A Word for the Next Time You Drive

Have you ever been at a loss for words because of the bad driving skills of another motorist? The Germans have come to the rescue with deppenfahrerbeaugung. It literally translates as "moron driver eyeballing" and refers to the look you want to give to the bad driver you have just encountered.

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Don’t be a Flipperförälder

We've all seen them. They tend to show up at supermarkets, airports, and movie theaters, and they make life miserable for everyone else. I'm speaking, of course, of the parents who do absolutely nothing to supervise the little terrors who are their children. In Sweden there is a word that beautifully describes this sort of... Continue Reading →

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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