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Posts Tagged ‘Rome News Tribune’

Whippersnapper

Posted by Admin on July 16, 2015

A whippersnapper is an inexperienced person who is irritatingly overconfident with his or her abilities, sometimes to the point of being offensive.  Yes, whippersnappers usually act as if they’re very important and believe themselves to know better than their elders. What’s more, they’re usually impolite and brazen, lazy, and lack motivation.

Even though the death knell was sounded for the term whippersnapper back in newspaper columns of the 1960s, the word cropped up in an article by Gary Borders entitled, “Modern Billingsgate Betrays Puerile Imbecility Of Pundits” which was published in the Rome News-Tribune on March 4, 2006. The article took on the subject of television news programs that features guests and hosts yelling angrily with each other instead of discussing matters in a logical fashion with facts to back up their opinions.

In his article, he wrote about the elderly Presbyterian minister, the Reverend James Russell (died 10 August 1847) who was the last editor of the Red Lander newspaper in San Augustine, Texas.

Russell had been running the newspaper for about a year when a young whippersnapper started a competing weekly, The Shield. Henry Kendall, who had a bad habit of stealing Russell’s hired help, owned the paper. His editor moonlighted as president of the other university in town, started by the Methodists. San Augustine could support neither two newspapers nor two universities.

The Reverend James Russell began to print some nasty comments in his editorials with increasing intensity. He was responsible for some of the insults that we still hear thrown about in the media today: right-wing, liberal, secularist, and religious right.

INTERESTING SIDE NOTE 1: When the Reverend James Russell used his newspaper to state that Henry Kendall’s mother was a “woman of easy virtue” and his father was a liar and a murderer, Henry Kendall was incensed at the audacity the Reverend had to publish such insults. Ten days after the insults were printed in the Reverend’s newspaper, Henry Kendall shot him dead as the Reverend walked out of his office. The killing was noted as the first editorial killing in Texas.

In the Milwaukee Journal edition of June 28, 1967, even journalist Robert W. Wells lamented the demise of the term in his column, “All Is Wells.” In the column published that day he decried the fact that the literary pendulum had swung in favor of one syllable nouns and verbs drawn from graffiti of the day. With regards to whippersnapper, he wrote:

Thirty years earlier, on May 30, 1937, the St. Petersburg Times published O.O. McIntyre’s regular column, “Whip Snaps Of A Whippersnapper” where O.O. McIntyre reflected on a number of things. He wrote about the “best darned quartet you ever heard – there’s five of them.” He wrote about a woman’s model husband who “doesn’t drink, smoke or run after woman – just sorta stupid.” He wrote about how many residents in France were against the reduced utopian 40-hour work week that left people with too much time on their hands to do nothing. And that’s just some of what O.O. McIntyre wrote in his column of May 30, 1937.

There was an era when some crusty character — the heroine’s father, usually — could be relied on to open every discussion of juvenile delinquency by shouting: “You young whippersnapper!”

This confrontation between youth and age made for tense drama, but it has been abandoned. The whippersnapper is apparently as extinct as the New Zealand moa.

Whippersnapper was a favorite expression of English novelist, journalist, editor and educationalist George Manville Fenn (3 January 1831 – 26 August 1909) and appeared in many of his novels. It was also a favorite expression of influential poet, critic and editor William Ernest Henley (23 August 1849 – 11 July 1903). And it was a favorite expression of English popular novelist, Mary Elizabeth Braddon (4 October 1835 – 4 February 1915), author of her sensation novel “Lady Audley’s Secret” published in 1862.

In the third volume of the Association Medical Journal of 1855 edited by Dr. John Rose Cormack, M.D. and published by the Provincial Medical and Surgical Association of London (England) the expression was used in the article, “Medical Practice Among The Poor.” It had originally been published in “Household Words” on October 21, 1854.

