“Why not come and sing with me,” said the Grasshopper “instead of toiling and moiling in that way?”
You’ll be toiling and moiling just to get through this. If things become tedious, just scroll down to the jokes at the end.
Samuel Johnson defined moil as “to labour in the mire.”
Moiling in the mire, toiling in the muck.
Singing for your supper.
In the art of glassmaking, a moil is a superfluous piece of glass which is formed during blowing and removed in the finishing operation.
Cut that moil, Jack, and put it in your pocket till I get back.
A moil to a miner is a short hand tool with a polygonal point, used for breaking or prying out rock.
Especially in the beginning of its life, the word moil had connotations of wetness. Her tears moiled the letter.
In Spanish, as in English, moil can be a noun or a verb: trabajo duro or esforzarse.
A moil is definitely not a mohel, although the words are homophones, at least in the US. In the UK, mohel and mole have the same sound.
Toiling and Moiling is a pleonasm, really.
Greek πλεονασμός pleonasmos from πλέον pleon ”more, too much” is the use of more words or word parts than is necessary for clear expression. You know, like black darkness, or burning fire. ”Tuna fish” is a pleonasm. So is “safe haven.”
A pleonasm is a tautology. A tautology or a pleonasm can be used to reinforce an idea, an observation, a statement by making writing clearer and easier to understand. Legal documents are studded with pleonasms in order to make absolutely clear the intent of the wording.
Here is how a lawyer would phrase a poem that we all know: Whereas, on or about the night prior to Christmas, there did occur at a certain improved piece of real property (hereinafter “the House”) a general lack of stirring by all creatures therein, including, but not limited to, a mouse.
Pleonastic devices were so often used by the epic poets, Homer, Virgil, Luís Vaz de Camões , Milton. Epic poets once sang all of their lines, and pleonasms helped with the memorizing.
How many times is the phrase ‘rosy fingered dawn’ (rododactylos) used in the Iliad? There are many of these set epithets in the poem. And each of them helps in the memorization of the whole work.
In French, you can say Il est possible que. Or Il peut arriver que. Or Il peut se passer que. They all mean roughly the same thing, they are often said in sequence and they are all more or less pleonastic. Not really necessary to the sense of what follows.
Toiling and moiling mean more or less the same thing and are only joined in this old cliché because they rhyme.
She needed a respite from the moil of the modern world.
A calot is that kepi you see on a gendarme’s head in Paris.
A calotte is that skullcap you see on the rabbi’s head in Villejuif.
Does the Pope wear a yarmulke? Calotte can also mean the vault of heaven, or, the clergy.
This is an example of metonymy, substituting the part (a priest’s cap) for the whole, the clergy.
Men who moil for gold.
The audience moiled around the stage.
Middle English mollen from French mouillir, Old French moillier, Vulgar Latin *molliare, Latin mollia, the soft part of the bread, Indo European *mel-
The angry mob moiled around the ticket counter.
From this same word mollia comes mojado, Spanish for ‘wet’ and slang for ‘wetback.’
Extreme manual labor: the kind of moiling work that was done by farmers before the age of mechanization.
Some words that mean more or less the same as moiling are: arduous, Augean, backbreaking, demanding, difficult, formidable, grueling, heavy, herculean, hard, murderous, severe, strenuous, toilsome, tough.
Mental moiling can be occupied with matters that are abstruse, complex, complicated, elusive, insoluble, intricate, involved, knotty, opaque, recondite, spiny, thorny, stubborn, onerous, taxing, irksome, vexatious, stringent.
I’m beginning to think that there is something to this -oiled sound.
Let’s see, oiled, annoyed, boiled, boisterous, broiled, coiled, foiled, moiled, roiled, soiled, spoiled, toiled, there’s a kind of common meaning that emerges here from the mere sound -oiled.
A kind of confusion and turmoil.
During the counterculture period, there was a certain roiling instability in our town.
She was calm and happy as the equipment managers toiled and moiled at their tasks.
The roiling surf excited her and stirred her hopes.
There are strange things done in the midnight sun By the men who moil for gold; The Arctic Trails have their secret tales That would make your blood run cold; The Northern Lights have seen queer sights, But the queerest they ever did see Was that night on the marge of Lake LeBarge I cremated Sam McGee.
Her maiden name is Moil.
Mollify: 14th century CE ”to soften (a substance),” from Old French mollifier or directly from Late Latin mollificare ”make soft, mollify” from mollificus ”softening,” from Latin mollis ”soft” (see melt (v.)) + root of facere ”to make.” Transferred sense of “soften in temper, appease, pacify” is recorded from early 15th century.
Proto Indo European root *mel
In Latin a tudicula was a machine for crushing olives. Tudiculare meant ‘stir around.’ In Norman French this word had become toiler.
The Romans called a hammer a tudes and tundere meant ‘to beat.’ Both of these words are related to that olive bruising machine, the tudicula.
The happily named Thomas Crapper was one of the early makers of toilets in England.
His name is, amazingly enough, sheer coincidence, and not related to ‘crap’ or ‘crapper.’
Diseases, including cholera which still affects some three million people each year, can be largely prevented when effective sanitation and water treatment prevents fecal matter from contaminating waterways, groundwater and drinking water supplies.
Infected water supplies can be treated to make the water safe for consumption and use.
There have been five main cholera outbreaks and pandemics since 1825, during one of which 10,000 people died in 1849 in London alone.
Macon Georgia Telegraph microfilm Feb 1839-Apr 1842 to 1 Oct 1839 We give below, the names of the persons who died in Augusta, of the prevailing epidemic, from its commencement up to the 26th ult: John Abbott, Frederick Selleck, James U. Jackson, Wm. Thompson, Henry E. Parmelee, Thomas Allen, Welcome Allen, Wiley Hargroves, Allen Andrew.
My ancestor Allen Andrew, a physician, died in an Atlanta, Georgia, cholera epidemic about 1839. I like to think that he died helping people, but I don’t really know that.
Now Sam McGee was from Tennessee, where the cotton blooms and blows.
Why he left his home in the South to roam ’round the Pole, God only knows.
He was always cold, but the land of gold seemed to hold him like a spell;
Though he’d often say in his homely way that “he’d sooner live in hell.”
On a Christmas Day we were mushing our way over the Dawson trail.
Talk of your cold! through the parka’s fold it stabbed like a driven nail.
If our eyes we’d close, then the lashes froze till sometimes we couldn’t see;
It wasn’t much fun, but the only one to whimper was Sam McGee.
And that very night, as we lay packed tight in our robes beneath the snow,
And the dogs were fed, and the stars o’erhead were dancing heel and toe,
He turned to me, and “Cap,” says he, “I’ll cash in this trip, I guess;
And if I do, I’m asking that you won’t refuse my last request.”
Well, he seemed so low that I couldn’t say no; then he says with a sort of moan:
“It’s the cursèd cold, and it’s got right hold, till I’m chilled clean through to the bone.
Yet ’tain’t being dead — it’s my awful dread of the icy grave that pains;
So I want you to swear that, foul or fair, you’ll cremate my last remains.”
A pal’s last need is a thing to heed, so I swore I would not fail;
And we started on at the streak of dawn; but God! he looked ghastly pale.
He crouched on the sleigh, and he raved all day of his home in Tennessee;
And before nightfall a corpse was all that was left of Sam McGee.
There wasn’t a breath in that land of death, and I hurried, horror-driven,
With a corpse half hid that I couldn’t get rid, because of a promise given;
It was lashed to the sleigh, and it seemed to say: “You may tax your brawn and brains,
But you promised true, and it’s up to you, to cremate those last remains.”
Now a promise made is a debt unpaid, and the trail has its own stern code.
In the days to come, though my lips were dumb, in my heart how I cursed that load.
In the long, long night, by the lone firelight, while the huskies, round in a ring,
Howled out their woes to the homeless snows — Oh God! how I loathed the thing.
And every day that quiet clay seemed to heavy and heavier grow;
And on I went, though the dogs were spent and the grub was getting low;
The trail was bad, and I felt half mad, but I swore I would not give in;
And I’d often sing to the hateful thing, and it hearkened with a grin.
Till I came to the marge of Lake Lebarge, and a derelict there lay;
It was jammed in the ice, but I saw in a trice it was called the “Alice May.”
And I looked at it, and I thought a bit, and I looked at my frozen chum;
Then “Here,” said I, with a sudden cry, “is my cre-ma-tor-eum.”
Some planks I tore from the cabin floor, and I lit the boiler fire;
Some coal I found that was lying around, and I heaped the fuel higher;
The flames just soared, and the furnace roared — such a blaze you seldom see;
And I burrowed a hole in the glowing coal, and I stuffed in Sam McGee.
Then I made a hike, for I didn’t like to hear him sizzle so;
And the heavens scowled, and the huskies howled, and the wind began to blow.
It was icy cold, but the hot sweat rolled down my cheeks, and I don’t know why;
And the greasy smoke in an inky cloak went streaking down the sky.
I do not know how long in the snow I wrestled with grisly fear;
But the stars came out and they danced about ere again I ventured near;
I was sick with dread, but I bravely said: “I’ll just take a peep inside.
I guess he’s cooked, and it’s time I looked”; … then the door I opened wide.
And there sat Sam, looking cool and calm, in the heart of the furnace roar;
And he wore a smile you could see a mile, and said: “Please close that door.
It’s fine in here, but I greatly fear, you’ll let in the cold and storm —
Since I left Plumtree, down in Tennessee, it’s the first time I’ve been warm.”
There are strange things done in the midnight sun
By the men who moil for gold;
The Arctic trails have their secret tales
That would make your blood run cold;
The Northern Lights have seen queer sights,
But the queerest they ever did see
Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge
I cremated Sam McGee.
Now, isn’t that a heartwarming tale?
Robert Service, the Bard of the Yukon wrote that.
I love the meter and the rhyme scheme.
Service wrote other such immortal odes. One was The Shooting of Dan McGrew.
Service wrote his first poem when he was six.
God bless the cakes and bless the jam; Bless the cheese and the cold boiled ham: Bless the scones Aunt Jeannie makes, And save us all from bellyaches. Amen
OK, back to moiling. Hey, these men aren’t moiling.
These men did with the hermits toil, With their hands in daily moil.
Moil first meant to moisten. Later, the meaning became to work hard in unpleasantly wet conditions, from Old French moillier, ultimately from Latin mollis soft.
“Fun dein moil tsu gots oyerin,” is Yiddish for, “From your mouth to god’s ears,” which means something like “Let’s hope god hears you say that and that she will grant your request. This “moil” comes from German Maul, mouth, and has nothing to do with our word moil.
… and moylynge in their gaye manoures and mansions (1548 Latimer)
And moyleth for no more than their hyre. (1559 Mirror for Magistrates)
To toyle and moyle for worldly dross. (1580 Gillflowers Poems)
Here was labour, drudge and moyle. 1593
… molestation or moyle, miserie 1612
But moile not too much under Ground. 1625 Bacon
Vega hath spent 20 chapters wherein he moyles in sweate and dust. 1629 Burton
The Masters say not what excesse of toile and moile servants undergoe. 1642
Their life for that space was hard travail or moyle. 1659
This night his weekly moil is at end. 1785
Enduring moil and toil in the trenches before Troy. 1856
It is for love of me that he comes on foot and with all that moil. 1881
Edith Piaf Django Reinhardt
That with the madding moil the waves themselves Inflamed. 1855
It is laughable after I have got out of the moil to think how miserably it affected me for the moment. 1864 Hawthorne
Deaf are his ears with the moil of the mill. 1885 Stevenson
The moil of death upon them. 1856 Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Mwile, mire. ‘A’s a-gettin’ vurder in the mwile, i.e., he’s going from bad to worse 1888 Berkshire Glossary
1582 Thee seas, thee skies so sprightfulye moyling
1600 Much moiled they were all and sore toiled in this untoward.
1604 Who is moyled with heavinesse…
1640 This while Alcidamant and Griolanis were no less moiled, for the great knight of the Sun so stoutly withstood them.
1653 We had been miserably moiled and our hurts that were great but ill looked unto.
1823 He seemed sadly moiled with matrimonial miseries.
1560 We moiled and turmoiled ourselues in studying and deuising howe we maye come by giftes of glassy fortune.
1881 They moile themselues sore with the manners and condition of the nurse.
1600 Hakluyt To moyle themselves with abject and base works.
1611 Chapman Iliad No more tug one another thus, nor moyle yourselves.
1673 Marvell He moyles himself with tumbling and tossing it that he is in danger of melting his Sperma Ceti.
1869 Tennyson But ‘e tued an’ moil’d ‘issen deäd.
1567 Golding They moyled why others myght not geve like gift as wele as shee.
1889 He’s tewin’ an’ moilin’ aboot for iver.
If I died and went straight to hell, it would take me a week to realize I wasn’t at work anymore.
To All Employees: New Incentive Plan Work — or get fired.
Men At Work Women work all the time. Men have to put up signs when they work.
Why is Monday so far from Friday but Friday so close to Monday?
Why aren’t you working? I didn’t see you coming.
Por fin es VIERNES. Finally it’s FRIDAY.
When the coffee stops working it is probably the right time to get drunk.
Three drunks get in a cab. The driver thinks he’ll play a trick on them, so he starts his engine, then turns it off. “We’re there,” he announces. The first drunk pays him. The second says “Thank you,” and the third hits him. “Hey, what was that for?” ”Next time go a little slower. You almost killed us.”
If you’re going to wish for impossible things, here’s a starting list. 1. earn money without working, 2. be smart without studying, 3. love without getting hurt, and 4. eat without getting fat.
I would be more inclined to grow up if I saw that it worked out for anyone else.
A lot of sleep can not only lengthen your life, it can make work hours shorter.
I could be the world’s laziest man if I applied myself.
You’re tired because you’re overworked. The population of this country is 237 million. 104 million are retired. That leaves 133 million to do the work. There are 85 million in school, which leaves 48 million to do the work. Of this there are 29 million employed by the federal government, leaving 19 million to do the work. 2.8 million are in the Armed Forces, which leaves 16.2 million to do the work. Take from the total the 14,800,000 people who work for State and City Governments and that leaves 1.4 million to do the work. At any given time there are 188,000 people in hospitals, leaving 1,212,000 to do the work. Now, there are 1,211,998 people in prisons. That leaves just two people to do the work. You and me. And I’m sitting here writing work jokes.
VACATION DAYS: All employees will take their vacation at the same time every year. The vacation days are as follows: Jan. 1, July 4 & Dec. 25
One way to keep a healthy level of insanity in the workplace: In the memo field of all your checks, write “for sexual favors.”
The fact that no one understands you doesn’t mean you’re an artist.
OK, all right, I’m going to have a positive attitude about my self destructive habits.
“I have an idea, boss,” Einstein’s chauffeur said. “I’ve heard you give this speech so many times. I’ll bet I could give it for you.” Einstein donned the chauffeur’s cap and jacket. The chauffeur gave a beautiful rendition of Einstein’s speech and even answered a few questions expertly. Then a professor asked an extremely esoteric question. Without missing a beat, the chauffeur fixed the professor with a steely stare and said, “Sir, the answer to that question is so simple that I will let my chauffeur, who is sitting in the back, answer it for me.”
Someday, we’ll look back on this, laugh nervously, and change the subject.
CASUAL WORK ATMOSPHERE in a help wanted ad means: We don’t pay enough to expect that you’ll dress up. A couple of the real daring guys wear earrings.
A vaudeville joke: Boss: You should have been here at 9.30 a.m. Employee: Why what happened?
The boss says, “do you believe in life after death and the supernatural?” ”Not really,” I replied. ”I was wondering” he said. “Because yesterday after you left to go to your grandmother’s funeral, she came by to see you.”
I quit my job at the post office. They handed me a letter to deliver and I thought, “This isn’t for me.”
The trouble with being punctual is that there’s never anybody there to appreciate it.
A musical director stands in front of the band and says, ”When a musician just can’t handle his instrument and doesn’t improve when given help, they take away the instrument, and give him two sticks, and make him a drummer.” So the drummer says, ”And if he can’t handle even that, they take away one of his sticks and make him a conductor.”
You sound reasonable. God, I probably should be taking more drugs.
Why can’t you play hide-and-seek with mountains? Because they peak.
The devil visited a lawyer’s office and made him an offer. “I can arrange some things for you, ” the devil said. “I’ll increase your income five-fold. Your partners will love you; your clients will respect you; you’ll have four months of vacation each year and live to be a hundred. All I require in return is that your wife’s soul, your children’s souls, and their children’s souls rot in hell for eternity.” The lawyer thought for a moment. “What’s the catch?” he asked.
Charles Dickens: He wrote continuously. In the middle of parties, crowded rooms, there would be twenty people in the room all talking and he talked the most, and kept on writing through it all. He would take a twenty mile walk in the afternoon and come home and write while all around him were chattering and carrying on. Moil and toil? He didn’t know what those words meant. He wrote as he breathed, always and constantly. Driving his pen as a madman would. He was a happy man despite one of the worst childhoods that anyone could have, a childhood which he expertly chronicled, writing ceaselessly in the middle of the party. His energy and humor never flagged. If you love it, it’s not work.
Q: Have you lived in this town all your life? A: Not yet.
See you next week?
Ben Nieves Sam Andrew It might look like I’m doing nothing, but at the cellular level I’m really quite busy.
SANDERSON: My friend has been elected mayor.
SANDERSON: What does that matter?
Acting drama was seriously curtailed with the onset of the Revolutionary War when the Continental Congress convened and passed a recommendation that the colonists “discountenance and discourage all horse racing and all kinds of gaming, cock fighting, exhibitions of shows, plays and other expensive diversions and entertainments.” The staging of plays all but ceased in the colonies.
DUMMY: My father killed a hundred men in the war. VENTRILOQUIST: What was he? A Gunner? DUMMY: Nope, a cook.
With the coming of peace, the feeling against plays began to lessen, but it wasn’t until 1787 that the American theatre began to flourish. Philadelphia and New York City became the twin hubs of the theatre, vying for supremacy up through the period of the Civil War when other forms of entertainment began to emerge on the American dramatic landscape.
YOUNG MAN: I want to ask for the hand of your daughter in marriage.
OLD MAN: You’re an idiot!
YOUNG MAN: I know it. But I didn’t suppose you’d object to another one in the family.
The Cherry Sisters were considered the worst vaudeville act of all time. Ranging in number from five to two, their songs and recitations were so awful that audiences threw vegetables to show their disgust.
Managers saw the possibilities and encouraged audiences to hurl produce. The ladies drew huge cackling crowds, performed behind a net curtain to avoid injury, and they unsuccessfully sued complaining critics.
All evidence suggests that the sisters believed their act was really good. Commanding a hefty $1,000 a week, they toured for decades.
I just got back from a pleasure trip. I took my mother-in-law to the train station.
Vaudeville was variety. All the variety shows on television and onstage are descended from vaudeville which was popular in the United States and Canada from the early 1880s until the early 1930s.
Each vaudeville show was made up of a series of separate, unrelated acts.
Vaudeville included such acts as popular and classical musicians, singers, dancers, comedians, trained animals, magicians, female and male impersonators, acrobats, illustrated songs, jugglers, one-act plays or scenes from plays, athletes, lecturing celebrities, minstrels and films.
A vaudeville performer is often referred to as a vaudevillian.
Yiddish vaudeville joke: In Jewish tradition, the fetus is not considered viable until it graduates from medical school.
Vaudeville evolved out of the concert saloon, minstrel shows, freaks and geeks, dime museums and literary burlesque.
Vaudeville was “the heart of American show business,” for several decades.
The newest Jewish-American-Princess horror movie? It’s called, “Debbie Does Dishes.”
Many show business terms originated in vaudeville. When a performer’s name appeared on the top of the billboard listing each week’s acts, they were at the “top of the bill.”
Headliners got the best dressing rooms and the highest salaries, up to $4000 a week in the big time.
Imagine being ‘on’ for two to five shows a day! That’s difficult, I can tell you.
The performers didn’t necessarily have to have a lot of talent, but they made up for that with personality and extraordinary stamina.
Since many of these longtime audience favorites predated the age of talking film, their names are now forgotten, but a few are still with us.
They tried to kill us, we won, let’s eat.
Keith and Albee were self elected censors of vaudeville and the standards they imposed on all vaudeville acts were hard on comedians.
Working clean was difficult but people like Bert Williams pulled it off.
Any good clean joke was a diamond and was likely to be stolen.
Many a comic found that other performers had done his material in various towns.
Early radio and television would rely on the same jokes.
Indeed, you still hear some of those jokes today.
I know how you sleep . . . like a baby. You cry a little, then wet the bed a little.
The Duncan Sisters did a musical act as “Topsy and Eva,” characters from Uncle Tom’s Cabin. They sang and played various instruments with limited skill but tremendous charm, pleasing fans for decades.
He hands out color photographs of two bottles of well-known household products, asking, “Have you seen my Pride and Joy?”
Elsie Janis sang and clowned her way to stardom in vaudeville and musical comedy before winding up a successful Hollywood screenwriter and lyricist.
That’s the last time I steal a joke from Berle.
Nora Bayes was the well dressed soprano who made “Shine On Harvest Moon” a hit.
Her fans followed her scandalous marriages, most memorably to songwriter Jack Norworth (composer of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.”)
Nora Bayes was one of America’s first singers to attain national popularity.
I saw a man lying in the street. I said, “Can I help you?” He said, “No, I found this parking place and I sent my wife out to buy a car.
Smith and Dale were one of vaudeville’s most popular comedy teams.
They were together for seventy-five years and they supposedly hated each other the whole time. This is not that difficult to believe.
Neil Simon’s The Sunshine Boys was based on Smith and Dale’s relationship.
Their routines were corny but funny, relying on slapstick gags and carefully timed dialogue.
I don’t want to say that business was bad at the last place I played, but when a fellow called up and asked what time is the next show, I said, “When can you make it?”
