What Makes the Boston Accent So Unique?

The Boston accent is unique in the United States because of its phonological characteristics. You’ll hear different vowel sounds, especially in the centering diphthongs, that make it more nasal and with additional short “a” sounds compared to others.

Any words that have “ar” together in them create the classic example of the Boston accent. Instead of say, “car,” you’d hear someone say, “cah.” If you were headed to the park with the kids for the day, you’d go to the “pahk.”

This accent started in the early 20th century, but it seems to be retreating with the younger generation. Although you can still hear it in the city’s older neighborhoods, the change is getting closer to a NYC accent instead.

The Pronunciation Is Over 400 Years Old

Although the city has been speaking with the Boston accent for about a century, the phonetics behind the words are over 400 years old. It’s called “non-rhotic” pronunciation, dating to the time when the first settlers came from Europe.

During the 17th century in England, it was considered a rustic part of the English language to omit the “R” sounds from most words. It’s not considered a prestige feature, but the city of Boston is who led the way in that perspective.

The removal of “R” sounds wasn’t limited to the spoken word. When you review documents from the 17th century throughout Massachusetts and upper New England, you’ll find most words had the letter removed. That means people named “George” had their names document as “Geoge.”

That’s why you can find George Washington documents that say “Geoge Washington.”

It’s not only the phonetics that set the Boston accent apart from others. You can find the city using British slang for some terms, such as “rubbish” instead of saying “trash.”

You can also engage in a fun conversation about whether you’re having soda, pop, or Coke when you need a carbonated beverage.

Cities That Celebrate Easter Like None Other

Easter celebrates several cultural moments simultaneously. It’s a time when we embrace spring, look for renewal, and when Christians look to the death and resurrection of Jesus.

Although everyone celebrates Easter (or Resurrection Sunday) a little differently, some cities go all-out on their efforts to have fun.

Lingering COVID-19 restrictions might change some festivals and celebrations in 2021, but you can still find some ways to have fun in the way you prefer at these destinations.

Best Cities for Celebrating Easter

1. New York City

When you think about Easter, you might see gift baskets, flowers, and brunch in your future. That’s why NYC almost always ranks as the best place to celebrate this holiday. You’ll find more chocolate and candy stores here per capita, along with numerous egg-hunting events to enjoy.

2. Chicago

You’ll find people coming out in droves to enjoy the city’s Easter egg hunts each year. You’ll find several holiday traditions waiting for you here, along with some of the more religious tones to the day celebrated downtown and along the lakefront.

3. Cincinnati

You’ll find more churches per capita in this city celebrating the Easter holiday than in almost any other destination in the United States. Only Birmingham and St. Louis rank higher. Although the look and feel are closer to something traditional and less organized, you’ll still find lots of opportunities to spend time with your family.

4. Orlando

You’d want to come to this city for a warm-weather Easter if your city gets stuck in a cold pattern. You’ll find lots of gift shops, tourist attractions, and brunch destinations to enjoy during your stay. There are also all of the theme parks to try now that the COVID restrictions are slowly easing.

5. Las Vegas

If your Easter traditions involve fine dining and a lovely walk outside, you’ll appreciate what this city offers. You can find almost any chocolate or candy here, and there are lots of activities for the kids to enjoy.

Where do you like to do as part of your Easter holiday traditions?

How the Ides of March Relate to George Washington

George Washington loved the month of March. Not only did he ride away with the first official presidency offered in the United States in that month, but he also resisted the idea of becoming a military dictator.

We often see Washington as a man of action instead of an idea-maker. When history looks back on his actions, it often pictures his work as a reluctant leader turned into a national politician who wanted to protect his home.

That’s not to say that George Washington deserves a halo. His record was far from one that could be described as pure. He owned slaves, said he was troubled by that fact, and never dared to speak out against it.

Washington also expected a lot as a general out of usually untrained troops.

What Are the Ides of March?

The Ides of March represents the 74th day of the year on the Roman Calendar, officially recognized as March 15. It was a notable date for the Roman Empire because that was when the deadline for settling debts arrived

When the assassination of Julius Caesar occurred, it would become a date that lived on in infamy because it happened on this date.

