Giving your baby an unusual moniker may seem like a great idea at the time. But what if you have second thoughts? One mother of a newborn had such bad namer’s remorse, she poured out her heart to strangers online. Speaking of mothers and daughters: Laura Ingalls Wilder didn’t write the Little House on the Prairie series alone. She had help from her daughter Rose– who turned out to be quite a demanding editor. And where in the world would you find an upstairs basement? Plus: scat singing, jook joints, makes no nevermind, from hell to breakfast, dog pound vs. animal shelter, and what you’re supposed to do in an upstairs basement.

This episode first aired June 6, 2014.

Download the MP3.

 Baby Name Remorse
Giving your baby an uncommon name may seem like a swell idea. But what if you’re the parent of a newborn and you already have namer’s remorse?

 Potching Around
A potch or putch is a slap, as in potch in tuchis. This term for spanking related to German Patsch, meaning “a slap.” A listener in Springfield, New Hampshire, says her family also used the term potching around to describe her mischievous behavior as a toddler.

 Musical Scat
Scat singing doesn’t have any relation to scat, as in “excrement.” Musical scat probably derives from the sound of one of the nonsense syllables in such songs.

 Sitzfleisch
Sitzfleisch, from German words that literally mean “sit-flesh,” refers to perseverance–the ability, in other words, to sit and endure something for a long period of time.

 “How is it Like” Word Quiz
How is Betsy Ross like tight pants? Our Quiz Guy John Chaneski wants to know.

 Pound vs. Shelter
The term dog pound sounds a lot more menacing than animal shelter, until you learn that pound simply has to do with the idea of an enclosed space, as does a pond, which is often formed by enclosing a space and filling it with water.

 Jook Joint
A jook joint is a roadside establishment where all sorts of drinking, dancing, and gambling may occur. Zora Neale Hurston described them in her 1934 essay “Characteristics of Negro Expression,” and the term probably derives from a West African term for “jumping around.”

 Penultimate Husband
We’ve talked before about the term wasband, as in, ex-husband. A caller suggests another good term for that fellow: penultimate husband.

 From Hell to Breakfast
The emphatic exclamation “from hell to breakfast” goes back to the Civil War.

 Word Unit Palindrome
Here’s a word unit palindrome to drop at a party: Escher drawing hands drew hands drawing Escher.

 Rose Wilder Lane
The Little House on the Prairie series was actually a collaboration between Laura Ingalls Wilder and her daughter Rose Wilder Lane, who turns out to have been a bit of a bully.

 Ghost vs. Spirit
What is the difference between a ghost and a spirit? English bibles use both Holy Ghost and Holy Spirit, depending on the translation. The modern idea of the Scooby Doo-type ghost came about much later.

 New England Basements
In New England, a basement can technically be upstairs, since basement is another word for “bathroom.”

 Name Confusion Scott/Todd
Certain baby names come with the perpetual problem of being easily confused, like Todd and Scott.

 Makes No Never Mind
“Makes no never mind to me,” meaning “I don’t care,” is part of the long history of the term nevermind.

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

Photo by Steve Snodgrass. Used under a Creative Commons license.

Book Mentioned in the Broadcast

Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Music Used in the Broadcast

Title Artist Album Label
The Land of Nod The New Mastersounds This Is What We Do One Note Records
Zambezi The New Mastersounds This Is What We Do One Note Records
All I Want (Right Now) The New Mastersounds This Is What We Do One Note Records
All I Want (Right Now) The New Mastersounds This Is What We Do One Note Records
Midnight At The Oasis Freddie Hubbard The Roots of Acid Jazz Sony
Ain’t No Telling The New Mastersounds This Is What We Do One Note Records
Tin Drum The New Mastersounds This Is What We Do One Note Records
You Got It All The New Mastersounds This Is What We Do One Note Records
Minx The New Mastersounds This Is What We Do One Note Records
Nunya Tom Scott and The LA Express The Roots of Acid Jazz Sony
Afternoon at Gigi’s The New Mastersounds This Is What We Do One Note Records
Let’s Call The Whole Thing Off Ella Fitzgerald Ella Fitzgerald Ella Fitzgerald Sings The George and Ira Gershwin Song Book Verve