As you walk down Seattle's Fourth Avenue, the new Central Library jumps out at you—literally; its third-story jaw juts out over a ground-level plaza. Encamped amid nondescript beige and black boxy buildings, this gangly greenhouse, designed by Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas and opened last May, grabs the gaze of passersby from all of its many angles. On the outside, its polygonal form, cloaked in aqua glass, is arresting.
The bleachers at Ebbets Field were filled two hours before the first pitch. The game was a sellout by noon, and many of the estimated 10,000 fans who were turned away continued to line the streets around the park. Young boys tumbled over a gate near the corner of McKeever Place and Montgomery; most were thwarted, but “here and there,” the Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported, “a cop seemed to look the other way, infected by the holiday spirit which ruled.”
When did the term “rhetoric” become an insult? When did the word cease to mean artfully crafted speech and start to convey scorn, as it does when we hear a campaign speech and mutter, “That’s just rhetoric”? The answer is 1965, says John McWhorter in his recent book, “Doing Our Own Thing: The Degradation of Language and Music and Why We Should, Like, Care”
Jack Benny was one of the first crossover stars in broadcast comedy, rising from the vaudeville circuit to star in radio, film, and television. Kathryn Fuller-Seeley chronicles Benny’s career in her book, Jack Benny and the Golden Age of American Radio Comedy. The book recently received a Special Jury Prize from the Theatre Library Association.
Jack McCloskey was standing on a float in the Pistons’ championship parade, and he was on the phone. The year was 1989, and mobile phones were still the approximate size and weight of cement blocks, so the sight was an oddity. Still, if anyone noticed it, they probably thought the Pistons’ general manager was accepting congratulations, or describing the jubilant scene for a friend. He wasn’t.
On June 1, 1941, Joe DiMaggio hit a ball sharply toward third base. The ball hit the edge of the glove of Cleveland Indians third baseman Ken Keltner and bounced away. It was scored as a single, but Keltner reprimanded himself for not making the play. He made a mental note: He had to play DiMaggio farther back. That single quietly extended DiMaggio’s hitting streak to 18 games. When the Yankees returned to Cleveland in mid-July, having overtaken the Indians for first place in the American League, the streak was front-page news nationwide.
In full view of drivers whizzing by on Interstate 75 near Atlanta, the Church of the Apostles is majestic, stately, and soaring. It's also daring: the building looks unmistakably and instantly like a church. This decade-old neo-Gothic Anglican megachurch is layered with stone walls, a thick tower that hoists a cross, and half-oval windows in the shape universally known as "church window."
Culled from his On Language column in The Chicago Tribune, Nathan Bierma conducts a wide-ranging discussion of topics related to English language. He gets under the hood to find out what etymologists do to arrive at their conclusions (they get under the hood), looks at dictionaries through the eyes of those who make them (and catches them making up a word to catch would-be word pirates), and ponders simple usage questions (lay or lie? bring or take? could care less or couldn t care less?) in ways you may not have considered before.
It’s the season of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, and, as they inevitably say, you can throw the records out the window. And the mathematics. Over the next three weeks, in pregame pep talks and postgame press conferences, players and coaches will repeatedly make the math-defying pledge to give 110 percent and offer up boundless other basketball banalities.