Home » Episodes » Down A Chimney Up

Down A Chimney Up

Play episode

Good poetry is even better when you read it aloud. For his anthology, Essential Pleasures: A New Anthology of Poems to Read Aloud former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky selected works with just that in mind. Martha and Grant discuss a poem from the book with lines that are more delicious when spoken. Also this week: If a woman decides to keep her own name after getting married, should she be addressed as Ms. or Mrs.? When you were young, what did you call your favorite blanket? When do you redd up the table, and what does it mean to be out like Lottie’s eye? This episode first aired January 23, 2010.

Essential Pleasures Poetry

 The hosts talk about some verses from Essential Pleasures, Robert Pinsky’s anthology of poems meant to be read aloud.

Married Woman Who Keeps Her Name

 If a woman decides to keep her own name after getting married, should she be addressed as Ms. or Mrs.?

Slang Term “Fronting”

 “Don’t be frontin’!” A Texas college student is curious about the origin of fronting, and learns that it goes back several decades to the world of petty criminals.

Chimney Riddle

 What can go up a chimney down, but not down a chimney up? Martha has that riddle’s answer.

Happy Word Puzzle

 Quiz Guy John Chaneski has a happy time with a word puzzle whose answers all include the word happy. Try this: “The nickname of Xaviera Hollander, as derived from the title of her bestselling 1971 memoir.”

Favorite Blanket Names

 When you were small, did you have a favorite blanket? If so, what’d you call it? A woobie? A blankie? A listener says her grandmother called hers an ookoosh, and wonders if the word reflects grandma’s Czech roots.

U-Turn in Other Languages

 If you’re driving and need to turn 180 degrees, you make a U-turn. But what do you make if you speak a language that doesn’t include the letter “U”? If you’re a Hindi speaker, what do you call wearing a V-neck sweater in an A-frame house?

Out Like Lottie’s Eye

 When someone’s fast asleep, a Texan might say that he’s “out like Lottie’s eye.” But who’s Lottie and what happened to her eye?

When Kids Start Speaking Late

 Some children don’t talk until they’re age three or older, then go on to do just fine. Why do some kids start speaking relatively late in life? The hosts talk about a recent Ask MetaFilter thread on that topic.

Good with Packing

 Is there a word that describes someone who’s good at visualizing how best to pack a suitcase or car? A Michigan woman is sure she heard such a term for someone who can visualize 3-D arrangements in advance, but darned if she can recall what it is. Can the hosts help?

Etymology of Homie

 A Connecticut listener is suspicious of a Wikipedia entry that claims the slang term homie derives from Latin homo, meaning man.

Mexican-American Proverbs

 The Spanish phrase “Donde lloran, esta el muerto” literally translates as “Where there’s crying, there’s a dead person.” In everyday use, however, the meaning is somewhat different. You might use it, for example, to describe someone who claims not to have money when in fact he does. A bilingual caller wonders if there’s an analogous expression that refers to someone who’s miserly despite being wealthy. Grant recommends he check out A Dictionary of Mexican-American Proverbs by Mark Glazer.

Pencil Riddle

 Another riddle: I’m taken from a mine and shut up in a wooden case from which I’m never released, yet I’m used by almost everybody. Who am I?

Redd Up

 “Redd up the table!” A California listener says he remembers hearing that all the time when growing up in Iowa, but now that he’s on the West Coast, no one has any idea what he’s talking about.

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

Photo by Dave Smith. Used under a Creative Commons license.

Books Mentioned in the Episode

Essential Pleasures: A New Anthology of Poems to Read Aloud by Robert Pinsky
A Dictionary of Mexican-American Proverbs by Mark Glazer

Music Used in the Episode

TitleArtistAlbumLabel
Ain’t No Future In Yo Frontin’MC Breed and the DFCHarsh Times SoundtrackLakeshore Records
Compared To WhatBrian Auger’s Oblivion ExpressCloser To It!Varese Fontana
Make The Road By WalkingMenahan Street BandMake The Road By WalkingDaptone Records
Bumpin’ On SunsetBrian Auger & The TrinityBumpin’ On SunsetATCO
The Volcano SongThe Budos BandThe Budos BandDaptone Records
Tired Of FightingMenahan Street BandMake The Road By WalkingDaptone Records
Get Out Of My Life WomanGrasella OliphantGrass Roots/Grass Is GreenerCollectables
Let’s Call The Whole Thing OffFred AstaireJFred Astaire’s Finest HourVerve

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

More from this show

Diamond Dust

Diamond dust, tapioca snow, and sugar icebergs — a 1955 glossary of arctic and subarctic terms describes the environment in ways that sound...

Recent posts

Episodes