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Episode 1584

Sleepy Winks

It was a dark and stormy night. So begins the long and increasingly convoluted prose of Edwards Bulwer-Lytton’s best-known novel. Today the annual Bulwer-Lytton Contest asks contestants for fanciful first sentences that are similarly...

Worst Line in the West

The winner of the Western category of the 2021 Bulwer-Lytton Contest, which rewards cleverly awful first lines of fiction, explains what happens when Tumbleweed Mulligan and Johnny “Trigger” McAllister take over the Black Dog Saloon for...

Vile Puns

The winner in the “Vile Puns” category of the 2021 Bulwer-Lytton Contest involves a hoagie shop and a tiny pimento-stuffed object in a long, cheesy sandwich. This is part of a complete episode.

Episode 1508

Take Tea for the Fever

Silence comes in many forms. Writer Paul Goodman says there is, for example, the noisy silence of “resentment and self-recrimination,” and the helpful, participatory silence of actively listening to someone speak. • The strange story...

Facepalm and Headdesk

Hello, language-lovers — This past weekend’s episode is a delicious re-airing of a show from last spring, tackling great catchprases, Fibber McGee drawers, autocorrected text messages, annoying verbal fillers (“um”) and a...