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The Train is Servicing the Station (minicast)

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Yo, listeners! There’s another online-only podcast from “A Way with Words.” This time, Grant answers questions about the word “agio” from a fellow in Kamloops—learn more about that name, too—and he responds to reader mail about the expression “bleeding edge” and whether the word “email” is singular or plural. Also, Martha and Grant talk with a caller peeved about the seemingly salacious wording of a public-service announcement he hears during his daily train commute in Washington, D.C.

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  • I like this email we just got from a guy named George:

    “Just listsned to your “The Train is Servicing the Station” podcast…and I couldn’t help but think that our cavernous D. C. Metro stations do seem unfulfilled until a train arrives. It also just now occurred to me why it felt so much more exciting to ride in the front of the first car entering stations when I was a lad riding the NYC subways.”

    Well, George, all I can say, with apologies to you and Dr. Freud, is that sometimes a first car is just a first car! 🙂

  • In your podcast about “the train servicing the station,” Martha said the OED indicates the Lewinsky sense of “servicing” dates back only to the 60’s. Here’s a possibly apochryphal story, quoting Will Rogers, who died in 1935 …

    “Your motto is service. Back on the farm, when I heard that the bull was ‘servicing’ the cows, I looked behind the barn. And, gentlemen, what the bull was doing to the cow is exactly what you people have been doing to the public all these years.” Will Rogers to the Board of Directors of Standard Oil, as quoted by Morris K. Udall, 1988

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