The Stories Nature Writes

Treasured Rocks For Christmas 2018, my older son and his two youngest added an item to my bucket list AND helped me accomplish it. I’ve traveled to several continents, not all, but had not seen America’s Grand Canyon. My family wasn’t having it. Instead of coming to NE Mississippi where I now winter as they…

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Goals for a New Year

As quoted in Forever, Erma, a collection of American humorist, Erma Bombeck’s best-known writings, she closed her March 10, 1987, column with these words that to me are a perfect guideline for anyone’s coming year: “I always had a dream that when I am asked to give accounting of my life to a higher court, it…

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New and Old Christmas Carols

When we think of traditional Christmas carols such as “Away in a Manger” or “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear,” we assume they have been with us through the ages. As with many assumptions about history, we’re wrong. There is no way to prove what the first Christmas song was, but Christmas music has been…

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Principles for Critiquing? Or Bone-crushing Reviews?

On June 14, 1922, Warren G. Harding became the first U.S. President to have his voice transmitted by radio. This did not impress journalist H. L. Mencken, who said of Harding, “He writes the worst English that I have ever encountered. It reminds me of a string of wet sponges; it reminds me of tattered washing…

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Thanksgiving or Turkey Day?

I was sad years back to find that numerous students even in Christian high schools and colleges do not know the origins behind American Thanksgiving and join many others in simply calling it Turkey Day. The busiest air traffic day of the year, the fourth Thursday in November is a heartwarming time to join family…

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More Interesting Word Origins

I love tracking word origins because so there is so often are interesting stories behind them. Apparently knucklehead refers to someone with a brain the size of a knuckle. Samuel Johnson, the compiler of England’s first dictionary, claims the word nincompoop comes from the Latin phrase non compos mentis (“not of right mind”), initially a…

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Dated Words – Here Today Gone Tomorrow

This blog highlights popular expressions made obsolete as technology marches forward. For example, I used to joke that I had a photographic memory that wasn’t developed (which worked fine in the camera film era but not in digital days). Some joke that it’s hard for any Clark Kent to change into Superman in this cell…

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October 16 is National Dictionary Day

October 16 is National Dictionary Day, an unofficial holiday celebrating the birthday of Noah Webster who published An American Dictionary of the English Language in 1828, the earliest version of the now famous, widely-used Merriam-Webster Dictionary. A dictionary is a book, optical disc, mobile device, or online source containing the words of a language alphabetically and providing information about their meanings, pronunciations, etymologies, inflections, and derived forms. The best way to celebrate Dictionary Day is by expanding our…

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“Lest We Forget”

“Lest we forget” is a phrase often used in Remembrance Day services in English-speaking countries, but it also applies to other dates. September 11, 2001 is one such day the world remembers. Its events were four coordinated terrorist attacks by the Islamic terrorist group al-Qaeda against the United States. It is believed that Osama bin Laden, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed,…

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Who created these North American flags?

Until July 4th approached, I didn’t know there were doubts that Betsy Ross created our first American flag. The Betsy Ross Facts website says, “Of all famous American Revolutionary women in history, the woman who stands out as an icon is Betsy Ross. Although there is no actual historical evidence, she is widely regarded as the…

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