Back to previous post: Cold or Flu?

Go to Making Light's front page.

Forward to next post: Those Mysterious Easterners, So Different From You and Me

Subscribe (via RSS) to this post's comment thread. (What does this mean? Here's a quick introduction.)

December 12, 2008

Unfortunate Headline
Posted by Jim Macdonald at 05:02 PM * 165 comments

Gift idea: How to make a ‘Love Box’

Some people are resolutely clean-minded.

Comments on Unfortunate Headline:
#1 ::: Lexica ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2008, 05:11 PM:

I've lost track of the number of times I've suddenly realized "OHHHHHH! That was a double entendre!"

And speaking of resolutely clean-minded, there's an establishment here in Oakland called Pump It Up: The Inflatable Party Zone...

#2 ::: Mary Frances ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2008, 05:13 PM:

Oh, my, does that bring back a memory! Of sitting in a junior high school music class quietly istening to Amahl and the Night Visitors and having the entire room go up in smoke when we got to "This Is My Box" . . .

#3 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2008, 05:24 PM:

In Dutch, the word "doos" (meaning box, pronounced "dose") is even more strongly marked*.

I make boxes as part of my bookbinding. I was making one for my boss, as a gift from a group of fellow colleagues. One of them Skyped me (in English, but clearly thinking in Dutch) to ask how it was going: "How is your box?"

Then, swiftly, before I could even tell him I had just finished gluing the sides, he typed, "How is the box that you're making?" I could practically see the blush, 10 km away.

-----
* along with "muts", which is what a Canadian would call a toque.

#4 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2008, 05:38 PM:

All references to pirates seeking booty these days, of course...

#5 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2008, 05:40 PM:

Abi @ 3... "muts", which is what a Canadian would call a toque

Tuque.

#6 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2008, 05:49 PM:

I got sent to the principal's office in junior high school for making what to me was the perfectly innocent statement, "Pandora, who was famous for her box...". It was literally years before I figured out why; my complete incomprehension was so obvious that I didn't get into any trouble for having said that.

#7 ::: pixelfish ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2008, 05:51 PM:

Speaking of Christmas double-entendres, there's this whole section of the Messiah where the phrase, "We like sheep" is repeated. The full phrase is "All we like sheep have gone astray," and I don't know if that's the canonical way to do the arrangement, but seriously, five minutes of people singing, "all we like sheep," is enough to make you wonder at the innocence of the choir director. There's a bit further on about the love of the Lamb too, or some similar phrase. I felt bad, but I could NOT stop giggling.

#8 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2008, 06:02 PM:

I can't have encountered that term until college years. It must be regional, because my jr-high-school class *also* listened to "Amahl and the Night Visitors" and I don't remember anyone in the room batting an eye.

Or... hell, I don't know. It's a bit of a comic moment in the performance. (An early "Oooh, doughnuts!" moment?) People laughed. I laughed. Maybe I didn't get the joke.

#9 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2008, 06:13 PM:

"Some people are resolutely clean-minded."

And who might those be?

#10 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2008, 06:18 PM:

Linkmeister @ 9... Obviously not those of us who were greatly amused by the secret adventures of Mark Trail.

#11 ::: Schizohedron ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2008, 06:39 PM:

My crowning moment with a double entendre: Years ago, I was introduced to a woman who worked at a tissue bank, primarily for bones and skin. I made a mental note of this, then waited until I met her again — had to be a good year and a half — and asked, after exchanging hellos, "So how's life in the skin trade?"

#13 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2008, 07:11 PM:

Some people are resolutely clean-minded.

Or just oblivious, or not aware of that idiom. If I'd been presented with that headline without the story and without being told that it had smutty implications, I'd have had no idea what a "love box" might be.

#14 ::: John Chu ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2008, 07:12 PM:

#7: Handel was not a native English speaker. Some of his text setting is questionable. In the case of "All we like sheep have gone astray," yup, it opens with the chorus singing "All we like sheep", waiting 4.5 beats, then singing it again before they sing "have gone astray." Actually, every time the chorus sings "All we like sheep", they have to wait 4.5 beats before they get to do anything else.

The other instance I can think of off-hand isn't nearly as fun. In "The trumpet shall sound," he consistently sets the word "incorruptible as "inCORrupTIble." (i.e., it's misaccented.) Some editions fix this by having the bass soloist sing "be raised incorruptible" in place of "inCORrupTIble." (This makes more sense when you look at the music.)


#15 ::: Sylvia ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2008, 07:30 PM:

Some people are resolutely clean-minded.

I thought the same when I watched this advertisement for Ball Busters. It can't be real, can it?

What on earth is a toque/tuque?

#16 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2008, 07:33 PM:

Sylvia a toque/tuque is a sort of hat, oft referred to as the national cap of Canada.

#17 ::: pixelfish ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2008, 07:39 PM:

John Chu: Thanks for the info. Have you performed in The Messiah before? You seem very knowledgeable about the arrangement.

#18 ::: Steph ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2008, 07:40 PM:

#12: You beat me to it.

#19 ::: coffeedryad ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2008, 07:46 PM:

A toque/tuque/chook is a knit hat without a bobble on top, something like a watch cap without the brim.

#20 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2008, 07:50 PM:

Sylvia @ 15... Here is what a tuque is. Not on the kid's head, but falling off his noggin It doesn't always have a pompom at the tip, but it's knit.

#21 ::: Matt ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2008, 07:51 PM:

#7 & #14 - Its not just Handel, I've encountered that text (from Isaiah 53:6) twice as an Introit, and both times the poor cantor had to start with "We like sheep..." and then pause for the rest of us to come in. Not quite four and a half beats worth, but it's still an odd way to set the text...

#22 ::: Mary Frances ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2008, 07:53 PM:

Andrew Plotkin @ 8: Actually, I suspect one of the reason that particular memory (re: Amahl) has stayed with me so long is that I didn't really get it either, but the rest of the class certainly did. Or enough of them to make me realize that I'd just learned a new dirty word . . .

I doubt it was regional. Probably just a coincidence. Maybe there was a smutty joke currently running through the school? I seem to recall that the reaction took the music teacher by surprise, too.

#23 ::: Scott Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2008, 07:54 PM:

Steph @ 18 -

I'm just glad I wasn't the only one who thought of that sketch...
:-)

#24 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2008, 08:03 PM:

coffeedryad: Where do you get your watchcaps? None of mine have a brim, though the bottom edge is usually rolled back on itself.

#25 ::: glenda larke ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2008, 09:03 PM:

I wouldn't have called myself clean-minded, but sorry - the expression love box means absolutely nothing to me, except that it is the name of a UK band.

