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Episode 1518

One-Armed Paper Hanger

The emotional appeal of handwriting and the emotional reveal of animal phrases. Should children be taught cursive writing in school, or is their time better spent studying other things? A handwritten note and a typed one may use the very same words...

Lick and Run in Place Names

Orion in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, grew up in rural West Virginia on something called Lick Run Road, not far from Mud Lick Road, Turkey Lick Road, and Sanders Run Road. Why do the words lick and run appear in these types of place names? James Hall...

Episode 1446

Hang a Ralph

The names of professional sports teams often have surprising histories — like the baseball team name inspired by, of all things, trolley-car accidents. Plus, some questions to debate at your next barbecue: Is a hot dog a sandwich if it’s...

Hot Dog, Cold Turkey

Why do we call a frankfurter a hot dog? It seems an unsettling 19th-century rumor is to blame. Also, if someone quits something abruptly, why do we say they quit cold turkey? This term’s roots may lie in the history of boxing. Plus, a...

Cold Turkey Origins

When you quit something abruptly, you’re said to quit cold turkey. This expression’s origin is unknown although its earliest recording uses are from 19th-century boxing. This is part of a complete episode.

Turkey Trot Blues

An Indianapolis, Indiana, listener says that his mother-in-law was asked by a child where she was going, would jokingly sing that she was “going to the Turkey trot trot trot, across the lot, lot, lot, feeling fine, fine, fine until...