Archive for September 2014

The immortal question: Where do you get your ideas?

The immortal question: Where do you get your ideas?
The first post for this blog appeared on July 14, 2014. (I was going to make that “I started writing this blog” on that date, but I didn’t — some of the ideas began in October 2013 and some in February 2014; the oldest was probably the statue I saw in 1983 and wrote about... Read more »

FDR in Bartlett's: No indispensable man(?)

FDR in Bartlett's: No indispensable man(?)
For those of us still going through withdrawal after Ken Burns’ series “The Roosevelts: An Intimate History,” here is another collection from Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations.  To follow up last evening’s collection of Theodore’s quotes, today it’s time for his cousin Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1882-1945). All the greats are there, such as “The only thing we... Read more »

Missing Theodore Roosevelt? See Bartlett's

Missing Theodore Roosevelt? See Bartlett's
If you were as fascinated as I was by watching Ken Burns’ recent film series “The Roosevelts: an Intimate History,” you might be feeling a few withdrawal symptoms after all of those great speeches. Never fear! Here are some of my favorites from Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations by Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919): “We must remember not to... Read more »
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Headaches: Language to indulge in

Sorry to have been away a bit longer than usual. I’ve been under the weather, including a battle with the worst headache I’ve had in years. (No illustration this time. It just wasn’t pretty.) I knew I was starting to get better when I wanted to look up what Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations has to say... Read more »

'This place is a zoo' is a compliment, not an insult!

'This place is a zoo' is a compliment, not an insult!
Since  I lived near Lincoln Park Zoo from 1987-2013, people don’t get the reaction they want when they tell me someplace “is a zoo.” I tend to think “Oh, that’s  great!” because, after all: The inhabitants of a zoo get free medical care and three meals a day (or however many meals they need). If... Read more »

Author! Author! A chat with my characters

Author! Author! A chat with my characters
I got out my MacDonald tartan shawl for the winter on Sept. 12. After facing a November-like day while the sun was up, I had to go out and didn’t want to be out after dark without the comfort of Scottish wool. As I rode home in the gathering darkness, wrapped in my shawl, I... Read more »
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Eric Liddell: An Olympic gold medalist's true victory

Eric Liddell: An Olympic gold medalist's true victory
If you have ever heard the name of Eric Liddell (1902-1945), chances are that it’s because of “Chariots of Fire,” one of the Best Picture Oscar-winners of the 1980s. Liddell was the Scottish runner and divinity student who, in the course of the movie “based on a true story,” refused to run on Sunday during... Read more »

How to make your vocabulary 'Better than Great'

(NOTE: This is an updated version, containing a correction supplied by an alert reader as described in the comments below and with repaired code replacing the earlier garble.) If there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. — Philippians 4:8 If you’re trying to follow the apostle’s advice, thinking about... Read more »

Daffodils and the comfort of memory

The comfort of memory may seem a strange topic today, but I can’t face this morning without it. I offer you the words which will be helping me, as they have helped me before: the poem “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” by William Wordsworth (1770-1850), among the greatest of England’s poets. Thirty-one years ago this... Read more »
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What my cello has taught me about the art of learning

What my cello has taught me about the art of learning
I have two closets in my apartment, one of which I think of as my cello’s closet. Even when it’s spending a lot of time there and not too much time, well, outside playing, my cello reminds me of many valuable things I’ve learned about learning. The value of listening: From rehearsals at school through... Read more »