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Dropping the F-bomb

[Here's the f-word piece that ran in the Outlook section.]

The most versatile word in our language can do almost anything, other than be printed in a family newspaper. It can be a noun, a verb, a gerund, an adjective or just an expletive. It can be literal or figurative. Although it has an explicit sexual meaning, it's usually used figuratively these days, as an all-purpose intensifier.

The F-word remains taboo. But just barely. We may be entering an era in which this fabled vulgarity is on its way to becoming just another word -- its transgressive energy steadily sapped by overuse.

From hip-hop artists to bloggers to the vice president of the United States, everyone's dropping the F-bomb. Young people in particular may not grasp how special this word has been in the past. They may not realize how, like an old sourdough starter, the word has been lovingly preserved over the centuries and passed from generation to generation. For the good of human communication we must come together, as a people, to protect this word, and ensure that, years from now, it remains obscene.

Click here to keep reading.

By Joel Achenbach  |  June 26, 2006; 10:32 AM ET
 
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Comments

I'm the first one today?

You left out Lady Chatterley's Lover as perhaps a good example why the F-word (and all sexual words)should be conserved in their proper sense. How else can literature students enjoy the sensation of the scandal the book caused, if such things are now daily conversation?

Isaac Asimov also had a good joke in which a soldier tells another of his date, giving everything from the bar, to the dinner, etc. the F-ing adjective. Then at the end when the pal asks what happened?

"What do you f-ing think happened? We had intercourse."

We can all think of ways to replace the F-bomb in idiomatic conversation, without a lot of sweat.


Posted by: Wilbrod | June 26, 2006 10:44 AM | Report abuse

The thing is, cursing is the sort of thing you have to practice to do right with the correct timing, cadence and passion, or it's like a non-smoker trying to hold a Pall Mall and look cool.

I'm going to go on record as saying I like it, although it's not generally welcome to me in civil conversations (or even in the Senate) where it grates on my ears and offends unnecessarily if used inappropriately.

But I look forward to its vigorous use in several diplomatic cables to say, North Korea and Iran, in an attempt to communicate the depth of our views.

Posted by: Error Flynn | June 26, 2006 10:47 AM | Report abuse

I have been told that compared to many languages, English has an embarassing paucity of obscenities. We are dangerously single-threaded through the F-word. This suggests we should be careful to preserve its impact for yet another reason.

We seem to be shockingly lacking in back-ups.

Posted by: RD Padouk | June 26, 2006 10:55 AM | Report abuse

But the vulgar sense is kind of vague...

I mean, if as President Flynn, you would like to communicate our views more precisely in a rich way... ;)

I cannot help but think of the Hitchhiker's guide to the Galaxy and the award for "most gratitious use of "Beligum" in a screenplay".

And when Arthur Dent says "Beligum?" all the aliens in the rooom scream in horror and disgust. (And Arthur is thinking, but it's the name of a rather harmless country in Europe...).

Why don't you threaten to do a Bush on them. Probably would have the same overall terrific diplomatic tone.


Posted by: Wilbrod | June 26, 2006 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Wilbrod, This from a book that freely uses the term "Ford Prefect."

Posted by: RD Padouk | June 26, 2006 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Shakespeare had a rich slew of insults, some fairly obscene.

Just watch Robin William's "Shakespeare porn" performance and your horizons will expand and you'll never look at a dagger in the same way again.

Some language have no obscenities whatsoever at least by our standards, such as some Amerind languages.

The F-word is obscene because it was always most properly used in a bedroom context. I suppose now that people emulate or perform the act on film, TV or the phone, the raison d'etre of its obscenity is weaking.

Not good news though.

Posted by: Wilbrod | June 26, 2006 11:02 AM | Report abuse

The Ford Prefect was an actual line of autos in the UK once.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_Prefect_(character)

Posted by: Wilbrod | June 26, 2006 11:04 AM | Report abuse

Well, Wilbrod, that makes a certain amount of twisted sense. I used to own a British automobile and was known to quite frequently curse at it most enthusiastically.

Posted by: RD Padouk | June 26, 2006 11:07 AM | Report abuse

As long as I can continue to use that word when I stub my toe I will survive.

Oh I know ladies should not say it, but its just there when I stub my toe.

Posted by: dr | June 26, 2006 11:09 AM | Report abuse

I thought about unburstable "Mighty dog bubbles" last night when I was watching "Mask", especially the JRT (Milo) with the mask on. Hilarious and too short.

There's also a scene in which Stanley Ipkiss manages to be rather explict about his intentions, without the F-word, by use of metaphor.
He was also channeling Pepe Le Phew at that time, I think.

Posted by: Wilbrod | June 26, 2006 11:09 AM | Report abuse

I suppose it should be noted that another word with a satisfying phonetic structure when spoken with great emphasis is "Achen."

Posted by: RD Padouk | June 26, 2006 11:25 AM | Report abuse

(reposting from the bottom of the previous, not realizing Joel was posting his piece here)

My first really major introduction to the F-bomb was when I went into the merchant marine a few months before my 20th birthday. I'd heard the magic word before, of course, but never in quite so sustained, creative, and all-purpose usage. I was in the "black gang" (engine room crew, left-over term from the days of coal, no racial implications implied, though we burned diesel oil) of a tanker, and Ford was pretty near the universal adjective. On my watch I worked for the 2nd engineer, a real redneck named Percy whom even the other engineering officers despised. So there I was, a polite, mostly suburban-raised Yankee collitch boah, working with and for a man only Faulkner could have created.

"Boah, han' me that effinhummah."

"Pardon me, Second? I didn't understand."

"Hummah. Hand me that effin' hummah. Next to the effinpapwrench." (Read: effin' pipe wrench.)(Effinpapwrench threw me a couple of different ways.)

An effinhummah, of course, was a tool with a wooden handle and an iron head, flat on one side, with which one strikes nails or other objects. Other variations include the geologists effinhummah, the balpeen effinhummah, and so on. Very often when disassembling a major valve, one would place the effinpapwrench on the effinnut, which was effinrusted, and hit it with the effinhummah to effinfree it up.

Every profession has its own specialized vocabulary, of course, and I soon became intimately familiar with effinhummahs, effinsplipjoints, effinphillipshayds, effinpapwrenches, effinspannahs (an effinspannah is a kind of wrench known to landsmen and the late John Lennon as a "spanner"). We used effinrags to mop up any spilled "all" or "effinall"; we used effinallcanes (read: effing oil cans) to lube the effinengines (we had a main effinengine, a big effer as big as an effin school bus, and two smaller auxiliary effinengines that supplied effinelectricity to the whole effinship).

I gotta say, we ate pretty good on that ship. The effinfood wasn't bad, and the effincooks and effinstewards put the effinleftovers out on effintrays at the effingalley window, and if you were passing down the effinpassageway on an effinerrand, you could always grab an effinsnack.

All in all, I had a pretty good time (there was a war on, and I managed not to ship out on an ammunition ship to Vietnam, which paid effingood money, because somehow I seemed to think working on a tanker carrying highly explosive, highly poisonous gasoline additives was much safer than carrying bombs. But I was effin19; WTF did I know?

The biggest problem came when I returned home and had dinner with my folks. It took every ounce of restraint not to say to my mother, "Mom, please pass the effinsalt," and "May I please have more effinmashed potatoes?"

My mom wouldn't have appreciated it very much, but probably wouldn't have gotten too upset. My dad, who served in the effinNavy in effinWorld War II and fought the effinJaps (his probable phrase at the time, not mine) would have chastised me (I never heard him EVER use the word at home), but privately with his WWII buddies, he'd have laughed his effinass off.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | June 26, 2006 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Hm. And no nod to George Carlin's 7 deadly words? Of which the f-word was at the top, I believe.

Posted by: ebtnut | June 26, 2006 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Oh, and now I see it's pouring outside again. I know we had a 7-inch rain deficit for the year, but did we need to make it all up in two days, and counting?

Posted by: ebtnut | June 26, 2006 11:31 AM | Report abuse

I hope everyone is doing ok with the flooding up there. Seeing the stories about the flooding is making me quite glad that I no longer live in a basement in the Tenleytown area.

Also, does anyone else wonder if the higher power is trying to say something? A couple of weeks ago Houston got hit with flooding after 10 inches of rain fell in a couple of hours. Now you have all of this hitting DC.

Posted by: TulsaFan | June 26, 2006 11:48 AM | Report abuse

ebtnut: if ever there was an appropriate time to add the f-bomb for emphasis, eh?

Col. Kurtz: we train young men to drop fire on people, but don't allow them to write f--- on their airplanes, because it's obscene.

First heard it in grade three. Particularly dramatic usage, from one older student to another, complete with simultaneous double bird.

Posted by: SonofCarl | June 26, 2006 11:48 AM | Report abuse

I did say the eff word once, okay? And once I flipped a bird at my cats, but they deserved it. And a couple of boodles back I posted what I thought was a hilarious peenitz story. I am going to he11 in a handbasket.

