Don't Be an Idiom: Sh*t-Eating Grin

Exploring the origins of everyday words and phrases.

We all know what a shit-eater looks like when he grins. We may have even told someone to wipe such a grin off their face at one time or another. But have any of us actually known anyone who actually grinned as a result of eating ... that? Has anyone in history ever experienced such joyous rapture due to digesting dung that they could not suppress a grin?

Read More

Don't Be an Idiom: Cloud Nine

Exploring the origins of everyday words and phrases.

Many popular idioms involve the sky ("head in the clouds," "walking on air," "sky high"), and many others involve numbers ("seventh heaven," "dressed to the nines," "perfect ten"). Sky idioms tend to be fairly straightforward, but not so much when it comes to number idioms.

Read More

5 Catastrophes That Could End Mankind

These events would cripple modern civilization as we know it.

A recent study sponsored in part by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center voiced concern that our industrial civilization was headed for "irreversible collapse." They were looking at historical data which shows a recurring cycle of rise and collapse in society. While that does sound worrisome, there are other catastrophes that could do a lot more damage in a lot less time. Here are the five most worrying.

Read More

If Grammar Nazis Ruled the World

Correcting the grievous atrocities committed against the language.

Grammar Nazis. Annoying, aren't they? Those self-righteous pricks who go around pointing out how borderline illiterate we are. Thank god we've all collectively agreed to compare them to history's greatest monsters rather than, you know, learn to talk good and write proper.

Read More

Don't Be an Idiom: Frisbee

Exploring the origins of everyday words and phrases.

When most people say frisbee, what they really mean is "flying disc." Frisbee is a trademark owned by the Wham-O company, but like other trademarks like kleenex, xerox, aspirin, and even heroin, frisbee has become the generic term for all flying discs.

Read More

Don't Be an Idiom: pass with flying colors

Exploring the origins of everyday words and phrases.

Chances are, at some point in your life you have passed a test. It may have only been a hearing test, but if you did really well on it, you made have been told that you passed "with flying colors." But what are these flying colors of which people speak? Is this some kind of gang thing?

Read More
More Articles