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15 books of graphic columns
15 books of graphic columns


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#comics #webcomics #fun #english

Word Origins Comics: It’s Hip to Be Square

Enough about oddballs and out of the box activity. Let’s hear it for the ordinary folk, their humble origins, and their impact on the language….

“Hip to Be Square” is a song by Huey Louis and the News, sung from the perspective of a once free-spirited hippie of the 1960’s who has now embraced the “square” yuppie lifestyle of the 80’s.

Anyone out there remember the hippies? You can find them here.

I used to be a renegade, I used to fool around
But I couldn’t take the punishment and had to settle down
Now I’m playing it real straight, and yes, I cut my hair
You might think I’m crazy, but I don’t even care
Because I can tell what’s going on

It’s hip to be square
It’s hip to be square

I like my bands in business suits, I watch them on TV
I’m working out most every day and watching what I eat
They tell me that it’s good for me, but I don’t even care
I know that it’s crazy
I know that it’s nowhere
But there is no denying that

It’s hip to be square
It’s hip to be square
It’s hip to be square
So hip to be square

It’s not too hard to figure out, you see it every day
And those that were the farthest out have gone the other way
You see them on the freeway, it don’t look like a lot of fun
But don’t you try to fight it, an idea whose time has come

Don’t tell me that I’m crazy
Don’t tell me I’m nowhere
Take it from me
It’s hip to be square
It’s hip to be square
It’s hip to be square
So hip to be square

Tell ‘em, boys
Here, there, and everywhere
Hip, hip, so hip to be a square
Here, there, and everywhere
Hip, hip
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#fun #etymoloy

On August 1, 1941, Parade magazine touted the arrival of ‘the army’s most intriguing new gadget.” Its official name was a “one and a quarter ton four-by-four command reconnaissance car.” We would come to know and love it as the jeep.

Whence came the “jeep?” Some say it’s merely the “G.P.” for “general purpose vehicle,” though it was never referred to as such. Others point to the Popeye cartoon strip by E.C. Segar and a weird little animal of that name possessed of supernatural powers who ran around squealing “jeep!…jeep!…jeep!”

In truth the jeep wasn’t much of a vehicle. Awkward to maneuver, constantly leaking oil, it only rarely was able to run continuously for more than four hours.

Nonetheless, it captured the imagination and the affection of both the military and the public at large. General Eisenhower said we couldn’t have won World War II without it.

Never again would we would think of cars the same way. The jeep begot an entire line of SUVS, UTES, Wranglers, Explorers, Broncos, and Hummers. Nothing any longer stands in our way. Across the mountains. The far side of the mall. Through the snow drifts. To Little League practice. Waiting the next adventure. The next challenge.

Jeep!… jeep!… jeep!
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Word Origin Comics: Does Being on the Dole Make You Indolent?
#etymology #webcomics #comics #funnywords #wordstoliveby
Using a comic book format, the story of word origins and their relationship to contemporary and personal issues, students can gain a new understanding of the power of words and how best to use them, while expanding their vocabulary.
“I like the word ‘indolence’. It makes my laziness seem classy.”
—— Bernard Williams”
“Mam says she’d like to have a nice Christmas dinner but what can you do when the Labour Exchange reduces the dole to sixteen shillings after Oliver and Eugene died? You pay the rent of six shillings, you have ten shillings left, and what use is that to four people?”
—— Frank McCourt (Angela’s Ashes)
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Word and Phrase Origins:  Finger This

Who knows when the fickle finger of fate may beckon you to stardom? So began the popular segment of Rowan and Martin’s “Laugh-In” (1968-73) — offering that award to the winner of a mock talent contest.
Fingering also has its negative side. Who of us hasn’t  suffered the ignominy of being f****d by the fickle finger of fate (1940s) — a favorite expression of the Canadian Armed forces for an unpredictable and particularly injurious event?
It was Shakespeare who first pointed the finger at another in Othello —  “To make me the fixed figure for the time of Scorne to point his slow, and moving finger at.” Though blame has been at our fingertips only since the second half of the19th century.
Helping further asseess blame, were fingerprints, first put into use by law enforcement agencies on October 10, 1904, assisting us in fingering the guilty party.
None of this is to be confused with giving the finger to someone, the meaning of which is universal — though from 1890-1920, it meant  simply “to disappoint or snub someone.”
A popular expression of discontent on our nation’s highways, the gesture goes back to Ancient Rome where charioteers passed each other while offering the digitus impudicus. 
  #etymology #englishlanguage #wordsofwisdom  
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Yum Yum, Desserts
#funnypictures #funnystuff #etymology #englishlanguage

