Arrow-right Camera



Q. Why is a timid, unaggressive sort called a “wimp”?

A. The word first turned up in print in 1920, precise origin unknown. Later, a powerless character named Wallace Wimple was heard on a radio show called Fibber McGee and Molly. Fibber called him Wimp. Many of those antique shows have been aired repeatedly, and reprised from them have been such aged smart talk as “neat” and “nifty.”

That piece of furniture known a century ago as an “invalid’s chair” is now called a “recliner.”

Elephants learn tunes, seemingly enjoy certain numbers, and recognize same, whether played on piano or fiddle or whatever.

It was the Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung who said, “Beautiful bodies and beautiful personalities rarely go together.”

Q. What’s an “icker”?

A. An ear of corn in the Scot’s vernacular.

Skywatchers in old Rome told Nero a comet was zooming in on the city. Nero, a known paranoid, thought it was after him. He ordered the execution of several nobles to satisfy the comet. He was glad he’d done it. The comet didn’t get him.

Tags: column

Click here to comment on this story »