In the 16th century, coffee shops prominently displayed coin boxes with the phrase "to ensure prompt service" written on the side. If you wanted your coffee in a hurry, you dropped a little something extra in the box, and made sure the waitress saw you do it.
This, according to at least one version of history, is where tipping began.
OK, we made that up. We can find no such thing. At least not on the various lists of official theme days in the United States.
But have you noticed? Americans give everything a special name — days, weeks, months.
Some are serious and draw attention to grave issues. June, for instance, is Antiphospholipid Antibody Syndrome Awareness Month — which puts a spotlight on a syndrome that leads to miscarriages, thrombosis, strokes and heart attacks. June is National Scoliosis Awareness Month and National Safety Month.
We all know that some animals seem to display emotions. If you've ever had a dog, for example, you can tell when they're feeling down and scientists have found that mammals and birds can exhibit pessimism.
Last December, pianist Arturo O'Farrill and his Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra left New York City for Cuba, along with O'Farrill's mother, his wife and his two teenage sons. The orchestra headlined the Havana International Jazz Plaza Festival, which was dedicated to O'Farrill's father, the legendary New York bandleader Chico O'Farrill.
Perhaps Mitt Romney's greatest vulnerability is the sense many voters and journalists have of him that his values are situational, that he'll take one position on an issue when it helps him politically and the opposite stance when that's advantageous.
The ideal competitor to a frontrunner with that kind of record then, would arguably be one who could boast of his consistency.
Tim Pawlenty may eventually be able to make that claim. But consistency isn't exactly the word that comes to mind right now with Pawlenty, the former Minnesota governor.
GOP White House hopefuls debate in New Hampshire. Tim Pawlenty seems to back off his "Obamneycare" comment. Newt Gingrich's senior staff decamps, many head to Rick Perry's corner. Plus: Rep. Weiner takes the hint and resigns. Obama and House Speaker John Boehner to talk budget between bogeys.
The influential consulting firm McKinsey & Company caused quite a stir when it published an article last week predicting that nearly a third of employers "will definitely or probably stop offering" health insurance to their workers after 2014.
Kentucky public colleges and universities are already compiling their capital project wish lists. They're getting ready for next year's legislative session. A $33 million Engineering-Physics building tops the projects list at Murray State University, but President Randy Dunn says the school also badly needs a new $62 million library.