But then, I'm not American...

#26 ::: Melissa Mead ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2008, 09:18 PM:

"Some people are resolutely clean-minded."

Including me, I guess, since this is the first I'd heard about "Amahl and the Night Visitors" having double entendres. My little sister loved that song, and went around singing it, and my parents didn't act like there was anything off-color about it.

#27 ::: Mikael Vejdemo Johansson ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2008, 09:27 PM:

Ooooooookay. I still don't know what a love box is. And google doesn't help.

Anyone care to define it for me? Please?

#28 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2008, 09:27 PM:

So a toque is not also a euphemism for a French letter, then?

#29 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2008, 09:30 PM:

Mikael Vejdemo Johansson #27: "Box", in American vernacular usage, is one of the many terms for the female genitalia.

#30 ::: Melissa Mead ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2008, 09:32 PM:

Judging from the context, it sounds like a kind of care package...?

#31 ::: Elliott Mason ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2008, 09:37 PM:

Earl@28: A toque (pronounced to rhyme with puke or nuke, hence the spelling variations) is a knit ribbed stocking cap, often striped, often longer than 'necessary', so there's extra after you've covered your ears. Pompom on the top optional. Both Bob and Doug are wearing them in this image. Definitely not a French letter, or other condom euphemism.

Mikael@27: When being used in a nod-nod, wink-wink sort of way by Americans, 'box' is synonymous with vagina. Well, with smutty euphemisms for vagina, anyway. It is considered an extremely crude turn of phrase, and was more common in the 70s than it is now.

#32 ::: East of Weston ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2008, 09:56 PM:

The women-focused sex toy shop Grand Opening had the slogan "toys for your box." (It's now closed... cue more jokes.)

On somewhat the same track, but not sexual, the MBTA has come up with the slogan "Driven by Customer Service," printed on the jackets worn by the workers in the stations. This supposed to be reassuring?

#33 ::: glenda larke ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2008, 09:58 PM:

Now, of course, I an wondering how many times I have used "box" innocently when speaking to Americans and had them suck in their cheeks trying to keep a straight face...

Sigh.

#34 ::: Madeline F ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2008, 10:20 PM:

#33 glenda larke: Eh, don't worry about it. I'd guess that usage is a rapidly fading thing, soon to be like 1900s uses of "bully" etc. Which is to say, while I'm vaguely aware of it, I don't know anyone who'd think of it in the top five meanings of the word box.

#35 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2008, 10:23 PM:

Well, I'm American (albeit anomalous) and I only ever heard of that meaning for the word after it was apparently already on its way out. I think it's an urban legend.

Serge @5: Tüeque.

#36 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2008, 10:29 PM:

glenda @ 33: Oh, probably as many times as when you've said "pussy" and meant the cat.

One of my professors in veterinary school -- a very staid British fellow -- tried to tell a joke to our class one day, while waiting for something. He told us the one about the pussy on the roof. At the end of the joke we all exploded with laughter, with relief that finally, we could laugh.

#37 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2008, 10:53 PM:

"Box" by itself is pretty innocuous. But in the word-group "love box," well.

Google on "little love box," (or "hot love box," or "juicy love box") and see what you get. (Hint: Don't try this at work. ("Hot little juicy love box" appears only one place in the entire Google-indexed web: In Atlanta Nights, or quotes from Atlanta Nights).)

#38 ::: Nick Kiddle ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2008, 11:16 PM:

One of the main meanings of "box" as far as I'm concerned is the penalty area. So one Sunday, I was describing the previous day's match to my then-boyfriend, a German speaker with a strong American influence to his English. "We were dreadful," I said. "There was no penetration into the box." He simply refused to believe that I hadn't intended any double entendre.

(He also refused to believe that the song "You must have come in a taxi" referred simply to arrival. We used to have terrible fights about it.)

#39 ::: debcha ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2008, 11:22 PM:

I would consider myself not in the least bit clean-minded, but 'box' is such a common word, especially around the holidays. Coupled with 'make,' I definitely went for the idea of 'rectangular container as a gift' before anything else.

I am highly susceptible to double-entendres involving 'package,' however.

'Pussy' barely even qualifies as a double-entendre - at least in my local linguistic grouping, anyone who chooses it over 'cat,' 'kitty' and even 'kitteh,' is probably doing so with a specific semantic goal in mind.

#40 ::: Spherical Time ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2008, 12:30 AM:

Jim @ 37:

Speaking of resolutely clean minded, I just read that Atlanta Nights quote as "Hot little juice box love."

And then, flipping back to dirty, that conjured all sorts of strange images in my head.

#41 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2008, 12:43 AM:

Michael Roberts @ 35... Tüeque?

#42 ::: J MacQueen ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2008, 01:00 AM:

coffeedryad at #19: knit hat without a bobble on top

I see, what many Australians would call a beanie, though they can have pompoms/bobbles/whateveryouwanttocallthem on top too. The alternative form of 'chook', speaking of unfortunate concepts, is likely to cause Australians to picture someone wearing a barnyard fowl on their head, however.

Regards
Jo

#43 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2008, 01:01 AM:

Ginger @ 36... when you've said "pussy" and meant the cat

Let's ask Mrs. Slocombe about this.

#44 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2008, 01:16 AM:

glenda, #33: Don't worry unduly. While I'm familiar with the idiom, context makes a lot of difference; I wouldn't normally be seized with the giggles over the casual use of the word "box" by itself. In this particular case, calling the item a "love box" served to draw attention to the double-entendre. You might recall The Who's hit song "Squeeze Box"? Same deal.

#45 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2008, 01:54 AM:

Michael Roberts @ 35

No, it was in common usage at one time. I remember hearing it (and using it, I was a foul-mouthed kid) fairly often during the early and mid-sixties.

#46 ::: J MacQueen ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2008, 02:02 AM:

Serge @ 43: Let's ask Mrs. Slocombe about this.

You've just made me happy that a certain Australian department store chain is no longer called Grace Bros, in which case you've all done very well...

Regards
Jo


#47 ::: Marna Nightingale ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2008, 03:04 AM:

As in 'I lost my virginity, but I've still got the box that it came in?'

There is a store in San Luis Obispo called "Johnsons for Children". I may have splorted coffee, and the gentleman I was with was in no better case.


#48 ::: Katherine ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2008, 08:26 AM:

The idiom is surviving in Ireland, mainly embedded in the term "airplane blonde" for all the bleach blondes around.

The euphemism that gets me is "pink," particularly thanks to all the Victoria's Secret "University of Pink" merchandise.

