Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #135

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #135

…Judith Eastman is much impressed with how connected these diverse individuals are to each other, including the President of the United States, of all people…

Photography-001

“I would be honored to take your picture, Mister President,” Judith Eastman curtseys in respect.

   “No, my dear, the honor is ours and I encourage setting the thoughts of your work aside and taking your publisher friend to the buffet. Waiter! Three bottles of your finest American champagne,” he politely commands. “I must tell Ida of this glorious evening!” One would think that teasing his house-stricken wife with stories of good times may depress her, but she can but live vicariously through a devoted husband, whom she could not be more proud. She, as well as he, is staying at the home of the President of the Exposition, John Milburn.

The famished and presentable Judith & Harv return to the table, barely able to manage consecutive bites without genuinely warm intrusions from all points on the compass. Well-wishers may be placing the carriage before the horse, but one and all are happy for the newspaperman, even the two other bachelors who, despite concerted efforts, have but their silverware in hand.

Somewhere out there, God has a woman for every man; right now, in Buffalo, there is a school administrator and an apothecary who are petitioning for that divine intervention.

oldcameraandtripod    Judith, for her part, is being a good sport, allowing herself to be drawn into the bowels of this unique collection of Southerners. She is much impressed with how connected these diverse individuals are to each other, including the President of the United States, of all people. She cannot help but feel at “home” with them; a stranger summarily accepted merely because one of the group, Harv Pearson, accepted her. They no doubt trust each other with their lives, forged in fire and hardened by trial.

Having uncased the large camera, finding just the right angle and lighting, her Eastman instincts take over. She initiates the shutter without alerting them, creating a candid portrait, frozen forever in time. Posing will come later.

Why you scamp! We weren’t prepared,” McKinley protests, presidents being experts at the pose.

“That is the point! You all are more “you” when you don’t know it’s coming… now you do and my first picture will be the most spontaneous.”


Alpha Omega M.D.

say cheese

Episode #135


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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode # 131

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #131

…“We had one lady who claimed that cigars were causing her husband’s poor health. I guess he had trouble breathing.”

“What nonsense,” Statler posits, “sounds like good old fashioned consumption to me?”…

Bad Habits by Dion Ja’Y

The Tallahassee folks on to good food & important friends.

Loyal Campbells-001“We make cigars, among other commodities, Mister Statler,” Herb pulls a Loyal Campbell from his tweed jacket pocket, handing it to their sponsor.

“There is nothing like a good cigar after a good dinner,” he bows his head in gratitude, passing it under his nose, looking at the wrapper ring. “Is that you?” He asks of Willy, referring to the representation on the ring.

“Yessir, it is.”

Herb continues his thought, “Yes, well, if you can imagine this, we had one lady who claimed that cigars were causing her husband’s poor health. I guess he had trouble breathing.”

 “What nonsense,” Statler posits, “sounds like good old fashioned consumption to me?

    They finally gain a private room, apart from the commercial banquet facility. About sixty guests are presently mingling, including the Presidential host. He seems completely at ease, appearing to have shed any and all problems of his life and the world in general. Gone, for the moment, are worries about his dear frail, convalescent Ida. The Boer War in South Africa and “Boxer Rebellion” fade to the background, especially since he has a second in command to rely on. Teddy Roosevelt, whose motto is, “Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far.”, is the perfect second term Vice-president; young, capable and right there for the Republican party should William McKinley choose not to run for a third term.

Two long tables flank the room, each filled to capacity with every manner of salad, entree and gourmet dish. If any in attendance goes home hungry, the onus is on them.

The President sees Statler, as well as his Florida friends enter, capping his mental list of invitees. “May I have your attention,” he clinks his brandy snifter with handy silverware. “I see my table has arrived, so without further ado, please indulge your selves in God’s generous blessings!”

Tallahassee-001

The crowd needs little of the prompting, having already staked out their seats, at one of the six circular oak tables, as well as exactly what crystal plate or dish in the buffet they are going to attack first.

