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The Whole Kit and Caboodle (#1327)

From: A Way with Words
Series: A Way with Words
Length: 54:01

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Nothing brightens up an email like an emoticon. But is it appropriate to include a smiley face in an email to your boss? Also, what do time management experts mean when they say you should start each day by "eating the frog"? Plus, the story behind the phrase "the whole kit and caboodle," and some book recommendations for language lovers. If you see the trash can as half-full, are you an optimist or a pessimist? A puzzle involving breakfast cereals, the difference between adept and deft, and the origin of the political term solon. And what in the world is a hoorah's nest?

2242950647_c7beae8aab_m_small Is it appropriate to use emoticons in business emails? After all, you wouldn't write a smiley face in a printed letter, right? Martha and Grant discuss the point at which you start using those little symbols in correspondence. Call it "The Rubicon on the Emoticon." Judith Newman has more observations about emoticons in business correspondence in this New York Times piece.

http://nyti.ms/pKguDN
 
Why are non-commissioned Naval officers called petty officers? After all, there's nothing petty about them. The term comes from the French petit, meaning "under, less than, or ranking below in a hierarchy." Petty comes up in myriad instances of formal language, such as petty theft, which is a lesser charge than grand larceny.

To summarize something, we often use the phrase all told. But should it be all tolled? The correct phrase, all told, comes from an old use of the word tell meaning "to count," as in a bank teller. All told is an example of an absolute construction--a phrase that, in other words, can't be broken down and must be treated as a single entity.

What do parents say when they tuck their children in at night? How about good night, sleep tight, and see you on the big drum? Have you heard that one, which may have to do with an old regiment in the British Army?

How do you manage your time? Perhaps by eating the frog, which means "to do the most distasteful task first." This is also known as carrying guts to a bear.

http://bit.ly/stoi5n

From Puzzle Guy John Chaneski comes a great game for the breakfast table in the tradition of such cereal names as Cheerios and Wheaties. What kind of cereal does a hedge fund manager eat? Portfolios! And what do Liberal Arts majors pour in their bowls? Humanities!

What is the difference between adept and deft? It's similar to that between mastery and artistry. Adept often describes a person, as in, "Messi is adept at dribbling a soccer ball." Deft, on the other hand, is usually applied to the product of an act, such as "deft brush strokes."

There are some words we just love to mispronounce, like spatula as spatular, which rhymes with "bachelor."

If someone plans to make hay of something, they're going to take advantage of it. It comes from the idiom make hay while the sun shines, based on the fact that moving hay can be a real pain when it's dark and damp.

Martha has a follow-up to an earlier call about why hairstylists advise clients to use product on their hair. At least in the food business, product often refers to the item before it's ready for consumption. For example, coffee grounds might be called product, but once it has been brewed, it becomes coffee.

If you see the trash can as half full, does that make you an optimist or a pessimist? Since it's half full of garbage, as opposed to daisies or puppies, it's questionable. On the other hand, in the tweeted words of Jill Morris: "Some people look at the glass as half empty. I look at the glass as a weapon. You can never be too safe around pessimists."

http://twitter.com/#!/JillMorris/statuses/128573375114256385

If we're talking about the whole lot of something, we call it the whole kit and kaboodle. But what's a kaboodle? In Dutch, a "kit en boedel" refer to a house and everything in it. For the sake of the English idiom, we just slapped the "k" in front.
 
The holiday gift season is coming up, and Grant and Martha have some book recommendations. For the family, Grant has two great children's books: The Three Pigs by David Wiesner, a meta-narrative based on the classic title characters, and Elephant Wish, a touching cross-generational story by Lou Berger, the head writer of Sesame Street. Martha recommends The Word Project: Odd and Obscure Words beautifully illustrated by Polly M. Law. Stop by your local bookseller and pick up a copy for your sweetheart, a.k.a. your pigsney!

http://amzn.to/w4TN3f
http://amzn.to/rxTZYw
http://amzn.to/ty9q6F

If something's messy, it looks like a hoorah's nest. But what's a hoorah? It beats us. All we know is, it leaves its nest in a real state of confusion, and does it well enough to inspire a popular idiom.

The Twitter hashtag #Bookswithalettermissing has proved to be a popular one. We discussed some great examples in an earlier episode.

http://www.waywordradio.org/missing-letter/

But why not take a letter off the author as well? As in, Animal Far by George Owell, the story about an animal that ran away, prompting a nonchalant farmer to say, "Oh, well." (The joke's doubly funny if you know that the name "George" comes from the Greek for "farmer.")

There's some confusion about the uses of at and by, particularly among those for whom English is a second language. Prepositions often cause trouble, because they don't translate perfectly. Nonetheless, it's important to know that in standard English, if someone is staying home, they're staying at home, not by home.

