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Pwned Prose, Stat, you Mavericks!

Welcome to another newsletter from A Way with Words. This one's full of soda-fountain goodness!

Let's just say right out of the gate that, judging by the emails and phone calls, the top call for this past weekend's show was the one about "suicide" drinks, where you mix a little bit from every tap at the soda fountain and then drink it. It looks like Pine-Sol and tastes like a boiled sack of Halloween candy.

It's the first call here:


In that episode, we also talked about the online slang term "pwn," the origin of "stat!" as used by real doctors and TV doctors, and what to call it when you stare at a word so long that it seems misspelled, even when it isn't.

In this week's minicast, Martha talks about the history of the word "maverick."


Like we said, "suicide" sodas brought in a lot of response from listeners to this week's episode.

Chris remembers them from his childhood in Wisconsin in the 1960s, and a different man, Christopher, says he had them in the early 1970s in central Indiana.

Patty says there was a restaurant in Bozeman, Montana, in the 1960s that served them. She writes, "This was before the days of serve-yourself pop machines. All soda in those days came as a syrup and whatever kind of pop you ordered, the syrup was squirted in a glass and then it was filled with fizz water."

Shirley said they also made slushie suicides in Minneapolis about 45 years ago. Marlene in San Diego says that when she was a teen, they called them "round-ups."

And, finally, Jean of Westfield, Indiana, trumps everyone and says she remembers making them for customers in the early and mid-Fifties.

Some interesting stories in the news this week:

Jan Freeman writes in the Boston Globe, "The semicolon may have been scorned by chest-thumping writers like Hemingway and Vonnegut, […] but it still has scores of vocal admirers."


In the London Independent, John Sutherland lays out the arguments for and against permanently changing the way English words are spelled.


In the Lakeland, Florida, Ledger, Lonnie Brown addresses a familiar subject: should signs say "drive slowly" or "drive slow"?


That's all for this week. Don't forget: if you've got a question you'd like to have discussed on the air, drop us a line or give us a call.

Martha Barnette and Grant Barrett

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