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Episode 1581

Your Imaginary Boyfriend

We use the term Milky Way for that glowing arc across the sky. But how people picture it varies from culture to culture. In Sweden, that starry band goes by a name that means “Winter Street,” and in Hawaii, a term for the Milky Way...

So Mad I Could Spit Nickels

Juice in Genoa, New York, remembers her mother used to say I am so mad I could spit nickels. It’s one of several variations on the idea of being angry enough to spit, period, or to spit something specific, such as spit tacks, spit nails, spit...

Knucklehead

Joan from McKinney, Texas, wonders about the origin of the disparaging term knucklehead. It’s a mild insult, and as with blockhead and bonehead, it suggests that someone’s head is so full of blocks, bones, or knuckles that there’s...

Heavy, Heavy Hangover

Clint from Dallas, Texas, recalls a peculiar family tradition for giving birthday presents to a child. A giver would hold a gift over the child’s head and recite: Heavy heavy hangover / Thy poor head / What do you wish this donor? The child...

Pineapple Posture

In her essay collection, World of Wonders: In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks, and Other Astonishments (Bookshop|Amazon), poet Aimee Nezhukumatathil describes the defensive action of the so-called vampire squid. When threatened, this creature...

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