A young woman wants a family-friendly way to describe a statement that’s fraudulent or bogus, but all the words she can think of sound old-fashioned. Is there a better term than malarkey, poppycock, or rubbish? Also, listeners step up to help a caller looking for a succinct way to explain that a brain injury sometimes makes it hard for her to remember words. Also in this episode: you may remember the Flying Fickle Finger of Fate awarded on the television show Laugh-In. It turns out that the phrase fickle finger of fate is decades older than that!

This episode first aired November 19, 2016.

Download the MP3.

 Language of Elevators
Door dwell, hoistway, and terminal landing are all terms from the jargon of elevator design and maintenance.

 Jumbo Bologna
If you hear someone use the word jumbo for “bologna,” it’s a good bet they’re from Pittsburgh or somewhere nearby in southwestern Pennsylvania. A regional company, Isaly’s, sold a brand of lunchmeat with that name.

 It’s Academic at this Point
Why do we say something is academic when referring to a question or topic that’s theoretical?

 Boy’s Life Humor
The “Think and Grin” section of Boy’s Life magazine has some pretty silly humor, especially in issues from the 1950’s.

 Steam that Blows the Whistle Never Turns the Wheel
A listener in Burlington, Vermont, remembers being punished as a youngster for talking during class. His teacher forced him to write out this proverb dozens of times: “For those who talk, and talk, and talk, this proverb may appeal. The steam that blows the whistle will never turn the wheel.” Translation: If you’re talking, then you’re not getting work done.

 PRE Quiz
Quiz Guy John Chaneski’s puzzle requires misreading words that begin with the letters P-R-E. For example, the word preaching could be misread as having to do with “hurting beforehand” — that is, pre-aching.

 A Better Word for Malarkey
A young woman from Portland, Oregon, seeks a noun to denote something fake or otherwise dubious. She doesn’t want an obvious swear word, but also doesn’t like the ones she found in the thesaurus. She thinks malarkey, poppycock, and flim-flam sound too old-fashioned and unnatural for a twenty-something to say. Fraud, fake, hoax, janky, don’t sound quite right for her either. The hosts suggest chicanery, sham, rubbish, bogus, or crap.

 Revert, Meaning Get Back To
A San Diego, California, listener is curious about a colleagues’ use of “I’ll revert” to mean “I’ll get back to you.”

 Bob Marley Quote
Regarding suffering caused by others, singer Bob Marley had this to say: “The truth is, everyone is going to hurt you. You just got to find the ones worth suffering for.”

 Put Up Your Dukes
“Put up your dukes!” means “Get ready to fight!” But its etymology is a bit uncertain. One story goes that it’s from Cockney rhyming slang, in which dukes is short for Dukes of York, a play on the slang term fork, meaning “hand.” But the phrase more likely originated from or was influenced by a Romany word involving hands.

 Goobers are Peanuts
Why do we call a peanut a goober? The word comes from the Bantu languages of East Africa.

 An Ephelis is a Freckle
If you need a synonym for freckle, there’s always the word ephelis, from ancient Greek for “nail stud.”

 Explaining Why Words Won’t Come
Listeners step up to help a caller from an earlier show who was seeking a succinct way to explain that a brain injury sometimes makes it difficult for her to remember words.

 Haint
Primarily in the southern United States, the word haint refers to a ghost or supernatural being, such as a poltergeist. Haint is almost certainly a variant of haunt.

 Pretty Adverb
The word pretty, used to modify an adjective, as in pretty good or pretty bad, has strayed far from its etymological roots, which originally had to do with being “cunning” or “crafty.”

 Penny for Your Thoughts
Here’s something to think about the next time somebody says “A penny for your thoughts.”

 Fickle Finger of Fate Origins
The television show Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In,” popular in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, was famous for awarding its goofy trophy, the Flying Fickle Finger of Fate. But the term fickle finger of fate is actually decades older than that.

 Tunket
Tunket is a euphemism for “hell,” as in, “Where in tunket did I put my car keys?” No one knows its origin or where your keys are.

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

Music Used in the Broadcast

Title Artist Album Label
Rise Of The East Sure Fire Soul Ensemble Out On The Coast Colemine Records
Balboa Park Sure Fire Soul Ensemble Out On The Coast Colemine Records
Ain’t She Sweet Roger Rivas and The Brothers Of Reggae Last Goodbye Rivas Recordings
Baja Norte Sure Fire Soul Ensemble Out On The Coast Colemine Records
Tche! Sure Fire Soul Ensemble Out On The Coast Colemine Records
Heading West Roger Rivas and The Brothers Of Reggae Last Goodbye Rivas Recordings
Sunny Santa Ana Sure Fire Soul Ensemble Out On The Coast Colemine Records
Jeannie’s Getdown Sure Fire Soul Ensemble Out On The Coast Colemine Records
Volcano Vapes Sure Fire Soul Ensemble Out On The Coast Colemine Records