In this week’s episode, “It was bright cold day in April and the clocks were striking thirteen.” Martha and Grant discuss their favorite first lines from novels. Also this week, palmer-housing, beanplating, meeting cute, bad billboard grammar, and what it means when someone says you look like a tree full of owls. And which is correct: another thing coming or another think coming?
This episode originally aired Oct. 24, 2010.
Download the MP3 here (25.2 MB).
Some novels grab you from the get-go. “I am an invisible man.” “Call me Ishmael.” “The cold passed reluctantly from the earth, and the retiring fogs revealed an army stretched out on the hills, resting.” Martha and Grant discuss some of their favorite first lines.
You’re falling asleep, then suddenly snap awake. There’s a term for that: hypnagogic startle or hypnic jerk.
A North Carolina listener reports seeing a billboard that read, “Be Stronger Connected to Your Son.” Bad grammar or good advertising?
When is your golden birthday? It’s when your age and the date match, such as turning 23 years old on the 23rd day of the month.
Quiz Guy John Chaneski presents a puzzle involving inverted M’s and W’s called “Turn the Worm.”
Among some African-Americans, the term palmer-housing means, “walking with an unusual gait.” A screenwriter connects some dots in his own family’s history when he asks about the origin.
In the film industry, the expression meet cute refers to “an overly precious first encounter between the romantic leads.”
A man named Kris wants to name his son Qhristopher. Have a problem with that?
Grant shares some favorite bad first lines from novels.
The hosts tackle a longstanding mystery about the word shoshabong.
A favorite quotation from George Eliot: “Blessed is the man, who having nothing to say, abstains from giving wordy evidence of the fact.”
Is the correct phrase another think coming or another thing coming?
Grant reveals the surprising origin of the term lunatic fringe.
The term like a tree full of owls describes someone’s appearance. What does it mean, exactly? And why owls?
Need a great synonym for “overthinking”? Try beanplating.