#49 ::: glenda larke ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2008, 09:22 AM:

Grace Bros? Package? Johnsons for children? I give up! I officially declare myself the cleanest-minded person here.

I shall never open my mouth again for fear of what I might unintentionally say. I shall go and stroke my, er, cat instead.

#50 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2008, 09:59 AM:

Younger American here, not resolutely clean-minded (in fact constantly snickering at things and deciding that I must be mentally 12 years old). I'm intellectually aware of that meaning for the word "box" -- because I read it in a list of "slang for genitals" when I was about 10 years old -- but absolutely no one my age uses it, either straight or as a wink-wink double entendre. I don't think I've ever heard it actually come out of someone's mouth. It barely even pings me as a double entendre in this post, actually, except that context makes it obvious that it's intended to be. But I wouldn't snicker if I'd read that directly on CNN.com.

Slang is an interesting thing, isn't it?

Did I ever mention the phone book ad I saw for a lawyer named Richard Peniston? I am not making that up.

#51 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2008, 10:06 AM:

And another interesting note:

The hat called a toque/tuque is called a toboggan in the Southern US. I am not sure why.

When my boyfriend's family moved down from Michigan, watched the news, and saw reports that a "robber was wearing a red toboggan" -- well, hilarity ensued.

#52 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2008, 10:14 AM:

[Captain Peacock beckons to Mrs Slocombe]
Mrs. Slocombe: Captain Peacock, I do not respond to any man's finger.

#53 ::: chris y ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2008, 11:02 AM:

Caroline @50, I live about 15 miles from Penistone, whence the lawyers ancestors presumably hailed. I wouldn't make a special journey, though.

#54 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2008, 11:08 AM:

chris y -- interesting! Auto-play audio on his website does clarify the pronunciation (pen, not peen), consistent with Penistone. I still maintain that if my last name was Peniston I would not name my son Richard, though.

#55 ::: chris y ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2008, 11:24 AM:

Oh absolutely. Though it has to be better than Richard Head, which is also attested. I'm reminded of the story of the woman called Dickson who tried to join a social networking site and was rejected by some filter. She got so mad she tried to register as "Penisson", and was accepted without trouble.

#56 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2008, 11:54 AM:

chris y #55: I have met a Richard Head, an Australian chap.

#57 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2008, 11:54 AM:

Bruce @45 - Not in Indiana, apparently. I was born in 1966 (and call that kind of hat a toboggan, yes), so ... not in Indiana in the 70's, anyway. First I ever heard of it was people snickering about the Web comic Boxjam's Doodle, and that would have been maybe 2001.

Serge @41 Tique. Oh, never mind. I thought it was funny after midnight, now I'm not so sure. (sigh) Because "toque" is an open vowel, and "tuque" a more closed one, I closed it a lot more with the Swiss double-umlaut we all know and love from "müesli". Unless we're not German speakers, in which case we only go with a single transliterated umlaut with the "muesli" spelling Firefox's spell checker prefers. By perceiving what could be construed as a progression, then facetiously attempting to continue that progression in a way unexpected to the reader, I consciously violated the reader's expectations, with the intent of provoking the perception of a humorous, even dare I say jocular, situation.

Well, heck. Explaining it doesn't make a joke funnier. Who knew?

#58 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2008, 11:55 AM:

glenda @ 49:

For your further educational needs, let me present Big Johnson tee-shirts and Rigid Tools (famous for their calendars).

#59 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2008, 12:09 PM:

pixelfish #7, john chu #14:

Actually it's a meta-setting with hilarious consequences. For whatever reason--perhaps those 4.5 beats, perhaps the ensuing vocal lines on "astray", I have yet to hear a pick-up chorus that does not go *totally* astray during "have gone astray". It's got more scope than just about anything else in the whole oratorio.

#60 ::: Nicholas Waller ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2008, 01:07 PM:

I'm British and I too had never heard of "box" in terms of female genitalia before. However, we do have the term "lunchbox" to refer to male genitalia, usually deployed - and on one occasion in a libel court - as Linford Christie's lunchbox, Christie being a well-fit sprinter who wore skintight running gear.

Finbarr Saunders and his Double Entendres is a strip in grown-up comic book Viz, wherein young Finbarr mishears all sorts of innocent terms and phrases as double entendres until the last frame of the strip, generally showing his mother having sex with someone and commenting enthusiastically on it, at which point the eavesdropping Finbarr finds some perfectly innocent meaning for the genuinely sex-dripping terms in use.

#61 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2008, 01:17 PM:

Michael Roberts @ 57... "You got some 'splaining to do."

#62 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2008, 01:21 PM:

By the way, double entendre, while it looks like a French expression, isn't one. The expression in French is 'double sens', which translates as 'double meaning'. (Yes, one must pronounce the last 's' of 'sens', otherwise people will think you're saying something about double blood.)

#63 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2008, 01:37 PM:

A friend ran into a media salesman named Richard Rash. Apparently he decided to take the bull by the horn, because he introduces himself with "Hi! I'm Dick Rash!" I guess this forestalls most smart-ass comments.

#64 ::: debcha ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2008, 02:11 PM:

Marna Nightingale (#47): As in 'I lost my virginity, but I've still got the box that it came in?'

Okay, that made me LOL.

As in many other cases, the packaging is far more diverting than the contents.

#65 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2008, 02:30 PM:

There's always Meri Wilson's song "Peter the Meter Reader", where the titular Peter arrives and asks Meri to show him her box. (This after her previous hit in which the telephone man says "You can have it with a buzz, you can have it with a ring, and if you really want it you can have a ding-a-ling.")

#66 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2008, 02:41 PM:

Nicholas @60:

I was told, when I asked about the origin of the term "lunchbox" in Britain, that a traditional lunch was a sausage and two eggs.

I cannot attest to the truth of this story.

#67 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2008, 02:59 PM:

And speaking of genetalia, does anyone else here giggle on seeing or hearing some mention of the TV show, "The Unit"? Given the level of testosterone in it (I confess I watched about half of one episode), I find the title appropriate.

#68 ::: Bob Devney ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2008, 03:14 PM:

In the olden days of word processing (late 1970s), one marketing writer in our group was the first to master our cutting-edge new Office Information System from Wang Laboratories. Kathy kindly shared her knowledge of how to access dashes and other special characters in a memo quite widely distributed.

Unfortunately, she was clean-minded enough to entitle her memo "Special Things You Can Do with Your Wang."

#69 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2008, 06:36 PM:

I'm with glenda @ #25. I can guess what the smutty meaning is, but I'd never heard "box" used that way. And never heard or read the expression "love box" until today. Born (in 1961) and raised in Georgia, went to public school and a public university.

