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Blow a Gasket

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The Pope has several Twitter feeds — and one of them’s entirely in Latin! But how do you adapt an ancient language to the modern world of selfies and hashtags? Plus, pit bull lovers are giving their dogs a linguistic makeover; they’re calling their pooches “pibbles.” And after you’ve eaten most of a slice of pizza, what do you call the crusty part that’s left?” Also, pizza bones, grand-nieces vs. great-nieces, pin vs. pen, V2V, sisu, blow a gasket, and write it on the ice. This episode first aired March 7, 2014.

Pope Tweets in Latin

 The Pope tweets in Latin! As it turns out, Latin is such an efficient language that it can compress a lot into 140 characters.

Grandniece vs. Great-Niece

 What do you call your brother’s granddaughter? Your great-niece or your grandniece? The Thomasville, Georgia, man who claims to have the world’s largest collection of photos of relatives riding camels wants an answer.


 Thanks to Beyoncé Knowles, who helped popularize the term bootylicious, the word surfbort is now a thing.

Pizza Dashboard

 For at least one listener, the crust on a slice of pizza is the dashboard. Italians have a specific word for that: cornicione.

Write It On The Ice

 If you write it on the ice, what you write will be impermanent, or not to be counted on–the opposite of carved in stone.

Fix The Headlines Word Quiz

 Puzzlemaster John Chaneski remixes the news by anagramming one word in each headline. For starters, which word is an anagram in New Deal in Honeybee Deaths?

Cultural Terms for Expressing National Identity

 Finns say their word sisu meaning “guts” or “fortitude” characterizes their national identity. Does your culture have such a word, like the Portuguese term saudade, perhaps?


 In the 16th or 17th century, a gourmand might be known by the less pretentious term slapsauce. The same term has also meant “glutton.”

Historical Anachronism

 Add blow a gasket to your list of Downton Abbey anachronisms.

Winding Down the Windows

 Snowboarders flailing their arms in the air might be the last folks who still wind down the windows.

Pin vs. Pen

 Pin vs. pen is a classic example of the vowel merger specific to the Southern dialect.

Honeymoon Salad

 What does one order when on a strict diet? How about a honeymoon salad: “lettuce alone!”

Latin Terms for Modern Words

 The Vatican has a long list of new Latin terms invented to denote things in the modern world, such as umbrella descensoria (“parachute) and ludus follis ovati (literally, “oval ball inflated with wind,” otherwise known as rugby).


 Heyna is Pennsylvanian for “innit.”


 Martha proposes the word miesta, a sort of combination of  “me-time” and a “siesta.”

Etymology of Fraught

 Fraught, meaning “loaded with worry or negative portent,” related to the English word freight. It’s perfectly fine to use fraught without the word with, as in This situation is fraught.


 Pit bull owners have taken to calling their pooches pibbles in an effort to make them sound less threatening. In fact, they can make great pets.

Unsolicited Nicknames

 Do people call you by a nickname without asking? A caller named Elizabeth is baffled when people she’s just met insist on calling her Liz.

V-2-V Communication

 V-2-V communication, meaning “vehicle to vehicle,” is a great way for cars to prevent accidents, or to flirt with each other.

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

Photo by Börkur Sigurbjörnsson. Used under a Creative Commons license.

Music Used in the Episode

TokutaJungle Fire (KidGusto Remix)Tokuta (KidGusto Remix)Colemine Records
Funky PullettGene Harris and The Three SoundsLive at the It ClubBlue Note
I’m Still SadGene Harris and The Three SoundsLive at the It ClubBlue Note
Oxygène (Part III)Jean-Michel JarreOxygènePolydor
Fat MamaHerbie HancockFat Albert RotundaWarner Brothers
Baby ManGene Harris and The Three SoundsLive at the It ClubBlue Note
Sittin’ DuckGene Harris and The Three SoundsLive at the It ClubBlue Note
ChameleonHerbie HancockHead HuntersColumbia
Oxygène (Part IV)Jean-Michel JarreOxygènePolydor
Tell Me A Bedtime StoryHerbie HancockFat Albert RotundaWarner Brothers
On Green Dolphin StreetGene Harris and The Three SoundsLive at the It ClubBlue Note
Fat Albert RotundaHerbie HancockFat Albert RotundaWarner Brothers
Let’s Call The Whole Thing OffElla FitzgeraldElla Fitzgerald Sings The George and Ira Gershwin Song BookVerve

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