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Cocktail Party Effect

A lovely evening of classical music at San Diego’s new Rady Shell at Jacobs Park leads to a conversation with an audio engineer about the term cocktail party effect, referring to the brain’s ability to focus in on the sound of one...

Bow Chicka Wow Wow

Listeners emailed us in response to a call on the sonorous bow-chicka-wow-wow cliche, and we’re glad they did. We learned that country star Trace Adkins has a song called Brown Chicken, Brown Cow that uses puppets to demonstrate just what it...

ontin

ontin  n.— «But he also likes to come up with new words to describe cultural patterns, acknowledging that at breakfast he invented a new word—ontin, meaning the ostensible usage of something—which he has already used a few times to much...

opera cape

opera cape  n.— «He is genitally intact, a cavalier rather than a roundhead. His johnson wears an opera cape, as they say in US gay circles.» —“Cutting comments: the foreskin debate” by Simon Mills Times (London...

pants role

pants role  n.— «In opera parlance, the term is “pants role,” meaning male characters performed by female singers. Mozart wrote one for “The Marriage of Figaro,” Strauss for “Der Rosenkavalier.” As Berkeley singer Leslie Hassberg notes...

opera hot

opera hot  n.— «He’s also peppered the 2006-’07 season with big names such as Anna Netrebko and Juan Diego Flórez (whom geeks refer to as “opera hot,” or extremely attractive in comparison to the archetypical Wagnerian fat lady with...