"Package", on the other hand, definitely pings my double-entendre meter.

But I have never heard anyone refer to a knitted cap as a toboggan. I call them "ski caps" but my teenagers call them "koozies". "Koozie" to me means the soft foam thing you put around a canned drink to keep it cold.

Ah, language.

#70 ::: shadowsong ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2008, 06:36 PM:

Regarding #68: there is also a song by Freezepop called "Do you like my Wang?" which is fully aware of what it's saying.

#71 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2008, 06:58 PM:

I'd only ever heard of the genital sense of "box" in George Carlin's "Filthy Words" sketch (as far as I know, the only comedy sketch to have been transcribed by the US Supreme Court and included as an appendix to a case -- FCC v Pacifica Foundation, 1978). I've never actually heard the word used in that sense in the wild.

#72 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2008, 06:59 PM:

Thomas Wanker is a well-known film composer.

#73 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2008, 07:20 PM:

There is a tradition of double-entendre songs that can be found in collections of old jazz records, for instance there is a record called "Party Time" by Julia Lee that has lots of them.

The one I remember is a song called "That Big Long Sliding Thing" about a trombone player.

#74 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2008, 07:22 PM:

Are we about to see an outbreak of Namephreakism in this thread?

Ah, Herb Caen, Mike Royko, Studs Terkel...giants one and all.

#75 ::: Ledasmom ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2008, 07:23 PM:

At the Tuesday-night bar-trivia game that I frequent (our team has a two-week winning streak going at the moment) it often happens that teams name themselves after current news stories. At one game there was a team named "We Haven't Seen Britney Spears Wrestle, But We Have Seen Her Box".
That is not, by a long shot, the least-tasteful name that's ever been used. The least-tasteful one I can remember, again with reference to then-current happenings: "Astronauts In Diapers, Headed For Uranus".
And we were very, very sorry we hadn't come up with that one ourselves. Usually our names involve the latest dead celebrity, in several cases on the same day that the celebrity died.

#76 ::: Sylvia ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2008, 07:35 PM:

I think there's a book to be written: "Things I learned from Making Light comment threads"

debcha @64 Marna's comment made me grin but your follow-up had me LOL

Caroline @50 Is it unreasonable to ask how young?

Mind you, my (older) British boyfriend claims it was categorically cited in his Dictionary of American Slang ca. 1966

#77 ::: Ledasmom ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2008, 07:47 PM:

The version of that one that I've heard is: "I lost my cherry, but I still have the box it came in".
For double-entendre songs, there is, of course "My Big Ten Inch (Record)", and I confess to always giggling at the refrain to "My Ding-a-Ling".

#78 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2008, 09:47 PM:

James D. Macdonald @ 58: "For your further educational needs, let me present Big Johnson tee-shirts and Rigid Tools (famous for their calendars)."

As an example of how slang changes, the thought of a calendar of "rigid tools" mostly makes me wonder why anyone would want to spend a year looking at awkward and poorly-posed yes-men and petty enforcers of the status quo.

Bob Devny @ 68: "Unfortunately, she was clean-minded enough to entitle her memo "Special Things You Can Do with Your Wang.""

Clean-mindedness is like travelling around the globe--go far enough, and eventually you come out the other side.

#79 ::: Carol Maltby ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2008, 09:51 PM:

The Target chain used the Japanese character Domo (sometimes known as Domo-kun), a brown plush monster with large pointy teeth, as part of their Halloween promotion this year.

I'm sure I wasn't the only one trying to shake "Every time you masturbate, God kills a kitten" out of my mind while shopping there.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Every_time_you_masturbate..._God_kills_a_kitten

#80 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2008, 10:16 PM:

Caroline, #51: I have to say that in 26 years living in Nashville, I never once heard anyone use the word "toboggan" for a hat. And yes, the image is mind-boggling.

Lila, #69: I once encountered a crafts-fair vendor selling koozies (the can-insulator kind) which were covered with flashy fabric prints and embellished with sequins and feathers. She called them "Floozies". I have never used a koozie in my life, but I had to buy one just because of the pun!

#81 ::: chris ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2008, 10:29 PM:

Some people are resolutely clean-minded.

Thank god for them.

Especially the editor who let the headline:

"Can Obama Escape the Taint of Blagojevitch?"

past.

#82 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2008, 10:52 PM:

My dad has a blues album, full of songs with double-meanings like "Press My Button, Ring My Bell".

#83 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2008, 11:26 PM:

Don't understand what you are saying about the name Grace Bros.

Who are Captain Peacock and Mrs. Slocombe?

#84 ::: J MacQueen ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2008, 11:52 PM:

Erik @ #83: The reference is the British comedy Are You Being Served?, which took place in a (in Britain, though not in Australia) fictional department store called Grace Bros. Captain Peacock and Mrs Slocombe were members (ahem) of staff at this store, in the clothing department. Mrs Slocombe often talked about her cat, though not by that word...

Regards
Jo

#85 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2008, 12:22 AM:

Erik Nelson @83:

Are You Being Served? was a British comedy set in a Department Store full of innuendo & double entendre*.

*Including the title.

#86 ::: miriam beetle ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2008, 12:30 AM:

erik,

There is a tradition of double-entendre songs that can be found in collections of old jazz records,

i remember a jazz singer on teri gross talking about how her older relatives would give her looks, as a child, if she sang the lament about "no mail in my mailbox."
as a variation on the virginity jokes above, i once heard jon favreau on late-night tv quip that he "play[s] in the box my kids came in."

reflecting, i would say that i've only heard the term as part of a joke or a double entendre, never straightforwardly.

#87 ::: Chris Quinones ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2008, 12:44 AM:

Erik Nelson, 73: I have a CD called "The Art of the Bawdy Song" that compiles 17th and 18th century specimens such as "My Thing Is My Own" and "My Man John Had a Thing that Was Long" (said thing being a broomstick). Musical filth goes back a long time....

As a baseball fan, the fact that a (Hall of Fame-caliber) pitcher named Randy Johnson is actually nicknamed "The Big Unit" amuses me. He's 6 feet 10, in fact.

#88 ::: Marna Nightingale ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2008, 02:14 AM:

Debcha: I blush. Even though reflection persuades me that you mean "in general".

#89 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2008, 02:24 AM:

I know someone who was delivered by a gynecologist named Harry Beaver, and has the birth certificate to prove it.

