HD: 1919 Words
Posted: 05 July 2011 04:27 AM   [ Ignore ]
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The next installment

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Posted: 05 July 2011 06:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Like any man I have my flaws and among them are my irrational bugbears. I can’t help but twitch when people say “chai tea” but I bite my tongue.

Mercurochrome! Happy childhood memories of my late mother.

I don’t think I heard the word copacetic before I heard Bound For The Floor by Local H. Origin unknown eh? That’s surprising, looks for all the world like a Latin derived word. Seems there’s no lack of hypotheses.

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Posted: 05 July 2011 08:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Interesting as ever, Dave. I hope you keep it up!

Recharger

This one surprised me, because by 1919 rechargeable batteries had already been in use for 60 years. In my youth, they were often called “accumulators”, to distinguish them from non-rechargeable “dry batteries”, or “dry cells” - or from “wet cells”, such as the Leclanché cell, which were still to be found in odd corners once in a while.
So what was a battery charger called, for 60 years before 1919 - simply a “charger”? A bit ambiguous, surely? “Grandma’s Georgian silver charger has green stains all over it”. A “battery charger”, I suppose. Maybe a “dynamo”. I seem to recall that cars once had dynamos, to charge their accumulators.

Today’s high-tech society has us all dealing with all sorts of equipment whose workings we don’t really understand - I suspect that’s what makes us so slipshod in our everyday use of technical terms. Not long ago, I asked the proprietor of a retail electrical goods shop, what was the power of the motor in an electrical blender he was offering for sale?  “220 volts” he replied, without batting an eyelid. He was civil enough to refrain from adding “of course”, but I think I may have actually seen him raise an eyebrow at my asking such a fatuous question.

;-)

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Posted: 05 July 2011 10:42 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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OP Tipping - 05 July 2011 06:31 AM

I can’t help but twitch when people say “chai tea” but I bite my tongue.

“Chai latte” is the one that does it for me, and I normally don’t bite my tongue but say: “Or milky tea, as your granny would call it.”

“Bagel” is the normal spelling in the UK, but the famous (if you’re a Londoner) Brick Lane Beigel Bake in the former Jewish heartland of East London (now the Bangladeshi heartland of East London) preserves the older version.

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Posted: 05 July 2011 05:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Whatever chai may mean in whatever language we stole it from is irrelevant.  In English it is a type of tea and complaining about the phrase chai tea is like complaining about the phrase feta cheese.

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Posted: 05 July 2011 09:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Mercurochrome
From age three to age fifteen, I can’t remember a single continuous month when my knees, elbows and knuckles were not dyed red. Likewise for most of my mates. It was universally called lal (red) oshudh (medicine) in colloquial Bengali. Thanks, Bill, for making me remember a bygone era.

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Posted: 09 July 2011 10:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Not really Wordorigins material except that it uses the word “mercurochrome” (or rather the French equivalent), but it’s such an infernally catchy pop tune I can’t resist sharing it (and implanting it in your brains/ears as well):
http://www.myspace.com/ingridmusique/music/songs/mercure-au-chrome-et-p-39-tits-pansements-81537257

I guess you’d Americanize the title as “Mercurochrome and Band-Aids”; here are the lyrics (since I couldn’t get them just by listening, and I supposedly know French):

J’ai bien évalué les options
la fuite n’est pas la solution
et j’ai bien beau me croiser les doigts
j’crois que t’as tout vu, eh bien voilà
Et toutes glorioles me désertent
même l’orgueil vole en miettes
jupon tordu et cheveux au vent
j’espère que tu trouves ça charmant

REFRAIN
La gravité ne m’aime pas beaucoup, j’tombe souvent sans explication
Même pas un lacet qui se dénoue, même pas une pièce à conviction
Mercure au chrome et p’tits pansements…

Toujours lors des pires circonstances
du genre au premier rendez-vous
et proportionnel à l’assistance
plus y’a de monde, plus j’ai l’air fou
Mes genoux embrassaient le parquet
rien d’une romance de série B
t’as dit « ça va? t’as rien de cassé? »
et j’suis tombée amoureuse dans l’escalier

REFRAIN

Depuis je fais ma petite mam’zelle de chemin
à petits pas tout près des tiens
et c’est même pas grave si je perds pied
de toute façon, tu me trouves jolie,
même échevelée

REFRAIN

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Posted: 10 July 2011 01:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Whatever chai may mean in whatever language we stole it from is irrelevant.  In English it is a type of tea and complaining about the phrase chai tea is like complaining about the phrase feta cheese.
----

Hence my use of the expression “irrational bugbears”.

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