There are the young men entitled whippersnappers; to whom the poor are said by Messieurs Souchong, Sirloin, and Wick, to be shamefully and neglectfully handed over. Mr. Souchong, Sirloin, and their friends refuse on their own parts to take counsel of a whippersnapper; so do their betters with considerable unanimity. They wait until he has more experience; that is to say, until he has tried his prentice hand sufficiently among the poor. He would be happy enough to attend viscounts and bankers; but he is bidden by society to try his hand first among beggars.

Going back to 1742, English author and magistrate Henry Fielding (22 April 1707 – 8 October 1754) wrote, “The History of the Adventures of Joseph Andrews and of his Friend Mr. Abraham Adams” which included whippersnapper in his book.  The book is written in comic prose, and tells the story of the absent-minded parson Abraham Adams and his foot man, Joseph Andrews as they travel home from London.

“What dost thou think of Ms. Andrews?”

“Why, I think,” says Slipslop, “he is the handsomest, most properest man I ever saw; and if I was a lady of the greatest degree, it would be well for some folks. Your ladyship may talk of customs, if you please; but I am confidous there is no more comparison between young Mr. Andrews, and most of the young gentlemen who come to your ladyship’s house in London – a parcel of whippersnapper sparks; I would sooner marry our old parson Adams. Never tell me what people say, whilst I am happy in the arms of him I love. Some folks rail against other folks because other folks have what some folks would be glad of.”

INTERESTING SIDE NOTE 2: Henry Fielding, along with his half-brother, Sir John Fielding (16 September 1721 – 4 September 1780) who was also a magistrate as well as a social reformer, founded London’s first police force.

INTERESTING SIDE NOTE 3: British author, Sarah Fielding (8 November 1710 – 9 April 1768) was Henry Fielding’s sister. She wrote “The Little Female Academy” which is considered the first novel in English written especially for children.

In the 1600s, whipperginnie was a derogatory term for a woman, and snippersnapper was a derogatory term for a man.

It’s most likely that people blended whipperginnie and snippersnapper together during the mid-1600s and the new word was whippersnapper. It would make sense since the definition for whipperginnie (female) and snippersnapper (male) are the same, and both whipperginnie and snippersnapper share an identical definition with whippersnapper.  By the time Henry Fielding was using the word in his novel of 1742, the word was recognized among the general population which means that it was established in the English language as being a legitimate word with a recognized definition.

Idiomation therefore pegs whippersnapper to the late 1600s in light of these facts.

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

Jack Canuck

Posted by Admin on May 26, 2015

When you hear tell of Jack Canuck, it’s important to realize that he’s not a real person but rather the Canadian counterpart to America’s Uncle Sam.  Yes, Jack Canuck means a Canadian.  Of course, that’s not to mean that there aren’t some Jack Canucks who were named Jack Canuck at birth because there are, but for the most part, Jack Canuck refers to a Canadian.

In the Rome News-Tribune edition of July 22, 1969 the question as to the whereabouts of Jack Canuck was put to readers.   The short news bite was quick to point out that Uncle Sam had been around long enough to be part of American folklore with his top hat, long coat-tail coat and old codger appearance, and to personify America to the rest of the world.  But it wondered where Jack Canuck had gotten to over the years.

Meanwhile, what has become of Canada’s Jack Canuck?  While Uncle Sam can be crafty looking (particularly in Pravda) and England’s John Bull too fat, Canuck used to be beyond reproach as a trim, youthful, vigorous ranger of the wide, open spaces.

Nearly twenty years earlier, the Ottawa Citizen reprinted a brief article from the Edmonton Journal on December 27, 1952 entitled, “Jack Canuck With Wings.”  It reported that the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) bigwigs and the company manufacturing the new all-Canadian CF-100 jet fighter planes were against having them referred to as Canucks.

Hostility to the name is hard to understand.  For nearly a century, Canuck has been the commonest unofficial designation of Canadians.  How it attained that position is obscure.  Most dictionaries suggest that is was originally an Indian word, applied to French-Canadians and later extended to the whole Canadian people.  However that may be, Canadians are familiarly known as Canucks throughout the English-speaking world, and “Jack Canuck” has become the symbol of Canada, as John Bull is of Britain or Uncle Sam of the United States.

