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Sleeping Pallet

Many in the South know a pallet to be a stack of blankets or a makeshift bed. The classic blues song “Make Me a Pallet on Your Floor” gives a perfect illustration. The “I vs. me” grammatical rule isn’t hard to remember...

See the Elephant

If you’ve “seen the elephant,” it means you’ve been in combat. But why an elephant? Martha and Grant also discuss some odd idioms in Spanish, including one that translates as “your bowtie is whistling.” And what...

Tavern Sandwich

A vegetarian from Vermillion, South Dakota, wonders about the origin of a popular loose meat sandwich called a Tavern Sandwich. It’s like a sloppy joe, and also goes by the monikers Maid-Rite and Tastee. Martha notes a diner in Sioux City...

Boo-Boo the Fool

Who is Boo-Boo the Fool? A listener wonders if this African-American character has any relation the Puerto Rican fool, Juan Bobo. Martha draws a connection to the Spanish term bobo, meaning “fool,” and its Latin root balbus, meaning...

Like Death Eating a Cracker

Digital timepieces may be changing the way we talk, at least a little. There’s Bob o’clock (8:08), Big o’clock (8:19), and even Pi o’clock. Also this week, what do you call that gesture with your fingers when you want to make...

Venezuelan Potato Idiom

“You really love peeled potatoes.” That’s a translation of a Venezuelan idiom describing someone who’s lazy. Grant and Martha share other idioms from South America. This is part of a complete episode.