I would get them at work, but who faxes any more? People can send documents as pdf files.

6.) “You need your phone to work when you lose power”  Both cellphones and Skype on my computer work fine, and I keep both devices charged.

7.) “You really just don’t see the need for a smartphone.”  Seriously? Smartphones have greatly improved my life and my ability to get work done. Yes, I know we lived without them, but we used to live (or die) without antibiotics.

8.) “You want 911 access tied to your location.” I think that my iPhone 13 is as well, but you can always tell 911 where you are.

None of these reasons are convincing for me. Maybe I’ll ditch the landline.

You? Do you have one? If so, why?

The ice cream scams

June 5, 2022 • 9:15 am

When I was younger—actually, it doesn’t seem that long ago—when one bought a big tub of ice cream, it was a full half gallon. Then the companies started shrinking the sizes of the containers from 64 ounces to 56 ounces, and now the big container of most name brands, like Breyers (the go-to “quality brand” of my youth), are a paltry 48 ounces. That’s a quart and a half, or a full 25% reduction in size from the original.

Why do you think they did that? We’re not stupid: they shrunk the containers but did not commensurately shrink the price, so a given amount of ice cream cost more.  It’s capitalism, Jake! Now you could figure this out if you look at the unit price (price per ounce) required to be posted in the grocery stores, but who ever does that? In the end, it was pure duplicity whose effectiveness counted on consumers not paying attention to per-unit prices—or even noticing the size change.

Another trick is that what looks like “ice cream” is, if you scrutinize the label, often described really a “frozen dairy dessert” (this is particularly true of exotic flavors). They are not the same thing. Breyer’s also did this downgrade, as described in the New York Times in 2013 (see picture below):

First, as part of typical trompe l’oeil packaging, the cartons now hold 48 ounces, not the half-gallon’s 64. (The good news is that your hands haven’t become freakishly large; the bad news is that you’re not suddenly much stronger.)

Second, that age-old Breyers boast of “All Natural” has been replaced with “Quality,” which is one of those impressive words that loses impact the more you think about it.

Lastly, not all Breyers is what we once understood the name to mean. A Breyers carton in the store’s freezer might be ice cream, but the Breyers carton right beside it, identical in nearly every way, might be something called “frozen dairy dessert” — which, when translated from the original Orwell, means: not ice cream.

One example from a 2013 article in the New York Times (circle is mine):

More from the NYT:

Remember the old schoolyard song?

I scream,

You scream,

We all scream for frozen dairy dessert …

You might ask what the difference is between ice cream and a frozen dairy dessert, and I might answer that it is the same as the difference between a slice of American cheese and a slice of Kraft Singles American Pasteurized Prepared Cheese Product. Since this is not helpful, we turn to a spokeswoman for the Food and Drug Administration, the guardian of “standards of identity,” who explained the distinction in a written response: “Ice cream requires specific levels of milk fat content, nonfat milk solids content, total solids in each gallon of ice cream, and total weight in each gallon of ice cream, while frozen dairy products do not.”In general, ice cream has at least 10 percent dairy fat, and a frozen dairy dessert does not. In my freezer, the Breyers vanilla fudge twirl frozen dairy dessert has the ubiquitous corn syrup, and the Breyers vanilla ice cream does not.

Clearly the change in wording is another bit of duplicity to reduce manufacturing costs. I discovered this when I finally started inspecting the cartons, only to find that what I thought was ice cream was in fact a “frozen dairy dessert.” I was not happy.  Here’s how the NYT described the ingredients for Breyers vanilla ice cream vs. vanilla “frozen dairy dessert”.

Breyers natural vanilla ice cream: milk, cream, sugar, tara gum, natural flavor. Period.

Breyers extra-creamy vanilla frozen dairy dessert: milk, sugar, corn syrup, cream, whey, mono and diglycerides, carob bean gum, guar gum, carrageenan, natural flavor, annatto (for color), vitamin A palmitate, tara gum.

Years ago I wrote to Breyer’s about the size change (as a curmudgeon, I did that from time to time), and the company wrote back bloviating about how “it’s what the consumers wanted”.  Of course that’s bullpucky. It’s capitalism, Jake! I want a full half gallon!

Last night I discovered what might be another trick, though I’m not sure. I had a pint of super-premium ice cream in my freezer, and decided to dip into it. When I looked at the calories, it said in big letters “320”.  But I didn’t look close enough, for that was the first nutritional ice cream on the label. But when I looked again, it was “320 calories PER SERVING”.  Closer inspection showed that there were supposed to be THREE servings per pint, so the total calories in the small carton was 960—a substantial number of calories. But that information appeared after the “per serving” information.