Julian Eltinge was vaudeville’s most famous female impersonator.
Eltinge’s lavish gowns and deft mimicry of feminine behavior made him a longtime favorite.
His fame faded with vaudeville, and he found few engagements in his later years.
Julian Eltinge was in The Fascinating Widow (1911).
He was the only drag performer to have a Broadway theatre named after him. The Eltinge later became the Empire, and its old façade and lobby are now part of the AMC Multiplex on 42nd Street.
Other female impersonators with outstanding vaudeville careers include the campy Bert Savoy.
There was also Karyl Norman.
My brother-in-law saw a sign that said ‘Drink Canada Dry,’ so he did.
Bert Williams was the first black performer to gain national stardom in the US, with comic gems like the song “Nobody.”
After partnering with George Walker in vaudeville and musical comedy, Williams went on to solo success in vaudeville and starred in several editions of the Ziegfeld Follies.
Despite his tremendous popularity, Williams was often subjected to blind bigotry. When a bartender in a first class Chicago hotel told him that drinks for “coloreds” were $50 each, Williams pulled out a wad of fifties and ordered the man to pour a round for everyone at the bar.
Doc, it hurts when I go like that. Doc: Don’t go like that.
Leslie Townes Hope (May 29, 1903 – July 27, 2003), was an English-born American comedian, vaudevillian, actor, singer, dancer, author, and athlete who appeared on Broadway, in vaudeville.
What do you get when you cross a rooster and a duck?
A bird who gets up at the quack of dawn.
Hope’s English father, William Henry Hope, was a stonemason from Weston-super-Mare, Somerset, and his Welsh mother, Avis Townes, was a light-opera singer from Barry who later worked as a cleaning woman. She married William Hope in April 1891 and the couple lived at 12 Greenwood Street in the town, then moved to Whitehall and St George in Bristol.
In 1908 the Hope family emigrated to the United States aboard the SS Philadelphia, and passed inspection at Ellis Island on March 30, 1908, before moving to Cleveland, Ohio.
From the age of 12, Bob Hope earned pocket money by busking (frequently on the streetcar to Luna Park), singing, dancing, and performing comedy patter.
He entered many dancing and amateur talent contests (as Lester Hope), and won a prize in 1915 for his impersonation of Charlie Chaplin.
Hope worked as a butcher’s assistant and a lineman in his teens and early twenties.
He and his girlfriend, Millie Rosequist, signed up for dance lessons.
Encouraged after they performed in a three-day engagement at a club, Hope then formed a partnership with Lloyd Durbin, a fellow pupil from the dance school.
Silent film comedian Fatty Arbuckle saw them perform in 1925 and obtained them steady work with a touring troupe called Hurley’s Jolly Follies.
Within a year, Hope had formed an act called the Dancemedians with George Byrne and the Hilton Sisters, conjoined twins who performed a tap dancing routine on the vaudeville circuit.
Hope and Byrne had an act as a pair of Siamese twins as well, and danced and sang while wearing blackface, before friends advised Hope that he was funnier as himself.
In 1929, he changed his first name to “Bob”. In one version of the story, he named himself after racecar driver Bob Burman. In another, he said he chose Bob because he wanted a name with a friendly “Hiya, fellas!” sound to it.
After five years doing vaudeville, Hope was very surprised when he failed a 1930 screen test for the French film production company Pathé at Culver City, California.
Bob Hope began performing on the radio in 1934 and switched to television when that medium became popular in the 1950s. He began doing regular TV specials in 1954, and hosted the Academy Awards fourteen times in the period from 1941 to 1978.
Bob’s first film was the comedy, Going Spanish (1934). He was not happy with the film, and told Walter Winchell, “When they catch John Dillinger, they’re going to make him sit through it twice.”
Hope moved to Hollywood when Paramount Pictures signed him for the 1938 film The Big Broadcast of 1938, also starring W.C. Fields. The song Thanks For The Memory, which later became his trademark, was introduced in this film as a duet with Shirley Ross and accompanied by Shep Fields and his orchestra.
Bob Hope was best known for comedies like My Favorite Brunette and the highly successful Road movies in which he starred with Bing Crosby and Dorothy Lamour. The series consists of seven films made between 1940 and 1962.
Hope had seen Lamour as a nightclub singer in New York, and invited her to work on his United Service Organizations (USO) tours.
Dorothy Lamour sometimes arrived for filming prepared with her lines, only to be baffled by completely re-written scripts or ad-lib dialogue between Hope and Crosby.
One is reminded here of Margaret Dumont in the Marx Brothers films. She never quite understood their routines.
Hope and Lamour were lifelong friends, and she remains the actress most associated with his film career.
On July 27, 2003, two months after his 100th birthday, Bob Hope died at his home in Toluca Lake, Los Angeles. His grandson, Zach Hope, told Soledad O’Brien that when asked on his deathbed where he wanted to be buried, Hope replied, “Surprise me.”
WOMAN: Someone is fooling with my knee. MAN: It’s me, and I’m not fooling!
Vaudeville’s audiences, as well as many of its stars, were drawn from the newly immigrated working classes.
Just as goods in the late 19th century could be manufactured in a central location and shipped throughout the country, successful vaudeville routines and tours were first established in New York and other large cities and would then be booked on a tour lasting for months.
The act would change little as it was performed throughout the United States, so vaudeville was a precursor of mass media — a means of creating and sharing a national culture.
Vaudeville’s influence on most popular entertainment forms of the 20th century — musical comedy, motion pictures, music, radio, television — was pervasive.
WOMAN: I’m not married.
MAN: Any children?
WOMAN: I told you, I’m not married.
MAN: Answer my question!
The word “vaudeville” may come from the expression voix de ville which means “voice of the city” or “songs of the town.”
Or, the term may come from a collection of fifteenth-century satirical songs by Olivier Basselin, “Vaux de Vire.”
Then again, the word vaudeville may derive from the Vau de Vire, a valley in Normandy noted for its style of satirical songs with topical themes.
Vaudeville, referring specifically to North American variety entertainment, came into common usage after 1871, with the formation of Sargent’s Great Vaudeville Company of Louisville, Kentucky.
CISSIE: She never married, did she? MARIE: No, her children wouldn’t let her.
Though the word “vaudeville” had been used in the US as early as the 1830s, most variety theatres adopted the term in the late 1880s and early 1890s for two reasons. First, they wished to distance themselves from the earlier rowdy, working-class variety halls.
Second, the supposedly French term vaudeville lent an air of sophistication.
Many people preferred the earlier term “variety” to what manager Tony Pastor called vaudeville’s “sissy and Frenchified” successor.
Thus, vaudeville was marketed as “variety” well into the 20th century.
Injured Man crosses stage in assorted bandages and casts. Comic: What happened to you?
Injured Man: I was living the life of Riley. Comic: And?
Injured Man: Riley came home!
A descendant of variety, (c. 1860s–1881), vaudeville was distinguished from the earlier form by its mixed-gender audience, usually alcohol-free halls, and often slavish devotion to respectability among members of the middle class.
The form gradually evolved from the concert saloon and variety hall into its mature form throughout the 1870s and 1880s.
This more genteel form was known as “Polite Vaudeville.”
Man at Desk: (picks up phone) Hello, Cohen, Cohen, Cohen and Cohen.
Caller: Let me speak to Mr. Cohen.
Man at Desk: He’s dead these six years. We keep his name on the door out of respect.
Caller: Then let me speak to Mr. Cohen.
Man: He’s on vacation.
Caller: (Exasperated) Well then, let me speak to Mr. Cohen.
Man: He’s out to lunch.
Caller: (Yells) Then let me speak to Mr. Cohen!
In the years before the American Civil War, entertainment existed on a different scale.
Variety theatre existed before 1860 in Europe and elsewhere.
In the US, as early as the first decades of the 19th century, theatregoers could enjoy a performance consisting of Shakespeare plays, acrobatics, singing, dancing, and comedy.
There were even Chataquas where people could enjoy a slide presentation and lectures by eminent authorities on various subjects.
Indeed, Mark Twain was a part of this circuit.
When Big Brother and the Holding Company played the Infinity Hall in Connecticut, Ben Nieves and I visited the little room where Twain waited to go on.
Vaudeville was characterized by traveling companies touring through cities and towns.
Jerk – audience member Yock – a belly laugh Skull – make a funny face Talking woman – delivers lines in comedy skits Cover – perform someone’s scenes for them The asbestos is down – the audience is ignoring the jokes From hunger – a lousy performer Mountaineer – a new comic, fresh from the Catskill resort circuit Boston version – a cleaned-up routine Blisters – a stripper’s breasts Cheeks – a stripper’s backside Gadget – a G-string Trailer – the strut taken before a strip Quiver – shake the bust Shimmy – Shake the posterior Bump – swing the hips forward Grind – full circle swing of the pelvis Milk it – get an audience to demand encores Brush your teeth! – comedian’s response to a Bronx cheer
Circuses regularly toured the country, dime museums appealed to the curious, amusement parks, riverboats, and town halls often featured “cleaner” presentations of variety entertainment, and saloons, music halls and burlesque houses catered to those with a taste for the risqué.
In the 1840s, the minstrel show, another type of variety performance, and “the first emanation of a pervasive and purely American mass culture,” grew to enormous popularity and formed what Nick Tosches called “the heart of 19th-century show business.”
Blaze tripped to the microphone. Looking down at her exposed breast, she said, “What are you doing out there, you gorgeous thing?” Then she covered herself. “You got to tell them they’re pretty,” she said; “it makes them grow” . . . Then she flung herself on the couch and quickly stripped down to a transparent bra and black garter pants. She produced a power puff and asked rhetorically, “Who’s going to powder my butt?”
A significant influence also came from Dutch ministrels and comedians.
Medicine shows traveled the countryside offering programs of comedy, music, jugglers and other novelties along with displays of tonics, salves, and miracle elixirs.
“Wild West” shows provided romantic vistas of the disappearing frontier, complete with trick riding, music and drama. Vaudeville incorporated these various itinerant amusements into a stable, institutionalized form centered in America’s growing urban hubs.
WEBER: I am delightfulness to meet you! FIELDS: Der disgust is all mine!
In the early 1880s, impresario Tony Pastor, a circus ringmaster turned theatre manager, capitalized on middle class sensibilities and spending power when he began to feature “polite” variety programs in several of his Gotham City theatres.
The usual date given for the “birth” of vaudeville is October 24, 1881 at New York’s Fourteenth Street Theater, when Pastor famously staged the first bill of self-proclaimed “clean” vaudeville in New York City.
Hoping to draw a potential audience from female and family-based shopping traffic uptown, Pastor barred the sale of liquor in his theatres, eliminated bawdy material from his shows, and offered gifts of coal and hams to attendees.
Yes, folks, Fourteenth Street was uptown in the 1880s.
Pastor’s experiment proved successful, and other managers soon followed suit.
B. F. Keith took the next step, starting in Boston, where he built an empire of theatres and brought vaudeville to the US and Canada.
Later, E.F. Albee, adoptive grandfather of the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Edward Albee, managed the chain to its greatest success.
Circuits such as those managed by Keith-Albee provided vaudeville’s greatest economic innovation and the principal source of its industrial strength.
They enabled a chain of allied vaudeville houses that remedied the chaos of the single-theatre booking system by contracting acts for regional and national tours. These could easily be lengthened from a few weeks to two years.
Albee also gave national prominence to vaudeville’s trumpeting “polite” entertainment, a commitment to entertainment equally inoffensive to men, women and children.
Acts that violated this ethos (ones which used words such as “hell”) were admonished and threatened with expulsion from the week’s remaining performances or were canceled altogether.
In spite of such threats, performers routinely flouted this censorship, often, of course, to the delight of the very audience members whose sensibilities were supposedly endangered.
E.F. Albee eventually instituted a set of guidelines for audience members at his show, and these were reinforced by the ushers working in the theater.
Thus “polite entertainment” also extended to B.F. Keith’s company members.
Albee went to extreme measures to maintain this level of modesty.
Keith even went as far as posting warnings backstage such as this: “Don’t say ‘slob’ or ‘son of a gun’ or ‘hully gee’ on the stage unless you want to be canceled peremptorily…if you are guilty of uttering anything sacrilegious or even suggestive you will be immediately closed and will never again be allowed in a theater where Mr. Keith is in authority.”
Along these same lines of discipline, Keith’s theater managers would occasionally send out blue envelopes with orders to omit certain suggestive lines of songs and possible substitutions for those words. This is the origin of the word ‘blue’ to describe off color material.
If actors chose to ignore these orders or quit, they would get “a black mark” on their name and would never again be allowed to work on the Keith Circuit.
Thus, actors learned to follow the instructions given them by B.F. Keith for fear of losing their careers forever.
By the late 1890s, vaudeville had large circuits, houses (small and large) in almost every sizable location, standardized booking, broad pools of skilled acts, and a loyal national following.
One of the biggest circuits was Martin Beck’s Orpheum Circuit. It incorporated in 1919 and brought together 45 vaudeville theaters in 36 cities throughout the US and Canada and a large interest in two vaudeville circuits.
Another major circuit was that of Alexander Pantages. At its hey-day Pantages owned more than 30 vaudeville theaters and controlled, through management contracts, perhaps 60 more in both the US and Canada.
Vaudeville was truly democratic. It played across multiple strata of economic class and auditorium size. On the vaudeville circuit, it was said that if an act would succeed in Peoria, Illinois, it would work anywhere. The question “Will it play in Peoria?” has now become a metaphor for whether something appeals to the American mainstream public.
The three most common levels were the “small time” (lower-paying contracts for more frequent performances in rougher, often converted theatres), the “medium time” (moderate wages for two performances each day in purpose-built theatres), and the “big time” (possible remuneration of several thousand dollars per week in large, urban theatres largely patronized by the middle and upper-middle classes).
As performers rose in renown and established regional and national followings, they worked their way into the less arduous working conditions and better pay of the big time.
The capitol of the big time was New York City’s Palace Theatre (or just “The Palace” in vaudevillian slang), built by Martin Beck in 1913 and operated by B.F. Keith.
The Palace had many inventive novelty acts, national celebrities, and acknowledged masters of vaudeville performance, such as writer, comedian and trick roper Will Rogers.
The money was all appropriated for the top in the hopes that it would trickle down to the needy. Mr. Hoover didn’t know that the money trickled up. Give it to the people at the bottom and the people at the top will have it before night, anyhow. But it will at least have passed through the poor fellow’s hands.
Andrew Erdman’s book Blue Vaudeville notes that the Vaudeville stage was marked with descriptions like, “a highly sexualized space…where unclad bodies, provocative dancers, and singers of ‘blue’ lyrics all vied for attention.”
I am not a member of an organized political party. I am a Democrat.
The Palace was the career apex f0r many a vaudevillian.
When I die, my epitaph, or whatever you call those signs on gravestones, is going to read: “I joked about every prominent man of my time, but I never met a man I dident (sic) like.” I am so proud of that, I can hardly wait to die so it can be carved.
A vaudeville show at the Palace would begin with a sketch, follow with a single – an individual male or female performer, next would be an alley oop – an acrobatic act, then another single, followed by yet another sketch such as a blackface comedy.
The taxpayers are sending congressmen on expensive trips abroad. It might be worth it except they keep coming back.
What followed for the rest of the show would vary from musicals to jugglers to song and dance singles and end with a final extravaganza – either musical or drama – with the full company.
Lord, the money we spend on Government! And it’s not one bit better than the government we got for one-third the money twenty years ago.
These shows would feature such stars as Eubie Blake – the piano player, the famous and magical Harry Houdini and child star, Baby Rose Marie.
Democrats never agree on anything, that’s why they’re Democrats. If they agreed with each other, they would be Republicans.
It is said that at any given time, Vaudeville was employing over twelve thousand different people throughout its entire industry. Each entertainer would be on the road 42 weeks at a time while working a particular “Circuit” – or an individual theatre chain of a major company.
There are three kinds of men. The one that learns by reading. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves.
Vaudeville showed an increasing interest in the female figure.
Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.
Vaudeville highlighted and objectified the female body as a “sexual delight,” a phenomenon that historians believe emerged in the mid-19th century.
I can remember way back when a liberal was generous with his own money.
Vaudeville marked a time in which the female body became its own “sexual spectacle” more than it ever had before.
You can’t tell what a man is like or what he is thinking when you’re looking at him. You must get around behind him and see what he’s been looking at.
Even acts that were as innocent as a sister act were higher sellers than a good brother act.
It isn’t what we know that gives us trouble, it’s what we know that ain’t so.
Vaudeville performers such as Julie Mackey and Gibson’s Bathing Girls began to focus less on talent and more on physical appeal through their figure, tight gowns, and other revealing attire.
This would be a great world to dance in if we didn’t have to pay the fiddler.
It eventually came as a surprise to audience members when such beautiful women actually possessed talent in addition to their appealing looks. This element of surprise colored much of the reaction to the female entertainment of this time.
A remeark generally hurts in proportion to its truth.
The continued growth of the lower-priced cinema in the early 1910s dealt the heaviest blow to vaudeville.
A difference of opinion is what makes horse races and missionaries.
The same thing happened to cinema when television came along.
Everything is funny as long as it is happening to somebody else.
Cinema was first regularly commercially presented in the US in vaudeville halls. The first public showing of movies projected on a screen took place at Koster and Bial’s Music Hall in 1896.
Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.
Al Jolson, W.C. Fields, Mae West, Buster Keaton, the Marx Brothers, Jimmy Durante, Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, Edgar Bergen, Fanny Brice, Burns and Allen and Eddie Cantor, to name a few, used their vaudeville status to vault into the new medium of cinema.
I have a scheme for stopping war. It’s this– no nation is allowed to enter a war till they have paid for the last one.
These former vaudeville performers often exhausted in a few moments of screen time the novelty of an act that might have kept them on tour for several years.
If you find the right job, you’ll never have to work a day in your life.
Jack Benny, Abbot and Costelle, Kate Smith, Cary Grant, Milton Berle, Judy Garland, Rose Marie, Sammy Davis, Jr. Red Skelton and The Three Stooges used vaudeville only as a launching pad for later careers. They left live performance before achieving the national celebrity of earlier vaudeville stars, and found fame in new venues.
Why go out on a limb? That’s where the fruit is.
The line between live and filmed performances was blurred by the number of vaudeville entrepreneurs who made more or less successful forays into the movie business.
I bet after seeing us, George Washington would sue us for calling him father.
Alexander Pantages quickly realized the importance of motion pictures as a form of entertainment. He incorporated them in his shows as early as 1902. Later, he entered into partnership with the Famous Players-Lasky, a major Hollywood production company and an affiliate of Paramount Pictures.
If stupidity got us into this mess, then why can’t it get us out?
By the late 1920s, almost no vaudeville bill failed to include a healthy selection of cinema.
Top vaudeville stars filmed their acts for one-time pay-offs, inadvertently helping to speed the death of vaudeville.
After all, when “small time” theatres could offer “big time” performers on screen at a nickel a seat, who could ask audiences to pay higher amounts for less impressive live talent?
The newly-formed RKO studios took over the famed Orpheum vaudeville circuit and swiftly turned it into a chain of full-time movie theaters.
The half-century tradition of vaudeville was effectively wiped out within less than four years.
Managers further trimmed costs by eliminating the last of the live performances.
Following the greater availability of inexpensive receiver sets later in the decade, radio contributed to vaudeville’s swift decline.
Even the most optimistic people in vaudeville could see the writing, or rather the motion picture, on the wall. The perceptive knew that the death rattle was terminal.
Standardized film distribution and talking pictures of the 1930s were the end of vaudeville.
Live in such a way that you would not be ashamed to sell your parrot to the town gossip.
By 1930, the vast majority of formerly live theatres had been wired for sound, and none of the major studios was producing silent pictures.
For a time, the most luxurious theatres continued to offer live entertainment, but most theatres were forced by the hard times in the 1930s to economize.
There was no abrupt end to vaudeville, though the form was clearly sagging by the late 1920s.
The Palace Theatre in New York changed to an exclusively cinematic format on November 16, 1932. No other single event was more of a death knell for vaudeville.
Though talk of vaudeville’s resurrection was heard during the 1930s and later, the demise of the supporting apparatus of the circuits and the higher cost of live performance made any large-scale renewal of vaudeville unrealistic.
The most striking examples of Gilded Age theatre architecture were commissioned by the big time vaudeville magnates and stood as monuments of their wealth and ambition. Examples of such architecture are the theaters built by impresario Alexander Pantages, who often used architect B. Marcus Priteca (1881–1971), who in turn regularly worked with muralist Anthony Heinsbergen. Priteca devised an exotic, neo-classical style that his employer called “Pantages Greek”.
Though classic vaudeville reached a zenith of capitalization and sophistication in urban areas dominated by national chains and commodious theatres, small-time vaudeville included countless more intimate and locally controlled houses. Small-time houses were often converted saloons, rough-hewn theatres or multi-purpose halls, together catering to a wide range of clientele. Many small towns had purpose-built theatres.
Vaudeville was not wiped out by silent films. Many managers featured “flickers” at the end of their bills, finding them cheaper than the live closing acts that audiences walked out on anyway.
Top screen stars made lucrative personal appearance tours on the big time circuits. So what killed vaudeville? The most truthful answer is that the public’s tastes changed and vaudeville’s managers (and most of its performers) failed to adjust to those changes.
In the mid-1920s, when everyone knew vaudeville was in danger, E.F. Albee set expensive new production requirements which strained performers and made it harder for most houses to turn a profit.
When well dressed comics entertained between numbers in place of an energetic slapstick act, vaudeville lost of a lot of its verve.
Cycloramas, drapery and gorgeous scenery added to the beauty of the show, but not to its comedy.
According to Variety, by the end of 1926 only a dozen “big time” vaudeville houses remained – the rest had converted to film use.
