It’s a Turkey

Turkey With Thanksgiving just over the horizon, you can almost taste the turkey. Thanks to my having lived and worked in several countries in the first part of my career, I have a bit of personal history with the word for that bird. Peru It began in 1971 in Brazil. On my first Thanksgiving there […]

What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

1965: The author of this blog in Zurich, after learning what could go wrong Have you ever looked at one of those ubiquitous signs in public places that display a laundry list of prohibited activities …      NO Swimming      NO Running      NO Fingernail Biting       NO Playing 3D Chess  […]

Who Said History Is Boring?

Ilya Yefimovich Repin: Zaporozhian Cossacks Write a Letter to the Turkish Sultan Advisory: Despite this blog’s ordinarily being family-friendly, this post is not appropriate for readers under the age of 18 (no nudity, just language). The painting above is one of the strongest possible refutations of the notion that the study of history is dull […]

‘CorporateSpeak’ and Condescension in Business Letters

A business letter In his novel 1984, George Orwell wrote about Newspeak,1 which “Big Brother” — i.e., the totalitarian government — wanted to substitute for Oldspeak (everyday English). In 1984’s dystopian society, the objective of Newspeak was to strengthen government control of the populace by shaping and limiting its vocabulary. I’ve begun this piece by referring […]

Unless You’re Prepared for People to Ignore — and Maybe Sometimes Laugh at — What You Write, You Might Need the Help of an Editor or Copywriter

If you must smoke, please do it quietly! Yesterday a friend asked if I’d like to speak at his Rotary Club in a few months. We tentatively agreed on a topic, namely the title of this post. The following is a preview of some of the territory I expect to cover in this and another […]

Why I Love My Work

This writer/editor, red pen in hand In introducing myself to potential clients and business colleagues, I sometimes find myself talking about why I love writing and editing. I suspect this might also be of interest to readers, so I’m sharing it now. It’s the creativity in writing and editing that I love. The best analogy […]

Cats & Cakes

Gato* Once upon a time there lived in the south of France a lovely family: a momma, a papa and three young children. One of Momma and Papa’s greatest pleasures in life was inviting friends and neighbors to parties. (This story may begin like a fairy tale, but it’s actually a true story, recounted to […]

Bated or Baited Breath?

Bait breath! A few days ago, while reviewing a blog post (which, to protect the not-so-innocent, I won’t identify), I came across a phrase I feel sure many readers have seen a time or two: After much waiting with baited breath, … You know where I’m going, of course. Should the phrase be baited or bated breath? […]

Learning to Ride a Motorcycle — From an Instructor With Whom I Shared No Common Language

Nepal countryside. One of those snowy peaks is Everest, but I don’t recall which one except that it’s not the one that looks tallest, a result of its being closer than the others to my vantage point on a road outside Kathmandu. (All photos: ©Howard E. Daniel, 1971-2018) Speaking with a motorcycle-loving friend recently, I was […]

Нет, Моя! No, It’s Mine!

Under Lenin’s gaze, Naomi, age 4, in blue dress at left foreground, participating in her Leningrad preschool’s celebration of the Bolshevik Revolution’s 60th anniversary, November 1977. One year ago, calling it a “somber centenary,” I wrote about the 100th anniversary of Russia’s Bolshevik Revolution (October Revolution). Now, on the revolution’s 101st anniversary (actually last Wednesday), a […]