Deus meus, ex toto corde poenitet
me omnium meorum peccatorum,
eaque detestor, quia peccando,
non solum poenas a te iuste
statutas promeritus sum,
sed praesertim quia offendi te,
summum bonum, ac dignum qui
super omnia diligaris.
Ideo firmiter propono,
adiuvante gratia tua,
de cetero me non peccaturum
peccandique occasiones
proximas fugiturum. Amen.

Posted by: Nani | June 26, 2006 11:57 AM | Report abuse

RD, boodle skimming backward, just saw your post. Too funny. Here's part of Mudge's post re-done:

"I gotta say, we ate pretty good on that ship. The Achenfood wasn't bad, and the Achencooks and Achenstewards put the Achenleftovers out on Achentrays at the Achengalley window, and if you were passing down the Achenpassageway on an Achenerrand, you could always grab an Achensnack."

Now pass the Achenpotatoes.

Posted by: SonofCarl | June 26, 2006 11:59 AM | Report abuse

When did the eff word really hit home, make an impression?

It was hard to get my father to leave the house much for socializing. He was a few months shy of 43 when I was born, so by the time I hit college, he was over 60. I had talked him into seeing "All the President's Men."

You can do a search on Goldman's script to see how many times the eff word is used.

http://www.imsdb.com/scripts/All-the-President's-Men.html

Here's an example:

PUDGY FBI MAN
--eff you eff you eff you--

As we left the theater together, there was no discussion of the plot, the characters, the actors, or the Nixon administration--just mostly stony silence. But my father did let me know in no uncertain terms how disappointed he was in me (and ashamed) and the movie for the foul language used throughout.

And you wonder, Mudge, why today I can no longer remember that Robard's Bradlee called the reporting duo of Wooward and Bernstein, "Woodstein."

Posted by: Loomis | June 26, 2006 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Loomis, te absolvo.

Nani, you flipped the bird to your CATS????

You know what THAT means: Purrrrrgatory for you, fur sure.

Posted by: Curmudeon | June 26, 2006 12:19 PM | Report abuse

I was sorely tempted to use the f-bomb this weekend. I wanted to say it several time in row actually. Louder and louder each time until I was shouting it. Turns out I need to make yet another trip to the Apple store. I need a freeaking PS/2 to USB adapter so I can plug in my keyboard and mouse. Talk about blithering idiots, sheeesh.

I think this post is actually on topic, hhhhmmm.

Posted by: omni | June 26, 2006 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Hats off to the simultaneous double bird! It's a strong flipping image.

Now is a good time to get rid of the old saw about "for unlawful carnal knowledge." Glad no one here believes that malarkey. That's just the sort of anecdotal evidence that gives anecdotal evidence a bad name. Anyone who believes that would believe the Earl of Sandwich was the first human ever to put meat on bread.

Posted by: Jumper | June 26, 2006 12:22 PM | Report abuse

As acting president of the Brotherhood of Blithering Idiots, Omni, I commend you.

Posted by: Dolphin Michael | June 26, 2006 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Jumper, you mean he wasn't?

Nice little town, Sandwich. At least it was when I visited, many moons ago.

Mudge, you're Achenhilarious!

Posted by: slyness | June 26, 2006 12:31 PM | Report abuse

omni, I was wondering how you were doing on the Mac. Realized I had no USB keyboards, just 6 or so PS/2 so I bought their keyboard. Good news, it has all the nice pics and proper "Option" and "Command" verbage on the keys. Bad news, it's mushy and I have to correct Errors much more frequently. I'm wondering what kind of hassle the "normal" keyboard mappings cause, because I miss the feel of all the cheap PC keyboards. Strange world.

Posted by: Error Flynn | June 26, 2006 12:35 PM | Report abuse

Well, Snuke:

Carol J. Loomis' daughter works at Comedy Central,

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9F0CE5DA173CF930A35753C1A965958260

while her husband, John R. Loomis, attended Vanderbilt '51, had a stint as an officer in the U.S. Naval Reserves, and works for First Manhattan Co.:

http://www.vanderbilt.edu/News/news/apr00/nr28.html

The son of John R. and Carol J. Loomis is Mark Loomis, who is a field producer at ABC Sports. He played golf at Vanderbilt.

Posted by: Loomis | June 26, 2006 12:51 PM | Report abuse

I invite you to read the mother's perspective on the emergence of the F-bomb....

http://ramblings-reflections.blogspot.com/2006/03/not-my-kid.html

Posted by: TyraPacheco | June 26, 2006 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Let no one say LindaLoo EVER leaves a LoomisStone unturned.

*L*

Posted by: Scottynuke | June 26, 2006 1:03 PM | Report abuse

What about fawking? Does that work..?

Posted by: Geist | June 26, 2006 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Am I the only one who's ever gotten a mouthful of Dial soap from Mom for using inappropriate language?

Posted by: Gran | June 26, 2006 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Fawking? Is that the pretender to the throne?

Posted by: nellie | June 26, 2006 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, that was great. And yes, "Achen" substitutes nicely. I was a little startled to realize I understood the accents (nice job of phonetic rendering) without translation. Wayawl, guess 's lawng uz Ah don't tawk lahk thayat.

I'm surprised nobody has mentioned a hardy bastion of the curse word -- the theater. I became involved with performance and stage crew at an impressionable age and my language has never been the same. I do try to conform it to company, though.

My favorite variant on "eff" is "pigeffer". It is good for occasions (or persons) deserving really strong language, something special as Joel says, because it is a little startling (or maybe just a little startling to hear it uttered by a middle-aged delicate flower like myself). A dear friend, also a delicate flower, once introduced me to the joke about the sweet little girl and her dog, and how he got his name. Not to be used casually.

I told my son that the provence of "eff" was "a sexual act" partly because it is true and partly because I knew it would put him off. He needs to be much older before he learns the word's utility. And yes, TBG, he may well have lively discussions involving the parameters of "a sexual act" with his peers that he avoids with parents. Fine by me. I've just told him when he wants actual answers to ask me because his peers are an endless source of misinformation.

Posted by: Ivansmom | June 26, 2006 1:28 PM | Report abuse

Just to let you know that Fearless Leader is not the only Achenboodler to have been on Washington Post Radio this morning. I had a nice little on-air chat with Mike Moss during my 3 1/2 hour drive from home to Union Station (a trip that normally might take 40 minutes in bad traffic). I could have driven to the beach in the same amount of time on a normal day.

My 8:30 train to NYC was canceled; I missed the 9:30 and the 10:30 was also canceled (I would have made that one) along with my day trip to New York.

Uh oh.. the rain is starting up again. Yikes. Where are the buckets?

Posted by: TBG | June 26, 2006 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Oh yeah... forgot to mention that it was f*ckin' great being on the air, but a f*ckin' pain in the a** to be on 395 North for 3.5 hours.

I'm just saying.

Posted by: TBG | June 26, 2006 1:33 PM | Report abuse

I'm sure they had effingbuckets on Mudge's effingship, TBG.

I'm SO glad I came back from vacation - everything waited for me to walk in the door this AM for stuff to go to effinghell in an effinghandbasket.

bc

Posted by: bc | June 26, 2006 1:39 PM | Report abuse

TBG - But Joel implied on the radio that we are a bit wimpy about rain in this area. That is his prerogative as a native Floridian. It's sort of the way Midwesterners claim we don't know about cold, or the way native Los Angelinos say we don't understand real traffic.

I came from the Pacific Northwest. All I can claim is that people 'round these parts don't know nothing 'bout slugs. Why where I come from, there are slugs so huge that they can steal livestock. Small children are issued saltshakers to protect themselves from sudden attack.

Slugs. Don't talk to me about slugs.

Okay, so I'm a little punchy today.
I endured a nocturnal thunderstorm with a cairn terrier.

Achenweather.

Posted by: RD Padouk | June 26, 2006 1:45 PM | Report abuse

'A Christmas Story,' the movie about the boy Ralphie and his quest for the Red Rider BB gun, is a flick that gives proper respect to the Word. In a beautifully directed scene, Ralphie spouts The Word in slow-motion in front of his Dad. Elsewhere in the movie, Ralphie professes of his father: "He worked in profanity the way other artists work in oils, or clay. A Master!"

Posted by: tk | June 26, 2006 1:52 PM | Report abuse

When hubby and I were walking back from lunch, I decided I'd crack the windows in the (new) car so that it wouldn't be quite so hot this afternoon.

So guess what? Within 30 minutes it was pouring rain, and I had to run out and roll them back up!

I've been back out and cracked them again, and am watching the sky carefully to make sure I can get back out before the heavens open again...

Posted by: slyness | June 26, 2006 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Well, it's at it again here. Time to look up the plans for the Ark on the net.

Posted by: ebtnut | June 26, 2006 2:10 PM | Report abuse

I deeply regret pointing out the invigorating resonances of "Achen." It is not nice to imply someone's name can be used as a curse word. I can be such a thoughtless Padouk sometimes.

