The strange story of Goldilocks….

A fascinating early version of the Goldilocks story was written in 1837 by British poet laureate Robert Southey, under the title “Story of the Three Bears.” Southey’s Goldilocks was neither young nor beautiful; rather, she was an angry, hungry, homeless grey-haired crone, perhaps in her midsixties, who broke into the …

V for Vendetta……

Yesterday I was listening to  a choir sing some Renaissance madrigals on the ubiquitous Youtube channel. Among them was a song about how Italy was terribly oppressed in the sixteenth century. The country was exhorted to: Grasp, grasp, bold one, the righteous sword To avenge yourself of a thousand other …

Misopogonistic Santa`s

Christmas is the season when strange men in red hats and white beards lurk and loiter in every shopping arcade. It’s therefore the time when the word misopogonistically really comes into its own. Misopogonistically is an adverb that means with a hatred of beards. Sample sentence: “No I don’t want …

Paracelsus and Gnomes…….

There was once a chap called Paracelsus. He was an alchemist, chemist, medic, and all-round clever clogs of the sixteenth century. Paracelsus was not his real name of course: that would be ridiculous. His real name was Phillippus Aureolus Theophrastus Bombastus Von Hohenheim. Paracelsus was a moniker he acquired for …