Archive for May 2015

Ever more Serious questions...

Ever more Serious questions...
When there are no words to describe something, is it better to just use gestures? When words don’t get through to a listener the first time, why do so many people just repeat the same words instead of reaching for synonyms? What is “mild” weather — just the lack of “severe” weather? Don’t the same... Read more »

Happy birthday to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, a good influence

Happy birthday to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, a good influence
Note: What follows is updated with information on a previous birthday tribute which appeared on the Chicago Now blog “The Quark in the Road” on May 22, 2013. Thanks to my esteemed colleague Aquinas wired for permission to use the link. Saturday, May 22nd A heavy swell all day. I come of age today. Rather... Read more »

All aboard the bandwagon for the Blackhawks

All aboard the bandwagon for the Blackhawks
I took a little time away from reading reports of the longest Blackhawks hockey game ever  (May 19, breaking a 1931 record) to look into the origin of “bandwagon.” (Yes, I stayed awake until the end… sort of… zzzzz….) The word bandwagon, according to my Webster’s New Twentieth Century Dictionary, is a noun meaning “a... Read more »
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These things I know about writing - Seriously

These things I know about writing - Seriously
(Note: This is part of the Chicago Now project to have all of us bloggers list “Seven things I know about writing.”) I know what I like and what I don’t. I like being creative. I don’t like repetitive headlines and numbered lists. (Thus the headline here.) Technology doesn’t make you a better writer. It makes... Read more »

A package from RLS

A package from RLS
Last weekend, I opened my mailbox and found a small, padded envelope with a return address here in Chicago that I didn’t recognize. But I did recognize the initials above that address. I laughed over it in the elevator with a neighbor. “RLS?” I said. “The only person I know with those initials is Robert... Read more »

More Serious questions...

More Serious questions...
Here is another list of questions I’ve been thinking about — and since they’re mine, they’re Serious questions. (For the previous list, catch up here.) Why do we call certain birds seagulls when they’re around Lake Michigan? Is it something like the Englishman who found out I was from Chicago and told me he loves... Read more »
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Fan? Fancier? Fanatic? Me?!

Fan? Fancier? Fanatic? Me?!
I started drafting this after spending yet another night with interrupted sleep. I had a good reason — the Blackhawks were playing a late game, and I love playoff hockey.  But don’t call me a fan. The word fan derives from the word fanatic — which we have too many of in this world. I’m... Read more »

Allergic to daffodils

Allergic to daffodils
(Note: The following poem came to me on a recent night in which daffodils felt much better as symbols of memory than as themselves. Thanks — and apologies — to William Wordsworth.) I wandered, foggy as a cloud that floats on high o’er vale and hill, and stumbled blindly through a crowd, in dire need... Read more »

The gift of silence

The gift of silence
“You have a grand gift of silence, Watson,” said he (Sherlock Holmes). “It makes you quite invaluable as a companion.” — Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, “The  Man with the Twisted Lip” Is the gift of silence out of stock? There doesn’t seem to be enough silence in the world. Certainly, I don’t find myself often... Read more »
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Some Serious questions...

Some Serious questions...
Here are some questions I’ve been wondering about without finding enough of an answer for paragraphs. Just wondering: Do the makers of electronic invitations use the term E-vite or Evite in France? “Eviter” is the French word for “to avoid,” so “evite” something can look like “avoid” something. Do people who use the word sophisticated... Read more »