BL: cotton-picking
Posted: 28 June 2018 07:11 AM   [ Ignore ]
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As this term as been in the news of late because a Fox News commentator was suspended for using it, I’ve updated this Big List entry. It needed it badly. (The old version contained a howler of a mistake that went unnoticed for more than a decade.)

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Posted: 28 June 2018 09:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I’m intrigued. What was the howler, Dave? And the book title Dizzed to a Million. Does it mean made dizzy a million times over or something? (Good update BTW.)

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Posted: 28 June 2018 11:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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The howler was regarding Dizzed to a Million. (I have no idea what the title means.)

HDAS listed the author as J. Harris. I originally took that to mean Joel Chandler Harris, author of the Uncle Remus stories, not an unreasonable assumption given the subject. The giveaway, though, was the 1919 publication date, which is over a decade after J. C. Harris’s death. I should have caught that. (Maybe when I wrote the original version I reckoned it was a posthumous publication, but I really don’t remember what I was thinking.)

I don’t remember what prompted me to check this time (probably looking to see if Dizzed, which is how HDAS recorded it, was the complete title). I couldn’t find anything resembling that in any of J. C. Harris’s bibliography, so I widened the search parameters and found references to Jerome Harris’s 1919 Dizzed to a Million in some history publications about the field artillery in WWI. I didn’t find the book itself (if it is even actually a book and not a short story or pamphlet), only references to it.

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Posted: 29 June 2018 12:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Oddly enough I meant to ask you about dizz. There is a verb dizz in OED meaning to make dizzy but that doesn’t really fit the usage in the title. I suppose it could mean made dizzy a million times over but it’s an odd way of putting it. As to the howler I think it would have caught me out too, both the name and date. It’s certainly not unreasonable to assume he might have been alive then (he was only 60 when he died a decade earlier) and as you say there’s always posthumous publication.

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Posted: 02 July 2018 05:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Webster’s 1913 edition says “To make dizzy; to astonish; to puzzle”. 

Edit: typo

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Posted: 02 July 2018 09:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Here in the UK we only knew ‘cotton picking’ as an expression outside the actual act through watching Deputy Dawg cartoons - ‘Now jest a cotton-pickin’ minute there, Musk Rat ...’ Not that we knew what a musk rat was, except that it was a strange Southern US animal with a fondness’ apparently, IIRC, for watermelons.

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Posted: 03 July 2018 02:52 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Muskrats (usually spelled as one word) are a species of large, semiaquatic rodent. They resemble groundhogs in outward appearance, but they’re not related below the order of Rodentia. They’re not particularly southern, being found throughout most of US and Canada. As to a fondness for watermelons, while it makes sense (who doesn’t like watermelons), I think that’s specific to the cartoon.

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