You’ve just read a terrific paperback novel. Would you feel any differently about it if you’d the same words on the glowing screen of an electronic book? Martha and Grant discuss the social and psychological implications of books that run on batteries.

This episode first aired March 8, 2008.

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 Battery-Powered Books
You’ve just read a terrific paperback novel. Would you feel any differently about it if you’d the same words on the glowing screen of an electronic book? Martha and Grant discuss the social and psychological implications of books that run on batteries.

 Layers for Meddlers
A caller remembers an odd phrase from her childhood. If she asked too many questions, her mother would brush them off with the phrase “layers for meddlers and crutches for lame ducks.” Say what?

 Eating the Covers
A Milwaukee listener is curious about an expression he uses to describe underlings who can’t seem to do something right: “You give ’em books, and all they do is eat the covers!”

 Cell-Phone Novels
Martha and Grant discuss the rise of the Great Japanese cell-phone novel.

 OohAahEeh Word Game
Quiz Guy John Chaneski presents the hosts with a wacky puzzle based on two-word phrases containing the sounds “oo oo,” “ee ee,” and “aa aa.” As you might expect, animal hilarity ensues.

 Dramaturge
A retired theater professor wants to know why she keeps hearing the word dramaturge used in surprising new ways. Is dramaturged now a legitimate verb? Can the noun also refer to someone who adapts a play for particular production—and not just to the person who originally wrote it?

 Humbled
A caller from Down Under phones to say he’s annoyed when honorees declare they’re humbled by this or that award. He thinks it’s not only illogical, but smacks of insincerity.

 Tow-Headed
A fair-haired listener has been puzzled by the origin of a word she’s heard all her life: “tow-headed.” And no, it has nothing to do with the digits on one’s feet.

 Slang This! with John Schwaller
This week’s Slang This! contestant, John Schwaller, president of the State University of New York at Potsdam, ponders the possible meanings of the terms donk and “Baltimore wrench.” He offers his own favorite slang term, “snow snake.”

 Grey vs. Gray
A Washington, D.C. caller wonders whether there’s a difference between the words grey and gray. Do they designate exactly the same thing? Why are they spelled differently.

 Going to Buxtehude
A California man says his mother used to respond to his inquiries about what they were going to do by telling him playfully, “We’re going to Buxtehude!” Decades later, he wonders whether there really is a place called Buxtehude, or where in the world she got that phrase.

 Predictions about Electronic Books
Grant shares his thoughts about the future of electronic books, and whether dog-eared pages with scribbles in the margins will one day go the way of the papyrus roll.

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

Photo by Maarten Nijman. Used under a Creative Commons license.

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