DANCING WITH THE STARS: EXCITING NEWS! 18 January 2018...

EXCITING DANCING WITH THE STARS NEWS   18 January 2018   Hello, Dancing with the Stars fans!   Time for lots of news!   Preparations for the holidays were intense and extremely time consuming, further encumbered by emergencies, illnesses, and other unexpected happenings while little actual dancing news seemed to be available.  Along the way I heard rumors and wondered what we truly should expect to happen for the spring season of Dancing with the Stars.  The wait has brought more real news and, just within the past day, what seems to be concrete, reliable information from the producers for the spring.  So, in my usual fashion, I am organizing info by topics below so that you can skim or read more easily.   SPRING SHOW FORMAT I just learned from TVGuide.com that during the fall 2017 finale Tom and Erin supposedly referenced the spring 2018 show format; if that’s true, I totally missed it and haven’t known anyone who did hear it.  You may recall that the original plan for this spring, which I mentioned a few times last summer/fall, was to have a Dancing With The Stars Junior edition.  I thought it was odd that I didn’t hear anymore about that after Season 25 ended.  Did you wonder? Well,...

WRITING: DASHING THROUGH THE SNOW January 16, 2018...

WRITING:  DASHING THROUGH THE SNOW             January 16, 2018 DASHES VS. COMMAS & PARENTHESES:  Part A  The Dash/Dashes In writing, correct punctuation marks are critical to readily clarify relationships and meanings for readers, thereby avoiding confusion that cannot readily be resolved.  Writing is normally more formal than speaking, where listeners can say they’re confused, ask for clarity and receive it on the spot. Dashes, commas, and parentheses can be used effectively to set off material that interrupts the main sentence.  Today, we will deal only with dashes to keep readers’ attention.  We will have lessons on commas and parentheses very soon. DASHES emphasize the interrupting material.  Like the white-gloved traffic cop whose raised palm tells you to stop, the first dash points to the interrupting material and announces, “Time out! Stop, look, and listen!” Then, like the traffic cop who points to you when you’re permitted to resume driving, the closing dash points toward the remainder of the core clause, saying, “And, now, back to our show.”   The irritable child–with her constant complaining and crying–causes much distress. Notice how a dash is typed: with two unspaced hyphens when the en dash or em dash* are not available, without spaces between them and the word that precedes or follows:  child–with her...

WRITING: TRANSITIONS January 2, 2018...

WRITING:  TRANSITIONS                                                January 2, 2018 When writing, we must create a road map of sorts for our readers to follow.   Readers need to be able to understand how and why our thoughts–phrases, clauses, sentences, paragraphs, and sections–are related to one another. To that end, our thoughts must be connected appropriately and clearly via the use of transitions–specifically, sentence adverbs and transitional phrases–to make reading and comprehension fluid and easy. As you will see, a sentence adverb and a transitional phrase relate and connect the second sentence with the first.   Example: Without sentence adverb: I had planned to go to the movies last night.   After a hard day at work I went home and slept all evening. With sentence adverb: I had planned to go to the movies last night.   However, after a hard day at work I went home and slept all evening. With transitional phrase: I had planned to go to the movies last night.   Surprising to no one, after a hard day at work I went home and slept all evening. See the difference?  The first set of two sentences has a choppy sound to them because they are not connected by a sentence adverb; conversely, the other sets flow smoothly because...

WRITING: PARALLELISM December 4, 2017...

WRITING:  PARALLELISM                                                December 4, 2017 Our writing should flow well for our readers. When we write parts of the sentence in parallel fashion, we keep things logical, clear, and easy to read. Parallelism gives the sentence a sense of coordination and unity, rhythm and power. One of the best examples of parallelism came from President Abraham Lincoln: “. . . that the government of the people, by the people, and for the people shall not perish from the earth.” Now, compare the following examples: Nonparallel: I’ve spent the past week reading, some writing, and I took long walks. That sentence jolts readers, causing them to pause and think between the two independent clauses.   They think, “Wait a second. I have to read this again. What’s the writer talking about? Is a word or two missing? It feels weird. Shouldn’t it be worded in a different way?” Now, look at how the next sentence differs. Parallel: I’ve spent the past week reading, writing, and taking long walks. By contrast, the second sentence–one independent clause–flows smoothly because of the use of parallelism in the gerunds “reading,” “writing,” and “taking.” The sentence is parallel and easy to read within an economy of words. In this lesson we have given you...

WRITING: ELUSIVE TERMS November 25, 2017...

WRITING: ELUSIVE TERMS                    November 25, 2017 For speaking and writing, the dictionary defines “elusive” as follows:  “eluding one’s clear perception; hard to express or define; skillfully evasive.”   Some words in the English language are elusive.   Such words may seem to add substance or description to our communications, and some can be helpful in verbal situations. In writing, however, they rarely add anything to the cause. In fact, they often interfere with reader comprehension. Some examples of elusive terms are:  all that, all that much, very, just, rather, somewhat, quite, like, at that point in time.  Let’s discuss each of them.   Maybe you’ve noticed that usage of “all that“ ranges from interesting to irritating. In a form of modern slang, some GenXers sometimes say, “She thinks she’s all that.” To the rest of us, what IS “all that“? It seems to mean, for example, that a girl considers herself to be the best, and her attitude shows in her snobbish behavior. In another example, some say, “I didn’t like it all that much,” such as while testing a product in a marketing survey. The listener, though, doesn’t know what “that” is or the speaker’s basis for comparison; as a result, he/she is left to wonder, “How much is that much?” Speakers...

DANCING WITH THE STARS SEASON 25, FALL 2017, WEEK 10 FINALE!...

DANCING WITH THE STARS SEASON 25, FALL 2017, WEEK 10 FINALE! Dear DWTS Fans:  Welcome back!   It’s Week 10, night 2 of the FINALS, the FINALE of Season 25–Tuesday, November 21, 2017, 9-11 p.m.!  Tom and Erin hosted; as usual, Tom spent most of his time in the ballroom indoors while Erin spent most of hers at The Grove outdoors. Carrie Ann Inaba (CAI), Len Goodman, Julianne Hough, and Bruno Tonioli judged.   THE CURRENT CAST:  Actor Frankie Muniz (formerly “Malcolm”) & pro Witney Carson (1-800-868-3405) Actor/Singer/Dancer Jordan Fisher & pro Lindsay Arnold (1-800-868-3406) Electronic Violinist Lindsey Stirling & pro Mark Ballas*             (1-800-868-3407) *(2-Time MBT winner)   Ballroom & Latin Dances: Foxtrot, Quickstep, Waltz, Viennese Waltz, Tango, Argentine Tango, Jive, Jazz, Charleston, Contemporary; Cha-Cha, Samba, Salsa, Rumba, Paso Doble.  “Learn the dance, learn the steps, then learn the character of it.” — Len Goodman Tues., Nov. 21, 2017:   All 13 couples return in a Christmas spectacular both at The Grove (outdoors) and in the ballroom, as usual, opening to “Dancing in the Street.” Each couple will do two dances: (1)  a repeat of their fave this season; (2) the usual “24-Hour Fusion Challenge” (a new routine fusing two contrasting dance styles, prepared just since last evening). FIRST DANCE: ...

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