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Spur of the Moment

A caller with a 25-year-old parrot wonders: How much language do birds really understand? Plus, Knock-knock. Who’s there? Boo. Well… you can guess the rest. But there was a time when these goofy jokes were a brand-new craze sweeping the nation...

Diamond in the Rough

What’s the meaning of the phrase diamond in the rough? Does it refer to a rose among thorns, to unrealized potential? The phrase derives from the diamond industry, where a diamond in the rough is one taken from the ground but still unpolished...

Spit Game

First-century graffiti. People in ancient times could be just as bawdy and colorful as we are today. To prove it, we found some graffiti written on the walls in the city of Pompeii, and found plenty of sex, arrogance and good old fashioned bathroom...

Deli Meat Sloppy Joe

A listener from northern New Jersey says that in his part of the state, a sloppy joe was not the mashed-up ground beef sandwich many of us also know as a loose meat sandwich, spoonburger, or tavern. For him, a sloppy joe was a deli meat sandwich...

Etymology of Pebble Picker

In baseball, a pebble picker, or pebble hunter, is a fielder who picks up a pebble from the ground after a missed catch, as if to blame the pebble for his own error. In the world at large, the term is a jab at someone who can never admit a mistake...