Home » Newsletter » Brown Chicken, Brown Cow

Brown Chicken, Brown Cow

Hi!

In our latest episode: How do rules of grammar develop, anyway? What's "tarantula juice"? How did "boondoggle" come to mean "a waste of taxpayer money"? Plus, funny movie mistakes, and a new spin on the slang phrase "brown chicken, brown cow":

https://www.waywordradio.org/ultimate-slang-dictionary/

"Boondoggle" originally was a name for that craft project undertaken by countless campers fashioning flat, plastic-covered thread into keychains and the like. As we noted in this episode, one synonym is "lanyard." Several of you wrote to tell us about other names.

Ken Wenman says while growing up in Maine, he and fellow campers called this craft "latigo." A listener from Northeastern Ohio wrote that there, the plastic thread is not "gimp," but "gimmick."

And John and Mary Benbow of San Diego shared this marvelous Billy Collins poem called "The Lanyard."

http://bit.ly/Ba7RL

Video of Collins reading it:

http://bit.ly/2G3qQb

Amid all the media coverage of the death of Osama bin Laden, word-watcher Nancy Friedman has a roundup of notable words and phrases in the news, such as "double tap." Did you notice any others of interest?

http://bit.ly/jqfx7Q

How's your penmanship? Fascinating piece in The New York Times about cursive writing and whether reports of its death are greatly exaggerated. (We think not.)

http://nyti.ms/jbv7VR

Writer's Digest just published its Top 10 websites for writers. Many are familiar, but you may find an amusing surprise or two.

http://bit.ly/lowlex

BEHIND THE SCENES: This Tuesday, May 10, Grant will be one of the featured speakers at the TEDx conference in San Diego. The event's nearly sold out, but there'll be video online later, so we'll let you know when.

If you do go, be sure to say hello!

http://tedxamericasfinestcity.com/

Cheerio,

Martha and Grant

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Further reading

Go Bananas (episode #1600)

A caller wonders if she’s being hypersensitive about the way her boss addresses her in emails. Can the use of an employee’s first name...

Följa John

Say you’re on a long road trip. Do you have a term for another driver who happens to be traveling the same direction and sets the pace for your car...

Similar Similes

This week’s head-scratcher from Quiz Guy John Chaneski is like a puzzle about similes. In fact, it is a puzzle about similes. For example, say...

Beefed It (episode #1580)

The words tough, through, and dough all end in O-U-G-H. So why don’t they rhyme? A lively new book addresses the many quirks of English by...

Recent posts