“Let It Snow!” – the Christmas song that isn’t…

  Every year at Christmas time, when I hear someone sing or say “Let It Snow!” I am reminded of what I learned when I looked into the song that popularized that phrase. It was launched into our holiday lexicon in December 1945, when singer and big band leader Vaughn Monroe released the first recording … Read more

“Out Where the West Begins”

On an early December night in 1911, journalist Arthur Chapman was trying to come up with a topic for his regular column in the Denver Republican newspaper, called “Center Shots.” As he was thinking, he saw an Associated Press dispatch about an ongoing disagreement between the Governors of several Western states. They were arguing over … Read more

“You say you want a revolution?”

“You say you want a revolution” is a line every Beatles fan knows. It’s from the song “Revolution” on the Beatles’ famed double album known as The White Album. John Lennon was inspired to write the song after watching news about the student riots in Paris in May of 1968. Like many people around the … Read more

“We will bury you!” (Or something like that.)

On November 18, 1956, Communist leader Nikita Khrushchev, the head of the Soviet Union, attended a party at the Polish Embassy in Moscow. At that event, he made some boasting comments about the competition between Communism and “capitalist states” like the US. One of those comments included what would become Khrushchev’s most famous (and infamous) … Read more

The 1984 presidential debate that launched the term “Spin Doctors” – and a famous quip…

Nowadays, most people are familiar with the term “spin doctors.” I think they’ve been more omnipresent than ever during the 2016 presidential campaign, though few people know how they got that name. The term is used to refer to the professional political consultants, PR gurus and media commentators who create or utter statements designed to … Read more

“Let Hertz put you in the driver’s seat!”

The real life “Mad Men” who formed the Norman, Craig & Kummel (NCK) advertising agency in 1955 share the credit for a number of classic advertising slogans and campaigns that most people still remember. One is the Maidenform bra series of ads that used variable headlines based on the formula “I dreamed I (did or … Read more

About that “giant sucking sound” and what qualifies something as a “famous quotation”…

The huge amount of attention focused on the 2016 presidential debates between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton made me think of some of the famous quotations from past presidential debates. One that coined a phrase still widely used today was uttered by Independent candidate Ross Perot on October 15, 1992, in the three-way presidential debate … Read more

The embarrassingly wrong history of the expression “embarrassment of riches”

“Embarrassment of riches” is a widely-used idiomatic expression that most people are familiar with. If you Google the phrase, you get millions of hits. At any given time, if you limit your search to Google’s News section, you’ll find it in hundreds of of recent news-related stories and posts. The phrase “embarrassment of riches” is … Read more

The infamous quote that revealed Earl was a bigoted Butz-hole…

Lest we forget, some politically incorrect remarks got a lot of press attention long before Donald Trump started using Twitter. In 1975, John Dean, former White House Counsel to President Richard Nixon, served a short prison sentence for his role in the Watergate cover-up scandal. After his release, Dean started a new career as a … Read more

James Watt’s infamous quip about “a woman, two Jews, and a cripple”

Nowadays, when politicians and high-profile government bureaucrats make obviously offensive remarks, they often seem do it on purpose, to generate press attention and appeal to hard-core voters on the far right or far left of the political spectrum. The more traditional style of offensive and stupid quotes by politicians and bureaucrats are the type that … Read more