Date: Tue, 24 Sep 1996 18:58:06 -0500
From: Mark Mandel Mark[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]DRAGONSYS.COM
Subject: Re: Chinese Fire Drill -Reply
I didn't know about the "prank" meaning, just the "scene of great
I've always thought that "Chinese" in this referred to incomprehensibility
and differentness, as in
Chinese checkers -- played with single moves and jumps, like
"ordinary" checkers, but on a star-shaped, hexagonal grid (not a square
one) and by up to six players (not just 2)
Chinese counting -- children's name for various series of
counting-out words, of the same type as "eenie, meenie, minie, moe"
Chinesed type (sic: the verb is "to Chinese") -- ordinary printed
English text, turned upside-down (rotated 180 degrees on the page) to
provide blocks of pseudo-text that look like text in overall impression;
used for mockups of ads, presentations, and so on.
A sidelight: In her Chanur trilogy, the sf author C.J.Cherryh invents an
alien race called chi: methane-breathers whose thought processes and
behavior (including fast, chaotic, nonlinear locomotion) are
incomprehensible to oxygen-breathers like us, but who nevertheless are
one of seven species engaged in trade on the space station Meetpoint.
At one point a character likens a confused scene to "chi in a fire drill". I
read it, read on... halt. Double-take. WHAT was that? Auughhhh!
Mark A. Mandel : mark[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]dragonsys.com
Dragon Systems, Inc. : speech recognition : +1 617 965-5200
320 Nevada St., Newton, MA 02160, USA : http://www.dragonsys.com/