18 Feb 2021

Masterful Mimicry

Q. How is it that some people are so good at mimicking day to day sounds – popping corks, robot vacuums, espresso machines, car alarms? . A. We have certainly heard remarkable mimicry in our animal friends. As we see in the David Attenborough-narrated video below, the incredible lyre bird

01 Feb 2021

Making Mannequin Heads

Q. As our attention moves to the world of lifelike robots, we owe a nod back to those who spend their days and weeks crafting old school mannequin heads. Who does that? . A. Their eyes fix on nosy visitors. Given their torsoless state, some of these display heads look

30 Jan 2021

Weird Things We Say

Q. We English speakers say some strange things. Which of our expressions are most likely to get lost in translation? . A. As we prattle on, it’s easy to forget how many baffling idioms we use in our complicated language. What must those new to English think when we drop off-topic,

11 Jan 2021

Green-Eyed Neighbours

Q. Neighbours can make the deepest of friends. But, what kind of things make those who live side by side jealous of each other? . A. We see it in The Simpsons and the Flintstones, Three’s Company and Mary Tyler Moore, from Friends to Seinfeld, Modern Family to Succession. In

30 Dec 2020

Ladies Whistledown and Crackenthorpe

Q. Lady Whistledown, aka the Gossip Girl of Netflix’s wildly popular 1800s drama Bridgerton, is quick to report on the scandals of the British upper classes. Who were some of her real-life equivalents?   A. ‘London is awash these days with Ambitious Mamas.’ So writes the pseudonymous ‘Lady Whistledown’ in

21 Dec 2020

Most Annoying Phrases

Q. Which phrases do people find most annoying? . A. As it turns out, there are a lot. ‘This is true.’ (😖 ) Big Picture Annoyances This December, Marist polled 1,753 adults about the words and phrases that annoy them most. Survey says.. 2020 Most Annoying Words or Phrases i. Whatever

02 Dec 2020

Step Away From My Spoon

Q. Do you have a favourite dessert spoon? Does spaghetti taste that much better when you’re using your fork? Stressful situations can make us more territorial, but why do some people insist that specific foods taste better with cutlery of a specific size, shape, weight, even colour? . A. We

11 Nov 2020

A Poppy To Remember

Q. We remember and offer our deepest respect to those who serve. As we watch Remembrance Day services, we see red poppies on uniforms, on jackets, on wreaths. How did the poppy come to represent those who have fallen in service of their country?   A. We turn to Veterans

09 Nov 2020

Alex Trebek’s Favourite Category

Q. Born 1940 in Sudbury, Ontario, George Alexander Trebek – ‘Alex’ – went on to host more than 8200 episodes of Jeopardy. He was known for his wide-spanning curiosity, but what was Alex Trebek’s favourite Jeopardy category? . A. We look for answers in the Order of Canada winning Trebek’s

29 Oct 2020

Mum’s Stories

Q. Some adults would give anything to hear their parents tell that same old story one more time. But which types of stories do grown kids most enjoying hear from their mums and dads? . A. Many parents come bearing the gift of story from the get-go. Through childhood, the