A new series, 'How to Write a Mystery'

A new series, 'How to Write a Mystery'
In honor of the birthday of Edgar Allan Poe, Jan. 19, 1809, I am starting a new series today: How to Write a Mystery. Posts will be based on the 2021 book of that title, with the subtitle “A Handbook from Mystery Writers of America,” edited by Lee Child with Laurie R. King. From defining... Read more »

ChicagoNow's Best Posts of December 2021

Every month, ChicagoNow holds a contest to determine the best writing that appeared on the site in the previous month. Of the more than 500 posts appearing in December, here are the 20 judged to be the best. Candid Candace Palmer House celebrates 150th anniversary and BROWNIES! The Chicago Board of Tirade 2021 delivers a... Read more »

Was it the last straw that broke the camel's back? (and other questions from expressions)

Was it the last straw that broke the camel's back? (and other questions from expressions)
Do you ever hear the expression “That’s the last straw”? Or do you know someone following a problem who wants to know whether “That’s the straw that breaks the camel’s back”? What if they’re the same straw?I want to collect pairs or sets of expressions like that. I’ve been on the lookout for them since... Read more »
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'Three Gs and an E flat' -- Bernstein on Beethoven's 5th

'Three Gs and an E flat' -- Bernstein on Beethoven's 5th
Author’s Note: Thanks to my esteemed colleague Aquinas Wired for his celebration of Beethoven’s birthday (in December) in his blog, The Quark in the Road. It reminded me of Leonard Bernstein’s lecture about Beethoven’s 5th, which I remembered for the vivid description I mentioned in this headline. To ease my hands, I’ve chosen to share... Read more »

Happy vs. Merry Christmas

Happy vs. Merry Christmas
You have probably heard plenty of wishes of “Merry Christmas” long before today, the day they refer to. You may even have had some people wish you “Happy Christmas.” But of course, it takes me to take a look at the difference between the two sayings. Happy, according to my home dictionary (Webster’s New Twentieth... Read more »

Changing the fingering for typing instead of cello

I haven’t written as much as I’ve wanted to lately. I may write less in the next few weeks. My doctor tells me that the tingling in my right hand needs a test, scheduled for Jan. 3. Most of the time, the tingling is at the end of my right little finger. I noticed the... Read more »
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'Grown up' vs. 'adulting'

'Grown up' vs. 'adulting'
I had a medical checkup earlier this week. My doctor gave me some information about a new medicine. He didn’t say “You’re going to add this medicine,” or “Switch that one for this one.” He gave me the information and asked me to read it and see what I thought. I caught myself thinking “Wow,... Read more »

ChicagoNow's Best Posts of November 2021

Each month, ChicagoNow holds a contest to determine the best posts that appeared on ChicagoNow in the previous month. Of the more than 500 posts that were published during the month of November 2021, these 20 were determined to be the best. Chicago Board of Tirade Ever wonder how Jared Kushner manages to remain unindicted... Read more »

Old habits don't necessarily die hard, but they take time

Old habits don't necessarily die hard, but they take time
I’ve had trouble getting to sleep in recent weeks. I know why — it’s because I don’t have my habit from so many previous winters, going to sleep at the end of a Chicago Blackhawks game. Oh, no, I’m not going back to them — not after the way managers treated a case of alleged... Read more »
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Everyone's birthday should be Thanksgiving Day somehow

Everyone's birthday should be Thanksgiving Day somehow
Happy Thanksgiving, dear readers! Thank you for taking some time out of your preparations, your travels, or your general thanks-giving time to read for a while. If you don’t have thanks-giving time, please make some today; it’s what the day is set aside for — not food, family, or football, but thinking and thanking. As... Read more »