Posted by: RD Padout | June 26, 2006 2:10 PM | Report abuse

SonofCarl,
Careful when boodle skimming backwards! Wouldn't want anyone to get hurt!

My sister had 15 inches of water in her basement yesterday. She has a creek right behind her house and said it was as high as she's ever seen. Stay safe, everyone. Once again, I'm glad to be perched high on a hill - flooding is one thing I don't worry about - until the ice caps melt. And it's so hot and sunny today, the slugs are nowhere in sight.

When I was in college I had the mouth of a truck driver. Had to watch it when I went home on vacation - my parents were not amused. Now I substitute "flippin'" or "freakin'" - most of the time.

Posted by: mostlylurking | June 26, 2006 2:19 PM | Report abuse

Yes,
You set me a course, all right, Mr. ScottyNuke. After Googling, I did a look-up in the genealogy tome. The 13th index lists the family(ies) by state. There are Tennessee Loomises. What rich Tennessee Loomis could afford to send a descendant to Vanderbilt in Nashville. Why, the Chattanooga ones--Julian Loomis (b. 1842), the wealthy furniture guy, whose father was--get this--Confucius Loomis.

*I won't forget that one! Wagging head slowly, saying "Snuke, the things you get me into!"*

*Still guessing about John R.'s antecedents. I e-mailed Carol, let's see if she replies.*

Posted by: Loomis | June 26, 2006 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Ha ha - Confucius Loomis! Perhaps that could be made available as a boodle handle, with LL's permission? Or maybe you could use it yourself, Linda Loo, when you're feeling particularly philosophical...That's flippin' fabulous...

Posted by: mostlylurking | June 26, 2006 2:34 PM | Report abuse

RD... Actually, I'd *like* to talk about slugs. Particularly, how does one eliminate them from one's garden? Apparently the little effers like my effing Hungarian Hots and Cubanelles.

I tried giving them the double-bird, but I don't think they were offended.

Seriously, I did try those slug pellets (kinda remind me of hamster poop) but it doesn't seem to have had any effect.

Posted by: martooni | June 26, 2006 2:35 PM | Report abuse

Oh.. Joel...

Just want to say that I really like the new little sections in The Magazine.

Are they here to stay?

Posted by: TBG | June 26, 2006 2:39 PM | Report abuse

LindaLoo;

I'm sure you'd have spotted that yourself in any case... *L*

RDP, the Pacific Northwest has a problem with cannibal commuters??? What??? *inside DC joke, not to be confused with an inside-the-Beltway joke*

:-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | June 26, 2006 2:43 PM | Report abuse

martooni, I've not tried it myself since my garden hasn't been pestered by slugs, but have read that a shallow pan of beer does the trick. The slugs are attracted to the yeasty aroma, crawl over the edge of the pan, fall in and drown.

Posted by: Nani | June 26, 2006 2:43 PM | Report abuse

martooni,
There is a product called Sluggo that is non-toxic to pets and birds -
http://www.pestproducts.com/sluggo.htm

I haven't used it myself, but I hear it's very effective, and it says rain doesn't affect it. I haven't had much of a problem with slugs this year, even though we had a wet spring. Not quite sure why. Probably the raised beds help, and maybe I'm just not growing the things slugs like - most of my plants are gnarly old perennials.

Posted by: mostlylurking | June 26, 2006 2:44 PM | Report abuse

I add that the double bird eff-you thing was part of a whole body motion, with knee bending and everything. It was take-a-step-back startling, and I was only an observer.

RD, anyone's name can be a curse, but you have to go to basic training to hate the sound of your own name.

Confucius Loomis? That's great. As a kid we had a neighbor named "Cornelius", but everyone called him "Corny". I think I like Cornelius better. BTW, just because this is potty-mouth day at the boodle doesn't mean "corny" should be taken as a new segue.

Posted by: SonofCarl | June 26, 2006 2:46 PM | Report abuse

I find it rather effin' appropriate this Kit falls the day after another display of truly flippin' horrendous refereeing at the World Cup.

Posted by: Scottynuke | June 26, 2006 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Nancy always sez Sluggo is pretty ineffective, but maybe that's just Aunt Fritzi talkin'.

Posted by: TBG | June 26, 2006 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Since we don't have true slugs out here in Northern Virginia, I can only relate the tales of my youth. My father dealt with slugs in a manly way. He engaged them in conbat with his pocket knife. The same one he used to cut apples with. This disturbed his children no end. He used to also put out little paper plates full of beer, but I suspect he had ulterior motives. Friends of ours kept a goose who evidently relished the taste of raw slug flesh. Of course, in desparation, you could always purchase one of those chemical Ortho products advocated by Ed Hume. But personally, I always thought that approach lacked chivalry.

Posted by: RD Padouk | June 26, 2006 2:51 PM | Report abuse

I almost forgot the magical ring of rock salt. You dug a little trench around the plants, lined it with aluminum foil, and filled it with halite.

The carnage was terrible.

Posted by: RD Padouk | June 26, 2006 2:55 PM | Report abuse

growing up around a bunch of kids who cursed on a regular basis with me being the only one who didn't, ever, then day I was really mad and said f***-it really loud andall of a sudden it's so quiet you could hear a pin dropped as all my friends were more shocked than they'd ever been before. After that I became a regular curser around my friends but never around adults or little children. Then several years ago a maded a concious decision to stop cursing. Now days a may say the f-word once or twice a year and the s-word maybe two or three times a year. Half the time I still don't say it out loud though, just the thought of the word.

Posted by: omni | June 26, 2006 2:55 PM | Report abuse

That last post had so many errors you all probably doubt it was me who posted. Maybe I should go for a walk...

Posted by: omni | June 26, 2006 2:58 PM | Report abuse

RDP;

Ed Hume?

Brother of he who could "out consume Schopenhauer and Hegel"??

:-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | June 26, 2006 2:58 PM | Report abuse

TBG, you crack me up.

More slug info from the gardening experts in this neck of the woods:
http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/nwgardens/273785_ciscoe15.html

http://gardening.wsu.edu/column/05-09-99.htm

Posted by: mostlylurking | June 26, 2006 3:00 PM | Report abuse

When I was 15 I did a kind of teen-tour via bicycle in New England with 10 other 15-16 year olds. It was my first experience on my own outside Oklahoma. It was extremely educational for this hitherto sheltered small-town girl. The f-bomb? Yeah, we used it. But in the first 15 years of my life, I had NEVER heard the word "Jesus" used as a swear word, and that was my new friends' "most favorite" one. I'll never forget how shocked I was when I was first exposed to that, and I relate this story to make this point: not everyone thinks the f-bomb is the worst swear word you can use. Taking the Lord's name in vain ranks higher, in some places.

My Grandma always said, "My LAND!" when she was surprised. I only ever heard my father say G-D-N once, and there was plumbing involved. My mother says, "Oh, shoot" a lot.

Posted by: kbertocci | June 26, 2006 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Mostlylurking, two things very disturbing about the Seattle PI article:

First, both the image of the person in the 'stompfest' and the likely aftermath.

Second, there is a product for slug control called Escargo? That's just wrong.

Posted by: SonofCarl | June 26, 2006 3:06 PM | Report abuse

But with "Achen", the bach is worse than the bite.

Posted by: Wilbrod | June 26, 2006 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Lazarus Tomato Report!

Regular readers may recall my rant some weeks ago about the varmints who ate the tomato plant (Lycopersicon real-estate-agent-freebie-icus). I thought it had been safely planted in a pot, away from gophers, lagomorphs and other hungry critters, but noooooo. Something (probably a tomato hornworm) ate every effing leaf off the plant. Every single one!

Too traumatized (or lazy) to rip out the deleafed plant carcass and hurl it into the uncultivated land down the hill, I left the gravely wounded tomato to its own devices. The garden is run on Darwinian principles.

Three weeks later, to what do my wondering eyes appear but multiple new leaves! The tomato is back from the dead!

In honor of this achievement, the tomato has been rechristened "Mr. T" for its toughness. Night watchmen have been employed to guard against tomato hornworms and other varmints that prey on vulnerable young vines. Young children dance and sing in praise of the tomato. (I'm going to be really upset if it gets eaten again.)

Posted by: Boodleaire | June 26, 2006 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Ha, Scottynuke! Maybe Ed is a descendant of David Hume. But his Scandihoovian roots show more than his Scottish ones. He has a sentence construction which bugs me, where he uses "is" twice - he says, "the way to do this is, is sprinkle the slug bait around the plant" - instead of saying "is to", or something. I blame that on Swedes, but I don't know why.


Favorite part of his biography on his website-
His weekly television show is the longest continuous-running gardening television show in North America and possibly in the World.
http://www.humeseeds.com/

Ed seems like a very sweet, straitlaced guy, with a subtle sense of humor. I'd be shocked to hear him curse. Ciscoe Morris, on the other hand, is a wild man - very funny. My husband says he looks liked he did lots of drugs when he was younger.
http://ciscoe.com/


Posted by: mostlylurking | June 26, 2006 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Carnage, RD? I remember having a wonderful time with the salt shaker, to the point that my mother specified that I could only use it on pavement. Otherwise, I would have salted the entire yard. It was her fault, of course, that we had slugs. She used rocks for the borders of the flowerbeds, with predictable results in the slug population. I hated stepping on them barefooted. It felt like you couldn't get the slime off for any amount of scrubbing!

