Category: Favorite and less favorite words

Get rid of 'expeditiously' -- quickly!

I’m listening to the news on the radio, and I just heard Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot say what needed to be done — and done “expeditiously.” Madam Mayor, with that word, you lost my attention completely. A minute after I was eager to hear what you said on the topic, your careless extra-large word wrecked... Read more »

My favorites for National Poetry Month

My favorites for National Poetry Month
With thanks to Mary Schmich of the Chicago Tribune, whose column for Sunday, April 11, listed parts of nine of her favorite poems, I’m joining in her celebration of National Poetry Month by listing at least part of ten of mine. (Catch up with the original column here.) I’ll include every word of the shorter... Read more »

The Bible verse that's puzzling me during the pandemic

The Bible verse that's puzzling me during the pandemic
There is one verse in the New Testament of the Bible that puzzles me these days — more than others, and in a way it didn’t before last March. I ran across it during this morning’s reading, so I can cite it and write about it without the large amount of hunting that I’d have... Read more »
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Defending a word, as is my wont

Defending a word, as is my wont
Our old chambers had been left unchanged through the supervision of Mycroft Holmes and the immediate care of Mrs. Hudson. As I entered I saw, it is true, an unwonted tidiness, but the old landmarks were all in their place. There were the chemical corner and the acid-stained, deal-topped table. There upon a shelf was... 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 »

The Imaginary Writers' Room gains another poet

The Imaginary Writers' Room gains another poet
I walked into the Imaginary Writers’ Room, one of my favorite corners of my mind, with a bigger smile than usual on my face. It makes me happy to retreat there with my favorite inspiring writers, to talk about their work — and mine. But that night, I was arriving with happy news. “Sir Arthur,”... Read more »
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I've got a case of the 'shoulds,' and I need a cure

I've got a case of the 'shoulds,' and I need a cure
I should be doing other things — exercising, answering e-mail, reading a biography, getting groceries — but I want to write. So I should know what to write. But I don’t, so I should just start it… or go and do something else. Oh help! It’s the shoulds! One reason I decided to write about... Read more »

The, most powerful word in the English language

The, most powerful word in the English language
No, that comma in the headline is not out of place. In the British Broadcasting Corporation’s (BBC) weekly newsletter, “”The Essential List: This week’s best stories,” the subject line caught my eye immediately: “The most powerful word in the English language.” Seriously, folks, you know I needed to read that. It turns out that “the”... Read more »

How even church services are changing in these times

How even church services are changing in these times
My pastor, friend, and colleague in blogging, the Rev. Rocky Supinger, wrote powerfully in this post about a visitor from Dayton. She was with us at church in Chicago on Sunday, not in Dayton, but she was grateful that we acknowledged the pain after events in her home city. The post got me thinking about another... Read more »
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Gloria the angel -- you know, Harold's friend!

Gloria the angel -- you know, Harold's friend!
Hearing “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” brings back a memory at least once a year. Thanks to the flat Midwestern accents I heard from most people as I grew up, I thought “herald” — not a word I heard the rest of the year — meant the same as the man’s name Harold. I was... Read more »