“Our American professors like their literature clear and cold and pure and very dead.”

In the 1920s, Sinclair Lewis became one of the most successful writers in America. During that decade he penned a series of five hugely popular novels: Main Street, Babbitt, Arrowsmith,…

Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address – and Lord Buckley’s “hip translation” . . .

On November 19, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln gave a brief speech in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania at the dedication of a cemetery for the Union soldiers who had died in that bloody…

The genesis of “the Almighty Dollar” – from Genesis to Washington Irving…

The word almighty, used in connection with God, appears 57 times in the King James Version of the Bible. Starting in the Book of Genesis, God is variously referred to…

“O Liberty! What crimes are committed in thy name!”

In 1781, a young French woman named Marie-Jeanne Philippon married wealthy businessman Jean-Marie Roland, thus becoming known as Madame Roland. Madame Roland and her husband were early supporters of the…

As Maine goes, so goes: (a) the nation (b) Vermont . . .

In the November 1936 presidential election, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was reelected for a second term in a landslide victory over his Republican opponent, Kansas Governor Alf Landon. Roosevelt received…

“Live from New York, it’s Saturday Night!” (and finger-eating wolverines)

On October 11, 1975, at 11:30pm Eastern Time, a new TV comedy show debuted on the NBC network. It opened with a wacky skit featuring three comic actors who were…

Sherlock Holmes quotes that Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock did and didn’t say…

Naturally, some of the best known Sherlock Holmes quotations and catchphrases come from the classic detective stories written by Sherlock’s creator, British author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930). For example,…

“Whatever is worth doing…

LORD CHESTERFIELD’S MAXIM: “Whatever is worth doing at all, is worth doing well.” Lord Chesterfield (Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield; 1694-1773) British statesman and diplomat One of the…

“Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.”

In 1897, two of the most famous residents of Hartford, Connecticut were Mark Twain and his friend and fellow writer Charles Dudley Warner, who was then editor of the local…

“Love me, love my dog.”

In the Catholic religion, August 20 is the Feast Day of Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, a medieval French monk who died on that date in 1153 A.D. I’m not a…