Two of the more prominent personalities to have graced our criminal justice system were O.J. Simpson, football star and celebrity extraordinaire, and Louise Woodward, the notorious au pair.
In each instance, prosecutors thought the case a piece of cake. Defense lawyers dreamt of a pie-in the-sky vindication. Though the verdicts are finally in, the question remains. Did the two receive their just deserts?
Hey, we’re not just talking chocolate mousse here. We set the table once with the French servir. After having completed our meal, we cleared it with desservir, giving us our desserts, which first  referred to the fruits and nuts placed on the table after all else had been removed.
Whether you merited them or not is irrelevant. Your just deserts derive instead from an entirely different source — from the Old French deservir, “to serve well”—  making you truly deserving.
Another matter altogether is the French désert, déserter, from the Latin, déserer, desert-, “to abandon.”
If you think our criminal justice system is a vast wasteland of sorts, i.e. a desert — it’s sure to leave you with good reason for feeling deserted.
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Word Origin Comics: Sweet Charity Gone Sour
#comics #webcomics #new
Using a comic book format, the story of word origins and their relationship to contemporary and personal issues. students can gain a new understanding of the power of words and how best to use them, while expanding their vocabulary.
“Love is not patronizing and charity isn’t about pity, it is about love. Charity and love are the same — with charity you give love, so don’t just give money but reach out your hand instead.”
― Mother Teresa
“A bone to the dog is not charity. Charity is the bone shared with the dog, when you are just as hungry as the dog.”
― Jack London
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Word and Phrase Origins: Sing a Little Song for Me
#englishlanguage #fun #etymology #wordscrush

Stool pigeons who sing like canaries are pure music to the ears of the criminal justice system.
But, alas, there’s nary a passenger pigeon among them. Once numbering in the billions, they’re now extinct, done in by cruel 19th century fowlers who hunted them for sport.
Their favorite method was to tie decoy birds by a long string to a stool. Moving the string up and down, they would then lure their prey within range of their weapons. The decoy bird was of course our very first stool-pigeon — though a good case can also be made for its roots from the Old English stale, “a living bird used to catch others of the same species.”
No surprise then to see the stool pigeon enter the ranks of law enforcement around 1830, as slang for a “criminal decoy.” Influenced by the term “carrier pigeon,” an earlier designation for an informer, the stool pigeon soon evolved into “one who snitched to the police” (c.1898).
Police soon had a chorus of informers on their hands when these birds started singing as a way of incriminating themselves and others.
But why does the stool pigeon sing like a canary?  Because pigeons don’t sing very well. That’s why.
And on that note…Tweet that.
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Word and Phrase Origins by #Larry Paros:  Shyster Lawyers

Looking for legal assistance? Look no further.  We turn to attorneys in times of need, derived as they are from the French à, “to” and tourner, “to turn” — enabling them “to act on behalf of another.”
Somehow along the way, however, they got detoured, literally “turned away from” their mission. Take the Philadelphia lawyer (18thC.), a “clever practitioner of the law.” Please.
The term originated with Alexander Hamilton who in 1735, while attorney general of Philadelphia, secured the acquittal of  publisher, John Peter Zenger, on charges of criminal libel, thereby establishing the principle of freedom of the press and  himself and  his city as all that is good about the profession.
It’s been downhill ever since. When lawyers gathered together in Saratoga New York on August 8, 1878 to form the American Bar Association, its initial membership included mouthpieces (1857),  from their most prominent asset and shysters (1834) from the German scheise, “s**t.” In 1897, they added ambulance chasers.
No accident, that when we call someone a Philadelphia lawyer today, we’re referring to one who knows the law and how to manipulate it. Not to despair however. As Ben Franklin noted, “God works wonders now and then/ Behold a lawyer, an honest man.”
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Word Origin Comics: Not Until Debt Do We Part
#comics #webcomics #learning #teaching #englishlanguage
“Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pound ought and six, result misery.”
― Charles Dickens, David Copperfield
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