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A Shoo-in

This week it’s butterflies, belly flowers, plot bunnies, foxes, and cuckoos. Also, writing advice from Mark Twain and a wonderful bit of prose from Sara Pennypacker’s book Pax. And are there word origins? Well, does a duck swim? We’ll...

Hot Dog, Cold Turkey

Why do we call a frankfurter a hot dog? It seems an unsettling 19th-century rumor is to blame. Also, if someone quits something abruptly, why do we say they quit cold turkey? This term’s roots may lie in the history of boxing. Plus, a...

The Origins of “Shoo-In”

Hamid in San Diego, California, says that his wife is a job recruiter who finds people to fill high-profile positions. She will come home and say, “This candidate’s a shoo-in.” What’s the story with shoo-in? Where does it come from? It has something...

Boss of Me

If you want to be a better writer, try skipping today’s bestsellers, and read one from the 1930’s instead. Or read something besides fiction in order to find your own metaphors and perspective. Plus, just because a city’s name...

Broadway Letter Swap

Quiz Guy John Chaneski has been swapping out letters on Broadway marquees to create the names of entirely new theatrical productions. For example, what Broadway play might you be watching if it’s about a famous woman who leaves her career as a...