“Man is descended from a hairy, tailed quadruped.”

The publication of Charles Darwin’s book On the Origin of Species in 1859 helped launch the modern science of evolution. It also created a firestorm of controversy, by suggesting that all species — including homo sapiens — evolved from “lower” life forms. However, Darwin did not explicitly state that humans evolved from ape and monkey-like … Read more

“Silent Night” – the origin and evolving words of the famous Christmas carol…

In 1818, during the annual Christmas Midnight Mass at the St. Nicholas Church at Oberndorf, Austria, the song we know as “Silent Night! Holy Night!” (or just “Silent Night”) was performed in public for the first time. Most sources say this happened on Christmas Eve, the night of December 24, 1818, though some say it … Read more

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 as “the Almighty God,” “God Almighty” and, most often, simply as “the Almighty.” The English idiom “the almighty dollar,” which is commonly used to mock … Read more

“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 Catholic. But as a dog lover and a quote lover, I’m a big fan of St. Bernard, because he’s the guy who immortalized a … Read more

The stirring words of Haile Selassie that Bob Marley used for the song “War”…

On October 4, 1963, Haile Selassie I, Emperor of Ethiopia, gave a speech to the United Nations General Assembly that includes a famous quotation you almost surely know if you’re a fan of the late, great Reggae musician Bob Marley. Selassie’s speech provided the basis for one of Marley’s most popular songs, titled “War.” It’s … Read more

“There, but for the grace of God, goes John Bradford.”

It is often claimed that the familiar expression of compassion “There, but for the grace of God, go I” is based on a quote by the 16th Century English Protestant clergyman John Bradford. According to tradition, Bradford was a prisoner in the Tower of London when he said it. He had previously been a prominent … Read more

“Turn off your mind, relax and float downstream…”

On August 8, 1966, Capitol Records released the Beatles album Revolver in the United States. (In the UK, the LP was released by Parlophone on August 5.) Revolver became an immediate chart-topper and is now widely considered to be one of the greatest albums in music history. It includes several especially famous and popular Beatle … Read more

“An atheist is a man who has no invisible means of support.”

There’s a famous quotation about atheists associated with the date December 14 that is widely attributed to Bishop Fulton J. Sheen:        “An atheist is a man who has no invisible means of support.”   The source that’s usually cited for this quote is the December 14, 1955 issue of LOOK magazine. Sheen did use … Read more

“Preserve, protect and defend…"

The oath an American president recites upon taking office includes the famous promise to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” Interestingly, one of the first decisions a new president makes is which version of the presidential oath to take. That’s because the paragraph in the Constitution that includes the presidential oath … Read more

The Original “12 Step Program”

Today, there are many organizations that use a “12-step program” to help people deal with some type of addiction or other problems. In addition to alcohol and drug-related groups, there are groups with 12-step programs for everything from food addicts and sex addicts to debtors, “underearners,” and workaholics.   Of course, all of the current organizations … Read more