Henry Purcell wrote a lot of naughty stuff:

Young Collin cleaving of a Beam
At every thumping blow cried Hem!
And told his wife who the cause would know
That Hem! made the wedge much farther go.
Plump Joan at Night to Bed they came
And both were playing at the same
Cried Hem! Prithee Collin do,
If ever thou Love'dst me Dear Hem! now;
He laughing answered no, no, no
Some work will split with half a blow;
Besides now I bore,
I Hem! when I cleave but now I bore.

#90 ::: Marna Nightingale ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2008, 02:38 AM:

Also there is the line cited in "The Art of Coarse Acting" as an example of the sort of thing the director really OUGHT to change if s/he insists on messing with the script, but can never be persuaded to:

"Has the doctor seen her, Fanny?"
"Yes, and he said there was little hope."

The actor involved, Greene claims, invariably omitted the comma, but the director insisted, right up until two-thirds of the way through opening night, that Greene was merely being puerile.

(This is also the book that brought us the memorable line "When the strage directions said he shot himself, there must have been a misprint."

NEVER have beans on toast for supper if you have to go on stage.

#91 ::: deathbird ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2008, 03:48 AM:

The early '70s Aussie band, Daddy Cool, had a cover of a '50s boogie song entitled 'Baby Let Me Bang Your Box'.

It was about playing the piano, which was patently clear from the verses, but still gave radio stations pause.

The album it was on, 'Sex, Dope, Rock'n'Roll - Teenage Heaven' was actually banned for a while.

The chorus went:
'Oh baby let me bang your box, baby let me bang your box
Baby let me bang your box, hey baby let me bang your box
Well baby let me play your eighty-eight
I'm gonna bang 'til the whole house rocks.'


#92 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2008, 08:02 AM:

I am disappointed that this thread hasn't mentionned 007 yet.

"Hi, I'm Plenty."
"But of course you are."
"Plenty O'Toole."
"Named after your father perhaps?"

#93 ::: Jörg Raddatz ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2008, 08:30 AM:

Serge @92: While I am just as disappointed that no one has metioned the Jack Vance novel Servants of the Wankh ...

#94 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2008, 08:33 AM:

Jörge Raddatz @ 93... Heheheh. Another surprising absence is 1959's Some Like It Hot, especially this scene with Jack Lemmon in drag:

"Which of these instruments do you play?
"Bull Fiddle."
"Oh, fascinating! Do you use a bow or do you just pluck it?"
"Most of the time I like to slap it!"

#95 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2008, 09:12 AM:

There's always the Georgian part-song, "Hodge Told Sue," which goes:

Hodge told Sue
The whole of his tale
Which tickled her fancy.

Because of the way part-songs work, this eventually gets around to "Tickled her tale" then "Tickled her whole."

#96 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2008, 09:18 AM:

"Well, I can't make love to a bush!"
- Lina Lamont in Singin' in the Rain

#97 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2008, 10:03 AM:

Carol @ #79, indeed, you were not.

Lee @ #80, that's awesome!

In general: there's a horribly bawdy old riddle about women and a habit they have: "...they put it in, and then they move it/which makes it melt, and then they love it...." (It gets worse than that, and the answer is eating gooseberries.)

#98 ::: John L ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2008, 01:41 PM:

I was --this-- far from asking a young woman who I had just made a toybox for (she was pregnant) "was there anything else that she needed screwing?" before I caught myself...

(Said comment was after I offered to add friction hinges to the top of the toybox so it wouldn't slam down uncontrolled.)

I'm sure she was puzzled why I turned beet red after making a perfectly innocuous comment...

#99 ::: Ledasmom ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2008, 01:44 PM:

Two quotes from children's books - young children's books:
The first, from one of the Tonka "Working Hard With" books, explains that the dispatcher "tells the driver where to go and how to get there".
The second, from "The Magic School Bus Lost in the Solar System": "Methane gas in its atmosphere makes Uranus look blue." Mind you, the whole page on Uranus had my mother and me laughing so hard we were crying. We are not clean-minded.

#100 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2008, 04:01 PM:

My wife's gynecologist's name is Concepción.

There was something else I wanted to comment on, but forgot by the time I read to the end. Ah well. "Toique".

#101 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2008, 04:13 PM:

Sylvia @ 76, it's not unreasonable -- I'm 26.

Lee @ 80, how interesting! I truly thought "toboggan" was the word used all over the Southeast. Now I want to map it out. I wonder if it's secretly just an NC thing, or what.

#102 ::: flowery tops ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2008, 05:55 PM:

Despite making plenty of box jokes myself (including the time I told a friend that I bought a jar of brown box* honey from the cute young honey dispenser at the health food store, and she asked if I had said anything to him about my own brown box), I just now got the joke about losing virginity but keeping the box etc.

*Native Australian tree, there's also a yellow box at least.

#103 ::: arthur ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2008, 07:40 PM:

My favorite instance isn't even a double entendre. Back in junior high school, in celebration of the bicentennial thirty-odd years ago, the student body was inflicted with a reading of the Declaration of Independence. The speaker simply could not proceed beyond "manly firmness." It's really hard, I mean difficult, to think of an apropriate meaning.

#104 ::: debcha ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2008, 07:45 PM:

Sylvia (#76) and Marna (#88):

[bows]


Shadowsong (#70):

A fellow Freezepop fan! "Do You Like My Wang?" always make me grin; for those of you who may also be amused by the intersection of computer geekiness and sexual innuendo, you can download the MP3 here.

#105 ::: flowery tops ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2008, 07:55 PM:

Gosh, reminds me also of a programme I heard on classical radio one afternoon: "The Romantic Organ".

#106 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2008, 09:02 PM:

re names, and that slang issue: Fellow of my, vague, acquaintance was on exchange to England. There was a mixer, with the requisite name tags. His name was John Thomas. When it was pointed out what that meant he went to his middle name, thus donning a tag which said, "Hello, I'm Randy."

#107 ::: glinda ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2008, 09:28 PM:

joann@59:
Actually it's a meta-setting with hilarious consequences. For whatever reason--perhaps those 4.5 beats, perhaps the ensuing vocal lines on "astray", I have yet to hear a pick-up chorus that does not go *totally* astray during "have gone astray". It's got more scope than just about anything else in the whole oratorio.

Oh ghods yes. I've sung (chorus) in several performances where that was one of the sections cut.

(Now I'm wondering if there's a Messiah sing-along over here on Bainbridge, and if so, if I could actually sing enough. Six years of chronic bronchitis, but my doctor's taken me off inhalers this month and *crosses fingers* so far I'm doing OK...)

#108 ::: Carol Maltby ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2008, 11:08 PM:

"There is nothing more to be esteemed than a manly firmness and decision of character. I like a person who knows his own mind and sticks to it; who sees at once what, in given circumstances, is to be done, and does it." -- William Hazlitt

I once managed to keep my face politely smiling while a 10 year old at a party played a tune I knew only as "The Bonnie Wee Lassie Who Never Said No" on a flute.

