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Riding with Lipkin

Getting there is usually half the fun, it’s true, and sometimes getting there is all the fun. And why is it that old guys like me enjoy books about old crazies like Harry Lipkin, private eye, the eponymous character who lives and breathes and has his being (barely) in a novel by Barry Fantoni. I […]

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Just some fun is there

I am not sure what got me started on the Vish Puri Mystery series (from the Files of Vish Puri, India’s Most Private Investigator) by Tarquin Hall. Probably it was the cover on the first of the three titles – The Case of the Missing Servant. The colors caught my eye at the bookstore. I […]

eggers dj

Stranger than/to fiction?

I’m a writer. I write things. When the boat overturns, I write it. As one who writes, I am aware of the messianic quality of writing down what I see and hear and feel and taste and smell and know. The creation of story, the making of sense from words otherwise dumb, it can puff […]


*Timbuctoo* writer strikes gold

The best parts of John Updike, in my experience, total at least two. Three things leap to mind – The Rabbit books. The word zoftig. The observation that some books, well-worth reading, can only be opened in bed (because they are so big and heavy). Tahir Shah’s new book Timbuctoo at 526 pp. in hardcover […]

our cat bella

Use your probes wisely and well

Sometimes a copy editor has no control over the words. When an older editor who should have been wiser wrote this headline, there was little that I could do — Agents probe Nixon’s brother On another occasion, I was able to help the AP wire copy when it said — Forty million Americans use the […]

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A case of Grammaticuss Narcissicuss

When all the parts of my personality gather, most of my inner voices hope that the Inner Editor doesn’t get the memo and doesn’t show up. Fat chance of that happening. The Inner Editor would not ever miss an opportunity to shower a gathering with critical commentary. I suffer from a form of Grammaticuss Narcissicuss […]

our cat bella

If ironic becomes iconic, no one profits

My wife and I visited her brother and his family — wife and daughter — a while back in Washington D.C. While  we all were in the car, full and satisfied from a Korean meal with lots and lots of tasty meats, I mentioned that I was writing a blog post about the words ironic […]

our cat bella

Headings cover everything, touch nothing?

That patron saint of copy editors whom I have mentioned frequently, Prof. John Bremner, had a tag for headlines that smoked without catching fire — crinoline headlines, he called them. These headlines, like the capacious crinoline skirt, he said, covered everything and touched nothing, If you are a writer, you also are a blogger, if […]


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