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AWADmail Issue 131

August 14, 2004

A Weekly Compendium of Feedback on the Words in A.Word.A.Day and Other Interesting Tidbits about Words and Languages

From: Dr. Mark C. Leake (m.leake1ATphysics.ox.ac.uk)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--New York minute

This contrasts with a "London Underground minute", in reference to the time displayed for arrival of the next train due, which is generally somewhat longer than a "conventional minute".

From: Lin Barbee (linbarbeeATsbcglobal.net)
Subject: New York Minute

Many of us among the great unwashed (i.e., West of the Hudson River) have an opposite view of "New York minute". We have so many times heard New Yorkers tell us, "I'll be there in a minute" or "Wait a minute", and the actual time which passes is 15 minutes or more.

From: RJ Noack (rjnATklingberg.com)
Subject: New York Minute

And the Southern term is: in a skinny minute (South GA/North FL).

From: John S. Karabaic (jkATalum.mit.edu)
Subject: New York minute

This morning's word reminded me of an old Robin Williams joke: The New York Echo. You lean out the window and yell, "Hellooo!" and back comes, "Shut the !&%# up!"

From: Gene Wolfe (genewlfATaol.com)
Subject: Another One

Are you familiar with "New York Reload"? It means drawing a second gun. For many years, NY City cops had to use revolvers and could not carry speed loaders for them. (If they reloaded they had to do it from belt loops holding one cartridge each.) They were, however, permitted a concealed second gun.

This expression is sometimes corrupted to St. Louis Reload, Chicago Reload, and so on. It originated in New York in the way I have explained.

From: Jim Wright (jjwrightATabsamail.co.za)
Subject: New York Minute

Here in Johannesburg where the citizen is ten times more intolerant than the New Yorker is said to be, the time between the traffic light turning green and the honking of the car behind is known as the speed of light.

From: Kate Kliebhan (kateATkliebhan.com)
Subject: New York minute

In my (limited) experience, the "the time between a New York City traffic light turning green and the driver of the car behind you honking his or her horn" was a negative quantity. The horn would honk just before the light turned green.

From: Robert Richter (drbobricATaol.com)
Subject: Anent a New York minute

Your reference to the change of a traffic signal from red to green as a sign for New Yorkers to honk at the car in front singles out us New Yorkers unfairly. Actually, the Israelis go one better: there, traffic signals change from red first to amber, and then to green. At least in Jerusalem, this amber means "honk;" never mind waiting for the green to do so.

From: Les Moskowitz (lmoskowiATbcpl.net)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--China Syndrome

Actually, a hole starting in the US and going through the center of the earth will end up in the Indian Ocean. Only in parts of Argentina or Chile would a straight hole emerge in China.

Since so much of the earth's surface is covered by water, there are very few antipodal (see AWAD for October 13, 1997) cities.

See peakbagger.com for more detailed information.

From: Mike Brown (ibmike69ATmsn.com)
Subject: Indian summer

Every Fall the Chicago Tribune runs on the cover of its Sunday Magazine section a painting about Indian Summer. Being from an earlier time, it is titled Injun Summer. This is a link to the painting, the story and text as well as a recording of Indian Summer by Glen Miller: tuxjunction.net.

From: Hope Bucher (hope-bucherATwebtv.net)
Subject: America's Indian Summer/ Germany's Gansemonat or Goose Month

Whenever I think about our Indian Summer, I am reminded of what in Germany is called "Gansemonat" or "goose month". The Teutonic association, which was carried to England, was called "goose summer". This, as you pointed out last year, was eventually corrupted to gossamer, the gauze-like fabric which resembles the delicate cobwebs formed on the grasses in fields or floating in the air in periods of unseasonably warm weather. Is there a comparable word for the unseasonably cold weather we are now experiencing?

From: Lisa Simeone (lsimeoneAThotmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--Indian summer

You might also add "Blackberry winter," a term I just learned last year. Apparently it's used only in the south. It's the opposite of Indian summer. In the springtime, when it looks like the warm weather has arrived, and you suddenly get a snap of cold weather, you call that "blackberry winter." There is, in fact, a gorgeous song about it. Anyway, I thought it was just as lovely-sounding as "Indian summer," a term (and experience) I have always cherished.

From: EIK (emikoATeglas.net)
Subject: Indian summer

Indian Summer was also the title of a Joe Dassin hit, L'Ete Indien, or Indian Summer, still loved in many countries. In Russian Indian Summer is "babye leto", the Women's Summer, the first week of September when the women get a break from working in the fields, as there is no more to be done there. With luck it's going to be the last warm period before the cold sets in, so it's time for singing and dancing and just talking to your friends out in the warm sunshine. (Indian Summer of an Uncle is a great PG Wodehouse story, but that is another story altogether.)

From: Joseph Jacobs (jjacobsATidevelop.net)
Subject: Indian vs. Native American

Several generations back, my ancestors came from Europe, but I was born here as were the last few generations of my immediate ancestors, and I am a native of this country just as much as anyone else who was born here, regardless of where their ancestors called home.

A man who uses a great many words to express his meaning is like a bad marksman who, instead of aiming a single stone at an object, takes up a handful and throws at it in hopes he may hit. -Samuel Johnson, lexicographer (1709-1784)

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