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Index

In the following Index, you'll find the titles of every one of the lessons I've written for the Shenzhen Daily (around 2000!), plus a few more. The titles will be linked to the lessons and descriptions added as each lesson is posted.

There are several ways to find lesson on Buzzwords:

  • skim the list below for lessons of interest;
  • use the "Find" function of your browser to find specific lessons on this page;
  • use the Search box at the top of every page to search the entire site; or
  • go to the "Topics" page to find lessons grouped by, well, topic.

Of course, if you can't find what you’re looking for, use the contact form below and I'll see if I can help!

Click a link to "jump" down the page, or simply scroll on down.




Part 1: Miscellaneous Lessons
(August 6, 2007 to May 18, 2009)

When I began working for the Shenzhen Daily, I was free to write about whatever I wanted (and I still am!) so I covered a wide range of topics: a lot of idioms, including those from other languages and those associated with certain professions; slang, figures of speech, and clichés; common mistakes and grammar; jokes; literature and other school subjects; and so on. I wrote around 260 such articles from my starting date in August of 2007 until May of 2009, nearly two years. It's a real hodge-podge; see the "Topics" page for a bit of organization.

Quite a number of articles--around 75--were essentially notes on two series of articles in the newspaper, entitles "Boomtown Chronicles" and "Sino-African Culture." You'll see these listed below, and while they may not be useful for everyone, they were drawn from real newspaper articles and, as such, reflect a different kind of lesson. I hope you enjoy them!
Between Lesson #01-128 and #01-207, I wrote 72 lessons explaining expressions in articles published in the Shenzhen Daily. Read more about "Reading Boomtown Chronicles."
  • 01-208: Reading the "Great Books": Meet Homer - Part I
    • The 20th century saw a boom in reading what some call "The Great Books," starting (according to some) with the works of Homer.
  • 01-209: The Iliad: Homer - Part II
    • The first of Homer's two "Great Books" was about the Trojan War; Troy was also called "Ilium," so the book is called The Iliad.
  • 01-210: The Odyssey I: Homer - Part III
    • Homer's second great work, The Odyssey, tells of the wanderings of one leader, Odysseus, on his way home from the Trojan War.
  • 01-211: The Odyssey II: Homer - Part IV
    • Homer's works have contributed a number of expressions that have survived into English. Learn a few more, and see how the Trojan War started.
  • 01-212: Who Are the Muses? - Part I
    • The nine Muses are (mythical) women who have embodied the idea of artistic inspiration throughout the ages. The very word "muse" has affected our language in several ways.
  • 01-213: Meet the Muses - Part II
    • Nine arts--four forms of poetry, two more kinds of writing, plus dance, music, and astronomy--are represented by the nine Muses.
  • 01-214: Fates, Furies, and Harpies
    • Meet three trios of "weird sisters" (long before Macbeth) that play important roles in the lives of all humans.
  • 01-215: Meet the Titans - Part I
    • The Titans and their kin play important roles in most of the early Greek myths. Meet four of the twelve in the first of this two-part lesson.
  • 01-216: Meet the Titans - Part II
    • Let's meet the balance--eight more--of the twelve Titans, along with some info about their names and relationships.
  • 01-217: Two Titanic Battles
    • One regime displaces another: just as the Titans overthrew their parents, they were overthrown by their children in turn.
  • 01-218: The Olympians - Part I
  • 01-219: The Olympians - Part II
  • 01-220: The Olympians - Part III
  • 01-221: Greek Drama - Part I
  • 01-222: Greek Drama - Part II
  • 01-223: Greek Drama - Part III
  • 01-224: Greek Philosophy - Part I: Socrates and Plato
  • 01-225: Greek Philosophy - Part II: Plato and Aristotle
  • 01-226: Virtues - Part I: Greco-Roman Ideas
  • 01-227: Virtues - Part II: The Seven Deadly Sins
  • 01-228: The Eras of Western History
  • 01-229: Classical Idioms - Part I
  • 01-230: Classical Idioms - Part II
  • 01-231: Classical Proverbs - Part I
  • 01-232: Classical Proverbs - Part II: Latin
  • 01-233: Classical Proverbs - Part III: Latin
  • 01-234: Latin Expressions - Part I
  • 01-235: Latin Expressions - Part II
  • 01-236: Latin Expressions - Part III
  • 01-237: Latin Expressions - Part IV
  • 01-238: Latin Expressions - Part V
  • 01-239: Latin Expressions - Part VI
  • 01-240: Some University Degree Abbreviations
  • 01-241: A Graphic Description - Part I
  • 01-242: A Graphic Description - Part II
  • 01-243: A Graphic Description - Part III
  • 01-244: Roman Numerals
  • 01-245: For the Birds - Part I
  • 01-246: For the Birds - Part II
  • 01-247: You're Number One
  • 01-248: Earth Day Vocabulary
  • 01-249: By the Numbers
  • 01-250: Horsing Around - Part I
  • 01-251: Horsing Around - Part II
  • 01-252: Dog Eat Dog - Part I
  • 01-253: Dog Eat Dog - Part II
  • 01-254: A Pig in a Poke I
  • 01-255: A Pig in a Poke - Part II
  • 01-256: A Pig in a Poke - Part III



Part 2: English Proverbs
(May 19, 2009 to December 29, 2011)

For another two-plus years, I wrote about around 320 well-known English proverbs. I started with a list from one of my "Bibles," the Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, and, when I completed those, began working on another list based on my own research.

Each lesson tells a little about where the proverb came from, and of course its meaning; and adds an imaginary dialogue between me and a student (or friend) in which the proverb is used. Each dialogue also incorporates plenty of slang terms, which are explained in an exercise at the end.

This is a great way to build your "real" vocabulary!
  • 02-001: Actions speak louder than words
  • 02-002: Absence makes the heart grow fonder
  • 02-003: All roads lead to Rome
  • 02-004: All that glitters is not gold
  • 02-005: All work and no play...
  • 02-006: All for one and one for all
  • 02-007: All's fair in love and war
  • 02-008: All's well that ends well
  • 02-009: Any port in a storm
  • 02-010: An apple a day keeps the doctor away
  • 02-011: April showers bring May flowers
  • 02-012: An army marches on its stomach
  • 02-013: Bad news travels fast
  • 02-014: A bad penny always turns up
  • 02-015: The bad workman always blames his tools
  • 02-016: His bark is worse than his bite
  • 02-017: Beauty is only skin deep
  • 02-018: Beggars can't be choosers
  • 02-019: The best of friends must part
  • 02-020: The best things in life are free
  • 02-021: The best-laid plans of mice and men
  • 02-022: Better late than never
  • 02-023: Better safe than sorry
  • 02-024: Beware of Greeks bearing gifts
  • 02-025: The bigger they come, the harder they fall
  • 02-026: A bird in the hand
  • 02-027: Birds of a feather flock together
  • 02-028: Blood is thicker than water
  • 02-029: Boys will be boys
  • 02-030: Brevity is the soul of wit
  • 02-031: The buck stops here
  • 02-032: Business before pleasure
  • 02-033: Carpe diem
  • 02-034: The chickens have come home to roost
  • 02-035: Cleanliness is next to godliness
  • 02-036: Close, but no cigar
  • 02-037: Cold hands, warm heart
  • 02-038: The course of true love never did run smooth
  • 02-039: Curiosity killed the cat
  • 02-040: De gustibus non est disputandum
  • 02-041: The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose
  • 02-042: The Devil is in the details
  • 02-043: Discretion is the better part of valor
  • 02-044: Do unto others
  • 02-045: A dog is a man's best friend
  • 02-046: Don't cast your pearls before swine
  • 02-047: Don't count your chickens before they hatch
  • 02-048: Don't cry over spilled milk
  • 02-049: Don't cut off your nose to spite your face
  • 02-050: Don't fire until you see the whites of their eyes
  • 02-051: Don't give up the ship
  • 02-052: Don't hide your light under a bushel
  • 02-053: Don't judge a book by its cover
  • 02-054: Don't close the barn door after the horse has gone
  • 02-055: Don't look a gift horse in the mouth
  • 02-056: Don't put all your eggs in one basket
  • 02-057: Don't put the cart before the horse
  • 02-058: Don't throw out the baby with the bath water
  • 02-059: The early bird catches the worm
  • 02-060: Early to bed and early to rise
  • 02-061: East is East, and West is West
  • 02-062: Easy come, easy go
  • 02-063: Eat, drink, and be merry
  • 02-064: Every cloud has a silver lining
  • 02-065: Every dog has his day
  • 02-066: Your fifteen minutes
  • 02-067: Experience is the best teacher
  • 02-068: Familiarity breeds contempt
  • 02-069: Feed a cold, starve a fever
  • 02-070: Finders keepers, losers weepers
  • 02-071: Fish or cut bait
  • 02-072: A fish out of water
  • 02-073: A fool and his money are soon parted
  • 02-074: A foolish consistency
  • 02-075: Fools rush in where angels fear to tread
  • 02-076: For want of a nail the kingdom was lost
  • 02-077: Forewarned is forearmed
  • 02-078: Frailty, thy name is woman
  • 02-079: A friend in need is a friend indeed
  • 02-080: From the sublime to the ridiculous
  • 02-081: The game is not worth the candle
  • 02-082: Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration
  • 02-083: Give him enough rope and he'll hang himself
  • 02-084: Give the devil his due
  • 02-085: God helps those who help themselves
  • 02-086: Good fences make good neighbors
  • 02-087: A good man is hard to find
  • 02-088: The grass is always greener
  • 02-089: Great oaks from little acorns grow
  • 02-090: Half a loaf is better than none
  • 02-091: Haste makes waste
  • 02-092: He who hesitates is lost
  • 02-093: He who laughs last, laughs best
  • 02-094: Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned
  • 02-095: Here today, gone tomorrow
  • 02-096: Hitch your wagon to a star
  • 02-097: Honesty is the best policy
  • 02-098: Hope springs eternal
  • 02-099: If at first you don't succeed
  • 02-100: If the mountain will not come to Muhammad…
  • 02-101: If the shoe fits, wear it
  • 02-102: If wishes were horses
  • 02-103: If you can't stand the heat
  • 02-104: Ignorance is bliss
  • 02-105: Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery
  • 02-106: A young man's fancy
  • 02-107: In this world nothing is certain but death and taxes
  • 02-108: It ain't a fit night out for man or beast
  • 02-109: It takes a heap o' livin' in a house t' make it home
  • 02-110: It takes a thief to catch a thief
  • 02-111: It takes two to tango
  • 02-112: It's never over till it's over
  • 02-113: It's never too late to mend
  • 02-114: It's not whether you win or lose
  • 02-115: Knowledge is power
  • 02-116: Laugh, and the world laughs with you
  • 02-117: Leave well enough alone
  • 02-118: The leopard cannot change its spots
  • 02-119: Let bygones be bygones
  • 02-120: Let sleeping dogs lie
  • 02-121: Let them eat cake
  • 02-122: Let's cross that bridge when we come to it
  • 02-123: Life is short; art is long
  • 02-124: Lightning never strikes twice in the same place
  • 02-125: A little learning is a dangerous thing
  • 02-126: Little pitchers have big ears
  • 02-127: Little strokes fell great oaks
  • 02-128: Live and learn
  • 02-129: Live and let live
  • 02-130: Look before you leap
  • 02-131: Love conquers all
  • 02-132: Love makes the world go 'round
  • 02-133: The love of money is the root of all evil
  • 02-134: Make haste slowly
  • 02-135: Make hay while the sun shines
  • 02-136: Man does not live by bread alone
  • 02-137: A man is known by the company he keeps
  • 02-138: Man proposes, God disposes
  • 02-139: A man's home is his castle
  • 02-140: Many hands make light work
  • 02-141: Do You Think English Is Easy? - Part I
  • 02-142: Do You Think English Is Easy? - Part II
  • 02-143: Do You Think English Is Easy? - Part III
  • 02-144: Marry in haste, repent at leisure
  • 02-145: The meek shall inherit the Earth
  • 02-146: Misery loves company
  • 02-147: A miss is as good as a mile
  • 02-148: Money is the root of all evil
  • 02-149: The more the merrier
  • 02-150: Murder will out
  • 02-151: Music has charms to soothe a savage breast
  • 02-152: Necessity is the mother of invention
  • 02-153: Never give a sucker an even break
  • 02-154: Never put off until tomorrow
  • 02-155: Never say die
  • 02-156: A new broom sweeps clean
  • 02-157: Nice guys finish last
  • 02-158: No man can serve two masters
  • 02-159: No man is an island
  • 02-160: No news is good news
  • 02-161: No one ever went broke…
  • 02-162: No rest for the weary
  • 02-163: Nothing succeeds like success
  • 02-164: Nothing ventured, nothing gained
  • 02-165: Nothing will come of nothing
  • 02-166: Oil and water don't mix
  • 02-167: Old soldiers never die
  • 02-168: Once bitten, twice shy
  • 02-169: One picture is worth a thousand words
  • 02-170: One good turn deserves another
  • 02-171: One man's meat
  • 02-172: One bad apple
  • 02-173: Pay the piper
  • 02-174: An ounce of prevention
  • 02-175: Out of sight, out of mind
  • 02-176: Out of the frying pan, into the fire
  • 02-177: The pen is mightier than the sword
  • 02-178: A penny saved is a penny earned
  • 02-179: People who live in glass houses
  • 02-180: A place for everything
  • 02-181: Poets are born, not made
  • 02-182: Politics makes strange bedfellows
  • 02-183: Practice makes perfect
  • 02-184: Practice what you preach
  • 02-185: Pride goeth before a fall
  • 02-186: Procrastination is the thief of time
  • 02-187: The proof of the pudding…
  • 02-188: Render unto Caesar
  • 02-189: The road to Hell
  • 02-190: A rolling stone gathers no moss
  • 02-191: Rome wasn't built in a day
  • 02-192: Seeing is believing
  • 02-193: The show must go on
  • 02-194: Sic transit gloria mundi
  • 02-195: Silence is golden
  • 02-196: Slow but steady wins the race
  • 02-197: A soft answer turneth away wrath
  • 02-198: Step on a crack, break your mother's back
  • 02-199: Still waters run deep
  • 02-200: A stitch in time saves nine
  • 02-201: Stone walls do not a prison make
  • 02-202: Strike while the iron is hot
  • 02-203: Take the bitter with the sweet
  • 02-204: There are plenty of fish in the sea
  • 02-205: There's many a slip between the cup and the lip
  • 02-206: There's more than one way to skin a cat
  • 02-207: There's no accounting for taste
  • 02-208: There's no fool like an old fool
  • 02-209: There's no place like home
  • 02-210: Those who cannot remember the past...
  • 02-211: Two heads are better than one
  • 02-212: Time heals all wounds
  • 02-213: Time and tide wait for no man
  • 02-214: Time is money
  • 02-215: To err is human, to forgive divine
  • 02-216: Too many cooks spoil the broth
  • 02-217: Truth is stranger than fiction
  • 02-218: Truth will out
  • 02-219: Turnabout is fair play
  • 02-220: Two wrongs don't make a right
  • 02-221: Two's company, three's a crowd
  • 02-222: Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown
  • 02-223: Variety is the spice of life
  • 02-224: Walls have ears
  • 02-225: Waste not, want not
  • 02-226: A watched pot never boils
  • 02-227: We have met the enemy, and they are us
  • 02-228: Well begun is half done
  • 02-229: What will be, will be
  • 02-230: What's good for the goose
  • 02-231: When in Rome, do as the Romans do
  • 02-232: When it rains, it pours
  • 02-233: When the cat's away, the mice will play
  • 02-234: When the going gets tough, the tough get going
  • 02-235: Where are the snows of yesteryear
  • 02-236: Where there's a will, there's a way
  • 02-237: Where there's smoke there's fire
  • 02-238: While there's life, there's hope
  • 02-239: Win one for the Gipper
  • 02-240: Winning isn't everything...
  • 02-241: The wish is father of the deed
  • 02-242: A woman's work is never done
  • 02-243: A word to the wise is sufficient
  • 02-244: Work expands to fill the time available for its completion
  • 02-245: The worm turns
  • 02-246: Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus
  • 02-247: You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar
  • 02-248: You can lead a horse to water
  • 02-249: You can't fit a round peg in a square hole
  • 02-250: You can't go home again
  • 02-251: You can't have your cake and eat it too
  • 02-252: You can't make a silk purse from a sow's ear
  • 02-253: You can't make an omelet without breaking eggs
  • 02-254: You can't squeeze blood from a turnip
  • 02-255: You can't take it with you
  • 02-256: You can't teach an old dog new tricks
  • 02-257: You can't unring a bell
  • 02-258: You cannot serve God and Mammon
  • 02-259: You've made your bed, now lie in it
  • 02-260: All things come to those who wait
  • 02-261: All the world loves a lover
  • 02-262: All things must pass
  • 02-263: All you need is love
  • 02-264: April is the cruellest month
  • 02-265: Accidents will happen
  • 02-266: The apple never falls far from the tree
  • 02-267: As you sow so shall you reap
  • 02-268: Ask a silly question...
  • 02-269: Ask me no questions and I'll tell you no lies
  • 02-270: A barking dog seldom bites
  • 02-271: Beauty is in the eye of the beholder
  • 02-272: Behind every great man there's a great woman
  • 02-273: The best defense is a good offense
  • 02-274: Better the Devil you know than the Devil you don't
  • 02-275: Better to remain silent and be thought a fool...
  • 02-276: A cat may look at king
  • 02-277: A chain is only as strong as its weakest link
  • 02-278: Charity begins at home
  • 02-279: Cheaters never prosper
  • 02-280: The child is father to the man
  • 02-281: Children should be seen and not heard
  • 02-282: Clothes make the man
  • 02-283: The cobbler's children always go barefoot
  • 02-284: Comparisons are odious
  • 02-285: Count your blessings
  • 02-286: Cowards may die many times before their death
  • 02-287: Crime doesn't pay
  • 02-288: The customer is always right
  • 02-289: The darkest hour is just before the dawn
  • 02-290: Dead men tell no tales
  • 02-291: Do as I say, not as I do
  • 02-292: Don't bite the hand that feeds you
  • 02-293: Don't burn your bridges behind you
  • 02-294: Don't change horses in midstream
  • 02-295: Don't rock the boat
  • 02-296: Don't wash your dirty linen in public
  • 02-297: The ends justify the means
  • 02-298: Enough is enough
  • 02-299: Every Jack has his Jill
  • 02-300: Every man for himself
  • 02-301: Every man has his price
  • 02-302: Everybody wants to go to heaven...
  • 02-303: The exception which proves the rule
  • 02-304: Faint heart never won fair lady
  • 02-305: Faith will move mountains
  • 02-306: Fight fire with fire
  • 02-307: First impressions are lasting impressions
  • 02-308: First things first
  • 02-309: Fish and visitors smell after three days
  • 02-310: Flattery will get you nowhere
  • 02-311: Forgive and forget
  • 02-312: Give credit where credit is due
  • 02-313: The good die young



Part 3: "The Common Room": Dialogues about college studies
(January 2, 2012 to April 2, 2015)

Starting at the beginning of 2012, I wrote well over 450 lessons--my largest collection (so far!)--as dialogues between a group of American and international students in the "common room" of their college dorm, a sort of lounge where students hang out.

The students talk about a variety of subjects, the sorts of things "every college student ought to learn." I'm pretty proud of these, and I hope you'll find them useful.
  • 03-001: Little Red Riding Hood
    • Mark, an American student, and his Indian friend Sunil talk in their dorm about a new movie adaptation of an old fairy tale.
  • 03-002: Latitude
    • The first of three conversations about the earth's geography, between Lily (from China) and Antonio (from Spain).
  • 03-003: Zones, Solstices, and Equinoxes
    • As the sun seems to move north and south through the latitudes, it creates geographic zones and four "events." Learn more in this lesson.
  • 03-004: Longitude
    • Lily and Antonio complete the conversation they started in the two previous lessons about the earth's "grid" of lines.
  • 03-005: The Big Bang Theory
    • Mark, an American student, talks with his Indian friend about the TV show, The Big Bang Theory.
  • 03-006: Visiting Japan
    • Keesha's going to Japan! Follow as she tells Akemi where she plans to go and what she plans to see on her upcoming trip.
  • 03-007: How to Say Big Numbers
    • Most of us can write big numbers--say, thousands, millions, or billions--but saying them out loud can be a challenge. Learn how in this lesson.
  • 03-008: The Branches of Science
    • We live in the age of science. Let's listen in as Sunny and Antonio discuss the many branches of this important field of study.
  • 03-009: The Common Kitchen - Part I
    • Roberto and Becky are looking at the major appliances in the kitchen area of their dormitory, and talking about their use.
  • 03-010: The Common Kitchen - Part II
    • This time, Roberto and Becky look at the smaller appliances in their dorm's kitchen, and talking about how they're used.
  • 03-011: Social Networking Jargon
    • This lesson and the next were written in 2012. Social media has become more popular--and more challenging--since then, but I think most of what you'll read here is still useful.
  • 03-012: More Networking Jargon
    • This lesson, like the previous one, was written in 2012. Although a lot of things have changed on the internet, lurkers still lurk, and memes are still fun!
  • 03-013: Morning - Afternoon - Evening - Night
    • Morning becomes afternoon at 12 noon, but the other periods of the day are a little more slippery. Learn the different ways of dividing them.
  • 03-014: Six Big Joints of the Body
    • Wrist, elbow, shoulder, hip, knee, ankle: most of these important joints have idioms to go with them, some of which you can learn in this lesson.
  • 03-015: The Fab Four
    • In 1964, America was struck by BEATLEMANIA! In that year, the Lads from Liverpool landed on our shores. Read about them and their impact on music history.
  • 03-016: The Dutch Boy and the Dike
    • We all know the famous Dutch legend of the Boy and the Dike--which was actually made up by an American woman! Get the whole story here.
  • 03-017: Habitats and Ecology
    • Ecology is much more than just recycling cans and bottles; it's the study of the relationships of living organisms to their habitats.
  • 03-018: Aesop and His Fables
    • A freed Greek slave has remained famous through the ages for his moral teachings, often put in the mouths of animals. Meet Aesop!
  • 03-019: Talking about Fractions
    • What are numerators? And denominators? And how do we keep them straight? And how do we pronounce fractions in English? The answers are here!
  • 03-020: Celebrations of Spring
    • Each of the four great turning points--solstices and equinoxes--is widely celebrated across cultures. Let's look at some springtime celebrations.
  • 03-021: Instruments of the Orchestra
  • 03-022: How to Read a Book
  • 03-023: IT and THEY
  • 03-024: Approving and Disapproving Words
  • 03-025: Levels of Language
  • 03-026: Technical Usage
  • 03-027: Funny English
  • 03-028: Irregular Plurals
  • 03-029: Horoscope - Parts I
  • 03-030: Horoscopes - Part II
  • 03-031: Parts of Trees
  • 03-032: Top Ten Jobs
  • 03-033: Ten Worst Jobs
  • 03-034: Colors of the Rainbow
  • 03-035: Lifecycle of the Butterfly
  • 03-036: Grimm's Fairy Tales
  • 03-037: Reference Books
  • 03-038: Old English
  • 03-039: Sir Isaac Newton
  • 03-040: Napoleon
  • 03-041: The Three Teachings
  • 03-042: Punctuation Marks
  • 03-043: Paris, France
  • 03-044: China's Cuisines
  • 03-045: Give Me a Hand
  • 03-046: Chaucer and Middle English
  • 03-047: A. Lincoln
  • 03-048: China's Provinces
  • 03-049: Chinglish - Part I
  • 03-050: Chinglish - Part II
  • 03-051: Chinglish - Part III
  • 03-052: Evolution
  • 03-053: Incredible India
  • 03-054: Modern Art
  • 03-055: Elvis Presley
  • 03-056: Fun with Grammar I
  • 03-057: Fun with Grammar II
  • 03-058: Fun with Grammar III
  • 03-059: Fun with Grammar IV
  • 03-060: Fun with Grammar V
  • 03-061: Fun with Grammar VI
  • 03-062: The Roman Empire
  • 03-063: Visiting China
  • 03-064: The Land Down Under
  • 03-065: The Avengers
  • 03-066: The Great Books
  • 03-067: The Middle Ages
  • 03-068: Photography
  • 03-069: Alfred Hitchcock
  • 03-070: The Olympics
  • 03-071: English as She is Spoke - Part I
  • 03-072: English as She is Spoke - Part II
  • 03-073: English as She is Spoke - Part III
  • 03-074: King Arthur
  • 03-075: World Religions - Part I
  • 03-076: World Religions - Part II
  • 03-077: Impressionism
  • 03-078: Gone with the Wind
  • 03-079: New Computing Slang - Part I
  • 03-080: New Computing Slang - Part II
  • 03-081: Astronomy Terms
  • 03-082: In the Atlas
  • 03-083: The Wizard of Oz
  • 03-084: Doctor Jokes
  • 03-085: Children's Classics
  • 03-086: Old Disney Films
  • 03-087: New Disney Films
  • 03-088: The Body's Systems - Part I
  • 03-089: The Body's Systems - Part II
  • 03-090: Shakespeare
  • 03-091: What's Sauce for the Goose
  • 03-092: Mark Twain
  • 03-093: Regions of the U.S. - Part I
  • 03-094: Regions of the U.S. - Part II
  • 03-095: Regions of the U.S. - Part III
  • 03-096: Dead Poets' Society - Part I
  • 03-097: Dead Poets' Society - Part II
  • 03-098: The Western Canon
  • 03-099: Inclusiveness
  • 03-100: Ancient Epics
  • 03-101: Greek Drama - Part I: Aeschylus
  • 03-102: Greek Drama - Part II: Sophocles and Euripides
  • 03-103: Greek Drama - Part III: Aristophanes
  • 03-104: Ancient Chinese Literature
  • 03-105: Ancient History
  • 03-106: Socrates's Students
  • 03-107: The Ramayana
  • 03-108: The Mahabharata
  • 03-109: Latin Literature
  • 03-110: Persian Literature
  • 03-111: Japanese Literature
  • 03-112: Dante
  • 03-113: The Thousand and One Nights
  • 03-114: Machiavelli
  • 03-115: Don Quixote
  • 03-116: Classic Chinese Novels - Part I
  • 03-117: Classic Chinese Novels - Part II
  • 03-118: Great Essays
  • 03-119: John Donne
  • 03-120: John Milton
  • 03-121: Great French Writers
  • 03-122: Allegory and Satire
  • 03-123: British Political Philosophers
  • 03-124: British Novelists
  • 03-125: Goethe, Mann, Kafka
  • 03-126: Four Poets in English
  • 03-127: British Women Novelists
  • 03-128: Poe, Hawthorne, Melville
  • 03-129: Forms of Words
  • 03-130: Assume, Benefit, Distribute
  • 03-131: Economics and Technology
  • 03-132: Words Ending in -ate
  • 03-133: Ten-Word Review
  • 03-134: Victor Hugo
  • 03-135: Alexandre Dumas, pere
  • 03-136: New Words - Part I
  • 03-137: New Words - Part II
  • 03-138: New Words - Part III
  • 03-139: Charles Dickens
  • 03-140: Taxonomic Ranks
  • 03-141: Paleontology and Archeology
  • 03-142: Famous Biologists
  • 03-143: Moby Dick
  • 03-144: More New Words - Part I
  • 03-145: More New Words - Part II
  • 03-146: More New Words - Part III
  • 03-147: Four 20th-century American Authors - Part I
  • 03-148: Four 20th-century American Authors - Part II
  • 03-149: European Art
  • 03-150: Classical Music
  • 03-151: More Classical Music
  • 03-152: The Oscars - Part I
  • 03-153: The Oscars - Part II
  • 03-154: The Oscars - Part III
  • 03-155: Trouble at Work
  • 03-156: Party Hearty
  • 03-157: Road Trip - Part I
  • 03-158: Road Trip - Part II
  • 03-159: In the Lunch Room
  • 03-160: Another Party
  • 03-161: Dueling Proverbs - Part I
  • 03-162: Dueling Proverbs - Part II
  • 03-163: In a Café
  • 03-164: Using a Camera - Part I
  • 03-165: Using a Camera - Part II
  • 03-166: Using a Camera - Part III
  • 03-167: Making Suggestions
  • 03-168: Giving Advice
  • 03-169: Stating Preferences
  • 03-170: It Looks Like
  • 03-171: Yes, But: Disagreeing with others
  • 03-172: I Gotta Hand it to You
  • 03-173: You're Pulling My Leg
  • 03-174: Let's Face It
  • 03-175: Head over Heels
  • 03-176: A Pain in the Neck
  • 03-177: You're Breakin' My Heart
  • 03-178: Bad Business Jargon - Part I
  • 03-179: Bad Business Jargon - Part II
  • 03-180: Bad Business Jargon - Part III
  • 03-181: Bad Business Jargon - Part IV
  • 03-182: Unknown Shakespeare
  • 03-183: Othello
  • 03-184: Everything Looks Like a Nail
  • 03-185: Entertain a Thought without Accepting It
  • 03-186: King Lear
  • 03-187: Shakespeare's Language
  • 03-188: Shakespeare's Grammar
  • 03-189: Bad Management - Part I
  • 03-190: Bad Management - Part II
  • 03-191: The Taming of the Shrew
  • 03-192: Listicles
  • 03-193: British and American Spelling
  • 03-194: Julius Caesar
  • 03-195: Interview Mistakes
  • 03-196: Alexander Pope
  • 03-197: The Tempest
  • 03-198: Most-Spoken Languages - Part I
  • 03-199: Most-Spoken Languages - Part II
  • 03-200: Much Ado About Nothing
  • 03-201: National Parks
  • 03-202: Nature in the City
  • 03-203: Romeo and Juliet
  • 03-204: Museums - Part I
  • 03-205: Museums - Part II
  • 03-206: Influential People Who Never Lived
  • 03-207: Top Movies
  • 03-208: Top Movie Stars: Men
  • 03-209: Top Movie Stars: Women
  • 03-210: Movie Quotes - Part I
  • 03-211: Movie Quotes - Part II
  • 03-212: As You Like It
  • 03-213: Brush Up Your English - Part I
  • 03-214: Brush Up Your English - Part II
  • 03-215: Hamlet
  • 03-216: More Movie Quotes - Part I
  • 03-217: More Movie Quotes - Part II
  • 03-218: A Midsummer Night's Dream
  • 03-219: TV Catchphrases - Part I
  • 03-220: TV Catchphrases - Part II
  • 03-221: Antony and Cleopatra
  • 03-222: TV Catchphrases - Part III
  • 03-223: TV Catchphrases - Part IV
  • 03-224: Measure for Measure
  • 03-225: TV Catchphrases - Part V
  • 03-226: TV Catchphrases - Part VI
  • 03-227: The Merchant of Venice
  • 03-228: Commonly Confused Expressions - Part I
  • 03-229: Commonly Confused Expressions - Part II
  • 03-230: The Winter's Tale
  • 03-231: Commonly Confused Expressions - Part III
  • 03-232: Commonly Confused Expressions - Part IV
  • 03-233: Twelfth Night
  • 03-234: Commonly Confused Expressions - Part V
  • 03-235: Commonly Confused Expressions - Part VI
  • 03-236: Two Gentlemen of Verona
  • 03-237: New Words - Part I
  • 03-238: New Words - Part II
  • 03-239: Pericles, Prince of Tyre
  • 03-240: New Words - Part III
  • 03-241: New Words IV
  • 03-242: The Boss's Kid
  • 03-243: Bread
  • 03-244: Back to...
  • 03-245: As Old as the Hills
  • 03-246: As Easy as Pie
  • 03-247: As Cute as a Bug's Ear
  • 03-248: You Can Lead a Horse to Water
  • 03-249: Straight from the Horse's Mouth
  • 03-250: Gone to the Dogs
  • 03-251: A Dog in the Manger
  • 03-252: A Shaggy Dog Story
  • 03-253: Bacon and Eggs
  • 03-254: Forbidden Fruit
  • 03-255: What's Bugging You
  • 03-256: A Foot in the Door
  • 03-257: Hands Down
  • 03-258: By and Large
  • 03-259: A May-December Romance
  • 03-260: For All Intents and Purposes
  • 03-261: Cat Got Your Tongue
  • 03-262: Writ in Water
  • 03-263: Pardon my French
  • 03-264: Carpe Diem
  • 03-265: Be Still, My Beating Heart
  • 03-266: Hit the Nail on the Head
  • 03-267: High School Novels - Part I
  • 03-268: High School Novels - Part II
  • 03-269: High School Novels - Part III
  • 03-270: To Light One Candle
  • 03-271: Face the Music
  • 03-272: Music Has Charms
  • 03-273: Above and Below
  • 03-274: So-so at Ping Pong
  • 03-275: Boxing Day
  • 03-276: On the Ball
  • 03-277: New Year's Eve
  • 03-278: The New Year
  • 03-279: Old New Expressions - Part I
  • 03-280: Old New Expressions - Part II
  • 03-281: Old New Expressions - Part III
  • 03-282: Goody, Goody Gumdrops
  • 03-283: Good to Go
  • 03-284: Bad to the Bone
  • 03-285: The Sheep from the Goats
  • 03-286: An Arm and a Leg
  • 03-287: Begging the Question
  • 03-288: Flesh and Blood
  • 03-289: A Fine Kettle of Fish
  • 03-290: Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder
  • 03-291: Nip It in the Bud
  • 03-292: Out of the Blue
  • 03-293: The Secret Admirer
  • 03-294: Kind of Blue
  • 03-295: The Green-Eyed Monster
  • 03-296: Get Over It
  • 03-297: The Salt of the Earth
  • 03-298: Lady Mondegreen
  • 03-299: Eat Your Heart Out
  • 03-300: Keep It Simple, Stupid
  • 03-301: Madder Than a Wet Hen
  • 03-302: He Pulled a Fast One
  • 03-303: The Madding Crowd
  • 03-304: SWAK
  • 03-305: Run of the Mill
  • 03-306: Life is Short
  • 03-307: A Fate Worse than Death
  • 03-308: The Life of the Party
  • 03-309: Heavens to Betsy
  • 03-310: No Laughing Matter
  • 03-311: High Hopes
  • 03-312: Walk, Don't Run
  • 03-313: PDQ
  • 03-314: Laugh All the Way to the Bank
  • 03-315: Living High on the Hog
  • 03-316: Every Man Jack
  • 03-317: Sacred Cows
  • 03-318: By the Book
  • 03-319: Say Cheese
  • 03-320: Too Much of a Good Thing
  • 03-321: The Oldest Trick in the Book
  • 03-322: Bet Your Bottom Dollar
  • 03-323: More Power to You
  • 03-324: Put Up Your Dukes
  • 03-325: At Sixes and Sevens
  • 03-326: Keep Your Nose Clean
  • 03-327: Bells and Whistles
  • 03-328: To the Manner Born
  • 03-329: Cold Turkey
  • 03-330: He's a Flake
  • 03-331: She's a Kook
  • 03-332: What a Wuss
  • 03-333: Don't Rain on My Parade
  • 03-334: A Penny for Your Thoughts
  • 03-335: Playing with Fire
  • 03-336: To Coin a Phrase
  • 03-337: Between Heaven and Hell
  • 03-338: Doubles
  • 03-339: More Doubles
  • 03-340: One of the Boys
  • 03-341: A Renaissance Man
  • 03-342: The Birds and the Bees
  • 03-343: A Bird's Eye View
  • 03-344: Put That in Your Pipe and Smoke It
  • 03-345: I Can't Stand This Heat
  • 03-346: Cool under Pressure
  • 03-347: Just My Luck
  • 03-348: No Such Luck
  • 03-349: Man's Inhumanity to Man
  • 03-350: A Homebody
  • 03-351: Boxed In
  • 03-352: Blind Luck
  • 03-353: This'll Put Hair on Your Chest
  • 03-354: Famous Last Words
  • 03-355: Get a Word in Edgewise
  • 03-356: The Finger
  • 03-357: Wanderlust
  • 03-358: Happy
  • 03-359: To Utopia
  • 03-360: Don't Be So Bumptious
  • 03-361: Immersed in a Genre
  • 03-362: Going to a Picnic
  • 03-363: A Chortling Nerd
  • 03-364: A Quark in Cyberspace
  • 03-365: The Grammar Quiz I
  • 03-366: Ya Gotta Have Heart
  • 03-367: Not Just Kittens and Puppies
  • 03-368: All That Jazz
  • 03-369: Holed Up in a Burger Joint
  • 03-370: An Easy Mark
  • 03-371: Carrying a Portmanteau
  • 03-372: Presidential Palaver
  • 03-373: Legalese
  • 03-374: Blunders
  • 03-375: The Sonnet - Part I
  • 03-376: The Sonnet - Part II
  • 03-377: A New Broom Sweeps Clean
  • 03-378: Unbelievable
  • 03-379: More Unbelievable
  • 03-380: Converse, Diverse, Reverse
  • 03-381: Murple
  • 03-382: Apprehend and Comprehend
  • 03-383: Oh, Man
  • 03-384: Cave Men
  • 03-385: En- Means In
  • 03-386: What's the Difference
  • 03-387: Homonyms
  • 03-388: Literary Terms - Part I
  • 03-389: Literary Terms - Part II
  • 03-390: Contradiction and Paradox
  • 03-391: Famous Paradoxes
  • 03-392: New Meanings for Old Words
  • 03-393: Sailor Talk
  • 03-394: More Sailor Talk
  • 03-395: Tips for Essay Tests
  • 03-396: Talking about Autumn
  • 03-397: Words with -esque
  • 03-398: Webster's Weird Words - Part I
  • 03-399: Webster's Weird Words - Part II
  • 03-400: Learning New Words
  • 03-401: Monsters
  • 03-402: Borrowing from German
  • 03-403: Borrowing from Yiddish
  • 03-404: Phobophobia
  • 03-405: First to Third Idioms
  • 03-406: Fourth to Tenth Idioms
  • 03-407: Easily-Confused Words
  • 03-408: Great American Novels
  • 03-409: Using Slang
  • 03-410: Great Short-Story Writers
  • 03-411: Types of Artists
  • 03-412: Types of Writers
  • 03-413: The Job Interview
  • 03-414: Your Greatest Weakness
  • 03-415: Phrasal Verbs
  • 03-416: Some American Poets
  • 03-417: Who is Santa Claus?
  • 03-418: Three Morals
  • 03-419: You're a Lunatic
  • 03-420: Talking Turkey
  • 03-421: Computer Jargon
  • 03-422: X Marks the Spot
  • 03-423: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight - Part I
  • 03-424: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight - Part II
  • 03-425: Games, Games, Games
  • 03-426: The L Words
  • 03-427: Coming or Going
  • 03-428: Sir Francis Bacon
  • 03-429: More Games
  • 03-430: The Research Paper
  • 03-431: Eponyms
  • 03-432: English Corner - Part I
  • 03-433: English Corner - Part II
  • 03-434: In a Nutshell
  • 03-435: Writing Better - Part I
  • 03-436: Writing Better - Part II
  • 03-437: Reduced Forms
  • 03-438: Data and News
  • 03-439: Crutch Words
  • 03-440: Paired Roots
  • 03-441: The Alphabet
  • 03-442: Charlemagne
  • 03-443: Dinosaurs
  • 03-444: The Planets
  • 03-445: About A, An, and The
  • 03-446: Weird Band Names
  • 03-447: Bartlett's Familiar Quotations
  • 03-448: Aliens and Earthlings
  • 03-449: Inspirational Quotes
  • 03-450: Dog Breeds - Part I
  • 03-451: Dog Breeds - Part II
  • 03-452: Boldness Has Magic in It
  • 03-453: In Like a Lion
  • 03-454: Marching to a Different Drummer
  • 03-455: What Counts
  • 03-456: Borges's Library
  • 03-457: A Potty Break
  • 03-458: Pulling the Plug
  • 03-459: Misheard Words - Part I
  • 03-460: Misheard Words - Part II
  • 03-461: It's Spring
  • 03-462: Some Funny Cards: Work
  • 03-463: Some Funny Cards: Weekends
  • 03-464: Verbing Nouns



Part 4: Great People: Biographies
(April 6, 2015 to January 26, 2017)

In April of 2015, at my editor's suggestion, I started writing around 280 short biographies of great scientists, inventors, mathematicians, musicians, artists, philosophers, writers, and historical figures. These are not exhaustive, of course, but serve as a quick introduction.

You'll notice that they tend to come in groups of three: a scientist, inventor, or mathematician; someone from the world of the arts; and an author. (And, from time to time, I subbed in a world leader, like Abraham Lincoln or Alexander the Great.) In the early days, I was able to find triads from the same country; over time, this got harder. By the end, I was writing about legendary figures!
  • 04-001: Mr. Newton's Universe
    • What keeps us stuck to the earth? Sir Isaac Newton figured out exactly how this "glue" works! Find out what else he did!
  • 04-002: The Musical Handel
    • Though he was born in what is now Germany, George Frideric Handel rose to fame in England. Learn how he entertained two English kings with his compositions.
  • 04-003: John Milton, Blind Poet
    • John Milton was a genius with languages, which earned him the reputation of being second only to Shakespeare as an English poet. Let's look at his career in literature and civil service.
  • 04-004: Louis Pasteur, Father of Microbiology
    • If your milk isn't "Pasteurized," you'd probably be better off not drinking it! Learn about the French scientist who lent his name to the process.
  • 04-005: Victor Hugo, Author of Les Miz
    • From miserable Jean Valjean to the pathetic hunchback Quasimodo, Victor Hugo peopled his beloved Paris with anti-heroes we still love and admire today.
  • 04-006: Edouard Manet, Early Impressionist
    • Edouard Manet was a painter ahead of his time, the forerunner to the tradition-smashing movement known as "Impressionism."
  • 04-007: Linus Pauling, Double Nobel Winner
    • One Nobel prize is amazing, but TWO?! And in entirely different fields: chemistry and peace activism. Come meet this amazing man.
  • 04-008: Aaron Copland, Dean of American Composers
    • Born in humble circumstances in an immigrant community, Aaron Copland became the most American of composers. Follow his path to success.
  • 04-009: Ernest "Papa" Hemingway
    • The wimpy, bespectacled writer hunched over his keyboard was transformed by Ernest Hemingway into the robust, manly man we picture writers to be today.
  • 04-010: Galileo, the Father of Science
    • Though the theory wasn't his, by championing the idea of the sun-centered solar system, Galileo advanced science and changed the way we see ourselves in the cosmos.
  • 04-011: Tommaso's Utopian City
    • Tommaso Campanella was a freethinker and ahead of his time--which caused him no end of trouble with the Roman Catholic Church!
  • 04-012: Caravaggio, Renaissance "Bad Boy"
    • Caravaggio painted his subjects in action, not in the "calm before the storm" as was common in his day. The results were astounding.
  • 04-013: Ramon y Cajal, Father of Modern Neuroscience
    • It's never been easy to do research in Spain, a country with little support for science. But Santiago Ramón y Cajal found a way, becoming a trailblazing scientist!
  • 04-014: Picasso, THE Artist of the 20th Century
    • "You're no Picasso" we might tell a dabbler. Pablo Picasso's surname has become a byword for "artist," and the range and quality of his work shows us why.
  • 04-015: Garcia Lorca, Poet of the People
    • The tragically brief life of Federico García Lorca--he died at 38--was nonetheless one filled with amazing work.
  • 04-016: Albert Einstein, THE Scientist of the 20th Century
    • His bushy hair and soulful eyes are as familiar as his famous formula. But do you really know what it means? Find out here!
  • 04-017: Richard Strauss, a Pretty Good Composer
    • This great composer wouldn't be on the radar of most of us were it not for a couple of "classical pops" numbers still played today--especially the one from that space movie.
  • 04-018: Thomas Mann, Einstein of Literature
    • One of the greatest figures of 20th-century literature is (alas!) little-read by English speaking audiences. Meet Thomas Mann and his creations in this lesson.
  • 04-019: Aristotle and Early Science
    • In the olden days, it was hard to distinguish science from philosophy; but Aristotle was a master of both. See some of his theories in this lesson.
  • 04-020: Praxiteles and Phryne
    • When you say "Greek," I think "sculpture"! And Praxiteles was one of the greatest of Greek sculptors. Meet him and his (supposed) GF.
  • 04-021: Aristophanes, Father of Comedy
    • The Greeks are known for their tragedies on stage, but equally entertaining (and insightful) were their comedies, some of which were written by Aristophanes.
  • 04-022: Mendeleev and the Periodic Table
    • If you've ever studied chemistry, you've benefited from the efforts of Mendeleev, a great (and largely unsung) Russian scientist.
  • 04-023: The Tragic Tchaikovsky
    • From the charming dances of the Nutcracker Suite to the bombastic 1812 Overture, Tchaikovsky's music has entertained us for well over a century.
  • 04-024: Count Leo Tolstoy
    • A Russian nobleman who took up the cause of the poor, Leo Tolstoy was a literary giant. Follow his spiritual journey in this lesson.
  • 04-025: Pliny the Elder
    • A true scientist who went into the field and "got his hands dirty," the Roman naturalist Pliny died while observing a the effects of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 CE.
  • 04-026: The Artists of Pompeii
    • The eruption that killed Pliny also destroyed several towns, incidentally preserving their art for us to enjoy today.
  • 04-027: Seneca (the Younger), Stoic
    • Seneca promoted a philosophy called "Stoicism"--though he didn't exactly practice what he preached! Witness his hypocrisy in this lesson.
  • 04-028: Eli Whitney and the Cotton Gin
    • Eli Whitney's cotton gin "saved" the economy of the American South--at the same time that it contributed to its downfall. Read on to learn how that can be.
  • 04-029: The Famous Unknown Gilbert Stuart
    • Most of us have seen Gilbert Stuart's work hundreds or thousands of times--and never knew his name! Find the solution to this mystery in this lesson.
  • 04-030: Washington Irving, International Best-Seller
    • One of America's first international artists, Washington Irving's reputation rests largely on two short stories--but they're familiar to almost all American readers.
  • 04-031: Niels Bohr, Atomic Pioneer
  • 04-032: Karen Isak Dinesen Blixen
  • 04-033: Maurice Utrillo of Montmartre
  • 04-034: Charles Darwin, Evolutionist
  • 04-035: Abraham Lincoln, Self-Made Man
  • 04-036: Alfred, Lord Tennyson
  • 04-037: Sir Thomas Browne
  • 04-038: Rembrandt
  • 04-039: The KJV
  • 04-040: Marie Curie, Scientist
  • 04-041: The Wild Henri Matisse
  • 04-042: Pioneer Girl Laura Ingalls Wilder
  • 04-043: Charles Lyell, Darwin's Inspiration
  • 04-044: Hiroshige, Ukiyo-e Master
  • 04-045: Mary Shelley, Frankenstein's Mother
  • 04-046: The Redoubtable René Descartes
  • 04-047: Nicolas Poussin, First Painter to the King
  • 04-048: Calderon and Life is a Dream
  • 04-049: Charles Richter, Seismologist
  • 04-050: Uncle Walt Disney
  • 04-051: Margaret Mitchell, Southern Apologist
  • 04-052: Nikola Tesla, Mad Scientist
  • 04-053: John Singer Sargent, Expat Painter
  • 04-054: L. Frank Baum, Dreamer
  • 04-055: James Clerk Maxwell, A Second Newton
  • 04-056: John Everett Millais, Pre-Raphaelite
  • 04-057: Lewis Carroll, Creator of Wonderland
  • 04-058: Copernicus, a Revolutionary Astronomer
  • 04-059: The Divine Michelangelo
  • 04-060: Sir Thomas More and Utopia
  • 04-061: Andreas Vesalius, Father of Modern Anatomy
  • 04-062: Giorgio Vasari, Artist-Historian
  • 04-063: Saint Teresa of Avila
  • 04-064: Erwin Schrodinger and His Cat
  • 04-065: Georgia O'Keeffe, Southwestern Artist
  • 04-066: Robinson Jeffers, Poet of the California Coast
  • 04-067: Antoine Lavoisier, Father of Modern Chemistry
  • 04-068: Jean-Antoine Houdon, Sculptor Extraordinaire
  • 04-069: Thomas Jefferson and the Declaration of Independence
  • 04-070: Tycho Brahe and His Golden Nose
  • 04-071: El Greco, the Spanish Greek
  • 04-072: Miguel de Cervantes, Creator of Don Quixote
  • 04-073: William Harvey and Circulation of the Blood
  • 04-074: Peter Paul Rubens, Baroque Painter
  • 04-075: John Fletcher, Successor to Shakespeare
  • 04-076: Werner Heisenberg and the Uncertainty Principle
  • 04-077: Ansel Adams, Photographer of the West
  • 04-078: John Steinbeck, California Chronicler
  • 04-079: Franz Boas, Father of American Anthropology
  • 04-080: Giacomo Puccini, Scion of Italian Opera
  • 04-081: Edith Nesbit, First Modern Children's Writer
  • 04-082: Rudolf Virchow, Father of Modern Pathology
  • 04-083: Louis Vuitton, Box-Maker Extraordinaire
  • 04-084: Fyodor Dostoevsky, Russia's Greatest Writer
  • 04-085: Arthur Eddington, Science Popularizer
  • 04-086: Georges Braque, a Creator of Cubism
  • 04-087: James Joyce, Irish Expat
  • 04-088: Edwin Hubble, Pioneer of the Distant Stars
  • 04-089: Thomas Hart Benton, Regionalist
  • 04-090: Erle Stanley Gardner, One-Time Bestseller
  • 04-091: Max Planck, Father of Quantum Physics
  • 04-092: Georges Seurat, Pointillist
  • 04-093: Theodore Roosevelt, Writer and Conservationist
  • 04-094: William Herschel, Discoverer of Uranus
  • 04-095: Charles Willson Peale, Artist and Museologist
  • 04-096: Edward Gibbon, Historian of Rome
  • 04-097: Enrico Fermi, Architect of the Nuclear Age
  • 04-098: Sir Kenneth Clark, Chronicler of Civilisation
  • 04-099: Langston Hughes, Poet of the Harlem Renaissance
  • 04-100: Ferdinand Magellan, Circumnavigator
  • 04-101: Raphael, One of the Trinity
  • 04-102: Martin Luther, Reformer and Writer
  • 04-103: Machiavelli: Not a Prince
  • 04-104: Albrecht Durer, German Woodcut Artist
  • 04-105: Erasmus, Renaissance Humanist
  • 04-106: Stephen Hawking, Master of the Universe
  • 04-107: Jamie Wyeth, Artistic Heir
  • 04-108: Garrison Keillor, Radio Humorist
  • 04-109: Alfred Nobel, Maker of Dynamite
  • 04-110: James McNeill Whistler, Temperamental Artist
  • 04-111: Louisa May Alcott and Her Little Women
  • 04-112: John James Audubon, Ornithological Painter
  • 04-113: Louis Daguerre, Father of Photography
  • 04-114: Jacob Grimm, Philologist
  • 04-115: Gregor Mendel, Founder of Genetics
  • 04-116: John Ruskin, Artist and Critic
  • 04-117: Matthew Arnold, Poet and Critic
  • 04-118: Euclid, Father of Geometry
  • 04-119: Alexander the Great
  • 04-120: Menander, a New Comedian
  • 04-121: H. G. Wells, A Father of Science Fiction
  • 04-122: Arthur Rackham, Children's Lit Illustrator
  • 04-123: Beatrix Potter, Creator of Peter Rabbit
  • 04-124: Richard Feynman, Nobelist and Bongo Player
  • 04-125: Helmut Newton, Bad Boy Fashion Photographer
  • 04-126: Madeleine L'Engle, Author for Young Adults
  • 04-127: Antonie van Leeuwenhoek, Father of Microbiology
  • 04-128: Christopher Wren, Architect of St. Paul's
  • 04-129: John Locke, Father of Liberalism
  • 04-130: Johannes Kepler and the Planetary Laws
  • 04-131: Jan, the Middle Brueghel
  • 04-132: John Donne, Enigma
  • 04-133: Sigmund Freud, Father of Psychoanalysis
  • 04-134: Eugene Atget, Pioneer Documentary Photographer
  • 04-135: George Bernard Shaw, Nobel and Oscar Winner
  • 04-136: Lucretius, Roman Naturalist
  • 04-137: Julius Caesar, Roman Emperor
  • 04-138: Cicero, Latin Prose Stylist
  • 04-139: Carl Linnaeus, Father of Modern Taxonomy
  • 04-140: Charles Wesley, Hymnist
  • 04-141: Henry Fielding, Author of Tom Jones
  • 04-142: Jean Froissart, Chronicler of France and England
  • 04-143: Dame Julian of Norwich, English Mystic
  • 04-144: Geoffrey Chaucer, Father of English Literature
  • 04-145: James Watt, Inventor of the Steam Engine
  • 04-146: Aloysius Galvani, Discoverer of Animal Electricity
  • 04-147: Alessandro Volta, Inventor of the Electrical Battery
  • 04-148: James Watson, Co-Discoverer of DNA's Structure
  • 04-149: Andy Warhol, Pop Artist
  • 04-150: Maya Angelou, Author and Activist
  • 04-151: Rachel Carson, Conservationist
  • 04-152: Henri Cartier-Bresson, Photographer of The Moment
  • 04-153: James A. Michener and his Family Sagas
  • 04-154: Claude Lévi-Strauss, Father of Modern Anthropology
  • 04-155: Yousuf Karsh, Studio Portrait Photographer
  • 04-156: Ian Fleming, Creator of James Bond
  • 04-157: Mircea Eliade, Historian of Religion
  • 04-158: Robert A. Heinlein, Dean of Science Fiction
  • 04-159: Leslie Charteris, Creator of The Saint
  • 04-160: Jacob Bronowski and The Ascent of Man
  • 04-161: Roger Tory Peterson, the Bird Man
  • 04-162: Louis L'Amour, Pulp Westerner
  • 04-163: John of the Mountains Muir
  • 04-164: Georges Bizet, Composer of Carmen
  • 04-165: Henry Adams, of the Boston Adamses
  • 04-166: Aldo Leopold, Environmental Ethicist
  • 04-167: Marc Chagall, Modern Jewish Artist
  • 04-168: Nikos Kazantzakis, Creator of Zorba
  • 04-169: Margaret Mead, Cultural Anthropologist
  • 04-170: Alfred Hitchcock, Master of Suspense
  • 04-171: P. L. Travers, Creator of Mary Poppins
  • 04-172: Noam Chomsky, Father of Modern Linguistics
  • 04-173: Fats Domino, Rock Legend
  • 04-174: Maurice Sendak, Friend of Wild Things
  • 04-175: Vladimir Nabokov, Author of Lolita
  • 04-176: Jorge Luis Borges, Creator of Magical Realism
  • 04-177: C. S. Forester and Horatio Hornblower
  • 04-178: B. F. Skinner, Behaviorist
  • 04-179: Salvador Dali, Surrealist
  • 04-180: Dr. Seuss, Creator of The Cat in the Hat
  • 04-181: Robert Goddard, Father of Modern Rocketry
  • 04-182: Edward Hopper and Nighthawks
  • 04-183: A. A. Milne, Father of Winnie the Pooh
  • 04-184: Rockwell Kent, Art Deco Artist
  • 04-185: Igor Stravinsky, Modern Composer
  • 04-186: Virginia Woolf, Literary Feminist
  • 04-187: Booker T. Washington, Black Educator
  • 04-188: George Washington Carver, Black Leonardo
  • 04-189: Woodrow Wilson, Scholar-President
  • 04-190: They All Laughed: Columbus
  • 04-191: They All Laughed: Edison
  • 04-192: They All Laughed: The Wright Brothers
  • 04-193: They All Laughed: Marconi
  • 04-194: They All Laughed: Rockefeller
  • 04-195: They All Laughed: Fulton
  • 04-196: They All Laughed: Hershey
  • 04-197: They All Laughed: Ford
  • 04-198: They All Laughed: The Song
  • 04-199: James Joyce's Ulysses
  • 04-200: James Joyce's Portrait
  • 04-201: The Garden of Earthly Delights
  • 04-202: Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby
  • 04-203: Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury
  • 04-204: Michelangelo's Sistine Ceiling
  • 04-205: Joseph Heller's Catch-22
  • 04-206: Lawrence's Sons and Lovers
  • 04-207: Three by Klimt
  • 04-208: Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath
  • 04-209: Malcolm Lowry's Under the Volcano
  • 04-210: Botticelli's La Primavera
  • 04-211: Butler's The Way of All Flesh
  • 04-212: I, Claudius, by Robert Graves
  • 04-213: Leonardo's Last Supper
  • 04-214: Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five
  • 04-215: Dreiser's An American Tragedy
  • 04-216: Dali's Metamorphosis of Narcissus
  • 04-217: Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man
  • 04-218: Richard Wright's Native Son
  • 04-219: Van Gogh's Starry Night
  • 04-220: Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse
  • 04-221: Carson McCullers, The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter
  • 04-222: Botticelli's The Birth of Venus
  • 04-223: Saul Bellow's Henderson the Rain King
  • 04-224: John O' Hara's Appointment in Samarra
  • 04-225: Rubens's Adoration of the Magi
  • 04-226: Dos Passos's U.S.A. Trilogy
  • 04-227: Anderson's Winesburg, Ohio
  • 04-228: Monet's Cathedral of Rouen
  • 04-229: E. M. Forster's A Passage to India
  • 04-230: Henry James's The Wings of the Dove
  • 04-231: Mencken's The American Language
  • 04-232: Strunk and White's The Elements of Style
  • 04-233: Willa Cather's Death Comes for the Archbishop
  • 04-234: James T. Farrell's Studs Lonigan Trilogy
  • 04-235: Seneca's On the Shortness of Life
  • 04-236: James's Varieties of Religious Experience
  • 04-237: Gould's Mismeasure of Man
  • 04-238: Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises
  • 04-239: Marcus Aurelius's Meditations
  • 04-240: T. S. Eliot's Selected Essays
  • 04-241: Robert Penn Warren's All the King's Men
  • 04-242: Augustine's Confessions
  • 04-243: Beowulf
  • 04-244: Annie Dillard's Pilgrim at Tinker Creek
  • 04-245: Montaigne's On Friendship
  • 04-246: Kafka's The Metamorphosis
  • 04-247: Jack Kerouac's On the Road
  • 04-248: Plato's Symposium
  • 04-249: Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman
  • 04-250: The Background of Gilgamesh
  • 04-251: Behind The Iliad
  • 04-252: Program Music
  • 04-253: Homeric Allusions - Part I
  • 04-254: Homeric Allusions - Part II
  • 04-255: Icelandic Sagas
  • 04-256: The Song of Roland
  • 04-257: The Poem of the Cid
  • 04-258: The Matter of Britain
  • 04-259: King Arthur in Europe
  • 04-260: Irish Cycles and the Cattle Raid at Cooley
  • 04-261: The Buddhacharita
  • 04-262: American Characters
  • 04-263: Charles F. Lummis
  • 04-264: Charlie Chaplin
  • 04-265: Preston Sturges
  • 04-266: Woody Allen
  • 04-267: Francis Ford Coppola
  • 04-268: Mel Brooks
  • 04-269: Steven Spielberg
  • 04-270: Clint Eastwood
  • 04-271: The Oldest Person Ever
  • 04-272: The Tallest Person Ever
  • 04-273: The Shortest Man Ever
  • 04-274: Myths, Fairy Tales, and Legends
  • 04-275: Legends of King Arthur - Part I
  • 04-276: Legends of King Arthur - Part II
  • 04-277: The Legend of William Tell
  • 04-278: Jason and the Golden Fleece
  • 04-279: Hercules



Part 5: Holidays
(February 6 to June 22, 2017)

Again at the urging of my editor, in 2017 I wrote around 60 articles on holidays from around the world. Some were quite well known, others obscure, but all were interesting!
  • 05-001: New Years' Celebrations
    • Scholar Mircea Eliade describes New Years' celebrations as like hitting a "reset button" on our lives. See how two different cultures do this.
  • 05-002: Some Peculiar January Holidays in England
    • England has begun to revive some old customs, such as one that rewards the contribution of workers, and another that recognizes the start of the agricultural season.
  • 05-003: Of Wise Men and Fools
    • Two holidays in January celebrate opposite ideas--wisdom and foolishness--in different ways.
  • 05-004: Two Japanese '"Age"' Days
    • Japan recognizes both the passage from youth into adulthood, and the one from adulthood into senior status, in two public holidays.
  • 05-005: Martin Luther King: and Others
    • Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is widely respected for his civil rights work. But some opposed the establishment of a holiday in his honor, and others even watered it down by including a Confederate general in the celebrations!
  • 05-006: Frivolous January Holidays
    • There seems to be a "National Day" for almost anything. So how do YOU celebrate "National Hot Sauce Day"?
  • 05-007: Groundhog Day
    • A surprising number of universal celebrations cluster around February 1st, seen in ancient days as the start of spring.
  • 05-008: The Run-Up to Lent
    • People speak of "giving up something for Lent," but actually, preparation for the season begins weeks before Ash Wednesday, the official start of Lent.
  • 05-009: Major Buddhist Holidays
    • Most Buddhists celebrate three events in the life of the Buddha: his birth, enlightenment, and death--though different cultures celebrate them according to very different schemes.
  • 05-010: Other Buddhist Holidays
    • Buddhist across many cultures celebrate a holiday in remembrance of their ancestors, sometimes called the "Hungry Ghost Festival." There are many, many other observances, too.
  • 05-011: Valentine's Day
    • By all means, let's celebrate Saint Valentine--even though we don't have a clue who he really was! Come explore the mystery.
  • 05-012: "The Third Monday in February"
    • I guess something good happened on "the Third Monday in February"--but we can't decide what to call the holiday that celebrates it! It's a puzzle...
  • 05-013: February: Black History Month and More
    • Recognition of the contributions of African Americans to America's success was long overdue. Learn how it finally got started--less than 100 years ago.
  • 05-014: Frivolous February Holidays
    • Some silly-seeming celebrations actually support good causes, like awareness of women's heart disease and domestic violence.
  • 05-015: Three More February Holidays
    • Remember some musical greats, be nice for no particular reason, or chase away the winter "blahs" on these three days in February.
  • 05-016: March: Women's History Month and More
    • Women's history, nutrition, and reading awareness are some of the month-long observances in March.
  • 05-017: The Spring Equinox
    • The March equinox, called by some the beginning of spring in the northern hemisphere, is the cue for several other observances as well.
  • 05-018: St. Patrick's Day
    • The long-standing tradition of St. Patrick's Day has evolved into a full-blown "Irish-American Heritage Month" throughout March.
  • 05-019: Lent and Easter
    • The most important Christian holiday is not Christmas, as you might guess, but Easter, which also inspired a number other traditional observances, including Lent.
  • 05-020: A Potpourri of March Holidays
    • Johnny Appleseed, π, Saint Joseph, and the announcement of Jesus's birth--March has a lot going on!
  • 05-021: Month-Long April Observances
    • It's spring! Write a poem, listen to some jazz, donate your organs, or volunteer!
  • 05-022: April Fools' and Tomb-Sweeping Day
    • From the foolishness of April 1st, we pivot to the "grave" activity of sweeping the ancestral tombs, in Chinese culture.
  • 05-023: April Birthdays - Part I
    • April birthdays (in 2017) included 'Ali ibn Abi Talib, whom some Muslims believe to be Muhammad's first successor; and Queen Elizabeth, whom some believe to be the ruler of England!
  • 05-024: April Birthdays - Part II
    • April celebrants include the Buddha, Thomas Jefferson, a founder of modern Puerto Rico, numerous Scandinavian royals, and an African king.
  • 05-025: Songkran
    • New Years is one of the world's most widely celebrated holidays, and it's celebrated in a wide variety of ways! As an example, notice the flinging of water in some Buddhist countries.
  • 05-026: International Jazz Day
    • Find out how American jazz rose from its humble beginnings to become an important force in international relations.
  • 05-027: New Beer's Eve and Other Frivolous April Days
    • Fads come and go, but people will have their beer! Find out about "New Beer's Eve" and the end of Prohibition in the U.S.
  • 05-028: MAYDAY!
    • There seems to be some connection between May Day--the ancient beginning of the northern hemisphere's summer--and honoring the labor of workers.
  • 05-029: Mother's Days
    • The official recognition of Mother's Day in the U.S. was long in coming. But today, nearly half of the world's 175 celebrations use approximately the same date!
  • 05-030: Memorial Day and Summer
    • Traditionally, America's "summer social season" (not summer itself) began on Memorial Day at the end of May and ended with Labor Day at the start of September.
  • 05-031: Ascension and Pentecost
    • Forty Days after Easter comes the Feast of the Ascension, commemorating Jesus's ascent into heaven; ten days after that is Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit founded the church.
  • 05-032: May Potpourri
    • May plays host to everything from the Mexican fiesta of Cinco de Mayo to the silly Star Wars Day, as well as Russia's end-of-school celebration, "The Last Bell."
  • 05-033: May Birthdays
    • Three very different birthday celebrants: Mexican Founding Father Miguel Hidalgo; longtime Malawian leader Hastings Banda; and the Irish monk-explorer Saint Brendan.
  • 05-034: Dads and Grads
    • Two celebrations fortuitously rhymed by the advertising industry: Father's Day ("Dads") and commencement exercises ("Grads")!
  • 05-035: Midsummer's Day
    • A pale counterpart to the better-known December solstice, the magic of this date was admirably captured by no less than William Shakespeare.
  • 05-036: Helen Keller Day
    • Many of us have heard of Helen Keller (sometimes as the butt of cruel jokes), and picture her as a simple, cheerful woman. But she is much more complex than that.
  • 05-037: June Potpourri - Part I
    • From recognition of ecological challenges to simple acts of friendliness, June holidays have a lot to offer.
  • 05-038: June Potpourri - Part II
    • From an Irish pub crawl to the luring of rats to their deaths--and with a group of mystical sleepers thrown in--June is just weird!
  • 05-039: America's Independence Day
    • Bang the drums! Ring the bells! Wave the flags! It's the Fourth of July, and all Americans celebrate, albeit each in his or her own way.
  • 05-040: July Independence Days - Part I
    • Forty-four of the world's Independence Days--some 35% of the 126--occur in July and August. See some of them in this lesson.
  • 05-041: July Independence Days - Part II
    • Let's look at another round of countries that celebrate their independence in July, in South America, Africa, the Pacific, and more.
  • 05-042: Tanabata (Qixi)
    • Two lovers--actually, stars--are banished to opposite sides of the river called the Milky Way, and can meet only once a year.
  • 05-043: World UFO Day
    • July 2, 1947. Something strange happens in the skies over Roswell, New Mexico, and the rumors begin almost instantly, resulting in... is a holiday!
  • 05-044: July Potpourri
    • Canadians moving house en masse, a British "invasion," and the overthrow of the French monarchy--July still has a lot going on!
  • 05-045: Lazy August (Potpourri)
    • There's not much happening in August--maybe due to the heat! Still, a major pagan holiday and a major Christian one will do nicely.
  • 05-046: September Start-up (Potpourri)
    • A tribute to workers, another to the heroes of September 11, and a silly day that encourages people to "talk like a pirate," all in September
  • 05-047: Columbus Day Myths
    • No, Columbus was not "Italian," he did not "discover America," and he didn't even touch the North American continent.
  • 05-048: Halloween
    • Halloween has its roots in one of the dates on the Great Wheel of the Year, between Autumn Equinox and Winter Solstice--the beginning of the Season of the Dead.
  • 05-049: October Potpourri
    • In October we celebrate Guardian Angels, teachers (another kind of angel!), the Canadian recognition of women as persons, and Basque Country.
  • 05-050: Thanksgiving
    • They used to tell us that our Thanksgiving dinners went back to "the Pilgrims" in an unbroken chain. Not so!
  • 05-051: Guy Fawkes Night - Part I
    • This celebration has its roots in the arcane rules of succession by which an English king or queen was chosen.
  • 05-052: Guy Fawkes Night - Part II
    • The celebration is named after Guy Fawkes for his role in the "Gunpowder Plot" to blow up the English king. He was caught, and it failed.
  • 05-053: Culture Day
    • This quintessentially Japanese holiday has its roots in the birthday of the Meiji Emperor, many of whose successors also have "themed" birthday celebrations.
  • 05-054: November Potpourri
    • Remembering those who served our country, the rights of "ugly" women, and the importance of sanitation and clean water.
  • 05-055: Chalica
    • In December (or January) Unitarian Universalists celebrate their important principles and sources of wisdom.
  • 05-056: Christmas and St. Nick
    • When we think of Christmas, we think of Santa Claus. But it wasn't always so! Meet Saint Nicholas and learn his story.
  • 05-057: Hanukkah and Kwanzaa
    • Two December holidays very similar in some ways--Hanukkah and Kwanzaa--have different origins and serve different communities.
  • 05-058: December Potpourri
    • Faith in the Virgin of Guadalupe, the loyalty of the 47 Ronin, and the renewal promised by New Years Eve: December is a time of beginnings as well as endings.



Part 6: Countries of the World
(June 26, 2017 to November 20, 2018)

In mid-2017 I undertook to write one profile for every country in the world. With 201 articles, I'd say I pretty much nailed it!
  • 06-001: Azerbaijan, The Land of Fire
  • 06-002: Namibia, The Land of the Brave
  • 06-003: Latvia: "Fatherland and Freedom"
  • 06-004: Grenada, the "Island of Spice"
  • 06-005: Moldova: "Hospitality. Tradition. Mystery."
  • 06-006: Paraguay: "The Heart of South America"
  • 06-007: Sudan: "Victory is Ours"
  • 06-008: Tahiti: "Embraced by Mana"
  • 06-009: Oman: "Beauty Has an Address"
  • 06-010: Guatemala: "Soul of the Earth"
  • 06-011: Andorra: "The Pyrenean Country"
  • 06-012: Guyana: "South America, Undiscovered"
  • 06-013: Benin: "The Birthplace of Voodoo"
  • 06-014: Vanuatu: "Discover What Matters"
  • 06-015: "Experience Haiti"
  • 06-016: "I Wish I was in Finland"
  • 06-017: Maldives, the "Sunny Side of Life"
  • 06-018: Djibouti is "Djibeauty"
  • 06-019: "Beautiful Samoa"
  • 06-020: Kuwait, Home to Expats
  • 06-021: Belize: A Curious Place
  • 06-022: My Serbia
  • 06-023: Peru: Land of the Incas
  • 06-024: Liberia: "The love of liberty brought us here"
  • 06-025: There's Nothing Like Australia
  • 06-026: Brunei: A Kingdom of Unexpected Treasures
  • 06-027: Antigua and Barbuda: The Beach is Just the Beginning
  • 06-028: Romania: Explore the Carpathian Garden
  • 06-029: Uruguay Natural
  • 06-030: Beautiful Burundi
  • 06-031: Kiribati: For Travellers
  • 06-032: Mongolia: Go Nomadic
  • 06-033: Panama Surprises
  • 06-034: Made in Italy
  • 06-035: All You Need Is Ecuador
  • 06-036: Zambia: Let's Explore
  • 06-037: Nauru: The World's Least-Visited Country
  • 06-038: Georgia: For the Best Moments of Your Life
  • 06-039: Trinidad and Tobago: The True Caribbean
  • 06-040: Belgium: The Place to Be
  • 06-041: Mexico: Live It to Believe It
  • 06-042: Seychelles: Another World
  • 06-043: Timeless Tuvalu
  • 06-044: Iraq: The Cradle of Civilization
  • 06-045: El Salvador: The 45 Minute Country
  • 06-046: Portugal: Europe's West Coast
  • 06-047: Argentina Beats to Your Rhythm
  • 06-048: Morocco: Much Mor [sic]
  • 06-049: New Zealand: 100% Pure
  • 06-050: Vietnam: Timeless Charm
  • 06-051: Turks and Caicos Islands: Beautiful by Nature
  • 06-052: Vatican City: Seat of the Roman Catholic Church
  • 06-053: Brasil: Sensational
  • 06-054: Eritrea
  • 06-055: Papua New Guinea: A Million Different Journeys
  • 06-056: Nepal: Once is Not Enough
  • 06-057: Saint Kitts and Nevis: Follow Your Heart
  • 06-058: Albania: Go Your Own Way
  • 06-059: The Bahamas: Life is Grand
  • 06-060: Burkina Faso: Land of the Honest People
  • 06-061: Fiji: Where Happiness Finds You
  • 06-062: Israel: Land of Creation
  • 06-063: Autentica Cuba
  • 06-064: San Marino for All
  • 06-065: Saint Vincent and the Grenadines: Discover SVG
  • 06-066: The Gambia: The Smiling Coast of Africa
  • 06-067: Solomon Islands: Seek the Unexplored
  • 06-068: Wonderful Indonesia
  • 06-069: See Puerto Rico
  • 06-070: Spain in Detail
  • 06-071: Colombia is Magical Realism
  • 06-072: Algeria: Tourism for Everybody
  • 06-073: Marshall Islands: Gifts from God
  • 06-074: Laos: Simply Beautiful
  • 06-075: Nicaragua: Unique... Original
  • 06-076: Netherlands: The Original Cool
  • 06-077: Egypt: Where It All Begins
  • 06-078: Tonga: The True South Pacific
  • 06-079: Bhutan: Happiness is a Place
  • 06-080: Dominican Republic Has It All
  • 06-081: United Kingdom: Home of Amazing Moments
  • 06-082: Canada: Keep Exploring
  • 06-083: Nigeria: Good People, Great Nation
  • 06-084: Pristine Paradise Palau
  • 06-085: Beautiful Bangladesh
  • 06-086: Essential Costa Rica
  • 06-087: Austria: Arrive and Revive
  • 06-088: Bolivia Awaits You
  • 06-089: Cameroon: All of Africa in One Country
  • 06-090: Micronesia: Experience the Warmth
  • 06-091: It's Beautiful: It's Pakistan
  • 06-092: Ethiopia: Land of Origins
  • 06-093: Rendez-Vous en France
  • 06-094: Reveal Your Own Russia
  • 06-095: Magical Kenya
  • 06-096: Germany: Simply Inspiring
  • 06-097: Turkey: Be Our Guest
  • 06-098: Ghana: Akwaaba
  • 06-099: Greece: All Time Classic
  • 06-100: Saudi Arabia: Experience to Discover
  • 06-101: Madagascar: A Genuine Island, A World Apart
  • 06-102: Jamaica: Get All Right
  • 06-103: It's More Fun in the Philippines
  • 06-104: South Africa: Inspiring New Ways
  • 06-105: Visit Sweden
  • 06-106: Sri Lanka: Wonder of Asia
  • 06-107: I Feel Like Tunisia
  • 06-108: Switzerland: Get Natural
  • 06-109: Myanmar: Let the Journey Begin
  • 06-110: Cape Verde: No Stress
  • 06-111: Ukraine: It's All About U
  • 06-112: Malaysia: Truly Asia
  • 06-113: Tanzania: The Land of...
  • 06-114: Honduras: Everything is Here
  • 06-115: Incredible !ndia
  • 06-116: Uganda: You're Welcome
  • 06-117: Poland: Move Your Imagination
  • 06-118: Amazing Thailand: It Begins with the People
  • 06-119: Mozambique: Come to Where it All Started
  • 06-120: Think Hungary: More Than Expected
  • 06-121: Iran: You Are Invited
  • 06-122: Niger: Fraternity, Work, Progress
  • 06-123: Inspired by Iceland
  • 06-124: Imagine Your Korea
  • 06-125: Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • 06-126: Cyprus in Your Heart
  • 06-127: Uzbekistan: Naturally Irresistible
  • 06-128: Angola: Virtue Is Stronger When United
  • 06-129: French Guiana, a Part of France
  • 06-130: Kazakhstan: The Land of Wonders
  • 06-131: Zimbabwe: A World of Wonders
  • 06-132: Bosnia and Herzegovina: The Heart of Southeast Europe
  • 06-133: East Timor: Being First Has Its Rewards
  • 06-134: Libya, Libya, Libya
  • 06-135: Macedonia: Timeless
  • 06-136: Cambodia: Kingdom of Wonder
  • 06-137: Côte d'Ivoire: Home to the World's Largest Church
  • 06-138: Easy Going Monaco
  • 06-139: Visit Armenia, It Is Beautiful
  • 06-140: Somalia, a Failed State
  • 06-141: Venezuela is Your Destination
  • 06-142: Explore Yemen
  • 06-143: Senegal: One People, One Goal, One Faith
  • 06-144: Liechtenstein: Experience Princely Moments
  • 06-145: Botswana: Our Pride, Your Destination
  • 06-146: United Arab Emirates: Discover All That's Possible
  • 06-147: Denmark: Happiest Place on Earth
  • 06-148: Mauritania: Proceed with Caution
  • 06-149: Your Singapore
  • 06-150: Suriname: A Colorful Experience…
  • 06-151: Remarkable Rwanda
  • 06-152: Syria: Always Beautiful
  • 06-153: Malta: Truly Mediterranean
  • 06-154: Malawi: The Warm Heart of Africa
  • 06-155: Tajikistan: Feel the Friendship
  • 06-156: Reveal Your Own Russia
  • 06-157: Mauritius: It's a Pleasure
  • 06-158: Qatar: Where Dreams Come to Life
  • 06-159: Live Your Unexpected Luxembourg
  • 06-160: Equatorial Guinea: Open at Last
  • 06-161: Kyrgyzstan: Oasis on the Great Silk Road
  • 06-162: Norway: Powered by Nature
  • 06-163: Lesotho: The Kingdom in the Sky
  • 06-164: Ours. Yours. Bahrain
  • 06-165: Bulgaria: A Discovery to Share
  • 06-166: Sao Tome and Principe: Paradise on Earth
  • 06-167: Live, Love, Lebanon
  • 06-168: Saint Lucia: Simply Beautiful
  • 06-169: Bienvenue au Togo
  • 06-170: Japan: Endless Discovery
  • 06-171: The Czech Republic: Land of Stories
  • 06-172: Republic of the Congo: Unity, Work, Progress
  • 06-173: Yes, It's Jordan
  • 06-174: Jump into Ireland
  • 06-175: Central African Republic: Proceed with Caution
  • 06-176: Turkmenistan: Middlest Country of Central Asia
  • 06-177: Lithuania: Real is Beautiful
  • 06-178: Chile: All Are Welcome
  • 06-179: Chad: Oasis of the Sahel
  • 06-180: Afghanistan the Unconquerable
  • 06-181: Guinea: Work, Justice, Solidarity
  • 06-182: Palestine, a Partially Recognized State
  • 06-183: Comoros, in the Mozambique Channel
  • 06-184: Kosovo, Another Disputed Country
  • 06-185: Dominica: The Nature Island
  • 06-186: The Former Spanish Sahara
  • 06-187: Belarus: Hospitality Beyond Borders
  • 06-188: Sierra Leone: The Freedom to Explore
  • 06-189: Guinea-Bissau, Country and Capital
  • 06-190: Travel in Slovakia: Good Idea
  • 06-191: China Like Never Before
  • 06-192: Swaziland: A Royal Experience
  • 06-193: Croatia: Full of Life
  • 06-194: Brilliant Barbados
  • 06-195: Mali, Cradle of Empires
  • 06-196: I Feel sLOVEnia
  • 06-197: The United States: All Within Your Reach
  • 06-198: Prosperous Gabon
  • 06-199: Montenegro: Wild Beauty
  • 06-200: South Sudan, the World's Newest Country
  • 06-201: Epic Estonia



Part 7: Wars and Battles
(November 22, 2018 to October 22, 2020)

Wow. Around 275 articles about "man's inhumanity to man." (Yes, "wars and battles" have mostly been at the hands of men.) Some were farcical, but most were downright depressing. Still, it's an aspect of culture that can't be ignored; many countries' histories are best defined by the conflicts in which they've engaged. <sigh>
  • 07-001: The Siege of Yorktown
  • 07-002: The Battle of Leipzig
  • 07-003: War: What Is It Good For
  • 07-004: The Trojan War
  • 07-005: Custer's Last Stand
  • 07-006: The Battle at the Milvian Bridge
  • 07-007: The Battle of Hastings
  • 07-008: The Battles of Lexington and Concord
  • 07-009: The War of Jenkins' Ear
  • 07-010: Emperor Qin and the Unification of China
  • 07-011: Remember the Alamo
  • 07-012: The Attack on Pearl Harbor
  • 07-013: A Pyrrhic Victory
  • 07-014: Meeting His Waterloo
  • 07-015: Dracula Attacks at Night
  • 07-016: The Maid of Orleans
  • 07-017: Washington Crosses the Delaware
  • 07-018: The Siege of Masada
  • 07-019: The Battle of Magnesia
  • 07-020: Boudicca's Defeat
  • 07-021: The Conquest of Mecca
  • 07-022: The First Battle of Bull Run
  • 07-023: The Battle of the Nile
  • 07-024: The Siege of Tenochtitlan
  • 07-025: Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho
  • 07-026: The Battle of Gettysburg
  • 07-027: The Battle of the Somme
  • 07-028: The Defeat of the Spanish Armada
  • 07-029: The Battle of Megiddo
  • 07-030: The Battle of Tours
  • 07-031: The Battle of Ain Jalut
  • 07-032: The Battle of Shanhai Pass
  • 07-033: The Battle of Roncevaux
  • 07-034: Saint Valentine's Day Massacre
  • 07-035: The Battle of Gaugamela
  • 07-036: The Gallipoli Campaign
  • 07-037: The "Battle" of Cajamarca
  • 07-038: The Wounded Knee Massacre
  • 07-039: The Mandekalu Army of Mali
  • 07-040: The Battle of Sekigahara
  • 07-041: The Israel War of Independence
  • 07-042: The Battle of Grunwald
  • 07-043: The Kurukshetra War
  • 07-044: The Battle of Agincourt
  • 07-045: The Battle of Bosworth Field
  • 07-046: The Battle on the Ice
  • 07-047: Las Navas de Tolosa
  • 07-048: The Battle of the Dunes
  • 07-049: The Spanish American War
  • 07-050: The Punic Wars
  • 07-051: The Anglo-Sikh Wars
  • 07-052: The War of the Holy League
  • 07-053: The Boer Wars
  • 07-054: Farrukhsiyar's Rebellion
  • 07-055: The Pueblo Revolt
  • 07-056: The Anglo-Zanzibar War
  • 07-057: The Pig War
  • 07-058: The Three Hundred and Thirty Five Years' War
  • 07-059: The War of the Stray Dog
  • 07-060: The Pastry War
  • 07-061: The Lincoln County War
  • 07-062: The Charge of the Light Brigade
  • 07-063: The Crusades
  • 07-064: The Battle of Yarmouk
  • 07-065: The Battle of Hattin
  • 07-066: The Battle of Lake Trasimene
  • 07-067: The Second Battle of Tarain
  • 07-068: The Battle of Manzikert
  • 07-069: The Battle of Emmaus
  • 07-070: The Battle of the Metaurus
  • 07-071: The Battle of Blenheim
  • 07-072: The Battle of Lechfeld
  • 07-073: The Battle of Poltava
  • 07-074: The Battle of Valmy
  • 07-075: The Battle of Antietam
  • 07-076: The Capture of the Fleet at Den Helder
  • 07-077: The Victoria-Camperdown Collision
  • 07-078: The "Battle of Cape Lookout"
  • 07-079: The War of the Oaken Bucket
  • 07-080: The Pork and Beans War
  • 07-081: Lijar vs France
  • 07-082: The Paraguayan War
  • 07-083: A Smashing Ending
  • 07-084: The Great Emu War
  • 07-085: The Battle of Los Angeles
  • 07-086: The Blind Charge at Crecy
  • 07-087: The Combat of the Thirty
  • 07-088: Fun Times at the Siege of Halicarnassus - Part I
  • 07-089: Fun Times at the Siege of Halicarnassus - Part II
  • 07-090: The Football War
  • 07-091: The Nika Riots
  • 07-092: The War of the Golden Stool
  • 07-093: The Chincha Islands War
  • 07-094: The Battle for Castle Itter
  • 07-095: The Battle of Karansebes
  • 07-096: The Great Arab Revolt
  • 07-097: The Flagstaff War
  • 07-098: The Phoney War
  • 07-099: The Fall of the God of Battles
  • 07-100: The Siege of Kut Al Amara
  • 07-101: The Invasion of Grenada
  • 07-102: Wyatt's Rebellion
  • 07-103: The End of the Roman Republic
  • 07-104: The Jacobite Rebellions
  • 07-105: The Roman Expansion
  • 07-106: The Unification of Italy
  • 07-107: The Bataan Death March
  • 07-108: The Great Siege of Gibraltar
  • 07-109: The Battle of Bladensburg
  • 07-110: The Quasi-War
  • 07-111: The Cold War
  • 07-112: The Mongol Conquests
  • 07-113: La Noche Triste
  • 07-114: The Huguenot Wars
  • 07-115: Shaka's Conquest
  • 07-116: The Mexican Revolution
  • 07-117: The Battle of Actium
  • 07-118: The First Battle of Panipat
  • 07-119: The Battle of Stamford Bridge
  • 07-120: The Battle of Cape Bon
  • 07-121: The Battle of Solway Moss
  • 07-122: The Battle of Stirling Bridge
  • 07-123: The Battle of New Orleans
  • 07-124: The Battle of the Teutoburg Forest
  • 07-125: The North-West Rebellion
  • 07-126: The Battle of Gravia Inn
  • 07-127: The Athenian Defeat at Syracuse
  • 07-128: The Battles of Saratoga
  • 07-129: The Battle of Chalons
  • 07-130: The Battle of Marathon
  • 07-131: The Battle of the Yellow Ford
  • 07-132: The Battle of the Caudine Forks
  • 07-133: The Battle of Diu
  • 07-134: The Battle of the Camel
  • 07-135: The Battle of the Delta
  • 07-136: The Battle of Lepanto
  • 07-137: The English Armada
  • 07-138: The Battle of Flodden
  • 07-139: The Battle of Adrianople
  • 07-140: The Battle of Singapore
  • 07-141: The Battle of Red Cliffs
  • 07-142: The Raid on the Medway
  • 07-143: The Battle of Narva
  • 07-144: The Battle of Majuba Hill
  • 07-145: Holmes's Bonfire
  • 07-146: The Battle of Achelous
  • 07-147: The Battle of San Jacinto
  • 07-148: Operation Eagle Claw
  • 07-149: Yermak Conquers Siberia
  • 07-150: The Massacre of Elphinstone's Army
  • 07-151: The Battle of the Northern Desert
  • 07-152: The Battle of the Golden Spurs
  • 07-153: The Battle of the Kalka River
  • 07-154: The Battle of Koregaon
  • 07-155: The Battle of Nicopolis
  • 07-156: The Apache Wars
  • 07-157: The Battle of Adwa
  • 07-158: The Battle of Salamis
  • 07-159: The World's Most Peaceful Modern Nations
  • 07-160: The Battle of Longewala
  • 07-161: The Battle of Isandlwana
  • 07-162: The Six-Day War
  • 07-163: The Battle of the Trebia
  • 07-164: The Battle of Chancellorsville
  • 07-165: The Battle of Kilimanjaro
  • 07-166: The Battle of Arausio
  • 07-167: The Tale of the Heike
  • 07-168: The Battle of the Monongahela
  • 07-169: The Battle of Placentia
  • 07-170: The Miracle of the Vistula
  • 07-171: The Refuge Rock Massacre
  • 07-172: The Battle of Iwo Jima
  • 07-173: Julian's Persian War
  • 07-174: The Battle of Varbica Pass
  • 07-175: The Battle of Vienna
  • 07-176: Battles on the Rio de la Plata
  • 07-177: The Battle of Okehazama
  • 07-178: The Battle of Edessa
  • 07-179: The Siege of Alesia
  • 07-180: The Battle of Annual
  • 07-181: The Battle of Camden
  • 07-182: The Infamous Red Baron
  • 07-183: The Battle of Isly
  • 07-184: The Siege of Calais
  • 07-185: The Vikings in England
  • 07-186: Sherman's March to the Sea
  • 07-187: The Siege of Jadotville
  • 07-188: The Sack of Rome
  • 07-189: The Blockade of Saint-Domingue
  • 07-190: Totila and the Gothic War
  • 07-191: The Battle of Stalingrad
  • 07-192: "The Fifteen Decisive Battles of the World" - Part I
  • 07-193: "The Fifteen Decisive Battles of the World" - Part II
  • 07-194: The Battle of Chrysopolis
  • 07-195: L'Escalade
  • 07-196: The Battle of Holy Apostles Monastery
  • 07-197: The Difficult Rise of Temujin
  • 07-198: The Battle of the Herrings
  • 07-199: The Battle of Dresden
  • 07-200: The 300-Plus at Thermopylae
  • 07-201: Commodore Perry and the Opening of Japan
  • 07-202: The Battle of Changping
  • 07-203: The Battle of Tolentino
  • 07-204: Legendary Spoils of Conquest
  • 07-205: Napoleon Picks the Top Generals - Part I
  • 07-206: Napoleon Picks the Top Generals - Part II
  • 07-207: Guerilla Warfare
  • 07-208: The Iron Bridge--and Antioch
  • 07-209: The Battle of Castillon
  • 07-210: The Battle of Oxus River
  • 07-211: The Battles of Timbuktu
  • 07-212: Battling Lizards
  • 07-213: The Battle of the Bulge
  • 07-214: The Battle of Trafalgar
  • 07-215: The Battle of Thymbra
  • 07-216: Operation Desert Storm
  • 07-217: The Battle of Britain
  • 07-218: The Battle of Plassey
  • 07-219: The Battle of Dien Bien Phu
  • 07-220: The Battle of Badr
  • 07-221: The Brusilov Offensive
  • 07-222: The Battle of Leuctra
  • 07-223: The First Battle of the Marne
  • 07-224: The Battle of Tel el Kebir
  • 07-225: The Battle of Zama
  • 07-226: The Battle of Borodino
  • 07-227: The Battle of Ayacucho
  • 07-228: The Battle of Midway
  • 07-229: The Battle of Beth Horon
  • 07-230: The Battle of Manila Bay
  • 07-231: The Battle of Quebec
  • 07-232: The Battle of Bouvines
  • 07-233: The Battle of Tricamarum
  • 07-234: The Battle of Ipsus
  • 07-235: The Battle for Mexico City
  • 07-236: The Siege of Jerusalem
  • 07-237: The Battle of Breitenfeld
  • 07-238: The Battle of Glorieta Pass
  • 07-239: The Anglo-Satsuma War
  • 07-240: The Battle of Sedan
  • 07-241: The Battle of Pydna
  • 07-242: The Second Battle of the Marne
  • 07-243: Lafayette, We Are Here
  • 07-244: Dogs for Defense
  • 07-245: ''Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead''
  • 07-246: Tippecanoe (and Tyler too)
  • 07-247: Operation Overlord
  • 07-248: The Battle of Granada
  • 07-249: The Battle of Pharsalus
  • 07-250: The Battle of Rivoli
  • 07-251: The Battle of Fort Donelson
  • 07-252: David versus Goliath
  • 07-253: The Seven Days Battles
  • 07-254: Fifty-four Forty or Fight
  • 07-255: The Fall of France
  • 07-256: The Battle of Ceresole
  • 07-257: The Potsdam Conference
  • 07-258: Robert the Bruce
  • 07-259: The Mongols
  • 07-260: The Battle of Culloden
  • 07-261: Thomas Paine, American Propagandist
  • 07-262: The Just War
  • 07-263: The Battle of Formigny
  • 07-264: The Legend of St. Maurice
  • 07-265: Saladin and the Nubians
  • 07-266: German Refugee Scientists
  • 07-267: The First Anglo-Ashanti War
  • 07-268: The Battle of Fontenoy
  • 07-269: The Dancing Queen
  • 07-270: The Battle of Leyte Gulf
  • 07-271: "Coronado's Children"
  • 07-272: Abram and the War of Nine Kings
  • 07-273: The Battle of Arnemuiden



Part 8: Stories and Tales: Retellings
(October 26, 2020 to the present)

Late in 2020 I got permission to do my favorite thing: retell some of the great (and some of the small) stories of humankind. At first, bowing to pressure from my editor, I included the "stories" of some inventions and discoveries, but after awhile I was free to tell the basic outlines of famous fairy tales, dramas, short stories, novels, poems, and movies. And I'm still at it!
  • 08-001: Newton and the Apple
    • Isaac Newton got bonked on the head by an apple (or did he?) and as a result we understand gravity!
  • 08-002: Von Beringe's Gorilla
    • Are big beasts still out there waiting to be found? Mountain gorillas weren't "discovered" until 1902! Find out how.
  • 08-003: The Language of the Universe
    • Not all languages are made of words! Galileo (maybe) described mathematics as "the language of the universe." Decode it in this lesson.
  • 08-004: The Wheel
    • Few inventions are as important as the wheel--but no one knows when or by whom it was invented! Find wheels all around you!
  • 08-005: Bell's Telephone
    • Unusual indeed is the person who doesn't have a telephone. Find out Alexander Graham Bell's place in a chain of inventors.
  • 08-006: Darwin's Life-Changing Discovery
    • A natural disaster in a far-away land contributed to the development of Darwin's theory of evolution. Read some lines from his account!
  • 08-007: The Telescope
    • The telescope helps us "see far" (the meaning of its name). Find out how Galileo and others brought us this great power.
  • 08-008: Penicillin
    • How many would have died young if not for the development of penicillin by Alexander Fleming? Here's his inspiring story.
  • 08-009: Global Time
    • What time zone do you live in? Find out where the idea came from--and why it's important.
  • 08-010: The First Photograph
    • What we know of people and places we've never actually seen is mostly thanks to photography. Find out where it started!
  • 08-011: Babbage's Analytical Engine
    • The computer or phone you might be using right now is a direct grandchild of a cranky man named Babbage.
  • 08-012: Crossword Puzzles
    • "A fad." A "sinful waste." A "mark of a childish mentality." And a hundred years later more popular than ever!
  • 08-013: The Mercator Projection Map
    • How do you transfer marks on a 3D ball onto a 2D piece of paper? Mercator's solution is one of the best.
  • 08-014: Plywood
    • Cheap, sturdy, and flexible: the manufacture of the underrated material called "plywood" has a proud history.
  • 08-015: Terms from The Iliad
    • "Achilles' Heel," "to hector," and "Trojan Horse" were all born in one work, Homer's Iliad. Learn their context in this lesson.
  • 08-016: Peter and the Wolf
    • This classic Russian "symphonic fairy tale for children" has delight audiences since 1936. Here's its story.
  • 08-017: Ancient Art or Early Doodle?
    • Archaeologists in South Africa have found the earliest known drawing, 73,000 years old. Learn about this exciting discovery.
  • 08-018: Aucassin and Nicolette
    • Forbidden lovers: not Romeo and Juliet, but an earlier couple, a Christian and a Muslim! Read their timeless love story.
  • 08-019: The "Real" Aladdin
    • The Disney version is fun, but for sheer excitement, give me the version found in the Arabian Nights. Read a summary in this lesson.
  • 08-020: The Internet
    • A phone is just a phone, a computer just a computer. But the internet brings the world to your hands! Learn about its birth in this lesson.
  • 08-021: Robin Hood
    • Medieval tales tell of Robin, an outlaw with a band of merry men. Maid Marian, Prince John, and the Sheriff are all here!
  • 08-022: The Wife of Bath's Tale
    • One of King Arthur's men has to learn "What it is that women most desire?" The answer may surprise you!
  • 08-023: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
    • R. L. Stevenson's classic psychological tale of an experimenting doctor bringing out his dark side.
  • 08-024: A Visit from Saint Nicholas
    • "'Twas the Night Before Christmas"--the poem that gives us our modern ideas about Santa Claus.
  • 08-025: The Monkey and the Crocodile
    • A charming animal fable from India's Panchatantra about the limits of a friendship between two unlikely fellows.
  • 08-026: The Twelve Labors of Hercules - Part I
    • Hercules, son of Zeus, is cursed with madness, and afterward must atone for the damage done in a frenzy. The story begins here.
  • 08-027: The Twelve Labors of Hercules - Part II
    • Strongman Hercules continues his penance with six more labors before his atonement is complete.
  • 08-028: The Divine Comedy
    • Dante's moving inner experience "midway upon the road of life" carries him through hell, purgatory, and at last heaven.
  • 08-029: The Hunchback of Notre Dame
    • Victor Hugo's rousing tale of a homely bell ringer's love for a beautiful gypsy girl--and all of Paris.
  • 08-030: Culhwch and Olwen
    • A Welsh knight is cursed to love only Olwen, daughter of a giant, but to win her, he must perform forty tasks.
  • 08-031: Kleobis and Biton
    • The happiest man is he who dies at the peak of happiness, before misfortune befalls him. Witness the case of two brothers in this lesson.
  • 08-032: A True Story, Word for Word as I Heard It
    • Mark Twain's account of joy and sorrow in the life of "Aunt Rachel," formerly enslaved and now his sister-in-law's cook.
  • 08-033: Life is a Dream
    • A scrappy prince is duped into believing he's awake when asleep, and vice versa, setting up his cousins to usurp his throne.
  • 08-034: Travelers' Tales
    • Before the days of fact-checking, people believed the wildest tales--like some about odd variations on humanity. See some here.
  • 08-035: Alexander Meets the King of China
    • Alexander the Great did some amazing things--but meeting the "king" of China wasn't one of them! But there's a legend...
  • 08-036: Rumpelstiltskin
    • A miller's daughter-turned-princess learns not to make deals with mysterious little men! Find out what happened.
  • 08-037: The Man Who Never Laughed Again
    • From the Arabian Nights, another story about what happens when someone does "the one forbidden thing." You'll see!
  • 08-038: David Copperfield
    • Davy, "Trot," David: the life and career of one of Dickens's archetypal heroes, with dozens of colorful characters.
  • 08-039: Pecos Bill, the Cowboys' Hero
    • A bigger-than-life Western legend, and "the toughest critter west of the Alamo": meet Pecos Bill, a hero to the cowboy.
  • 08-040: Romeo and Juliet
    • Romance, or a tale of young love gone terribly, terribly wrong? In any case, read the tragic story of these "star-crossed lovers."
  • 08-041: The Boy Who Cried Wolf
    • Aesop's familiar story of a lying prankster who gets his comeuppance (and may have been eaten!), a cautionary tale.
  • 08-042: The Hound of the Baskervilles
    • A case for Sherlock Holmes! A huge beast terrorizes the heirs of Sir Hugo Baskerville, and only Holmes can figure it out.
  • 08-043: Nala and Damayanti
    • An ancient Indian love story from the Mahabharata: with a swan's help, a prince and princess fall in love sight unseen.
  • 08-044: The Groundhog and the Witch
    • Punxsutawney Phil, star of Groundhog Day, traces back to an ancient Celtic witch who created the mountains with a hammer.
  • 08-045: Tales of Nasruddin
    • Some might say a crazy fool is the last man they'd turn to for wisdom; others would say he's the first! You be the judge.
  • 08-046: The Tell-Tale Heart
    • Poe's chilling story of a man who murders his roommate because of his "evil eye"--then has to deal with the police.
  • 08-047: Citizen Kane
    • Cinematic genius Orson Welles's masterpiece about a wealthy man who dies clutching a child's toy and uttering "Rosebud."
  • 08-048: The Legend of Saint Valentine
    • The holiday of love, doves, and candy's truly gruesome beginnings in the life and death of a Christian martyr.
  • 08-049: Frankenstein
    • Victor Frankenstein's monster stars in Mary Shelley's classic tale of horror--but there's more to it than that!
  • 08-050: Don Quixote
    • A mad man tilts at windmills--and shows us that chivalry is not dead, that we can "dream the impossible dream." Meet him in this lesson.
  • 08-051: The Marriage of Figaro
    • Some call Figaro "the best opera ever written." True or not, it's a hilarious comedy of errors.
  • 08-052: The Scarlet Letter
    • Hester Prynne's plight brings out the dark side of American Puritanism, exposing the hypocrisy of some religious leaders.
  • 08-053: The Frogs Ask for a King
    • Aesop, who may formerly have been enslaved, seemed to take a dim view of government, as revealed in this fable of misrule.
  • 08-054: The Metamorphosis
    • Franz Kafka's tale of a hapless fellow who wakes up as a giant bug can at times feel oddly familiar to some of us.
  • 08-055: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
    • - C. S. Lewis's surprisingly deep "children's" story places four ordinary children in a world of witches, fauns, and Father Christmas.
  • 08-056: The Ramayana
    • One of India's two great epics features a kidnapping and rescue, with a prominent place for demons and a battling monkey.
  • 08-057: Pinocchio
    • This familiar tale of a wooden boy who becomes "real" is actually based in an almost dream-like novel.
  • 08-058: To Kill a Mockingbird
    • Harper Lee's classic story of a noble father fighting injustice in the American South is read by most American students.
  • 08-059: The Happy Prince
    • Oscar Wilde's bittersweet tale of a prince who develops a conscience too late will leave you pitying him, the bird, and the world.
  • 08-060: Goldilocks and the Three Bears
    • This little blonde girl has something to teach us about the "Golden Mean" or the "Middle Way"; it's "just right"!
  • 08-061: Echo and Narcissus
    • Narcissus is doomed to love only himself, and Echo to love only him, and to repeat the words of others. Sad!
  • 08-062: The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County
    • Mark Twain's "Jumping Frog" is one of this humorist's funniest stories. Have a good laugh at the duping of Jim Smiley.
  • 08-063: Sina and the Eel
    • Read how a king's love for a great beauty led to the origin of the coconut tree, a crucial plant for survival in Oceania.
  • 08-064: Odin, the Norse All-father
    • Read about Odin (or Woden), the Norse god whom we honor in the name of "Wednesday," and learn how he attained wisdom.
  • 08-065: Heart of Darkness
    • Joseph Conrad's novel is the acknowledged inspiration for Francis Ford Coppola's film, Apocalypse Now.
  • 08-066: The Highwayman: A Ghost Story
    • Every culture has ghost stories; many of them are about love. Such is "The Highwayman," by Alfred Noyes.
  • 08-067: The Blue Mountains - Part I
    • Three men sleep in a castle, but only one frees the enchanted Princess who lives there! This is the first part of two.
  • 08-068: The Blue Mountains - Part II
    • The Princess's betrothed must search far and wide to find her--before she marries another! Here's the end of the story.
  • 08-069: Uncle Tom's Cabin
    • U.S. President Abraham Lincoln supposedly said that the author of Uncle Tom's Cabin started the Civil War!
  • 08-070: The Forty-Seven Ronin
    • Japan's epic story has a haughty courtier, a sincere bumpkin, and a revenge plot worthy of the Count of Monte Cristo!
  • 08-071: La Belle Dame sans Merci
    • Read about John Keats's ghostly poem of a knight's love for a "faery's child," and the dire results it brought him.
  • 08-072: King Alfred and the Cakes
    • "Uneasy lies the head..." Hear a story about how the burdens of kingship can distract one from a simple task like baking.
  • 08-073: The Wizard of Oz
    • One of my favorite films (featuring one of my favorite songs) tells about a girl who learns "there's no place like home."
  • 08-074: Treasure Island
    • R. L. Stevenson's rousing tale of young Jim Hawkins setting out to sea, looking for buried treasure, and battling pirates.