In December 1927, no less a star than Julian Eltinge proclaimed in Variety that vaudeville was “shot to pieces,” and was no longer able to attract “big names.”
The success of talking films in the late 1920s sharpened the sense of crisis in vaudeville circles.
In 1929, Albee replaced the Orpheum circuit’s two performance-a-day format with a crushing five-a-day policy.
This only succeeded in exhausting performers and depleting the supply of fresh material.
At the same time, risqué or “blue” material was allowed in major acts, offending many in vaudeville’s family-oriented audience.
Albee hammered another nail into vaudeville’s coffin when he partnered with Joseph P. Kennedy’s Hollywood film company in 1928 to form Radio Keith Orpheum (RKO) Studios.
Kennedy wrangled control of the new organization from Albee, turning the glorious Orpheum circuit into a chain of movie houses. In October of 1929, Variety figured that there were only six full-time vaudeville houses still operating, with as many as three hundred theatres offering a bill of acts between feature films.
It was extraordinary how the public had changed. They had become very blasé about entertainment. Whereas American used to arrange to spend an evening in the theatre for a treat, now they seemed to go to the theater just to kill time.
The theaters were full of children, noted Sophie Tucker. At the first two shows in the afternoon the house would be full of boys and girls, slumped down in their seats, obviously bored with the acts and only waiting for the picture to come on. Kids and necking couples.
By the time of the last show, at 9:30 PM, when you had your best audience, you were dead tired. Too tired to care whether they liked you or not.
Sophie Tucker kept on performing. Sophie was a hero in more ways than one.
She was headlining at New York’s Palace Theater in February 1932 when a fire broke out backstage. To prevent panic, Tucker remained onstage to coax the audience out of the theatre – despite the sparks that threatened to ignite her flammable sequined gown.
The Palace soon reopened, but by that November it became a full-time movie theatre.
The Palace’s first feature film was The Kid From Spain – starring vaudeville veteran Eddie Cantor. Live acts appeared between screenings, but were dropped as of 1935.
Although many theatres still presented vaudeville acts between films, the number of available gigs kept shrinking.
A few vaudeville theaters managed to hold out. I have mentioned before that I saw a vaudeville show on Market Street in San Francisco when I was six or seven.
New York City’s State Theatre at Broadway and 45th Street continued to present four-a-day bills until December 23, 1947.
The final bill included comedian Jack Carter and Yiddish theatre legend Molly Picon. At the closing performance, veteran vaudevillian George Jessel, who eulogized many show biz greats, came on stage and said “I heard vaudeville is finished here tonight, so I thought I’d drop in and tell you folks that talent can never die.”
It’s true, talent will never die, but it can move somewhere else.
There have been numerous attempts to revive vaudeville – a hopeless task, given the changes in American popular culture.
The last live echo of vaudeville was Radio City Music Hall, which kept the presentation house format alive until economics forced it to become a concert venue in 1979.
Some lucky vaudeville singers and comics found a new home on radio, where “variety shows” offered something like audio vaudeville.
Even silent acts (jugglers, animal acts, etc.) found work on television, where variety shows remained popular for several decades.
Ed Sullivan’s television show was pure vaudeville. I was on that show with Big Brother and the Holding Company, so I can say I have done vaudeville.
Carol Burnett’s Broadway-style reviews had the family-friendly spirit of big time vaudeville.
The talk shows carried on the legacy of the Chatauqua side of vaudeville. Janis and I were on Dick Cavett. He was very fond of her, let’s put it that way.
See you next week?
Peter Albin and Sam Andrew still doing vaudeville.
We’re going to the United Kingdom this summer 2014 to play seventeen engagements.
First, a few days of rehearsal in Nantmel in the middle of Wales. In Nantmel, across the river Wye from the village of Llandwrthwl, is the Living Willow Theatre, an open air theatre constructed of living willow trees.
Nantmel is in Radnor or Radnorshire (Welsh: Sir Faesyfed) one of thirteen historic and former administrative counties of Wales.
People call the Welsh language the British tongue, Cambrian, Cambric or Cymric.
In the thirteenth century, this place was called Nantmayl, Mael’s valley, the place where the river Dulas flows.
Mael was a person and her/his name is also used in the name for Maelienydd in Radnorshire.
The local church is called St Cynllo who is supposed to have founded it in the fifth century CE. Much of the church was rebuilt in 1792.
Poor Radnorsheer, poor Radnorsheer,
Never a park, and never a deer,
Never a squire of five hundred a year,
Save Richard Fowler of Abbey-Cwm-hir
About 15% of the total population in Wales speak, read and write Welsh. At NASA’s Voyager program launched in 1977, the Welsh greeting Iechyd da i chwi yn awr ac yn oesoedd (Good health to you now and forever) was sent into space.
The Welsh Language Measure Act (1993) gave the Welsh language official status in Wales, making it the only language, besides English, that is de jure (by law) official in any part of the United Kingdom.
Neolithic colonists integrated with native people in Wales, gradually changing their lifestyles from a nomadic life of hunting and gathering, to become settled farmers about 6,000 years ago. Welsh emerged in the 6th century from Common Brittonic, the ancestor of Welsh, Breton, Cornish and the extinct language known as Cumbric.
By the time that Julius Caesar landed in Britain (55 BCE), the area of modern Wales had long been divided among the tribes of the Deceangli, Ordovices, Cornovii, Demetae and Silures.
Note that many of these names survived in the nomenclature for geologic periods, because the first minerals and stones representing these eras were found where these ancient tribes lived.
The Romans used their engineering technology in Wales to extract large amounts of gold, copper and lead, as well as modest amounts of some other metals such as zinc and silver.
Our first gig will be in Rhayader (Welsh: Rhaeadr Gwy), the first town on the banks of the River Wye 20 miles (32 km) from its source on the Plynlimon range of the Cambrian Mountains.
We will be playing in the Carad Arts Centre. Rhayader is oldest town in Mid Wales. People have lived here a long time as you can tell by the abundance of cairns and standing stones which were erected here thousands of years ago.
Rhayader is one of the principal centers of population in predominantly rural Radnorshire, and has always been a stopping point for travellers. The Romans had a stop-over camp in the Elan Valley. Monks travelled between the Abbeys of Strata Florida and Abbeycwmhir, and people drove cattle to lucrative markets in the area.
The name Rhayader is a twisting of the Welsh Rhaeadr Gwy, which means Waterfall on the Wye.
In the 1890s the rapidly expanding city of Birmingham, 70 miles east, viewed the nearby Elan Valley as the ideal source of clean, safe water. This was to change the face of Rhayader forever. Thousands of workers became involved in building a massive complex of dams and reservoirs in the area. This complex was officially opened in 1904 by King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra.
Founder members of The San Francisco Nights may be interested to note that Rhayader is famous for being the town with the highest concentration of pubs and drinking establishments, per capita, in the UK with one to each 173 people.
There is that dam that gave the town its name.
Rhayader is situated roughly midway between north and south Wales on the A470, 13 miles north of Builth Wells and 30 miles east of Aberystwyth on the A44. These are two of Wales’ most important trunk roads.
The B4574 mountain road to Aberystwyth is described by the AA as one of the ten most scenic drives in the world.
Goodbye to Rhayader. Hwyl fawr. Da bo ti.
So we travel the thirteen miles south to Builth Wells where The San Francisco Nights are to play at the 2014 Sonic Rock Solstice. Schwmae?
Where the rivers Wye and Irfon run together, there is Builth Wells (Welsh: Llanfair ym Muallt) in the county of Powys with a population of 2,352. The site of the town oversees an important ford across the Wye and the crossing point of the main north-south route in Wales and an important south-west-east route.
The Welsh name Llanfair-ym-Muallt means St Mary’s Church inBuallt. The name of the Cantref, and later the town, came from the Welsh words Bu and Allt, and could be translated as The Wild Ox of the Wooded Slope.
Builth Wells was laid out as two streets connecting a castle and a church and was protected by a hedge rather than a wall. This type of town is sometimes called a Bastide, a kind of medieval market settlement. In San Francisco where the Nights come from, the Spanish laid out the Presidio and the Mission, which was their version of a castle and church, so this town plan is familiar to us.
Builth Castle was built under King Edward I. It replaced an earlier castle built by the Marcher Baron Philip De Braose who claimed the area as a Marcher lordship. Marcher lords were substantially independent of the King of England and the Prince of Gwynedd. Such titles as marquess, marquis, marchese, marqués were given to these men who guarded the marches, that is, the lands at the edge of a country.
On a building in Builth Wells there is a 1000 feet square mural (approx 35 feet high by 30 feet wide) depicting the final days of Llywelyn ap Gruffydd, the last native Prince of Wales. The mural shows Llywelyn and his men, a scene depicting battles and a representation of Builth Castle, where Llywelyn was turned away when trying to flee from the English.
The Hereford cattle breed, named after Hereford market where it was most prominently sold was the main breed of the Welsh borders.
Some people say that when the Bubonic plague ravaged Builth, the people living in the countryside surrounding the town left food and provisions for the townspeople on the banks of a brook about a mile west of the town.
The Builth Wells town people then threw money to pay for the goods into the brook so that the metal coins would be washed free of contamination from the plague.
Thus, this brook became known as Nant Yr Arian or Money Brook, a name which remains today.
Ffarwell Builth Wells, we are now going to drive across England to Hull.
Hull is in the East Riding of Yorkshire, and is on the River Hull at its junction with the Humber estuary, 25 miles (40 km) inland from the North Sea.
The town of Hull was founded late in the 12th century. The monks of Meaux Abbey needed a port where the wool from their estates could be exported. They chose a place at the junction of the rivers Hull and Humber to build a quay.
We are going to play at The New Adelphi, which Paul Jackson, the Adelphi’s owner, says is the most famous (sometimes infamous) place in Hull, and it is an international music venue of substantial repute.
The New Adelphi, notes Mr Jackson, is also a safe, and pretty much trouble free environment. You ever notice that when you hear a sentence like this, you tend to think the opposite is the case? But Paul Jackson seems sincere, so I am going to take him at his word.
The Adelphiwas an English literary journal published between 1923 and 1955. Between August 1927 and September 1930 it was renamed the New Adelphi and issued quarterly. The magazine included one or two stories per issue with contributions by Katherine Mansfield, D.H. Lawrence, H.E. Bates, Rhys Davies and Dylan Thomas. The Adelphi published George Orwell’s The Spike in 1931 and Orwell contributed regularly thereafter, particularly as a reviewer.
Hull was originally called Wyke on Hull. Renamed Kings town upon Hull by King Edward I in 1299, the town and city of Hull has served as market town, military supply port, trading hub, fishing and whaling center, and industrial metropolis.
After suffering heavy damage during the Second World War Hull Blitz, the town weathered a period of social deprivation, education and policing, but has made a strong rebound in recent years.
A true hero of humanity was born in Hull, William Wilberforce, who became one of the leading English abolitionists.
Rev. Wilberforce headed the parliamentary campaign against the British slave trade for twenty-six years until the passage of the Slave Trade Act of 1807.
From its medieval beginnings, Hull’s main trading links were with Scotland and northern Europe. Scandinavia, the Baltic and the Low Countries were all key trading areas for Hull’s merchants.
In addition, there was trade with France, Spain and Portugal. Hull’s trading links ultimately extended throughout the world. Docks were opened to serve trade with Australia, New Zealand and South America. Hull was also the center of a thriving inland and coastal trading network, serving the whole of the United Kingdom.
Goodbye, Hull, we’re off to Scotland.
We head north to Edinburgh, cross over the Firth of Forth, and drive up M90 to Kinross, which reminds me of motoring to Glenfarg a few years ago where we played at the Bein Inn, a lovely place. This part of Scotland reminds me of northern California.
Kinross (Gaelic: Ceann Rois) is a burgh in Perth and Kinross, Scotland. It was originally the county town of Kinross-shire.
Kinross is on the shores of Loch Leven, and there are boat trips around the loch and to Loch Leven Castle, where Mary Queen of Scots was famously held prisoner in 1567.
To help Queen Mary escape, Willie Douglas stole the keys and let Mary, dressed as a servant, out of the castle. She was rowed across the lake to where George Douglas and others awaited her, and they fled to Niddry Castle in Lothian.
We’re playing at The Back Room in the Green Hotel. There are roughly 4000-5000 people living in Kinross, and I expect to see every one of them at the gig.
Edinburgh, Glasgow, Stirling, Perth and St Andrews are all within an hour’s drive of Kinross.
The Green Hotel
Kinross is about 370 feet above sea level and the town lies at the western end of Loch Leven, the largest loch in the Scottish Lowlands.
Alexander III (medieval Gaelic: Alaxandair mac Alaxandair; modern Gaelic: Alasdair mac Alasdair) had much of his administration at Kinross.
North to Aberdeen!
This is as far north as I have been in the United Kingdom. Discovery of oil in the North Sea has brought a lot of money into Aberdeen, just as it has made nearby Norway a new European power.
How an Aberdeen surfer might react to this last statement: It’s a’ a loada shite. It’ll a’ be tae dae wi’ the oil money an’ a’ they big-piyin’ joabs. But this city is a lot mair than a’ that pish.”
Aberdeen (Scots: Aiberdeen Scottish Gaelic: Obar Dheathain) is Scotland’s third most populous city. King David (1124-1153 bestowed Royal Burgh status on Aberdeen which transformed the city.
The area around Aberdeen has been settled since at least 8,000 years ago, when prehistoric villages lay around the mouths of the rivers Dee and Don.
The city began as two separate burghs: old Aberdeen at the mouth of the river Don, and New Aberdeen, a fishing and trading settlement, where the Denburn waterway entered the river Dee estuary.
Here is where we will play: Café Drummond, the bastion of the Aberdeen alternative music scene.
In the daytime, this is a quiet, mellow public house, but it becomes a rock and roll venue at night.
In the previous two centuries, builders in Aberdeen used locally quarried gray granite which has a lot of mica in it, so that it sparkles. Thus, Aberdeen has been styled the Silver City with the Golden Sands.
George Gordon, Lord Byron, lived in Aberdeen when he was a boy.
I am excited to see the Sir Duncan Rice library which reminds me of the Guggenheim. Sir Duncan Rice himself has published widely as a professional historian, and has received honorary degrees from New York University and the Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen as well as fellowships at Harvard and Yale and the Royal Society of Edinburgh.
Aberdeen gets fewer than seven hours of daylight in winter, but nearly 18 hours at its peak in the summer.
Aye, mebbee, but ya wouldnae wan ti live there!
I don’t understand why the English call the Scots tightwads? From personal experience the south-east English are the tightest feckers about.
I would sell now and move dooon sooth to Edinburgh or somewhere where your property will hold its value.
Awe happiness, dinnae go! As we say in Rubislaw Den, may your lum aye reek, wi some ither c_nts coal.
I’m a local Aberdeen lass, I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with the place, but I think a lot of people have that with their home city.
South to Hebden Bridge: The original settlement was the hilltop village of Heptonstall.
Hebden Bridge (originally Heptenbryge) started as a settlement where the Halifax to Burnley packhorse route dropped into the valley and crossed the River Hebden at the spot where the old bridge (from which Hebden Bridge gets its name) stands.
Hebden comes from the Anglo-Saxon Heopa Denu, ‘Bramble (or possibly Wild Rose) Valley’.
We are playing at the Trades Club, an old fashioned working mens club with an intimate spit and sawdust style room for bands which holds about 200 people so its a very atmospheric venue.
They have great music, great beer, and lovely staff. And its cheap. You cannot beat the locals dancing en masse to music they like.
Hebden was known as “Trouser Town” because of the large amount of clothing manufacturing.
The steep hills and access to major wool markets meant that Hebden Bridge was ideal for water-powered weaving mills and so the town developed during the 19th and 20th centuries.
Drainage of the marshland, which covered much of the Upper Calder Valley before the Industrial Revolution, enabled construction of the road which runs through the valley. Prior to this, travel was only possible via the ancient packhorse route which ran along the hilltop, dropping into the valleys wherever necessary.
During the Second World War, Hebden Bridge was designated a “reception area” and took in evacuees from industrial cities. Two bombs fell on Calderdale during the war, but they were not targeted, they were merely the emptying of a bomb load, so let’s be thankful for that.
Good’un. In a bit. Tarra.
Leicester was once an army camp.
Any town name in England that ends in -caster, -cester is derived from castrum, Latin for castle, camp, fortress. Lancaster, Rochester, , Winchester, Worcester, Chester, Chesterfield, Cheshire, Doncaster, Newcastle (castle from castellum, little camp), all were once armed camps.
Ligore castrum = camp on the Legro river = Leicester
Leicester is one of the oldest cities in England, it was the center of a bishopric from around 670, endowing it with city status.
By the middle ages, Leicester had become a town of considerable importance and mentioned in the Domesday Book as a civitas, city.
On 4 November 1530, Cardinal Thomas Wolsey was arrested for treason on orders of Henry VIII. On his way south to face dubious justice at the Tower of London, Wolsey fell ill. The group escorting him was concerned enough to stop at Leicester.
There, Wolsey’s condition quickly worsened and he died on 29 November 1530 and was buried at Leicester Abbey, now Abbey Park.
We are playing in Leicester at The Musician, which is near the city center. There are many pubs in the area we thought we might want to check out later. Some of these leicester square bars like the Lost Alhambra came highly recommended by locals there.
The Musician is on a quiet back street in the middle of Leicester in the middle of England.
The University of Leicester has established itself as a leading research-led university and has consistently ranked among the top fifteen universities in the United Kingdom.
A man I greatly admire, C.P. Snow, was educated at the University of Leicester, where he read chemistry for two years and proceeded to a master’s degree in physics. From Leicester, Snow went on a scholarship to Cambridge and gained his PhD in physics (Spectroscopy). In 1930 he became a Fellow of Christ’s College. C.P. Snow writes literature and science with equal ease. His books are highly recommended.
That they may have life: motto of the University of Leicester.
Now we’ll take the fork in the road with John Spoons and drive to Sheffield.
The last time I was here I made some cutting remarks about how we were going to make a stab at playing Mack The Knife. I thought that the Sheffielders would throw daggers at me for such sharp repartee, but they actually laughed, probably out of kindness to their dull yankee guest. Of course they were probably laughing at me, rather than with me, but that’s all right.
Sheffield is in south Yorkshire and is part of the West Riding of Yorkshire. Its name derives from the River Sheaf, which runs through the city.
Sheffield’s population is 551,800 and it is one of the eight largest regional English cities that make up the Core Cities Group. Sheffield is the third largest English district by population.
Sheffield is located within the valleys of the River Don and its four tributaries, the Loxley, the Porter Brook, the Rivelin and the Sheaf.
Sheffield has the highest ratio of trees to people of any city in Europe. At first blush, you may not find this a significant fact, but I remember when I first flew over Paris, the dominant impression I had was how many trees there were along the boulevards, and it gave me a good feeling about the city before we even landed. Trees and books are civilizing influences.
We are to perform here at The Greystones, which is the principal pub for the Thornbridge Brewery.
There’s a lot going on at The Greystones, jewellery workshops, morris dancing, dog shows, psychic nights, and life drawing classes. I would love to sit in on a life drawing class or two.
Sheffield has been inhabited since at least the late upper Paleolithic period, about 12,800 years ago. The earliest evidence of human occupation in the Sheffield area was found at Creswell Crags to the east of the city. The Brigantes, whom I remember from Roman readings, are thought to have constructed several hill forts in and around Sheffield
After the Romans left, the Sheffield area may have become the southern part of the celtic kingdom of Elmet, with the rivers Sheaf and Don forming part of the boundary between this kingdom and the kingdom of Mercia.
This is the coat of arms for the University of Sheffield: To know the causes of things.
The University of Sheffield is a research institution. It received its Royal Charter in 1905 as successor to Sheffield Medical School (1828) and University College of Sheffield (1897). As one of the original red brick universities, it is also a member of the prestigious Russell Group of research intensive centers of learning.
This is Firth Court at the school. Hilary Mantel attended the University of Sheffield as did Eddie Izzard, and we all know what a genius he is.
Five Nobel Laureates have been associated with the University of Sheffield, among them Howard Florey who won the Nobel in 1945 for his work on penicillin.
The 1953 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine went to Hans Adolf Krebs for the discovery of the citric acid cycle in cellular respiration.
From the Chemistry department at the University of Sheffield, George Porter was awarded the Nobel in 1967 for work on extremely fast chemical reactions (Flash photolysis).
The University of Sheffield Students’ Union has been rated as the best in the UK for the last five years (2009-2013). It consists of two bars (Bar One – which has a book-able function room with its own bar, The Raynor Lounge – and The Interval); three club venues (Fusion, Foundry and Studio); and coffee shops, restaurants, shops, and the student run cinema Film Unit. There is also a student radio station called Forge Radio and a newspaper called Forge Press, which are run under the umbrella of Forge Media.
Goodbye to Sheffield. We are returning to beautiful Wales.
Cardigan Bay (Welsh: Bae Ceredigion) is an inlet of the Irish Sea, indenting the west coast of Wales between Bardsey Island, Gwynedd in the north, and Strumble Head, Pembrokeshire at its southern end. It is the largest bay in Wales.
From the Ceredigion Coast path it is often possible to observe Bottlenose Dolphins, porpoises and Atlantic Grey Seals. The Bay has the largest population of bottlenose dolphins in the UK
Up until the early 20th century, Cardigan Bay supported a strong maritime industry.
Cardigan is located at the mouth of the River Teifi, hence the Welsh name, Aberteifi (Mouth of the Teifi), and at the turn of the 19th century, the heyday of the port, it was a more important port than Cardiff.
Around 1900, more than 300 ships were registered at Cardigan, seven times as many as Cardiff, and three times as many as Swansea.
The central and northern areas of the Bay are the location of the legendary Cantre’r Gwaelod, the drowned Lowland Hundred or Hundred under the Sea.
A military testing range was first established in Cardigan Bay during World War II.
