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Neat but not Gaudy

Scott from Copper Canyon, Texas, wonders about a expression he heard from his childhood in the American South: neat but not gaudy. He understood it to mean appropriate, but not over the top. The expression goes back to 1600s and has many variations...

Chopped Liver

There’s a proverb that goes “beloved children have many names.” At least, that’s true when it comes to the names we give our pets. “Fluffy” becomes “Fluffers” becomes “FluffFace” becomes...

Monkey Blood

A Fort Worth, Texas, man remembers putting monkey blood on cuts and scrapes, and wonders about its name. It’s not really monkey’s blood; it’s a bright red substance more oftencalled Mercurochrome, a brand name of merbromim, or...

Monkey for a Week

“Order in the court, the monkey wants to speak, the first one to speak is a monkey for a week!” This children’s rhyme appears in print in the 1950s, and Israel Kaplan mentions it in When I Was a Boy in Brooklyn, his take on growing...

Schoolyard Rhyme

Because Grant still can’t get enough schoolyard rhymes, he shares one this week that goes: Three six nine / the goose drank wine / the monkey chewed tobacco on the streetcar line. Are you a lifer when it comes to children’s rhymes? This...