30 Oct 2023

Bits And Bobs

Q. First: many of us (🙋🏼‍♀️) are tempted to say “bibs and bobs,” but the expression – rooted in the UK – is bits and bobs. It’s a phrase that means this and that, a miscellany of small tasks, events, or things. Think about that teak apothecary chest at your

28 Oct 2023

City Love 2023

Q. What are your favourite cities in the world? When Condé Nast Traveler asked this question, more than half a million readers – 526,518 to be exact – responded. Which cities outside of the US did they pick for 2023? . A. How many of the winning cities are in

26 Oct 2023

The Dreaded Audition

Q. Even those of us whose actorly aspirations ended in middle school can remember the stomach-seizing stress of the audition. Nightmares about forgetting you even had an audition, then  being thrust on stage in a spotlit theatre stuffed with professional theatre critics. Finally, the real day comes, they call out

23 Oct 2023

Buddy Wants His Treat Now

Q. We’ve been seeing a lot more pet clothes out and about the street this year – sweaters, coats, booties, bowties, tiaras. Halloween will surely up the ante. What can we expect dogs, cats, bunnies and our other fancy furry friends to be wearing October 31st? . A. The National

20 Oct 2023

Don’t Eat None Of The Plum Pudding

Q. Your fictional hosts are serving you pudding. Should you eat it? . A. Many a literary table has been bedecked with showstopper pudding. ‘Pudding,’ the Oxford Dictionary tells us, is ‘a cooked sweet dish served after the main course of a meal.’ Get ready for ‘a good helping of

16 Oct 2023

No Love For Circus Peanuts

Q. . Trick or Treat! Your smile is big; your Super Spy costume is on point. Now, bring on the candy. “George!” The third Weird Barbie to answer your knocking is now hollering over her right shoulder. “We’re out of candy! George!” George is bashing about the back room, banging

13 Oct 2023

That Coffee Smell

Q. What is it about the smell of coffee? . A. If you close your eyes, can you summon up the smell of coffee? The talented Haruki Murakami writes about that glorious coffee aroma in Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage. ‘Haida was very particular about coffee, always

09 Oct 2023

An Artful Thanksgiving

Q. Happy Thanksgiving from Canada! What are some examples of Thanksgiving-relevant art from renowned artists? . A. Here are some paintings that are either overtly focused on Thanksgiving or seem to evoke its spirit.   March Avery. Thanksgiving. 1967 . Andries van Bochoven. Portrait of the artist and his family.

07 Oct 2023


Q. Where did this strange but totally satisfying word come from? Ugh. . A. ‘Ugh’, in its current English spelling, is said to date back to the late 17th Century. It’s meant to be an onomatopoeic word that – presumably when said quickly and quietly – sounds like a cough.

02 Oct 2023

Controversial Royal Portraits

Q. What have been some of the most controversial royal portraits over the years? A. This whole business of painting portraits – let alone royal portraits – is not for the faint-hearted. What if your all-powerful subject hates what you create? What if the royal trusts you, likes the portrait,