The Range is controlled from a main operating base located near Aberporth. The Range has played a significant part in the development and testing of a variety of military weapons.
We are playing at The Cellar Bar on Quay Street.
Poets hold forth at The Cellar Bar. The bards are always welcome to perform their work during an evening called Word Up. Maybe some Welsh people (rhestr Cymry) like Terry Jones or John Cale or Martin Amis or Ken Follett or Peter Swales, the historian who is billed as a Freud commentator and former employee of Rolling Stone, maybe these Welsh people could show up at our gig at The Cellar Bar? One never knows. Everyone is welcome. Croeso. Croeso cynnes iawn.
So sorry to leave Cardiganshire, but happy to travel to Glastonbury.
Glastonbury is a small town in Somerset, England, south of Bristol. We are playing at the Glastonbury Fringe.
The Fringe is a series of events being organized in the town by the people in Glastonbury who already promote, perform and produce events thoughout the year. It’s the fringe of the larger event, the Glastonbury Festival.
The Music and Arts Fringe, the brainchild of Sara Clay, is aimed at putting Glastonbury, the real Glastonbury, back on the map by showcasing its vibrant music and arts scene in a series of independent local events.
Glastonbury has been inhabited since neolithic times. Glastonbury Lake Village was an Iron Age community, close to the old course of the River Brue and Sharpham Park, approximately 2 miles (3.2 km) west of Glastonbury, parts of which date back to the Bronze Age.
Glastonbury has been described as a New Age community which is notable for myths and legends often related to Glastonbury Tor concerning Joseph of Arimethea, the holy grail and King Arthur.
About nine thousand years ago, the sea level rose and flooded the valleys and low lying ground surrounding Glastonbury so the mesolithic people occupied seasonal camps on the higher ground, indicated by the flint projectile points they left.
The neolithic people continued to exploit the reedswamps for their natural resources and they began to construct wooden trackways including the Sweet Track west of Glastonbury, which was considered the oldest timber trackway in Northern Europe until the recent discovery of a 6,000 year-old trackway in Belmarsh Prison.
The Sweet Track extended across the marsh between what was then an island at Westhay, and a ridge of high ground at Shapwick, a distance close to 2,000 metres (1.2 mi). The track consisted of crossed poles of ash, oak and lime (Tilia) which were driven into the waterlogged soil to support a walkway that mainly consisted of oak planks laid end-to-end.
Glastonbury Lake Village was an iron age settlement now designated as a Scheduled Ancient Monument covering an area of 400 feet (122 m) north to south by 300 feet (91 m) east to west. The village was built in about 300 BCE and occupied into the early Roman period when it was abandoned, possibly due to a rise in the water level, or possibly due to a rise in the number of Romans.
The village housed around 100 people in five to seven groups of houses, each for an extended family, with wooden sheds and barns, made of hazel and willow covered with reeds, and surrounded either permanently or at certain times by a wooden palisade.
At its maximum it may have had 15 houses with a population of up to 200 people.
As I was going to St Ives, I met a man with seven wives, Each wife had seven sacks, Each sack had seven cats, Each cat had seven kits: Kits, cats, sacks, and wives, How many were there going to St Ives?
St Ives (Cornish: Porth Ia, meaning St Ia’s cove) is a seaside town in Cornwall. St Ives is north of Penzance and west of Camborne on the coast of the Celtic Sea.
Once upon a time, a fishwife from Cornwall could talk to a basket maker from Brittany and together they could talk with a hostler from Wales. Those three could then speak to a Manx glove maker, an Irish drayman and a Scottish farmer all in the same language. They’re not speaking in English, they’re speaking in Celtic, or Gaelic, if you will. A couple of them think the others talk funny but they understand each other. They are speaking Cornish, Welsh, Irish, Breton, Scottish Gaelic and Manx (from the Isle of Man). Cornish disappeared from general use in the 18th century and these other languages have long since been pushed to the periphery of Europe, but they were once spoken everywhere on the continent, and they were all the same language.
When the French say quatre vingts rather than octante for eighty, they are remembering their Celtic ancestors who had a vigesimal (20 based) system of counting. Hey, ten toes and ten fingers. Makes sense, right? This is the way the Mayans notated their vigesimal number system.
The San Francisco Nights are to perform in The Guildhall in St Ives, which is an artists’ town. “For a few dazzling years this place was as famous as Paris, as exciting as New York and infinitely more progressive than London.”
Virginia Woolf writes, “…I could fill pages remembering one thing after another. All together made the summer at St. Ives the best beginning to life imaginable,” she who began and ended her life by the sea.
On 28 July 2007 there was a suspected sighting of a Great White Shark. The chairman of the Shark Trust said that “it was impossible to make a conclusive identification and that it could have also been either a Mako or a Porbeagle shark”. Coastguards dismissed the claims as “scaremongering.” On 14 June 2011 there was a suspected sighting of an Oceanic white tip shark after a boat was reportedly attacked. The Shark Trust said that the chances of the species being in British waters were “very small.” Does this sound the slightest bit Monty Pythonish to you?
The parish church is dedicated to Saint Ia of Cornwall, an Irish holy woman of the 5th or 6th century, and St Andrew, the patron saint of fishermen.
This is the St Ives version of the Tate Museum, which will be open in May 2014.
Californians may think of Sausalito.
Bernard Leach and Shoji Hamada set up the Leach Pottery in 1920. Leach was a studio potter and art teacher, and he is known as the Father of British studio pottery. He learned pottery under the direction of Shigekichi Urano (Kenzan VI) in Japan where he also met Shoji Hamada.
We’re off to Cheltenham.
Cheltenham is a large spa town and borough in Gloucestershire, located on the edge of the Cotswolds.
Cheltenham (Chelten home) takes its name from the small river Chelt, which rises nearby at Dowdeswell and runs through the town on its way to the Severn.
Health and Learning
Cheltenham has been a health and holiday spa town resort since the discovery of mineral springs there in 1716. The visit of George III with the queen and royal princesses in 1788 set a stamp of fashion on the spa.
We will play at the Frog & Fiddle, whose main feature is its live music.
The Barn, with its original brick walls and beams has a capacity for over 200 people, and has seen everything from local acts to signed touring bands, but so far it hasn’t seen The San Francisco Nights.
The town is famous for its Regency architecture and is said to be “the most complete regency town in England.”
Many of the buildings are listed, including the Cheltenham Synagogue, judged by Nikolaus Pevsner to be one of the architecturally “best” non-Anglican ecclesiastical buildings in Britain.
The Cheltenham Synagogue congregation first met in about 1820 in a hired space at the St George’s Place entrance to Manchester Walk.
The cornerstone for the synagogue was laid on 25 July 1837. Founded when Cheltenham was a popular spa town, the synagogue declined with the town itself and closed in 1903.
The Cheltenham Synagogue reopened in 1939 to serve evacuees being housed in London, refugees from Nazi-occupied Europe and soldiers stationed in nearby bases, including a number of Americans.
Goodbye, Cheltenham. Now down to the coast, to see Pompey.
Portsmouth is the second largest city in the ceremonial county of Hampshire, and is notable for being the United Kingdom’s only island city, situated mainly on Portsea Island. Pompey, as many natives call the place, is situated 64 miles (103 km) south west of London and 19 miles (31 km) south east of Southampton.
The Cellars, where we will play, is at Eastney, which means east island.
There is a 140 person capacity here at this venue in Southsea, so we’re going to meet everyone in the place. One attendee notes that, “This place has been described as small, and as a public space, the only things smaller would be the changing rooms at Marks and Spencer.” This will be a chance for us to turn the volume down and get cosy.
“When I got there late once, they couldn’t let me in ‘cos it was full. I did offer to strip naked and grease myself with cookin’ oil, but they said that they couldn’t let me do that as it was a cold night.” I can’t wait to play this place. The Cellars can’t be smaller than Peri’s Silver Dollar in my home town, where I have performed many times.
As a significant naval port for centuries, Portsmouth is home to the world’s oldest dry dock still in use, and also berths some famous ships, including HMS Warrior, the Tudor carrack Mary Rose and Lord Nelson’s flagship HMS Victory.
The City of Portsmouth has a population of 209,166 and is the only city in England with a greater population density than London.
Her cwom Port on Bretene ? his .ii. suna Bieda ? Mægla mid .ii. scipum on þære stowe þe is gecueden Portesmuþa ? ofslogon anne giongne brettiscmonnan, swiþe æþelne monnan. (Here Port and his 2 sons Bieda and Mægla came to Britain with 2 ships to the place which is called Portsmouth and slew a young British man, a very noble man.) Anglo-Saxon Chronicle
In 1628, the unpopular favorite of Charles I, George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham, was stabbed to death by John Felton, a veteran of Villiers’ most recent military folly. The murder took place in the Greyhound public house, popularly known as The Spotted Dog, High Street, which is now a private building called Buckingham House. There is a commemorative plaque to mark the event.
Peter Sellers was born here.
In 1194 King Richard the Lionheart returned from being held captive in Austria, he began summoning a fleet and an army to Portsmouth, which Richard had taken over from John of Gisors.
The city’s nickname Pompey is thought to have derived from shipping entering Portsmouth harbour making an entry in their logs as Pom. P. in reference to Portsmouth Point. Navigational charts use this abbreviation. Another theory is that Pompey is named for La Pompée, a 74 gun French battleship captured in 1793.
And now a pleasant drive to Chislehurst.
Chislehurst is 10.5 miles (16.9 km) south east of Charing Cross.
The name Chislehurst is derived from the Saxon words cisel ‘gravel’, and hyrst ‘wooded hill’.
The Chislehurst caves are considered to be of very ancient origin. They were originally used to mine flint and chalk.
During World War II, thousands of people used the caves nightly as an air raid shelter. There is even a chapel. One child was born in the caves during the War, and was given a middle name of Cavina.
The caves have also been used as a venue for live music. Jimi Hendrix, the Who and the Rolling Stones have all played there. Wow, talk about a live room.
Camden Place in Chislehurst takes its name from the antiquary William Camden, who lived in the former house on the site from 1609 until his death in 1623.
William Camden wrote A Survey of the Country of the Iceni, which was published in 1586, and was quickly followed by his great work Britannia, a topographical and historical survey of all of Great Britain and Ireland.
Camden wanted to ‘restore antiquity to Britaine, and Britaine to its antiquity‘. In Britannia, Camden describes the country as it was at that time, but through landscape and geography and in other ways, he traces the links to the past, especially to Roman Britain.
It is remarkable that this was the first book to include a full set of English county maps. Camden continued to update and revise Britannia, and travelled widely across the country to view places, documents and materials.
A later occupant of Camden Place, from 1871 until his death there in 1873, was the exiled French Emperor, Napoleon III.
The Emperor’s widow, the Empress Eugénie, remained at Camden Place until 1885.
The Walsingham family, including Christopher Marlowe’s patron, Sir Thomas Walsingham and Queen Elizabeth I’s spymaster, Francis Walsingham, had a home in Scadbury Park, now a nature reserve in which the ruins of the house can still be seen.
Sir Francis Walsingham had a new understanding of the role of England as a maritime power in an increasingly global economy. He oversaw operations that penetrated Spanish military preparation, gathered intelligence from across Europe, disrupted a range of plots against Elizabeth and secured the execution of Mary Queen of Scots, so we will curse him for beheading that lovely woman, but bless him for sustaining her cousin Elizabeth.
Study goes into the building of character.
We are going to play at The Beaverwood Club in Chislehurst.
I’m looking forward to doing all these shows with Bex Marshall who has a great voice, a positive attitude and a scary good guitar style.
Setting a heading for another -hurst, Hawkhurst
Hawkhurst is a village in the borough of Tunbridge Wells, Kent and is, in reality, two villages. One, the older of the two, consists mainly of cottages clustered around a large triangular green known as The Moor, and the other, farther north on the main road, called Highgate is at a crossroads and is where the shops and hotels are.
The name Hawkhurst is derived from old English heafoc hyrst, meaning a wooded hill frequented by hawks (Hawk Wood).
Hurst (Hyrst) in a place name refers to a wood or wooded area. There are several -hursts in West Kent and East Sussex.
The 11th Century Domesday Monacorum (Domesday of the Monks) refers to the village as Hawkashyrst, belonging to Battle Abbey.
In 1254, the name was recorded as Hauekehurst. In 1278, it is often shown as Haukhurst; by 1610, it had changed to Hawkherst, which then evolved into the current spelling.
We’re going to play the Summer of Love in Hawkhurst, which is about six thousand miles and forty-seven years from the last place and time we played the Summer of Love.
The village of Hawkhurst lies on the route of a Roman road which crossed the Weald here.
The oldest known settlement in Hawkhurst was the Saxon manor of Congehurst, which was burnt by the Danes in 893 CE. There is still a lane of this name to the east of the village.
The village was located at the centre of the Wealden iron industry from Roman times. The Weald produced over a third of all iron in Britain, and over 180 iron sites have been found in the area.
Ironstone was taken from clay beds, then heated with charcoal from the abundant woods in the area. The iron was used to make everything from Roman ships to medieval cannon, and many of the Roman roads in the area were built in order to transport the iron.
William Penn, founder of the state of Pennsylvania, owned ironworks at Hawkhurst. The industry eventually declined during the industrial revolution of the 18th Century, when coal became the preferred method of heating, and could not be found nearby.
By 1745 it is estimated that 20,000 people were smuggling along the Kent and Sussex coast line. An infamous group, the Holkhourst Genge, terrorized the surrounding area between 1735 and 1749.
They were the most notorious of the Kent gangs, and were feared all along the south coast of England.
If you wake at midnight, and hear a horse’s feet, Don’t go drawing back the blind, or looking in the street, Them that ask no questions isn’t told a lie. Watch the wall my darling while the Gentlemen go by.
I once lived with a woman in Putney, Vermont, where she went to Wyndham College, eponym of Wyndham Hill Records.
In this London Putney, we will perform at The Half Moon.
Putney appears in the Domesday Book of 1086 as Putelei.
The Lord General hath caused a bridge to be built upon barges and lighters over the Thames between Fulham and Putney, to convey his army and artillery over into Surrey, to follow the king’s forces; and he hath ordered that forts shall be erected at each end thereof to guard it; but for the present the seamen, with long boats and shallops full of ordnance and musketeers, lie there upon the river to secure it. 1642
In 1720 Sir Robert Walpole was returning from seeing George I at Kingston and being in a hurry to get to the House of Commons rode together with his servant to Putney to take the ferry across to Fulham. The ferry boat was on the opposite side, however and the waterman, who was drinking in the Swan, ignored the calls of Sir Robert and his servant and they were obliged to take another route. Walpole vowed that a bridge would replace the ferry.
The first permanent bridge between Fulham and Putney was completed in 1729, and was the second bridge to be built across the Thames in London (after London Bridge).
That bridge was a wooden structure and lasted for 150 years, when in 1886 it was replaced by the stone bridge that stands today.
According to Samuel Pepys, Charles II and his brother, the Duke of York, used to run horses here. Charles II reviewed his forces on Putney Heath in 1684. In May 1767, George III reviewed the Guards, and the Surrey Volunteers at the same spot in 1799.
Putney Heath was for many years a noted rendezvous for highwaymen. In 1795, the notorious highwayman Jeremiah Abershaw was caught in the Green Man pub on the northside of the heath where Putney Hill meets Tibbet’s Ride. After execution his body was hung in chains on the heath as a warning to others.
And thus we take leave of Putney, one of the pleasantest of the London suburbs, as well as the most accessible. The immense increase in the number of houses in late years testifies to its popularity; but there is still an almost unlimited extent of open ground which cannot be covered; and with wood and water, common and hill, there will always be an element of freshness and openness in Putney seldom to be obtained so near London. The Fascinations of London, 1903 J. C. Geikie
We look forward to this trip. Thank you for reading.
Chthonic, from Greek χθόνιος – chthonios, “in, under, or beneath the earth”, from χθών – chthōn ”earth,” pertaining to the Earth.
Apart from its literal translation meaning ‘subterranean,’ the historical definition of χθών designates, or pertains to, deities or spirits of the underworld.
The Greek word χθών khthon is one of several for “earth.”
χθών typically refers to the interior of the soil, rather than the living surface of the land (as Gaia or Ge does) or the land as territory (as khora (χώρα) does). χθών evokes at once abundance and the grave.
There are connotations in the word χθών of mystery and secrecy.
The Oxford English Dictionary tells us that the first two letters in the word χθών should be pronounced (as /k/), but the American Heritage Dictionary considers these letters as silent, /ˈθɒnɪk/. I would defer to the OED here, although I pronounce the ‘ch’ as a heavy breath sound. HTHonic. The way Scottish people pronounce loch, or how Germans say Ach!
The modern pronunciation of the Greek word “χθόνιος” is [ˈxθonios], although the Classical Greek pronunciation would have been [kʰtʰónios].
The words khthonie and khthonios, related to χθών, have a precise and technical meaning and they refer primarily to the manner, the way of offering sacrifices to the chthonic deity.
Some chthonic cults practiced ritual sacrifice at night time.
When a living creature was to be sacrificed, the animal was placed in a bothros (“pit”) or megaron (“sunken chamber”).
In other chthonic cults, the animal was sacrificed on a raised bomos (altar).
Offerings usually were burned whole or buried rather than being cooked and shared among the worshippers.
The chthonic deities were gods of fertility.
Demeter and Persephone both watched over aspects of the fertility of land, yet Demeter had a typically Olympian cult while Persephone had a chthonic one.
The ideas of Olympian and chthonic were not completely separate.
Some Olympian deities, such as Hermes and Zeus, also received chthonic sacrifices.
Heracles and Asclepius, for example, might be worshipped as gods or chthonic heroes, depending on the site and the time of origin of the myth.
And Hecate was usually offered young dogs at crossroads, a practice neither typical of an Olympian sacrifice nor of a chthonic sacrifice to Persephone or the heroes.
The idea of the ‘crossroads’ has played a part in mythology for a long, long time.
A crossroads can be ”between the worlds,” a site where supernatural beings can be contacted and paranormal events can happen.
The crossroads can mean a locality where two realms touch and represent a threshold, a liminality, a place “neither here nor there”, “betwixt and between”.
In the Vodou tradition, Papa Legba is the Iwa of the crossroads.
In rootwork and hoodoo, forms of African American magic spirituality, one may wait at a crossroads to acquire an artistic skill, or a “luck” in gambling. This can happen at a certain number of times, either at midnight or just before dawn, and one will meet a “black man,” who could be the Devil, who will give one the desired skills.
In the United Kingdom, there was a tradition of burying criminals and suicides at the crossroads which often marked the boundaries of the settlement.
There was a desire to bury those outside of the law outside of the settlement. People thought that many roads would confuse the dead spirits.
Mandalas and medicine wheels, such as the Christian cross, for example, are metonyms of the crossroads.
So, a long time ago, Hecate of the crossroads was generally thought of as χθών chthonic, because of her underworld activities.
The term chthonic was often used in analytical psychology to describe the unconscious earthly impulses of the Self.
Carl Jung talks about the meaning of χθών in Man and his Symbols.
“Envy, lust, sensuality, deceit, and all known vices are the negative, ‘dark’ aspect of the unconscious, which can manifest itself in two ways. In the positive sense, it appears as a ‘spirit of nature’, creatively animating Man, things, and the world. It is the ‘chthonic spirit’ that has been mentioned so often in this chapter. In the negative sense, the unconscious (that same spirit) manifests itself as a spirit of evil, as a drive to destroy.”
Chthonic (χθών) also retains some of its very physical, concrete connotations today.
In geology, for example, the word allochthon is used describe a large block of rock which has been moved from its original site of formation, usually by low angle thrust faulting.
Allochthon from allo, other, and χθών, refers to the process of the land mass being moved under the earth and connecting two horizontally stacked décollements, thus “under the earth.”
The word humus is Latin for earth and it comes from this Greek χθών. Humus = χθών.
Humilis meant low, earthy in Latin, so the word humble is also related to χθών.
These dolls were made from the earth in Germany. They came from the χθών.
This word chthon χθών was reconstructed as *dhghem in the original Indo European.
Every heard about the mole men, who live underneath the ground in tunnels?
Or the mutant alligators and cockroaches who live in the sewers? Urban χθών legends?
These are examples of chthonic creatures: beings who live under the surface of the earth, the χθών.
Chthonic beasts are more likely to be demons than angels.
Many mythologies feature chthonic creatures. Elise Wainani Piliwale comes from the χθών of Hawaii.
This sweet looking maypole has an origin far back in the mists of time when it was a link to the χθών, to the underworld.
Oh, those creatures who go bump in the night. They scare you so much and give you a fright.
Words branch out very quickly, just the way family trees do, and one word can become related to many words in many different languages with many different meanings. So it is with χθών. This word for earth has come to be the mother of many other meanings.
χθών is related to Latin homo, human. Remember that Adam was made from the dust, from the earth. Adam meant man in Hebrew as homo means human in Latin.
χθών is related to gamos in Greek which is marriage (bigamy, polygamy).
And so to groom (bridegroom) which in German is Breutigam.
Old English <brydguma> is related to the earth, to χθών.
The first letter χ of χθών became a G in later languages. The χ and the G are articulated in the same part of the mouth, the palate. They are virtually the same sound but one, the χ is not voiced and the other, the G is. So, the two sounds are very closely related.
It’s much like two people in the same family who resemble each other.
Words can begin with the same sounds and then diverge over a couple of generations. Bear (to carry a load in English) and fero (same meaning in Latin) were once exactly the same.
Allochtoon (plural: allochtonen) is a Dutch word (from Greek ἀλλόχθων, from ἄλλος (allos), other, and χθών (chthōn) earth/land), literally meaning “originating from another country,” from another earth. This is the word the Dutch use for “immigrant.”