(In fact, all containers seem to specify a number of servings greater than those consumed by a normal person. Who decides what a “serving” is?)

Now I may be wrong, but shouldn’t the total calories per container appear first on the label? Do they put the “per serving” calories first so you think you’re eating healthier? Because NOBODY I KNOW GETS THREE SERVINGS OUT OF A PINT OF PREMIUM ICE CREAM!  I usually get two, but many of us, particularly when we need comfort, eat the whole damn pint.

Could it be that what I thought was a favor to the consumer (it isn’t; this is mandated by law) was really a way to make you think what you’re eating is less calorie-laden than it is? And that could result in your buying the ice cream when you wouldn’t if you really knew how many calories it had.

That is for Solomon to decide, but one thing’s for sure: the size reduction (not limited to ice cream, as the NYT mentions) is the result of pure greed. And it’s even more nefarious because it is hidden. You’ll never see on the label: “NEW SMALLER SIZE”.

So we have three potential tricks involving carton size, ingredients, and unrealistic serving sizes.

Oh, and I just remembered Steve Gould’s old Natural History article, “Phyletic size decrease in Hershey bars,” one of his funnier essays (still online), in which he describes the shrinkage in Hershey bars over time, always ultimately accompanied by an increase in the price per ounce. Here’s the graph Gould showed, putting it in an evolutionary context. Note that the article describes how Hershey’s tried to bribe Gould by offering him a free ten pounds of chocolate (they didn’t come through after his piece appeared!).

I haven’t bought a Hershey Bar in years, but I bet it’s a lot more than 25¢ now. And here’s one of his conclusions—classic Gould:

So, your lessons are these:

  1. If you’re counting calories, always look at the “per portion” count as well to see if the portion size is realistic. Will you really consume only one potion?
  2. If you’re out to buy ice cream, look at the carton to see if you’re getting “frozen dairy dessert” instead. Maybe you want this ersatz ice cream, but I don’t.

And get off my lawn!

“You know what really bothers me?”

May 23, 2022 • 2:15 pm

The title of course comes from the late Andy Rooney of CBS, who made a fine living as a Professional Kvetcher. Now it’s my turn.

Look at the photo below. Do we really need to do this? How did fruitmongers survive before the days of these ridiculous stickers?

This is my after-lunch plum, and of course the skin tore when I removed the label.

It’s even worse with ripe tomatoes: there’s almost no way to remove the Dreaded Paper Tags without ripping the skin.

Word and phrases I despise

April 7, 2022 • 1:45 pm

I believe all of these words or phrases are new, but since I don’t keep track I can’t be positive. At any rate, here are the latest four entries in my list of words and phrases I cannot stand. I offer these, of course, expecting readers to respond with their own linguistic bêtes noires.  I will use examples from the HuffPost when I find them, as that’s the epicenter of despiséd words and phrases.

1.)Perfect storm“.  This comes from a “nor’easter” turned hurricane off New England in 1991; it killed 13 and caused millions of dollars in damage. The Perfect Storm resulted from a concatenation of unusual meteorological conditions, and now is used by chowderheads to mean “a bad situation caused by the co-occurrence of several contributing factors.” It’s perhaps better known as the title of a 2000 movie about the storm.

There are two problems here. The first is that the phrase is shopworn, a cliché that is no longer especially cute or especially evocative. Second, it’s often used just to mean “concatenation”, even of good things, as in this HuffPost article (click all screenshots to read):

When someone uses this phrase, I consider them grammatically lazy. Because it can mean either good or bad stuff, it’s lost its original meaning. And there are simpler and less cutesy phrases that can substitute, like “bad outcome of many causes”  As Orwell said, avoid shopworn phrases.

2.)Deep dive.” Doesn’t this sound erudite and official? Well, guess what, there’s nothing it says that the phrase “close look” or “closer look” doesn’t say as well. Those who use it”deep dive” are grammatical sheep, employing the phrase because everybody else is. Let’s take a “deep dive into empathy,” meaning “discussing empathy in detail”:

Don’t brand yourself a linguistic ovid by emitting this odious phrase.

3.) “Sammie” “or “sammy” for “sandwich”. This is one of those attempts to be cute that fails badly. In fact, used in the singular, you save no syllables by saying “sammie” for “sandwich.” Further, when I hear the word, I think of Jews, often nicknamed “Sammy” if their real name is Samuel. (I had an uncle Sammy.)

