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Pine Shatters

Chris calls from Nassawadox, Virginia, to say that on their second date his girlfriend used the term pine shadows for what he calls pine needles. Particularly in Virginia, the terms pine shadows and pine shatters denote those long thin leaves that...

Storks Roosting in Our Language

In certain ancient traditions, storks were associated with kindness and family devotion. The Hebrew word for this leggy bird is chasidah, meaning “the kindly one,” from chesed, or “loving kindness.” Storks were also highly...

Ignorance Gone to Seed

The phrase ignorance gone to seed invokes an agricultural metaphor. Picture a field that is so far gone it’s no longer flowering and is now beyond the point of further cultivation. This is part of a complete episode.

Seeded Teams

March Madness is over, but the confusion lingers as to why teams are seeded in tournament brackets. The best theory is that brackets resemble sideways trees, and the teams are spread out evenly so the best can prosper—just like a in a garden. This...

Running Like a Pickle Seeder

A caller in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, says that when his grandfather was asked how he was doing, he’d reply, “running like a pickle seeder,” meaning “doing really well.” The joke, of course, is that there’s no such thing as a...