Archive for July 2020

Safire 'On Language' -- Fun with insults!

Safire 'On Language' -- Fun with insults!
In William Safire’s wonderful 1980 book “On Language,”   part of his attitude in the whole book shows at the start of the entry for the word pettifogging: “What’s in an insult? Fun, if it uses an offbeat word.” He goes on to describe a speech at the UN General Assembly by a Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic... Read more »

Safire 'On Language' -- Pet peeves and other names for them

Safire 'On Language' -- Pet peeves and other names for them
One of my favorite entries in William Safire’s Sustaining Book, “On Language,”  is the entry about pet peeves. He presents a list of readers’ least favorite words and follows with his own surprising one. Here are my favorite parts: — “The pet peeve of Helen Landrim of Whiting, N.J., is the disappearing ‘ing’ sound. ‘Whatever has... Read more »

Self-care: Ten commandments for having a body

Self-care: Ten commandments for having a body
Here’s another sample from “The *More or Less* Definitive Guide to Self-Care,” which I’ve featured in several recent posts. Appropriately for a little Sunday writing session, I found “The Ten Commandments for Having a Body.” Slightly condensed from Anna Borges’ book, they are: “1. All bodies are good, including yours. 2. You’re not required to... Read more »
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Safire 'On Language' -- fun with mondegreens

Safire 'On Language' -- fun with mondegreens
In William Safire’s delightful book “On Language” (New York, 1980, Times Books),  he has a funny entry about a category I loved laughing about before I knew its technical name, mondegreens. Actually, hearing sounds and thinking they sound for the wrong words has many names — Safire prefers mondegreen to the more technical “homophone,” “unwitting... Read more »

Self-care that's contagious: Kindness

Self-care that's contagious: Kindness
Browsing though “The *More or Less* Definitive Guide to Self-Care,” as I’ve done before, yielded a surprise on Wednesday morning: “Little Acts of Kindness” was listed in the Ls. No, I’m not questioning the alphabetizing — little acts can seem like something to look for when I need to take care of myself. But when... Read more »

Self-care tips: For care, not cure

Self-care tips: For care, not cure
I’ve continued to read a book I bought recently, “The *More or Less* Definitive Guide to Self-Care” by Anna Borges, published in 2019, and I plan to spend a few posts describing some things I’m learning from dipping into the book. It’s a sort of index to what people might need, or do, to take... Read more »
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Never at a loss for words: New language for the pandemic

Never at a loss for words: New language for the pandemic
I’m always interested in news about language. The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has an intriguing newsletter called News Daily which occasionally looks at language in various subject headings. Today (July 17) it’s in Worklife, and the story (dated May 24, but in today’s newsletter) is “Why we’ve created new language for coronavirus.”(For the whole story,... Read more »

Thoughts on six years as a blogger

Thoughts on six years as a blogger
Six years ago today, on July 14, 2014, I published the first three posts on this blog. I wanted to start a portfolio of my writing; I didn’t want readers to think just one post was all I’d do; and, maybe most urgent at the time, I couldn’t decide which one would go out first.... Read more »

A fresh word for joy? I'd be delighted!

A fresh word for joy? I'd be delighted!
I was once cautioned against using “love” in business situations, even when it was “I’d love to help” or “I’d love to talk to you about that job.” When I was asked to think of something fresher, but also enthusiastic, I realized that “delight” and “delighted” weren’t getting out much — one of the original... Read more »
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Self-help vs. self-care -- what's the difference?

Self-help vs. self-care -- what's the difference?
When I went to an actual, open bookstore last week, I spotted an appealing book, “The *More or Less* Definitive Guide to Self-Care” by Anna Borges (2019). Well, the first thing I wanted defined was that term, self-care. I got a good bargain on the book and brought it home, only to discover that anyone... Read more »