Rousseau’s Jungles

Henri Rousseau is known for his scenes of exotic jungles and animals. In fact, Rousseau never left France. His paintings were based on images adapted from printed sources, and from visits to the Paris Natural History Museum, and the Jardin des Plantes, a botanical garden and zoo.


Phrase Origins: Never Look A Gift Horse In The Mouth

The phrase “Never Look a Gift Horse in the Mouth”, generally means don’t be ungrateful when you receive a gift. The proverb, it seems, can be traced back to St. Jerome who referred to it as a common saying in his introductory remarks to the Epistle to the Ephesians in his translation of the New […]


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, […]

Misquoted: Sherlock Holmes – “Elementary, My Dear Watson”

 The well known phrase “Elementary, my dear Watson”, was never actually said by the Sherlock Holmes character in any of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s written works.   “Elementary,” and “…my dear Watson.” both do appear near the beginning of The Crooked Man (1893), it is the “…my dear Watson” that appears first, and “Elementary”is the […]


Urban Legends: Bert and Ernie Are Lovers

  It has long been rumoured that the popular Sesame Street characters Bert and Ernie are homosexuals. The pair live together in an apartment in the basement of 123 Sesame Street and sleep in separate beds in a shared bedroom.   Sesame Workshop (formerly The Children’s Television Workshop) has continually denied rumors about Bert and […]

7-up lithiated soda

The Original 7Up Contained Lithium

7 Up was created by Charles Leiper Grigg, who launched his St. Louis-based company The Howdy Corporation in 1920. Grigg came up with the formula for a lemon-lime soft drink in 1929. The product, originally named “Bib-Label Lithiated Lemon-Lime Soda”, was launched two weeks before the Wall Street Crash of 1929. It contained lithium citrate, […]


Infinite Monkey Theorem

Infinite Monkey Theorem

The infinite monkey theorem states that a monkey hitting keys at random on a typewriter keyboard for an infinite amount of time will “almost surely” type a given text, such as the complete works of William Shakespeare.   In this context, “almost surely” is a mathematical term with a precise meaning, and the “monkey” is […]


Idioms: Heebie Jeebies

The term Heebie Jeebies (meaning a feeling of nervousness, fright, or worry, or having the jitters) is widely attributed to cartoonist Billie DeBeck (1890-1942) who also coined “hotsy totsy,” “hot mama”, and other expressions. The first citation of it in print is in his 1923 cartoon in the  October edition of the New York American. […]


Origins: Break a Leg

“Break a leg” is a well-known expression in theatre which means “good luck.” It is typically said to actors and musicians before a performance. The phrase reflects a theatrical superstition in which wishing a person “good luck” is considered bad luck.  There are several theories behind the origin of the phrase. Below are some of […]