Listener Malenia wants to know how her favorite word game came to be. It turns out it took a while for Scrabble to score big. Stefan Fatsis, author of Word Freak, fills in the blanks. Plus, can you beat Flora’s most embarrassing story?
We’re revisiting one of our favorite episodes this week. A few years ago, listener Annie asked ELT to settle a longstanding family debate: exactly how old is Winnie-the-Pooh? To hunt down an answer, we consult with professional age-guesser Ben Ramey, bear biologist Rae Wynn-Grant, and Sarah Shea, a professor who has studied this question.
Listener Taylor was making a medieval stew when she noticed a prominent ingredient was missing from the recipe: potatoes. Potato biologist Maria Scurrah and journalist Charles Mann explain the potato’s twisting route to stewpot domination. Special thanks to Graham Thiele, Bruce Owen, Alan Covey, and Gary Urton.
Listener Christina gets ruffled by a stiff breeze and wants to know if she’s alone in her wind rage. Atmospheric science historian Vladimir Jankovic introduces Christina to her people, and iconic couples therapist Esther Perel, host of “How’s Work” and “Where Should We Begin,” helps Christina rethink her relationship with the wind.
How are essential workers doing now? We check in with some of the essential workers we talked to back in April and hear what it’s been like to teach, fly on planes, ship packages, and drive a truck during a pandemic. Thanks to Rob, Justin, Tamasha, Lucy, Jacob, Kaleb, Ian, and Dawn.
Listener Gab is clumsy — white sweaters, stemmed wine glasses, and sharp edges are off the table. Can Gab learn to be less clumsy? Professional steady hand Bryan Berg and kinesiologist Priscila Tamplain share tips for foiling fumbles. Special thanks to Carl Gabbard and Michael Wade.
Attention all you #hortihotties, this week caller Esther asks about houseplants: When did we start keeping them, and has there ever been another houseplant heyday? Guests Catherine Horwood, author of Potted History, and Charlotte Salter-Townshend of the National Botanic Gardens in Dublin sift through the facts and expose the shady side of houseplant history.
This week, some comfort food. For a lot of us, the holidays won’t be the same this year. Instead of arguing around the table with our extended families, we’ll be stuck at home with a single-serving of mashed potatoes, face-timing the people we love. So we invited ourselves to your place. We asked you to tell us about a meal you can’t forget. And you delivered. Your stories made us laugh, cry and get very hungry. Thanks to callers Margaret, Janae, Brandon, Johnny, Jameson, and Oz, and all of you who left us a message.
Why do we cry? Did cavemen really carry clubs? Can swearing make you stronger? On ELT, you call with a question, we find you an answer. Our helpline is open 24-7. Call 833-RING-ELT or send an audio message to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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