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Episode 1446

Hang a Ralph

The names of professional sports teams often have surprising histories — like the baseball team name inspired by, of all things, trolley-car accidents. Plus, some questions to debate at your next barbecue: Is a hot dog a sandwich if it’s...

“Pax” by Sara Pennypacker

Martha recommends Pax, by Sara Pennypacker, a book targeted at children but in which adults will find much to admire and mull over. In preparing the book, Pennypacker spent a great deal of time studying the behavior of foxes. Martha shares a...

Las Caniculas

A San Antonio, Texas, listener recalls hearing the term las caniculas to denote a period of 12 days in January where the weather seems to run the gamut of all the kinds of weather that will be experienced in the coming year. This period is also...

A Certain Kind of Person

What’s the deal with the use of person, as in “I’m a dog person” or “she’s a cat person”? The word person used this way functions as a substitute for the Greek-derived suffix -phile, meaning “lover...


The slang term stroppy is an adjective meaning “annoying” or “difficult to deal with.” It might be related to the similarly unpleasant word, obstreperous. This is part of a complete episode.

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