McKinley wraps his arms around as many of his Southern folks as he can, separately or at one time. They follow his lead to the feast. “Do not forget to bring your plate. I so enjoy being able to serve myself, don’t you. Ummmm, this looks good, shrimp cocktail. Doesn’t this rice look special…, Florentine is it not, Lady Ferrell?”

Martha, who waits directly behind, answers, “Pilaf with almonds, I believe,” having the unique opportunity to correct a President.

Jacob Haley and Jacques Francois help Willy and Amanda sort through the culinary montage, when they’re not screening the room for potentially single females.

Alfrey is attached to the Endlichoffers, which is no surprise, but is helpless in consoling Ziggy about the apparent oversight of schnitzel or Hasenpfeffer.


Alpha Omega M.D.

“No apologies – this is from 1941”

Episode #131


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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 173

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 173

…And what on Earth is R. Worth Moore doing, leapfrogging the Mason-Dixon Line by hundreds of miles…

Mason-Dixon

While Constance goes out to Midway to tend to her interests, R. Worth Moore is busy doing all the legal grunt work R Worth Moore-001required to clean up after Fanny’s hospital mystery accident. When you are an out-of-state driver, things can get complicated; when you are an out-of-state lawyer, well you better show intent to get licensed to practice in Illinois. He gladly takes the time to do so, seeing that these city folk actually have the means to pay usual and ordinary officially authorized fees (chickens – pies). So, unlike Dr. A.O. Campbell, he can charge good cash money for his services.

There seems to be a trend developing here about. Neither Constance nor Fanny is in a hurry to scurry out of town. Just what was keeping their headquarters down in toddling Tallahassee? Is it the comfort of the hometown atmosphere, where everybody knows your name? And what stands in the way of CCPI from relocating to this happening Chi-town? Their advertising budget would go from $0 to $omething more and trading physical space may be a hassle, the buying and selling of real estate.

But as they reach their prime investigative years, how can they ignore the allure of the big city?

And what on Earth is R. Worth Moore doing, licensing himself in a state that is the polar opposite of Florida, leapfrogging the Mason-Dixon Line by hundreds of miles? Can it be that he has always had designs on moving out and up, or has Fanny Renwick laid down a scent that he cannot resist?

But with big city excitement, you also get big city crime, as he would discover while deciding to take an early spring stroll from his South Loop hotel down to 6137 Kimbark. He had not realized that Chicago neighborhoods can change for the worse from one north/south block to the next…….


Constance Caraway P.I.

Forever Mastadon


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World Wide Words Issue 928 – WIF Style

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WIF Grammar 101-001

World Wide Words

Issue 928

WIF Etymology-001

Nimrod

Words-001Q From Barbara Murray, Wisconsin: Oxford Dictionaries online defines nimrod in UK English as a “skilful hunter” and, across the pond where I reside, as an “inept person”. Can you explain these more or less opposite meanings?

A Let’s start, as all good stories should, at the beginning. In the Bible, Nimrod was said toImage result for nimrod be the great-grandson of Noah. Genesis reports “And Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be a mighty one in the earth. He was a mighty hunter before the Lord.”

From the seventeenth century, Nimrod was conventionally used in literature on both sides of the Atlantic as the personification of a hunter, an eponym:

In front of him is the sporting Earl of Sefton, and that highly-esteemed son of Nimrod, Colonel Hilton Joliffe,— men of the strictest probity, and hence often appointed referees on matters in dispute.
The English Spy, by Bernard Blackmantle, 1825.

He was a complete Nimrod, now almost worn out.
The Adventures of Daniel Boone, by “Uncle Philip”, 1843.

In the UK, the name stayed largely a literary reference but even in that context it is now extremely rare. Several Royal Navy ships down the years have borne the name, as has a class of submarine-hunter aircraft.