In the August 11, 1945 edition of the Toronto Daily Star, Prime Minister King spoke of the “world-shaking and world-changing events” that had happened the previous week that underscored the urgency for reconstruction after World War II.  The article was titled, “Jack Canuck And Uncle Sam To Wage Peace Side By Side.”

Twenty years before the Toronto Daily Star article, the Carp Review newspaper published an article by Beatrice Plumb on June 11, 1925.  It was all about the Dominion Day celebration coming up on July 1, and was aptly titled, “A Dominion Day Jamboree.”  With regards to sending out invitations, the following was suggested by Beatrice Plumb.

Your invitations may be written on white note paper with a small Union Jack or picture of Jack Canuck stuck to the outside page.  On the left-hand inside page of your invitation write a patriotic verse.  On the opposite page write the necessary directions, such as place, time and special events of picnic.

In the next paragraph, Beatrice Plumb continued with this wonderful suggestion.

Coax some dependable man to dress up like Jack Canuck and be master of ceremonies.  Now you are read to plan the program.

Now back in 1915, there was a magazine published titled, “Jack Canuck” and was considered a daring magazine in its time.  It carried articles that reflected on how everyday people saw things and spoke about them, and was said to prod Canadian politicians mercilessly.  The magazine is also said to have been responsible for shaping and framing voters’ ideas with regards to the members of parliament and what they were up to once elected.

The idiom was used in cartoons as well.  Jack Canuck was in a cartoon published by the Toronto World newspaper on January 26, 1916 where he said, “It’s up to us, boys, honest Canadian khaki now — or the Hun’s dirty livery later.”

January 1916
And Jack Canuck was in a cartoon published in the Daily Mail And Empire newspaper on January 13, 1898 where Jack Canuck asks Sir Wilfrid Laurier, “Wouldn’t it be a good idea for us to refine our own metal?” to which Sir Wilfrid responds, “A good thing for Canada, no doubt, but think how discourteous it would be to our neighbours.”

January 1898
Just because Jack Canuck was used in cartoons and in newspaper articles, should that mean that the term was understood by most people to mean Canadians?  On March 29, 1899 Sir Wilfrid Laurier is said to have stated this in Parliament in the House of Commons.

It’s hard to think that for twenty years I vowed to woo dear Uncle Sam, and then after clothing him in sealskins from our seas, and sprinkling his hair with gold dust from our mines, he should calmly take my clothes and show me empty-handed out.  How shall I present myself at home to Jack Canuck?  I guess I’ll have to tell Jack to thank God I did not lose my hide.

Nearly a generation earlier, in 1877, author Ella Farman — later known as Ella Farman Pratt — wrote and published, “Good-For-Nothing Polly.” Ella Farman (1 November 1837 – 22 May 1907) was an American author who wrote juvenile literature, and was the editor of “Wide Awake” and “Our Little Men And Women” magazines.

When it came to “Good-For-Nothing Polly” the assumption by many is that this is a story about a girl or woman, the fact of the matter is, the main character was known as Polly Witter away from home and at home was known as Willy Potter.  He was from a family of four, and his sister’s name was Pollie.  The term Canuck was used in this book to describe Canadians.

“You get out,” said another of the young Canadians.  “Thet ar’d be jest the capital to start a newspaper. Ye ain’t wantin’ to hire a first-rate reporter now?”

Willy didn’t get mad at the chaffing.

“Never you mind what I’m going to do with the money.  If you’ve got the stamps you can get that knife mighty cheap.  You Canucks don’t see just such a knife as that every day.  That knife cost the old gentleman two dollars — it needn’t cost a fellow here more’n fifty cents.  That purse goes for fifty cents too. Why, the silk cost more’n that.  And them fish-hooks is five cents.”

Since Canada became a country in 1867, one wonders if the term Canuck was used before Confederation.  The answer to that question is yes, as it appeared in Volume 33 of “Harper’s New Monthly Magazine” published in 1866.

