Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Here-Hear! (A bit of news)


Interrupting the usual slang-o-rama schedule to warble some exciting developments about the latest book in my series....

A DYING NOTE is now out in audio, thanks to Blackstone Publishing and narrator par excellence Kirsten Potter (who has narrated other books in the Silver Rush series). You can find it on Downpour as well as on Audible. If you like audio books, please check it out! (Speaking of checking things out, your library might even carry it. And if not, well, you can always put in a request that they obtain it for their audiobook collection.)

My second bit of warbling is that A DYING NOTE is a finalist for a CIPA/EVVY Award! (CIPA/EVVY = Colorado Independent Publishers Association; EVVY = CIPA's founder Evelyn Kaye.) Winners (and 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and Merit finalists) will be announced August 25th in Denver. I'm still trying to decide at this point whether I can reasonably spring for a quick trip to Colorado to attend the awards banquet. I'm verrrrry tempted.


 

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Wednesday's Random Slang-o-rama: Deadbeat


Now here's a slang word that takes up a whole page-plus in Green's Dictionary of Slang. I'm not going to go through all the possible interpretations (!!) except to talk about a couple that hail from the 19th century...
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deadbeat n. 
1. a state of exhaustion 
From Tom and Jerry: Musical Extravaganza (1822) "Bill, what are you stopping at? What! Have I brought you all to a dead beat?"
2. of things, a failure, a deception.
From G. P. Burnham's Memoirs of the US Secret Service (1872) [of a ten-dollar note] "It's a counterfeit," said Rugg quietly [...] "A 'dead-beat,' old fellow. Not worth a penny."



....and from the last entry...

deadbeat v. 
1. to waste time, to idle around (1905)
2. to sponge on (1880)
3. to cheat (1881)

... Other definitions include: one who reneges on their debts; a form of alcohol (! from 1877); a wastrel; absolutely defeated... 

Whew! I'm dead beat. I'll leave it at that.

... More than a few "deadbeats" pictured here! (A Midnight Modern Conversation, by William Hogarth [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)
 



Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Wednesday's Random Slang-o-rama: Slowpoke


Well, this particular Wednesday sort of snuck up on me... I'm such a slowpoke!

Hmmmmm. Slowpoke. Where did that originate from, I wonder?

And when I wonder, I begin to wander....

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American Slang, 2nd Edition, by Robert L. Chapman, has this to say:

slowpoke (by 1848): A slow, sluggish, slothful person [from slow used for vowel rhyme with the early-1800s poke, "behave dilatorily, potter, saunter," perhaps influenced by 16th-century slowback, "sluggard"]

I guess I'll just saunter along, then...



 


Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Wednesday's Random Slang-o-rama: Sharp stick


When I bumped up against "sharp stick" in Americanisms, Old and New by John Stephen Farmer, my first thought was the phrase: "It's better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick."

But, of course, that is too literal to be a slang term.

Any guesses as to what this might have meant in casual conversation in times of old (i.e., 19th century)?
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Well, guess no more! To say "He's after him with a sharp stick" means someone is determined to have satisfaction or revenge.


That's no stick, but it *is* sharp. [The Peoples' Revenge by Leopoldo Mendez, 1943. National Gallery of Art]

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Wednesday's Random Slang-o-rama: Jackson crackers


This week's bit of language fun ties directly into last week's holiday.

That's your clue to the meaning of "Jackson crackers."

I'll let you ponder a bit...
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Pondering time is over!

From Americanisms, Old and New by John Stephen Farmer, we have:
Jackson Crackers—A Southwestern term for firework crackers.

You may all now return to your summery activities....

By J.W.Photography from Annapolis - Flickr, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8331045


Wednesday, July 4, 2018

The Voice of the People by Guest Author Camille Minichino


Please welcome my guest this week: author and long-time friend, Camille Minichino.

Camille received her Ph.D. in physics from Fordham University, New York City. She is currently on the faculty of Golden Gate University, San Francisco and teaches writing throughout the Bay Area. Camille is Past President and a member of NorCal Mystery Writers of America, NorCal Sisters in Crime, and the California Writers Club. Camille has published over 20 novels and many short stories and nonfiction articles. For more about her and her works, please visit her website: http://www.minichino.com/index.html

~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Franklin Delano Roosevelt lived down the street from us in Revere, Massachusetts. He was the best friend our family had. Or so I thought growing up in the early 1940s.

"Roosevelt gave me this job," my father would say, tapping a small brown envelope of cash, his week's wages.

"If it weren't for Roosevelt and the WPA, you wouldn't be getting new shoes for school," my mother would remind me.

I pictured a benevolent Mr. Roosevelt driving the old truck that picked up my father and his cronies, day laborers, from the corner of our street, taking them to the construction site of the day. I imagined the WPA, whoever they were, helping my mother shop for my school clothes.

My parents, as well as our neighbors and friends, were acutely aware of House Speaker Tip O'Neill's All politics is local. My father's (metal) social security card was a prized possession.

It seemed to me that every year was an election year, every election important to us. My mother especially was always campaigning, urging people to sign this or that petition, to vote, vote, vote. Our front window was never without a sign, RUSSO FOR MAYOR, AVALLONE FOR COUNCIL, SIEGEL FOR SCHOOL SUPERINTENDENT.

And it all came together on the Fourth of July. Independence Day and Voting Day were the biggest holidays in our lives, competing with Thanksgiving and Christmas, but better because there was no back-breaking food prep or lugging a tree up the stairs. My father died on July 4, 1981—I've always felt that he timed it that way, going up with the glorious fireworks on Revere Beach.

Following politics, debating issues, voting, are still a priority for me. Being invited to contribute a story to LOW DOWN DIRTY VOTE has been a highlight of my year. Thanks to Mysti Berry and the grand array of colleagues in this anthology! And thanks, Ann Parker, for giving the Independence Day slot to me!

I'm thinking of making a poster of the LOW DOWN DIRTY VOTE cover, and propping it on my lawn.

Low Down Dirty Vote cover

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Wednesday's Random Slang-o-rama: Mammoxed


Are you flumoxed by mammoxed? I love the sound of it, but had nooooooo idea what it meant. Americanisms, Old and New by John Stephen Farmer, to the rescue!
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Mammoxed—A doubtful word, current in the South and West. It seems to bear a meaning of serious personal injury, and may, perhaps, be  compared with "flummuxed" in the sense of great mental perturbation.

A doubtful word??
Hmmm.
Time to dig a little more (lest I lead you all astray!). I found the term again in Volume 9 of The American Educational Monthly (which certainly sounds like a credible journal) from 1872. This is what I found (and here's the link):



Sounds like a useful word for a crime fiction novel set in the American West of the 19th century, don't you think? :-)

Looks like someone is in danger of being mammoxed! (from Wikimedia - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Wild_West_Show_p%C3%A5_High_Chaparral.jpg)