01 Dec 2023

Eating Hot Hot Hot

Q. Indonesia, Mexico, India, The West Indies – places known for the heat in their sun, and the heat on their plates. If I’m feeling adventurous in Jamaica, I’ll go for spice with my breakfast omelette. I mean: I’m half-Jamaican. I can handle it, right? ‘Spice’ is scooped out of

27 Nov 2023

Dystopian Doppelgänger Deepfakes

Q. At the end of each year, Merriam Webster mines their search data to see which words have been intriguing and puzzling readers for the past twelve months. Which word winners did they find for 2023? . . A. i. Authentic 👑 ii. Rizz iii. Deepfake iv. Coronation v. Dystopian

25 Nov 2023

American Gothic

Q. It’s one of the world’s most recognizable paintings. From the moment that the Art Institute of Chicago put Grant Wood’s ‘American Gothic’ on display, visitors were intrigued. What on earth was the story here? What indeed. . . A. The story starts with an Iowa-born artist’s sugar problem… Grant

22 Nov 2023

Googlegangers + Widdershins

Q. What is that thing called again? . A. Thanks to Phineas and Ferb, millions of families now know the name of the small, protective metal or plastic tube at the end of a shoelace. All together now… the aglet. What are some other unusual words that describe the things

17 Nov 2023

But Did You Bring Cloves?

Q. The wasps – ugh – were at peak annoying this summer. ‘I’m sorry, did you think we would just let you sit outside?’ Were those giant monsters murder hornets, or just garden variety villains fat from all the sugar water they were stealing from the hummingbirds? To combat this

14 Nov 2023

The Sistine Ceiling

Q. As Goethe said: ‘Without having seen the Sistine Chapel, it’s not possible to have an idea of what one man is capable of doing.’  How long did it take Michelangelo to paint the Sistine Ceiling? . A. Michelangelo painted his brilliant Old Testament frescoes over four and a half

09 Nov 2023

Tea And Tiny Treats

Q. Some days call for piping hot tea, and a three-tiered tower of tasty treats. What’s your favourite –  the wee lemon tarts, the butter-cut scones, or the mini egg-swirl sandwiches? Whom can we thank for this mid-day delight, and should we be calling it ‘high tea’ or ‘afternoon tea?’

06 Nov 2023

Nosing Around The Louvre

Q. We know it as the home of Da Vinci’s ‘Mona Lisa’, but what other notable artworks can be found at The Louvre? . A. Not surprisingly, The Louvre is home to some of the most remarkable paintings in the world. Eugene Delacroix’s ‘Liberty Leading The People. ‘Raphael’s ‘La Belle

03 Nov 2023

Just A Spoonful Of Yogurt

Q. ‘Each kind of spoon is used for a specific purpose, and should never be used except for that one.’ So wrote Lady Constance Howard in her 1885 Etiquette : What to do, and how to do it. ‘A grave error would be committed,’ Lady Constance continued, ‘by using a dessert

31 Oct 2023

Wednesday Addams

Q. Chances are we’ll see plenty of Wednesday Addams out and about this Halloween. She’s an iconic character and a fantastic last minute costume choice for those of us with longish dark hair and access to a white-collared shirt. When and how did this bebraided character get her start? . A. Google