Historically Speaking

Making sense of it all!

Posts Tagged ‘1976’

Make No Bones About It

Posted by Admin on March 6, 2012

When someone says they make no bones about what they’re about to say, what they’re trying to convey is that they are going to plainly state how they think or feel on a subject even though it might embarrass or offend others.  In other words, the speaker is about to be forthright and candid while giving his or her opinion to the audience at large.

The Rock Hill Herald ran a story on July 28, 1976 about Lawrence Paros of Providence, Rhode Island and author of the book “The Great American Cliché.”  He had moved to Rhode Island in 1971 to direct a federal learning program for high school students, however, he grew tired of what he referred to as working within the system, quit and began collecting clichés that became the basis of his book filled with 50,000 entries.  The newspaper article was entitled: 

Make No Bones About It, He’s The King Of Clichés

Back on June 16, 1902, the New York Times published an article dealing with the beet sugar Senators, the United States government’s Reciprocity bill and a rebate of between twenty and fifty percent.  In the end, the government would not yield to the Senators’ demands and the newspaper reported that one Senator stated the following:

“It threatens beet sugar men with ostracism if we do not abandon the plan of Cuban relief to which he told us time and time again he would make no objection.  Even now, in spite of his message, there’s no doubt in my mind that he’d sign a rebate bill and make no bones about it.”

In Part II: Chapter VIII of the book “The Idiot” written by Fyodor Dostoyevsky (11 November 1821 – 9 February 1881) which was published as a serial in The Russian Messenger in 1868 and 1869 – and translated by Frederick Whishaw for publication in 1887, the author wrote:

“As to the article,” said Hippolyte in his croaking voice, “I have told you already that we none of us approve of it! There is the writer,” he added, pointing to the boxer, who sat beside him. “I quite admit that he has written it in his old regimental manner, with an equal disregard for style and decency. I know he is a cross between a fool and an adventurer; I make no bones about telling him so to his face every day. But after all he is half justified; publicity is the lawful right of every man; consequently, Burdovsky is not excepted. Let him answer for his own blunders. As to the objection which I made just now in the name of all, to the presence of your friends, I think I ought to explain, gentlemen, that I only did so to assert our rights, though we really wished to have witnesses; we had agreed unanimously upon the point before we came in. We do not care who your witnesses may be, or whether they are your friends or not. As they cannot fail to recognize Burdovsky’s right (seeing that it is mathematically demonstrable), it is just as well that the witnesses should be your friends. The truth will only be more plainly evident.”

The expression hasn’t been used as often as one might think, however in the book “Paraphrase Of Luke” by Desiderius Erasmus and translated into English by Nicholas in 1548, the command given to Abraham with regards to sacrificing his son, Isaac, is given as:

He made no bones about it but went to offer up his son.

Going back almost another 100 years, the Paston Letters reveal that a version of the expression was used in a letter written in 1459.   For those who may not know about the Paston Letters, it is a collection of letters and papers, consisting correspondence from members, friends and acquaintances of the Paston family, written between 1422 and 1509.  In 1459, a dispute arose between Paston and Sir John Fastolf’s family.  When the verdict in the case was rendered with no objection from either side, Paston wrote:

And fond that tyme no bonys in the matere.
Translation:  and found that time no bones in the matter

This is a significant passage since the expression during the 1400s was that people were making bones about things which indicated that people were raising a fuss over things.  There’s some discussion that the original expression relates to soups with bones in them, with implication being that soups with bones in them were unpleasant to swallow.

In any case, the fact that the expression was already in common usage, having found a place in Paston’s letter of 1459, indicates that the expression is most likely from at least two generations before it was used. This puts the saying to at least 1400.

Posted in Idioms from the 15th Century | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Mouse Potato

Posted by Admin on April 11, 2011

ArwBlu3d This entry was mentioned in an article at Bon Appetit magazine.  Click HERE to read more

ArwBlu3d This entry was mentioned in an article at Enjoy Your Meal website.  Click HERE to read more.

This term “mouse potato” is a hybrid expression that sews together “couch potato” and “computer mouse.”

For those who aren’t in the loop, a couch potato springs forth under certain conditions, those conditions being the presence of a couch, at least one bag of potato chips, and a television that seems to have no “off” button. In recent years, couch potatoes have evolved and now Internet communities are seeing the emergence of a new being known as the “mouse potato.”

The Bahrain Gulf Daily News published an article on April 13, 2011, written by B. Comber entitled “Recycling of Used Words.”  In his news story, he wrote:

No longer can we refer to anyone with literary or bookish pretensions as ‘booksy’, nor can we use the term ‘mouse potato’ for someone who wastes a lot of time on the computer. ‘Cheque cards’ and ‘cassette decks’ have been left behind by the rapid growth of technology, while for some reason OUP will no longer allow us to roast a chicken in a ‘chicken brick’.  I suppose we are meant to use a turducken brick instead, in these enlightened engastricated days.

On August 2, 2006 Nestor E. Arellano wrote an article for IT World Canada entitled, “Heavy Net Users Log Off From Family, Friends, Says StatsCan.”  He reported in part:

Behold the mouse potato — heavy Internet users who spend hours on end in front of the computer tapping and scrolling away their time for no apparent financial reward. Statistics Canada tracked the nature and habits of this creature last year and their findings reveal that people who spend time on the Internet for more than an hour each day are logging off from their spouses or partners as well as their children and friends.

And back on May 8, 2001, Carol Braham, one a number of senior editor at Random House, was quoted in a story by freelance writer, Jacqueline Rivkin for Long Island Newsday.  In the article which dealt with the latest updates in the 2001 edition of the Random House Webster’s College Dictionary, Ms. Braham stated that more than 300 new words and meanings had been added to the modern dictionary, including slang.  It read in part:

Some words which made it into the dictionary: gaydar (the ability to recognize that another person is gay), my bad (my fault), mouse potato (a person who spends much leisure time at a computer), senior moment (a lapse or moment of confusion) and 24/7 (an abbreviation for 24 hours a day seven days a week.)

Back on December 31, 1995 the Associated Press ran a story entitled, “New Words Change Our Conversations and Our Dictionaries.”  It began by stating:

Among this year’s new or newly prominent words and phrases are World Wide Web, the portion of the Internet where computers users call up information; “mouse potato,” a person hooked on computers; and “nastygram,” an unwelcome message on the Internet.

Almost 2 years before that, on March 4, 1994 James Fussell, staff writer for the Kansas City Star newspaper wrote an article entitled, “Talk Nerdy To Me: Computer Jargon Moves From Savvy Online Users To Everyday Language.”  The article began with:

For most people, especially those of you too computer illiterate to page your sysop, the idea of “meeting Ed” probably doesn’t sound all that bad.  It all depends on whether Ed is your kind of guy, right?   There’s just one problem. Ed isn’t a guy. Ed’s not even human. And frankly, you really don’t want to meet Ed, although you probably have hundreds of times.

Don’t go postal on us. You’re probably just a clueless newbie. Go hang around a mouse potato and see if you can get him to geek out and do a brain dump. The seeming drivel you are reading actually is just a new way to communicate It is the jargon of the truly computer literate.

The expression “couch potato” — the mouse potato predecessor — dates back to 1976, according to the trademark registration.  Tom Iacino of Pasadena pictured where a potato might sit if it was watching television, and came up with the term “couch potato.”  Once the expression was registered, Tom Iacino‘s  friend Bob Armstrong drew a cartoon of a potato on a couch and made money selling couch potato T-shirts, books and newsletters.

Posted in Idioms from the 20th Century | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »