02 Oct 2021

Yoo-Hoo, Baby Pigeons

Q. Someone came to us with a really good question. Where are all the baby pigeons? Have you ever seen a baby pigeon? . A. Well, come to think of it: no. We see pigeons aplenty. Yesterday, a Granville Island pigeon party seemed none too concerned about the cars trying

03 Sep 2021

Ogre Diva + Other Semordnilaps

Q. What is a Semordnilap? And what are some examples? . A. A Semordnilap is a two for one word: that’s one word when you read it forwards, and an altogether different word when you read it backwards. Any idea how they got this odd name? Answer at the bottom.

30 Aug 2021

Prize Emojis

Q. Do you have a favourite emoji? Maybe an ambiguous facial expression or innocent fruit that fills in your blanks just right. Do you use different emojis in and outside work? And how do your emoji preferences compare to others? . A. In a 2021 survey of 7,000 emoji users

05 Aug 2021

That Doll Is Creepy

Q. Why do people differ so much about dolls? Love dolls, hate dolls. Treasure my doll, creeped out by your doll. . A. There are some who find all dolls creepy. Pick up a doll couture magazine in the store and watch people back away slowly.  Those who experience extreme,

24 Jul 2021

That Ship Name Has Sailed

Q. Why is it considered such bad luck to change a boat or ship’s name after it has been christened? . A. Life on the ocean is, as one could well imagine, rife with superstition. The naming of sea vessels is particularly fraught. Ancient Greeks would often assign their vessels

08 Jul 2021

Lurid Lockets

Q. “What I want from you is your voice.” Ursula the savage Sea Witch is bargaining with Disney’s Ariel. As collateral for temporarily turning Ariel’s tail into human legs, Ursula will seize The Little Mermaid’s ethereal voice. Ariel clutches her neck while Ursula elaborates. “No more talking, singing, zip.” To

09 Jun 2021

Lilibet, Elsa, or Zibby

Q. Congratulations to the Sussexes on the birth of wee Lilibet! Take it from a decidedly non-royal Elizabeth, certain names – especially those that have been around for a while – have an endless roster of commonly used variants (can we still use that word without cringing?) and nicknames. What

13 May 2021

Terrifying Town Names

Q. Fiction has brought us all kinds of alarming place names. Take C.S. Lewis who, in Chronicles of Narnia, invited us to: Burnt Island, Deathwater Island, Dragon Island .. Back on the workaday end of the wardrobe, what are some alarming town names on our maps? . A. Alligator Pond,

06 Apr 2021

Doctor Of Spin

Q. We know it’s bad. Just give it to us straight. No spin. Wait. Why is the word ‘spin’ used in this context? . A. Spin. After a while you come to recognize the facial, vocal, and verbal tells when Spokesperson X is locking into their spin. Oh boy. Here

04 Mar 2021

No Truck

Q. Where did the phrase ‘no truck’ originate? As in: “I have no truck with back room business deals.” . A. I want or have no truck with X. That is, I want no part of this. I refuse to be involved. How on earth are trucks relevant here? What