A little tea and sympathy (and sex and censorship)…

Back in my college days, I tended to snigger at drug references in rock songs. So, I probably sniggered when I first heard Mick Jagger sing the lines in the Rolling Stones’ 1969 song “Let It Bleed” that go:       “Baby, you can rest your weary head right on me         And there will always … Read more

What is the “It” the Greeks had a word for? And what does that saying come from?

You’ve probably heard the saying “the Greeks had a word for it” (sometimes given as “the Greeks have a word for it”). But you may not be aware of how this enigmatic idiomatic expression got its start. It was launched into our language with a splash on September 25, 1930, when a bawdy play titled … Read more

Is Nathan Hale’s legendary line “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country” a true quote, a misquote or pure fiction?

On September 22, 1776, during the Revolutionary War, a former school teacher named Nathan Hale was hanged by the British for being a rebel spy. According to legend, Hale uttered a stirring, patriotic line just before his death:        “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.” Hale was … Read more

The ironic dual anniversary of “subliminal advertising” and the Bushism “subliminable”…

On September 12, 1957, market researcher James Vicary held a press conference that made a new term famous. Vicary claimed to have developed “hidden” ads that could be used in movies and TV shows. Ads that flashed by so quickly they were not consciously noticed by viewers, but affected their buying habits. He coined the … Read more

On this date in 1813, Oliver Hazard Perry launched two immortal naval quotations…

On September 10, 1813, American ships under the command of Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry engaged a British naval squadron on Lake Erie during the War of 1812. Perry’s flagship was a 20-gun brig that had recently been renamed The Lawrence, in honor of his fallen friend, U.S. Navy Captain James Lawrence. On June 1, 1813, … Read more