Archive for August 2014

Never mind your wallet: What's in your card box?

Never mind your wallet: What's in your card box?
When someone’s birthday is approaching, do you go to the card aisle at the pharmacy (or the stand like one I just found at the main Post Office) and get a printed birthday card? Or do you pick out a blank card? Or do you cop out and just type some e-mail that looks just... Read more »

If there is any excellence... think about these things

If there is any excellence... think about these things
So much of the world is in such turmoil. When something good happens, I want to be like this herald with the horn and make great noise about it. My cello’s not loud, though, and neither my throat nor my head is very fond of yelling. But the more I see people trying to scare other... Read more »

Get away from it all to Carsely, England, with M.C. Beaton's Agatha Raisin

Get away from it all to Carsely, England, with M.C. Beaton's Agatha Raisin
Many detective-story writers are content with one successful series. On the other hand, M.C. Beaton keeps us delighted with two continuing series: the Hamish Macbeth stories, set in Scotland, and the Agatha Raisin stories, set in the English village of Carsely. (If you missed my post about Hamish, catch up here.) Agatha Raisin gets away... Read more »
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That does not translate... BEEP!... That does not translate!

That does not translate... BEEP!... That does not translate!
Once you get far enough studying a foreign language, you’ll run into expressions that just don’t translate. Sometimes they’re a part of the original culture that just doesn’t switch into another language; sometimes it’s just a matter of trying to come up with a similar modern image in one language when you’re translating an expression... Read more »

No 90-degree days? Fine with me!

No 90-degree days? Fine with me!
If you hear mysterious screaming coming from the direction of Edgewater, it’ll be me — and it’ll mean that I’ve heard one more person complain about the “terrible summer weather” we’re having. Terrible? No! Look at it this way: We can have the windows open and get fresh air–  instead of going out for fresh... Read more »

The Book of Common Prayer and other uncommonly beautiful words

The Book of Common Prayer and other uncommonly beautiful words
In   1549, the Church of England adopted the Book of Common Prayer. From thence to the Episcopal Church in the U.S. and other Reformed (i.e., Protestant) churches, the influence of the Book of Common Prayer extended through the church and into English literature and the language. It’s as close as the title of one of P.D. James’s... Read more »
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Take a holiday in M.C. Beaton's Scotland with Hamish Macbeth

Take a holiday in M.C. Beaton's Scotland with Hamish Macbeth
Whether you’re looking for a quick break, a good bus book, or just a good story, you can find a lot of fun in M.C. Beaton’s series of stories featuring Constable Hamish Macbeth of the fictional town of Lochdubh, Scotland.  You’ll find them in the Mystery section, and you’ll soon see why: Every title in... Read more »

Practice vs. play - all in the choice of words!

Practice vs. play - all in the choice of words!
I haven’t been paying enough attention to my cello lately. When one of my favorite cello melodies, the central tune in “Finlandia” by Jean Sibelius, came up as the tune for the middle hymn at church on Sunday, I loved it and resolved to get back to playing that. But it’s Wednesday afternoon as I... Read more »

'Bus books' vs. 'home books'

'Bus books' vs. 'home books'
I don’t care how much sustenance I’m getting from a book — if I can’t carry it for long, it doesn’t go out of my apartment. This is on my mind often, since I’ve just started reading a second “home book” — Richard Rhodes’ masterful “The Making of the Atomic Bomb” (Simon and Schuster, 1986).... Read more »
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Some curious things about the word 'curious'

Some curious things about the word 'curious'
I got curious about the word curious, so I looked it up. Yes, I did that before I started writing these articles, but now I’m doing it for readership, not just for fun. I’ll look things up so you don’t have to — but I hope to show you how much fun it can be.... Read more »