Archive for January 2015

I could care less about this headline

I could care less about this headline
I could care less — but I don’t. The correct, once common, expression is “I couldn’t care less.” In other words, I don’t care at all. Whatever the matter is, it means nothing to me. The trouble is that more and more people are saying “I could care less” with a dismissive tone. They’re implying,... Read more »

A prayer in anticipation of its poet's birthday

A prayer in anticipation of its poet's birthday
I’ll be away from the blog for a while, celebrating Nicht Wi’ Burns — poet Robert Burns’ birthday. (It’s Jan. 25, but often celebrated on the Saturday closest to the great day.)  Yes, he lived from 1759-1796, yet Scots and Scottish-Americans (like your faithful correspondent) celebrate his birthday — and his work — every year. Here’s one of... Read more »

I would like to meet Robert Louis Stevenson, teller of tales

I would like to meet Robert Louis Stevenson, teller of tales
The theme for This Blogger Life this week is “who I would like to meet.” That it’s an author doesn’t take much deciding. (I’ll be reading my fellow bloggers’ writing to see how many agree with me there.) The trick is deciding which author. Dedicated readers might logically think that I’d choose Sir Arthur Conan... Read more »
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Charlie, what happened to 'je m'appelle'?

Charlie, what happened to 'je m'appelle'?
Recent events have put me in the familiar position of explaining and translating French words for family and friends — and now, for readers, too. As the reprehensible attacks in Paris begin to be analyzed, I’m left with a need for an explanation myself: Why “je suis” — I am — Charlie? One of the... Read more »

I was wrong about 'Moriarty'

I was wrong about 'Moriarty'
When you read a detective novel, do you pick out your suspects and get your expected ending ready? The more of a book I’m holding in my left hand, the less remaining to read in my right hand, the more I do that. Still, I enjoy being proven wrong. I doubt that I’ll enjoy being... Read more »

F.M. Arouet, a.k.a. Voltaire -- a.k.a. Charlie?

F.M. Arouet, a.k.a. Voltaire -- a.k.a. Charlie?
Like many others,  I’ve found myself drawn in recent days to the the words of Francois Marie Arouet, a.k.a. Voltaire (1694-1778). They have been a comfort as I wrestle with my love of free speech, my horror at events in France, and questions about how to carry on responsible dialogues. Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations states that... Read more »
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How do you pronounce 2015?

How do you pronounce 2015?
Once you stop calling this year “the new year” or “this year,” how do you pronounce it? No, really, I’m wondering. I’ve been thinking about how we pronounce different years since I set out to make an index of my diary. (I’ll break with standard style for years and spell out how I’ve thought of... Read more »