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A Brown Bear but Not a Brown Bear

A hilarious news story about a pair of heroic terriers that chase off a bear from a California home leads to an equally hilarious correction about the difference between black bears and brown bears. Big ups to Squirt and Mei Mei! This is part of a...

Have a Wolf by the Ears

Stephanie in Green Bay, Wisconsin, was puzzled when a colleague used the expression like grabbing a wolf by the ears to describe an impossible task. Like the idiom to have a tiger by the tail, it suggests the paralyzing difficulty of having hold of...

Kettle of Vultures

A hike in San Diego’s Mission Trails Regional Park has Martha pondering terms for turkey vultures. A flock of vultures in flight is called a kettle, a committee, or a volt, while a group of vultures feeding on carrion is called a wake. This is...

A Coon’s Age

The idiom “I haven’t seen you in a coon’s age,” comes from an old reference to raccoons living a long time. Given the racial sensitivity involving the word, however, it’s best to use an alternative. This is part of a...

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