Yarn Bombing: Graffiti Knitting

Yarn bombing, aka yarnstorming, guerrilla knitting, or graffiti, is a form of street art that has been spreading across the globe over the last few years. Knitters and crocheters take their “matronly craft” to the streets covering urban objects with brightly coloured fuzzy goodness. Few objects are off limits and tree trunks, hydrants, mailboxes, park benches, […]


Accidental Inventions: Play Doh

The non-toxic, non-staining, reusable modeling compound that came to be known as Play-Doh was first manufactured in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA as a wallpaper cleaner in the 1930s by Noah McVicker for Kutol Products, a Cincinnati-based soap company. After World War II, McVicker’s nephew, Joseph McVicker, joined Kutol and discovered the wallpaper cleaner was being used […]


Superstitions: Black Cats

Superstitions and stories around black cats vary from culture to culture. In Great Britain, Ireland, and Japan, black cats are actually a symbol of good luck. The Scottish believe that a strange black cat’s arrival to the home signifies prosperity.    In Western history, black cats have often been looked upon as a symbol of […]


Häagen-Dazs – Nonsense Term – Foreign Branding

Häagen-Dazs ice cream was established by Jewish-Polish immigrants Reuben and Rose Mattus in the Bronx, New York, in 1961. The company opened its first retail store in Brooklyn, NY, on November 15, 1976.   Contrary to popular belief, the company is not Scandinavian.  The name Häagen-Dazs is simply two made-up words meant to look Scandinavian […]


Idioms: Blue Blood

The English idiom Blue Blood has been in use since 1834 and refers to a person of noble birth or descent. It is a translation of the Spanish phrase sangre azul, which described the Spanish royal family and other high nobility. Thought to have originated from ancient and medieval European societies, the term was given […]


English Language: Ough

English orthography is the alphabetic spelling system used by the English language. Like other alphabetic orthographies, it uses a set of habits to represent speech sounds in writing. In most other languages, these habits are regular enough so that they may be called rules. In standard English spelling, however, nearly every sound is spelled in […]



Origins: The Greatest Thing Since Sliced Bread

Sliced bread was first sold in 1928 and advertised as “the greatest forward step in the baking industry since bread was wrapped”. This led to the popular phrase, “the greatest thing since sliced bread”. Otto Frederick Rohwedder of Davenport, Iowa, USA invented the first loaf-at-a-time bread-slicing machine. A prototype he built in 1912 was destroyed […]


New Phrases: Recombobulation Area

Milwaukee’s Mitchell International Airport coined a new phrase with their “Recombobulation Area” – a play on the word “discombobulate” meaning “to throw into a state of confusion”. Staff set up an area just outside of the security checkpoint so that disheveled passengers can put themselves back together without the stress of rushing to keep the […]


Myths: Quicksand is a Killer

We’ve all seen the movie where the character gets stuck in quicksand and slowly sinks to the bottom resulting in his untimely death or last minute rescue. In reality, quicksand is denser than water.  The greater the density, the greater the buoyancy of objects within. Any victims found in quicksand likely died for some other […]