Archive for October 2017

'If you see something, say something' -- so get off the phone!

'If you see something, say something' -- so get off the phone!
I was struck by a too-familiar expression while listening to officials in New York at the news conference about the Halloween attack on a bike path. “If you see something, say something,” they said. If New York City is very much like Chicago (a point that every Chicagoan would rather not admit), that’s a very... Read more »

Happy Reformation Day no. 500 -- but it's not over yet!

Happy Reformation Day no. 500 -- but it's not over yet!
Today, Oct. 31, isn’t merely Halloween. On this date in 1517 — 500 years ago — Martin Luther touched off the Protestant Reformation. I’ve heard recent scholars raise questions about whether he really, literally nailed 95 theses to the church door in Wittemberg, Germany, but at the time, that was the method of spreading the... Read more »

Cheers for the word 'norm!'

Cheers for the word 'norm!'
Sometimes I hear (other) commenters using “the new normal” to describe our present circumstances so often that I react like I’m in the bar on the old TV show “Cheers,” and George Wendt’s character, Norm Petersen, just walked in. Every time he did, a cry would go up in the bar — a cry I want... Read more »
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Virtual, verbal, both, or none?

Virtual, verbal, both, or none?
When you send a message by computer, is it a virtual message? Or is it a real one? Virtual is coming to mean almost exclusively “by computer” — but its original definition is apparently, but not in fact. Meanwhile, if you send a message by computer, it is truly a message… so I’m not at... Read more »

Inclement -- it's not just for weather anymore!

Inclement -- it's not just for weather anymore!
On this stormy morning, you won’t be surprised that I looked up the word inclement in my dictionary. But you may be surprised by what I found. Inclement is useful for more than weather. It’s defined as “rough, stormy” in my good ol’ Webster’s Dictionary, but that’s its second definition. The first is “lacking leniency;... Read more »

Las Vegas reaction: If the NRA pays you, I don't vote for you

Las Vegas reaction: If the NRA pays you, I don't vote for you
I’ve spent some time in recent days thinking about what one of my favorite teachers called “the most important question in politics,” namely, What do we do now? I’ve decided that I can’t just hope that my representatives aren’t being paid by the National Rifle Association (NRA). I will research better, I will check on candidates’... Read more »
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Thoughts and prayers, yes -- and then, we must act

Thoughts and prayers, yes -- and then, we must act
After Sunday night’s attack in Las Vegas, I was not only saddened, I was sickened to see notes on Facebook saying that the offerings of thoughts and prayers were no use. Of course, our thoughts will be with, or on, Las Vegas if we pay the slightest attention to the news of the investigation of... Read more »