Category: Uncategorized

I know one thing I don't want back: Handshakes

I’m starting to hear discussions on the radio and read them in the paper — “What do you want back when this is over? What are you looking forward to doing again?” I haven’t decided what I want to do to celebrate the end of the pandemic, but I know what I don’t want to... Read more »

Happy National Grammar Day!

Today, March 4, is National Grammar Day. I have seen several references to it on my travels around the Internet today, but here is the concise one from Wikipedia: “National Grammar Day is observed in the United States on March 4. Designated in 2008, the National Grammar Day was established by Martha Brockenbrough, author of “Things That... Read more »

Little thoughts at night on how to get through the pandemic

Little thoughts at night on how to get through the pandemic
I’ve written in my diary, but sleep isn’t coming. Going back to the diary and just writing about today isn’t happening, and I’m as interested in the mechanics and constitutionality of the second impeachment trial as who’s succeeding or failing in plans for it. So until I decided to come over to my computer, I lay... Read more »
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Zoom: It's the '60s PicturePhone come true

Zoom: It's the '60s PicturePhone come true
When I’m getting ready for a meeting on Zoom, from a committee to coffee hour after church, I find myself thinking of my mother. She died in March 2006, but she saw one of the problems with Zoom, or at least with one of its forerunners. When we went on a family trip to the... Read more »

Writer's block or logjam?

Writer's block or logjam?
I can’t decide what to write — something more from “A Civil Tongue” or something more from “On Language,” maybe? I’ve rediscovered a great biography of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and found out that it has an epigram by T.S. Eliot and a wonderful chapter about the disappearance of Agatha Christie — in other words, I... Read more »

Anniversary stories and today's news

Anniversary stories and today's news
Nineteen years ago today, on Sept. 11, 2001, I had been working as a newspaper copy editor for a month. We were going to put out the first edition of a new paper, the New Trier Times, because the one we already had, the Evanston Express, also came out on Tuesdays. When I hear the... Read more »
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The joys of an ordinary day

The joys of an ordinary day
I woke up yesterday, Aug. 10, and turned on my radio as usual. Then I wanted to wake up “for real,” because the radio hosts were talking about looting, rioting, and raised bridges closing most access to the Loop. Surely that was a nightmare. No, that was waking up yesterday morning. Then the light started... Read more »

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 »

I'm gonna be (able to walk "500 miles" someday)

Thumbnail image for 'I'm gonna be (able to walk "500 miles" someday)'
I just tried distracting myself by working on a post about this song — and it had to come down because the post was early. But this version of the song “I’m Gonna Be (500 miles)” by Caledon, Scotland’s tenors, cheers me up so much — and it’s so evocative of being so far away... Read more »
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The Chicago Manual of Style -- Nouns have a lot of naming to do

The Chicago Manual of Style -- Nouns have a lot of naming to do
When I set out to study The Chicago Manual of Style, I knew it would mean some detail work. But would you believe I have 11 pages of notes on nouns alone? It’s true: Nouns, generally; Common nouns (concrete, abstract, and collective); Proper nouns; Mass nouns (sometimes called noncount nouns); Properties of nouns; noun case;... Read more »