Category: etymology

Cy Young: The Hallmark of Hurlers

Today’s the birthday of Cy Young, For his pitching  a host of  hosannas are sung. He threw 3 no-hitters and is so adored That HIS  name is on the best-pitcher award. “One of the fellows called me Cyclone, but finally shortened it to ‘Cy’ and its been that ever since.” The last White Sox pitcher... Read more »

Isaac Asimov: I, Renaissance Man

Born today was Isaac Asimov. To his memory I bid a fond mazel tov. Prolific author of fiction and non- Somewhere, I wonder, if he’s writing on. I won’t pretend to be objective about Isaac Asimov. I may have read more of his books than any other author’s.  He wrote more than 500 of them. ... Read more »

Louis Pasteur: He Put the Heat On the Germs

  Born today was Louis Pasteur; For rabies and anthrax he discovered  a cure. In microbiology his fame never dies. His shelf-life endures in the word ‘pasteurize’. “Emperor Napoleon III  enlisted Pasteur to save France’s wine industry from the “diseases of wine”. In previous experiments, Pasteur had discovered that heating the fermented wine would kill... Read more »

Christian Doppler: Shiftless? Not.

Born today was Christian Doppler. Among weather forecasters, he’s very pop’lar. Without him where would Big Bang be, Or police clocking  you on a speeding spree? “A police car equipped for catching speeders is parked alongside a highway. It sends out radio waves that strike vehicles on the highway and are bounced back to a receiver in... Read more »

Edwin Hubble: "Pioneer of the Distant Stars"

Born today was Edwin Hubble The Universe, he said, expands  like a  bubble. Of winning  the  Nobel prize now, he hasn’t a hope. Hence the posthumous honor :  his own  telescope.  

Elbridge Gerry: Eponymous Patriot

Born today was Elbridge Gerry, Massachusetts Revolutionary. His public service  roles did vary.* Principled, he’d never pander. His name survives in “gerrymander”.**   * 1. Member of Continental Congress 2. Signer of Declaration of Independence 3. Signer of Articles of Confederation 4. Attendee of Constitutional Convention (1787)—Refused to sign without a Bill of Rights 5.... Read more »

Marquis de Sade: Notorious Whipper Snapper

  Born today Marquis de Sade Whose sexual tastes were rather odd.* What he did to a woman’s bod Would shock us all, including God.   *”…Sade had orchestrated an orgy of his own, one that included his valet, Latour, and four prostitutes in the city of Marseilles. This elaborate encounter, which took place on... Read more »

Spartacus with a Pen

What do all bloggers have in common? We are all lovers of words.  Logophiles is the technical term.  We are so beholden to them that we are their slaves. . And we must conquer them in order to write well.  You may very well think of us as Spartacus. Our obsession with words  often leads to collecting the  off-the-beaten-path, oddball, creaky  antiquary ones. It might even go so far as... Read more »

When In Doubt, Pun

    “I get no respect,” Rodney Dangerfield used to say. The same thing could be said of puns. People groan at puns. And they are generally considered wayward waifs in the world of humor. I think this is a gross injustice. So here is a minority report in their favor. In a sense, God... Read more »

It's Time For A Kardash

At a meeting  in Portland, Oregon, on January 6, the American Dialect Society voted “occupy” 2011 Word of the Year.  There were winners in other categories, too. “Humblebrag—an expression of false humility, especially by celebrites on Twitter—was voted Most Useful. The Most Creative winner was “mellencamp”—a woman who has aged out of being a ‘cougar’... Read more »