The tale of John Thomas: a birthday tribute to Arthur Conan Doyle

The tale of John Thomas: a birthday tribute to Arthur Conan Doyle
In 1880, as a 21-year-old medical student, Arthur Conan Doyle was working as a ship’s surgeon on a whaler in the Arctic when he adopted a sea snail as a pet. In honor of Doyle’s birthday (May 22, 1859), I present what he wrote in the ship’s log, which (eventually!) became the book “Dangerous Work: Diary... Read more »

'The Sign of Four' plus two (or Reading Holmes with my own characters)

'The Sign of Four' plus two (or Reading Holmes with my own characters)
My latest re-reading of the complete Sherlock Holmes stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle has posed a new problem for me. In 2010, the previous time I was re-reading the whole “canon” of stories, I was a few months away from taking a character from one of my own stories, Daisy MacDonald, and presenting her with... Read more »

My neighbor works there ... and there...

My neighbor works there ... and there...
I’ve noticed something interesting since I gave away the “Love Thy Neighbor” badge recently. I didn’t learn its new custodian’s name, so I have started to think of the corner store where he works as the place where “my neighbor” works. But so is the store on the other corner. So are the competing drugstores around... Read more »
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'My Fair Lady' and Chicago's accent

'My Fair Lady' and Chicago's accent
“People stop and stare; they don’t bother me, For there’s nowhere else on earth that I would rather be” — from “On the Street Where You Live” in Lerner and Loewe’s “My Fair Lady” I have written elsewhere about how much I enjoy the musical “My Fair Lady,” and how a speech some people miss... Read more »

Love thy neighbor: How the badge moved on

Love thy neighbor: How the badge moved on
For my 250th post, there’s good news: I’ve found a new owner for my “Love Thy Neighbor” badge. (To catch up on its story, read my first post about it here.) I was visiting my favorite of the corner stores near my Edgewater apartment when the young man behind the counter noticed the badge on... Read more »

How 'My Fair Lady' keeps me writing

How 'My Fair Lady' keeps me writing
You might expect that for me, “My Fair Lady” (which opens at the Civic Opera House in Chicago on April 28)  is most important musically. Well, despite “On the Street Where You Live,” “I Could Have Danced All Night,” and other favorite Lerner and Loewe songs, you’d be wrong. My favorite part of “My Fair... Read more »
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Easter reminded me to defend the word 'crucial'

Easter reminded me to defend the word 'crucial'
I am all in favor of beautiful, under-used words being used in place of worn-out, over-used ones. But Easter reminded me of an exception. To use the definitions from my Webster’s New Twentieth Century Dictionary before the word itself, I will call something “of supreme importance,” “decisive,” or “critical;” or I will call it “”extremely... Read more »

Winning Blackhawks, where are you? A song of frustration

Winning Blackhawks, where are you? A song of frustration
(You think staring at all-rerun marathons on TV doesn’t teach you anything? Well, I once watched a long stretch of an old show called “Car 54, Where Are You?” It taught me the theme song, whether I wanted it or not, and the meter is butting into my thoughts about the hockey playoffs today. Here... Read more »

When I put down Conan Doyle, what else am I reading? Great Chicago Now blogs, of course

When I put down Conan Doyle, what else am I reading? Great Chicago Now blogs, of course
Yes, there are times when I get away from my re-reading of Sherlock Holmes stories and try to keep up with what’s going on in the present. When I’m looking for great writing, often I find myself turning to (other) bloggers right here at Chicago Now for entertainment and education. So, to join in our... Read more »
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Love thy neighbor -- and share a badge

I was riding the bus one recent day when I noticed a striking badge on a seatmate’s winter coat. It was black, with a blue heart that seemed hand-drawn on it. The words “Love Thy Neighbor” around one edge of the circular black badge were accompanied by letters I recognized as Hebrew and Arabic. (No... Read more »