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Die Bull-Headed

Darcy calls from North Pole, Alaska, to share a saying her grandparents used when she asked for something she couldn’t have. It sounded like either You may want horns, but you’ll die mole-headed or You may want horns, but you’ll...

The Year 1805

Today the title War and Peace is practically synonymous with “incredibly long novel.” If Tolstoy had kept the book’s original title, however, our synonym for such a hefty epic would be The Year 1805. This is part of a complete...

Jook Joint

A jook joint is a roadside establishment where all sorts of drinking, dancing, and gambling may occur. Zora Neale Hurston described them in her 1934 essay “Characteristics of Negro Expression,” and the term probably derives from a West...

Butt-Headed

“You might want horns, but you’re gonna die butt-headed!” This expression derives from butt-headed, meaning “without horns,” and shows up in the writing of Zora Neale Hurston. This is part of a complete episode.

Helen Keller Quote

Our earlier conversation about sign language reminded Martha of this quote from Helen Keller: “Once I knew only darkness and stillness… my life was without past or future… but a little word from the fingers of another fell into my hand that...