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

08 Feb 2021

A Flower Before Dying

Q. Where does the phrase ‘last hurrah’ come from? . A. This well-used idiom is rooted in a 1956 Edwin O’Connor novel entitled, yup, The Last Hurrah. In it, 72-year old career politician Frank Skeffington decides he’s going to take one more run – one final attempt, a last ditch

16 Jan 2021

With This Wedding Cake

Q. What are some wedding cake-related superstitions? . A. This sweet embodiment of forever love is rife with superstitions. Pity the Medieval couples forced to seal the fate of their marriage with wedding cake jenga. Great piles of spice buns were piled one atop another into an unwieldy tower. The

01 Jan 2021

12 Grapes for 2021

Q. Why is there a run on grapes in Spain on the days leading up to New Years Eve? . A. The grapes are for a tradition said to date back to the late 1800s. How to bring in a New Year of good fortune and health? Eat one grape

18 Dec 2020

A Dissing of Deer

Q. Why do some animals have such beautifully considered collective nouns while others are lumped together under rude, or perhaps worse, indifferent ‘nouns of assembly’? . A. It does seem unfair that we celebrate an exaltation of larks, a caravan of camels, pride of lions, streak of tigers, romp of

30 Nov 2020

Lucky Numbers

Q. Which numbers do people most commonly consider lucky? . A. Do you have a lucky number? If so, what is it? Fans of the Big Bang Theory will know that Sheldon Cooper has a most particular answer to this question. . . In travelling, many of us have noticed global

05 Nov 2020

Heard It Through The Grapevine

Q. Where did this expression come from: ‘heard it through the grapevine’? . A. On hearing the expression, most think quickly of the Marvin Gaye 1968 hit – 15 weeks at #1, the top-selling Motown single of the decade. ‘I bet you’re wonderin’ how I knew ‘Bout your plans to

14 Oct 2020

Gird Your What?

Q. ‘Gird your loins.’ Do you hear Stanley Tucci voicing that phrase? I certainly do. Boss Miranda Priestly, aka the incredible Meryl Streep, is foot out of the car, eyes on the elevator, and soon to thunder into the offices of Runway Magazine. “Why is no one REAdy?” Tucci as

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