Ian D. Laing, 1925-2019

Ian D. Laing, 1925-2019
It’s been quite a time since my father told me, in our nightly phone call, that he had a stomachache on Thursday night, March 7. I thought it was too late to call my sister. But she called me in the morning to say that Dad had been taken to the hospital. That night, she... Read more »

Elections and pronouns: 'It's hers'

Elections and pronouns: 'It's hers'
We’ve got some pronoun-adjusting to do in Chicago these days. With two women remaining in the race for mayor of Chicago, Toni Preckwinkle and Lori Lightfoot, we’ll have to pay more attention to when someone says something political is “hers.” I caught myself doing that at least once today, thinking “Whose?” when I saw a... Read more »

Seasons and years and Marches

Seasons and years and Marches
As I start to write this, I’ve been inside for about half an hour. I’ve taken off my coat and hat (rescued from another battle against the wind, although by then it was hard to get my head warm again). There’s no warming my feet quite yet, and I’m trying to use some typing to... Read more »
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My 'hold onto your hat' weekend

My 'hold onto your hat' weekend
I have a favorite hat made of gray Irish tweed. It’s the most comfortable hat I’ve ever had, and it’s also the warmest. If you’ve seen me in this weather, you’ve seen it. It dates to the end of 2007, so I suppose I should look for another. But I don’t want to look for... Read more »

More on time spans: This time, decades

More on time spans: This time, decades
Note: Thanks to reader and commenter Jack for this idea from his comment on my previous post. The glory of a system based on counting to ten is that we don’t need to figure out multiples of six, seven or anything else. My previous post, “Spanning three centuries — here? Not exactly,” available here, looked at... Read more »

'Spanning three centuries' -- here? Not exactly

'Spanning three centuries' -- here? Not exactly
I was minding my own business on Saturday, listening to the radio while I did, and an ad came on. I won’t name the product because I want to debunk one of its claims — an expression I’m hearing too much of. This product’s qualities were extolled as marvels “spanning three centuries.” OK, I get... Read more »
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Bartlett's on habits

Bartlett's on habits
Last week was a turbulent one in my life, which was turbulent enough already. I won’t bother you with what went on; in the spirit of “Epistle to a Young Friend” by Robert Burns, I shall keep that to myself. But except for my habit of writing privately in my diary every night, the turbulence... Read more »

State of the Union? I'd rather see the president try to hold up to 'Question Time'

State of the Union? I'd rather see the president try to hold up to 'Question Time'
I used to watch the president give the annual “State of the Union” speech with great interest. But 2009, the year when Joe Wilson, a congressman from South Carolina, called out “You lie!” to President Barack Obama, left me thinking the speeches wouldn’t be as interesting after that. I tried watching President Donald Trump give... Read more »

The difference between normal and usual

The difference between normal and usual
I’ve been reading about a variety of things, as usual — as I always do. But part of my reading is looking for new things to entertain myself during the cold snap, which is one for the history books. It’s normal for Chicago to be cold at the end of January, but this is taking it... Read more »
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My Imaginary Writers' Room gets a poet: Robert Burns

My Imaginary Writers' Room gets a poet: Robert Burns
Like many Scots and those of Scottish heritage around the world, I’m getting ready to celebrate Burns Night on Jan. 26 — our committee holds its “Nicht Wi’ Burns” (or Night with Burns) on the Saturday closest to the poet’s birthday, Jan. 25. Of course, I thought of writing something poetic to honor the occasion.... Read more »