9 10 11 12 13 Displaying 71-77 of 316 Articles

This week has seen many encomiums to the great children's book author Maurice Sendak, who died on Tuesday at the age of 83. As it happens, tomorrow marks the two hundredth birthday of one of Sendak's predecessors in playful children's literature: Edward Lear. That got me thinking about the grand tradition of wordplay in books for children, from Lear and Carroll to Seuss and Sendak.  Continue reading...
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This weekend I had the opportunity to ruminate about the self-consciously self-referential word meta for NPR's "All Things Considered" and for my language column in the Sunday Boston Globe. That's an awful lot of meta-commentary, but I've still got some more thoughts on meta, or make that meta-thoughts on meta.  Continue reading...
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Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. So many of us learned that outrageous mouthful of a word at an early age, when it was truly a verbal milestone to be able to pronounce it without getting tongue-tied. And just saying the word is an invitation to start singing the song from the classic 1964 Disney movie Mary Poppins. But how did the word come to be? When I heard the news that one of the Mary Poppins songwriters passed away last month, I set about to answer that question, taking me down many unexpected alleyways of 20th-century popular culture.  Continue reading...
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This weekend marks the one hundredth anniversary of the sinking of the RMS Titanic, so let's commemorate the occasion by looking back on some words and phrases that were particularly associated with the maritime disaster.  Continue reading...
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Today is opening day for Major League Baseball, though the only game on the schedule is in far-off Tokyo, where the Seattle Mariners and Oakland Athletics are beginning a two-game series. But let's cast our minds back to opening day a century ago. On April 2, 1912, in a Pacific Coast League game between the Portland Beavers and the Los Angeles Angels, a pitcher uncorked his "jazz ball" — and possibly helped set into motion a chain of events that brought the word jazz together with the music it named.  Continue reading...
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This weekend, puzzlers will come together in Brooklyn for the 35th American Crossword Puzzle Tournament, organized by New York Times puzzle editor Will Shortz. The reigning champ, Dan Feyer, has been described as a crossword-solving machine. But he better look out, because this time there will be competition from an actual crossword-solving machine.  Continue reading...
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Last night's debate among the four remaining Republican presidential candidates in Arizona was clearly underwhelming for some political pundits. On the website BuzzFeed, Zeke Miller gave out grades to the candidates in the form of trendy online lingo favored by the site. Rick Santorum earned a "FAIL," while Mitt Romney, despite being declared the winner, nonetheless was awarded a "MEH."  Continue reading...
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9 10 11 12 13 Displaying 71-77 of 316 Articles