We all know the moon’s made of green cheese, but what’s the deal with the pie in the sky? The idiom pie in the sky, referring to something that’s pleasant to imagine but unattainable, comes from an early 20th century song called “The Preacher and the Slave,” penned and popularized by labor organizer Joe Hill. The song parodied the hymn “The Sweet By and By,” which promised a heavenly reward after death. Hill’s song sarcastically made the point there’s need for help here on Earth, too. This is part of a complete episode.
- Hidden Treasures 11/20/2017: A new online archive of Civil War letters offers a vivid portrait of the everyday lives of enlisted men. These soldiers lacked formal education so... [more]
- Butterflies in Your Stomach 11/14/2017: If you're not using a dictionary to look up puzzling words as you read them, you're missing out on a whole other level of enjoyment.... [more]
- Catch You on the Flip Side 11/06/2017: Some countries have strict laws about naming babies. New Zealand authorities, for example, denied a request to name some twins Fish and Chips. • Halley's... [more]
- All Verklempt 10/30/2017: Of all the letters in the alphabet, which two or three are your favorites? If your short list includes one or more of your initials,... [more]
- Hunk Waffle 10/23/2017: Decisions by dictionary editors, wacky wordplay, and Walt Whitman's soaring verse. How do lexicographers decide which historical figures deserve a mention or perhaps even an... [more]