Posted by: slyness | June 26, 2006 3:18 PM | Report abuse

I want to know why snails look so darned (f*ckin'?) cute poking their little pointy things out of their shells, but slugs look just plain gross. Ewww.

Posted by: TBG | June 26, 2006 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Help save frogs... get some to eat your slugs. Also, if you want to go british, Hedgehogs can gobble slugs.

Do not eat anything slimed by slugs (or snails) without intensive washing and/or cooking.

"Ethnic delicacies" really means "foods to be eaten to prove you're one of the tribe"-- hazing food.

Think of that the next time you're asked to eat sheeps' eyeballs and such.

(Why aren't you being served another part of the sheep, hmmm?)

I now offically will never eat any part of a duck again after I had duck feet salad in Taiwan. Just a little too ducky
for me.

It made me realize that I'd only had good duck once in my life, and so far the batting average for getting good duck was going way down every time I ate duck.

(Sad to say, the feet might have tasted better than other duck I've had).

How does this tie back into the eff word?

Simple! Hedgehogs!

cf. The Hedgehog song by Terry Pratchett.
http://sniff.numachi.com/~rickheit/dtrad/pages/tiHEDGEHOG;ttDUNDEBON.html


Posted by: Wilbrod | June 26, 2006 3:23 PM | Report abuse

kb, I'll have you know that in the seconds before the most serious car accident I have ever been in I worked in both the Lord's name AND the f-bomb. Hopefully the Lord isn't Old Testament strict on that kind of thing, because it's probably pretty common.

Posted by: SonofCarl | June 26, 2006 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Nani wrote: "a shallow pan of beer does the trick. The slugs are attracted to the yeasty aroma, crawl over the edge of the pan, fall in and drown."

Nani, I had a couple nights in my freshman dorm at college that (I think) seemed to end about like this.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | June 26, 2006 3:28 PM | Report abuse

nothing like a wirty dord to actually keep the boodle on topic.

Amazing . . .

Back from a perfect week at Pawleys Island, SC -- on the beach for 6 or more hours each day, no clouds, -- beautiful. We went wild in the surf and waves and rented a sea canoe. Went as far out as we dared go. My brother, in a solo journey one morning, saw a small school of dolphins and some loggerhead turtles. I went out with him immediately after that -- the only sea life I saw was a spent firecracker . . . sigh.

I used to have a mouth like a truck driver (or an archaeologist, take your pick). It was kind of the lingua franca of the wild people who worked in the back country field camps (more on my own camping stories later, maybe). We were outlaws, rebels with trowels, spurning the soft life of lesser humans. With that kind of persona, one had to have a foul mouth --

It wasn't until I moved to the South (as Williamsburg still likes to think of itself) that I cleaned up my act. Mind you, I was very proper in work settings and with certain family members. with my own kind however, the mouth worked overtime.

Now it's a rarity for me to use the word. I've mellowed and calmed down considerably in my middle age.

The special times I use the f-bomb gives it great impact and immense pleasure. Joel wrote about the syllabic effect of pursing one's lips to throw out the f-sound, and the gutteral, satisfying, ending of "ck." The word is an explosion of intense verbal expression.

I admit to not liking its repeated use in shows like 'The Sopranos' -- true to life, of course, but the impact of the word is completely tamed. Tony says it more than he says "the" or "and." Don't mean nuttin when used this way.

Sorry 'bout all the rain in DC. My sister's house on Western Avenue is high up on a hill, so I know she and her family will stay dry. We're getting some rain down here in the 'burg, but not the same system as DC.

Will be thinking of all you washed-up Washingtonians.

Posted by: nelson | June 26, 2006 3:30 PM | Report abuse

nelson... how'd the reunion/party go?

Did you have fun with your family? I was thinking about you last week--you picked a good one for beaching.

Posted by: TBG | June 26, 2006 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod -- read a piece today about hedgehogs struggling to survive in England. Maybe pesticides.

Toads are excellent slug predators. I actually used to go out in the garden at nite and do slug patrol, picking off and throwing far away every slug I could find.

and yes, the beer in a pan trick is mentioned in every single gardening book I have as a slug remedy (also for college freshman).

My big problem right now are the japanese beetles. One of my roses was nearly skeletonized while I was gone. they eat every single new bloom.

I bought some pyola -- a pesticide made from pyrethum (I think), found in plants in the crysanthemum family (I think).

I'm off ot Lowe's later to buy a sprayer so I can save the roses. I'm averse to using any pesticides at all. Period. But after watching last year as the same rose was devoured by the jap beetles, I decided to use a safe spray this year and see if it works.

Mudge, I'm very sorry about Mr. Stripey -- he may bounce back, what with all the rain. :-)

Posted by: nelson | June 26, 2006 3:37 PM | Report abuse

kbertocci, it riles me that when movies are shown on tv, they'll bleep out the eff word, but leave in all the Gd's! My Aunt Dora said "Well I swannee" when she was surprised. Uncle Claude just harrumped when peeved. My German grandpa said something that sounded like "Schvinehundt" when referring to his Irish son-in-law.

BTW, Kbertocci, my condolences to your hubby on the death of the 175 yr. old turtle. I'm not being flippant; I mean it. In the old 5 and 10 cent store, they used to sell baby turtles with handpainted shells. Mother was so upset that she purchased the entire stock and drove us the 30 miles out to Aunt Dora and Uncle Claude's farm where we released them at the little creek that ran through it.

Posted by: Nani | June 26, 2006 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Hey Nelson, hope everything went well with the family. How did you like the southern end of the Grand Strand?

Posted by: slyness | June 26, 2006 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for all the slugicidal tips everyone. I think I'll give the rock salt and aluminum a try tonight. I forgot about the beer trick. Maybe I'll give that one a whirl as well.

Oh... and if there's any aluminum left over, I might even make myself a hat to wear when I'm mowing the lawn. The neighbors could probably use something new to whisper about.

Posted by: martooni | June 26, 2006 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Clitolactone and Clitocybe Flaccida, you heard it here first.

http://news.humboldt.edu/Article216.phtml

(includes photo of bananaslug)

Researchers at Humboldt State University have discovered that when slugs bite mushrooms, the mushrooms fight back.

The Chemistry Department's Dr. William Wood and his colleagues describe a unique slug repellant in a technical article titled "Clitolactone: A Banana Slug Antifeedant from Clitocybe Flaccida" [Mycologia 96, 23 (2004)].

Their study emerged while researchers collected wild mushrooms in the coastal rain forests of the Pacific Northwest. They noticed that some mushroom species had small bite marks on the caps. It appeared the mushrooms had been tasted and rejected by the giant banana slug, Ariolimax columbianus.

To find out why some mushrooms are eaten and others are not, Wood and his coworkers zeroed in on a particular the mushroom, named Clitocybe flaccida. Slugs were observed briefly tasting this mushroom before feeding on other mushroom species. The researchers took extracts from the mushroom and identified a new, naturally occurring chemical they named "Clitolactone."

Posted by: Loomis | June 26, 2006 3:41 PM | Report abuse

I try not to cuss in the presence of my children and have pretty much abandoned the f-bomb, excepting special circumstances. Cussing is like talking about sex. If you talk in either context too much, you must have a small peenitz. By the way, Mudge, my Dad served proudly in the Merchant Marine aboard the U.S.S. Repose during the Korean conflict. I turned fourty nine yesterday and passed the first stress test this year by tiling a countertop in the kitchen for the past five hours without making a cutting error. The usual pattern is measure, cut, nibble, nibble, nibble, mess it up, start again.

Posted by: jack | June 26, 2006 3:44 PM | Report abuse

OOOHHHH, I'm sorely tempted yet again. Went for a walk and stopped in the Apple store. I asked to purchase the Belkin USB to PS/2 Adapter Cable and the guy gives me a funnny look. I explain what it is. He's still seems a little confused, but wanders to the back of the store. Five minutes later he's back and says that they carry it in this store. I'm like what the f***. in my head, so I'm already over my yearly limit and the year ain't even half over yet. I'll have a spanking brand new Mac mini for a week and can't even use the damn thing. AARRGGHH!!! I need my porn fix (just kidding).

Posted by: omni | June 26, 2006 3:50 PM | Report abuse

The roses we had were pretty tough, but when the japanese beetle infestation got to be a mite much, I tried the old sugar water in a shallow bowl remedy-- sure claimed a lot of victims. The same idea as beer for slugs, doncha know?

Bonus points if you can put rose scent into it ;).

Japanese beetles like moist summers, not hot n dry summers so some years they'll be worse than others.

