01 Feb 2022

If At First Your Invention Stinks

Q. What are some examples of inventions that were a flop to start, but then found new life put to an altogether different purpose? . A. As it turns out, there have been lots. Our first look in… Bubble Wrap How do you feel about the pop, pop, pop of

26 Jan 2022

Tough As Old Boots

Q. What are some forgotten idioms that are well-suited to our odd times? . A. We scanned the Oxford Dictionary of English Idioms (because, you know, rabbit hole …) to find old-fashioned sayings that could be revived for life as we currently know it. In our words … . .

10 Jan 2022

All Hail The National Unicorn

Q. Which country chose the unicorn as their national animal? And how did that come to be? . A. Hint: In the historically rooted language of the area, the unicorn is known as: aon-adharcach. . Gustave Moreau. Les Licornes. 1887 . ‘Aon-adharcach’ is the Gaelic word for unicorn. The mythical

31 Dec 2021

Walk The Block For 2022

Q. With the 2021 we’ve had – especially on the heels of  2020 – we’ll be breaking out the New Year’s Eve good luck charms to usher in a better 2022. Any  global rituals that seem particularly relevant? . A. Given the lockdowns and limited travel of the last two

20 Dec 2021

Emmy, Grammy, Oscar + Tony

Q. EGOT. Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and a Tony Award. It’s a rare quadruple threat honour bestowed on few. One example? The amazing Rita Moreno who, with her current turn in Steven Spielberg’s ‘West Side Story’, might be up for her second Best Actress in a Supporting Role Oscar – different

24 Nov 2021

Can’t Have Your Cake

Q. Oh sure. So and so wants to have their cake and eat it too. We’ve all heard the expression, but how does that make sense? What is so presumptuous about wanting to eat the cake you have bought, baked, or been gifted? . A. For starters, this is another

08 Nov 2021

City Nicknames

Q. City nicknames are a tricky thing, more often used by people who live elsewhere. When I moved to the Bay Area, new friends were quick to tell me: “Whatever you do, do not call San Francisco ‘Frisco’. And don’t even think about calling it ‘San Fran’. It’s just ‘The

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