From the Sharpened Tongue of Dorothy Parker

  Dorothy Parker (August 22, 1893 – June 7, 1967) was a master of words and knew how to use them to make a point. As a critic, poet, and essayist, everything and everyone was fair game for her brilliant and ruthless prose. She once observed, "The first thing I do in the morning is... Continue Reading →

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Attila the Hun: Not Just Another Pretty Face

Known as the Scourge of God, Attila the Hun (c. 406-453) terrified the eastern and western Roman Empires as he led his armies on a campaign of destruction and conquest. He also terrified people for other reasons. Contemporary accounts of his personal appearance depict him as "an extremely short man, built like an ogre, who... Continue Reading →

“The Fork” Dishes Up Colorful Insult

Søren Kierkegaard earned the nickname "The Fork" in his youth, due to his ability to identify an opponent's weaknesses and stick it to him. Generally this took the form of surgical strikes from his rapier-sharp wit, but occasionally he could bluntly lob a cannonball, as well. When moved to frustration in his debates with Hans... Continue Reading →

Toast Topper

While serving as U.S. minister to France, Benjamin Franklin attended a dinner in Paris shortly after the British surrendered at Yorktown in 1781. The French foreign minister, Vergennes, began the toasts, saluting his King: "To His Majesty, Louis XVI, who, like the moon, fills the earth with a soft, benevolent glow." The British ambassador rose: "To... Continue Reading →

Using a Hat to Keep a President in His Place

Alice Roosevelt Longworth, the daughter of President Theodore Roosevelt, was known for her acerbic wit as well as for her hats -- both of which she displayed since she was First Daughter. When President Lyndon Johnson complained that her wide-brimmed hats prevented him from being able to kiss her, Alice responded, "That, Mr. President, is... Continue Reading →

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