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Posts Tagged ‘Daytona Beach Morning Journal’

Raining Cats And Dogs

Posted by Admin on July 31, 2013

If it’s raining cats and dogs, there’s no need to worry. The idiom refers to a heavy downpour that doesn’t look like it will let up any time in the near future.  Just make sure to take an umbrella with you and to dress warmly to guard against the cutting wind.

The phrase is popular, and it’s found in all sorts of expected — and unexpected — places. In fact, on the Benton County website in Philomath, Oregon there just happened to be a juried art exhibition happening from June 21 to July 27, 2013 at the Benton County Museum. You’ll never guess the name of the exhibition … or may you will. Yes, it was dubbed “Raining Cats And Dogs.”

On Christmas Eve day (December 24) of 1959, the Daytona Beach Morning Journal carried a quick story out of San Marino, California. It was an odd little story about residents being pelted by pelts. The investigating officer spoke with the reporter who wrote:

Officer Martin Boyle said he heard of it raining cats and dogs — but never Persian lamb and muskrat pelts. The furs, packaged in sacks, fell in a three block area.

The Pittsburg Press edition of May 4, 1930 discussed the documented incidents of all sorts of objects falling from the skies during unusually heavy rainfalls. Among the items listed were: lichens, leaves, hay, toads, frogs, fish, mussels, oranges, pebbles, and in one case in Charleston (SC) a 2-foot long alligator! The title of the article was, of course, “Raining Cats And Dogs.”

And the New York Times published an article on October 25, 1890 about a local mayoralty candidate by the name of Mr. Scott who appeared at a number of locations one rainy evening to shake hands with voters and greet large and enthusiastic audiences waiting to catch a glimpse of him. He charmed audiences everywhere he went with his story of having been a hard-working man all his life, and promising to continue with that work ethic if New Yorkers saw fit to elect him Mayor. The article began with this paragraph:

Although Old Improbabilities at Washington promised to coax the stars into view last night, the shades of the late Mr. Tweed must have pulled the string behind his back, so that when the people’s candidate for Mayor got ready to sally forth it was raining cats and dogs. Nothing daunted, Mr. Scott put on his cork-soled shoes and his long mackintosh and jumped into his carriage between the drops.

Going back in time to the previous century, the “Complete Collection of Genteel and Ingenious Conversation” by Irish author, clergyman and satirist Jonathan Swift (30 November 1667 – 19 October 1745) was published in London through the agency of Mary Barber as well as in Dublin by George Faulkner in 1738.

Come, Sir John, I foresee it will rain terribly. Lady Smart. Come, Sir John, do nothing rashly; let us drink first Lord Sparkish. I know Sir John will go, though he was sure it would rain cats and dogs. But pray, stay, Sir Sir John.

When English dramatist Richard Brome (1590 – 1643) wrote “The City Wit, or, The Woman Wears The Breeches: A Comedy” in 1629 (it was later revised in 1647 and printed in 1653), an earlier version of the idiom appeared in Act IIII, Scene I. In this scene, Sarpego (identified as a Pedant) says this:

From henceforth Erit Fluvius Deucalionis
The world ſhall flow with dunces; Regnabitque, and it
ſhall raine
Dogmata Polla Sophon, Dogs and Polecats, and fo forth.

Now polecats aren’t really cats at all. They’re actually more closely related to weasels and ferrets than to cats, however, the idiom “it’s raining cats and dogs” can easily be seen in stating “it shall rain dogs and polecats.”

But even before Richard Brome’s play, there was a saying used by sailors to describe particularly lively cats, and that was to say: The cat has a gale of wind in her tail.  But most telling of all is that Norse mythology put forth that cats represented the wind and dogs represented the rain, and so when a storm had both wind and rain together, it was figuratively cats and dogs.

This means that the idiom proper dates back to 1629, but the concept has its roots in Norse mythology which goes back long before the 17th Century, long before the 10th Century, long before the days of the Roman Empire.  In other words, it’s way back there in time.

Posted in Idioms from the 17th Century, Mythology, Norse | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Far Out

Posted by Admin on June 13, 2011

The expression far out refers to something of a positive nature that’s avant-garde or bizarre.  Originally it was a slang term for daringly creative jazz and eventually it was applied to other art forms and, finally, anything in life that was seen as being unconventional, somewhat eccentric and probably nonconformist.

Back on March 15, 1985 the Spokesman Review newspaper ran an article entitled, “Budget Panel Shuns Those Far Out Ideas.”  The Associated Press story stated in part:

Sell the Grand Canyon? Abolish the Marine Corps? Balance the budget on the backs of America’s waitresses?  The Senate Budget Committee summarily brushed these disease aside, but some lawmakers say parts of the panel’s new 1986 federal budget stand about as dubious a chance of eventual passage.

On February 28, 1961 the Daytona Beach Morning Journal ran a news story entitled, “It’s Gigantic, Man, Like Far Out.”  The first paragraph read:

American jazz virtuosos allowed yesterday that those hot notes breaking out in Russia could do a lot to warm up international understanding.  It  might, they said, mellow the communist mood.  “Why man, you can’t even think about being made with that music going through you,” drawled bop trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie.  “It engulfs you.  You forget all about trouble.”

On August 18, 1958 the Daytona Beach Morning Journal ran another bit, this time In Dorothy Kilgallen’s column, “The Voice of Broadway.”  On tidbit was this one:

Residents of Southampton are apt to raise eyebrows over this one:  Birdland is about to name its “bleacher section” — where the far out aficionados sit and listen to the jazz for just the price of admission — and the new tag will be “The Duke Box.”  Actually it’s for Duke Ellington but since it’s the same as a rather well-known high society get-up on Angier Biddle Duke’s Southampton estate (a couple of elegant barns which he’s converted as a guesthouse for blue blooded chums) the management of Birdland is inviting Duke and an assortment of his regular guests — Serge Obolensky, Jay Rutherfurd, Dmitri Djordjadze and Jacques Frey — to attend the Maynard Ferguson opening August 26.

Even Time magazine used the term far out in an article entitled “Far Out Words For Cats” in their November 08, 1954 issue.  The article reported in part:

U.S. colloquialisms evolve slowly.  “Jag,” tops,” “dude” stayed around for decades before they began to lose their freshness.  But jazz lingo becomes obsolescent almost as fast as it reaches the public ear.  A term of high approbation in the swing era was “out of this world,” in the bop era it was “gone,” and today it is “the greatest” or “the end.”  Similarly, a daring performance was “hot,” then “cool,” and now is “far out.” 

Idiomation was unable to find an earlier published version of the expression far out and it is reasonable, based on the aforementioned information, to assume the term is from the early 1950s.

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