  • 08-075: The Hobbit - Part I
    • In Part I of the story, homebody Bilbo Baggins is convinced to help some dwarves recover their treasure--from a dragon!
  • 08-076: The Hobbit - Part II
    • In Part II, Bilbo succeeds, with a lot of help from his friends. Learn more about this modern folk tale.
  • 08-077: The Tiger, the Brahmin, and the Jackal
    • See how a lowly jackal proves wiser than a priest in this story from the Indian Panchatantra collection of fables.
  • 08-078: Around the World in Eighty Days
    • Travel along with the delightful story of an English gentleman's bet that he can circle the globe in "just" 80 days--but in 1872!
  • 08-079: Moby Dick
    • Melville's epic story of the revenge of mad Captain Ahab on the great white whale that took his leg off below the knee.
  • 08-080: The Swiss Family Robinson
    • A story of castaways and the moral lessons they learn while living on a "desert isle," just like Robinson Crusoe.
  • 08-081: Medea
    • Medea, a renowned witch, takes revenge on her cheating husband by killing a rival, the rival's father--and her own children! There's never been a woman like this one.
  • 08-082: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
    • The mysterious Captain Nemo (meaning "no one") cruises the world under the sea--long before that technically became possible!
  • 08-083: Call of the Wild
    • You never know what a pampered pup can do until he faces his feral fellows, and emerges as a leader.
  • 08-084: Charlotte's Web
    • Who's more terrific, a spider that can weave letters, or the pig she praises? Join Fern's conspiracy to save Wilbur the "runt"!
  • 08-085: The "Real" Cinderella
    • A coach made from a pumpkin, a fairy godmother, and a glass slipper lost at midnight? NOPE! As we see in this lesson, Grimm wrote of none of these.
  • 08-086: The Hatfields and the McCoys
    • A few violent skirmishes between two rural families has become a model "feud" in this oft-told historical tale.
  • 08-087: Rip Van Winkle
    • An idler drinks a brew with some "little men" in the mountains--and sleeps it off for 20 years, becoming an iconic sleeper.
  • 08-088: The Little Prince
    • An aviator downed in the Sahara learns lessons about what's important from a little boy visiting from Asteroid B 612.
  • 08-089: Anne of Green Gables
    • Anne, an orphan girl, is adopted by elderly siblings Marilla and Matthew, and blossoms in her life at Green Gables Farm.
  • 08-090: And Then There Were None
    • No one wrote mysteries like Agatha Christie, and none of her mysteries was as successful as this one!
  • 08-091: Childe Harold's Pilgrimage
    • Byron's "world-weary" Harold (a childe, not a child) sets out on a poetic cultural tour of the European continent to spice things up.
  • 08-092: The Necklace
    • Madame Loisel wants to look her best, so she borrows an expensive necklace from a rich friend--and loses it, ruining her family.
  • 08-093: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight - Part I
    • When King Arthur's feast is disrupted by a not-so-jolly green giant, his nephew Gawain must step up and defend his honor--with dire consequences.
  • 08-094: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight - Part II
    • In this part of the story, Gawain trades kisses in a strange castle with a mysterious couple, and nearly pays for it with his life.
  • 08-095: The "Real" Frog Prince
    • We all know the story: the princess kisses the frog, and he turns into a handsome prince, right? WRONG! Learn the true story in this lesson.
  • 08-096: The Music Man
    • "Professor" Harold Hill comes to River City to start a boys' band--and scam the townsfolk in one of my favorite movies.
  • 08-097: Dune
    • When you gotta have spice, nothing else will do, so when House Atreides gains control of it, everyone comes gunning for them.
  • 08-098: A Tale of Two Dogs
    • Two noble dogs, Argos in ancient Greece and Hachiko in modern Japan, became exemplary models of loyalty to their masters.
  • 08-099: Superman
    • Look! Up in the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane! No, it's the first modern superhero and the "gold standard" for all others.
  • 08-100: The Allegory of the Cave
    • Plato taught that the world we see is an imperfect reflection of the "world of Forms"; this allegory will make it all clear.
  • 08-101: Edison vs Tesla
    • Thomas Edison was a titan of invention, but part of his success was due more to his business skill and temperament than to genius. Find out how he used this edge to beat out Nikola Tesla.
  • 08-102: Lake Wobegon
    • "Well, it's been a quiet week in Lake Wobegon" Garrison Keillor always starts out his monologue, before going on to tell hilarious stories of his Minnesotan "hometown."
  • 08-103: The Belle of Amherst
    • She wrote the words, "I'm nobody"--but this just isn't true of shy, retiring Emily Dickinson, one of America's greatest poets.
  • 08-104: The Devil and Daniel Webster
    • The devil's contracts were always thought to be unbreakable--that is, until he met the formidable American lawyer and statesman Daniel Webster!
  • 08-105: The Pardoner's Tale
    • In one of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, three young men want to meet and challenge Death, but they get more than they bargained for!
  • 08-106: One Hundred and One Dalmatians
    • With the help of her comical henchmen, Cruella de Vil wants a coat made of the fur of Dalmatian puppies--but a network of dogs (and one cat) spoil her plans!
  • 08-107: Blackbeard the Pirate
    • The pirate Edward Teach, known as "Blackbeard," is remarkably famous considering that his career spanned only two years!
  • 08-108: The Tale of Peter Rabbit
    • Peter is a naughty little rabbit who can't seem to stay out of Mr. McGregor's garden, despite his mother's warnings. Read about his tale is in this lesson!
  • 08-109: The Death of Socrates
    • Socrates was executed for "corrupting the morals of the youth." Learn the story behind this "crime" and "see" how he died.
  • 08-110: Ramona, a Tale of Mission Days
    • Helen Hunt Jackson's novel Ramona tells the trials of a half-Indian orphaned girl in the days of the California missions.
  • 08-111: Thoreau's Walden
    • "I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately," Thoreau wrote--and he only cheated a little in doing so. Meet a foundational American philosopher and hear his thoughts.
  • 08-112: Robinson Crusoe
    • Meet literature's most famous castaway as he sets up house and learns to live the good life on the "Island of Despair."
  • 08-113: The Outcasts of Poker Flat
    • A group of ne'er-do-wells is exiled from a California mining camp--and proves they're better than most of the townsfolk!
  • 08-114: The Velveteen Rabbit
    • "When a child loves you for a long, long time... then you become Real." Find out how this worked for the Velveteen Rabbit.
  • 08-115: Kubla Khan
    • Few fantastic realms have captured the imagination like Coleridge's Xanadu, domain of the emperor Kubla Khan. Let's visit!
  • 08-116: Alice in Wonderland
    • Alice's adventure begins when she goes "down the rabbit hole"--and ends up in Wonderland! Join her on her absurd journey.
  • 08-117: The Story of Merlin
    • Move over, Harry Potter: Meet the prototypical wizard named Merlin--advisor to King Arthur and a true wonder worker!
  • 08-118: Mark Twain
    • The author's colorful life provided the inspiration for many of his best-known works. Find out where it all came from!
  • 08-119: The Destruction of Da Derga's Hostel
    • Read of the killing of Conaire Mor, High King of Ireland, after circumstances forced him to break a number of taboos.
  • 08-120: A Doll's House
    • Nora craves liberation in a way unsuitable for a woman in 1879. Watch as she gradually breaks out of her "doll's house."
  • 08-121: Peter Pan
    • Peter Pan, the boy who won't grow up, comes to the Darling's house and whisks away Wendy and her brothers to Never Land.
  • 08-122: The Tempest
    • Prospero the magician and his daughter Miranda have for twelve years been stranded on an island by his brother, Antonio. But all will be set right, as we shall see.
  • 08-123: Pyramus and Thisbe
    • Two young lovers separated by the enmity of their families--no, not Romeo and Juliet, but a couple who "lived" centuries before them and helped inspire their story.
  • 08-124: Three Tales by Hans Christian Andersen
    • An ugly duckling, a naked emperor, and a sensitive princess--meet three of the creations of Danish fairy tale author Hans Christian Andersen.
  • 08-125: The Song of Hiawatha
    • Meet one of the most famous culture heroes from Native American mythology--and American poetry!--and visit the shores of Gitche Gumee in this lesson.
  • 08-126: Vanity Fair - Part I
    • Becky Sharp was a gold digger, a social climber, a designing woman--and somehow managed to remain likeable through it all!
  • 08-127: Vanity Fair - Part II
    • Becky Sharp continues to depend on the kindness of friends until at last she attains a measure of respectability--but ends up friendless.
  • 08-128: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
    • Schoolmaster Ichabod Crane is in love with the wealthy Katrina Van Tassel, but bully Brom Bones has other plans for him--which involve a horseman with no head!
  • 08-129: Bluebeard
    • A gruesome tale of what happens when a fearsome man's young wife enters a locked room, and does "The One Forbidden Thing."
  • 08-130: Casey at the Bat
    • In the early days of baseball, a humorous poem captured the imagination of fans and gave us an anti-hero, the "mighty" Casey.
  • 08-131: Tarzan of the Apes
    • Prolific American "pulp" author Edgar Rice Burroughs wrote almost 80 novels, 24 of them about "Tarzan." Let's see the first one!
  • 08-132: The Great Departure of Prince Siddhartha
    • Buddhists mark four key events in the life of their founder: his birth, departure from home, enlightenment, and death. In this story, let's see how he renounced a life of luxury.
  • 08-133: The Blind Men and the Elephant
    • The famous Indian tale about six blind men "examining" an elephant and coming to very different conclusions was amusingly put into verse by a 19th-century American poet. Here's the story.
  • 08-134: Gulliver's Travels
    • You might know about Gulliver among the Lilliputians (little people), but what about the giants? Or the talking horses? And how about those Yahoos?
  • 08-135: The Three Musketeers
    • Athos, Porthos, Aramis, and their protégé d'Artagnan--the Three (plus one) Musketeers! Read about their swashbuckling adventures and political intrigues.
  • 08-136: The Hero's Journey - Part I
    • In 1949, Joseph Campbell introduced the "Monomyth": the idea that all hero stories share a similar pattern. Find out what it is in this lesson and the next.
  • 08-137: The Hero's Journey - Part II
    • The "call," the journey, the return: these are the basic elements of the "Monomyth" of hero's journey. Get more details in this lesson.



Extra! Extra!

At one point I shared a few lessons online that were never submitted to the Shenzhen Daily. Some of these I'm holding back to be published as eBooks; the others I offer you here. One of them, the Aesop's Fable titled "The Ants and the Grasshopper," received nearly 12,000 hits in less than ten years!
  • X-001: Talking about Ooze
  • X-002: "Ooze" Words
  • X-003: The Staffordshire Hoard - Part I
  • X-004: The Staffordshire Hoard - Part II
  • X-005: Locations
  • X-006: Popular Christmas Songs
  • X-007: Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
  • X-008: Aesop's Fables 1: The Lion and the Mouse
  • X-009: Aesop's Fables 2: The Tortoise and the Hare
  • X-010: Aesop's Fables 3: The Frogs Asking for a King
  • X-011: Aesop's Fables 4: The Crow and the Pitcher
  • X-012: Aesop's Fables 5: The Hen and the Golden Eggs
  • X-013: Aesop's Fables 6: The Ants and the Grasshopper

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