Linton Weeks

Linton Weeks joined NPR in the summer of 2008, as its national correspondent for Digital News. He immediately hit the campaign trail, covering the Democratic and Republican National Conventions; fact-checking the debates; and exploring the candidates, the issues and the electorate.

Weeks is originally from Tennessee, and graduated from Rhodes College in 1976. He was the founding editor of Southern Magazine in 1986. The magazine was bought — and crushed — in 1989 by Time-Warner. In 1990, he was named managing editor of The Washington Post's Sunday magazine. Four years later, he became the first director of the newspaper's website, From 1995 until 2008, he was a staff writer in the Style section of The Washington Post.

He currently lives in a suburb of Washington with the artist Jan Taylor Weeks. In 2009, they created The Stone and Holt Weeks Foundation to honor their beloved sons.

The brutal death of Emmett Till — an African-American teenager — in Mississippi in August of 1955, and the subsequent acquittal of his white murderers by an all-white jury, was a pivotal moment in the surge for civil rights in America.

Till, 14, was kidnapped, beaten and shot — after allegedly flirting with a white grocery store cashier — on Aug. 28, 1955. Civil rights activists saw Till's tragic death and open-casket funeral as a call to action.

Just about a century ago, an international student at a college in the United States was telling someone what she likes best about the English language: American slang. "I must learn it," she said. "It is so unexpected."

For example, she was surprised to learn — according to a November 1916 edition of the Delta Delta Delta sorority publication, the Trident -- that "brick" was the masculine equivalent of "peach" because the former was a "term of approval" for a man and the latter was a term of approval for a woman.

Strange, isn't it, we remark to Sandra L. Oliver — founder and editor of Food History News — that Americans in the 19th century ate foods such as robins and calf's foot jelly and boiled eels.

She cautions against criticism of previous generations or other cultures. "You are safer not talking 'strange' but rather, perhaps, neglected or abandoned eating habits," she says. "That would include almost any offal — that is, livers, spleen, kidneys, heart, brains, sweetbreads, et cetera."

The clubs, balls, vast verdant courses, garish outfits: Golf in America has arguably become rather ho-hum and predictable as the 2015 PGA Championship tournament tees off this week at Whistling Straits in Sheboygan, Wis.

Seaside, riverside and lakeshore beaches in America today are democratic scenes — level playing fields for folks of all stripes.

Not so in summers past.

Dunes And Don'ts

Time was, certain beaches in America were off limits to people of color. Some beachgoers publicly objected to women and men bathing together. And there were conventional rules — written and unwritten — that dictated behavior for bathers everywhere.

In the early years of photography, shooters in America began taking pictures of people from the back. Thumb through old turn-of-the-20th century snapshots — in this country and in Europe — and you are liable to see women, men, couples facing "the wrong direction."

Sometimes you see only one eye of the subject; other times, no eyes at all.

College history majors used to study The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Today perhaps they should also be studying the decline and fall of history majors.

Since 2010, the number of history majors at Ohio State University has dropped by more than 30 percent, according to a May 9 Columbus Dispatch story. Meanwhile, the number of students majoring in history at the University of Cincinnati has fallen by 33 percent since 2010.

Phrases phase in and out of everyday usage. Especially in the global hodgepodge that is American English. Sometimes, however, there are phrases forgotten that perhaps should be sayings salvaged.

Fedoras, flat caps, baseball caps — hats are prevalent among certain American men these days. Perhaps the hats tell us more about the hat wearer than we realize.

In fact, the National American History Museum points out in its intro to an online hat exhibit that "a hat is much more than a practical device for keeping one's head warm. As a symbol of identity, it also reveals much about the wearer's occupation, social class, cultural heritage, and personal style."