We know that George Washington played a critical role in the formation of the American government. His most famous role as the nation’s executive was his final one. Although he could have stayed in the presidency for the rest of his life without much complaint, he willingly stepped down.

When Washington encouraged a peaceful transition of power, it let the rest of the world know what to expect from the new country. The colonies weren’t going to be controlled by a king or a dictator. It would be an experiment in what humans could achieve if people could reasonably self-govern.

That experiment is still happening today, although some might argue its boundaries are getting tested. There isn’t another country like the United States, and the credit currently sits with George Washington.

When Did the United States Create the National Anthem?

The National Anthem of the United States is called “The Star-Spangled Banner.” It reached this status in 1931, although Francis Scott Key wrote the lyrics in 1814.

The melody of the National Anthem was written by John Stafford Smith in 1773. It was a popular song at the time, considered the official tune of the Anacreontic Society of amateur musicians in London at the time.

When Key finished his poem, his brother-in-law recognized that the words fit perfectly into Smith’s tune.

Two Newspapers Published the Lyrics on September 20, 1814

It didn’t take long for the American public to recognize the patriotism in the lyrics that Key wrote. Since the words worked well for a melody that most people recognized, two newspapers realized that they could boost their publishing numbers by printing the composition.

On September 20, 1814, The American and the Baltimore Patriot ran the song called “Anaceron in Heaven.” Another 17 newspapers would run the same information in the coming days, going as far as New Hampshire with the lyrics.

It would be the Carr Music Store, founded by Thomas Carr, who would publish the music and words together under the title “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

The song was also referred to as the “Defense of Fort McHenry.” Carr made one minor change by raising the fourth in the tune to create the music we know today.

Multiple Variations Were Playing in the Early 20th Century

President Woodrow Wilson gave the Bureau of Education the task of finding an official version of “The Star-Spangled Banner” to serve as the country’s national anthem. With hundreds of different remixes getting played across the country, the goal was to standardize the song into one version that everyone would love.

What many people don’t realize is that the National Anthem has four verses to it. When people sing the song in public, only the first verse gets sung.

How Los Angeles Became the Birthplace of Skateboarding

If you want to see the birthplace of skateboarding, you need to make your way to Dogtown. The skating culture in LA’s slums would eventually change the world, but it wasn’t always that way.

Today, a trip to Santa Monica takes you to some lovely boutiques, promenades, and people working out along the beach. It wasn’t that long ago that this area was called Dogtown, and it was the heart of LA’s lower-middle-class version of suburbia.

Instead of taking items from Amazing Grass or Sunwarrior to get your energy levels up, the goal was to survive. You worked hard, scraped by, and taught your kids how they could be resilient in a complicated world.

It All Started at Pacific Ocean Park

The city opened a pier at Pacific Ocean Park in 1958, offering another visual representation of American’s Golden Era at the time. By the 1970s, it was already abandoned. That’s when society’s “misfits” started hanging out around the area.

The place began to be known as POP, and the surfing around the pier eventually got the region dubbed as “The Cove.”

What could these young adults do on the days when the waves weren’t strong enough for surfing? Those brainstorming sessions led to skateboarding in the streets to practice surfing, and that process eventually led some to transition their tricks from the water to the land.

Some of the initial group members are revered names in the skateboarding community today: Tony Alva, Stacy Peralta, Jay Adams, and Peggy Oki.

When drought came to LA during the 1970s, swimming pools dried up to become places for skateboarding to evolve. The sport took its evolutionary leap toward the various bowls, obstacles, and shapes we see today to encourage boarders to catch some air.

We wouldn’t have Tony Hawk without the pioneering work of Jim Muir or Wentzle Ruml.

That’s how LA became the birthplace of skateboarding. If you travel to Santa Monica, you’re visiting holy ground.

Most In-Depth Documentaries About America

It has been said that history gets written by the victors. When one thinks about the United States, there is a distinctly pro-colonist view of what gets taught in the history books.

