And this is the reply I received (minus the writer's real name): Thanks for your interest in
Unfortunately, we are unable to participate in your research for your upcoming book at this time.
Or something." But if they've answered this question hundreds of times, wouldn't they have some sort of boilerplate reply ready? Please take a moment to visit, and please ask a question. is an internationally-syndicated newspaper column answering questions about science and nature for young people, but many of the best questions actually come from certifiable adults, and if your question is picked to be answered, you will not only be the envy of your neighbors, but also win a Elsewhere in the wonderful world of people to whom I am related, my brother-in-law Michael Weber is a real-life crackerjack investigative reporter who actually understands U. campaign financing laws and, more importantly, knows how to ferret out the weasel tracks on the money trail. Just buy multiple copies of his new book Unstacking the Deck: A Reporter's Guide To Campaign Finance, just published by Investigative Reporters and Editors.
I guess I also thought that I'd remember something so strange. Perhaps the most famous "filibuster" was William Walker, who began by attempting to seize part of Mexico, proceeded to invade and take over Nicaragua, was tossed out after a few years, and was eventually captured and shot while trying to mount another invasion of Nicaragua.
But I gave up being a novelist, which meant that I no longer had an excuse to drink so much, and as soon as I quit that, the word disappeared. (A good summary of Walker's bizarre career can be found at Other equally colorful "filibusters" conducted campaigns against Cuba and several other nations in Central America and the Caribbean.
By 1877, "cakewalk" had graduated from the boxing ring and acquired its general meaning of "an effortless victory." Incidentally, the term "piece of cake," meaning "something easily accomplished," has only been traced back to the 1940s, and there is no apparent direct connection with "cakewalk." "Piece of cake" originally simply meant "something good," which cake certainly is. I know I answered this question a few years ago, because I included it in a collection of my columns (The Word Detective, published by Algonquin Books), but for some reason it doesn't appear in our archives.
Dear Word Detective: My friend and I were talking this morning about phrases used to describe fighting. In any case, it's a good question, so we'll rewind and play it again.