#109 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2008, 02:20 AM:

On the topic of regionalisms -- any folks here from Indiana? I'm wondering if the regional usage of "mango" to indicate a green bell pepper has faded since the popularity of mangoes, and mango-flavored items like candy and tea, has burgeoned.

#110 ::: chris y ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2008, 04:35 AM:

Terry @106, I blame the parents, myself.

#111 ::: chris y ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2008, 05:50 AM:

Oops. Remembered the name wrong @55. Link to the original story here.

#112 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2008, 07:36 AM:

W.H. Auden took note of a children's book which contained the line "my fairy muff is made of pussy-willow."

#113 ::: Paul Herzberg ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2008, 07:50 AM:

Nick Kiddle @38

Football's good for a few double entendre's per match especially when David Seaman (occasionally nick-named Spunky) used to play. Being a goally Seaman was always in the box and forever getting lobbed. Playing for Man City (hmmm) he was often seen spurting from the Bell End (actually the Colin Bell Stand, but we know what they meant).

When he was number one for England, his main rival was Tim Flowers prompting the question "Do you prefer Seaman or Flowers?"

Sometimes he would get pulled off at half time (usually, though, he'd just get an orange).

#114 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2008, 07:58 AM:

flowery tops @ 105... on classical radio one afternoon: "The Romantic Organ".

That reminds me of the time the San Francisco Symphony played The Planets: they got quite a few titters from the audience when the organ got stuck at the end of Uranus.

#115 ::: Paul Herzberg ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2008, 08:42 AM:

I remember when the pronunciation of Uranus changed. One day it was, well, you know, and the next it was uh Ran us.

It was done in order to prevent having John Craven (of John Craven's Newsround) giving news reports to children on rings around Uranus, craters on Uranus and, of course, probing Uranus.

#116 ::: Cat Meadors ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2008, 09:14 AM:

I think "box" must be time/place regional - I grew up in basically the same place and time as Andrew Plotkin (hi! I knew your sister in high school!), and also didn't hear it until reading some bad (classic?) 70's porn in college.

I did, however, watch NASCAR every week just so I could hear the announcers talking about "Dick Trickles". Never got old.

And not once, but twice, I have answered the question of why I don't like peas with, "it's just their pea-ness". I'm pretty sure the next time it comes up I'll remember to THINK before talking.

#117 ::: Kristin ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2008, 09:20 AM:

I'd just like to state that, as I was reading this thread, one of my co-workers was talking about a particular kind of food he's eating for weight-loss purposes. I asked if he had tried another kind.

"Yeah," he said, "but that kind is so good, I usually end up having the whole box."

I don't know how I managed to keep a straight face, but I'm quite proud of myself for it.

#118 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2008, 09:48 AM:

Headline for a one-paragraph mini-article in the 12/14 San Diego Union-Tribune: Bimbo buys U.S. baking unit.

(One of the major Mexico-based baking companies is called "Grupo Bimbo". Recently it bought the U.S. subsidiary of another company.)

#119 ::: Nicholas Waller ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2008, 09:58 AM:

Double entendres-cum-puns have a long history. The 17thC play The Country Wife was not about a married woman living respectably in a rural environment.

One of the rudest double-entendre generators in modern British broadcasting available to all ages is the antidote to panel games I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue, where each week presenter Humphrey Lyttleton would pass on some reason why his nubile (and fictional) assistant Samantha had to leave early - one one occasion to see a gentleman friend who kept birds: "He keeps a young chicken, but Samantha says there are also wild breeds there, and she can't wait to see his Woodcock, Pullet and Swallow."

http://www.ivorysky.com/isihac/index.php for more. Some, as the man says, need to be read out loud for full effect.

#120 ::: Ledasmom ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2008, 10:01 AM:

Congressman Dick Swett had a brother-in-law named Timber Dick, goodness knows why. I honestly can't comprehend how that can have seemed like a good idea.

#121 ::: Stevey-Boy ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2008, 10:18 AM:

Marna Nightingale @ 47: You owe me a new keyboard. That's hilarious.

RE: Richard Head. In secondary school our maths(?) textbook was edited by Richard Head. Much giggling during the first few weeks of term.

#122 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2008, 10:27 AM:

A former colleague did her Ph.D. research on computational modelling of atomic orbitals. The models which most accurately map the electron densities are very computationally expensive, so one usually uses a much simpler model, with parameters tweaked to minimize the errors. s orbitals, spherically symmetrical, model well, but as one goes along the series p, d, f, ... the simple models become less accurate because of the more complex shapes. Her work was about modelling orbitals that had intermediate properties: partially s and partially p, with a bit of d character, for example.

But she had a bit of trouble at one academic presentation when she started explaining about the pness of her orbitals.

#123 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2008, 10:36 AM:

Paul Herzberg @ 115... In Hercules and the Captive Women, Herc finds that the people of Atlantis worship the blood of Uranus, at which point the MST3K people suggested eating more fiber.

#124 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2008, 10:36 AM:

Michael I @118: One of the major Mexico-based baking companies is called "Grupo Bimbo"

I've seen at least one of their trucks in the DC area. Good to know this is a reputable business.

#125 ::: East of Weston ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2008, 11:51 AM:

Bob Devny @ 68: And the Wang family also donated the money to renovate the Metropolitan Theater, a Boston movie palace turned arts theater. It thus became the Wang Center, source of much giggling and snickering.

It is now the Citi Performing Arts Center, but the best (mis)usage of the old name happened back in the 90s when providing recorded information over the telephone was how everyone was going to get rich. There was a number to call for show times. You dialed, pressed the pound key and then a theater name. Whoever wrote the radio ads had a clean enough mind to end them with a hearty:

"Remember, for the best in Boston entertainment - Pound Wang!"

#126 ::: sherrold ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2008, 12:37 PM:

I have been let down by the internets! There is a Renaissance song about a old blacksmith trying to repair a lady's pot (okay, not box, but close), but sadly his hammer keeps striking too high, too low, too high, too low. (Thankfully a young blacksmith comes 'round with greater precision, and nails the problem!) Anyone remember the song title?

#127 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2008, 12:43 PM:

East of Weston (#125): The Wangs also donated money to Massachusetts General Hospital for a new building, so you can enter the hospital through the Wang Entrance (in the Wang Ambulatory Care Center).

I don't know if the urology department is in that building, though.

#128 ::: Marna Nightingale ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2008, 12:58 PM:

Stevey-Boy @ 121: Not any more I don't, we're even.

