“Too cheap to meter” – the infamous nuclear power misquote…

In the annals of the long, still-ongoing debate over nuclear power, the most infamous words are undoubtedly “too cheap to meter.” The origin of this phrase is a speech given on September 16, 1954 by Lewis L. Strauss, a former Navy officer who was appointed Chairman of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission in 1953 by … Read more

“Have Gun – Will Travel” lives on (as a linguistic “snowclone” and via modern digital media)

Today, the linguistic formula “Have X [some work tool] – Will Y [do something]” is firmly cemented into our language. Prior to 1957, it wasn’t. Then, on September 14, 1957, the great Western TV series Have Gun – Will Travel premiered on the CBS network. (The first episode was titled “Three Bells to Perdido.”) Soon … Read more

The Birth — and Death — of “the Hippies”

Credit for the origin of the term “hippies” is generally given to San Francisco journalist Michael Fallon. Fallon coined the term in an article published in the San Francisco Examiner on September 5, 1965. It was the first of a series of articles he wrote about the “new generation of beatniks” who hung out in … Read more