Archive for July 2015

Enunciate, Chicago -- you'll spell better!

Enunciate, Chicago -- you'll spell better!
When I read about the recent death of actor Theodore Bikel, I remembered him best as Zoltan Karpathy, “that marvelous boy” phonetics student of Rex Harrison’s Prof. Henry Higgins in the movie “My Fair Lady.” Radio and newspaper obituaries for Bikel didn’t mention that role, but did mention his facility with many different languages. (Note... Read more »

Dialogues with pets

Dialogues with pets
One of the funnier books I’ve read this year is “Dialogues de betes” (Dialogues of the animals) by the French writer Colette. It’s a series of short stories, written like scripts for plays, starring Kiki-La-Doucette (Kiki the Little Sweetie), a cat, and Toby-Chien (Toby the Dog). They talk about all the things they like to... Read more »

A midsummer night's Serious questions

A midsummer night's Serious questions
What’s the intensifier word for “drenched” — more drenched, most drenched? Or do you just get to “drenched” and then “swimming”?  (My Scottish and Scottish-American readers have access to a wonderfully evocative synonym for “drenched” — dreuchit! But what intensifies that?) How do you get one aching knee, ankle or foot to stop hurting without... Read more »
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Who's playing Mr. Holmes? Well, yes - but who's writing him?

Who's playing Mr. Holmes? Well, yes - but who's writing him?
I appreciated reading John Kass’ column in the July 12 Chicago Tribune, “Snooping out the best Sherlock? Elementary!” (If you missed the column, here’s a link.) I think he’s quite right that Jeremy Brett’s portrayal of Sherlock Holmes was perfect. Brett was a marvelous actor who did a beautiful job in the 1980s Granada Television... Read more »

Anniversaries are worth defending

Anniversaries are worth defending
When little kids want to celebrate a “one-month anniversary” or a “six-month anniversary,” I don’t like to deny them a party. I just wish they wouldn’t use the word “anniversary” for it. My dictionary defines anniversary as “the yearly return of the date of some event.” The yearly return. That’s worth defending. Some things I... Read more »

Independent thoughts after 'the holiday'

Independent thoughts after 'the holiday'
I don’t want to ask people “What did you do for Independence Day?” For one thing, I don’t like the frequent look of puzzlement I get while people think through “Independence Day = the Fourth of July = the holiday” and then answer. For another thing, why does it need to get lengthened to “the... Read more »
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This summer's weather words... not foul ones, somehow

This summer's weather words... not foul ones, somehow
Our Chicago Now manager, Jimmy Greenfield, recently sent out a challenge to look at older posts and present ways in which your opinions have changed. Last summer, I wrote this post about “Cooling words for hot weather.” Yes, back then, we needed such help! This year, not so much (she wrote confidently), so here is... Read more »