Not so much for poor old Dick Head as for the fact that it reminded me of the Fish Heads Song.

"... eat them up, yum!"

(omgmakeitstop stoppitstoppit sendhelp...)

#129 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2008, 01:50 PM:

Cat, #116: I had to read that out loud to get the full impact of it. :-)

Ginger, #124: We see those trucks everywhere in Houston. And it makes me giggle every time. Yes, I'm twelve.

sherrold, #126: Now you've nailed me with an earworm of "The Lusty Young Smith". Not the song you're seeking, but I've always been sorry that there wasn't a non-bawdy variant, because the chorus is so wonderfully suited to a kids' song. "With a jingle bang-jingle bang-jingle heigh-ho!"

This seems like a good place to talk about Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, TN. College kids being college kids, their standard cheer is, "Let's go, Peay! Let's go, Peay!" Back when I was at Vandy, they had a particularly outstanding basketball player by the name of James "Fly" Williams, and actually got into the NCAA regionals one year. Since the Southeast Regional was being hosted by Vandy, they were able to send a large contingent of students, who at one point made it onto national TV displaying a sign that said, "The Fly Is Open -- Let's Go, Peay!"

#130 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2008, 02:53 PM:

#115, even the alternative pronunciation of Uranus wouldn't have helped my friend who, when teaching a class full of college freshman about the solar system, explained that the methane in their atmospheres made Uranus and Neptune look like a couple of big blue balls....

#131 ::: Barbara Gordon ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2008, 03:01 PM:

I can't help sherrold either, though I can offer that her lost song may be described as a 'catch' or a 'part-song', which isn't that much help in finding lyrics.
In consolation I offer the lyrics of Sid Kipper of the Kipper Family. The song I found first was The Black Bonny Hare but the better example is perhaps The Bonny Spotted Cuckoo:

On the 14th of May, at the break of the day
With me gun on me shoulder to the woods I did stray
Pack of cards in me pocket, me fiddle and all
And tucked down me trousers, me long peggin' awl

I met a young girl with her cheeks as a rose
Says I, can you tell me where the bonny black hare goes?
Well now, me kind sir, I've not seen it today
But I saw it last Tuesday over Gimmingham way.

Oh no, I insisted, you misunderstand
'Tis on your cuckoo's nest that I would lay my hand
If it's Cuckoos you want sir, 'tis quite plain to me
That the best thing for you is to go climb a tree

My dear pretty maiden it is surely no riddle
Just allow me to play you a tune on my fiddle
But sir, since you carry no baggage at all
Then this fiddle you play must be wondrous small

I am sure that my wishes could fit in with yours
So may I suggest a game of all fours?
Oh sir, I'm afraid that you must be some joker
For 'tis clear that the game you desire is poker

With that the girl turned away and was gone
Leaving this young man quite clearly undone
He took out his powder, his bullets as well
Then drew out his ramrod and there shot himself .

#132 ::: Stevey-Boy ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2008, 05:03 PM:

I have just received an e-mail notification from our administrative office. Apparently I have 2 packages waiting for me up there. I think I'm going to get lucky. Although I've never had two before.

#133 ::: Stevey-Boy ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2008, 05:03 PM:

OK. That was TMI.

#134 ::: coffeedryad ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2008, 05:24 PM:

Terry Karney@24: I'm sorry, I don't know where my watch cap is from. My father bought several of them from some army-surplus source several years ago. (It's not an all-around brim, it's a short stubby bill a bit like that on a baseball cap, but shorter and covered with the knit; I'm not sure I described it quite clearly. As you say, it has the bottom edge rolled back up on itself.) The tag says "CAP, KNIT, WATCH", and I think of it as a Willie-and-Joe hat, although I can't find any of the cartoons with them in such hats on line. It's very nice in winter to have a hat that both keeps my ears warm and shades my eyes.

#135 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2008, 05:37 PM:

coffeedryad @134:

We bought my son one of those on Saturday. But I wouldn't have called it a watch cap, though it is a muts.

My idea of a watch cap is much more like Terry's, I think - there is no stiffened element, but there is a bit that turns up, all round, like the cuff on the sleeve of a sweater.

There might be a regional component to this; I am from California, as is Terry (I think).

#136 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2008, 05:44 PM:

Abi @ 135... there is no stiffened element

(...must NOT... make joke... must resist...)

#137 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2008, 05:53 PM:

Serge @136:

None of the things that I am tempted to say would leave you with any shreds of respect for my delicacy or character.

I assure you that my mind was, at the time, entirely innocent of any additional nuance. This is no longer the case.

#138 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2008, 06:40 PM:

Abi @ 137... my mind was, at the time, entirely innocent

But of course.
(A likely story.)

#139 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2008, 06:50 PM:

abi #135:

I called it a watch cap *before* I lived in California.

#140 ::: Stephen Sample ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2008, 09:58 PM:

Uh, oh. A thread involving bawdy song lyrics gets read by a Morris dancer. Run away!

I won't inflict any of the actual dances or Ale songs on you (unless you click the links ;-), but I wanted to share an old music-hall ditty I learned from Tony Barrand:

Wiiiith hiiiiis
Rum-ti-ara, rum-ti-ara
Rum-ti-ara-day,
That fellow who played the trombone,
He stole my wife away.
He pulled that long thing in and out,
He made her feel so gay.
He really tickled her fancy
With his rum-ti-ara-day!

Maybe if I infect someone else I can get it out of my head. Sheesh.

Oh, and Sherrold@126: that rings a bell. Is it Too High or Else Too Low?

#141 ::: John Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2008, 11:16 AM:

Paul Herzberg #115:
I remember when the pronunciation of Uranus changed. One day it was, well, you know, and the next it was uh Ran us.

It was done in order to prevent having John Craven (of John Craven's Newsround) giving news reports to children on rings around Uranus, craters on Uranus and, of course, probing Uranus.

Or possibly because the research team at JPL(?) were dancing around singing "rings around Uranus, rings around Uranus" to the annoying singsong tune of "ring around the bathtub" from a cleaning product ad.

#142 ::: John Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2008, 12:23 PM:

Oops, badly remembered commercial. "Ring around the Collar", I don't remember if the bathtub ring ad had a jingle.

#143 ::: David DeLaney ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2008, 07:57 PM:

A couple days ago I was on the phone with a customer, and we had been discussing shipping coats, and she came out with the following line:

"Well, I used to work in a dress shop, and we ALWAYS steamed before we put out!"

It's _difficult_ to hold in that level of immediate-reaction laughter (so as not to get puzzled looks from the rest of the call center)...

