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August 30th, 2006

Happy Birthday, mistahbojangles!

For your present, here's today's Forgotten English!

with squirrel
Pregnancy is seldom mentioned when both men and women are present. ... If no women are about, a hillman may remark to a comparative stranger that his wife is ketched, or ... too big for her clothes, or comin' fresh ... or with squirrel. ... When a man's wife was about to be delivered of a child, a friend said to the husband, "Well, Tom, it looks like your bees are a-swarmin'."
--Vance Randolph's Down in the Holler: A Gallery of Ozark Folk Speech, 1953


Feast Eve of St. Raymond,
a patron of pregnant and delivering women, midwives, and obstetricians. Eleanor Hull's Folklore of the British Isles (1928) explained why women were often anxious to return to church after a pregnancy: "Perils to soul and body accumulate about the great moments of birth, marriage and death. A woman after childbirth is the most dangerous thing on earth; demons are round about her, and if she goes to a river to wash, the fish will all go away. ... Until she is churched after the child's birth, and, in the infant's case, until it is baptized, both are specially open to fairy influences."

Wow, bubonic plague sucks -- but at least it's not a woman after childbirth. ¬.¬

I wonder about people sometimes, I really do.

-The Gneech

Let's Get This Hashed Out

Poll #810186 A Question of Vital Importance

Pick one:

Zoinks!
20(27.0%)
Jinkeys!
25(33.8%)
Would you do it for a Scooby Snack?
29(39.2%)


Please post a comment explaining your choice.

-The Gneech

The Law of Inverse Post Content

Once again, we see the Law of Inverse Post Content in action. Posts about my comics, Fictionlets, whatever, might get 10-20 comments total. A poll with the options "Zoinks! / Jinkeys! / Would You Do It For a Scooby Snack?" gets 45 votes and 42 comments (as of my last count).

Crazy.

So I'll follow it up with something just as pointless and see what the response is!

Why are "English Muffins" called that, when they're not English, and they're not muffins? They are kinda sorta like crumpets (which are English), but not really.

Hey, you UK readers: do you import English Muffins from the U.S.A.? I'd hate to think of you folks going through life without ever having enjoyed Thomas's best, especially after you loaned us the name. Seems to me they should be called Yankee Crumpets, not English Muffins.

While I'm thinking about it, why are French Fries called French, when they actually are English? The French Fried Potato (in America) is actually an adaptation of the English Chip. We still call fish and chips "fish and chips" -- but I suspect that has to do more with the fact that British actor Arthur Treacher used to have a line of fast food restaurants called "Arthur Treacher's Fish and Chips" than any kind of linguistic loyalty.

What Americans call potato chips are actually crisps. Meanwhile, what we call cookies are actually biscuits, and what we call biscuits are more like, I dunno, muffins? Or again, sorta like crumpets. But not really.

Don't try to figure it out, it'll just hurt your brain.

-The Gneech

PS: Arthur Treacher's fish and chips were awful, by the way. A bag of grease with no flavor whatsoever, unless you added vinegar and salt -- in which case they were "vinegar and salt" flavor.

Churchill's Black Dog

Now, for some actual content.

I imagine that most people who know me know that I have had recurring bouts with depression over the years, some of them fairly severe. While I have become pretty adept at heading it off at the pass, this past week it hit me pretty hard, and earlier today, while I blathered on about Yoinks and Jinkies, I hit bottom of this particular attack.

One of the annoying things about clinical depression (as opposed to just "being sad") is that there is usually no real antecedent, you just find yourself wandering around hovering on the edge of tears for no good reason. It isn't a real sadness, it's some stupid gland or whatever releasing mood-altering chemicals into your brain, just like taking a drug.

And like being on drugs, it can make you stupid; offhand comments become vicious personal attacks, slight setbacks become world-ending traumas, etc. If you're not careful, and sometimes even if you are, you find yourself doing or saying things that are absolutely out of proportion to the situation at hand ... and when you're back in your normal frame of mind you find yourself saying, "What the hell was I thinking???" But at the time, you either don't realize what's going on, or in your emotional state you just say "Fuck it, I don't care!"

I don't know if there's a cause-and-effect relationship between my lack of sleep and my depression, or in what direction that relationship might be. I'm not sleeping well because I'm upset, which in turn makes it more easy for me to get upset because I haven't had any sleep. I've generally become fairly good at spotting the early warning signs and heading them off at the pass -- the Emergency Day Off I took from work last week was an attempt to short-circuit the downward spiral -- but this time it was too little, too late apparently.

I'm generally pretty reserved and maintain my standard cheerful demeanor on the outside at all times, so I doubt if more than a handful of people would even know something was bugging me unless I told them. But I'm bringing it up because earlier today I got into that "WTF" mode and started getting weird at people (you know who you are). Fortunately I realized what was going on and (hopefully) corrected it before any lasting harm was done ... and a few good friends (and of course the lovely and patient laurie_robey) managed to get me through until I could get a fairly solid nap (the depressive's anti-drug) and a little treat in the form of a Japanese steak house trip that helped knock me out of the rut.

So I'd just like to send out a blanket "thanks, sorry about that" to everybody who was affected, and a general reminder to everyone else -- if I ever behave in weirdly emotional ways that seem out of character for me, please let me know because I'm probably "in a mood" and may not entirely realize what I'm doing.

Thanks. :)

-The Gneech

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