Where would I be without them?

Happy Birthday to:

Peter Mark Roget, born in London (1779). His name is attached to the Thesaurus, but he had a long career as a physician and a scientist before he compiled it. As a younger man, he experimented with laughing gas, figured out how to improve the public water supply, invented the log-log slide rule, and wrote a paper which was the first to describe the persistence of images on the retina, thought to have been the first step toward the development of the movie camera. In Roget’s Thesaurus you can find all sorts of suggestions for words that you want synonyms for. For “talk,” he suggests: “chatter, chat, prate, prattle, patter, babble, gab, gabble, gibble-gabble, jabber, blab, blabber, blather, blether, clatter, run on, rattle on, ramble on, run on like a mill race, talk till one is blue in the face.”

A. A. (Alan Alexander) Milne, born in St. John’s Wood, London (1882). He wrote for the humor magazine Punch, and he was the author of a successful play called Mr. Pim Passes By. But once he published Winnie the Pooh, nobody ever remembered anything else he had written. In a little verse, he lamented: When I wrote them, little thinking/All my years of pen – and – inking/Would be almost lost among/Those four trifles for the young.

HT: The Writer’s Almanac.

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