Category Archives: language

Scenes from a Black Lives Matter gathering in Syracuse

And by the way, “Democracy in Black,” by Eddie S. Glaude Jr. should be required reading for all white Americans. Advertisements

Posted in Irish Investigations, language | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

‘You can’t say that anymore’ (unless you’re a racist)

Sunday was the first truly gorgeous day after a long winter — 65 degrees and sunny, perfect for doing yard work. A regrettable decision, in retrospect. I’d been meaning to get rid of an old lawn mower, so I hauled it … Continue reading

Posted in Irish Investigations, language | Tagged , , , , , | 20 Comments

Which version of ‘Hallelujah’ is the best? Does it matter?

Five years ago I heard a group of college students perform an a cappella version of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” and was spellbound. Newsweek recently ranked 60 versions of the song, from best to worst. I disagree with the magazine’s No. 1, John Cale (“Shrek,” the movie). … Continue reading

Posted in Irish Investigations, language, music, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

When ‘The Boy With No Story’ has a tale to tell

Sometimes I fear I have no story. I don’t mean writer’s block. I mean that I have no story, no narrative that spells out what it is I’ve done, or what I’m doing, with my life. This struck me the other … Continue reading

Posted in Children, communication, family, Irish Investigations, language, music, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

A 67-year-old man in a wheelchair dies, then gets smeared by internet trolls

The recent passing of Syracuse icon Gertis McDowell is instructive for two very different reasons. One, we can all learn from his upbeat attitude and the happiness he spread to strangers even when he was in pain. Two, we can try to … Continue reading

Posted in college, Irish Investigations, language, poverty, Technology, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 31 Comments

Would you swap your talent for someone else’s?

Let’s say you’re a gifted painter. Maybe you don’t make a living at it, but it’s a source of pleasure and fulfillment, occasionally joy. But for years you’ve wished you were a standout baseball player, even though you’re not so … Continue reading

Posted in art, Irish Investigations, language, music, running, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

Is Christmas ‘a sad season’? John Cheever had the answer

Every December I re-read John Cheever’s short story, “Christmas is a Sad Season for the Poor.” And every year I share a link to it on Facebook. I don’t think many people bother to read it — even when I preface it by … Continue reading

Posted in books, communication, hunger, Irish Investigations, language, poverty, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 27 Comments

Photo project helps refugees know ‘their voice matters’

Thanks to a research project conducted by a public health graduate student, eight refugees living in Syracuse, NY, will show off their photography skills at an exhibition next month. But Rozlynn Jakes-Johnson’s project is about much more than photography. Rozlynn … Continue reading

Posted in art, communication, Irish Investigations, language, photography, refugees, war | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

At what age are we ‘senior citizens’? Time will tell

When I was 49, the constant letters from AARP were bad enough. Eight years later, it’s Time magazine’s turn to take a cheap shot. Time’s special offer arrived in the mail the other day, a discount subscription “for senior citizen … Continue reading

Posted in Aging, communication, Irish Investigations, language | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Intent vs. Outcome: ‘What I really meant was …’

A simple and clever sign my girlfriend and I saw on Cape Cod over the weekend made us smile. And it capped a recent rash of lessons about language, and how the words we choose can be crucial. In a driveway … Continue reading

Posted in communication, driving, Irish Investigations, language, Travel, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments