May 21st, 2008

Party Guy

Happy Birthday, ralph_lycanth!

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

audit ale

Extra strong ale supposed to be drunk when the accounts are audited.
—John Camden Hotten's Slang Dictionary, 1887

A special brew of ale, originally for consumption on Audit Day.
—Morris Marples' University Slang, 1950

Out of Hot Water

On this date in 1800, President John Adams pardoned three American citizens by decree who had been sentenced to death for hindering the professional dues of a tax collector. Richard Thornton's American Glossary (1912) elaborated on what came to be called the Hot Water War: "A name sarcastically applied to a riot in Pennsylvania which occurred in March 1799. Certain persons had poured hot water, or something equally unpleasant, on the head of the federal tax-collector, and were arraigned for treason." Although Adams was a lawyer by training, he had grown up the son of a farmer and had a more personal relationship with the use of pails. While president he once put his milking skills to good use, joining a "bucket brigade" to help put out a fire at the Treasury Department, near the White House.

Go, John Adams!

-The Gneech
Kero asleep


Greg lay on the couch, idly scritching behind the ears of Ozymandias, who sat on his chest purring quietly. "I feel like being witty and insightful today," Greg said.

"No skin off my nose," said Brigid, sitting in the recliner with the ruins of the Sunday paper splattered around her feet. "Go right ahead."

"Well, that's the thing," said Greg. "You can't just spontaneously be witty and insightful; it needs prompting."

"Ah," said Brigid.

Time passed.

A minute later, time continued to pass.

"No suggestions, eh?" said Greg.

"Not really."

"Oh well."

A bit more time got bored and passed.

"I suppose," said Brigid, "you could be insightful and witty about lazing around the house."

Greg pondered this for a moment, then said, "I suppose I could, but what's the point? It's like writing a haiku about doorknobs."

"There you go, wit and insight. Mission accomplished."

"Huh," said Greg. "I suppose so. But I was hoping for something better."

-The Gneech

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