It is the opposite of the word autochtoon (in English, “autochthonous” or “autochthone”) This Dutch word is derived from Greek αὐτόχθων, from αὐτός (autos), self and again χθών), literally meaning “originating from this country”.
In the Netherlands (and Flanders), the term allochtoon is widely used to refer to immigrants and their descendants.
Officially the term allochtoon is much more specific and refers to anyone who had at least one parent born outside the Netherlands.
Hence, third-generation immigrants are no longer considered allochtoon.
The antonym autochtoon (autochthonous) is less widely used, but it roughly corresponds to ethnic Dutch, you know, white people.
Among a number of immigrant groups living in the Netherlands, a “Dutch” person (though the immigrants themselves be Dutch citizens) usually refers to the ethnic Dutch.
In the 1950s, Dutch descent, Dutch nationality, and Dutch citizenship were in practice identical.
Dutch society almost exclusively consisted of ethnic Dutch and ethnic Frisans, with some colonial influences, and most Dutch were either Catholic, Protestant or atheists.
Decolonization and immigration from the 1960s to the present has altered the ethnic and religious composition of the country. This development has made the ‘ethnicity’ and national identity of the Dutch a political issue.
Dutch nationality law is based primarily on the principle of jus sanguinis (“right of blood”). In other words, citizenship is conferred primarily by birth to a Dutch parent, irrespective of place of birth.
A first-generation allochtoon is a person living in the Netherlands but born in a foreign country and who has at least one parent also born abroad. The ‘country of origin’ is the country in which that person is born.
A second-generation allochtoon is a person born in the Netherlands with at least one parent born in a foreign country. When both parents are born abroad, the ‘country of origin’ is taken to be that of the mother. If one parent was born in the Netherlands, the ‘country of origin’ the other parent’s country of birth.
Note that someone who is born abroad, but with both parents born in the Netherlands, is an autochtoon. Again, this chtoon is from χθόνιος, the Greek for ‘under the earth, of the earth.’ So, we are talking here about someone who is autochthonous according to Dutch law.
A further distinction is made between “Western” and “non-Western” allochtoon people, the black, the brown and the white.
A non-Western allochtoon is someone whose ‘country of origin’ is or lies in Turkey, Africa, Latin America and Asia, with the exception of Indonesia (or the former Dutch East Indies) and Japan.
This last distinction was made because the official definition of allochtoon deviates from the common use in popular speech, where people refer to someone as allochtoon only when that person is an immigrant or an asylum seeker who is clearly distinct in ethnicity, clothing or behavior from the traditional Dutch society.
In the official and strictest sense, the largest group of allochtoon people are of German ancestry.
The groups that people usually think of when they hear the word allochtoon are those of Turkish, Moroccan or Surinamese ancestry.
As of 2006, these groups comprise roughly 350,000 people each, together constituting just over 6% of the population.
So a new term was introduced that lies closer to that meaning, “niet-westers allochtoon“, which excludes allochtoon people from Europe, Japan (a developed high income country) and Indonesia (a former colony), but not those from the Netherlands Antilles and Suriname, even though the Netherlands Antilles are part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and those from Suriname immigrated when that country was still part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
This definition coincides better with the popular conception of the word allochtoon as signifying people of low socio-economic status who are “different from us”.
Although some Dutch people view the usage of allochtoon as a stigma, several members of the Dutch Royal Family are officially allochtoon people, as one of the parents was foreign-born.
There is a regular stream of newspaper articles reporting statistics that unfavorably distinguish allochtoon people from the rest of the Dutch.
In 2013, the city council of Amsterdam decided to stop using the term allochtoon because of its divisive effect
Chthonic – kθɒnɪk – comes from the Greek word χθόνιος – chthonios which means “in, under, or beneath the earth”, from χθών – chthōn “earth,” pertaining to the Earth.
754 BCE – The very early Greek settlement of Cuma is about 4 kilometers from Baia, Italy. Cuma was traditionally founded at this date (Pithecusa – modern Ischia – had been occupied by Greeks some time earlier).
700-600 BCE – The Greeks began to localize places where an actual descent to the underworld might be made through navels (omphalos) in the ground. In the seventh century BCE these were sought around the Ionian Sea, and in the sixth century BCE the omphalos navels were looked for in Southern Italy.
Circa 600 BCE: According to Strabo, citing Ephorus, Lake Avernus was the site of the descent to the underworld, where the oracle of the dead existed. This was destroyed by a King of Cumae and afterwards this omphalos χθόνιος was restored elsewhere.
Circa 550 BCE: Orphic mystery cults appear. In the second half of the sixth century BCE, Greece underwent a religious rift. A new concept of humans having souls became widespread and there was a reaction against the Olympian and heroic mythology and values which had rewritten the ancient stories
χθόνιος Chthonic cults, preserved among the people in the countryside, were revived and given fresh meaning.
In March 2013 a team led by Francesco D’Andria, Professor of Classic Archaeology at the University of Salento, announced the discovery of a Plutonium or Gate to Hell in the Phrygian city of Hierapolis, now known as the city of Pamukkale, in southwestern Turkey.
The root word of khanti is ksha which it shares in common with kshama, and means soil, earth, dirt, ground, χθόνιος. It is a cognate of the Greek word chthon,as well as the Latin humus;which mean earth, soil. Related words include the Greek chamai, meaning on the ground; and the Latin homin or homo, meaning human.
Several English words have a common origin with χθών, χθόνιος including humus, humble / humiliate / humiliation / humility, exhume, homicide, hominid, homage, and human / humanism / humanity / humanitarian / humane.
Home might also be a cognate of χθόνιος, but by a different, more indirect root. It traces back through a German word to the Sanskrit word kshema, which means an inhabitable location, a place of peace and safety. The Sanskrit word shanti meaning peace, might also be related.
From Proto Indo European *dʰéǵʰōm. Cognates include Sanskrit क्ष (kṣa) and Ancient Greek χθών (khthōn). This word *dʰéǵʰōmis related to homo (“human being, man”). *dʰéǵʰōm became χθόνιος.
Russian: гумус (gumus) is also related to χθόνιος and, hence,*dʰéǵʰōm.
Humus has a Cyrillic spellingху́мус, which is also related toχθόνιος.
*dʰéǵʰōm= Dhghemon = person, all from the same Indo European root as that for chthon, χθόνιος.
Old English guma person comes from this same Indo European root.
Old Lithuanian zmuo person zmunents human, also from the same root as χθόνιος.
Celtic (Old Irish) duine person from dyn, also from dhghom-yo.
These words are all from the same mother, *dʰéǵʰōm the mother of χθόνιος.
Iranian (which is an Indo European language) has za zam zemo = earth = χθόνιος.
All these words in all these languages are from the same mother.
Another related word is Old Church Slavonic, zemi zemlja = earth = χθόνιος.
As is Old Prussian zeme = earth = χθόνιος.
Old Irish du = place Welsh dyn = man
Albanian dhe = earth
Tocharian tkam tkanis kem = earth
Hittite tekan tagnas = earth
I must again emphasize that these words are spread over great distances and great, long periods of time.
If you saw your own family over all that distance and time, you would be amazed at their differences too.
The reason many people have trouble accepting the idea of evolution is that they have very little understanding of the immense amount of time that we are talking about. All of these words, nearly all of them, have happened within historical time, and look how much they have differed that relatively short time.
Evolution has happened over four and a half BILLION years.
Four and a half thousand million years.
That is a long time. Longer than the mere writing of the number would suggest. An unimaginably long time.
Many fundamentalists of all stripes consider that THE CREATION happened six thousand years ago, that is, around four thousand years before the common era.
Six thousand years is the mere blink of an eye compared to four and a half thousand million years.
No wonder fundamentalists have difficulty comprehending the idea of evolution.
I hear generational differences in the pronunciation of English over my lifetime which is an infinitesimal seventy years (seventy-two, if you want to get technical).
People in their twenties pronounce the language differently from the way we do. Have you noticed?
It’s not the vocabulary that I’m talking about, although there is that too.
I can tell how old someone is just from their accent in English, and I am not talking about the age in their voice, but about their intonation, stress on the words, and especially the pronunciation of the vowels.
Just to take the most trivial and obvious difference, many young people accent their declarative sentences with a ? at the end.
As I say, this is an obvious example. There are many others, more subtle and more pervasive, but difficult to adduce, especially in writing.
So, that is one or two generations, where one can note changes in the language.
Over ten generations the differences will be quite glaring.
Over twenty generations, the language may well be a different language.
Let’s see, we are separated from Chaucer and his middle English by, oh, thirty generations (allowing twenty years per generation).
Most people today cannot understand Chaucer’s English without special training.
That’s thirty generations, which are nothing compared to the distance separating many of these cognates for ‘earth,’ χθόνιος.
ChthoniC is a band in Taiwan.
Metal musicians like the name because of its infernal underworld connotations. Fair enough.
Chthonic law is defined as a system of law centered on the sacred character of the cosmos.
According to Professor H. Patrick Glenn, the Chthonic legal tradition emerged through experience, orality and memory.
According to him it is the oldest of all traditions and can be understood as the law of a culture or tribe.
Dr. Glenn refers to the laws of indigenous people as he believes these people are in close harmony to earth, to theχθόνιος
At a broader level chthonic law is used with reference to any law which is a part of the custom or tradition of the people and in this regard is distinguishable from the traditional definition of law.
Some authors believe that modern law has evolved from a scientific comparison of different Chthonic legal traditions.
It is studied as a part of pluralism of law.
Although Chthonic law appears susceptible to confusion, any potential confusion is removed by preserving what’s important to the law over thousands of years.
Transmission of the χθόνιος law takes place with oral tradition and memory over the ages.
Chthonic law has a communal basis and aims to promote consensus.
When dissent arises about chthonic law, new rules and traditions are generated.
Although law of the χθόνιος does not lend itself to complexity, complex institutions such as councils of elders are present, and hence the highest authority is the council of elders.
Dispute resolution is believed to be neither confusing nor alienating.
The importance of an individual in this χθόνιος law depends on his or her knowledge of traditions and culture and hence elders are valued.
We’re down to the last 6 days of our Kickstarter campaign becoming a reality but we still need your help. It can be hard to find the money, especially if you’re planning on giving to a charity (though means like https://charity.gofundme.com/c/giving-tuesday, as an example), but if you can we would be very thankful if you would! As a thank you for all of the help and support you’ve given us on this project, we’d like to let you know that if we reach our goal through your pledges that we will put your names into a drawing and one lucky winner will receive a personal 15 minute phone call directly from Sam Andrew (myself) of Big Brother and The Holding Company. This will be a one on one call where you can talk to me personally. This could be your chance to ask me that question you’ve always wondered about, memories of a show, or even find out what I’ve been up to. The winner can also have the option of choosing someone else to receive the phone call so if you are the lucky winner, this could end up being a great gift to that fan in your life.
So if you’ve been on the fence about pledging, this may be that one thing that sways you to pledge today and help us get our music out to the world!
*Rules/Disclaimer: This contest is open to those that have successfully pledged to the Kickstarter campaign (http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1165109300/andrew-davies-nieves-and-wall-coast-to-coast) and the Kickstarter campaign has successfully reached its goal of $8500 or more for this prize to be awarded. The drawing will take place within 14 days of the end of the Kickstarter campaign and the winner will be announced and messaged so that the call with Sam Andrew (me) can be coordinated.
El español is the first language spoken in twenty countries around the world.
Mandarin Chinese has the most native speakers. Does it surprise you that Spanish has the second most native speakers on the planet? Between 470 and 500 million speak Spanish as a first language.
On the Internet el español is the third most commonly used language after English and Mandarin.
Spanish is the official language of Spain, the country after which it is named and where it originated, and is widely spoken in Gibraltar, although English is the official language there. It is also commonly spoken in Andorra, although Catalan is the Andorran official language. If you ever go to an event such as Competa feria, you’ll find that Spanish is the only language spoken by the natives.
Spanish is spoken in small communities in other European countries, such as the United Kingdom, France and Germany. While there are many people in countries like the UK that know basic spanish describing words, the number of natives that are fluent speakers is much lower. It is an official language of the European Union. Spanish is the native languageof 1.7% of the Swiss population, representing the largest minority after the 4 official languages of Switzerland.
Latin America has the most Spanish speakers. Of all the countries with a majority of Spanish speakers, only Spain and Equatorial Guinea are outside the Americas.
Mexico has the most native Spanish speakers of any country. Spanish is the official language—either in fact or by law—of Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, Uruguay and Venezuela.
English is the official language of Belize, but Spainish is spoken by 43% of the population there.
Trinidad, Tobago and Brazil have implemented Spanish language teaching into their education systems. In Brazil many border towns and villages (especially in the Uruguayan-Brazilian and Paraguayan-Brazilian border areas), have a mixed language known as Portuñol.
Spanish, also called castellano, is a Romance language that originated in Castilla (Castile), a region of Spain.
The Ibero-Romance group of languages evolved from several dialects of Latin in the land the Romans called Hispania after the collapse of the Western Roman Empire in the fifth century. It had definitely become a separate language by the ninth century CE and gradually spread with the expansion of the Kingdom of Castilla into central and southern Iberia.
The Spanish vocabulary was influenced by its contact with Basque and by other related Ibero-Romance languages and later absorbed many Arabic words during the seven hundred years that los Moros, the Moors, were in the Iberian Peninsula. Español also adopted many words from non-Iberian languages, particularly Occitan, French, Italian and Sardinian. In modern times, Spanish has adopted and adapted many English words.
Spanish is the most popular second language learned in the US. From the last decades of the 20th century, the study of Spanish as a foreign language has grown significantly, in part because of the growing populations and economies of many Spanish-speaking countries, and the growing international tourism in these countries.
Güero means ‘pale’ in Spanish, so it is a slang word (honky) for a gringo.Canelo means ‘cinnamon,’ and so el güero canelo means ‘cinnamon paleface,’ or, as we would say, ‘strawberry blonde,’ that is, a person with blonde hair tending to red. Sometimes if I see that a server in a coffeeshop is Hispanic, I order a güero doble (a double honky) instead of a double Americano. Sometimes they get it, and sometimes they don’t, but it’s really fun when they do.
Spanish is the most widely understood language in the Western Hemisphere, with significant populations of native Spanish speakers ranging from the tip of Patagonia to as far north as New York, Chicago and Toronto. Since the early 21st century, it has taken the place of French as the second-most-studied language and the second language in international communication, after English.
Spanish, or castellano, the language of the region of Castilla differs from Galician, Basque and Catalan. The Spanish Constitution of 1978 uses the term castellano for the official language of the whole Spanish State, in contrast to las demás lenguas españolas. Article III states:
El castellano es la lengua española oficial del Estado. (…) Las demás lenguas españolas serán también oficiales en las respectivas Comunidades Autónomas…
The Spanish Royal Academy on the other hand, currently uses the term español in its publications but from 1713 to 1923 called the language castellano.
The Diccionario panhispánico de dudas (a language guide published by the Spanish Royal Academy) states that, although the Spanish Royal Academy prefers to use the term español in its publications when referring to the Spanish language, both terms, español and castellano, are regarded as synonymous and equally valid.
The Spanish Royal Academy Dictionary posits two etymologies for the word español: it derives the term from the Provençal word espaignol, and that in turn from the Medieval Latin word Hispaniolus, ‘from—or pertaining to—Hispania’. Other authorities attribute it to a supposed medieval Latin term *hispani?ne, with the same meaning.
The Romans came to Hispania during the Second Punic war (wars with Carthage) beginning in 210 BCE. Previously, Paleohispanic languages not related to Latin were spoken in the Iberian Peninsula. These languages included Basque (still spoken today), Iberian and Celtiberian. Traces of these languages, especially Basque, can be found in the Spanish vocabulary today, mainly in place names.
The first documents (Glosas Elianenses) to record the language that became castellano or español are from the 9th century. The most important influence on the Spanish (Castilian) lexicon came from neighboring Navarro-Aragonese, Leonese, Aragonese, Catalan, Portuguese, Galician, Mirandese, Occitan, Gason and later French and Italian—but also from Basque, Arabic and to a lesser extent the Germanic languages. Many words were borrowed from Latin through the influence of written Latin and the liturgical language of the Church.
Vulgar Latin evolved into español in the north of Iberia, in an area defined by Álava, Cantabria, Burgos, Soria and La Rioja. The dialect was later brought to the city of Toledo, where the written standard of Spanish was first developed, in the 13th century.
Español (castellano) then developed a strongly differing variant from its close cousin, Leonese, and, according to some authors, was distinguished by a heavy Basque influence. This distinctive dialect progressively spread south with the advance of the Reconquista, and so gathered a sizable lexical influence from the Arabic of Andalusia, much of it indirectly, through the Romance Mozarabic dialects.
The written standard for this new language began to be developed in Toledo, in the 13th to 16th centuries, and Madrid, from the 1570s.
Luís Vaz de Camões is the poet of Portugal, so he comes from a place that is vacant on the Spanish map. I just like this drawing, and, not incidentally, his epic poem Os Lusíadas. I will write about Camões later in a web log about the Portuguese language.
The evolution of the sound system in español from Vulgar Latin is echoed by similar changes in other Western Romance languages, including lenition (softening) of intervocalic consonants (thus Latin v?ta ? Spanish vida).
The diphthongization of Latin stressed short e and o—which occurred in open syllables in French and Italian, but not at all in Catalan or Portuguese—is found in both open and closed syllables in Spanish, as shown in the following table:
piedra (or pyedra)
tierra (or tyerra)
Ladino is the Sephardic equivalent of Yiddish, and I will talk about this language/dialect later.
El español is marked by the palatalization of the Latin double consonants nn and ll (thus Latin annum ? Spanish año, and Latin anellum ? Spanish anillo).
The consonant written ?u? or ?v? in Latin and pronounced [w] in Classical Latin had probably become a bilabial fricative /?/ by the time of Vulgar Latin.
In early español (but not in Catalan or Portuguese) /?/ merged with the consonant written ?b? (a bilabial with plosive and fricative allophones). In modern español, there is no difference between the pronunciation of orthographic ?b? and ?v?.
I once photographed a door in Mexico that had many graffiti with misspelled words that were fascinating. The most common misspellings were those which confused b and v and between z and s. ’La bida es sueño.’ ‘Ben conmigo.’ Or, consider this inscription in New Mexico from almost three hundred years ago:
It says, “Por aqui pazó el Alfexes Joseph de Payba Basconzelos el añ0 que tuyo el Cauildo del Reyno a su costa a 18 de feb, de 1726 =
In today’s Spanish, this would be: Por aqui pasó el Alférez José de Payba Basconzelos (Vasconcelos) el año que tuvo el Cauildo del Reino a su costa a 18 de febrero, 1726.
And the English would be something like: By here passed Second Lieutenant Joseph de Payba Vasoncelos, the year that he had the Council of the Kingdom at his cost on 18 February 1726.
An alférez is a second lieutenant, a subaltern, an ensign (in the navy). It’s the first rank that an officer achieves. The Spanish word was derived from the Arabic ?????? (al-f?ris), meaning “horseman” or “knight” or “cavalier”. I remember how proud I was when my father became a second lieutenant.
The initial Latin f- into h- came whenever it was followed by a vowel that did not diphthongize.
The h-, still preserved in spelling, is now silent in most varieties of the language, although in some Andalusian and Caribbean dialects it is still aspirated in some words.
This is the reason why there are modern spelling variants Fernando and Hernando (both Spanish for “Ferdinand”), ferrero and herrero (both Spanish for “smith”), fierro and hierro (both Spanish for “iron”), and fondo and hondo (both Spanish for “deep”, but fondo means “bottom” while hondo means “deep”).
Hacer (Spanish of “to make”) is the root word of satisfacer (Spanish of “to satisfy”), and hecho (“made”) is the root word of satisfecho (Spanish of “satisfied”). In Latin hacer was facere, to do, to make.
In the 15th and 16th centuries, español underwent a dramatic change in the pronunciation of its sibilant consonants known in Spanish as the reajuste de las sibilantes, which resulted in the distinctive velar [x] pronunciation of the letter ?j? and—in a large part of Spain—the characteristic interdental [?] (“th-sound”) for the letter ?z? (and for ?c? before ?e? or ?i?). Thinko thentavos. What cinco centavos sounds like in castellano.
The Gramática de la lengua castellano written in Salamanca in 1492 by Elio Antonio de Nebrija was the first grammar written for a modern European language.
Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, author of Don Quixote, is so well known that castellano is often called la lengua de Cervantes.
In the twentieth century, Spanish was introduced to Equatorial Guinea, the Western Sahara and to areas of the United States that had not been part of the Spanish empire, such as Spanish Harlem.
Spanish is an inflected language, with two genders and about fifty conjugated forms per verb. People often choose español in school because they consider it an ‘easy’ language, and only find out later that the verb system is more involved than, say, French or German or Italian. There is actually a preterite subjunctive form that is routinely used in Spanish (Yo quisiera, hubiera) that has long disappeared from French.
The syntax in castellano is often termed right-branching, meaning that subordinate or modifying constituents (such as adjectives) tend to be placed after their head words.
The language uses prepositions (rather than postpositions or inflection of nouns) for case, and usually—though not always—places adjectives after nouns, as do most other Romance languages.
Español is generally a subject verb object language although variations are common, and it allows the deletion of subject pronouns when they are unnecessary because of the verb ending, which is most of the time.
Spanish is a “verb-framed” language, meaning that the direction of motion is expressed in the verb while the mode of locomotion is expressed adverbially (subir corriendo or salir volando). English is ”satellite-framed,” that is, the English equivalents of these examples—’to run up’ and ‘to fly out’ have the mode of locomotion expressed in the verb and the direction in an adverbial modifier).
Subject/verb inversion is not required in questions, and thus the recognition of a declarative or an interrogative phrase may depend entirely on intonation.
The sounds of castellano consist of five vowel phonemes (/a/, /e/, /i/, /o/, /u/) and 17 to 19 consonant phonemes (the exact number depending on the dialect).
