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Episode 1616

Folding Money

Barbara Kingsolver’s book Demon Copperhead is a retelling of Charles Dickens’ David Copperfield set in today’s Appalachia. Martha shares memories of a long-ago visit to Kingsolver’s family farm in Virginia, where they...

A Willipus-Wallipus Types Lapslock

In the late 19th century, the name willipus-wallipus denoted a legendary monster said to haunt the American South. The term also came to designate “a steamroller” or “any large piece of road equipment.” The term lapslock...

Wet Dress Rehearsal

A wet dress rehearsal is a run-through of all the processes required before a rocket launch, up until, but not including, liftoff. What makes this simulation wet is that the rocket’s fuel tanks are filled, then drained once the countdown clock...


Flight crews have a word for colleagues who check into a hotel, slam the door behind them, lock it shut, and don’t re-emerge until checkout time. They’re called slam-clickers. This is part of a complete episode.

Episode 1389

The Big Cheese

Is it time to replace the expression “the mentally ill”? Some argue the term unfairly stigmatizes a broad range of people. Also, the winter sport of… skitching, which involves snowy roads, leather shoes — and car bumpers...

mortal lock

mortal lock  n.— Note: A cinch, an odds-on favorite, a guaranteed thing or event. «It is a sure bet—a mortal lock as they say in the business— that if Robespierre was around today, we would be standing knee-deep in decapitations...

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