The following comes from very near the Canada line, and was perhaps as fearful to the subject of the story as the great Fenian scare was to the Canucks.

In the book “Acadia, or, A Month With The Blue Noses” written by American humorist Frederic Swartwout Cozzens (5 March 1818 – 23 December 1869) who had previously published “Sparrowgrass Papers.”  This books was published in 1859, the term is used in the story with the expectation that readers will know what is meant by its use.

The mail coach was soon at the door of our inn, and after taking leave of my fellow-traveller with the big hat, I engaged a seat on the stage-box beside Jeangros, a French Canadian, or Canuck — one of the best whips on the line.

Interestingly enough, Cozzens use of the word in 1859 to describe a French-Canadian is in keeping with the claim made by the Edmonton Journal nearly a hundred years later in their December 27, 1952 article.

It should be noted that the first official use of Canada when referring to the country that is now known as Canada was in 1791 when it was known as Upper Canada and Lower Canada.  In 1841, Upper and Lower Canada became known as the Province of Canada.

As a side note, in 1535 Jacques Cartier mistook the Huron-Iroquois word kanata (which means settlement) to mean that was the name for the country as a whole.  Maps in 1547 referred to everything north of the St. Lawrence River as Canada.  As explorers and fur traders expanded their territories to the west and south of what already considered to be Canada, much of the American Midwest as far south as present day Louisiana was known as Canada.

All that cool historical information aside, the first reference Idiomation was able to find for Canuck was in Frederic Swartwout Cozzens’s book published in 1859 and the first reference to Jack Canuck was in 1899.  Somewhere between 1859 and 1899, Jack Canuck was understood to mean everyday Canadians.  Idiomation therefore pegs Jack Canuck to sometime after Confederation in 1867.

Posted in Idioms from the 19th Century | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Smart As A Whip

Posted by Admin on April 28, 2015

When someone is said to be smart as a whip, it means that person is able to think and reason logically to a high degree, with a small degree of error in  his or her thinking.  In other words, intellectually speaking, they are blindingly brilliant.

On March 11, 2003 the column by Chip and Jonathan Carter entitled, “Inside The Video Games” reviewed the game “Indiana Jones and the Emperor’s Tomb” for the Rome News-Tribune.  The game was available for Xbox and would be available for the PlayStation2 in May.  The reviewers loved the game, going so far as to say that the “game play is a work of art.”  What’s more, both Chip and Jonathan gave the game an overall rating of A+ for overall awesomeness.  As a sort of play on the fact that Indiana Jones has a penchant for whips, the review was titled, “Smart As A Whip.”

The Telegraph of Nashua, New Hampshire published their “Around The Town” column on March 13, 1965 with the idiom in the article, “Some Old Timers Are Smart As A Whip.”  It set the tone for the piece, and began with this paragraph.

Some of the senior citizens who call at the office to talk about the days of their youth are as smart as a whip and can recall their early days here with much more facility, I have found, than the later generations.  If you can make them feel easy you usually wind up with a fund of information about Nashua, of their time anyway.

The Bend Bulletin newspaper of October 17, 1952 ran an ad for Lester Hou’s Central Oregon Motors in Redmond, Oregon.  The dealership was a Mercury dealership, and they were proud to trumpet the benefits of the Merc-O-Matic drive.  At the time, there were three choices for a transmission on a Mercury:  Standard, Touch-O-Matic Overdrive, and No-Shift Merc-O-Matic Drive.  They blended a second idiom into the advertisement by stating that “whip smart and saddle fancy” was an old Western saying.

The same advertisement for other dealerships were published in other newspapers such as the Spokane Daily Chronicle, the Spokesman-Review, the Ellensburg Daily Record, and other major newspapers in America.  The copy was the same from newspaper to newspaper, and the idiom that was upfront and bolded was “Smart as a whip.”

