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Poronkusema

In Finland, there’s an old tradition of counting approximate distances in terms of poronkusema, literally “reindeer pee,” which is supposedly the distance a reindeer will travel between pit stops. This is part of a complete episode.

A Brown Bear but Not a Brown Bear

A hilarious news story about a pair of heroic terriers that chase off a bear from a California home leads to an equally hilarious correction about the difference between black bears and brown bears. Big ups to Squirt and Mei Mei! This is part of a...

Synanthropes

Synanthropes are creatures that live and thrive close to humans but aren’t pets — animals such as pigeons, raccoons, and rats. Synanthrope comes from Greek words that mean “with” and “human,” and has been around since...

The Meaning of Endling

One of the most powerful and most poignant words you’ll ever hear isn’t in dictionaries yet, although it probably will be eventually. An endling is the last surviving member of a species. The story of its origin is a marvelous one...

Have a Wolf by the Ears

Stephanie in Green Bay, Wisconsin, was puzzled when a colleague used the expression like grabbing a wolf by the ears to describe an impossible task. Like the idiom to have a tiger by the tail, it suggests the paralyzing difficulty of having hold of...

Felonious Mule

The 1948 book A Rocket in My Pocket: The Rhymes and Chants of Young Americans includes a funny rhyme about a donkey who mistakes a zebra for a felonious mule. This is part of a complete episode.

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