Category Archives: Language & Etymology

Scofflaw

I didn’t know until just today that the word “scofflaw” was coined as part of a 1924 contest hosted by the Boston Herald to describe people who flagrantly ignored the Prohibition ban on drinking alcohol.

Posted in Boston, Language & Etymology, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Julius Caesar, the Hulk, and other Illeists

I’m getting ready to teach Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar this morning, and am reminded of the protagonist’s tendency to refer to himself in the third person, as in Act I scene 2: Who is it in the press that calls on me? … Continue reading

Posted in Cartoons, Classics, Drama, Language & Etymology, Poetry, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Trump’s Small Hands: innuendo, insinuatio, what?

Late last month, Sen. Marco Rubio decided to get down into the gutter with demagogue Donald Trump. As the Washington Post reported it: He turned insults lobbed by Trump against the billionaire. He said the only reason Trump isn’t as sweaty … Continue reading

Posted in England, Language & Etymology, Rome, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Facing Demons in Etruria

Out to Fiumcino airport I went, thinking it would be easier to deal with a car rental there and get on to the E80 to Cerveteri and Tarquinia to look at the Etruscan tombs. Alas, Avis at FCO was an … Continue reading

Posted in Birds, Boston, Cemeteries & Funerals, Classics, England, Italy, Language & Etymology, Music, Mythology, Oxford, Poetry, Rome, Sports & Games, Time | 1 Comment

High Hosey

The other day I asked my wife whether she had ever used the expression “high hosey,” as in “High hosey the front seat.” It means, in essence, to reserve or “call dibs on” something. Although she grew up in a … Continue reading

Posted in Boston, England, Family, Language & Etymology | Leave a comment

Interview with Chrigel Glanzmann of Eluveitie

Below is an exchange I had recently with Chrigel Glanzmann, the lead singer of Eluveitie, the Swiss folk metal band on whose work I’m writing I’ve written an essay (comparing it to Charles Gleyre’s “The Romans Going Under the Yoke”).  … Continue reading

Posted in Classics, Education, Ireland, Italy, Language & Etymology, Military, Music, Rome, Trees & Flowers | Leave a comment

Walking with Brontosauruses, or, The How and Why of What We Know

This is the text of an address I gave this morning to the Cum Laude Society at St. Andrew’s-Sewanee School, in Sewanee, Tennessee this morning, January 6, 2014. It was a privilege to be asked to speak, and am grateful … Continue reading

Posted in Animals, Astronomical, Boston, Classics, Education, England, Family, Language & Etymology, Poetry, Sewanee, Sports & Games | Leave a comment