If you were part of the tribal culture during the initial settlement period, your feelings about the United States could be very different than what is societally “acceptable.” The same truth applies to the descendants of those who came to America due to slavery.

When we think about in-depth documentaries about America, we must look at the country’s individual stories. Here are some of the best ones out there.

1. The Overnighters

This documentary shows what life is like in a North Dakota small town after it draws a massive influx of oil workers. These people live on day labor, call their cars home, and often receive little support. It profiles one pastor who welcomes them into a shelter at the dismay of the congregation.

2. The Hand That Feeds

After suffering years of abuse from their bosses, undocumented immigrants decide to unionize for better working conditions and fair wages. The employees partner with some young activists in NYC to fight against their managers and the well-connected investors who support the bakery where they work.

3. True Son

After an African-American man graduates from Stanford University, he returns to Stockton to run for the city council. The town is bankrupt, but that doesn’t mean race or socioeconomic circumstances exclude you from your community. The documentary’s main character talks to people that anyone can have a seat at the table, even if your father is in jail, and your mother was in her teens when she had you.

4. Lady Valor: The Kristin Beck Story

After managing a transgender transition, Kristin (formerly Christopher) discusses her challenges that range from military service to becoming the person she knew she could be. It’s a unique take on the concept of what it means to pursue life, liberty, and happiness.

5. If You Build It

This documentary follows two designers who teach a 12-month class in the poorest county of North Carolina. The film concludes with the group building a structure while ten students learn how to be successful in the construction industry – and much more.

What are some of your favorite documentaries about America?

What Is the History of Valentine’s Day in America?

Americans celebrate Valentine’s Day each year on February 14. It has evolved into a holiday that includes flowers, chocolates, cards, and love. You’ll even find the occasional cherub thrown into the mix!

Where did Americans get this holiday?

Although Valentine’s Day origins are disputed, we do know that the Roman Empire had a celebration called Lupercalia that happened on February 15. The event was essentially a spring festival to commemorate the start of the planting season.

When Christianity rose in Rome, the holiday got moved back a day to celebrate martyrs named Valentine. The reason why love came into the mix is likely due to the belief that birds would select their mates on that day, which is why we still have the term “lovebirds” for romantically associated couples.

The First Commercial Valentines Were Sold in the 1800s

Most valentines during the early years of this holiday depicted Cupid. You could also find hearts and emotional messages printed for people to give to each other.

Red roses became the most popular gift because the flower symbolizes beauty, passion, and love.

This celebration pre-dates the European settlements on the North American continent. The first formal messages given to others appeared in the 1500s. In the late 1700s, commercially printed cards were being distributed throughout Europe.

It wasn’t until the mid-19th century that Americans got involved with the formal holiday spirit.

That means many of the traditions we follow today were imported from other countries. Many nations continue to celebrate Valentine’s Day, including Australia, Argentina, France, Canada, the UK, South Korea, and Mexico.

In the Philippines, Valentine’s Day is the most common wedding anniversary in the country.

Since those first days, the holiday has now expanded to offer kindness and gift exchanges with friends and other relatives.

Most Noteworthy Comedy Clubs in New York

You can find numerous landmarks to see when visiting New York City. After you’ve shopped Fifth Avenue, explored Broadway, and got close to the Statue of Liberty, it is time to find one of the city’s top comedy clubs.

Many of today’s best comedians got their start in places like these while staying in the Big Apple.

1. New York Comedy Club

This club offers the classic look of a small stage and a brick wall. The showroom stays candlelit throughout each performance, and you can order from a traditional drink menu. You’ll find the place on E 24th Street.

2. Stand Up NY

You’ll discover this comedy fixture in the Upper West Side. It opened its doors in 1986, and the club is one of the few to offer an annual membership. You can get VIP seating, a free drink upon arrival, and access to unlimited shows with this investment.

3. The Comic Strip Live

This destination is one of the longest-running showcase clubs in the world. Comedians like Jerry Seinfeld, Eddie Murphy, and Adam Sandler got their start here, and many of them still come back to do a few shows. There is a cover charge, and you have a two-item minimum purchase to navigate.

