“William Trembletoes, he’s a good fisherman. Catches hens, puts ’em in the pen…” If you recited this rhyme growing up, you’re probably tapping your foot along with its singsong cadences right now. The rhyme accompanied a children’s game, and is the source, by the way, of the title of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. A caller who played the game as a child wonders if its roots lie in her Cajun heritage. This is part of a complete episode.
- Hair on Your Tongue (episode #1517) 02/11/2019: If you speak both German and Spanish, you may find yourself reaching for a German word instead of a Spanish one, and vice versa. This... [more]
- Train of Thought (episode #1516) 02/04/2019: Chances are you recognize the expressions Judgment Day and root of all evil as phrases from the Bible. There are many others, such as the... [more]
- Colonial English (episode #1515) 01/28/2019: The anatomy of effective prose, and the poetry of anatomy. Ever wonder what it'd be like to audit a class taught by a famous writer?... [more]
- Space Cadet (episode #1514) 12/24/2018: We have books for language-lovers and recommendations for history buffs. • How did the word boondoggle come to denote a wasteful project? The answer involves... [more]
- Howling Fantods (episode #1513) 12/17/2018: Are there words and phrases that you misunderstood for an embarrassingly long time? Maybe you thought that money laundering literally meant washing drug-laced dollar bills,... [more]