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“I Wouldn’t Care To”

A man who moved to Kingsport, Tennessee, was puzzled when he offered one of his new neighbors a refill on her beverage. She said “I wouldn’t care to have any,” which he understood to be a refusal. What she meant was that she did...

Fibber McGee Junk Drawer

The Fibber McGee drawer is that essential place where you quickly shove a bunch of junk when you need to clean up fast and don’t have the time or care to organize anything. It comes from the old radio comedy, Fibber McGee and Molly, which...

Vonnegut’s Advice for Writers

An Upper Michigan listener with a form of dyslexia told us he wrote to Kurt Vonnegut years ago about his frustration with trying to become a published writer. Vonnegut wrote back, assuring that when you care enough about your subject, the right...

Remembering Definitions

If you think back on all the words you’ve looked up in the past year, only to turn around and forget their definitions immediately, Martha’s New Year’s resolution sounds like a no-brainer: be a little more mindful, and take care to...

Origin of the Term Byzantine

A physician heard a broadcaster use the term byzantine to describe the current health care system, and wonders about the origin of this adjective. Martha notes that the Byzantine Empire, which began in the 4th century A.D., was notable for its...