The most annoying language: a list to enjoy and avoid

The most annoying language: a list to enjoy and avoid
Author’s note: My fellow blogger D.B. commented here and suggested a list of the most annoying language. My “watch this space” comes true today, with thanks to him. Challenges — Too often used to mean handicaps or disabilities, not puzzles. Civil disobedience — Disobeying unjust laws can be done peacefully, without looting. I doubt that... Read more »

Talking of Michelangelo and other memories in the Imaginary Writers' Room (Eliot, Part Two!)

Talking of Michelangelo and other memories in the Imaginary Writers' Room (Eliot, Part Two!)
For part one of the arrival of T.S. Eliot in my Imaginary Writers’ Room, click here. With the affectionate thanks of the author to W.G. for helping to consider the committee and to A.W. for his Michelangelo comment on part one. “Who is it?” said Daphne du Maurier. “Oh, do not ask ‘Who is it?’ Let... Read more »

The Imaginary Writers' Room gains another poet

The Imaginary Writers' Room gains another poet
I walked into the Imaginary Writers’ Room, one of my favorite corners of my mind, with a bigger smile than usual on my face. It makes me happy to retreat there with my favorite inspiring writers, to talk about their work — and mine. But that night, I was arriving with happy news. “Sir Arthur,”... Read more »
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Ah, look at all the lonely people! 'Eleanor Rigby' in quarantine

Ah, look at all the lonely people! 'Eleanor Rigby' in quarantine
My look at “getaway songs” in recent weeks led me to “Eleanor Rigby” by the Beatles (well, written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, of course).  Living alone myself under Illinois’ “stay-at-home” order, a.k.a. quarantine, suddenly I’m thinking of it more than usual. Here’s my modernized version of the words, with apologies to the great... Read more »

I have a question: Why does anyone use 'the ask'?

I have a question: Why does anyone use 'the ask'?
I feel the urge today to write about an expression I keep hearing, “the ask.” It seems to me to be threatening the perfectly good word “question.” You ask a question, so I suppose I’m questioning the ask. Everything from requirements for masks and social distancing to policing protesters is getting described as “a big... Read more »

What will we call this when we look back?

What will we call this when we look back?
Whether I’m organizing things or just trying to figure out when something started or how long it may last, I tend to use either a year (in case I need to look it up in a diary) or, if I can’t be specific, before or after an event in my life. For instance, I’m not... Read more »
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'Hushabye Mountain' -- a musical retreat

Thumbnail image for ''Hushabye Mountain' -- a musical retreat'
Whether you use them as CDs or good old-fashioned LPs, or the kind of albums I’ve inherited, actual books with pockets for 78 or 45 RPM records, albums of music have their advantages. They’ll help you remember and replay a song you didn’t know you needed until it is back in your memory. That’s what... Read more »

Onward and upward we must press -- 'The Roses of Success'

Onward and upward we must press -- 'The Roses of Success'
Sometimes keeping old technology going has great advantages. When I wrote “Onward” in a message this morning, I remembered a song in a movie I saw as a child, “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.” It was the first story by Ian Fleming — yes, that Ian Fleming, Mr. Bond — I ever saw on the screen.... Read more »

Looking for passing places as I walk

Looking for passing places as I walk
I realized something funny when I was taking a walk while doing laundry this afternoon: When someone approached, I caught myself looking for a passing place. I haven’t thought much about passing places since I was 12 and traveling in Scotland with my family, meeting Dad’s cousins and seeing part of the country. Especially in... Read more »
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Want something ordinary? Here it is (about the word 'ordinary')

Want something ordinary? Here it is (about the word 'ordinary')
During one of several phone conversations that made up most of my human contact yesterday, we talked about things being ordinary. “What’s the etymology of that word, Margaret?” Ah, the echo of my dad and his way of saying he’d heard a good word that day. Just as I used to do for Dad, I... Read more »