Your mother gave you life, and you gave her … a boondoggle. Or is it a lanyard? Maybe a gimp? Grant assures a listener there are several terms for that long key fob you made at summer camp out of plastic yarn. Boondoggle seems to have originated among Boy Scouts in the Rochester, N.Y., area in the 1930s, and was later picked up by those in politics to mean “a wasteful debacle.” Grant also shares a French term for these summer-camp crafts, scoubidou, pronounced just like the cartoon dog. Nobody writes more movingly about lanyards than poet Billy Collins. This is part of a complete episode.
- Up Your Alley (episode #1504) 07/30/2018: Book recommendations, including a collection of short stories inspired by dictionaries, and a techno-thriller for teens. Or, how about novels with an upbeat message? Publishers... [more]
- Piping Hot (episode #1503) 07/23/2018: The game of baseball has alway inspired colorful commentary. Sometimes that means using familiar words in unfamiliar ways. The word stuff, for example, can refer... [more]
- Mimeographs and Dittos (episode #1502) 06/24/2018: In this episode: How colors got their names, and a strange way to write. The terms blue and orange arrived in English via French, so... [more]
- Spicy Jambalaya 06/18/2018: Teen slang from the South, and food words that are tricky to pronounce. • High schoolers in Huntsville, Alabama, told Martha and Grant about their... [more]
- Chopped Liver 06/10/2018: There's a proverb that goes "beloved children have many names." At least, that's true when it comes to the names we give our pets. "Fluffy"... [more]