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Far Out, Man

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What other names could a team use if they realize it’s time to give up calling themselves the “Redskins”? Also, what should we call those people who don’t turn left as as soon as the traffic light goes green? Plus, the connection between a passage of ancient poetry and familiar brand of athletic shoes, new rhyming names for everything, far out, use a wheelchair vs. be confined to a wheelchair, honey hole, pirate lingo, honte, floorios, and more.

This episode first aired April 28, 2018.

New Rhyming Names for Everything

  On Twitter @flaminghaystack asks: What if the person who named walkie talkies named everything? For starters, we might refer to a defibrillator as a hearty starty and stamps as licky stickies.

Far Out Origin

  A San Diego, California, listener wonders if the expression far out originally had to do with surfing. This expression describing something excellent or otherwise impressive originated in the world of jazz, where far out suggested the idea of something beyond compare.

Knock Me A Teakettle

  The Yiddish phrase Hak mir nisht keyn tshaynik and its variants have been used to tell someone to stop babbling or making noise. Literally, it means “don’t knock me a teakettle.”

Describing Someone Who Uses a Wheelchair

  After the death of theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, @tommysantelli tweeted a powerful reminder about the language we use to describe someone who uses a wheelchair.

Cunnin Cute

  A Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, listener notes that the word cunning is sometimes used to describe a cute baby. In the 14th century, this adjective had to do with the idea of knowing, and eventually also acquired the meaning of quaint or charming. The word cute itself followed a somewhat similar path, deriving from acute, meaning sharp or knowledgeable.

Remove a D Rhyming Word Quiz

  Quiz Guy John Chaneski has a take-off puzzle this week, offering clues to rhyming two-word phrases made by removing the letter D from the beginning of one of them. For example, if your sound equipment was damaged in a flood, what are you left with?

Redskin Name Dispute: Are There Better Options?

  A Cincinnati, Ohio, high school mascot, the Redskins, is in dispute. What’s the origin of the word redskin, and is it a derogatory term or an homage to Native Americans? The adults seem to be arguing past each other, but maybe the students should be brought into the discussion. The book Redskins: Insult and Brand by C. Richard King is a helpful resource on this topic.

Our Children are Born in Another Time

  “Do not confine your children to your own learning, for they were born in another time.” This may be a Jewish proverb, although its provenance is uncertain. In any case, it’s a reminder that while young people still have much to learn, they also know things their elders don’t.

Is “Honey Hole” Offensive?

  A law enforcement professional describes a dispute that arose over the term honey hole. He and some of his colleagues understand it to mean a place where many tickets would be written for driving infractions, but two others took offense at what they perceived as a sexual connotation. Turns out that the term honey hole has had a variety of meanings, including a hole in a tree where honey is found, a good fishing or hunting spot, a place on a baseball field where a hit ball is likely to land, a strong source of income or profit, a hole made in a log to attract raccoons, and a spot where in-ground compost is made. Honey hole is also used ironically — in a negative way — to mean a latrine or an area where one is likely to catch a serious illness like malaria.

Shoot a Bow vs. Shoot an Arrow

  A ninth-grade English teacher in Canfield, Ohio, says that when her class reached the climactic scene in The Odyssey where Odysseus bends his mighty bow and kills his wife’s suitors, a student wondered whether the correct phrase is shoot a bow or shoot an arrow. The latter is far more common.

ASICS Name Origin

  The Latin phrase mens sana in corpore sano, or “a healthy mind in a healthy body,” comes from one of the Satires of the ancient Roman poet Juvenal. Fast-forward to 1977, when a Japanese manufacturer of athletic footwear was looking for a name for his new product. He chose an acronym based on a phrase with roughly the same translation, anima sana in corpore sano, or ASICS.

What Shall We Call the Turn Lane Slowpokes?

  You know when you’re waiting behind other cars to make a left turn at a traffic light but the pokey driver ahead of you is so inattentive (On their cell phone? Daydreaming? Shaving? Taking a nap?) that you end up having to sit through another red light? Shouldn’t there be a word for those selfish drivers? What about left-lane losers? Or light hogs? Maybe lanesquatters? A listener in La Jolla, California, believes that naming this phenomenon will be the first step to ending it.

Honeypot Children’s Game

  Honeypots is a children’s game in which players sit or squat with their hands gripping the backs of their thighs, while other players lift them up by the armpits and shake or swing them in an attempt to make them lose their grip. What fun!

Buyed vs. Bought

  Why is the past tense of buy not buyed but bought? Often the verbs most likely to have such irregular forms are the simplest, reflecting the residue of centuries-old grammatical features.

The Source of the Pirate’s “Arrr!”

  A chance encounter with University of California San Diego professor of history Mark Hanna, author of Pirate Nests and the Rise of the British Empire, 1570-1740, leads to a discussion of how the saying “arrr!” came to be associated with pirates. This exclamation seems to have been popularized by British actor Robert Newton in the 1950 movie Treasure Island.

Cajun Honte

  A woman in Lafayette, Louisiana, and wonders about the Cajun French word honte, which means extreme embarrassment and shame. A difference is that the “h” is pronounced in Cajun French but not in European French.


  Food that fell on the floor that you go ahead and eat anyway? That’s a floorio.

This episode is hosted by Martha Barnette and Grant Barrett, and produced by Stefanie Levine.

Photo by JoanDragonfly. Used under a Creative Commons license.


Books Mentioned in the Episode

Redskins: Insult and Brand by C. Richard King
Pirate Nests and the Rise of the British Empire, 1570-1740, by Mark Hanna

Music Used in the Episode

Humpty DumptyPlaceboBall Of EyesCBS
AriaPlaceboBall Of EyesCBS
Pushin OffMagic In Three’sMagic In Three’sGED Soul Records
Keep Your Head To The SkyEarth Wind And FireHead To The SkyColumbia
Trinity WayMagic In ThreesMagic In ThreesGED Soul Records
Why Am I Treat So BadJames BrownThe PopcornKing Records
Volcano VapesSure Fire Soul EnsembleOut On The CoastColemine Records

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