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Newsletter: Meet Us at the Museum

Hey, there! A happy post-election season to you. We hope our friends on the east coast are fully powered, dry, and warm. And everywhere else, we hope your recycling is overflowing with campaign signs. Here’s what we’ve been up to: brand...

Is “Cockamamie” Yiddish?

Richard from San Diego, California, has a hard time believe that the term cockamamie didn’t start out as Yiddish. Although the word was adapted by Jewish immigrants in New York City to refer to transferable decals, it comes from French...

30 at the Ends of Articles

Why do newspaper reporters end articles with the number 30 or the three-pound-sign symbol ###? No one knows for sure, although that never stopped journalists from debating the origin of this way of ending a story. The practice arose in a bygone era...

Kissing Games

What’s the best way to help your child learn to speak a foreign language? One option is an immersion school, where teachers avoid speaking English. Also, did you ever play padiddle while riding in a car? Plus, what your signature says about...

Tushie, Tush, and Tuchus

What’s a tasteful way to refer to one’s rear end? Tushie and tush come from the Yiddish word tuchus. Also spelled tochis and tochas, it is regarded by some folks, such as the New York Times, as “insufficiently elegant.” This...

What’s Black and White and Cute All Over?

I have a new neighbor, and I’ve been electronically snooping on him or her. I say “him or her” because the surveillance device is the PandaCam at the San Diego Zoo, which welcomed a bouncing baby panda a few weeks ago. And as the...

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