The main allophonic variation among vowels is the reduction of the high vowels /i/ and /u/ to glides—[j] and [w] respectively—when unstressed and adjacent to another vowel.
Mid vowels /e/ and /o/, determined lexically, alternate with the diphthongs [je]and [we] respectively when stressed, in a process that is better described as morphophonemic rather than phonological.
The consonant phonemes, /?/ and /?/ are often marked with an asterisk (*) to indicate that they are preserved only in some dialects. In most dialects they have been merged, respectively, with /s/ and /?/, in the mergers called, respectively, seseo and yeísmo.
The phoneme /?/ is in often put in parentheses () to indicate that it appears only in words borrowed from another language.
The letters ?v? and ?b? normally represent the same phoneme, /b/, which is realized as [b] after a nasal consonant or a pause, and as [?] elsewhere, as in ambos [?ambos] (‘both’) envío [em?bi.o] (‘I send’), acabar [aka??a?] (‘to finish’) and mover [mo??e?] (‘to move’).
The Royal Spanish Academy considers the /v/ pronunciation for the letter ?v? to be incorrect and even affected.
Some Spanish speakers maintain the pronunciation of the /v/ sound as it is in other western European languages. The sound /v/ is used for the letter ?v? in Spanish by a few second-language speakers in Spain whose native language is Catalan, in the Balneares, around Valencia, and in southern Catalunya.
In the US the pronunciation of the /v/ sound is also common because of the influence of English phonology, and the /v/ is also occasionally used in Mexico. Some parts of Central America also use /v/, which the Royal Academy attributes to the proximity of local indigenous languages.
The /v/ pronunciation was uncommon, but considered correct well into the twentieth century in Spain.
The Spanish rhythm is a syllable-timed language meaning that each syllable has approximately the same duration regardless of stress.
The tuning or intonation of español varies significantly according to dialect, but generally conforms to a pattern of falling tone for declarative sentences and wh-questions (who, what, why, etc.), and rising tone for yes/no questions.
There are no syntactic markers to distinguish between questions and statements, and thus the recognition of declarative or interrogative depends entirely on intonation.
Stress most often occurs on any of the last three syllables of a word, with some rare exceptions at the fourth-last or earlier syllables.
In words that end with a vowel, stress most often falls on the penultimate syllable.
In words that end with a consonant, stress most often falls on the last syllable, with the following exceptions: The grammatical endings -n (for third-person-plural of verbs) and -s (whether for plural of nouns and adjectives or for second-person-singular of verbs) do not change the location of stress. Thus regular verbs ending with -n and the great majority of words ending with -s are stressed on the penult. Although a significant number of nouns and adjectives ending with -n are also stressed on the penult (e.g. joven, virgen, mitin), the great majority of nouns and adjectives ending with -n are stressed on their last syllable (e.g. capitán, almacén, jardín, corazón).
Preantepenultimate stress (stress on the fourth-to-last syllable) occurs rarely, and only on verbs with clitic pronouns attached (guardándoselos ’saving them for him/her/them’).
There are numerous minimal pairs which contrast solely on stress such as sábana (‘sheet’) and sabana (‘savannah’), as well as límite (‘boundary’), limite (‘[that] he/she limits’) and limité (‘I limited’), or also líquido (‘liquid’), liquido (‘I sell off’) and liquidó (‘he/she sold off’).
As of 2006, 44.3 million people of the U.S. population were Hispanic by origin, and 38.3 million people, 13 percent, of the population more than five years old speak Spanish at home.
The Spanish language has a long history in the United States due to Spanish and later, Mexican administration over territories in the southwest of the US as well as Florida which was Spanish until 1821.
Spanish is by far the most widely taught second language in the US, and with over 50 million total speakers, the United States is now the second largest Spanish-speaking country in the world after Mexico.
English is, of course the official language of the US, but Spanish is often used in public services and notices at the federal and state levels.
Spanish is used in administration in the state of New Mexico, and has a strong influence in major metropolitan areas such as Los Angeles, Miami, San Antonio, New York, San Francisco, Dallas, Phoenix, and, really, everywhere. Chicago, Las Vegas, Boston, Houston, Baltimore-Washingont, D.C., all due to 20th and 21st century immigration patterns.
Spanish is the official in in Equatorial Guinea, and is the predominant language when native and non-native speakers (around 500,000 people) are counted, while Fang is the most spoken language by number of native speakers there.
In Western Sahara, a former Spanish colony, an unknown number of Sahrawis are able to read and write in Spanish.
The Sawrawi Press Service, official news service of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic of Western Sahara, has been available in Spanish since 2001, and RASD TV, the official television channel of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, has a website available in Spanish.
Western Sahara’s only film festival, The Sahara International Film Festival, is largely funded by Spanish donors and Spanish films are popular.
There is a Spanish literature community among the Sahrawi people, but the Cervantes Institute has denied support and Spanish-language education to Sahrawis in Western Sahara and the Sahrawi refugee camps in Algeria.
A group of Sahrawi poets known as Generación de la Amistad saharaui produces Sahrawi literature in Spanish.
The integral territories of Spain in North Africa, which include Ceuta and Melilla, the Plazas de soberanía and the Canary Islands archipelago located just off the northwest coast of mainland Africa have many Spanish speakers.
Morocco is quite close to Spain, of course, and approximately 20,000 people there speak Spanish as a second language, while Arabic is the legal official language and French is widely spoken.
A small number of Moroccan Jews also speak the Sephardic Spanish dialect Haketia (related to the Ladino dialect spoken in Israel).
Spanish is spoken by some communities in Angola because of the Cuban influence from the Cold War and in the south of Sudan among South Sudanese natives that relocated to Cuba during the Sudanese wars and returned in time for their country’s independence.
There are important variations— phonological, grammatical and lexical—in the spoken Spanish of the various regions of Spain and throughout the Spanish-speaking areas of the Americas.
The variety of español with the most speakers is Mexican Spanish which is spoken by more than twenty percent of the world’s Spanish speakers. One of its main features is the reduction or loss of unstressed vowels, mainly when they are in contact with the sound /s/.
In Spain, northern dialects are popularly thought of as closer to the standard, although positive attitudes toward southern dialects have increased significantly in the last 50 years.
The speech of Madrid, which has typically southern features such as yeísmo and s-aspiration, is the standard variety for use on radio and television, and is the variety that has most influenced the written standard for Spanish.
The phoneme /?/ (spelled ?z?, or ?c? before ?e? or ?i?)—a voiceless dental fricative as in English thing—is maintained in northern and central Spain, but is merged with the sibilant /s/ in southern Spain, the Canary Islands, and all of Latin-American Spanish. A person from the north of Spain says thielos (cielos ‘heavens’) but in the south of Spain and in South America, they say sielos.
This merger (/?/ to s) is called seseo in Spanish. The phoneme /?/ (spelled ?ll?)—a palatal lateral consonant sometimes compared in sound to the lli of English million—tends to be maintained in less-urbanized areas of northern Spain and in highland areas of South America, but in the speech of most other Spanish-speakers it is merged with /?/ (“curly-tail j“)—a non-lateral, usually voiced, usually fricative, palatal consonant—sometimes compared to English /j/ (yod) as in yacht, and spelled y in Spanish. This merger is called yeísmo in Spanish. And the debuccalization (pronunciation as [h], or loss) of syllable-final /s/ is associated with southern Spain, the Caribbean, and coastal areas of South America.
Almost all speakers of Spanish make the difference between a formal and a familiar second person singular, and so have two different pronouns meaning “you”: usted in the formal, and either tú or vos in the familiar (and each of these three pronouns has its associated verb forms), with the choice of tú or vos varying from one dialect to another.
The use of vos (and/or its verb forms) is called voseo. In a few dialects, all three pronouns are used—usted, tú, and vos—denoting respectively formality, familiarity, and intimacy.
In voseo, vos is the subject form (vos decís, “you say”) and the form for the object of a preposition (voy con vos, “I’m going with you”), while the direct and indirect object forms, and the possessive, are the same as those associated with tú: Vos sabés que tus amigos te respetan. ”Vos te acostaste con el tuerto.” ”Lugar que odio […] como te odio a vos.” ”No cerrés tus ojos.”
The verb forms of general voseo are the same as those used with tú except in the present tense (indicative and imperative) verbs.
The forms for vos generally can be derived from those of vosotros (the traditional second-person familiar plural) by deleting the glide /i?/, or /d/, where it appears in the ending: vosotros pensáis ? vos pensás; vosotros volvéis ? vos volvés, pensad! (vosotros) ? pensá! (vos), volved! (vosotros) ? volvé!
The use of the pronoun vos with the verb forms of tú (e.g. vos piensas) is called “pronominal voseo“. And conversely, the use of the verb forms of vos with the pronoun tú (e.g. tú pensásor tú pensái) is called “verbal voseo“.
In Chile, for example, verbal voseo is much more common than the actual use of the pronoun vos which is often reserved for deeply informal situations.
Although vos is not used in Spain, it occurs in many Spanish-speaking regions of the Americas as the principal spoken form of the second-person singular familiar pronoun, although with wide differences in social consideration.
It can be said that there are zones of exclusive use of tuteo in the following areas: almost all of Mexico, the West Indies, Panama, most of Peru and Venezuela, coastal Ecuador and the Caribbean coast of Colombia.
Tuteo (the use of tú) as a cultured form alternates with voseo as a popular or rural form in Bolivia, in the north and south of Peru, in Andean Ecuador, in small zones of the Venezuelan Andes (and most notably in the Venezuelan state of Zulia), and in a large part of Colombia. Some researchers claim that voseo can be heard in some parts of eastern Cuba, while others assert that it is absent from the island.
In Chile, tuteo is used as the second-person pronoun with an intermediate degree of formality alongside the more familiar voseo. This is also the case in the Venezuelan state of Zulia, on the Caribbean coast of Colombia(Monteria, Sincelejo, Cartagena, Barranquilla, Riohacha and Valledupar), in the Azuero Peninsula in Panama, in the Mexican state of Chiapas, and in parts of Guatemala.
Areas of generalized voseo include Argentina, Costa Rica, eastern Bolivia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Uruguay and the Colombian departments of Antioquia (the second largest in population), Caldas, Risaralda, Quindio, and parts of The Valle del Cauca department.
Ustedes serves as the formal and informal second person plural in over 90% of the Spanish-speaking world, including all of Latin America, the Canary Islands, and some regions of Andalusia.
In Sevilla, Cádiz and other parts of western Andalusia, the familiar form is constructed as ustedes vais, using the traditional second-person plural form of the verb. Most of Spain maintains the formal/familiar division with ustedes and vosotros respectively.
Usted is the usual second-person singular pronoun in a formal context, used to convey respect toward someone who is a generation older or is of higher authority (“you, sir”/”you, ma’am”). It is also used in a familiar context by many speakers in Colombia and Costa Rica, and in parts of Ecuador and Panama, to the exclusion of tú or vos. This usage is sometimes called ustedeo in Spanish.
Once upon a time, when people wanted to be polite, they addressed each other as Vuestra Merced (Your Mercy or Your Grace). In time, Vuestra Merced became usted, and that is why usted takes the singular third person form of the verb. Usted trabaja.
In Central America, especially in Honduras, usted is often used as a formal pronoun to convey respect between the members of a romantic couple. Usted is also used in this way, as well as between parents and children, in the Andean regions of Ecuador, Colombia and Venezuela.
The Real Academia Española prefers the pronouns lo and la for direct objects (masculine and feminine respectively, regardless of animacy, meaning “him”, “her”, or “it”), and le for indirect objects (regardless of gender or animacy, meaning “to him”, “to her”, or “to it”). This usage is sometimes called “etymological”, as these direct and indirect object pronouns are a continuation, respectively, of the accusative and dative pronouns of Latin, the mother language of Spanish.
Most speakers adhere to the tradition, and deviations from this norm (more common in Spain than in the Americas) are called leísmo, loísmo or laísmo, according to which respective pronoun—le, lo, or la—has expanded beyond the etymological usage (that is, the use of le as a direct object, or lo or la as an indirect object).
Vocabulary can differ, sometimes radically, in different Spanish speaking countries. Most Spanish speakers can recognize other Spanish forms, even in places where they are not commonly used, but Spaniards generally do not recognize specifically American usages. For example, Spanish mantequilla, aguacate and albaricoque (respectively, ‘butter’, ‘avocado’, ‘apricot’) correspond to manteca, palta, and damasco, respectively, in Argentina, Chile (except manteca), Paraguay, Peru (except manteca and damasco), and Uruguay.
The words coger (‘to take’), pisar (‘to step on’) and concha (‘seashell’) are considered extremely rude in parts of Latin America, where the meaning of coger and pisar is also “to have sex” and concha means “vulva”.
The Puerto Rican word for “bobby pin” (pinche) is an obscenity in Mexico, but in Nicaragua it simply means “stingy”, and in Spain refers to a chef’s helper.
The last big earthquake in Mexico was on a Thursday, and there was a joke about Plácido Domingo who happened to be in the country at that time. Plácido Domingo means ‘calm Sunday’ and the joke was that after the quake he had changed his name to Pinche Jueves (‘Fuck Thursday’).
Taco means “swearword” (among other things) in Spain, “traffic jam” in Chile and “heels” (shoe) in Argentina and Peru, but is known to the rest of the world as a Mexican dish.
Pija in many countries of Latin America and Spain itself is a slang word for “penis”, while in Spain the word also signifies “posh girl” or “snobby”.
Coche, which means “car” in Spain, central Mexico and Argentina, for the vast majority of Spanish-speakers actually means “baby-stroller” or “pushchair”, while carro means “car” in some Latin American countries and “cart” in others, as well as in Spain.
Papaya is the slang term for “vagina” in parts of Cuba and Venezuela, where the fruit is instead called fruta bomba and lechosa, respectively.
In Argentina, one says “piña” when talking about ‘punching’ someone, whereas in other countries, “piña” refers to a pineapple.
Although Portuguese and Spanish are very closely related, particularly in vocabulary (89% lexically similar according to the Ethnologue of Languages), syntax and grammar, there are some differences that don’t exist between Catalan and Portuguese.
Spanish and Portuguese are widely considered to be mutually intelligible. However most Portuguese speakers can understand spoken Spanish with little difficulty, but Spanish speakers face more difficulty in understanding spoken Portuguese. The written forms are considered to be mutually intelligible.
Ladino, also known as Judaeo-Spanish, is essentially medieval Spanish and closer to modern Spanish than any other language, is spoken by many descendants of the Sephardim who were driven out of Spain in the fifteenth century.
Ladino is to Spanish as Yiddish is to German.
Ladino speakers are currently almost exclusively Sephardic Jews, with family roots in Turkey, Greece or the Balkans. Most Ladino speakers now live in Israel and Turkey, and the United States, with a few pockets in Latin America.
Ladino lacks many of the words that came into Spanish from the Americas during the colonial period, and it retains many archaic features which have since been lost in standard Spanish. It contains, however, other vocabulary which is not found in standard Spanish, including vocabulary from Hebrew, French, Greek and Turkish, and other languages spoken where the Sephardim settled.
Judaeo-Spanish is in danger of extinction because many native speakers today are elderly olim (immigrants to Israel) who have not transmitted the language to their children or grandchildren. However, Ladino is experiencing a minor revival among Sephardic communities, especially in music. In the case of the Latin American communities, the danger of extinction is also due to the risk of assimilation by modern Castilian.
Haketia, the Judaeo-Spanish of northern Morocco is related to Ladino. This language also tended to assimilate with modern Spanish, during the Spanish occupation of the region.
Ladino is also known as Judezmo, Dzhudezmo, or Spaniolit. In Amsterdam, England and Italy, those Jews who continued to speak ‘Ladino’ were in constant contact with Spain and therefore they basically continued to speak the Castilian Spanish of the time.
In the Sephardic communities of the Ottoman Empire, however, Ladino not only retained the older forms of Spanish, but borrowed so many words from Hebrew, Arabic, Greek, Turkish, and even French, that it became more and more distant from standard Spanish. Ladino was nowhere near as diverse as the various forms of Yiddish, but there were still two different dialects, which corresponded to the different origins of the speakers.
‘Oriental’ Ladino was spoken in Turkey and Rhodes and reflected Castilian Spanish, whereas ‘Western’ Ladino was spoken in Greece, Macedonia, Bosnia, Serbia and Romania, and preserved the characteristics of northern Spanish and Portuguese.
The vocabulary of Ladino includes hundreds of archaic Spanish words which have disappeared from modern day Spanish, and also includes many words from different languages that have been substituted for the original Spanish word, from the various places Ladino speaking Jews settled.
These foreign words derive mainly from Hebrew, Arabic, Turkish, Greek, French, and to a lesser extent from Portuguese and Italian.
Ladino was written in the Hebrew alphabet, in Rashi script, or in Solitro, a cursive method of writting letters.
It was only in the 20th century that Ladino was written using the Latin alphabet.
What is known as ‘rashi script’ was originally a Ladino script which became used centuries after Rashi’s death in printed books to differentiate Rashi’s commentary from the text of the Torah.
Ladino has been spoken in North Africa, Egypt, Greece, Turkey, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Romania, France, Israel, and, to a lesser extent, in the United States (the highest populations being in Seattle, Los Angeles, New York, and south Florida) and Latin America.
By the beginning of this century, with the spread of compulsory education in the language of the land, Ladino began to disintegrate. Emigration to Israel from the Balkans hastened the decline of Ladino in Eastern Europe and Turkey.
Israel is now the country with the greatest number of Ladino speakers, with about 200,000 people who still speak or understand the language, but even they only know a very limited and basic Ladino.
Here is an example of Ladino. Can you read it? Rika nasio en Estanbol, serka de la Kula de Galata, una parte de la sivdad ande biviyan los desandantes de akeyos espanyoles djudios a ken un sultan jeneroso aviya dado refujio debasho del kresiente turko, avriendoles las puertas i los brasos, kon las palavras historikas: “Los ke los mandan piedren, i yo gano”
This is what it would be in Spanish: Rika nació en Istanbul, cerca de la Kula de Galata, una parte de la ciudad donde vivían los descendientes de aquellos españoles judíos a quien un sultan generoso había dado refúgio debajo del crescente turco, abriéndoles las puertas y los brazos, con las palabras históricas: “Los que los preguntan ayuda, y yo gano.”
Rika was born in Istanbul, near the Kula of Galata, a part of the city where the descendants of those Spanish Jews lived, to whom a generous sultan had given refuge under the Turkish crescent, opening to them their doors and arms, with the historic words: ”Those that ask help, help them and we win.”
Su nombre era Ester, komo la reyna, i su tipo korrespondiya al ke descrive la Biblia: Brunika kon ojos pretos i kaveyos frizados. En el serklo familiar, la yamavan Esterika, i finalmente Rika.
Su nombre era Ester, como la reina, y su tipo correspondía al que describe la Biblía: Morena con ojos prietos y cabellos frisados. En el cerclo familiar, la llamában Esterika, y finalmente Rika.
Many of these spellings in Ladino look like the misspellings I saw so long ago on that bathroom door in Mexico. And they look like spellings that people use on iPhones and Facebook today, especially the k for que.
At least to judge by those examples above, Ladino is really Spanish and very little Hebrew, just as Yiddish is really German and very little Hebrew. I know almost no Hebrew and yet can read Yiddish and Ladino if they are written in a Roman alphabet.
Upon leaving Spain, whole communities of Jews headed east through Italy to the lands of the Ottoman Empire at the invitation of Sultan Bayazid.
Important centers for Ladino speakers, which survived until the Second World War, grew in present-day Turkey, Greece, Israel, and Egypt, with smaller ones in Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Romania, and the island of Rhodes. Their speech is described by linguists as eastern Judaeo Spanish.
For a century or so prior to the Expulsion, persecuted Spanish Jews also found shelter in North Africa, and speech communities grew along the northern coast of Morocco.
The speech of this region, which bears a marked resemblance to its eastern counterpart both phonetically and in the retention of Old Spanish lexemes, is denominated western.
Spanyol is perhaps the most commonly used name for their language among speakers of Ladino, with its unmistakable reference to their linguistic and cultural origins.
The widespread use of the term Spanyol is confirmed by the Modern Hebrew coinage Spanyolit (Spanyol + Heb. suffix for forming language names), the name by which the language was referred to until quite recently in Israel.
Ladino, probably the earliest attested name, has the widest currency today, and certainly so in Israel where the largest speech-communities in the modern world are to be found.
The names Judezmo and Judió/Jidió, which are registered in some 19th- and early 20th-century communal publications, clearly have the function of underlining a Jewish identification among speakers.
Judezmo is the Spanish word for “Judaism”, and, for this reason, is used by certain scholars today who wish, on ideological grounds, to draw a semantic equation between Judezmo and Yiddish.
It seems rather late in the day to rename the language. Faced by this terminological plurality, scholarship has generally opted for the more descriptive and neutral “Judeo-Spanish.”
In the western Mediterranean, the language is frequently referred to as hakitia or Haketia (formed on Moroccan Arabic haka “to converse” + diminutive suffix), although it is interesting to note that with the renewed impact of Modern Spanish in this area in the 19th century, the term is reserved by speakers to describe an artificial language of humor which abounds in archaic forms of Spanish and Hispanicized Arabisms, or else to the language as spoken in some distant past.
Athough it is more similar to Modern Spanish than its eastern counterpart, Haketia continues to preserve many characteristic features of Judeo Spanish.
Up to the beginning of the 20th century the language was almost always written in Hebrew characters using the standard Hebrew alphabet with some modifications, mostly in the form of diacritical marks, to accommodate Hispanic phonemes.
The earliest texts appeared in “square” characters either with or without vowels, but the bulk of printed material is in a cursive (rabbinic) script. Some early manuscripts preserve a cursive script known as solitreo, which is still in use among native speakers in personal correspondence.
