September 11th, 2007

beachy

Happy Birthday, frostdemn!

For your present, here's today's Forgotten English (© Jeffrey Kacirk):

croyn
To cry as deer do at rutting time.
--John Kersey's New English Dictionary, 1772


New Moon
Dance of the Deermen

In recent times, a relic of a "horn dance" ceremony has been performed in the marketplace in Abbot's Bromley, Staffordshire, by twelve dancers, six of whom sported antlers. This ritual's original enactments, probably to encourage fertility among long-extinct British reindeer herds, date from Saxon times. A form of the dance was witnessed by Robert Plot, who said that it took place "within memory" during the Christmas holidays, the horns being painted with the coat of arms of the aristocratic local families. He wrote in his Natural History of Staffordshire (1686), "All people who had any kindness for the good intent of the sport, giving pence apiece for themselves and their families, and so foreigners too that came to see it, with which money they not only repaired their church, but kept the poor." Proceeds went toward the cakes and ale that were distributed, as well as the upkeep of the church.
--Chronicles of London Bridge, 1827

And you thought furry conventions were a recent development!

-The Gneech
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Kero class

Illiterati

From Arts & Letters Daily -- Conveying Emphasis
Walking the streets of New York , nothing cheers me up like signs written under the impression that quotation marks convey emphasis. One of my favorites is a cleaners that advertises its "FREE PICK UP AND DELIVERY" as if there's something hypothetical about the service.

From The Smart Set -- Confessions of a Community Theater Critic
During intermission, I ask the acne-riddled undergrad at the urinal next to mine whether he understands what's going on. I ask the question casually, not letting on that I'm actually a semi-professional theatre reviewer. He tells me he hasn't the faintest idea, just knows the actress. I look at the program. He's probably the guy she dedicated her performance to, along with William Shakespeare, Bob Dylan, and her family. And he's probably wondering why an older guy in a raincoat is coming out here on a Sunday night to watch a play his girlfriend is starring in.

-The Gneech