Nimrod

But we probably know it mostly as a piece of music much used on solemn state occasions. For geographical and social reasons it has never become a popular term in daily life for a hunter. When it did appear, it usually meant a rider to hounds:

The weather in the past few days has been so open, that the whole Nimrod school have had a fine run of enjoyment this season, except in cases where foxes are somewhat scarce.
Jackson’s Oxford Journal, 27 Jan. 1855.

In the US, with its longstanding and widespread tradition of hunting, much greater opportunities existed to describe individuals as Nimrods. It appears in sources such as newspapers from about the middle of the nineteenth century. At one time in the US it was also a moderately common given name in communities that went to the Bible for inspiration.

Early on, references were neutral in their implications, simply a figurative way to describe a person who hunted. Occasional descents into derision were prompted by a person falling short of competence, as in this tale about a group of young people out for a day’s sport:

Zindel was the mighty hunter of the crowd and after expostulations of his nimrod abilities the others watched him walk into a flock of a hundred quails and snap both triggers of his gun upon empty chambers.
Fort Madison Weekly Democrat (Fort Madison, Iowa), 11 Jan. 1911.

Note that Nimrod here has lost his initial capital letter, sure evidence that the word was losing its mental links with an historical personage. This is the way that eponyms evolve — we no longer capitalise wellington, cardigan, pasteurise, diesel, silhouette, boycott or dozens of others of the same type.

From the 1930s onwards we see an increasing tendency for nimrod to be used much more in a disparaging or sarcastic way for a hunter with limited skills. Bugs Bunny, you may recall, referred to hunter Elmer Fudd as “poor little Nimrod”.

Over time, nimrod shifted still further towards meaning a damn fool who shot at anything that moved and even things that didn’t. By the 1960s, this transition was pretty much complete:

In Wisconsin, as I was driving through, a hunter shot his own guide between the shoulder blades. The coroner questioning this nimrod asked, “Did you think he was a deer?”
Travels with Charley, by John Steinbeck, 1962.

and was being applied in particular to people who shot up road signs for fun:

Martin estimated that nimrod sign destruction in Kansas costs taxpayers more than $1 million a year.
Arkansas City Traveler (Arkansas City, Kansas), 9 Jan. 1960.

The next stage seems to have been largely catalysed by students in the 1980s and 1990s, for whom nimrod had lost its associations with hunting but retained those of a contemptible or inept person. By the turn of the new century, that sense had become the dominant one:

When you’re followed, you can’t know if it’s an experienced expert or some bloody nimrod who can’t find his way to the loo.
Red Rabbit, by Tom Clancy, 2002.

Words-001Isabelline

Pronounced /ɪzəˈbɛlɪn/

Isabelline refers to a colour. The dictionaries variously describe it as greyish-yellow, light buff, pale cream-brown, dingy yellowish grey or drab. The Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary tries hardest to tie it down: “a moderate yellowish brown to light olive brown that is lighter and stronger than clay drab or medal bronze”. It has also been described as the colour of parchment or sand.

The female name Isabella can similarly refer to the colour. Its first appearance in English is in an inventory of the wardrobe of Queen Elizabeth I in 1600: “one rounde gowne of Isabella-colour satten … set with silver bangles”. Versions of it are known in various European languages from about the same date, including French, German, Spanish and Italian, usually for the colour of a horse.

Image result for Isabella Archduchess of Austria

Archduchess Isabella of Austria with her husband, Prince Georg of Bavaria, c. 1918.

The origin is unclear. That has led to stories growing up that associate Isabella (and by implication isabelline) with an historical event involving a noble lady by that name. One identifies her as Isabella, Archduchess of Austria, daughter of Philip II of Spain. He laid siege to Ostend in 1601 and in a moment of filial fervour Isabella vowed not to change her undergarments until the city was taken. Unfortunately for her (and no doubt for those around her) the siege lasted another three years, supposedly leading to this off-colour word for over-worn underwear. Other European nations have a similar story, though they apply it instead to the siege of Granada by Ferdinand and Isabella of Castille in 1491.