The best-known and most widely translated Judeo Spanish work of the post exilic period is the Me’am Lo’ez (1730), which was begun by Yaacov Khuli and continued over a long period, in series form, by a number of different authors writing under the same name.
A midrashic work, the Me’am Lo’ez is structured mainly on the Pentateuch and spans the sources of Jewish thought.
The beginning of the 19th century saw the growth of a secular literature, which was popular, for the most part, and included a sizable corpus of original compositions such as novels, short stories, plays, and popular histories as well as adaptations of major European novels of the period, where the impact of French on Judeo Spanish is significantly felt.
This growth of secular literature is also observed in the Judeo Spanish press which began to flourish in the eastern Mediterranean at the same time.
Only a small number of Judeo Spanish newspapers continues to appear today.
Spanyol, Ladino, Judeo Spanish, whatever y0u want to call the language, it is quickly disappearing, despite much interest in it.
This is the sort of paradox we see in the Celtic languages of Brittany, Cornwall, Ireland and Wales. Now that they are almost gone, people begin to realize what is being lost and there is a fierce, patriotic interest in them.
Amphibology (from the Greek ἀμφιβολία, amphibolia) is a phrase or sentence that is grammatically ambiguous, such as she sees more of her children than her husband.
A sentence or phrase (as “nothing is good enough for you”) that can be interpreted in more than one way.
Amphibology is syntactic ambiguity.
Syntactic ambiguity arises not from the range of meanings of single words, but from the relationship between the words and clauses of a sentence, and the sentence structure implied thereby. Thus, puns, being plays on single words, don’t really belong to the category amphibol0gy, but I will make free use of them below.
When a reader can reasonably interpret the same sentence as having more than one possible structure, the text meets the definition of amphibology.
In legal disputes, courts may be asked to interpret the meaning of syntactic ambiguities in statutes or contracts. In some instances, arguments asserting highly unlikely interpretations have been deemed frivolous.
A globally ambiguous sentence is one that has at least two distinct interpretations. After one has read the entire sentence, the ambiguity is still present.
Rereading the sentence does not resolve the ambiguity. Global ambiguities are often unnoticed because the reader tends to choose the meaning he or she understands to be more probable.
“The woman played with the baby in the gray shirt.” In this example, the baby could be wearing the gray shirt or the woman could be wearing the gray shirt.
The duke yet lives that Henry shall depose. — Henry VI (1.4.30), Shakespeare
This sentence could be taken to mean that Henry will depose the duke, or that the duke will depose Henry.
Eduardum occidere nolite timere bonum est. — Edward II, Marlowe.
Isabella of France and Roger Mortimer, 1st Earl of March, famously plotted to murder Edward II in such a way as not to draw blame on themselves, sending a famous order in Latin which, depending on where the comma was inserted, could mean either “Do not be afraid to kill Edward; it is good” or “Do not kill Edward; it is good to fear.”
I’m glad I’m a man, and so is Lola. — Lola, Ray Davies
SURVIVOR OF SIAMESE TWINS JOINS PARENTS
John saw the man on the mountain with a telescope.
Eat every carrot and pea on your plate. (Actually this is amphibology and punning, which is a slightly different matter.)
Flying saucers can be dangerous.
Whiskey running is risky.
IRAQI HEAD SEEKS ARMS
Moses tied his ass to a tree and walked forty miles.
Fifty Yards to the Outhouse by Willy Makeit and Betty Wont.
Tiger’s Revenge by Claude Balls
Hole In The Mattress by Mr. Completely
The Yellow River by I.P. Freely
Are these amphibologies? No. They are jokes I remember from the third grade.
Amphibologies are often difficult, if not impossible, to translate. Here is one that works in Spanish and English. I bought a book called ‘Learn to speak English in 15 steps.’ I have walked 3 blocks and nothing! Swindlers!
That one works in both languages. Estafador!
If one combines the words ‘to write-while-not-writing’: for then it means, that he has the power to write and not to write at once; whereas if one does not combine them, it means that when he is not writing he has the power to write. — Aristotle, Sophistical refutations, Book I, Part 4
REAGAN WINS ON BUDGET, BUT MORE LIES AHEAD
Farmer Bill Dies in House
Violinist linked to JAL crash blossoms
Squad Helps Dog Bite Victim
Red Tape Holds Up New Bridge
Infant Pulled from Wrecked Car Involved in Short Police Pursuit
French push bottles up German rear
Or, this one: Eighth Army Push Bottles Up Germans
British left waffles on Falklands
Stolen painting found by tree
Little Hope Given Brain-Damaged Man
Somali Tied to Militants Held on U.S. Ship for Months
I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got into my pajamas I’ll never know. Julius Marx
The peasants are revolting.
A nurse complains: He had two bowel movements on me last night.
Don’t Get Mad. Get Glad.
The woman with the dog that had the parasol was brown.
The stress accent is on the third syllable am phi BO lo gy. [ˌæmfɪˈbɒlədʒɪ]
Save rags and waste paper
SHOT OFF WOMAN’S LEG HELPS NICKLAUS TO 66
They are flying planes.
Hospitals are sued by 7 foot doctors.
Teenagers shouldn’t be allowed to drive. It’s getting too dangerous on the streets.
Giving it to the public in the same location for over forty years.
2 Sisters Reunited After 18 Years At Checkout Counter
Used cars for sale: Why go elsewhere to be cheated? Come here first!
Down through the flaming annals of history.
Eat our curry, you won’t get better!
Throw mama from the train a kiss.
From the psychiatrist’s record at Saint Francis Memorial Hospital : Patient was found lying naked in bed with a sitter.
“For goddes speken in amphibologies, And for o soth, they tellen twenty lyes.” (Chaucer Troylus iv. 1406)
Such ambiguous termes they call Amphibologia, we call it the ambiguous, or figure of sence incertaine. (Puttenham Eng. Poesie)
Late Middle English: from Old French amphibologie, from late Latin amphibologia, from Latin amphibolia, from Greek amphibolos ’ambiguous.’
Amphi’bolic or amphiboly
Reading a book while growing mushrooms would be two ways of promoting life. So, what would be the word for this, Amphibia? Amphipharmikon?
Lawmen From Mexico Barbecue Guests
In Athens men learn’d […] to resolve a sophisticall argument, and to confound the imposture and amphibologie of words, captiously enterlaced together […]. 1603, John Florio, translating Michel de Montaigne, Essays, Folio Society 2006, vol. 1 p. 133
Dog for sale. Will eat anything. Especially fond of children.
Amphibology: 14th Century: from Late Latin amphibologia, ultimately from Greek amphibolos ambiguous
At our drugstore, we dispense with accuracy!
Professor to student, on receiving a fifty-page term paper: “I shall waste no time reading it.” (Often attributed to Disraeli.)
Safety Experts Say School Bus Passengers Should Be Belted
No food is better than our food.
Dealers Will Hear Car Talk At Noon
Does anyone else think that this guy looks like a Zombie? He looks patched together from human parts. They left out the heart.
Child’s Stool Great for Use in Garden.
Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana.
We must reduce our volume to the simple evangelists, select, even from them, the very words only of Jesus, paring off the amphibologisms into which they have been led, by forgetting often, or not understanding, what had fallen from him, by giving their own misconceptions as his dicta, and expressing unintelligibly for others what they had not understood themselves. Thomas Jefferson
Faith, here’s an equivocator, that could swear in both the scales against either scale; who committed treason enough for God’s sake, yet could not equivocate to heaven. Macbeth, Act 2, Scene 3
Some synomyms: prevarication, ambiguity, casuistry, dissimulation, duplicity, misrepresentation, sophistry, speciousness, tergiversation, song and dance.
The anthropologists went to a remote area and took photographs of some native women, but they weren’t developed.
Man drills eighteen holes in his head and lives. (About a man who died after drilling nineteen holes in his head)
Chick accuses male colleagues of sexism.
Rangers get whiff of Colon
Ford, Reagan neck in presidential primary
Student excited Dad got head job.
Enraged Cow Injures Farmer With Ax
Statistics show that teen pregnancy drops off significantly after age 25.
Lady Jacks off to hot start in conference
Homicide victims rarely talk to police
A-Rod goes deep, Wang hurt
Porn star sues over rear-end collision
Crack found in man’s buttocks
Girls’ schools still offering ‘something special’… head
12 On Their Way To Cruise Among Dead In Plane Crash
Study Shows Frequent Sex Enhances Pregnancy Chances
Utah Poison Control Center reminds everyone not to take poison.
Condom truck tips, spills load
Deer with big rack female it turns out
City unsure why the sewer smells
17 remain dead in morgue Shooting Spree
Puerto Rican teen named mistress of the Universe
Local child wins gun from fundraiser
Tiger Woods plays with own balls, Nike says
Keegan fills Schmeichel’s gap with Seaman
Woman in sumo wrestler suit assaulted her ex-girlfriend in gay pub after she waved at man dressed as Snickers bar.
China Ferrari sex orgy death crash
German throws puppy at Hells Angels bikers then flees on bulldozer
Jellyfish apocalypse not coming
Man Accused of Killing Lawyer Receives a New Attorney
Mayor Parris to homeless: Go home
Missippi’s literacy program shows improvement
Most earthquake damage is caused by shaking
Federal Agents Raid Gun Shop, Find Weapons
Alton attorney accidentally sues himself
Man eats underwear to beat Breathalyzer
State prisons to replace Easy-Open locks
Best Man left bleeding after being hit in head by flying dildo
Pigs die as houses are blown down
Being Bullied? Just act less gay, advise teachers
SHE THOUGHT CYCLIST WAS A TREE BRANCH
Shakira Attacked By Sea Lion: Blackberry Mistaken For Fish
I bottle-fed my children, but I breastfeed my pug dog
Clothed man drowns at lifeguard party celebrating drowning-free summer
Brazilian man dies after cow falls through his roof on top of him
Mississippi executes deformed mentally ill man after a last meal of steak, shrimp, Texas Toast, iced tea and a pack of Twizzlers.
Gay man who tried to poison lesbian neighbors with slug pellets over three-legged cat feud walks free
Penguins Not Protests on Turkish TV Fuel Anger
Giraffe Mulling Suicide as ‘Terrorists’ Chant in Cairo
DSM’s Flirt With Red Hot Mamas Cuts Investor Love for Plastics
Brokers Go Gray as Youth Proves Unsustainable With No Cold Calls
Cold War With Soup Tempts East Europeans to Menus of HBO, Sony
DoCoMo Cash, Girl Band Help Beat Softbank on Costs: Japan Credit
Kill Your Wife While Sleepwalking or Get Goldman Touch
Forex During Birth Shows Asian Women Top Men Private Bankers
Shark Oil for HIV Shot Takes Cue From Hemingway’s Old Man
The turkey is ready to eat.
Visiting relatives can be boring.
A lady with a clipboard stopped me in the street the other day. She said, ‘Can you spare a few minutes for cancer research?’ I said, ‘All right, but we’re not going to get much done.’
Planes can go around the world, iPhones can do a zillion things, but humans have not invented a machine that can debone a cow or a chicken as efficiently as a human being.
They are cooking apples.
The old men and women sat on the bench.
John told the woman that Bill was dating a projectile point.
They fed her rat poison.
Kids make nutritious snacks.
Grandmother of eight makes hole in one.
Drunk gets nine months in violin case.
Milk drinkers are turning to powder.
I know the words to that song about the queen don’t rhyme.
Eye drops off shelf.
Prostitutes appeal to pope.
Queen Mary having bottom scraped.
Miners refuse to work after death.
Panda mating fails. Veterinarian takes over.
Complaints about NBA referees growing ugly.
MAN EATING PIRANHA MISTAKENLY SOLD AS PET FISH
ASTRONAUT TAKES BLAME FOR GAS IN SPACECRAFT
Do it in a microwave oven. Save time.
Include Your Children When Baking Cookies
Diaper market bottoms out.
Is there a ring of débris around Uranus?
LACK OF BRAINS HINDERS RESEARCH
Tiger Goes Limp! Pulls Out After Nine Holes
Library Vote Upholds Decision To OK Guns But Bans Wooden Shoes
Poll: Santorum Comes From Behind In Alabama Three-Way
Homeless Man Under House Arrest
Jolie Is Pregnant By Pitt
Students Cook & Serve Grandparents
How To Buy A $450,000 Home for Only $750,000
Man Arrested After Cops Spot Suspiciously Small Package In His Undies
Midget Sues Grocer, Cites Belittling Remarks
Acceptance of Gay Marriage Must Be Won From Bottom Up
Man On Way To Perform Circumcision Charged With Driving Drunk
I got together with some really talented people a while back and we recorded fifteen songs. The whole project is ready to go, and we need your help in getting it out there. Thank you so much.
Sam Andrew Big Brother and the Holding Company
Andrew, Davies, Nieves & Wall – Coast To Coast on a piece of toast….. by Andrew, Davies, Nieves, & Wall
An album of 15 tracks of original music by Sam Andrew (Big Brother & The Holding Co.), Mary Bridget Davies, Ben Nieves, & Jim Wall
The stars have aligned!
Somehow, despite a wide geographic gap and an assortment of demanding schedules, a new musical release is in sight for former Janis Joplin band-mate, Sam Andrew, Broadway’s “A night with Janis Joplin” star, Mary Bridget Davies and Big Brother & the Holding Co. alumnus Ben Nieves and Jim Wall. With a collection of original material to record, 60′s rock pioneer Sam Andrew assembled his friends and frequent band mates at Blue Buddha Music Studio in Cleveland, Ohio. The result is Coast To Coast (on a piece of toast) by Andrew, Davies, Nieves & Wall, an album which cohesively and adventurously visits a vast array of styles including rock, jazz, blues, gospel, funk, r&b, soul and country. The track list features many numbers composed by Sam and additional collaborators over a span of decades as well as works written with Davies, Nieves and Wall.
The songs have been recorded!
The music is, as they say, “in the can”. In addition to outrageous performances by vocalist, Mary Bridget Davies and soul stirring guitar solos throughout, the record features inspired performances by guest keyboardist Chris Hanna, Rob Williams & Jake Wynne on horns and Becky Boyd & Claudia Schieve on Backing Vocals.
With your help, we can finish and release this collection of music!
Be among the first to own our new record while helping us bring our mission to fruition. Your involvement allows you to pre-order our cd and/or digital downloads. In addition, you will help to assure that the music we’ve worked so hard to create will reach the public. You will have access to the rewards we offer that are only available through our kickstarter campaign. You will also be supporting the creation of independently made and marketed music by facilitating mixing, mastering, pressing, artwork & layout, marketing and a wide variety of other costs involved.
Sharing is caring!
We’d love for you to “SHARE” & “LIKE” and help us spread the word any way you can.YOU can take us beyond the set goal amount required to receive our kickstarter funding so we can light up your speakers ASAP! Keep in mind that, if we do not reach our kickstarter goal by our preset end date, the project goes unfunded and all contributions are refunded. THANK YOU to those who get on board early and help us build up steam!
An Awesome Gift Idea!
You can pass your rewards on to friends and family as a holiday gift, as a thank you or just to be cool. Print the gift certificate below to let them know that they are a part of this musical creation because you’ve contributed on their behalf!
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Hope to see you soon!
Whether we’re performing together or with Big Brother, A Night With Janis Joplin, The Sam Andrew Band, Color Wheel or any of our other projects, we hope to run into you at the shows. Thanks for taking the time to visit our kickstarter page and an extra special thanks to those of you who contribute. Peace & Love
For more information about Sam, Mary, Ben and Jim, open the full bio (using the icon near the top right side of this page) and explore the links below. Also, visit bbhc.com and check out Sam’s artistic and informative blog… Sundays With Sam!
Unforseeable delays are a part of life. If, for any reason such a delay occurs, we would send an update with an explanation and updated delivery information. The fact that the music is recorded greatly minimizes the risk of not completing the project in a timely manner.
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Our sincere appreciation for the part you’ve played in the success of this project and a humble yet heartfelt THANK YOU email.
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Digital download of the entire Andrew, Davies, Nieves & Wall record.
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Our full length CD shipped to your door.
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Our CD signed by Sam Andrew, Mary Bridget Davies, Ben Nieves & Jim Wall and shipped to your door.
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A signed CD, a digital download of the album and poster of the albums cover art.
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A signed CD, signed album poster, signed copy of handwritten lyrics to one song by Sam Andrew and a digital download of the full album.
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Your Name in the CD credits, a signed CD, a digital download of the album and a poster of the album art.
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A signed CD, a digital download of our album, a poster of the CD artwork, your name in the CD credits, a signed copy of handwritten lyrics to a song by Sam Andrew and admission for 2 to a private listening event at The Brothers’ Lounge Music Hall in Cleveland, Ohio. Date of event to be announced.
Add $10 USD to ship outside the US
Pledge $300 or more
2 signed CD’s, 2 digital downloads, 2 signed posters and admission for 2 to a private CD listening event including dinner for two at The Brothers’ Lounge Music Hall in Cleveland, Ohio. Cocktails not included. Date of event to be announced.
Nidifugous is fleeing the nest. Caravaggio (Michelangelo Merisi) spent much of his life on the run from one thing or another.
A MacGuffinÊis a plot deviceÊin the form of some goal, desired object, or other motivator that the protagonistÊpursues, often with little or noÊexplanation as to why it is considered so important. The specific nature of a MacGuffin is typically unimportant to the overall plot.
The most common type of MacGuffin is an object, place or person. However, a MacGuffin can sometimes take a more abstract form, such as money, victory, glory, survival, power, love, or even something that is entirely unexplained, as long as it strongly motivates key characters within the structure of the plot.
It might be a ScottishÊname, taken from a story about two men in a train. One man says “What’s that package up there in the baggage rack?”, and the other answers, “Oh, that’s a MacGuffin”. The first one asks “What’s a MacGuffin?” “Well”, the other man says, “It’s an apparatus for trapping lions in the Scottish Highlands”. The first man says, “But there are no lions in the Scottish Highlands”, and the other one answers, “Well, then that’s no MacGuffin!” So you see, a MacGuffin is nothing at all. Ê Ê Ê ÊAlfred Hitchcock.
Usually the MacGuffin is the central focus of the film in the first act,Êand then declines in importance as the struggles and motivations of characters play out.
The MacGuffin may come back into play at the climax of the story, but sometimes the MacGuffin is actually forgotten by the end.
World War I actor Pearl White used the termÊweenieÊto identify whatever physical object (a roll of film, a rare coin, expensive diamonds) impelled the heroes and villains to pursue each other through the convoluted plots of The Perils of Pauline and the other silent film serials in which she starred.
According to author Ken Mogg, screenwriter Angus McPhailÊa friend of Hitchcock, may have originally coined the term MacGuffin.
Some dictionary definitions are vague and generalized.
For example, Princeton’sÊWordNetÊdefines a MacGuffin as simply “a plot element that catches the viewers’ attention or drives the plot of a work of fiction”,Êwhich could refer to nearly anything at all in a story, given that audience-member attention occurs at the individual level and is not reliably predictable.
Steven Spielberg said, “I sympathize with people who didn’t like the MacGuffin (the crystal skull) in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull because I never liked the MacGuffin.”
The Greeks in Socrates’ time wrote in capital letters only and used no diacritical marks, which were introduced by an Alexandrian grammarian to guide non Greek speakers in a pronunciation which to us now must be largely a matter of conjecture.
“God is love.” ÊThis must be from John. It sounds like something John would say.
We were forty miles from Albany, Forget it I never shall, What a terrible storm we had that night On the Erie Canal.
If you need gas while driving on an interstate, look for exits with at least two gas stations. The competition will mean a lower price per gallon.
Perfect rubies are more valuable than perfect diamonds.
Never go to bed mad. ÊStay up and fight.
Although pottery had been fashioned and fired for thousands of years, by the 1700s there were still no mass-produced, identical plates, bowls, cups and saucers. ÊOne determined man, Josiah Wedgwood, born in 1730 into a family of potters from Staffordshire, England, would soon change that.
Mamihlapinatapei: Ê A meaningful look, shared by two people, expressing mutual unstated feelings. Ê(Tierra del Fuegan language)
The secret of success is finding the best person to do the best thing.
What’s the highest altitude in New Orleans? Ê Not counting the levees? Ê Four feet.
Crows live 80 years.
Whenever the literary German dives into a sentence, that is the last you are going to see of him till he emerges on the other side of the Atlantic with his verb in his mouth. Ê ÊMark Twain.
Sixty four per cent of women sleep on the left side of the bed.
How many Amish does it take to screw in a light bulb? ÊThe Amish don’t have light bulbs. ÊThey bake pies.
The only post office doesn’t work. ÊThere’s always that one on the bridge, but the elevator doesn’t work. Fuck!
People talk about killing time, but it is time that kills them.
Tokyo has about a thousand earthquakes every year. Residents feel about fifty of them.
Dos linages sólos hay en el mundo, como decía una abuela mía, que son el tenir y el no tenir. ÊThere are only two families in the world, as a grandmother of mine used to say, the haves and the have nots. Ê Ê Ê ÊMiguel de Cervantes (1547 – 1616)
My wife always lets me have her way.
Ernest Hemingway proposed to Gertrude Stein.
You can’t step in the same river twice. ÊEnjoy it, savor it, it’s gone already.
In 1986, the Pentagon’s phone bill was $ 8.7 million.
Rare redheads. Ê Maybe one in forty in the USA.
When negotiating for money, pay attention to when your opponent’s increments of change begin to decrease in size. That’s when s/he is close to a bargaining limit.
The blue-ringed octopus of Australia: Ê one bite or squirt causes immediate paralysis and death in minutes.
The people who improve you the most will cost you the least.
The Romans, impressed with the stork’s altruistic behavior, Êenacted the Lex Ciconaria (Stork’s law) which compelled children to care for their aged parents. ÊWe get the word “stork” from Greek storge which means strong, natural affection.
