Why would you write books or poems or plays with only one vowel? Or in palindromes? Or only using the example sentences in dictionaries? Sometimes you need to force yourself to jump a few hurdles (and perhaps the rest of the obstacle course) before your creativity will be unleashed.Read More
What is the expression 'beyond the pale' on about? How do you express the absence of feeling? Does 'testify' have anything to do with testicles? Do avocados have anything to do with testicles? How does the phrase "It's all Greek to me" relate to food styling? Can you have a caper with capers? Are sharks misunderstood, etymologically and morally? And finally: where do allusions come from?Read More
Last April, I did a talk on the main stage at TED. Here it is. It’s about the dot on the letter i, and my favourite typo of all time.
From Me To You’s Alison Hitchcock and Brian Greenley didn’t know each other well. But when Brian was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, Alison offered to write him letters. 100 letters later, their lives were changed.
One of the newest members of Radiotopia is Ear Hustle, a podcast made inside San Quentin by and about the men incarcerated there, in collaboration with Nigel Poor. In prison, a letter is a precious thing.Read More
"It's sort of frozen body language; that's what handwriting analysis is about."
Since it caught on a couple of hundred years ago, graphology - analysing handwriting to deduce characteristics of the writer - has struggled to be taken seriously as a practice. But undoubtedly, there are things about ourselves that we can't help but reveal in our handwriting.Read More
Does the available vocabulary for sex leave something to be desired? Namely desire? (And also the ability to use it wthout laughing/dying of embarrassment?) Aiding in the search for a better sex lexicon - sexicon - are Kaitlin Prest of fellow Radiotopia podcast The Heart, and romance novelist Mhairi McFarlane.Read More
'Classics' started off meaning Latin and Greek works, then literary works that smacked of similar, and now - what, exactly? Books that are full of bonnets and dust?Read More
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It's cathartic; it's useful historical records; and it might help you behave better on public transport. Neil Katcher and Dave Nadelberg from Mortified discuss the art and practice of keeping a diary.
- This website has a fair amount of information about Samuel Pepys, including his diary entries describing the Plague and the Great Fire of London - and some of the entries he wrote in code because they're a bit saucy.
- Pepys wrote his diary in shorthand, so snoopers couldn't understand it. Read a translation at Project Gutenberg.
- Anne Frank, meanwhile, edited a version of her diary for possible public consumption, which was the one published in 1947. The longer, private version was recently published.
- Mortification comes in many forms. All of which are funnier when they happened to someone else.
- My friend Jo Neary has been keeping an illustrated diary for decades. Occasionally, she shares some pages online, to my delight.
- Which of these medical acronyms will follow in LOL's footsteps and be in common use in textspeak within the next 30 years?
- Having trouble translating DAMHIKT, UDS or POTF? Acronym Finder is here to help.
- Ever been curious about the Radiotopia sting at the end of the show? Jonathan Mitchell from Radiotopisibling The Truth explains how he composed it in the latest episode of Song Exploder.
- Here's the transcript of this episode.
Roman Mars also returns to talk about Radiotopia. To support our thirteen shows, visit radiotopia.fm.
This episode is sponsored by Passion House Coffee Roasters. Get 20% off any of their subscriptions by visiting passionhousecoffee.com and using the offer code ALLUSIONIST
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- Dave Nadelberg and Neil Katcher run Mortified. It's a weekly podcast, a stage show in many cities around the world, a documentary, a TV series, and books; find all these Mortified things at getmortified.com.
- This episode was produced by me, Helen Zaltzman. Thanks for the advice, Eleanor McDowall and Martin Austwick (who also provided all the music).
- Communicate with me publicly at facebook.com/allusionistshow, twitter.com/allusionistshow and twitter.com/helenzaltzman.
Come back next week for another Radiotopisode.
The Allusionist is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX, which is supported by Mailchimp, the Knight Foundation, and listeners like you.