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 […]

Wanna Learn Japanese in 10 Hours?

Gaijin (Japanese for “foreigner”) Back in 1984, I mentioned to a friend, Don Jones, a U.S. Information Agency colleague, that I’d just been assigned to the staff of the U.S. Pavilion at Tsukuba Expo ’85.1 Don was, I’d guess, about two decades older than me. I’d first met him a few years earlier when we were […]

Pride Goeth Before a Fall

Eiffel Tower (Photo: ©Howard E. Daniel, 1965-2018) Have you ever been too embarrassed to dust off your high school French or Spanish when you’re in a country where you’re actually immersed in that linguistic environment? It can be pretty uncomfortable, as I can attest from witnessing any number of such situations. Some people — even […]

Passive Aggression

Blowout party with cake The Supreme Court hearings in Washington have primed me for a rant. No, not a political rant. You can find those everywhere you look on the internet. What I have in mind to rant about, instead, is the passive voice. It brings out the aggressiveness in me. Not passive aggression, but […]

Is It Fun or Is It ‘Barbarous’?

End of the “Cretinaceous” — not much fun Fun is a funny word. The dictionary says it’s a noun, which is clear in sentences like: We had fun (fun is the object of the verb had) The roller coaster was a lot of fun (here, fun is the object of the preposition of) In recent years, however, fun has also come […]

Blowing Smoke: Memories of 8 a.m. Russian Class

Since I couldn’t find a suitable photo of a cigarette-smoke ring on Google, here are some shots of a volcano puffing one out. Wow! Last November, in writing about the 100th anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution, I recalled the birth of my interest in Russia and the Soviet Union. I wrote that when I began […]