Archive for October 2015

Kathleen Norris on the vocabulary of faith

Kathleen Norris on the vocabulary of faith
In my search for more Words Worth Defending, I’ve gone back to one of my Sustaining Books,  “Amazing Grace: a Vocabulary of Faith” by Kathleen Norris (Riverhead Book, a member of Penguin Putnam Inc., 1998). It’s a vocabulary book with a difference. Maybe more than one difference, in fact — it isn’t in alphabetical order.... Read more »

Stormy Serious questions

Stormy Serious questions
I know as well as anyone that we need distractions and fun, but aren’t we focusing on them so much that we lose the ability to be more, well, Serious? When we do pose for a picture, aren’t we telling our memories “This is where I posed for a picture” instead of “This is how... Read more »

I have a problem with saying 'No problem!'

I have a problem with saying 'No problem!'
When someone is kind enough to thank you for something, how do you respond? Next time you’re shopping, or in another situation where people get thanked, listen to some responses. Does “Thank you” get followed by the standard American answer, “You’re welcome,” or is there something else? As far as I can tell, “You’re welcome”... Read more »
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Put the phone down, stop posing, and observe

Recently, the Stanley Cup (emblem of the championship in North American professional ice hockey) appeared at Millennium Park in Chicago. After a messy summer of not being able to find it at the proper time, at last I had the correct day off. I went as early as I could to enjoy the Blackhawks’ championship... Read more »

'What's My Line?' and the art of asking questions

'What's My Line?' and the art of asking questions
When I’m cleaning up, exercising, or postponing — er, recovering from — those, I have a new way to keep my mind engaged: I like watching an old TV game show, “What’s My Line?” BUZZR-TV (Channel 50.4 on my converter box, from Gary, Ind.) carries “What’s My Line?” as part of its roster of game... Read more »

Definitions by contrast: Expensive vs. valuable

Definitions by contrast: Expensive vs. valuable
Sometimes even your faithful, Serious correspondent wants some time away from the dictionary. (Never fear, the official definitions will be back later.) When the dictionary palls and I’d rather just use my notebook, I enjoy defining things through contrasts. It works well for pairs of words; I’ve been thinking most lately about the contrasts between... Read more »
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Lack of gun control is unconstitutional -- look at the preamble!

Lack of gun control is unconstitutional -- look at the preamble!
After the campus shooting in Oregon, I thought of writing about the need for gun laws which would survive arguments about the U.S. Constitution. I stopped for a while, disgusted with myself, when I caught myself wondering about timing this post before a mass shooting happens again. I hate thinking that. I hate worse that... Read more »

This is, like, a word to avoid AND a word to defend

This is, like, a word to avoid AND a word to defend
Do you like the word like? I do when it’s used well, but I hate hearing it used badly. “Go to a building that’s, like, the Water Tower.” (You want me to go to the Water Tower itself, I guess, but it sounds like you could mean a White Castle restaurant, which was built to... Read more »