Isabelline is comparatively recent, appearing from about 1840 in descriptions by zoologists of a wide variety of species of bats, fungi, fish and mammals, but mainly birds, such as the isabelline wheatear and the isabelline shrike. Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace both used it, as did other writers of the nineteenth century:

Image result for isabelline

Isaballine Shrike

To begin with, all the smaller denizens of the desert — whether butterflies, beetles, birds, or lizards — must be quite uniformly isabelline or sand-coloured.
Falling in Love; With Other Essays on More Exact Branches of Science, by Grant Allen, 1889.

It’s a specialist word of natural history writing and it’s rare to find it elsewhere other than occasionally as the horse colour.

Most experts say the proper name is the source, though nobody can explain how it came about. Some writers in French and Spanish say instead that it derives instead from an Arabic word, given either as izah or hizah, referring specifically to the colour of a lion’s pelt. However, there seems to be no such word in Arabic and we must disregard the suggestion.

No soap

Words-001Q From Anthony Pennock: Why do we say no soap?

A I’m not sure that people do any more. From my vantage point in the UK, this classic Americanism appears to have largely died out, remembered and occasionally used only by older people.

A speaker usually means by it that there’s no chance of something happening or no hope of some outcome, that the enquirer is out of luck or more generally that some request is being denied.

When he called the Georgia senator to ask for his help on the defense reorganization bill, Russell replied, “No soap.”
The Sputnik Challenge, by Robert A. Divine, 1993.

For me, perhaps through reading too many old American crime novels, it brings to mind the 1930s and 1940s as a term of the underworld and hard-bitten detectives:

I dropped quietly on the running board and waited. No soap. Canino was too cagey.
The Big Sleep, by Raymond Chandler, 1939.

The first examples of the idiom appear near the end of the First World War in letters home from Image result for no soapdraftees. The more literate of such letters were often reprinted in small-town newspapers to let readers know how their boys were doing. The ones which I’ve uncovered that mention no soap all came from recruits at the Great Lakes Naval Training Station in Illinois. This is a late example:

Saturday came along and we all dressed up in our best, as that was our liberty day, when the Commander came in and said “No Soap” on liberty as we were in a draft. No one is allowed liberty when they are on a draft, afraid that someone would run away.
Versailles Republican (Versailles, Indiana), 3 Oct. 1918.

An article a few months later headlined “Demobilizing War Words” confirms that the expression was widespread within the US Navy:

A particularly pathetic case is that of the nautical term, “No soap!” I say “particularly pathetic” because I myself have found the phrase so much more satisfying than the more classical “nothing stirring!” which it has so amply replaced. “Nothing stirring” will find strong support among the purists, but half a million sailors and an equal number of sailors’ sweethearts are not going to surrender the new-found phrase without a fight.
Boston Globe (Boston, Massachusetts), 9 Feb. 1919.

Later evidence suggests that it did remain popular and met a need within a wider audience for a sharply colloquial dismissive saying.

Image result for soap bubbles

Soap film stretched over frame by Andrew Davidhazy

As with most slang expressions, where it comes from is uncertain. In the past, the experts have pointed to the much older use of soap to refer to money, a term that was first recorded in a slang dictionary in 1859 but which had a long run right down into the 1920s, overlapping with no soap. This overlap, I suspect, led etymologists to infer a connection between the two and it’s not implausible. It might well have been that a person who said “No soap!” meant something like “No, I haven’t any money” or “No, I won’t give you a loan”.

But other letters home from First World War navy recruits, coupled with newspaper articles from the period about naval slang, suggest a more mundane source. Recruits often complained they weren’t being supplied with soap, a need that was at times met by the Red Cross in the comfort kits they supplied. Soap was in short supply in the US at the time — as it was throughout Europe — because its raw materials of gelatine and fat were being diverted to make explosives. It seems likely that no soap, at first a rueful complaint, became for recruits a saying that meant — as early references confirmed — “you’re out of luck”. The slightly broader senses naturally followed.

World Wide Words is researched, written and published by Michael Quinion in the UK.


World Wide Words Issue 928

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– WIF Style