They emerge mid-june-- they only have one generation per year, how easy is that?! Unfortunately they start mating and laying eggs almost immediately after emerging. So grab the sugar water NOW, don't wait to get the pesticides.

Just an word of advice, sugar water is best when beetle number are low, since beetles hang together, so more beetles could flock to the roses and damage them if you have the bowls of sugar water too close. So the answer is-- put the sugar water under your neighbor's roses.

(Evil tittering).

The eggs need midsummer rainfall and good soil moisture not to dry out. So don't irrigate in July if it's really dry, praise the lord and wait until late August-September to nurse the turf back to health.

Grubs and adult both cause damage, and beetles can migrate from other areas, so you can only hope that they find better feeding grounds elsewhere.

Maples, plums, birch, mountain ash, linden all make attractive hosts for those critters. So lesson there: don't plant them close together or with roses. No use spreading a buffet for the beetles.

Posted by: Wilbrod | June 26, 2006 3:50 PM | Report abuse

TBG -- thanks for your thoughts.

It was actually awesome. No one fought. I managed to not sulk to badly (single, no children; all my sibs are married with kids -- I'm the "odd" one on the family).

We ate great food, had a really decent house right on the beach. The weather was fabulous -- the area isn't too built up (yet). Driving thorugh Myrtle Beach gave me the willies, wondering if this was what our vacation was going to be like.

The nite my folks renewed their vows on the beach left a lump in all our throats. It was just at sunset. They'd managed to find an Irish priest from County Cork to do the ceremony. My mother is Irish Catholic. All of their children, grand-children and one great-grandchild stood in a circle around them. After the vow renewal, Father Pat smiled, and launched into the famous Irish blessing (may the be always at your back). We have O'Donnells and Kellehers, as well as my mother's background, and even some Irish on my dad's side. We've always identified mostly with the Irish blood, even though we're also English and a wee bit of German.

50 years is really amazing.

My sister had put together a DVD that had about 400 pictures of our family, from my parents' honeymoon to my brother's second marriage last November (his first wife died of cancer).

It was wonderful, but a bit hard. 2 of my siblings' spouses died early -- my older sister's first husband, and then of course my brother's first wife.

Seeing them in pictures brought back some tears for my nieces and nephews.

But wow -- all 20 of us just sunning and tanning and swimming and having a great time.

Kinda hard to come back to Williamsburg and my solo life.

Did Sebastian Mallaby really write that social isolation in this country could be alleved by carpooling? I haven't read his piece yet (normally he's not one I choose to read).

If that's the best idea anyone can come up with, well, no more need be said . . .

Posted by: nelson | June 26, 2006 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Well that explains why the beetles liked to party on the rosebush I'm thinking of. It was a tough mother, though, and thrived anyway.

http://hyg.aces.uiuc.edu/secure/subscribers/200512e.html

Posted by: wilbrod | June 26, 2006 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Nelson, I think any kind of communal shared effort to help one another is a good idea.
Church, volunteering, etc. can all form social ties, although not necessarily close, will be helpful in case of emergency. Carpooling is weak, but hey it's wasted time anyway ;).

The punchline to his column... well, don't drink hot coffee while reading it, you don't want coffee burns out of your nose.

Posted by: Wilbrod | June 26, 2006 3:57 PM | Report abuse

wilbrod -- last summer I tried the artificial bate bags for the japanese beetles -- to no avail. They ignored the smell of the bait and ate the roses.

How much sugar in the water? How far away from the roses? I only have a willow tree close the rose. I think I get them from neighboring areas. They swarm -- hundreds of them on the 'New Dawn' climber.

Thanks for the beetle primer.

Posted by: nelson | June 26, 2006 3:57 PM | Report abuse

OK, funnny is spelled with two n's nnot threee. And I meant to say he said they DON"T carry it.

It's 94% humid out there (I hate that).

I am so going home to fix a drink. I figure if I can't play with my new toy there's no reason not to drink. A lot.

Posted by: omni | June 26, 2006 3:58 PM | Report abuse

A lot, I'd say 1 cup to 1-2 cups of water at least. Make it shallow.

The idea is to make them nuts for it. How about a few yards away?

Posted by: wilbrod | June 26, 2006 4:12 PM | Report abuse

wilbrod -- I just read Mallaby -- the last line was a catchy. And his column had some good insight.

He's addressing the problem, which is good. You're right, of course, that any social interaction, (especially volunteering) is good.

As a single person in this world, I know how difficult it is to make contact. I have managed to keep friends from all my years, high school, college, etc. But I do find myself alone quite a bit. Most of this is due to my muscle disease.

I do volunteer work in the community; it's a great way to give to others, helping someone less fortunate (or joining for a good cause) keeps the focus off of oneself. I hope others are able to meet people in whom they can confide, with whom they can develop a true emotional bond.

Being single, I've found that at the end of the volunteer gig, or whatever, most everyone goes home to their spouse/SO (this is the demographic of Williamsburg -- I'm being very place-specific). They already have their bond.

I'm not alone. I have bonds with plenty of folks. But not here in the 'burg.

I've wanted to move away from here for years now -- but finances and other things keep me here, for the time being.

I guess there's always online dating . . .

The local bookstore is Books-a-Million. Kramers Books and Afterwords, it ain't.

I even buy my books online.

Posted by: nelson | June 26, 2006 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Loomis writes: Researchers at Humboldt State University have discovered that when slugs bite mushrooms, the mushrooms fight back

When Michael Pollan, botanist, spoke on the Diane Rheam radio program, he suggested that the intoxicating element in marijuana, THC, may be there in order to discombobulate (I love that word) the insects that prey on the plant. I would have thought it would've given them the munchies.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 26, 2006 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Going through the emails on this story, here's one from a reader:

'In discussing the "word we must not say aloud" (at least on broadcast TV), you somehow overlooked its use in the movie Scarface, which sets some kind of record at, so I've been told, over 200 instances in one movie.'

Posted by: Achenbach | June 26, 2006 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Loomis, because I Am A Rock I'm not touching your 3:41 post for anything. Waaaaay too dangerous.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | June 26, 2006 4:16 PM | Report abuse

SCC: oops, the 4:14 was me.

Posted by: Nani | June 26, 2006 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Nani;

"Schweinhund" (the 't' is implied), literally "pig dog," is more of an insult in German than an expletive.

'Mudge, you concur?

:-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | June 26, 2006 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, I hear ya on that one. But the article was about social bonds, rather than finding Mr/Mrs right.

Too many people don't even know who their neighbors are, for instance. I'm guilty of this myself in a few places where I lived... I tend to need a few months before I start greeting people. But heck, I used to know most of my neighbors growing up.

I invited virtually the whole block to my HS and graduation party, we had the backyard for it, so why not?

There are things that can be done to encourage social contact between people who wouldn't otherwise meet. Maybe they'll return the favor ;).



Posted by: Wilbrod | June 26, 2006 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Hey, congrats, Joel--the box on a couple of other pages says your "Dropping the F-Bomb" article is the most viewed Post article. Alas, the Google ads box below seems...er...befuddled, and only is advertising blogs. Think of the effing opportunities it has missed today.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | June 26, 2006 4:21 PM | Report abuse

And another:
"
The reason why it's not as dirty a word to a younger generation is because, ironically, they did not have their mouths washed out with soap after saying it. I'm 45 and my mother demanded my tongue "cleaned" of the offensive word on more than one ocassion. So believe me, I had a considerable, if unsavory respect for the word growing up."

Posted by: Achenbach | June 26, 2006 4:21 PM | Report abuse

Jawohl, mein Herren scottynuke.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | June 26, 2006 4:23 PM | Report abuse

SCC: Herr. Ach du lieber, it's been so long.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | June 26, 2006 4:24 PM | Report abuse

>I'll have a spanking brand new Mac mini for a week and can't even use the damn thing. AARRGGHH!!!

omni, you should be able use any USB -> PS/2 adapter, but this is why I just bought the Mac keyboard and mouse. The basic deal with Apple is they take you to the cleaners on accessories, and you'll find you've been sucked in far enough that you just want "everything to work" so you go ahead and buy their unit prices at about 2x the generic stuff.

I did my own stream of cursing when I realized they were heavily advertising that you could just plug in your old keyboard and mouse but didn't supply PS/2 style connectors!

Posted by: Error Flynn | June 26, 2006 4:24 PM | Report abuse

'Mudge, don't be givin' people no ideas about those cloning experiments, now...

*LOL*

Posted by: Scottynuke | June 26, 2006 4:30 PM | Report abuse

nelson... we'll be in Virginia Beach from July 2-9. C'mon down and we'll have a beachfront BPH.

Email me at boodler at mac dot com and we'll make some plans to have some fun. I'll even bring the tinfoil.

Posted by: TBG | June 26, 2006 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Once when I was in college a couple of friends did an entire scene from Hamlet replacing each word with the "F word." They had the phrasing and the intonation down cold. It was hysterical. Which perhaps explains the continuing appeal of Ozzy Osbourne.

Posted by: RD Padouk | June 26, 2006 4:39 PM | Report abuse

went to go get some tomato plants on saturday - maybe a mr. stripey - cuz i figured my 6th floor, afternoon sun balconey would be a loverly place free of slugs and squirrels for tomatos - i went to the merrifield nursery and asked the guy for tomato plants - he looked at me like i was daft! apparently, it's a bit late in the summer (which just started last freakin week!) to start tomatoes. sheesh! like i knew! i'm not a freakin garderner! and alas, no mr. stripeys to be found...
now SWEARING i'm good at! i try not to swear around children or older people with delicate sensibilities but i swear like a sailor - and it seems the more i try to stop the more i swear! in my industry - people swear a lot! error - you are in 'puters - do people swear a lot where you work?

Posted by: mo | June 26, 2006 4:42 PM | Report abuse

Gads, I'm firefighting too much today!

To Joel's emailer's point, I can taste Ivory Spring like it was yesterday.

Can't talk now - back into the fray!

bc

Posted by: bc | June 26, 2006 4:47 PM | Report abuse

nelson, glad your family week went well.

I'll take slugs over Japanese beetles any day.

Posted by: mostlylurking | June 26, 2006 4:50 PM | Report abuse

there's no more fun than listning to
robots or simulations (ie talking computer)
Cuss, the F word is right up there, i've been working on project with a partner using robots (AI's) who actually recognize context and there4 rarely use it, however when they do it's done with authority

Posted by: Eric G | June 26, 2006 4:54 PM | Report abuse

Your F Bomb story reminded me of a luncheon I attended about a year ago where an overzealous public relations executive used the F Bomb twice in his presentation. I was attending a luncheon for the Public Relations Society of America in Denver when the "Director of Hoopla, Ballyhoo and Hype" for a local company presented. This person works for a company that has a very progressive corporate environment, but twice in the presentation he used the Fbomb as if it were appropriate. All of the professionals at our table were offended and thought it was incredibly inappropriate.

I am a huge fan of this pr person's company; however that one incident made me have an incredibly bad taste in my mouth when it came to the image of the company (incidentally he works for a restaurant company).

What made this person think that was okay in a business setting? Sometimes ego overrides common sense.

Posted by: KMettler | June 26, 2006 5:16 PM | Report abuse

>error - you are in 'puters - do people swear a lot where you work?

No mo, just me. :-) At least in this place.

Every once in awhile someone will go for a "bull****" or whatever in a meeting, but they generally refrain from anything stronger, whereas if I'm sufficiently ramped up and in the right company I'm quite capable of something much more Lenny Bruce-ish. The thing is the timing and inflection depends greatly on whether you're trying to be funny or, uh, impress the serious nature of your requirements and concerns on someone.

As in, "This is a business critical system and if you touch this ****ing machine I'm gonna break your ****ing arms, OK? Cuz otherwise neither of us 'll have a ****ing job.".

I mean, in the bland world of corp-speak sometimes you just need to get someone's full attention, and that still seems to be pretty effective. Especially in Tony Soprano-land.

Not that I would ever do that of course. Although I did once have to physically defend my microprocessor development system from a mad alcoholic marketing VP.

Ah, the good old days...

Posted by: Error Flynn | June 26, 2006 5:27 PM | Report abuse

mo - Although hardly anyone swears where I work, I did once share an office with someone who would spontaneously blurt out "F--- You Bill Gates!" at random intervals.

He never could get the autoformat function in Word to work right.

Posted by: RD Padouk | June 26, 2006 5:29 PM | Report abuse

If the f-bomb would help in making Word work, I think we'd all be using it.

Posted by: Slyness | June 26, 2006 5:33 PM | Report abuse

haha rd - yeah, i get a lot of people here swearing at bill gates - i call it job security! *g*

oh, and to a question you had in a previous boodle, rd - i'm not a federal employee - i'm a contractor... they tax me out the WAZOOO

Posted by: mo | June 26, 2006 5:34 PM | Report abuse

OK, up for air from the depths of my job for a minute.

A-bombs and H-bombs require presidential approval to use in public.

F-bombs can be used in public by the VP in special cases. All other use of F-Bombs, Q-Bombs, or Nude Bombs requires a registered Artistic License.

bc

Posted by: bc | June 26, 2006 5:39 PM | Report abuse

Ah, scottynuke and Curmudgeon, I'm glad Schweinhund was brought up. You could always count on the Nazis in the Sgt. Rock comics to call somebody that at least once per comic. That one was pretty easy. Also, somebody was always saying "Mein Gott!" (also an easy one) or "Ach du lieber!" at least once. What on earth does the latter mean? Babel fish says its "Oh you rather", so I take it that it is idiomatic. What is the equivalent?

Posted by: SonofCarl | June 26, 2006 5:55 PM | Report abuse

Back on topic, the old air force vet is describing his experiences in the air war over Germany in a radio interview. He relates one experience:

"Well, we were in this dogfight over Dusseldorf, and this f----- gets behind me. I couldn't shake him! I yells out 'somebody get this f------!'"-

The interviewer cuts him off: "for the benefit of our listeners, a Fokker is a type of German airplane"

The vet: "No, no, this f----- was flying a Messerschmidt!"

Posted by: SonofCarl | June 26, 2006 6:02 PM | Report abuse

Here in the midwest we use beer in pans for the slug problem. Sometimes neighborhood cats stop by, so must be careful. Deer and rabbits (who also eat the plants) aren't phased.

My daughter went to an ivy league college in the east and after her first semester vacation, I had to wash my ears out with soap. She swore "like a trooper" - or similar expression - but says she learned all those words before she went off to school. (From her father?)
Took about 20 years but now her conversations are genteel since she works for the govt. What does that tell you?

Since I am was born before WWII (or maybe other reasons) profanity in movies and cable shows completely turns me off. It's as if they use it to make up for lack of meaningful dialogue.
I've been known to swear at my cat, but more often at self-stupidity. My mother's favorite word was pshaw - pronounced shaw -and fiddlesticks! but a short word is much more satisfying.

bdl

Posted by: boondocklurker | June 26, 2006 6:02 PM | Report abuse

SCC
am was s/b was

I really was not drinking the beer we put out for slugs before I posted.

Tried to get some Mr. Stripey tomato plants in late May but they haven't made it out here yet. Sounds like it was just as well. I will say a prayer for rejuvenation. (SCC in advance.)

bdl

Posted by: boondocklurker | June 26, 2006 6:14 PM | Report abuse

And then there are those awkward moments when the F-bomb is accidentally discharged. I once sat through a lecture on magnetic flux where the poor instructor almost left the stage in embarrassment.

Posted by: RD Padouk | June 26, 2006 6:26 PM | Report abuse

SoC, there was a popular (?) German song during the late 19th centur called "Ach du lieber Augustine" which translates as "Og, my dear friend Augustin." How they get that translation mystifies me a bit, since "du lieber" is kind of "you love" (or maybe "you are my love") but in a non-romantic way; the better idiom would simply be "Oh, my friend!" or "Oh my dear!" (And "du" is "you," not me, but go figure the Krauts.)

(Noting that in many of the Aubrey-Maturin novels, they often address each other as "my dear," which in the early 1800s apparently was a common form of address between men and had no homosexual connotations. Not that there's anything wrong with that.)

Just don't call me Shirley.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | June 26, 2006 6:36 PM | Report abuse

Since we're reminiscing -- my Jewish grandmother's favorite exclamation was "Oh, Christmas!" I find myself saying "phooey" once in a while, but then I have to stop and laugh at myself. Good enough reason to keep saying it, I guess.

Posted by: bia | June 26, 2006 6:37 PM | Report abuse

Elementary, my dear Watson.

Thanks! Funny how other than slugs (which arose from the rain IIRC) I think this has been the most on-topic day in boodle history from what I've seen. Probably tailor-made for the boodle due to the close-to-the-edge humor.

RD, you can take it back all you want but the cat's out of the bag. The word "Achenblog" will never quite be the same!

Posted by: SonofCarl | June 26, 2006 6:46 PM | Report abuse

Good evening, my friends. Blessings and good news have been mine today, given in abundance by God through Christ. And to the wonderful comforts that He has provided through my wonderful and dear friends here at the Achenblog. I cannot thank you enough for your kind words and your thoughts of me during this time. I go back in six months, but for now, the news is good. It has been a long day for me, so I will not talk much, just wanted to check in and tell you how much I appreciate you and look forward to talking much in the future. I can tell you that God loves you more than you can imagine through Him that died for all, Christ Jesus.

Posted by: Cassandra S | June 26, 2006 6:54 PM | Report abuse

I hope everyone keeps their feet dry. Basements even. You are all in my thoughts.

The kinkiest thing I ever saw on TV was a snail moving in slow motion closeup.

Posted by: dr | June 26, 2006 7:12 PM | Report abuse

TBG -- wow! will e-mail you at address you gave and come to meet you!

