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Dear M.A.:

When my friends and I are running around having a good time, are we raising "cane" or raising "cain"? The first makes more sense, but my friend insists it's the latter. Explain, please.

-- Bob at the Beach

When you're on the town, acting like bozos, you're raising Cain, Adam and Eve's kid, the one who killed his brother early on in Genesis. As the Bible's first felon, his name's become synonymous with the devil. Raise Cain, raise the devil. And I trust you won't turn to Matthew Alice when it's time to raise bail.

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