Category: Expressions

What's Maundy Thursday?

I remember that when I was a little kid, days like today — Maundy Thursday — were confusing. There must have been more than one year when I heard it pronounced with worse-than-usual mushy Midwestern vowels and asked, “Why would we call it Monday Thursday? It’s Thursday!” That’s when my dad would remind me that... Read more »

Do dates stick with you? Do you believe in miracles?

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Early this morning, just hearing the date — Feb. 22 — gave me a happy chill. (Not the snowdrift kind.) Forty-one years ago tonight, in 1980, I watched a hockey game. That wasn’t exactly news, especially in that era when the Winter Olympics had amateur teams (at least in the U.S. and most countries) and... Read more »

Comparing soccer and hockey imagery

Comparing soccer and hockey imagery
I was listening to the end of the Chicago Blackhawks‘ latest hockey game tonight when I caught up on some recent BBC stories on the Internet. This collection of expressions in a Radio 4 essay, “End to end with 15 football phrases from around the world,” reminded me of some of the fun jargon from... Read more »
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Yes, that was a coup d'etat (even though it failed)

Yes, that was a coup d'etat (even though it failed)
There’s a lot of arguing about words in the aftermath of Jan. 6’s events at the U.S. Capitol. Was it an insurrection, a riot, an attack, or a coup d’etat? The term “coup d’etat” is, according to my faithful desk dictionary (Webster’s New Twentieth Century), is “a sudden, forceful stroke in politics,” and Jan. 6’s... Read more »

I miss Dr. Balkema's political science classes, especially now

I miss Dr. Balkema's political science classes, especially now
I majored in journalism when I got my B.A. at Valparaiso University. I learned a great deal about writing and reporting in my journalism classes, but also in many other classes; I learned that if I might not get a job as a chemist, for instance, I could at least learn to write sensibly about... Read more »

On fame, privacy, and Jonathan Toews' health

On fame, privacy, and Jonathan Toews' health
There’s not much privacy about being sick, especially when you have to call the office. There can be lots of extra questions: “What’s wrong? When will you be back? Are you going to the doctor?” Most of that is none of coworkers’ business! Generally, I think the easiest thing to call in sick about is... Read more »
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A date which will live where? FDR as writer and editor

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As the proud daughter of a veteran of World War II, of course I was conscious of yesterday, Dec. 7. It still does live in infamy. But today, Dec. 8, gave me the shivers of memory, too. I remember my dad talking about hearing President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s speech when dad was at school —... Read more »

I'll take Changing Slang for 800, Alex

I'll take Changing Slang for 800, Alex
I have loved watching “Jeopardy!” for years, from sick days as a kid watching Art Fleming to time between or after college classes watching Alex Trebek collecting the questions for the given answers. I loved watching it with my dad, and eventually even sharing it by phone. He would watch when he could and save... Read more »

What to call a detective story that's not a 'whodunnit'

What to call a detective story that's not a 'whodunnit'
While dealing with my recent logjam of writing ideas, I’ve been reading a very good novel, “The Black Ascot” by Charles Todd. Inspector Ian Rutledge is working on a murder case, but I can’t call it a “whodunnit.” I’ve seen enough of the crime to know Rutledge is on the right track. This crime happened... Read more »
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I think I'll go back to saying 'two thousand and' years

I think I'll go back to saying 'two thousand and' years
As November comes hurtling tpward us, I keep hearing about things with seasons or series that last through this year and next — the ’20-’21 seasons. Of course, that’s hard to hear any differently from things that are happening completely next year, 2021. At least it’s hard to hear if you pronounce it the way... Read more »