When you get to the end of a wonderful book, your first impulse is to tell someone else about it. In this week’s episode, Martha and Grant discuss what they’ve been reading and the delights of great prose. You’ll find information about the books they mention after the summary of this week’s episode.

This episode first aired September 13, 2008.

Download the MP3.

 Currently Reading
When you get to the end of a wonderful book, your first impulse is to tell someone else about it. In this week’s episode, Martha and Grant discuss what they’ve been reading and the delights of great prose.

 Soda Suicide Drinks
An Illinois man recalls that as a kid, he used to mix fountain drinks of every flavor into a concoction he and his friends called a suicide. He wonders if anyone else calls them that. Why a suicide? Because it looks and tastes like poison?

 Etymology of Pwn
It started as a typo for “own,” now it’s entrenched in online slang. A Kentucky caller is curious about pwn. It rhymes with “own” and means “to defeat” or “to triumph over.” Our hosts talk about a special meaning of “own” in the computer-gaming world.

 International Puzzle Hunt Game
Quiz Guy John Chaneski is Havana good time with Martha and Grant on an round-the-world International Puzzle Hunt that will leave you Beijing for more.

 Origin of Stat
You seem to hear it on all the television hospital dramas: “stat!” A physician says she knows it means “immediately,” but she doesn’t know its origins. Quick! Is there a Latin expert in the house?

 Snotty Weather
A San Diego fisherman notes that he hears mariners talk about snotty weather. “Snotty?” Is it the kind that gives you the sniffles? Or does it cop an attitude?

 Word Satiation
Do you ever stare at a word so long that you think it’s mispellllled? Even though it isn’t? Your dialectal duo hunt up a word for that phenomenon.

 Books Waiting to be Read
Grant and Martha reveal what books are on their own nightstands, waiting to be read. Just the top of the stacks, natch, because there are just too many.

 Put the Bite on Someone
This week’s “Slang This!” contestant tries to guess the meaning of the terms liver rounds and put the bite on someone.

 Miss Astor
An Indianapolis woman who grew up in the South says that when her slip was showing, her father used to say, “Who do you think you are, Miss Astor?” Martha shares other euphemisms for slips showing. If someone sidles up to you and says, “Pssssst! Mrs. White is out of jail,” it’s time to check your hemline.

 Fillet and Flay
You can tell someone’s an A Way with Words listener when they confess to lying awake at night wondering about questions like, “Are the words fillet and flay etymologically related?”

 Baby Talk
A Minnesotan has been observing his infant babbling, and wonders if words like “mama” and “papa” arise from sounds that babies naturally make anyway. Are there some words or sounds that are instinctive? Or do babies only learn them from their parents?

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

Photo by wlodi. Used under a Creative Commons license.

Books Mentioned in the Broadcast

“Bullet in the Brain” from the short story collection The Night in Question: Stories by Tobias Wolff
“The Gospel According to Mark,” from Collected Fiction by Jorge Luis Borges
Primary Colors: A Novel of Politics by Joe Klein
Quicksilver: The Baroque Cycle, Vol. 1 by Neal Stephenson
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