There’s an old joke running around that goes as follows, “Lost: Bald, one-eyed ginger Tom, crippled in both back legs, recently castrated, answers to the name of ‘Lucky.'” Nigel Rees of The Quote Unquote Newsletter has been tracking down this oft-quoted joke, and so far he’s found it as far back as 1969. On another front, Fred Shapiro of the Yale Book of Quotations has made progress in tracing the origins of famous quotes, often to people other than those who made them famous. And the folks at Quote Investigator are doing their share in researching the history of those quips and aphorisms that do so much to frame our essays and speeches. This is part of a complete episode.
- Hair on Your Tongue (episode #1517) 02/11/2019: If you speak both German and Spanish, you may find yourself reaching for a German word instead of a Spanish one, and vice versa. This... [more]
- Train of Thought (episode #1516) 02/04/2019: Chances are you recognize the expressions Judgment Day and root of all evil as phrases from the Bible. There are many others, such as the... [more]
- Colonial English (episode #1515) 01/28/2019: The anatomy of effective prose, and the poetry of anatomy. Ever wonder what it'd be like to audit a class taught by a famous writer?... [more]
- Space Cadet (episode #1514) 12/24/2018: We have books for language-lovers and recommendations for history buffs. • How did the word boondoggle come to denote a wasteful project? The answer involves... [more]
- Howling Fantods (episode #1513) 12/17/2018: Are there words and phrases that you misunderstood for an embarrassingly long time? Maybe you thought that money laundering literally meant washing drug-laced dollar bills,... [more]