Phil O’Lologous

Otto and Friend: Are these the originators of modern vaccination?

Vaccination Comes From Cows and Jews

BACKWARD: ‘Are vaccinations horribly unkosher?’ reader Shamayim Bialik asks. He could be a relative of poet Nachman “Vestibule” Bialik from whose nickname Hallmark cards took their logo.

What If Miley Cyrus Did the Nasty in the Shvitz?

BACKWARD: All the talk in the local shvitz lately has been about twerking — or as YIVO would have it: tverking.

Sometimes a Cigar: The author reviews an early draft of Sigmund Freud?s ?Infantile Sexuality? (1928).

Lost in Language: Of Dead Dogs, Living Lions & Bifid Uvulae

If the cat got your tongue, which pet gets the brisket? For all your linguistic questions, it’s Phil O’Lologous.

Pronouns of the World Unite!

When Phil o’lologous first started writing this weekly column, almost 115 years ago, Karl Marx was the Simon Cowell of the era — a loudmouth from Britain passing judgment on the working class.

How the French Put the Olé Into Idiolect

‘Who put the condom in condominium?” asks avid reader Hugo Hefnerovich: more as an accusation than as a question. Despite the tone, the inquiry is worthy of further investigation, since the French inventor of the sheep gut prophylactic was a descendant of Rashi who had fled south from Troyes to the eponymous town of Condom near the Spanish border. The popular American brand, indeed, still carries the name of Rashi’s home town.

What’s a Nice Gerund Like You Doing in a Place Like This?

When people ask me who put the “sin in cinema,” I respond, “Kenneth Marcus of Englewood Heights, N.J.” Into their dropped jaws I explain that during the early days of American movies — when Englewood and environs were Hollywood and Broadway rolled into one — Mr. Marcus wanted to lend a sheen of sophistication to his tawdry fare.

Who Put the Coal in Coalition?

When people ask me, “Who put the fun in fundamentalism?” I always answer that it was a little-known 14th-century Sufi Pir named Sayyid Jalal al-din Husayn Bukhari.