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Nina Simone Book for Children

Pianist, singer, songwriter, and activist Nina Simone was one of the most iconic performers of the 20th century, and her song “Young, Gifted, and Black,” became an anthem of the civil rights movement. Children’s book editor Traci N...

Not Today, Josephine

A North Carolina listener says that when he was a boy and asked for something at a store that his father didn’t want to buy, his dad would reply Not today, Josephine. The origins of this phrase are unclear, although there is a story that it...

Take a Licking and Get Your Licks in

Paul in Camden, Maine, has adopted a new pup, and the dog’s exuberant face-licking has Paul wondering about the many meanings of the word lick, which include getting his licks in and takes a licking, which refers to the act of forcefully...

Pinball Slang

Drain, gobble hole, and live catch are all terms used by pinball enthusiasts. Drain refers to “the space between flippers,” a gobble hole swallows up the ball, and live catch refers to “catching the ball on a flipper and balancing...

Salad Days, Green in Judgment

Kaitlyn from Rye, New York, is puzzled by people referring to their youth as their salad days. It’s drawn from a metaphor employed at the end of Act One of Antony and Cleopatra by William Shakespeare. Cleopatra recalls a past dalliance with...

Not Only Gertrude, but Mabel, Too

Our conversation about women who use the nicknames Gertie or Gert as jokingly affectionate terms for each other, prompted a listener in Melbourne, Australia, to speculate that it’s a nod to Gertrude Lawrence, an English performer who rose to...

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