In the November 30, 1938 edition of the Times Daily, the newspaper ran a photograph of Mrs. Angier Priscilla Duke (the former Priscilla St. George) in black boots, creamy tan whipcord breeches, plaid sports coat, man-tailored shirt, and a foulard tie.  She was a fetching woman, and the photograph was captioned, “Smart As A Whip.”

Priscilla wed Angier Duke (30 November 1915 – 29 April 1995) in Tuxedo Park on January 2, 1937.  He was the son of Angier Buchanan Duke and Cordelia Drexel Biddle of Philadelphia which means that the 21-year-old bridegroom was not only a member of the Duke family but the Biddle family as well.  The Duke family fortune came from the American Tobacco Company that was founded in 1890 by his great-uncle James Buchanan Duke, and the Biddle family fortune was due to banking.

The bride’s father was the grandson of the late George F. Baker Sr. who, upon his death, was hailed as the last great titan of Wall Street, and was known to be the financial genius of First National Bank.  The bride’s mother was a first cousin of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

Their wedding was followed by what the newspapers called “a grand tour, round-the-world honeymoon” that kept them away from New York for eight months.  Unfortunately, she was the first of his four wives, and they divorced in 1939, just two years after they wed.

The 1882 book “Picturesque B. and O.: Historical and Descriptive” by Joseph Gladding Pangborn (9 April 1848 – 17 August 1914) provided an enchanting account of crossing the American countryside by way of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Company trains as they headed out from the Jersey City depot.

The Pangborn family was one that was rich in American history.  Joseph Gladding Pangborn’s father signed up for volunteer service in the Union Army when the Civil War broke out, and was fatally wounded at Forth Ethan Allen in Virginia.  His mother’s family was steeped in American history.  John Gladding had arrived at Newburyport, Plymouth Colony in 1660,and settled in Bristol, Rhode Island where he and his wife, Elizabeth Rogers raised four children.

The American Civil War broke out, and at fourteen years of age, he enlisted with the Union Army as a drummer boy.  He was assigned to the Forty-fourth Regiment New York Infantry.  In 1865, he served in Texas, and in 1866 he returned to his home in Albany, New York.  He became a reporter and worked for the New York Times, the New York Tribune, The Republican (in Chicago), and the Kansas City Times.

By 1876, he had moved on to a new career with the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad, and on May 1, 1880, he joined the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad as a general advertising agent, then moving on to special representative status.

When the book was published, it contained 70 sketches along with the prose. And early in the book, smart as a whip was used.

Young Luap was, in his way, as striking a possession as any in the menagerie, and although the last of the Four to be trotted out, was by no means entitled to such place by reason of characteristics lacking; indeed, he possessed them to such a degree as to almost require an apology for not mentioning him first.  Smart as a whip, but far from as pliable, he comprehended more in a moment than the balance of the quartet could grasp in a week.

In the “Dictionary of the Gaelic Language” by Norman Macleod, the idiom is recorded as smart as a lash and is considered to be a provincial term.

But it’s in the “Recreative Review, or Eccentricities of Literature and Life” in Volume 1 that the connection between being smart and whips is made in an essay that begins on page 336. In the essay published in 1821, a passage talks about the virtues of whipping a boy to improve him.

But the practice is an old one.  Doctor Tempete is mentioned by Rabelais as a celebrated flaggelator of school-boys, in the college of Montaigne, in Paris. Buchanan was wont to tickle his royal disciple, James the First, and joked with the ladies of the court about it.  And, with respect to that of our public schools, it may be of service; for every one must allow it makes a boy smart.

The fact of the matter is that as early as the 17th century the word smart meant both to be strong, quick, and intense in manner and to be painful.  So while a whip might cause pain and smart, someone would be strong, quick, and intense in manner in the same way a whip is strong, quick, and intense.

Idiomation was unable to find an earlier published variation to the idiom than the one in 1821, it is reasonable to believe that the idiom goes back at least to 1800, and most likely much earlier.

