Born on this day in 1859, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was a Scottish doctor in London who created master sleuth Sherlock Holmes. After writing numerous detective tales during the first few slow years of doctoring, Doyle left his practice in 1891 and began publishing a regular series of Holmes stories in The Strand.
When I was very young, my sister and I observed May Day by making paper baskets filled with violets and dandelions or lilacs and apple blossoms. We would hang them on neighbors’ and relatives’ doors and then ring or knock and run away. It was delightful.
Two hundred and fortyyears ago, April 18 and 19, 1775, the American Revolution began with a British order to seize or destroy weapons, a nighttime ride to warn Massachusetts patriots, and a morning confrontation on a village green.
A few intriguing items for you this week: eavesdropping on writers, reading writers’ minds, invisible nautical terms brought to light, and the thrilling conclusion to a mystery. Plus, an intriguing bonus item ...
March is never very springlike in my neck of the woods, but each year I hold out hope for a warm and verdant first day of spring. Today, I continue to hold out hope for next year. I come from a patient people. A patient, spring-loving people.
February 6, 1937, John Steinbeck published Of Mice and Men. Although it wasn’t his first successful published work, this novella of migrant field workers during the Great Depression garnered national attention and paved the way to a Pulitzer Prize win for The Grapes of Wrath two years later. Steinbeck went on to publish 27 books, including novels, short story collections, and nonfiction. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1962.
Etymatching Steinbeck: Match the Steinbeck-title word with its appropriate etymology snippet.
Marmots across the nation will scramble out of their burrows to dabble in seasonal prognostics tomorrow, February 2 — Groundhog Day. If it’s a sunny morning, and the groundhog of the moment is scared back under cover by seeing its shadow, the sad prediction is for six more weeks of winter. If the groundhog finds unshadowed comfort to dwell in above ground, it bolsters our hopes for an early spring.
According to the National Pie Council and those of us complicit in using tasty pastries to brighten dreary winter days, today is National Pie Day. Whether your tastes tend toward savory or sweet, fruit or custard, lattice or crumble, there's a pie out there for you. As the council says: "It's not just a dessert, it's a tradition. ... Grab a slice of life!"
Five hundred and twenty-two years ago today, January 9, 1493, Christopher Columbus insulted merfolk everywhere by observing that the mermaids he saw off the coast of the Dominican Republic were "not half as beautiful as they are painted" [History.com; see also "Oh no he did not"]. If he had looked more closely, perhaps Columbus would have noticed that these mermaids were missing more than just half their beauty.