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Light Dawns on Marblehead

A Massachusetts native living in Washington, D.C. says her professor and classmates had no idea what she meant by a “light dawns on Marblehead” moment. It’s a reference to the town of Marblehead in her home state, on an outcropping...

Episode 1420

Pickle Seeder

Would you rather live in a world with no adjectives … or no verbs — and why? Also, who in the world is that director Alan Smithee [SMITH-ee] who made decades’ of crummy films? Turns out that if a movie director has his work wrested away...

So the Sun Shines Tomorrow

The mealtime admonition “someone has to finish this up so the sun shines tomorrow” comes from a German saying that goes back at least 150 years. This is part of a complete episode.

Cat Trap

When a cat finds that perfect square on the floor that’s being illuminated by the sun coming through a glass window, you might call that spot a cat trap. This is part of a complete episode.

Episode 1415

Noon Balloon to Rangoon

Is there a word you keep having to look up in the dictionary, no matter how many times you’ve looked it up before? Maybe it’s time for a mnemonic device. And: a listener shares a letter from Kurt Vonnegut himself, with some reassuring...

Do Me a Solid

What’s in YOUR spice rack? Say you’re cooking up a pot of chili, and you need to add more of that warm, earthy, powdered spice. Do you reach for a bottle of KOO-min? KYOO-min? Or are you going to add KUMM-in? The pronunciation given in...