How much humor and personality can you pack into a 140-character update? A lot, it turns out. Martha and Grant talk about funny Twitter feeds. Also this week, the origins of skosh and “can’t hold a candle,” why dragonflies are sometimes called snake doctors, whether the word pre-plan is redundant, and how technology is affecting the experience of reading.

This episode first aired September 24, 2010.

Download the MP3.

 Favorite Twitter Feeds
Martha and Grant share some of their latest guilty-pleasure reading from Twitter feeds that show just how much meaning can be compressed into 140 characters. Cases in point: @veryshortstory and @GRAMMARHULK.

 Hold a Candle
He can’t “hold a candle” to someone means that he can’t possibly compare to the other person. The hosts explain where this phrase comes from.

 Watering Animals
A zoo tour guide wants a specific word to describe how elephants procure hydration.

 This, That, and the Other Quiz
Quiz Guy John Chaneski presents a puzzle called “This, That, and the Other.”

 Intentionally Misspelled Words
A Facebook newbie asks if it’s okay to misspell words on purpose when communicating via social media.

 Audio Sting
The mother of eight-year-old twins wonders why one of her girls habitually adds “dun-dun-DUN!” to sentences in everyday conversation. The hosts suspect it’s related to the audio element known as a “sting” in television and movie parlance, like this one in the famous “Dramatic Prairie Dog” video clip.

 Just a Skosh
The term skosh means “a small amount,” and derives from a Japanese word that means the same thing.

 Changing How We Read
Remember when the expression “reading a book” meant, well, actually reading a book? Martha and Grant discuss a Los Angeles Times series about how electronic devices are changing the way we read.

 Dragonfly Nicknames
The distinctive shape of the dragonfly has inspired lots of different nicknames for this insect, including snake doctor, devil’s darning needle, skeeter hawk, spindle, snake eyes, and ear sewer, the last of which rhymes with “mower.”

What’s the correct term for the male lover of a married woman? The hosts share suggestions from listeners, including paramour and sancho.

A firefighter is annoyed by his boss’s use of the term pre-plan.

 Hit and Giggle
Martha shares the term “hit and giggle”, a bit of sports slang term she picked up while working as an announcer at this year’s Mercury Insurance Open tennis tournament.

This episode is hosted by Martha Barnette and Grant Barrett, and produced by Stefanie Levine.

Photo by Garrett Heath. Used under a Creative Commons license.

Music Used in the Broadcast

Title Artist Album Label
Perfume Bottles Galt McDermott Shapes of Rhythm/Woman is Sweeter Kilmarnock Records
Eastbound Budos Band The Budos Band Daptone Records
Rock Island Rocket Tom Scott and The LA Express Tom Cat Ode Records
Spinning Wheel Jimmy McGriff Electric Funk Blue Note
Blue Juice Jimmy McGriff The Worm Blue Note
Tom Cat Tom Scott and The LA Express Tom Cat Ode Records
Santeria Sublime Sublime Universal Music Ltd.
Down Home Funk Richard “Groove” Holmes Comin’ On Home Blue Note
Let’s Call The Whole Thing Off Ella Fitzgerald Ella Fitzgerald Ella Fitzgerald Sings The George and Ira Gershwin Song Book Verve

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