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Episode 1532

Off the Turnip Truck

It’s hard to imagine now, but there was a time when people disagreed over the best word to use when answering the phone. Alexander Graham Bell suggested answering with ahoy! but Thomas Edison was partial to hello! A fascinating new book about...

Episode 1530

Mrs. Astor’s Horse

“What has a head like a cat, feet like a cat, a tail like a cat, but isn’t a cat?” Answer: a kitten! A 1948 children’s joke book has lots of these to share with kids. Plus: an easy explanation for the difference between...

Episode 1529

At First Blush

Book recommendations and the art of apology. Martha and Grant share some good reads, including an opinionated romp through English grammar, a Spanish-language adventure novel, an account of 19th-century dictionary wars, and a gorgeously illustrated...

Episode 1617

Just Skylarking

The art of the invitation can be tricky. An inviter’s idea of invitation may be taken by an invitee as merely mentioning an event while they’re nearby. One such a misunderstanding went on for months! Plus, George Saunders, winner of the...

Skylarking, a Joyful Messing Around

While vacationing on Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast, a listener encountered an Australian who used the term skylarking to mean “horsing around.” The verb to skylark goes back hundreds of years and once referred to racing through the...