For the sheer fun of it, catch Robert Krulwich on Weekend Edition Saturday. He's boldly attacking a basic truth: "If you dig a hole straight through the Earth you'd come out in China."
That's certainly what they believed in Illinois, where Pekin is perhaps named after Peking (although it doesn't work so well when the Chinese capital's name gets updated to Beijing). And Canton, Ill., — that fits. The Krulwich report takes us to those towns and, by imagination, through the very center of the earth to where we'd really come out.
I've had some e-mail exchanges with Robert this week about the word "antipodes," which I've long wanted to get on the radio. From the Greek anti, meaning opposed, and pous, meaning foot. As in, "Who are the people who are against the bottom of your feet?" Robert's a longtime friend and a truly gifted reporter and he knows not to use words he doesn't like. He grumbled, "the pavement would be what's against the bottom of your feet." And as airtime approaches the word is not in his script. Stay tuned.