Category: Favorite and less favorite words

'The Story of English' -- Speaking of English (and why now)

'The Story of English' -- Speaking of English (and why now)
As promised, here’s part one of the series about the book “The Story of English.”  But I would be remiss if I went on with it without mentioning why I choose to stick with writing about words now. First of all, you expect it of me. But secondly, for those of you who think I... Read more »

An expression not worth defending: Background music

An expression not worth defending: Background music
Since I’ve had some dental work recently, I’ve had to be very careful about every sound coming out of my mouth. Some sounds will hurt, so I want to minimize that. That has meant something very unusual for me: avoiding music. I don’t want to sing along and hurt my jaw, or try to whistle... Read more »

Words that make me happy

Words that make me happy
With thanks to my friends and Chicago Now colleagues, Judy Marcus at Opinionated Woman and H. Van Howe at Pizza for Breakfast, I hereby present my own version of their lists of things that make them happy. (Their lists are linked to their blog titles.) True to the focus of this blog, I have selected... Read more »
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What keeps me up at night? That's too personal

What keeps me up at night? That's too personal
The challenge came on the Chicago Now Facebook page at 8 p.m. Central Time, as it does once a month for what we call Blogapalooz-Hour. We are to write and publish a post in one hour on a set theme. Tonight’s question, the first I’m free to participate in, is “What keeps you up at... Read more »

'There's a Word for it' -- logomania

'There's a Word for it' -- logomania
I’ve found some wonderful books in the Little Library boxes that decorate my neighborhood — the red one behind the nearest school, the one that looks like a gingerbread house outside the bakery, and the psychedelically painted one on the way to my alternate bus stop. The idea of these little “book immobiles” (as opposed... Read more »

Gift a memory? No -- and I won't give a remember, either!

Gift a memory? No -- and I won't give a remember, either!
My local drugstore has a bunch of stands in its cosmetics-aisle windows which, when I saw them on a recent Friday evening, made me want to head for the pain-relief aisle instead. “Gift a memory,” the signs on the stands are labeled. That makes as little sense as “give a remember” — so why not... Read more »
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A word worth defending? Indeed!

A word worth defending? Indeed!
Maybe it’s my eight months of re-exposure to all of the Sherlock Holmes stories, or it could be a search for a short way to text an emphatic agreement. For whichever of these reasons, or others, I present another word I’ve decided to defend — indeed. The word indeed doesn’t get out much, so it... Read more »

If 'downstairs,' why not 'downelevator,' too?

If 'downstairs,' why not 'downelevator,' too?
There are two ways for me to go to the lower levels of my building when I’m in my apartment. As you might guess, they are the elevator and the stairs. Their doors are not far apart, but there are plenty of other buildings I’ve seen where elevators are a greater distance from the stairs.... Read more »

How to perk up your tired clichés

How to perk up your tired clichés
Those of you just barely indulging my mentions of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle will be relieved to note that I’m re-reading the last of his long Sherlock Holmes tales, “The Valley of Fear.” In Chapter 1, I found Holmes speaking to a Scotland Yard inspector: ” ‘You are an early bird, Mr. Mac,’ said he.... Read more »
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'Arthur and Sherlock' is a special look at the creative process through biography

'Arthur and Sherlock' is a special look at the creative process through biography
Chapter 1 of Michael Sims’ new book, “Arthur and Sherlock: Conan Doyle and the Creation of Holmes” (Bloomsbury USA, 2017) begins with student Arthur Doyle leading a patient to see his medical professor, Dr. Joseph Bell. Sims writes: “The man’s attitude was respectful but not servile. He did not remove his hat. In a Scottish... Read more »