Posted in Idioms from the 19th Century | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Brick And Mortar Store

Posted by Admin on April 12, 2013

When you hear someone talk about buying from a brick-and-mortar store, they aren’t talking about visiting a building supplies warehouse. A brick-and-mortar store is a business with a physical presence in the community — with physical buildings and facilities — as opposed to an online store or a business that offers only remote services.

In other words, brick-and-mortar stores are traditional stores that are successful due to foot traffic, storefront visibility, interior design, face-to-face customer service and more as opposed to eCommerce businesses that have cropped up over the past 20 years. This doesn’t mean that a brick-and-mortar store won’t have an online presence because many do have an online presence. But the term separates them from the many successful internet-only businesses that populate the Internet.

The term brick-and-mortar store is referred to as a retronym, which means the new name differentiates its original form or version from more recent forms or versions. And believe it or not, the term retronym was coined by Frank Mankiewicz in 1980, and was added to the American Heritage Dictionary in 2000.

Getting back to the history behind the expression brick-and-mortar stores, back in 1979, English inventor and entrepreneur, Michael Aldrich connected a television set to a transaction processing computer using a telephone line. This allowed for shopping at a distance to become a reality, and he coined the term teleshopping. From there, the idea was to market the technology to corporations on the basis that they could connect their agents, distributors and customers to their corporate information systems for direct shopping and sales without the involvement of third parties. This private system became known as Business-To-Business or B2B online shopping, with the first B2B going live in 1981. And in May of 1984, Mrs. Jane Snowball became the first online home shopper when she bought groceries via the Gateshead SIS/Tesco system.

In the late 1990s, dot-com corporations were creating their own personal lingo to describe their businesses, services and products as well as activities on the Internet that were associated with doing business online. World economies were on the upswing, moving away from relying on a manufacturing-based economy and towards an economy centered on the exchange of ideas and information via technology. Despite this, all corporations and small businesses agreed that they had to be competitive in order to stay afloat, and this relied on attracting and retaining customers.

Sometime before Y2K wheedled its way into the lexicon, dot-coms successfully separated their businesses from traditional businesses (those that operated outside on the online world) by referring to non-Internet businesses as brick-and-mortar stores … based on the concept that most stores were made of brick and mortar, especially factories, warehouses and downtown shops.

On March 17, 1999 the Direct Marketing News published an article written by Ted Kemp entitled, “High-End Grocery Store Will Divert Brick-And-Mortar Traffic To Net.” The article revealed that high-end health food retailer Whole Foods Market Inc., was launching an online grocery store and how it intended to not only reinvent itself on the Internet, but to maintain a strong presence in the physical world of retail. The focus was on making their online store a massive hit with customers and moving it into the black within two years of launching without abandoning the 88 brick and mortar stores already found across the U.S. and without sacrificing the 32 brick and mortar stores that were in development at the time. The first paragraph began with:

Whole Foods Market Inc., is scheduled to launch an online grocery next week, and the company is determined to make it profitable quickly — even if that means diverting customers from its brick-and-mortar stores.

The previous Fall, on October 4, 1998, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel published a news story written by Christine Dunn of the Bloomberg News, entitled, “Weaving The Web: Internet Retailing Is Still A Niche Business.” The story reported in part:

They prefer their brick-and-mortar stores, skeptical that Internet sales will offset the cost of designing and maintaining Web sites and handling orders.

Interestingly enough, however, on September 6, 1996 John M. Wills, business editor for the Rome News-Tribune wrote about NationsBank’s acquisition of Atlanta-based Bank South — a bank that was known for its sophisticated operation that made use of high tech systems. Gary Redding, senior banking executive for NationsBank in Rome, Georgia was quoted as saying:

Brick and mortar is extremely expensive, and if we can deliver services in a more economical manner, we would look into it here,” he said. “We would certainly look at putting branches at Krogers in Rome if this works.”

Idiomation confirms that sometime between 1995 and 1997, the expression brick-and-mortar store was understood by most people to mean a business that did not have an Internet presence, that relied on doing business in the traditional way without involving either high tech or the Internet.

Posted in Idioms from the 20th Century | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »