Dogspotting may even be the birthplace of DoggoLingo’s titular term “doggo.”

Though created in 2008, Dogspotting really took off in the summer of 2014, particularly in Australia.

This is significant because, as internet linguist Gretchen McCulloch points out, adding “-o” to words is very Australian. For example, where we’d say def to abbreviate the word definitely, Australians would say deffo.

So were Australians posting in Dogspotting saying “doggo,” which English-speakers around the world picked up on and turned into a viral Internet word?

“That makes a shocking amount of sense,” says John Savoia, who founded Dogspotting and runs the page with Reid Paskiewicz and Jeff Wallen.

“I bet you anything [doggo] was used before Dogspotting and we just made it part of the lexicon,” Paskiewicz says.

James Moffatt, a performance artist who grew up in Adelaide and is not a member of Dogspotting, says he remembers doggo being used “as an affectionate diminutive to refer to dogs throughout my childhood.”

—  I’m quoted in this NPR article Dogs Are Doggos: An Internet Language Built Around Love For The Puppers (which you should definitely read in its entirety)

One day Ronnie Sidney, from Tappahannock, Va., was goofing off with his classmates in math when one of them threw a football at the board — and it landed a little too close to the teacher. Sidney says the ninth-grade teacher, visibly frustrated, turned around and said, “ ‘None of you are going to college.’ ”

That was a pivotal moment for Sidney. Not only did he feel stigmatized as a special education student diagnosed with ADHD, Sidney says he’d also felt discriminated against in school as an African-American.

By the time of the incident with the football, he’d already spent seven years in special education, feeling like he was bad at school. But Sidney says, instead of letting the teacher’s outburst get to him personally, it motivated him to graduate high school, then college and eventually get a master’s degree in social work at Virginia Commonwealth University.

His Teacher Told Him He Wouldn’t Go To College, Then He Did

Illustration: Kelsey Wroten for NPR

This is Sister Norma Pimentel, the Executive Director for Catholic Charities in the Rio Grande Valley. She’s standing in the Parish Hall of the Sacred Heart Church in McAllen, which she converted to a makeshift supply center for migrant families in 2014. At that time the surge of unaccompanied minors from Central America had overloaded Border Patrol facilities, and they were releasing families where the parents were present in order to make room for the unaccompanied kids. 

Sister Norma opened this center so those families would have somewhere to come for clothing, food, water, and showers, before continuing their journey. 

“We welcome them the moment they walk through those doors of Sacred Heart Parish Hall. We have our volunteers clap and say ‘welcome, bienvenidos.’ And just that moment starts a transformation of the family where they feel for the very first time they matter, that their lives are important to others…And they feel overwhelmed with gratefulness because of the fact that for the very first time in their journeys, of what they’ve been through, they finally arrive to a place that’s caring and compassionate. And the volunteers are wonderful in making sure they get everything they need so that they can truly restore their dignity after the great journey and hardships that they went through.”

– Ravenna 

(Photo: Samantha Balaban/NPR)


Victorian Houses by YVES BARIUAN

A border story from Nogales, Arizona: I spotted 12-year-old Alexander Figueroa bringing his pug, Michelle, back home across the border from Nogales, Mexico. The dog’s lip had been torn in a fight with a bigger dog. The vet in Tucson quoted them $675 to stitch Michelle up. So instead, Alexander and his mom, Liliana, drove south. Total cost in Mexico: 600 pesos, or about $30. “And they gave her a free shower!” Alexander told me, happily.

Photo: Melissa Block/NPR

Republicans aren’t quite sure what to do with the position they’ve found themselves in. … They did not expect to be in a position where they could repeal the Affordable Care Act. And while they spent seven years, you know, campaigning on it and promising to repeal and promising a replace plan, they are very, very far from agreeing on how actually to do that, and what a replacement plan looks like.
—  Sarah Kliff of, on the GOP’s plans to repeal and replace Obamacare

Donald Trump promised something new in American politics.

His strategists said his brash “America First” approach would bust up the old party identities and remake the Republican Party as a true populist “Workers Party.”

But it was never perfectly clear exactly how he planned to do that — 100 days into his administration, here are five thoughts on what we know so far about Trumpism.

Almost 100 Days In, ‘Trumpism’ Is Still Not Clearly Defined

Illustration: Chelsea Beck/NPR

“In the Delta, most of the world seemed sky… The land was perfectly flat and level but it shimmered like the wing of a lighted dragonfly. It seemed strummed, as though it were an instrument and something had touched it.” 
–Eudora Welty, Delta Wedding

The next best thing to experiencing Mississippi first-hand, as we’re doing now, is absorbing it through the state’s legendary writers. I’m having a great time working my way through this stack for this week’s trip.

Donald Trump has been president for two weeks, and he is already facing dozens of lawsuits over White House policies and his personal business dealings. That’s far more than his predecessors faced in their first days on the job. The lawsuits started on Inauguration Day, and they haven’t let up.

Most of the 50-plus lawsuits filed so far relate to the travel ban on refugees and nationals from seven mostly-Muslim countries that Trump ordered on Jan. 27. They were filed in 17 different states by doctors, professors, students, people fleeing violence and Iraqis who have worked for the U.S. military. Some were detained in American airports for hours over the weekend; others were barred overseas from boarding planes bound for the U.S. Two Syrian brothers with visas to enter the country say they were turned around at Philadelphia International Airport and sent back to Damascus.

After 2 Weeks In Office, Trump Faces More Than 50 Lawsuits

Chart: Parker Yesko, Katie Park and Candice Kortkamp/NPR

This is the Jiffy mascot. His name is Corny.

This is the president and CEO of the Jiffy empire. His name is Howdy. He’s the one in the middle. He’s the fourth generation to run the family business: the Chelsea Milling Company in Chelsea, Michigan. (Oh, that’s me on the left; producer/photographer/awesome traveling buddy Elissa Nadworny on the right.)

I talked Howdy Holmes into making corn muffins with me at company HQ. He was totally game, though I have to say: not a natural baker. (Sorry, Howdy!)

It was Howdy Holmes’ grandmother Mabel who came up with the idea to create the country’s first pre-packaged baking mix. The Jiffy mix came out in 1930, and the rest is baking history. I adore these little recipes Mabel jotted down in her notebooks. They’re hanging in the hall outside Howdy’s office. (I’m quite sure my grandma Val’s recipes also call for “nutmeats.”)

If you work for Jiffy, you get free mixes for life, even after you retire. The company started in 1907, and Howdy Holmes told me they’ve never laid off an employee: They’ve managed to downsize through attrition as older workers retire. The company has 311 workers now; Holmes figures with automation, they’ll be down to 240 in ten years, but will produce four times the volume. Current pay is roughly $22 an hour, plus benefits, and workers doing the same job get the same pay regardless of whether they started today or twenty years ago. 

Fun fact about Howdy Holmes: before he took over the family business, he used to be a race car driver. His Indy 500 rookie of the year plaque hangs in his office. 

You can listen to our story from the Jiffy plant and see more pictures here: 


Photos: Melissa Block/NPR
Advanced Black Lung Cases Surge In Appalachia
An NPR investigation has documented dramatic spikes in complicated black lung, the most serious stage of the deadly coal miners' disease.

Branham has “never been scared of death,” he says, as he chokes back tears. “It don’t bother me a bit. It’s just not seeing my kids grow up. But if I had it to do over I would do it again, if that’s what it took to provide for my family as long as I have.”