Here’s a comestible that’s been doubly debased by that name:

There are many people who don’t like their own names shortened this way. Matthew Cobb goes by “Matthew”, not “Matt” or “Matty”; Richard Dawkins is “Richard,” not “Dick.” We respect their choices. Please respect the tasty sandwich by not calling it a “sammie”! This is one of those words that I may even correct if I hear someone say it. For example, if someone says to me, “Would you like a sammie?”, I may reply politely, feigning ignorance, “Do you mean a sandwich?”

4.) “Firestorm”, meaning “big kerfuffle” or “brouhaha”.  And we’re very close to #1 again, because many of the benighted use “firestorm” in the same way they’d use “perfect storm”.

In fact, a firestorm is what happens when fire and wind meet in a particularly dangerous conflagration. If it’s just a ruckus or kerfuffle or controversy, call it that. Don’t be like this HuffPost slacker, reaching for the nearest metaphor to describe Hillary’s emails:

Again, I’m with Orwell, who opposed stale metaphors, and this one has all the appeal of a week-old slice of Wonder Bread left out on the counter. Best to make up your own metaphors, if possible, and if not, well then avoid trying to be au courant.

Your turn. And get off my lawn!

I have landed, part II

April 5, 2022 • 1:17 pm

I am finally home, with a lot of unpacking to do and affairs to settle. Plus we may have a nesting mallard (probably Dorothy, as Honey hasn’t been seen in two weeks). Putin, her beau, sits in the pond quacking forlornly, which probably means she’s built a nest on a ledge.  So far we have only a single pair of ducks.

But I digress: here are three items I noticed on the short bus trip from downtown to Hyde Park.

A.) Look who’s making a lot of dosh headlining at the famous Chicago Theater! (Note red arrow.) Not only that, but he bills himself as “DR. Jordan Peterson,” despite the fact that he has a Ph.D., not an M.D. (and he shouldn’t be using Dr. in either case). I’m not jealous, as I don’t need dosh or want that kind of fame, but I was vastly amused.  He’s becoming the Deepak Chopra of Generation Z. (I have to say, though, that his advice to stop and pet any cat you encounter is very sound.

B.)  I’ve posted about this grammatical error before, though I think some misguided readers defended its use. It’s on all the Chicago buses.

It’s wrong because you can’t sit there if you have both a disability and are accompanied by a senior.  What it should have said is simply “for seniors or people with disabilities.” In fact, that’s exactly what it says on the similar Chicago subway (“el”) sign, where they clearly employed someone who knew their grammar.

C). For some reason the sign below, which was on the bus right above the seat shown in “B”, offends me. Look at that: “Send referrals and make money.” That is, you get PAID if you send somebody for an HIV test to the University of Chicago Hospital.  Yes, the test may be free, but if you’re diagnosted as positive, somebody, including the hospital, is going to make some money. And the person who sent you gets a bounty!

Notice, too, that two black gay men are depicted in the background, which shows whom this ad is targeting. I didn’t like that, either; why do they need a picture? Lots of people from all walks of life get HIV tests.

In fact, why shouldn’t the hospital offer bounties to those who refer anybody who might have a disease, like diabetes or heart disease? Why just HIV? It’s unseemly, I tell you, these bounties.

Words and phrases I abhor

February 13, 2022 • 2:15 pm

UPDATE: Reader Merilee thought that this collection of grammatical malapropisms might be appropriate for this column:


This is the special Pandemic Edition of WaPIA, as everyone is grouchy and surely we’ll have lots of people who want to share the language that twists their knickers.  I have six—count them, six—bits of argot that irritate me.

Here we go:

1.) “different to” rather than “different from”. Yes, Americans use the latter phrase and other Anglophones the former. But the latter sounds better to me. Perhaps it’s because I was brought up speaking American English, but the notion of something being “different to” something just sounds wrong. “To” sounds like two things are converging; “from” as if two things are diverging. Thus it’s better to use “different from”, emphasizing divergence, than “different to.” The last phrase will always grate on my ears.

 2.) “Nominal” meaning “normal”  This pretentious term should just go away. It has two meanings: one for the whole Anglophonic world, meaning “modest”, as in “nominal returns”, and the other for NASA geeks, who use it to mean “normal”: as in “performance is nominal”. Do space people think they’re so special that they need their own words? Why can’t they say “normal” or “as expected”? This is, of course, the group that also coined “copacetic”, which pretty much means the same thing.