So these do happen in real life, yes.

--Dave

#144 ::: R.M. Koske ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 08:44 AM:

Terry -

When I read coffeedryad's description, I think of something like this. Although that hat doesn't really have the rolled up edge that I'm most familiar with, it could easily have one. "Beanie visor" seems to be a good search term for them.

#145 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 04:54 PM:

re watch caps: I have seen the sort of hat (with the, practically useless, brim), and it's related. I don't think region has much to do with it.

I first heard the term from my first stepfather (who, was from Shaker Heights, Ohio; my mother's side of the family being from Cleveland. The mid-west, Ohio and Indiana are where I was resident prior to the age of reason).

He got it, so far as I know, from his time in the Navy.

The one's I have now were all issued to me by the Army.

#146 ::: Per Chr. J. ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 05:50 PM:

Oh dear, I started watching the 80s BBD adaption of The Box of Delights (to get into the Christmas spirit), thought of the title of this thread, and started to giggle.

#147 ::: Sylvia ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 06:31 PM:

Speaking of resolutely clean-minded, someone linked this website to me today.

http://animalattraction.com/

"People who understand how it feels to love animals and be loved by one."

Maybe it's just me, but "dating site for pet-owners" was not the first thing to come to mind. :P

#148 ::: debcha ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 08:21 PM:

I'm editing a review paper in which one of the citations is for Wang and Weiner.

Yes, I snickered.

#149 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 09:20 PM:

148: Reminds me of the telephone listing I once saw in Oklahoma, for "Hung, Peter".

It just kind of popped up during my search for another name.

#150 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2008, 10:22 PM:

I used to work with a guy named Wai Wong.

#151 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2008, 04:05 AM:

Reading back over some older posts, I found this in Fred Head, Anti-Porn Crusader:

37 ::: JonathanMoeller: You'd think a guy with a last name like Head would know better than to open up the Pandora's Box of sexual wordplay.

Surprisingly, nobody picked up on the "box" reference. This supports my contention that it's a context-dependent idiom.

#152 ::: Andy Perrin ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2008, 11:36 PM:

On the front page of the NYTimes, right this minute, you can see the following quote under the headline "Where the Porterhouse Ages Gracefully":

In a 2,000-square-foot industrial walk-in cooler at Brooklyn’s Peter Luger Steak House, steaks have been dry-aged to perfection for more than 100 years.

At least two people at the Times have a tin ear.

#153 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: December 23, 2008, 01:32 AM:

Andy @152, I'll be the first to mention 1000-year-old eggs, then. (*runs away*)

#154 ::: Benjamin Wolfe ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2011, 08:20 PM:

A century old steak would be quite tough.
A millennium-old egg would be a decorative object.

#155 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2011, 08:56 PM:

Re: #60 Nicholas Waller

Imagine my surprise to discover that Finbarr Saunders is running for the Knoxville City Council.

Knocks-ville? Fnarr fnarr!

#156 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2011, 09:24 PM:

Finbarr Saunders is impressive, but not quite up there with Julia Lee.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Julia_Lee_%28musician%29

#158 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2011, 09:48 PM:

I ran into this unfortunate (especially because I don't see offhand how it could have been recast to avoid it) usage just yesterday:

...developed an unpleasant inflammation. This time, it was stronger than ever, with a pussy discharge and a continuous low-grade fever.
#159 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2011, 10:13 PM:

John A. Arksansawyer @ 158: That's because the correct adjectival form is "purulent".

#160 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: July 19, 2011, 10:17 PM:

Ginger @ 159: I've never heard one called that.

#161 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2011, 12:02 AM:

John A. Arkansawyer @ 160: No? Well, a purulent discharge is what happens when one has an infection that generates an inflammatory response, because it is the white blood cells (that die fighting the invaders) which constitute pus. This is probably more information that you even imagined you didn't want in the first place.

#162 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2011, 12:17 AM:

Ginger @ 161: My stomach is unexpectedly strong sometimes. I once had to drain a bite wound on my cat and ended up putting a nasty stain on a signed Peter Max poster a few feet away. I was more upset about the poster than the wound-cleaning.

I mean, it was my cat, but it was my roommate's poster.

What's the difference between purulent and pustulent*? I didn't know purulent, but I've used pustulent, though only as invective.

*Googling those two words together gave me unpleasant insight into what's wrong with Google News.

#163 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2011, 12:38 AM:

Speaking of bawdy songs, here's The Zucchini Song as performed by Tim Curry.

(I could have sworn I'd bookmarked the version showing him live, but apparently not.)

#164 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2011, 10:34 AM:

John A Arkansawyer @ 162: Purulent refers to pus, which is an exudate created by the body in reaction to a foreign organism; pustulent refers to a pustule, which is a skin reaction, also to infection. Inside the pustule can be exudate, usually a purulent one. Pustules are a subset of rashes, along with pox, macules, papules, patches, nodules, wheals, vesicles, and so much more. Identifying the actual skin condition as a pustule helps the diagnostician determine the likely cause (or etiology). Pustules are generally related to bacterial skin infections, which is why they usually have pus, or purulent exudate.

#165 ::: Serge Broom ::: (view all by) ::: July 20, 2011, 10:39 AM:

From Tim Curry's singing to an explanation of purulence...
This must be Making Light.

Welcome to Making Light's comment section. The moderators are Avram Grumer, Jim Macdonald, Teresa & Patrick Nielsen Hayden, and Abi Sutherland. Abi is the moderator most frequently onsite. She's also the kindest. Teresa is the theoretician. Are you feeling lucky?

If you are a spammer, your fate is in the hands of Jim Macdonald, and your foot shall slide in due time.

Comments containing more than seven URLs will be held for approval. If you want to comment on a thread that's been closed, please post to the most recent "Open Thread" discussion.

You can subscribe (via RSS) to this particular comment thread. (If this option is baffling, here's a quick introduction.)

Post a comment.
(Real e-mail addresses and URLs only, please.)

HTML Tags:
<strong>Strong</strong> = Strong
<em>Emphasized</em> = Emphasized
<a href="http://www.url.com">Linked text</a> = Linked text

Spelling reference:
Tolkien. Minuscule. Gandhi. Millennium. Delany. Embarrassment. Publishers Weekly. Occurrence. Asimov. Weird. Connoisseur. Accommodate. Hierarchy. Deity. Etiquette. Pharaoh. Teresa. Its. Macdonald. Nielsen Hayden. It's. Fluorosphere. Barack. More here.















(You must preview before posting.)

Dire legal notice
Making Light copyright 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 by Patrick & Teresa Nielsen Hayden. All rights reserved.