06 Jun 2023

So Many Broadways

Q. Why? Why are there so many cities with streets named ‘Broadway’?   A. Whilst many cities can claim a Broadway street, there is none more famous than New York’s. This now bustling hubbub was once part of an Indigenous trail called Wickquasgeck. Moving forward to Dutch takeover and 17th Century

31 May 2023

Freak Flags Flying Since

Q. You do you. Flaunt your edges. Who cares what they think?  “Let your freak flag fly”.  Where did this phrase originate? . A. Credit Jimi Hendrix. Born in Seattle – November 27th, 1942 – Hendrix popularized the phrase in his song ‘If 6 was 9’. It was the 7th

12 May 2023

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,

12 Apr 2023

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

17 Mar 2023

St. Patrick’s Day Green

Q. Happy St. Patrick’s Day! We’ll see joyous green everywhere today – on clothes, on plates, in glasses. Sure there is green on the tri-striped Irish flag, but why the green and why today? After all, St. Patrick’s official colour is blue. . A. The green on the Irish National

17 Feb 2023

Something Nameless This Way Comes

Q. Here, from the safety of the outside world, we can say it. Macbeth. But step into a theatre. and you’re unlikely to hear anyone uttering the name of Shakespeare’s 30thplay outside of the script. How did Macbeth’s name become so feared in theatrical circles? . A. “The Scottish Tragedy”. ”

31 Jan 2023

Caught Red-Handed

Q. Afraid to ask, but where does the expression ‘caught red-handed’ come from? . A. Caught Red-Handed Blood on their hands. Today, if you’re ‘caught red-handed,’ you’ve been busted in the midst of a transgression; there’s no denying what you’ve done. The phrase dates back to 15th Century Scotland where the

12 Jan 2023

Wedding Bells

Q. Do I hear wedding bells? Well, I hope so; always excited to celebrate couples in the joy of a wedding. How did the ‘wedding bell’ phrase become so ubiquitous, and what are some unique ways in which couples incorporate bells into their wedding days? . A. As Judy Garland

29 Dec 2022

Powdered Wigs

Q. We’ve all seen the bewigged portraits – from Bach to Mozart, Louis IV to Marie Antoinette. The wigs make for some seriously fabulous head drama, but why did those who could afford perukes wear them? And what was in that powder? . A. After 17th Century aristocrats popularized mountainous

16 Nov 2022

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