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Never Saying Goodbye

Kristin in San Clemente, California, wonders why actors in old movies often hang up the phone without saying goodbye. It’s not just old movies! In fact, you can watch supercuts of lots of modern movies where the same thing happens. Although...

Episode 1538

Little Shavers

The word hipster might seem recent, but it actually originated in the 1930s when it referred to jazz aficionados who were in the know about the best nightclubs and cool music. Speaking of music, a professional musician reports that it’s...

Nosebaggers

If you’re on vacation, watch out for nosebaggers. This mid-19th century slang term refers to tourists who go to resort areas for the day but bring their own provisions and don’t contribute to the local economy. A modern nosebagger might...

The Die is Cast

“The Die is Cast” is the title of an episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. A listener and his wife disagree about what kind of “die” is meant here. It’s not a reference to metallurgy– it’s a quotation...

Favorite Oxymorons

O heavy lightness! Serious vanity! Misshapen chaos of well-seeming forms! A listener senses something awfully good about oxymorons, from the Greek for “pointedly foolish.” Grant shares this favorite example from Shakespeare’s Romeo...