I wasn't talking about intimate relationships, necessarily. Good, close friends, female or male, someone with whom confidences can be shared. This is the social isolation, as I read it right in the write-up in Sunday's Post.

Come to think of it, I had the same problem in DC. I was very active in the DC Sierra Club (you didn't know there was such an animal?) in the early 90's.

Most of the folks were married, and so tended to gravitate towards other married couples as friends. The singles were very young.

The demographics in the 'Burg are skewed, average age; 55 (maybe older now).

There is a small professional middle class; faculty from William and Mary, professional from Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.

There is a large "working class" -- laborers, car repair folks, painters, etc. People whose families have lived here a long time -- country folk really.

Then there are the retirees -- swarms of 'em. They are all very wealthy (no trailer retirement parks here) and live in gated communities, more of which are being built, with work done by the country folks. There is even a development for people 55 and older!!

The professional class that serves the retirees (doctors mostly) also live in the gated communities, or in wealthy enclaves.

A sense of the lack of middle class is and the presence of a lot of folks near the bottom of the financial scale is evidenced by the four lower-income apartment developments here. In an area that is still pretty rural.

It's a weird little place. When I first moved here I was very active in the archaeobotanical program at Colonial Williamsburg. But that's been shelved because CW is financially (and ethically) struggling. They now cater to the wealthy -- the family vacation to Colonial Williamsburg is out of reach for most Americans.

It's not easy for a 47 year old single, childless woman to meet people of like mind. Especially when hampered by fibromyalgia that keeps me in a lot.

I'm not on a pity-pot. Just in a bit of withdrawal after spending a week with my family.

So, TBG, yes!

As to rain -- just got a weather alert from my desktop Weather Channel -- it seems we're gonna get hit down here tomorrow with rain that could be 3-4 inches an hour. All day.

I may not have a garden to worry about after tomorrow!! :-)

Posted by: nelson | June 26, 2006 7:16 PM | Report abuse

"The reason why it's not as dirty a word to a younger generation is because, ironically, they did not have their mouths washed out with soap after saying it"

Thank you Joel--I was beginning to think I was the only one subjected to that particular punishment. Although I have say that once was sufficient to make the point.

Posted by: Gran | June 26, 2006 7:20 PM | Report abuse

Cassandra, I'm so glad to hear you have good news. I thought about you all day. Remembered you in my prayers last night, too. Sleep well tonight, you deserve it!

Posted by: Slyness | June 26, 2006 7:21 PM | Report abuse

TBG -- sent you an e-mail. Thunder is starting to roll outside, so it's time to close down my computer.

Cassandra, congratulations on your good news! Rest well.

'Nite all.

Posted by: nelson | June 26, 2006 7:28 PM | Report abuse

Thing that gets me is you get the DIV/VGA adapter out of the box but no way to connect the keyboard/mouse. Funniest thing though is that the sales rep wore a black T that had the word genius on the front...but still had no clue.

OK, back to drinking, I want another greyhound.

On another unrelated Mac mini cursing note..off topic...I just started a Carl Hiaasen novel..."Skin Tight"...I'm loving it...it's a page turner!

(I think I'll make my next a little weaker)

I hit preview in light of ever increasing SSC membershp dues, due to today's earlier postings, and realize...I should drink greyhounds at work!

(OK, maybe I'll make it stronger...HA)

Posted by: omni | June 26, 2006 7:46 PM | Report abuse

It just dawned on me that my PC seems to be working fine at the moment. Maybe the fact that the Mac mini is sitting in its box right next to it has it running SCARED!!!

BWAHAHAHA

Posted by: omni | June 26, 2006 7:49 PM | Report abuse

Can't argue with 'Mudge on this one...

"Ach du lieber" really does come across idiomatically (or perhaps idiotically in my case) as "oh my dear," and the usage is usually the sort of "polite expletive" we'd expect from a Victorian lady, as she brings hand to mouth. "Ach du lieber Gott" is the even stronger version, as the aforementioned lady brings the back of her hand to her forehead, collapsing in a heap. Of course, add the evil eye my ex-MIL could summon at will, and any variation of "ach du lieber" would send me slinking away to the "stupid American" corner.

There'll be a quiz in the morning.

:-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | June 26, 2006 8:25 PM | Report abuse

http://globalia.net/donlope/fz/songs/Ach_Du_Lieber_Augustine.html

Posted by: Anonymous | June 26, 2006 8:37 PM | Report abuse

Oh, this boodle membership is paying for itself. According to the link (was that you too, SN?) this song is the original tune to Hail to the Bus Driver!

Ach, du lieber Augustin, Augustin, Augustin,
ach, du lieber Augustin, alles ist hin! Geld ist hin, Mädl ist hin, alles ist hin, Augustin!

"O, my dear friend Augustin, Augustin, Augustin,
O, my dear friend Augustin, I just can't win! Money's gone, girlfriend's gone, I just can't win, Augustin!

Posted by: SonofCarl | June 26, 2006 8:45 PM | Report abuse

That's the tune, SoC. We're going to have to raise your membership fees, though.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | June 26, 2006 9:07 PM | Report abuse

The school mascot of the University of Califorina - Santa Cruz it the Banana Slug.
They have have a Slug Fest every year.

Posted by: bh | June 26, 2006 9:07 PM | Report abuse

It's raining here, with thunder and lightning. I think it's time for an effing jeezey-peezey.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | June 26, 2006 9:09 PM | Report abuse

Looks like things are getting set with nelson for next week in Virginia Beach.

Any other Tidewater-area boodlers want to join us for a beachfront BPH?

Posted by: TBG | June 26, 2006 9:25 PM | Report abuse

Mudge,

My Jeezey-Peezey was getting thin last night during our bucket brigade and I think it wore out completely during my 3.5 hour commute this morning.

Got any Goodness Gracious?

Posted by: TBG | June 26, 2006 9:33 PM | Report abuse

My husband has been drying his shoes in the oven today. When the timer went off earlier, my son said, in a straight face, "Dad. Your shoes are done."

Posted by: TBG | June 26, 2006 9:34 PM | Report abuse

Oh, I'm so worried about our trip to DC tomorrow. If the hotel was not prepaid, and I had not talked the whole thing up with my kids so much, I might cancel. But, we'll bravely go and get wet, I guess. I have rain ponchos for everybody.

I don't remember who asked. M-19 was the first Colombian guerrilla group. FARC and ELN came later, split off from the original. M-19 guys disarmed and became politicians. They had a pretty strong candidate this past presidential election. He has a speech impediment, a result of being shot in the face during his fighting years.

Posted by: a bea c | June 26, 2006 9:55 PM | Report abuse

Guys, thanks for the tune cooties. Now Augustin is stuck in my head. We had this LP, German Sing-Along featuring Wil Glahe and his singers. Augustin was one of our favorites.

Posted by: a bea c | June 26, 2006 9:58 PM | Report abuse

The first time I heard the F word was from an American kid, son of a teacher at our school. I must have been in the 7th grade. The popular kids were giving him a really rough time and he used the F word with such force, then followed it with quite a few words I've since found out are not meant to make Hispanics feel warm and fuzzy. I was afraid to ask my mom what all those words meant, so I filed them away for a few years.

Posted by: a bea c | June 26, 2006 10:04 PM | Report abuse

It stopped raining here today and we got out to the garden to weed, I am happy to report that my Mr. Stripey is doing well. It must be the underlying sandy soil keeping his feet from rotting. I am sending my good wishes to the other Mr. Stripeys who have not fared so well in the rain.

On topic, I don't object to the f-bomb or other choice words when they are used dramatically in a program such as Deadwood. (I love this program, the acting is superb and I have a huge crush on Ian McShane.) I do find some of the language hard to take but It would seem odd if the characters didn't swear continuously, given the time and setting of the story. I do find the eff word offensive when it is used as a replacement for original thought as many of todays' so-called comedians do, for example. As someone else said earlier, we don't have that many good swear words and if we keep overusing them, what words will we have left to use when we really need to make a point?

Posted by: Bad Sneakers | June 26, 2006 10:16 PM | Report abuse

This kinda goes with the past three Kits- in an alternate universe sort of way.

It's work safe. Go ahead, click.

http://www.candyboots.com/wwcards/spectacular.html

Posted by: Pixel | June 26, 2006 11:12 PM | Report abuse

>It just dawned on me that my PC seems to be working fine at the moment.

omni, this is not unusual. It's the opposite of the Critical Need Detector hiding in all advanced electronics. In this case the PC realized it *could* be replaced, and by something with a fairly different evolutionary path.

On the other hand, I tried to buy a used Mac once, and in my apt with 6 PCs its hard drive gave up the ghost in less than a day, so it was returned. The only rational explanation was the poor thing just died of fright.

