Monday, September 7, 2015

The way we word...

The way we word...  Via my cousin Mike D.:
Words and Phrases Remind Us of the Way We Word    By Richard Lederer

About a month ago, I illuminated some old expressions that have become obsolete because of the inexorable march of technology. These phrases included "Don't touch that dial," "Carbon copy," "You sound like a broken record" and "Hung out to dry." A bevy of readers have asked me to shine light on more faded words and expressions, and I am happy to oblige:

Back in the olden days we had a lot of moxie. We'd put on our best bib and tucker and straighten up and fly right. Hubba-hubba! We'd cut a rug in some juke joint and then go necking and petting and smooching and spooning and billing and cooing and pitching woo in hot rods and jalopies in some passion pit or lovers’ lane. Heavens to Betsy! Gee whillikers! Jumpin’ Jehoshaphat! Holy moley! We were in like Flynn and living the life of Riley, and even a regular guy couldn't accuse us of being a knucklehead, a nincompoop or a pill. Not for all the tea in China!

Back in the olden days, life used to be swell, but when’s the last time anything was swell? Swell has gone the way of beehives, pageboys and the D.A.; of spats, knickers, fedoras, poodle skirts, saddle shoes and pedal pushers. Oh, my aching back. Kilroy was here, but he isn't anymore.

Like Washington Irving’s Rip Van Winkle and Kurt Vonnegut’s Billy Pilgrim, we have become unstuck in time. We wake up from what surely has been just a short nap, and before we can say, “I'll be a monkey’s uncle!” or “This is a fine kettle of fish!” we discover that the words we grew up with, the words that seemed omnipresent as oxygen, have vanished with scarcely a notice from our tongues and our pens and our keyboards.

Poof, poof, poof go the words of our youth, the words we've left behind. We blink, and they're gone, evanesced from the landscape and wordscape of our perception, like Mickey Mouse wristwatches, hula hoops, skate keys, candy cigarettes, little wax bottles of colored sugar water and an organ grinder’s monkey.

Where have all those phrases gone? Long time passing. Where have all those phrases gone? Long time ago: Pshaw. The milkman did it. Think about the starving Armenians. Bigger than a bread box. Banned in Boston . The very idea! It’s your nickel. Don't forget to pull the chain. Knee high to a grasshopper. Turn-of-the-century. Iron curtain. Domino theory. Fail safe. Civil defense. Fiddlesticks! You look like the wreck of the Hesperus. Cooties. Going like sixty. I'll see you in the funny papers. Don't take any wooden nickels. Heavens to Murgatroyd! And awa-a-ay we go!

Oh, my stars and garters! It turns out there are more of these lost words and expressions than Carter had liver pills. This can be disturbing stuff, this winking out of the words of our youth, these words that lodge in our heart’s deep core. But just as one never steps into the same river twice, one cannot step into the same language twice. Even as one enters, words are swept downstream into the past, forever making a different river.

We of a certain age have been blessed to live in changeful times. For a child each new word is like a shiny toy, a toy that has no age. We at the other end of the chronological arc have the advantage of remembering there are words that once did not exist and there were words that once strutted their hour upon the earthly stage and now are heard no more, except in our collective memory. It’s one of the greatest advantages of aging. We can have archaic and eat it, too.

See ‘ya later, alligator
None of this was gobbledygook to me. How about you?

Dinner in Paradise...

Dinner in Paradise...  Debbie whipped up a magnificent meal for us this afternoon.  The main course was Ora King Salmon, recently available in our grocery store.  Debbie baked it in a mayonnaise, dill, and Peppadew Pepper sauce, and the result was spectacularly good.  We first ran into those Peppadew Peppers on a pizza at Jack's, and fell in love with them there.  The mild versions really are mild; I'm practically allergic to hot spicy foods, but I love these things.

Along with the glorious salmon, we had carrots cooked in balsamic vinegar and a little brown sugar.  Very nice, they were.  And finally we had rice, but rice ever so much better than we usually make it, by traditional stove top methods.  On the strong recommendation of Megan McArdle, we bought an automatic rice cooker – and this afternoon was our first attempt to use it.  That first try produced two (dry) cups of rice cooked to perfection, fluffy and light and delicious.  Also, better than anything we've ever cooked ourselves on the stove top.

What a meal!

I'm now starting my food coma recovery...

Morning in Paradise...

Morning in Paradise...  The dogs (Miki and Race) and I took our morning walk a bit late today.  Because of that, we met up with Roger R., tending his garden and starting to harvest some delicious looking beets, tomatoes, and corn.  While Roger and I were catching up, our neighbor's dog Annie came trotting up.  I'd never seen her on this road before, so that surprised me – and then I got a bigger surprise: our neighbor Alan L. and three of his kids (Zac, Nic, and Allie) were out for a jog and walk.  We all ended up talking for a half hour or so, while the dogs played with each other and the kids.

It was an absolutely gorgeous Cache Valley morning, feeling like a crisp fall morning (it was 38° on the thermometer).  We didn't see much in the way of wildlife; the hour and all the human activity chased it off, I suspect.  The scenery and the pleasant walk was more than enough, though.  The dogs were unhappy when I turned around.  They weren't nearly as enthusiastic about returning as they were when we were outbound :)