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AWADmail Issue 480A Weekly Compendium of Feedback on the Words in A.Word.A.Day and Tidbits about Words and Language
Email of the Week winner is Gordon Thomas (see below), who'll be the smartest person in the class wearing his back-to-basics, no-frills Old's Cool Uppityshirt.
From: Anu Garg (words at wordsmith.org)
The Sep 11 attacks ten years ago prompted a flood of responses from AWAD readers. We published a Special Peace Issue (AWADmail Issue 48) that may be worth reading again.
From: Anu Garg (words at wordsmith.org)
Singapore's language battle: American vs the Queen's English
Shtick, Pavilion and Other Great Words
From: Will Brew (wbrew verizon.net)
Here's a great video clip about the origin of the word (and its subsequent use).
Will Brew, Falls Church, Virginia
From: Constance Adler (cmadler8 earthlink.net)
Thank you for the etymology of "cowabunga!" I was surprised that you neglected to mention one of the most cherished (I think) examples of this word's use in popular culture. The Peanuts Beagle, Snoopy cried "cowabunga" just as he was about to pounce on his prey, real or imagined. You're going to hear from a lot of us Snoopy fans today.
Constance Adler, New Orleans, Louisiana
From: Fred Webber (phred55427 aol.com)
To not cite the frequent use of "cowabunga" by cultural icon Bart Simpson is inexcusable! The show is now in its 23rd season. Get your noses out of the books.
Fred Webber, Minneapolis, Minnesota
From: Gordon Thomas (gordonthomas earthlink.net)
I'm moved today to thank you for touching me with a sentimental memory today. The word cowabunga transported me 35 years into the past, recalling the first love of my life, a gifted and brilliant philosopher named Robert Andrew Ariel. I was a 21-year-old University of Minnesota student, he a 24-year-old grad student. We met shortly after his arrival from Balliol College and fell in love. He taught me a great deal, including his appreciation of quirky words and (over time) to accept and even delight in his vexing ability to unravel any argument I could muster in two seconds flat.
In any case, one of his favorite exclamatory words was cowabunga, usually in response to anything that appeared slightly excessive or especially tickled him.
Robert died in 2001, but the memory of the extraordinary impact he had (and has to this day) on my life stays strong. So this morning, I was greeted once again by his smiling face and heard his familiar voice, which in turn brought a smile to mine.
Gordon Thomas, Minneapolis, Minnesota
From: John Ellis (j.ellis9726 sbcglobal.net)
When traveling in Germany this spring we were looking for a drug store and were amused to find that they are labeled Gesundheit. Once inside, they looked about like what we see in the US.
John P. Ellis, Indianapolis, Indiana
From: Jerry Gordon (jerrygordon juno.com)
Talk about successful memes! I'm hard-pressed to think of a more pervasive superstition than saying "Gesundheit" or "God bless you" when someone sneezes. Not commenting on the effluence almost borders on rudeness. How come burps, coughs, and farts don't require a response from the audience?
Jerry Gordon, Troy, New York
From: Jim Belisle (jtb399 yahoo.com)
In the US this is sometimes used in the phrase "bada bing, bada boom" with the same meaning. I remember Jay Leno's comments when Joey Battafuoco's Long Island Lolita was in the news: "Bada bing, bada boom, Battafuoco!"
Jim Belisle, Norwalk, Connecticut
From: Stephen S. Power (spower wiley.com)
Come on: how could you not use as an example the most famous quotation with bada-bing, Jimmy Cahn's Sonny Corleone improvising it in The Godfather:
Hey, whaddya gonna do, nice college boy, eh? Didn't want to get mixed up in the Family business, huh? Now you wanna gun down a police captain. Why? Because he slapped ya in the face a little bit? Hah? What do you think this is the Army, where you shoot 'em a mile away? You've gotta get up close like this and - bada-BING! - you blow their brains all over your nice Ivy League suit.
Stephen S. Power, Maplewood, New Jersey
From: Sherill Anderson (clintonsherill hotmail.com)
On the HBO series "The Sopranos" the topl ess bar that Tony Soprano frequented was called "The Bada Bing".
Sherill Anderson, Seattle, Washington
From: Michael McGown (mmcgown gmx.com)
I'm sure I remember the phrase bada-bing, bada-boom from longer ago than 1965. In my head, I associate it with Jackie Gleason. After a bit of a search, I turned up this page:
Pat Cooper (born Pasquale Caputo) is a Brooklyn-born comedian who based many of his routines on his Italian-American upbringing. He was known for his rapid-fire, rat-a-tat delivery, along with his penchant for peppering his routine with many Italian-influenced Brooklynisms, such as fuhgeddaboudit (forget about it), whattamigonnado and "Bam, bam, bam", all accompanied by eloquent gestures. In 1958, he premiered a routine entitled The Italian Wedding during which he used the phrase "bada-boom, bada-bing" in between descriptions of relatives who were scarfing down piles of capicolla sandwiches. An agent caught his act and booked him on The Jackie Gleason Show.
Beyond this, Cooper was on Jackie Gleason many times as far back as 1953, and while I have no proof, I think Cooper and Gleason were both using the phrase even before 1958.
Michael McGown, Austin, Texas
From: Mike Williams (mikew12345 cox.net)
I've seen this many times printed on an official-looking certificate:
For your very outstanding performance you are hereby awarded *ONE ATTABOY* One thousand 'attaboys' qualifies you to be a leader of men, work overtime with a smile, explain problems to management, and be looked on as a Local Hero, without a raise in pay.
NOTE: One 'Aws hit' wipes the board clean and you have to start all over again
Mike Williams, Las Vegas, Nevada
From: Guru Nadarajan (dr.g.nadarajan gmail.com)
Talking of how to administer an injection properly in the buttock, Bailey and Love's textbook of surgery says "If you don't insert the needle correctly and happen to poke the sciatic nerve, an injection will be followed by an interjection from the patient."
Dr. Guru Nadarajan, Dubai
From: Susie Getzschman (getzschman sbcglobal.net)
My favorite and oft expressed interjection comes from a football player who married a religious woman and thus limited his interjections to: "Oh my garage!"
Susie Getzschman, St Louis, Missouri
From: Kelly Gombert (kelly.d.gombert philips.com)
Thanks for the earworm. As soon as I read this week's theme, I immediately thought about the Saturday morning Schoolhouse Rock jingle:
Interjection, shows excitement or emotion.
It's generally set apart from a sentence by an exclamation point,
Or by a comma when the feeling's not as strong."
Kelly Gombert, Highland Heights, Ohio
From: Eric Shackle (ericshackle bigpond.com)
The world's oldest dogs would interject Yapyap! or Grrr!. To make sense of this, click on Nimble Nonagenarians.
Eric Shackle, Sydney, Australia
A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:Our expression and our words never coincide, which is why the animals don't understand us. -Malcolm De Chazal, writer and painter (1902-1981)