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Episode 1535

Beside Myself

The new Downton Abbey movie is a luscious treat for fans of the public-television period piece, but how accurate is the script when it comes to the vocabulary of the early 20th century? It may be jarring to hear the word swag, but it was already at...

Episode 1534

Skookum

So you’ve long dreamed of writing fiction, but don’t know where to begin? There are lots of ways to get started — creative writing classes, local writing groups, and books with prompts to get you going. The key is to get started, and...

In the Toolies/Tules

The Mexican Spanish term tules means “bulrushes” or “marsh plants.” In parts of California and along the Pacific coast, toolies or tulies refers to a place that’s in a remote area, or in other words, out in the sticks...

Episode 1528

Gift Horse

The edge of the Grand Canyon. A remote mountaintop. A medieval cathedral. Some places are so mystical you feel like you’re close to another dimension of space and time. There’s a term for such locales: thin places. And: did you ever go...

Student Pangrams

After hearing our discussion about pangrams, those sentences that contain every letter of the alphabet at least once, a middle-school teacher in Bishop, California, assigned her students to write some. They’re great! This is part of a complete...