In this episode, a listener says his friend Harold likes to do social phoning while driving, so he’s invented a term for mindless calling while in the car. And no, it’s not “car-pe diem.” Also, Martha and Grant also discuss the rules of the road games padiddle and slug bug.

This episode first aired January 26, 2008.

Download the MP3.

 Calling in the Car
In this episode, a listener says his friend Harold likes to do social phoning while driving, so he’s invented a term for mindless calling while in the car. And no, it’s not “car-pe diem.”

 Padiddle and Slug Bug
Maybe you know it as perdiddle, but a Wisconsinite shares memories of playing padiddle. You need at least two people in a car, an oncoming vehicle with a headlight out, and, depending on which version of the game you play, you need to be prepared for kissing, punching, ceiling-thwacking, beer-buying, or stripping. Grant describes the Volkswagen-inspired of another road-trip game, slug bug.

 Pronouncing Aunt
A listener from Falmouth, Maine, disagrees with his Canadian friends about how to pronounce the word aunt. He says it shouldn’t sound like the name of the insect. But is that the way most people pronounce this word for your mother’s sister?

 Doofitty
A Hoosier says her friends tease her about the way she says doofitty when she can’t think of the right word for something. Grant and Martha discuss the long list of linguistic placeholders, including whatchamacallit, doodad, deely-bobber, doowanger, doojigger, doohickey, thingamabob, thingummy, thingum, and thingy.

 Bismarks
A California man remembers going to the neighborhood bakery back home in Illinois and ordering bismarks. But these days he rarely hears this term for jelly doughnut, and wonders about its origin.

 Wigs on the Green
This week’s Slang This! contestant guesses at the meaning of the slang expressions “wigs on the green” and “fake and bake.”

 Biffy
Grant and Martha read emails from listeners with suggested explanations as to how the term biffy came to mean “portable toilet.”

 Bread and Butter Obstacles
They also discuss listener’s own stories about saying “bread and butter” when companions step around an obstacle that divides them.
We also promised words for the experience of noticing a word for the first time and then feeling like you’re seeing it everywhere. Here are a few: diegogarcity and the Recency Illusion.

 Emeritus vs. Emerita
A retired professor wants to know if Latin grammar holds any clues about whether a female professor is properly addressed as “professor emeritus” or “professor emerita.”

 Spoonerisms with Greg Pliska
This week, our puzzle guy Greg Pliska joins us for a game of “Spoonerisms,” or the shifting of the initial consonant sounds in a pair of words. For example, common undergraduate college degree and online auction site. Got it?

 Duck, Duck, Goose
Finally, a woman who grew up playing “Duck, Duck, Goose” is surprised to hear that her niece and nephew play “Duck, Duck, Gray Duck” at their preschool in Minnesota. The hosts take a gander at regional variations of this children’s game.

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

Photo by 1950s Unlimited. Used under a Creative Commons license.

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