Posted by: Error Flynn | June 27, 2006 12:55 AM | Report abuse

my mom majored in german and went there a couple of times as an exchange student, the result of which was that my childhood was peppered with genteel exclamations of "ach du liebe zeit" and "ach himmel." i've tried to keep the tradition going, but "ach scheiße" is the best that i can do.

on the subject of the f-word, we've got nothing on the russians. for example, take a simple verb of motion like "to go." in english you can go in, go out, up, down, over, around, etc. in russian you add prefixes to the beginning of the verb instead of, or in addition to, prepositions after the verb. (i'm sure you can already see where this is going.)

so take the f-verb and multiply it by a dozen or so different prefixes. here is a link to a fairly complete list of such prefixes (scroll down a little):
https://www.flashcardexchange.com/flashcards/list/363149

then multiply again by two because all verbs have a perfective and an imperfective version, emphasizing completed action and process/duration respectively. from any of these verb pairs, you can form four different participial adjective, not to mention that some verbs will have corresponding noun forms as well. combine these with other bad words (think body parts) having similar variational possibilities, and you wind up with an advanced verbal craft that no non-native speaker should ever attempt.

as they say, russian is a rich language.


Posted by: L.A. lurker | June 27, 2006 1:53 AM | Report abuse

my mom majored in german and went there a couple of times as an exchange student, the result of which was that my childhood was peppered with genteel exclamations of "ach du liebe zeit" and "ach himmel." i've tried to keep the tradition going, but "ach scheiße" is the best that i can do.

on the subject of the f-word, we've got nothing on the russians. for example, take a simple verb of motion like "to go." in english you can go in, go out, up, down, over, around, etc. in russian you add prefixes to the beginning of the verb instead of, or in addition to, prepositions after the verb. (i'm sure you can already see where this is going.)

so take the f-verb and multiply it by a dozen or so different prefixes. here is a link to a fairly complete list of such prefixes (scroll down a little):
https://www.flashcardexchange.com/flashcards/list/363149

then multiply again by two because all verbs have a perfective and an imperfective version, emphasizing completed action and process/duration respectively. from any of these verb pairs, you can form four different participial adjective, not to mention that some verbs will have corresponding noun forms as well. combine these with other bad words (think body parts) having similar variational possibilities, and you wind up with an advanced verbal craft that no non-native speaker should ever attempt.

as they say, russian is a rich language.


Posted by: L.A. lurker | June 27, 2006 1:53 AM | Report abuse

sorry about the double post.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | June 27, 2006 1:55 AM | Report abuse

to be technically correct, i probably should have said 4 participles that also function as adjectives, but oh well, screw it.

p.s. i skimmed the classic rovestorm boodle after hearing about it so many times. did you know that the last post (if it's still the last) has the f-word fully spelled out? i thought the word-bot-filter-thingy was supposed to catch these things. someone might need to run some tests...

Posted by: L.A. lurker | June 27, 2006 2:12 AM | Report abuse

hope all you folk in the greater d.c. area are ok.
looks like you've had way too much effing rain.

Posted by: L.A. lurker | June 27, 2006 2:34 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, friends. I'm getting ready for that walk. Will miss that crowd that ususally hangs out with me in that endeavor. They left yesterday. I will be among forty+ children today so sad feelings will go away quickly. We're going to plant in that huge pot
Slyness gave me, and do a little science, but have fun doing it. I have a green pepper, one, and it's big. I'm going to get it today. It will be dinner or at least part of dinner. Have a good day folks, and know that God loves you more than you can imagine through Him that died for all, Jesus Christ.


TBG, I laughed so when I read your post about your son, and his dad's shoes. It is raining here so much that everything is soggy and wet. We've had flash flooding, and no end in sight. I will not complain because I'm sure the farmers are quite happy.

I thought much about those things that God provides during times of trouble. We have our personal relationship with God through Christ, or not. We have the comfort of family and friends. Some of us have the comfort of a lot of money, and the ability to do certain things that other may not be able to do, and I was just wondering, which comfort do you hang on to when your ship gets knocked around?


Posted by: Cassandra S | June 27, 2006 5:50 AM | Report abuse

Cassandra that is wonderful news that everything is OK, you joy was obvious from your post. Enjoy planting with the kids that sounds like a lovely way to spend the day.

Re the F-Word I have tried not to post much, in part due to too many commitments right now and in part because I read the comments and thought, geez I need to clean my mouth.

Right now things are both great and very difficult at the same time, life is funny it seems just when you think life cannot get any better something comes around to bring you back down to earth.

We are going through that right now, with an illness in the family. I am lucky though I have great support from family, friends and work. While I am not particularly religious I do believe in God so that helps. When all else fails I garden spent most of Saturday pulling weeds and turning the soil somehow that just made me feel better, even hand weeded parts of the lawn - when you can't control other aspects of your life you can control the weeds!

Laughter I find the best way to get through tough times.

Posted by: dmd | June 27, 2006 7:19 AM | Report abuse

a bea c;

The city's still open, trust me. :-) Plenty of museums running full steam, and there's ALWAYS too much to see at one time. Just remember your bumbershoot. ;-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | June 27, 2006 8:16 AM | Report abuse

dmd;

I hope that situation is resolved properly as soon as possible. *crossing fingers*

:-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | June 27, 2006 8:19 AM | Report abuse

When I find myself in times of trouble
Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be.
And in my hour of darkness
She is standing right in front of me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be.
Let it be, let it be.
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be.

And when the broken hearted people
Living in the world agree,
There will be an answer, let it be.
For though they may be parted there is
Still a chance that they will see
There will be an answer, let it be.
Let it be, let it be. Yeah
There will be an answer, let it be.

And when the night is cloudy,
There is still a light that shines on me,
Shine on until tomorrow, let it be.
I wake up to the sound of music
Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be.
Let it be, let it be.
There will be an answer, let it be.
Let it be, let it be,
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be


Posted by: Nani | June 27, 2006 8:27 AM | Report abuse

Did that No Rain chant at Woodstock work? I can't remember.

Posted by: Achenbach | June 27, 2006 8:54 AM | Report abuse

The rain made a lot of people attending Woodstock take their clothes off though.

Which brings us back to the verb portion of the F-bomb and subsequent fallout.

bc

Posted by: bc | June 27, 2006 9:01 AM | Report abuse

dmd, I'm very sorry to hear of illness in your family. That is the toughest tribulation of all.

Joel, it did rain and rain and rain. I wasn't there of course, but Mr. Nani and I saw the movie. Musicians couldn't play their electric guitars. (Mr. Nani and I briefly discussed becoming hippies and going to Woodstock, but it didn't fit in with our lifestyle; you know, we'd have to forgo PTA meetings, Mass every Sunday morning, school functions and all those other establishment type commitments. So we just dressed like hippies. Mr. Nani let his hair grow and I wore those long pretty flowing skirts and a fuschia zinnia tucked behind one ear).

Posted by: Nani | June 27, 2006 9:09 AM | Report abuse

Kinda quiet over here this morning, so I was surfing around, found Hugh Hewitt's blog and this link to a really moving series of articles about a marine whose job it is to notify the next of kin in the event of a soldier's death. His name is Maj. Steve Beck, and the article mentions that he was born in my hometown, Sand Springs, OK.

http://hughhewitt.com/archives/2006/06/25-week/index.php#a002581

Posted by: Anonymous | June 27, 2006 9:11 AM | Report abuse

sorry, forgot to sign...

Posted by: kbertocci | June 27, 2006 9:12 AM | Report abuse

Cassandra, great news about your tests! Have fun planting with the kids. Did you decide on giant sunflowers?

Posted by: Nani | June 27, 2006 9:37 AM | Report abuse

Nani... love the image that this conjures up...

Mr. Nani and I briefly discussed becoming hippies and going to Woodstock, but it didn't fit in with our lifestyle; you know, we'd have to forgo PTA meetings, Mass every Sunday morning, school functions and all those other establishment type commitments. So we just dressed like hippies. Mr. Nani let his hair grow and I wore those long pretty flowing skirts and a fuschia zinnia tucked behind one ear


Thanks for putting a smile on my face on this long, wet day.

Posted by: TBG | June 27, 2006 10:35 AM | Report abuse

TBG, is that a Cat in the Hat reference?

"Too wet to go out and too cold to play ball
So we sat in the house, we did nothing at all."

Too bad they didn't have the internet, eh?

Posted by: kbertocci | June 27, 2006 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Alert. Alert. There is a new kit, titled: "Rainey Day People." It is possibly inspired by TBG. Just kidding. Please proceed carefully to the next Kit. Hold hands. Speak softly. Play fair.

Posted by: CowTown | June 27, 2006 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Ahem, and yes, I do know how to spell "rainy." Thank you.

Posted by: CowTown | June 27, 2006 11:47 AM | Report abuse

My favorite Shakespeare is Malvolio in Twelfth Night trying to ascertain the author of a note by the handwriting. "There is her C, U, and her T, thus makes she her great P's.
In todays fundamentalist theocracy you can spot the mullahs with a good old fashioned God Damn, preferably with "to hell" tacked on. I also like f***in as Christ's middle name. Watch the hair on the back of their neck. Cursing is an art, not punctuation.

Posted by: raoulhubris | July 6, 2006 10:10 PM | Report abuse

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