23 Sep 2020

Robert + His Rules

Q. Who is this Robert and why do so many people follow his meeting rules? . A. Official meetings across the world still sample generously from the rules of Robert: General H.M. Robert, that is. The General’s Rules are particularly handy when we are trying to run virtual meetings where

21 Sep 2020

In Full Fig

They are awfully stubborn. The elephants refuse to leave the room, the thoughts cower inside the box, and the tattered idioms worm their way back into innocent conversations. The Oxford Dictionary of Idioms houses thousands of these ‘phrases that behave like words.’ Freud would find little surprise in the fact that

19 Sep 2020

A Match Made In Free Fall

Q. Why do people do scary things on early dates? . A. In ‘romantic,’ ‘reality’ shows – no judgment! Lockdown – daters will be challenged with hair-raising adventures. Rappel down this skyscraper. Or free-fall. Leap off this scenic cliff. Take your fear of heights and climb up the cables of

16 Sep 2020

Dead Man’s Butter

Q. What are some of the most wicked superstitions people have followed to get more food? . A. 17th Century Shetland has a nominee. The grim Dead Man’s Hand was all too tempting for those looking to bolster their own food stores whilst exacting revenge on know-it-all neighbours. ⛔️ Step #1:

14 Sep 2020

Artists In Love

Q. Who are some renowned artists who were in romantic relationships with each other? . A. Ever so often, it is (was?) nice to shut down the phone, go to the library, and browse the books, aisle by aisle. It’s a slow-burn rabbit hole, where you find yourself sitting on

12 Sep 2020

Most High Profile Paintings

Q. Which paintings – historical to current – do people recognize and/or talk about the most? . A. We can all guess #1, but in November of 2019, CNN Style did an in-depth analysis of the 15 most frequently searched masterpieces. The winners were.. . i. Mona Lisa. Leonardo da

09 Sep 2020

1900’s Swizzle + Food Slang

Q. So many cultures are rich in food-related slang. What are some English examples from the last century? . A. Here’s a sampling of food and drink slang words from A Dictionary of Slang and its Analogues. Past and Present. First compiled by Editors John S. Farmer and W.E. Henley

07 Sep 2020

Young In + At Heart

Q. How is it that some people in their late 80s and 90s – some of whom have had tumultuous lives – still act and feel so young? . A. I know what my Mum, a nurse, would say: “Feeling young has nothing to do with age, Elizabeth.” When she

05 Sep 2020

Faint Praise

Q. What are some allegedly encouraging – or, at least, mildly positive – words that don’t feel so encouraging when offered as personal feedback? . A. Brave Not, of course, in the sword-wielding, evil-smiting context. Rather, when you’ve taken a creative risk – say, in an audition or performing arts

02 Sep 2020

We’re Saying It Wrong

Q. What are some expressions or idioms that we commonly garble? . A. Let’s see how we do. Which of these is correct? Each phrase is listed in alphabetical order. . Bald-faced lie . Barefaced lie . Bold-faced lie ♕ . Baited breath . Bated breath ♕ . Chalk it