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Irresistible First Lines

“They shot the white girl first.” That’s how Toni Morrison’s novel, Paradise, begins, and it’s a great example of an irresistible first line. Martha shares others sent in by listeners. She also reads from a Michael...

Farsi Pronunciation of “Barf”

On an earlier show, Martha mentioned the Middle Eastern detergent called Barf. Martha shares email from listeners who say that although the word spelled the same as English barf, the Farsi pronunciation is somewhat different. This is part of a...

Sancho

What’s the correct term for the male lover of a married woman? The hosts share suggestions from listeners, including paramour and sancho. This is part of a complete episode.

Stevedore

Martha reports that listeners have been trying to help a caller remember a word for “someone who’s exceptionally good at packing things in a confined space.” She thinks she’s found a winner: stevedore. This is part of a...

Swan Song

Where’d we get the term swan song? A caller says this expression came up in conversation just before her retirement and she wonders about its origin. Martha reads email from listeners suggesting alternatives to the word retirement. This is...

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