Friday, October 3, 2014

Not all it is cracked up to be

Have you ever wondered where the phrase "not all it is cracked up to be" came from? 

One line of thought says the word "craic" or "crack" is from the Middle English word crak, which means "bragging talk." If we actually go to a Middle English dictionary, we come up with: 

Craken, v. to crack (like thunder), to cry out, to chatter, to break with a noise. Craken. 

Another thought says that the word is Irish Gaelic and though its definition is imprecise, the best notion is that it means fun. 

Either way, you know you are not getting what you bargained for, which is why Daniel Boone made the observation about Martin Van Buren that he was "not all he was cracked up to be."

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Bee's Knees

The "bee's knees" is a homophone for "business" popularized during the Roaring Twenties. 

Remember Calvin Coolidge, 30th President of the United States? He reminded the American people in 1925 that “the chief business of the American people is business.”

Silent Cal, as the president was popularly known, was a man of few words. He was from Vermont and spoke in a nasally clipped cadence. 

The Roaring Twenties - times were good, business was better, and the stock market was where you wanted to be. The term "bee's knees" became synonymous with peachy keen, twice-as-nice, the berries, great, excellent, fine, and beautiful.

As in this blog is the bee's knees. And if you agree, you might subscribe, follow, or share.

Honey Bee

Is it coincidence that the honey sticks to the bee's knees when it buzzes on its business from flower to flower?


Cream Tea

Cream Tea, image by Liyster

Cream Tea is the British custom of serving tea and scones with a dollop of cream and jam at four o'clock. Credit for the mini-meal goes to Anna Russell, Duchess of Bedford, a lifelong friend of Queen Victoria, who created the idea to ward off hunger when dining late.

Custom requires the tea should be served with a scone with clotted cream and jam. When pouring, it is tea first, cream second. 

Why is it called "cream tea"?

No, it is not "cream tea" because of the cream in the tea. It is "cream tea" because of the clotted cream served with the scones and jam. 

Why is the cream called "clotted"? 

Clotted cream is popular in Devonshire and Cornwall, and always served with Cream Tea. The thick cream is made by indirectly heating full-cream cow's milk using steam and leaving it in a shallow pan to cool slowly. During this time, the clotted cream rises to the surface and forms "clots". 

In 1998, the term Cornish clotted cream became a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) by the European Union.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


Insipid means flat, dull, uninteresting, or tasteless, bland - like this sentence.

I would use the word to describe a conversation by someone feigning to speak about something they know little about. The more intelligent the speaker and the less that he or she knows about the subject, the more likely that their comments will be insipid.

To respond to the speaker that their comments are insipid is a double delight. Hopefully, the speaker will not fully understand the intended meaning of the word (a criticism) and do a double take. Or better yet, quit talking and give someone else a chance to speak.