Sometimes, what one comes across in search of something else is as educational as what one was seeking in the first place. For examples:

“Fools rush in where wise men fear to tread” isn’t from the Bible, but from Alexander Pope’s An essay on Criticism (1711). What I did know was that Johnny Mercer and Rube Bloom set that quote to music in 1940:

New York’s famous Waldorf-Astoria was originally two separate hotels, the Waldorf built in 1893 and the Astoria in 1897, both on land which is now the site of the even more famous Empire State Building. The two hotels were connected after construction of the Astoria, and moved to Park Avenue in 1931 (the year the Empire State Building was completed).

My vocabulary isn’t as large as I thought or may need for possible future use. Who knows where or when one of these arcane Scrabble-whiz delights might come in handy:
Bumfuzzled (confused, perplexed, flustered)
Collywobbles (bellyache)
Snickersnee (a large, long knife)
Taradiddle (pretentious nonsense)
Widdershins (counterclockwise)

Apropos quaint words, I was but faint-aware, until I happened upon the following “concert” appearance schedule, that it must be unlawful for a contemporary band to have anything but a non-conformist name (such is the time capsule a lover of classic jazz is in):
UnSaid Fate
Escape the Silence
Can’t Breathe
Shut Up & Drive
Social Hermit
The Henhouse Prowlers
Bad Religion

Oh, for the good old “Jazz Age” days of yore when bands had respectable names such as Busse’s Buzzards, The Clicquot Club Eskimos, Golden Pheasant Hoodlums, and Whoopee Makers.

If I were smart, I think I’d start a band called




  1. Don Frankel says:

    I love this kind of stuff. If you read about the Civil War you’ll come across the word practicable. No one uses it anymore but it’s a goody.

    Also I cam across this fact while looking something else altogether. The New York City Police Force was founded in 1845. That means the City existed for over two hundred years without a police force. Now there weren’t 8 million people here but it was an enormous population center and no police. Not that I have any idea of what to do with that but it’s interesting.


  2. mistermuse says:

    Don, maybe NYC had volunteer police (like volunteer firemen) until someone realized that crooks and con artists could easily become policemen for their own nefarious (another word that’s a goody) purposes….sort of like some people who become politicians, except there was no need to make speeches and act like they had all the answers.


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