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Eat the Grindstone

The books we love as children may influence our careers more than we realize. As a child, Martha was fascinated with stories of cracking codes, and Grant loved books with glossaries–not that far from the kind of work they do today. A caller...

Hark Your Racket

“Hark your racket,” meaning, “shush,” is a variant of “hark your noise,” which pops up in Michigan, Wisconsin and Maine as far back as the 1940’s. This is part of a complete episode.

Vonnegut’s Advice for Writers

An Upper Michigan listener with a form of dyslexia told us he wrote to Kurt Vonnegut years ago about his frustration with trying to become a published writer. Vonnegut wrote back, assuring that when you care enough about your subject, the right...

Noon Balloon to Rangoon

Is there a word you keep having to look up in the dictionary, no matter how many times you’ve looked it up before? Maybe it’s time for a mnemonic device. And: a listener shares a letter from Kurt Vonnegut himself, with some reassuring...

Panking Down

To pank, as in to pank down snow for skiing or pank down hair with Aqua Net, is a common term heard in the upper peninsula of Michigan. This is part of a complete episode.