Here's a testy T-shirt slogan: "Polyamory is wrong! It's either multiamory or polyphilia. But mixing Greek and Latin roots? Wrong!"

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/unreasonablefaith/2010/03/polyamory-is-wrong/

Solon often pops up in headlines as a label for legislators. It is actually an eponym, referring to Solon, an esteemed lawgiver from ancient Athens who lay much of the groundwork for the original democracy. Nowadays, however, the term solon is commonly used ironically, since our legislators don't display the noble disinterest that Solon did a few millennia ago.

The great Leonard Bernstein once said, "a writer is a person for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people." What are your favorite quotes on writing?

Piece Description

Is it appropriate to use emoticons in business emails? After all, you wouldn't write a smiley face in a printed letter, right? Martha and Grant discuss the point at which you start using those little symbols in correspondence. Call it "The Rubicon on the Emoticon." Judith Newman has more observations about emoticons in business correspondence in this New York Times piece.

http://nyti.ms/pKguDN
 
Why are non-commissioned Naval officers called petty officers? After all, there's nothing petty about them. The term comes from the French petit, meaning "under, less than, or ranking below in a hierarchy." Petty comes up in myriad instances of formal language, such as petty theft, which is a lesser charge than grand larceny.

To summarize something, we often use the phrase all told. But should it be all tolled? The correct phrase, all told, comes from an old use of the word tell meaning "to count," as in a bank teller. All told is an example of an absolute construction--a phrase that, in other words, can't be broken down and must be treated as a single entity.

What do parents say when they tuck their children in at night? How about good night, sleep tight, and see you on the big drum? Have you heard that one, which may have to do with an old regiment in the British Army?

How do you manage your time? Perhaps by eating the frog, which means "to do the most distasteful task first." This is also known as carrying guts to a bear.

http://bit.ly/stoi5n

From Puzzle Guy John Chaneski comes a great game for the breakfast table in the tradition of such cereal names as Cheerios and Wheaties. What kind of cereal does a hedge fund manager eat? Portfolios! And what do Liberal Arts majors pour in their bowls? Humanities!

What is the difference between adept and deft? It's similar to that between mastery and artistry. Adept often describes a person, as in, "Messi is adept at dribbling a soccer ball." Deft, on the other hand, is usually applied to the product of an act, such as "deft brush strokes."

There are some words we just love to mispronounce, like spatula as spatular, which rhymes with "bachelor."

If someone plans to make hay of something, they're going to take advantage of it. It comes from the idiom make hay while the sun shines, based on the fact that moving hay can be a real pain when it's dark and damp.

Martha has a follow-up to an earlier call about why hairstylists advise clients to use product on their hair. At least in the food business, product often refers to the item before it's ready for consumption. For example, coffee grounds might be called product, but once it has been brewed, it becomes coffee.

If you see the trash can as half full, does that make you an optimist or a pessimist? Since it's half full of garbage, as opposed to daisies or puppies, it's questionable. On the other hand, in the tweeted words of Jill Morris: "Some people look at the glass as half empty. I look at the glass as a weapon. You can never be too safe around pessimists."

http://twitter.com/#!/JillMorris/statuses/128573375114256385

If we're talking about the whole lot of something, we call it the whole kit and kaboodle. But what's a kaboodle? In Dutch, a "kit en boedel" refer to a house and everything in it. For the sake of the English idiom, we just slapped the "k" in front.
 
The holiday gift season is coming up, and Grant and Martha have some book recommendations. For the family, Grant has two great children's books: The Three Pigs by David Wiesner, a meta-narrative based on the classic title characters, and Elephant Wish, a touching cross-generational story by Lou Berger, the head writer of Sesame Street. Martha recommends The Word Project: Odd and Obscure Words beautifully illustrated by Polly M. Law. Stop by your local bookseller and pick up a copy for your sweetheart, a.k.a. your pigsney!

http://amzn.to/w4TN3f
http://amzn.to/rxTZYw
http://amzn.to/ty9q6F

If something's messy, it looks like a hoorah's nest. But what's a hoorah? It beats us. All we know is, it leaves its nest in a real state of confusion, and does it well enough to inspire a popular idiom.

The Twitter hashtag #Bookswithalettermissing has proved to be a popular one. We discussed some great examples in an earlier episode.

http://www.waywordradio.org/missing-letter/

But why not take a letter off the author as well? As in, Animal Far by George Owell, the story about an animal that ran away, prompting a nonchalant farmer to say, "Oh, well." (The joke's doubly funny if you know that the name "George" comes from the Greek for "farmer.")

There's some confusion about the uses of at and by, particularly among those for whom English is a second language. Prepositions often cause trouble, because they don't translate perfectly. Nonetheless, it's important to know that in standard English, if someone is staying home, they're staying at home, not by home.

Here's a testy T-shirt slogan: "Polyamory is wrong! It's either multiamory or polyphilia. But mixing Greek and Latin roots? Wrong!"

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/unreasonablefaith/2010/03/polyamory-is-wrong/

Solon often pops up in headlines as a label for legislators. It is actually an eponym, referring to Solon, an esteemed lawgiver from ancient Athens who lay much of the groundwork for the original democracy. Nowadays, however, the term solon is commonly used ironically, since our legislators don't display the noble disinterest that Solon did a few millennia ago.

The great Leonard Bernstein once said, "a writer is a person for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people." What are your favorite quotes on writing?

Broadcast History

For broadcast starting Friday, July 13, 2012. This episode first aired November 11, 2011.

Transcript

Is it appropriate to use emoticons in business emails? After all, you wouldn't write a smiley face in a printed letter, right? Martha and Grant discuss the point at which you start using those little symbols in correspondence. Call it "The Rubicon on the Emoticon." Judith Newman has more observations about emoticons in business correspondence in this New York Times piece.

http://nyti.ms/pKguDN

Why are non-commissioned Naval officers called petty officers? After all, there's nothing petty about them. The term comes from the French petit, meaning "under, less than, or ranking below in a hierarchy." Petty comes up in myriad instances of formal language, such as petty theft, which is a lesser charge than grand larceny.

To summarize something, we often use the phrase all told. But should it be all tolled? The correct phrase, all told, comes from an old use of the word tell meaning "to co...
Read the full transcript

Timing and Cues

Piece Audio Version

The show clock:

Billboard: 1:00
Segment 1: 13:00
Music Bed: 1:00
Segment 2: 19:00
Music Bed: 1:00
Segment 3: 19:00
TRT: 54:00

Stations typically take NPR news at the top of the hour and start our show at :06 with Breaks at :19 and :39 and out at :59.

Here's a typical episode rundown:

--Billboard
--Seg 1
----Intro: 2-3 minutes
----Caller questions: 10-11 minutes
--Break 1:00
--Seg 2
----Word Challenge 4-6 minutes
----Caller questions 13-15 minutes
--Break 1:00
--Seg 3
----Slang Quiz 5-7 minutes
----Caller question

Two File Version Version

The show clock:

Billboard: 1:00
Segment 1: 53:00
TRT: 54:00

Stations typically take NPR news at the top of the hour and start our show at :06 with Breaks at :19 and :39 and out at :59.

Here's a typical episode rundown:

--Billboard
--Seg 1
----Intro: 2-3 minutes
----Caller questions: 10-11 minutes
--Break 1:00
--Seg 2
----Word Challenge 4-6 minutes
----Caller questions 13-15 minutes
--Break 1:00
--Seg 3
----Slang Quiz 5-7 minutes
----Caller question

Intro and Outro

INTRO:

This week on "A Way with Words": Nothing brightens up an email like an emoticon. But is it appropriate to include a smiley face in an email to your boss? Also, what do time management experts mean when they say you should start each day by "eating the frog"? Plus, the story behind the phrase "the whole kit and caboodle," and some book recommendations for language lovers.

OUTRO:

Musical Works

Title Artist Album Label Year Length
No Way! Boogaloo Joe Jones No Way!. Prestige 0 :18
The Kung Fu Lords of Percussion The Kung Fu 45rpm. Old Town Records 0 :32
I Can Dig It Booker T and The MG's Doin' Our Thing. Stax 0 01:00
I Likes To Do It People's Choice I Likes To Do It. Guyden 0 :21
Baby Batter Harvey Mandel Baby Batter. Janus Records 0 :22
I'm a Lonely Man Harvey Mandel Get Off In Chicago. Ovation Records 0 :18
Expressway (To Your Heart) Booker T and The MG's Doin' Our Thing. Stax 0 01:00
Brown Bag Boogaloo Joe Jones Right On, Brother!. Prestige 0 :15
Before Six Harvey Mandel Cristo Redentor. Philips 0 :19
Message From The Meters Leon Spencer Sneak Peak. Prestige 0 :14
Let's Call The Whole Thing Off Ella Fitzgerald Ella Fitzgerald Sings The George And Ira Gerswin Songbook. UMG Recordings 0 01:05

Additional Files

Additional Credits

Hosted by Martha Barnette and Grant Barrett. Produced by Stefanie Levine. Engineered and edited by Tim Felten. Production assistance by James Ramsay and Josette Herdell. Recorded at Studio West in Rancho Bernardo, California. Independently produced and distributed by Wayword Inc., a California company, to public radio stations across North America.

Related Website

http://www.waywordradio.org