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Nervous as a Polecat

Stanley Wilkins, a listener from Tyler, Texas, shares the idiom nervous as a pole cat in a perfume parlor. A polecat, more commonly known as a skunk, also fronts such gems as mean as a polecat, nervous as a pole cat in a standoff with a porcupine...

Pole-Splitting Superstition

It’s a common superstition: do not split a pole. That is, if two people are walking down the street, they shouldn’t each walk around a different side of a lamppost, telephone pole, or mailbox. But if they do, there’s a remedy: just...

pole tax

pole tax  n.— «There is a new price to be paid for looking at naked women in Texas. On January 1st the state’s strip clubs began imposing a $5 surcharge for each visitor. The “pole tax,” as it is commonly called, is expected to bring the...

ghost cycle

ghost cycle  n.— «There are few cars on the road at 1:15 a.m. as two bikers survey a slim metal utility pole at the ill-fated intersection, trying to figure out the most impressive way to attach a crumpled white bike to it with a three...

retail eavesdropping

retail eavesdropping  n.— «Some might picture an agent climbing a telephone pole and attaching a wire to a telephone line, but such a technique, called retail eavesdropping, is only useful for going after one phone line at a time...