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Wall Hole for Evil Spirits

A San Antonio, Texas, listener lives in a house built by his grandfather, who was from Finland. The house has a small window in an upper corner that supposedly was designed to ensure that evil spirits could escape from the house. He thinks...

Wall Graffiti

Here’s a truism that often appeared scribbled in ancient wall graffiti: “I wonder, oh wall, that you have not yet collapsed. So many writers’ cliches do you bear.” This is part of a complete episode.

E-Book Reading Trends

Remember the olden days of 2007, when Amazon first introduced the Kindle? Oprah named it her Favorite New Gadget. Some people thought e-readers signaled the death of hardback books, but as Nicholas Carr notes in the Wall Street Journal, only 16% of...

Metonymy

When someone talks about Hollywood or Wall Street, they’re probably not talking about a California city or a Manhattan street. It’s an example of what rhetoricians call metonymy. Metonyms like the White House or Downing Street are often...

Butter My Biscuits

Well, look what the cat dragged in! It’s another newsletter from A Way with Words. Given how often we talk about food words, we should write a cookbook. For example, this past weekend’s show was a leftover — a rebroadcast, a rerun, a re...