H-SAM: “What were you doing on your third birthday?”


As one who is beginning to be concerned about the things I can’t remember…even from this morning…it is strange to find myself flipping to the extreme opposite.  That would be people who have a condition identified as H-SAM.  It is an acronym for the condition of hyperthymesia.  That stands for “Highly Superior Autobiographical Memory.”  Hyperthymesia […]

BROWNSTONE: a reddish-brown sandstone, used extensively as a building material.


We’ve lived in cities around the country where apartments or condos were located in what are called brownstones.  They are buildings constructed with the reddish-brown sandstone that give them that name. For the most part, brownstones we have seen are located in upscale portions of the city…and are very expensive to rent or own.  There […]

STOOP: a small porch


We’ve talked before about archaic terms which date back to “the old days.”   Such as davenport (couch); galoshes (boots); and overhauls (jeans.)  But that’s not an exhaustive list.  There are many more. Today’s word, stoop, is one of them.  It is a word that means a small porch, or entry way.    It is important that […]

BULLDOZER: a large, powerful tractor having a vertical blade at the front end for moving earth, tree stumps, rocks, etc.


  I heard the most fascinating brief story on NPR the other day. It was about the design and development of the bulldozer, that big, yellow behemoth that is ripping up the earth as you travel along the highway, tearing down the abandoned grocery store in the next neighborhood, or leveling the back yard where […]

DERRING-DO: daring deeds; heroic daring


It’s hard to believe it was 42 years ago that the tight-rope walker, Phillipe Petit walked on a thin cable between the 1360+ feet tall Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in lower Manhattan.   The world was spellbound as they watched this daring performer step out from the top of the huge tower and […]

URBAN LEGEND: a modern story of obscure origin and with little or no supporting evidence that spreads spontaneously in varying forms and often has elements of humor, moralizing, or horror

urban legend

Is there a city in this country where it has not been reported that there are alligators in the sewer system?  People in all the cities will swear on a Bible that they have seen them.  And I suppose that there is probably at least one city in the U.S. where it is true.   I […]