3.) “Any more” versus “anymore”. Let’s get this straight: “any more” refers to quantity and “anymore” to time. You can say “I don’t want any more tequila; I’m already drunk.” And you can say, “You’re no fun anymore, you don’t drink.” “Anymore” as one word means “any longer”.  When you should not use “anymore” is as a synonym for “now”, as in “They don’t serve tequila here anymore.” That’s just heinous!

4.) “Medaled” as a verb in the Olympics. Every two years this comes up, and every two years it’s wrong. “Medal” is a noun; it is not a verb meaning “to get a medal”. Here’s a wrong usage: the video “10 most medalled male athletes at the Summer Olympic Games“.

Now some of you Pecksniffs are going to root around in a dictionary and find that what I see as wrong usages are actually valid. Maybe some wrongheaded dictionary tells you that “medal” can be a verb. You know what? I don’t care!  These phrases irritate me, even if some lexicographer thinks they’re fine.

5) “Funeralized”.  Now this is a new one on me, and I didn’t even try to look it up. It apparently means, “was the object of a funeral service”. When I was preparing tomorrow’s Hili dialogue, I noticed that Gregory Hines, the dancer, died quite young. Going to his Wikipedia page to find out why (yes, we elders do that), I read this (my emphasis):

Hines died of liver cancer on August 9, 2003 en route to the hospital from his home in Los Angeles. He was diagnosed with the disease more than one year earlier, but informed only his closest friends. At the time of his death, production of the television show Little Bill was ending, and he was engaged to female bodybuilder Negrita Jayde, who was based in Toronto.

He was funeralized at St. Monica Catholic Church in Santa Monica, California and buried at St. Volodymyr Ukrainian Catholic Cemetery in Oakville, Ontario.

Is that a word in anybody’s dictionary? And even if it is, it shouldn’t be in there.

6). “Deep dive”, meaning “intensive scrutiny”.  This is the latest phrase used by the media to show how hip they are, and I blame the media for popularizing it. It’s one of those phrases that shows you’re resorting to trite and widespread phrases instead of trying to think of a fresh way to say something. Here’s a typical example from HuffPost, the doyen of “we’re-the-cool-kids” journalism:

You know, even the term “close look” would be better.


Your turn! What phrases curl the soles of your shoes or burn your onions?

Words and phrases I detest

November 4, 2021 • 2:00 pm

Yes, it’s time for another selection of words and phrases that burn my onions and get my knickers in a wad. And, of course, you’ll get your own chance to weigh in below. As usual, I take many of my examples from the HuffPost, the epicenter of bad writing.  We have five items today; click on the screenshots to go to the articles.

1. Impactful. I detest this word because it seems to be a recent usage, is pretentious, and there are plenty of better words for it—like “powerful”. In the case of the HuffPost usage below, why wouldn’t “influential” do as well?  Can you imagine saying, “Well, Bill Gates is very impactful these days.”


2. Crisply.  I see this word all the time, like the odious phrase “bright line”, but it reminds me not of anything evocative except crackers. Here’s a usage from a Science paper I cited recently:

To wit:

An extreme social event (a war, in this case) that triggered intense, selective exploitation of elephants crisply illustrates the pronounced coupling between human societies and evolutionary processes in other life forms.

How does “crisply illustrate” differ from “vividly illustrate” or simply “illustrate”?Are they showing pictures of Saltines?


3. Majorly:  Now this one is really bad. Yes, it’s in the Oxford English Dictionary, but it grates like nails on a blackboard.  This article has two errors: “majorly” (used with “intersect”, for chrissake), and “suped-up”, which is supposed to be spelled “souped-up”.

The offending sentence:

Early critic reactions to the scene described it as “very tame” and “very G-rated,” so keep your expectations low regarding just how steamy Marvel is getting in this new era. For decidedly more R-rated fare, fans noted that past heroes in Marvel television shows like “Jessica Jones,” which have yet to majorly intersect with the current MCU slate of films, featured more explicit and suped-up sexual encounters.


4. Going forward.  I know other readers hate this, too, for all it means is, “in the future,” or simply “next”—and sometimes doesn’t even need to be there. Here it is used in a Madison, Wisconsin NBC site—in the headline. (And no, it doesn’t refer to mail being forwarded; it means “from now on”; so it’s not only irritating, but confusing.)


5. Advancement. Now you see this one all the time, and all it means is “advance” as a noun. Anyone using it is being pretentious. Stop it now!

. . . aaaand, here it is in a HuffPost headline. “Advances” would have read so much better! But the author wanted to sound, well, serious:


Your turn! What words curl the soles of your shoes?