4. Gotham Comedy Club

If you make your way over to Chelsea, you’ll get a fantastic laugh inside the historic 1929 hotel where the club resides. It’s arguably more famous because of the movies and TV shows where it has made an appearance, including Curb Your Enthusiasm.

5. Dangerfields

Named after Rodney Dangerfield, this comedy club sets the bar high for the new comedians who want a shot at making it big in the industry. Ray Romano got his start here, and you’ll find numerous up-and-coming talents mixing in with some of the best headliners in the business.

Comedy clubs are an underrated part of NYC’s culture. If you find yourself in the city, consider stopping at one of these spots to have a great belly laugh!

Why Is Wisconsin Famous for Its Cheese?

If you travel to Monroe, WI, you’ll find something unique. It is the only town in the United States that produces Limburger cheese.

You’ll find similar stories throughout the state. With numerous dairy farms and a mostly German-style culture, Wisconsin promotes itself as one of the world’s best cheese providers.

One reason for this attribute is the state’s Master Cheesemaker Program. It was created in 1994, and it continues to remain the only program of its kind. Only ten people can graduate from the program annually.

When you mix Wisconsin cheese with products from brands like Renew Life and Body Ecology, you can have a satisfying experience every day!

Exciting Facts About Wisconsin Cheese

1. Over one million dairy cows live in Wisconsin. That number equates to about one animal for every five residents.

2. 90% of the milk from Wisconsin dairy farms gets turned into cheese, translating into about three billion pounds per year. That’s one-quarter of what gets made in the entire United States! Hundreds of different varieties are made throughout the state, turned into curds, wheels, blocks, and more to enjoy.

3. If you want to enjoy cheddar cheese, the freshest form comes from the curds. Cheesemakers separate them from the whey, squeeze them dry, and add flavors based on local preferences. You know that you’ve got a great batch when they squeak against your teeth!

4. The average American consumes approximately 40 pounds of cheese per year.

5. Wisconsin cheese products have won more awards than any other country that competes in the annual world championships.

6. The most popular variety of cheese made in Wisconsin is mozzarella, representing one-third of what gets made. Cheddar comes in second, at 21%. Various Italian types hold 17% of the market.

7. Limburger cheese becomes spreadable about three months after it ripens. A popular way to eat it is with a thick slice of onion, rye bread, and cooked liver with strong coffee.

American Neighbors Defined by Their Cultural Diversity

The United States often calls itself a melting pot of society because numerous cultures, races, and ethnicities live together in relative harmony. If the trends continue as they are, not one ethnic group will constitute a substantial majority by 2045.

Although immigration reform is a political hot potato issue, some neighborhoods’ current cultural profile has already reached the goal of total diversity.

Harlem, N.Y.

Harlem is one of the most complex cultures in the United States. It was originally a Dutch village, transitioned to Italian and Jewish populations, and then became the place for African-American immigration. All of these perspectives continue to live with each other cohesively, although there have been some growing pains over the years with conflict and crime. 

San Francisco’s Chinatown

This community is the largest of its type outside of the Asian continent. It’s also the oldest one in the United States. Although it gets treated as a tourist attraction, the neighborhood’s history and culture are always on full display.

Jersey City, N.J.

With easy access to Manhattan, this city is divided into six wards. Each one has a unique perspective of life in the area, ranging from the mixed-use views of Journal Square to the working-class families in Greenville.

Germantown, Md.

You’re a short drive from the nation’s capital when living in this community, which is a series of six villages. It’s a place where young couples settle, families raise their children, and people look to establish a life for themselves. Numerous cultural hubs operate in the region, introducing everyone to its original settlers’ history and culture.

Paradise, Nevada

When people say that they’re going to Las Vegas, it would be more accurate to say that they are spending time in this community. It’s one of the largest unincorporated towns in the world, with a population above 200,000. People from all over the world come here to explore the attractions, try new things, and enjoy some time relaxing.

Each community is exploring culture and ethnicity in the U.S. in unique ways. These neighbors just have a head start.