End of ADS-L Digest - 31 Jan 1997 to 1 Feb 1997 *********************************************** There is one message totalling 172 lines in this issue. Topics of the day: 1. Herb Caen; Slang for a Saturday ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Sun, 2 Feb 1997 00:09:47 -0500 From: "Barry A. Popik" Subject: Herb Caen; Slang for a Saturday HERB CAEN: Herb Caen ("Mr. San Francisco") died yesterday. He coined the word "beatnik." Two years ago, I visited San Francisco and I wrote to Mr. Caen about the title of his column, "Baghdad-by-the-Bay." He did indeed get it from O. Henry's New York, which was "Baghdad-on-the-Subway." I also asked if he knew of Audrey Munson, San Francisco's World's Fair girl in 1915 who modeled for many famous Manhattan statues. Caen wrote back. When no one in New York City would write back to me--even with SASEs!--a man of his age and stature wrote back. I mentioned this to a friend who was from San Francisco. "That's because Herb Caen is a Mensch," my friend said. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ -------------------------------------------- SLANG FOR A SATURDAY Someone wants the "Big Easy." I have an RHDAS antedate, but I have to look through four years of stuff! (last trip--Feb. 1993) "Big Easy" dates from the late 1960s. In the meantime, here's a neglected article on slang that deserves reprinting. The Evening Telegram (NYC), 9 December 1874, pg. 1, col. 1. (the first paragraph items will be given separate lines): ENGLISH SLANG THE ASTOUNDING PREVALENCE OF SLANG PHRASES IN OUR EVERY DAY SPEECH. An Account of Some of Them in Local Use--Their Convenient and Abominable Features--How They Originated and How They Have Been Perpetuated. Then they would talk-- Good God, how they would talk! Let us present a few specimens: "What does Old Probabilities say?" "Cheese it," "Tumble to a racket," "You know how it is yourself," "Bully boy with a glass eye," "Oh yes, I've been there," "That's the worst I ever heard," "That's what I told him," "What are you going to do about it?" "Put a head on him," "Is that your little game?" "You old duffer," "What a cheek," "Give us a rest," "That's what's the matter," "Let's take a smile," "Where's Tom Collins?" "Gone where the woodbine twineth," "Like a Philadelphia lawyer," "He'd skin your very teeth," "He's no chicken," "He doesn't scare worth a cent," "There's a nigger in the fence," "Go for him," "Mind your eye," "George, I'll strike you like a real man," "George, I'll hit you with a feather," "Over the river (_au revoir_), George," "That's what my wife said," "There's music in the air," "Big Six," "He's got the stamps," "Red hot," "Go West, young man, go West," "Rip, slap, set him up again," "How is that for high?" "It's a put up job," "Ko-rect," "He did his level best," "Loafing around the throne," "You're a nice young man," "You're too fresh," "You're altogether too new," "It's all the go," "Show me your man," "There's too many frills about him," "What a sport," "He knows what's what," "It's all O.K.," "Keep a stiff upper lip," "It won't wash," "Maniac water," "You lie, villain, you know you lie," "You lie for British gold," "Step up to the captain's office," "He's naughty, but he's nice," "I smell a mice," "He's so high toned," "Go it lemons," "Put a Mansard roof on him," "Don't put on an agony," "Whip the coon around the stump," "What's your hand?" "High, low, Jack and the game," "Go it blind," "My gay and festive cuss," (Artemus Ward) "Knee high to a grasshopper," "I think he's perfectly charming," (with marked accent on the charm, a young ladies' phrase) "Paddle your own canoe," "A big thing on ice," "Two can play at that game," "Like Muldoon, he is a solid man," "Willie, have you had your morning bounce?" "Ann, going for a walk?" "Oh, George, he is a charmer, oh," "Got a brick in his hat," "A nobby youth," "He's dressed to kill," "The bloated bondholder," "I'm in the same boat," "We'll take a whack at it," "Simmer down," "You've dropped something (?)," "On the fly," "Don't give it away," "Shoot that hat," "That's all gammon," "Do you see any green in my eye?" "Go it while you're young," "He'll laugh the other side of his mouth," "Have you seen the elephant?" "Cut his tail off behind his ears," "Schware off," (Jefferson's "Rip Van Winkle") "Draw it mild," "It's no go," "When the soup house moves away," "Go 'way, I'm a bad man," "Put me in my little bed," "That's too thin," "Oh, Keizer, don't you want to buy a dog?" "I should smile if you didn't," "How does the land lay?" "You can't most always sometimes generally tell," "Why is this thus?" "We'll shake hands across the bloody chasm,"--Greeley (a phrase which afforded a good opportunity during the last political and Presidential campaign for the "small fry" politicans to "let off" their superfluous powder) "He slings a nasty pen," "Dead to rights," "Bring him to his oats," "Give him away," "His little bill," "Hang it up," "Lay him out," (a murderous phrase in use among the "Battle Row Gang") "Keep cool," "Used up," "Quite some," (Western colloq) "Oh, let it slide," "Soft soap" or "Sawder" (Sam Slick's favorite expression) "Shine 'em up" or "Want a shine?" The foregoing expressions are heard every day wherever the English tongue is spoken or written. They are used by that shrewd observer of human nature, its weakness and foibles--the street gamin, including the newsboy and bootblack, the nattily dressed clerk, the fair and pretty school girl; while even the banker, the broker and elegant professional gentleman employ them because they are pithy and to the point, and come to the "mind's eye" when more elegant and correct English fails to "come to time" at the critical moment. (...)