Old King Cole was a merry old soul, And a merry old soul was he, ÊHe called for his pipe and he called for his bowl, And he called for his fiddlers three.
Some things have to be believed to be seen.
Residents of Phoenix, Arizona, call themselves Phoenicians.
The universe was dictated, but not signed.
John Wesley Hyatt did not actually develop Celluloid himself but acquired the British patent for it in 1868 from Alexander Parkes, a Birmingham, England, professor of natural science. Hyatt began manufacturing ersatz ivory billiard balls, but soon realized that Celluloid could be made into anything, collars, cuffs, shirtfronts, guitar picks, dental plates, toys and even photographic film.
Katzenjammer (German) monumentally severe hangover.
It is better to deserve without receiving than to receive without deserving.
An ounce of don’t say it is worth a pound of didn’t mean it.
A baby learns to smile in the womb, but it has to wait until it’s been exposed to the real world for about six months before it can learn to pout.
Teacher, “book” means livre? ÊYes. ÊSo, Facebook means “book of buttocks?” ÊOh, no, “Face” is the visage. You can visit that site without risk, it’s not dangerous. ÊBut, teacher, I saw a photo of your buttocks on the new year section of your Facebook page. ÊYou should NEVER go to Facebook, it’s a dangerous site, you hear me?”
Foxbook: Ê The only thing sure about luck is that it will change.
Aware (Japanese): Ê the feelings engendered by ephemeral beauty.
New Year’s in Babylon: Êa high priest, rising two hours before dawn, bathes in the sacred waters of the Euphrates. Then he offers a hymn to Marduk, god of agriculture. The rump of a beheaded ram is rubbed against the temple walls to absorb any contagion that might infest the sacred edifice and, by implication, the next year’s harvest. The ceremony is calledÊkuppuru, a word that appears among the Hebrews at about the same time, in their Day of Atonement festival, Yom Kippur.
Princeton, New Jersey, has the most residents per capita listed in Who’s Who.
It says here that office hours in Yugoslavia, a country that does not exist, Êare 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Ê Those are my ideal working hours. Actually, 6 to 1 would be even better.
This is Finnish, a language that I don’t know, but I can almost read all of this anyway. ÊFinnish belongs to a group of languages that includes Turkish and Japanese, oh, and did I mention Hungarian? ÊOr Korean? Ê One name for this family is Finno-Altaic.
The major Finn in my life is Jorma Kaukonen. They like lots of ‘k’s and double letters in Finland.
Your blood has to travel through your whole body to get from one side of your heart to the other.
Saudade is a Portuguese and Galician word for a feeling of nostalgic longing for something or someone that one was fond of and which has been lost. It often carries a fatalist tone and a repressed knowledge that the object of longing might never really return. This word is very rich in meaning and it is, to say the truth, untranslatable.
If you said “sow dodge,” you would approximate the pronunciation of this word Saudade. A Brazilian would probably understand you, but, you know how it is with languages, each is a sovereignty unto herself. ÊIt would be best to corner a native Portuguese or Brazilian and listen very carefully to how s/he says this word.
On the Cracker Jack box are a boy and a dog. The boy’s name is Jack. The dog’s name is Bingo.
To buy a pig in a poke, a cat in a sack. Ê Strike while the iron is hot. ÊWhat I don’t know won’t make me angry. (It sounds way better in German. For one thing, it rhymes, and, even better, it has rhythm, it scans.)
You can die at twenty-five, and not be buried until you’re seventy-five.
Solitude, soledad are close relatives of the word “saudade.” ÊThere is a prison in the middle of California called Soledad. ÊThey didn’t name the prison poetically, but merely called it after a place name near there. ÊSoledad is not a bad name for a prison at all. ÊAll is loneliness here for me, loneliness here for me, loneliness.
If I had known I was going to live this long, I would have brushed my teeth.
The only problem with getting old, is that it comes at a very inconvenient time.
That mouse in your house begins to have other mice when she’s a month old.
Probably every single person who has ever lived, or whoever will live, supposes herself underappreciated and insufficiently loved. ÊI certainly feel that way at times, so I assume that everyone else does.
As the blackbird in the spring Ê’Neath the willow tree Ê Sat and piped, I heard him sing, singing Aura Lee. Ê Aura Lee, Aura Lee, Maid with golden hair, Ê Sunshine came along with thee, Ê And swallows in the air.
Aura Lee has exactly the same melody as Love Me Tender. ÊAura Lee was probably “in public domain” when Elvis’ tunesmiths decided to resurrect it.
The word “giddy” comes from the Anglo-Saxon “gyddig” meaning possessed by the gods.
I like flying Vatican Airlines. Ê The emergency instructions are in Latin.
The English name “Decalogue” for the Ten Commandments is derived from GreekÊ?????????,Êdekalogos, the latter meaning and referringÊto the GreekÊtranslation (in the accusative)Ê???? ??????,Êdeka logous, “ten words”, found in the SeptuagintÊ(or LXX) at ExodusÊ34:28Êand DeuteronomyÊ10:4.
The best “waitresses” are good-natured and talkative, though somewhat sardonic. The best “waiters” are inclined to be serious and taciturn. Such was the consensus of a sizable gathering of restaurateurs in Geneva, but they couldn’t explain the reason for this difference.
Conmoción (Spanish) ÊEmotion held in common by a group or gathering.
Anyone seen a donkey around here?
It’s not an insect if it doesn’t live inside a hard skeleton.
Snuffing a candle required great dexterity and judgment. Scottish lawyer and incomparable biographer James Boswell had many occasions to snuff tallow candles, not all successfully. He wrote in 1793: Ê”I determined to sit up all night, which I accordingly did, and wrote a great deal. About two o’clock in the morning I inadvertently snuffed out my candle… and could not get it re-lumed.”
How should they answer? Ê(Abigail van Buren in reply to the question “Why do Jews always answer a question with a question?”)
There should be no laws: Ê she who more than unconsciously obeys laws is a scoundrel and a scapegrace.
Le bon sens est la chose du monde la mieux partagée, car chacun pense en être bien pourvu. Ê Ê Ê ÊRené Descartes.
Common sense is the best shared thing, because everyone thinks that s/he has been well provided with it.
Some villagers in the Andes speak a nearly pure Castilian Spanish no longer spoken anywhere else.
Oh, I had such a crush on Tony Brown for so long. She lived right next to me in Woodacre, or wherever it was, and now she lives in Hawaii. ÊOh, well, I loved the whole band.
Trois heures, c’est toujours trop tard ou trop tôt pour tout ce qu’on veut faire. Ê Jean-Paul Sartre. Ê(Three a.m. is always too late or too early for anything that you would want to do.)
Hey! ÊThat’s Peter Lewis’ mom kissing Bob Hope.
A wise woman sings her joy in the closet of her heart.
The sexual moment is like music, like prayer, like poetry. In the modren day, a sexual moment can also be linked to ‘adult conten’t A.K.A porn. There are just so many providers out there like tubev.sex that offer this video content.
Sex without sin is like an egg without salt.
A scientist is five times more likely to marry a scientist than an artist is likely to marry an artist.
Tao. Ê (Chinese) Ê The way it goes.
Art must be parochial in the beginning to become cosmopolitan in the end.
The Church says that the earth is flat. But I know it’s round because I’ve seen its shadow on the moon. And I have more faith in a shadow than in the Church.
EurydiceÊ(????????,ÊEurydik?) was an oak nymphÊor one of the daughters of ApolloÊ(the god of light). She was the wife of Orpheus,Êwho tried to bring her back from the dead with his enchanting music.
“Mouse” comes from a Sanskrit word meaning “thief.”
Adolf Hitler’s mother seriously considered having an abortion, but was talked out of it by her doctor.
The best indicator of a person’s character is how she treats those who can’t do anything for her.
Qu’ils mangent de la brioche. Ê Marie-Antoinette (1755-1793) Ê ÊLet them eat cake.
Saint John Golden Mouth (??????? ? ???????????): ÊÊAfter his death in 407 CE Êhe was given the Greek nameÊchrysostomos, meaning “golden mouthed” in English, and Anglicized to Chrysostom.
Maya (Sanskrit) ÊThe mistaken belief that a symbol is the same as the reality it represents.
A rabbit can eat a mushroom that would kill a human.
Darwinian Man, though well behaved, Ê At best is only a monkey shaved. Ê ÊW.S. Gilbert Ê (Princess Ida, 1884)
Ponte (Italian) An extra day off, taken to add a weekend to a national holiday, just as we did here last Labor Day. ÊPonte is literally a bridge. ÊThe Pope is sometimes called Pontifex Maximus, the greatest bridge builder, because s/he builds a bridge to god. ÊThis title, as with many other titles in the Catholic Church, was taken from the Roman religion. Mozart’s librettist wrote a long and entertaining Êmemoir in Italian. His name is Lorenzo Da Ponte. ÊOne of the most common names in French, it’s like Smith or Jones, is DuPont, from the bridge.
Le dessin est la probité de l’art. Ê J.A.D. Ingres (1780-1867) Ê Ê Drawing is the real test of art.
If you don’t put on your left sock first, you’re a tad unusual.
Nothing is more annoying than a low person raised to a high position.
This is a Picasso, very early. ÊMaybe 1912.
Young people think that old people are foolish, but old people know that young people are foolish.
???? ?????? ??????? Ê Ê An animal, two legged, featherless. Ê Ê Ê Plato’s definition of a human.
Diogenes the Cynic thought he would have some fun with this so he plucked a chicken and brought it into Plato’s Academy saying: Ê????? ????? ? ???????? ????????. Ê (Here is Plato’s man.)
When Custer was having his Last Stand, the population of the USA was about forty million.
Oh, Shenandoah, I long to hear you, Ê ÊAway you rolling river. Ê Oh, Shenandoah, I long to hear you. Ê Away, we’re bound away, ‘Cross the wide Missouri.
Choose the puppy whose tail wags in sync with its stride, a sign of calmness.
I’ve been on so many blind dates, I should get a free dog.
Forty-five out of every 100 Americans don’t read books. Newspapers, yes, but not books.
Nurses are special people, they’re science minded, they have big hearts, they have a lot of soul, I could go on and on because I’m married to one.
You can eat the whole water lily. ÊIt’s all edible.
In 600 CE, the center of European window making lay along the Rhine River. ÊThe Romans called this place Colonia Agrippina and the Germans called it Köln and we call it Cologne. This was the home of the Ubii whom Julius Caesar called friends… most of the time.
Great skill and a long apprenticeship were required to work with glass, and those prerequisites are reflected, so to speak, in the name that was used for a glassmaker: Ê”gaffer” meaning “learned grandfather.”
So prized were the gaffer’s exquisite artifacts that the opening in the gaffer’s furnace through which he blew glass on a long rod was named a “glory hole.”
Let others praise ancient times; ÊI am glad I was born in these. Ê ÊOvid (43 BCE – 18 CE)
Couples who married in Las Vegas: ÊMelanie Griffith and Don Johnson; ÊGeorge Clooney and Talia Balsam; ÊMichael Caine and Shakira Baksh; ÊElise Piliwale and Sam Andrew.
One of the United States was named for Julius Caesar… kind of. ÊEngland’s island of Jersey is a corruption of “Caesar’s island.”
When love, skill and beauty work together, something very lovely can happen.
Fe que no duda es fe muerta.ÊÊMiguel de Unamuno Ê(1864-1937) Ê Faith which does not doubt is dead faith.
Franco laureato. Franco Scalzo is graduated from the university and crowned with laurels. ÊViva Franco!
The great Library of Alexandria, Egypt, was known asÊ????? ????????, the hospital of the soul.
By decree of Ptolemy III of EgyptÊall visitors to the city were required to surrender any form of written media in any language in their possession which were listed under the heading “books of the ships”.
These writings were then swiftly copied by official scribes. Sometimes the copies were so precise that the originals were put into the library and the copies were delivered to the unsuspecting previous owners.
This process also helped to create a reservoir of books in the relatively new city.
Octopuses (octopodes? octopodi?) often have one little eye for seeing things in sunlit waters and one big eye for peeping in the deep.
The giraffe has seven cervical vertebrae just as we do. Your seventh cervical vertebra is that bump between your shoulder blades.
You can imagine that the giraffe’s vertebrae are rather larger than ours. ÊThe mouse has seven cervical vertebrae too.
?????? ! ÊI have found it! Ê This is the state motto of California, presumably referring to the immense reserves of gold, silver and counterculturalists found underground in that state.
Archimedes is supposed to have said ?????? !Ê, but the story is almost certainly apocryphal.
It goes somewhat like this, that ArchimedesÊwas taking a bath, and he noticed that the level of the water rose as he got in and so discovered what is today known as Archimedes Principle,Êthat the volume of water displacedÊmust be equal to the volume of the part of his body he had submerged.
This meant that the volume of irregular objects could be calculated with precision, a previously intractable problem. He was so excited that he ran through the streets naked and still wet from his bath, crying “I have found it!”.
You waste as much energy when you throw away an aluminum soda can as you do when you pour out half a can of gasoline.
A piano is harmless. ÊThe danger is the threat posed by the piano player.
Humility is the real force.
Gâchis Ê(French) ÊStrong epithet for an opportunity-bungling, inept handling of a situation by a really talented entropist.
One thing that I have noticed is that musicians aren’t good dancers, and dancers aren’t good musicians. Despite the fact that the genes for rhythm and interpretation are right there on the chromosome very nearly allied, there is some serious divide between playing and dancing to that playing. I’m not sure what that means, but I’ve learned to live with the fact that, as a dancer, I am a complete ninny.
When divorce breaks up a one car couple, who gets the car? ÊThe same one that got the house… the wife.
So, if you ever see me dancing, you’ll know that I’m in trouble.
Or, as Agnes De Mille put it, a good education is usually harmful to a dancer. A good calf is better than a good head.
I promise you that I am drawing no conclusions whatsoever from this statement. ÊDancers live, perhaps, in a more sophisticated milieu than musicians.
More cars are stolen annually in the United States than the total made per year in Russia.
Why did she have to do all that heroin? ÊFor that matter, why did I ?
At least I don’t have the gambling gene. I completely missed out on that one. As far as I am concerned, the lottery is a tax on people who are really bad at mathematics.
James Gurley always said, “Well, someone’s got to win,” and I thought, “Yeah, but it ain’t going to be you and me, my brother.” ÊWe already won. ÊHow much luck do you want for one lifetime?
Rasa (Sanskrit) The mood or sentiment that is evoked by a work of art. ÊI like this word rasa for so many reasons.
Rasa reminds me of La Raza, the Hispanic word that means “race,” but is closer to “la familia,” or even nosotros.
The word rasa Êrefers to the essential oils of a fruit or the perfume of a flower.
The thrill of esthetic pleasure, the powerful emotional sentiments that come up when a person truly experiences a work of art.
Then, there was a “restaurant,” really a stand, in the Pike Place Market of Seattle called Rasa Malaysia. ÊI had the impression that it was a whole chain of places. All the vegetables were fresh, they were expertly prepared, everything was tasty, or, as the Japanese say, oishii. ÊI loved this place, Rasa Malaysia, and will always stop at one wherever I am.
Good, wholesome food, deliciously prepared. ÊSo, I am assuming that the rasa in Rasa Malaysia is the same rasa as the Sanskrit word.
The full theory of rasas has an esthetic vocabulary for describing the excellencies, the essences of very different phenomena.
For more than 1,500 years, Hindus have talked about nine distinct rasas at least one of which will be present in any work of art.
There is the erotic rasa,Shingara; the comic rasa,Hasya; Karuna, the pathetic rasa; raudra, the furious rasa, and , so the Indian pantheon.
I like it that rasa and la raza are so close in essential meaning, but, yet, mean almost opposite ideas.
Sometimes I wonder if the word “race” has any meaning at all in the USA, or anywhere else, for that matter.
We are all so mixed, and for a long time too, that it is probably best just to assume that we are all the same.
Grasshoppers have white blood.
She says she’s 70, so probably a few years older, but not bad, right? ÊI love Raquel, always did. ÊShe was smart, beautiful, full of salsa, and she did the Dick Cavett show with Janis and held her own.
Laura Albergante Visconti. Ê I love her name.
Remember? ÊThis guy wasn’t even Jewish, but he took this name so that people would assume he was.
The Visconti were viscounts, which is like a vice count, but they came to have much more power than their name suggests.
They were dukes of Milan for many centuries, and they fought alongside the condottieri that they hired.
CondottieriÊwere the mercenary soldier leaders, or warlords,Êof the professional, military free companiesÊcontracted by the Italian city states and the PapacyÊfrom the late Middle Ages through the Renaissance.
In Renaissance Italian,ÊcondottieroÊmeant “contractor”, and was synonymous with the modern English titleÊMercenary Captain.
In the Italian of that time, “condottiero” acquired the broader meaning of “military leader”, not restricted to mercenaries. Renaissance mercenary captains are usually calledÊcapitani di ventura.
In the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, the Italian city-states of Venice, Florence and GenoaÊwere very rich from their trade with the Levant,Êyet possessed woefully small national armies.
In the event that foreign powers and envious neighbours attacked, the ruling nobles hired foreign mercenaries to fight for them.
The military-service terms and conditions were stipulated in aÊcondottaÊ(contract) between the city-state and the soldiers (officer and enlisted man), thus, theÊcontractedÊleader, the mercenary captain commanding, was titled theÊCondottiere or condottiero.
Un condottiero drawn by Leonardo.
Says here that people are supposed to play and work their best when the temperature is between 63 and 73 degrees Fahrenheit. This is probably an ethnocentric notion. There may be some people in the world who would find that a little cold. ÊWorks for me, though.
I can’t have music in the background, such as in films or recorded books. When I hear music I can’t hear anything else.
Rêve à deux (French): Ê A mutual dream or a shared hallucination.
The first mercenary company with an Italian condottiero as its chief was the “Company of St. George” formed in 1339 and led by Lodrisio Visconti, an ancestor to this woman.
Noi leggiavamo un giorno per diletto, ÊDi Lancialotto, come amor lo strinse, ÊSoli eravamo, e sanza alcun sospetto. Ê (Dante)
We were reading one day for delight about Lancelot, how love constrained him, we were alone and without any Êsuspecting.
Thank you for being here.
Sam Andrew Ê ÊÊ????? ???? ?’ ?????. Ê Ê Ê ÊNobody is my name.
There are four main food crops on the planet, rice, wheat, maize and potatoes. Two of these, maize and potatoes, were not known to Europeans until the 16th century.
The Inuit have twenty-six different words for snow, you have probably heard, and the Peruvians have even more different words for potatoes and for the condition of those potatoes.
Potatoes have a far richer diversity than the average supermarket shelf suggests. There are 5,000 varieties worldwide, though 3,000 are found only in the Andes where a single valley may contain 100 different types.
Only a handful of species were introduced to Europe in the 16th-century and from those, dedicated potato growers in the 19th and early 20th centuries bred many of the heritage gems that are again becoming popular.
The potato is a starchy, tuberous crop from the perennial Solanum tuberosum of the Nightshade family. The word may refer to the plant itself as well as the edible tuber. In the region of the Andes, there are some other closely related cultivated potato species. Potatoes were introduced outside the Andes region four centuries ago, and have become an integral part of much of the world’s cuisine.
Wild potato species occur throughout the Americas, from the United States to southern Chile. The potato was originally believed to have been domesticated independently in multiple locations, but later genetic testing of the wide variety of cultivars and wild species proved a single origin for potatoes in the area of present-day southern Peru and extreme northwestern Bolivia (from a species in the Solanum brevicaule complex), where they were domesticated 7,000–10,000 years ago.
Following centuries of selective breeding, there are now over a thousand different types of potatoes. Of these subspecies, a variety that at one point grew in the Chiloé Archipelago (the potato’s south-central Chilean sub-center of origin) left its germplasm on over 99% of the cultivated potatoes worldwide.
This is not such a good situation and the same holds true with maize (corn) which is even more restricted in variety than the potato. If something goes wrong with this one subspecies, there would be worldwide famine. It would be most beneficial to have more varieties of food crops in general use, as a kind of back up in case of catastrophic disease.
The annual diet of an average global citizen in the first decade of the 21st century included about 33 kg (73 lb) of potato.
However, the local importance of potato is extremely variable and rapidly changing. It remains an essential crop in Europe (especially eastern and central Europe), where per capita production is still the highest in the world, but the most rapid expansion over the past few decades has occurred in southern and eastern Asia. China is now the world’s largest potato-producing country, and nearly a third of the world’s potatoes are harvested in China and India.
The English word potato comes from Spanish patata (the name used in Spain, but not in South America). The Spanish Royal Academy says that the word patata is a compound of the Taino batata (sweet potato) and the Quechua papa (potato).
The French call them patates, although I seem to remember pommes de terre as being more common. The same idea holds true with tomates and pommes d’amour.
The name potato originally referred to a type of sweet potato rather than the other way around, although there is actually no close relationship between the two plants. The English confused the two plants. In many of the chronicles detailing agriculture and plants, no distinction is made between the two.
The 16th-century English herbalist John Gerard used the terms “bastard potatoes” and “Virginia potatoes” for this species, and referred to sweet potatoes as “common potatoes”. Gerard’s book, Herball, or Generall Historie of Plantes, was first published in 1597, and was the most widely circulated botany book in English in the 17th century.
Potatoes are occasionally referred to as “Irish potatoes” or “white potatoes” in the United States, to distinguish them from sweet potatoes.
The name spud for a small potato comes from the digging of soil (or a hole) prior to the planting of potatoes. The word has an unknown origin and was originally (circa 1440) used as a term for a short knife or dagger, probably related to Dutch spyd and/or the Latin “spad-” root meaning “sword”; cf. Spanish “espada”, English “spade” and “spadroon”.
The word spud traces back to the 16th century. It subsequently transferred over to a variety of digging tools. Around 1845 it transferred over to the tuber itself. The origin of the word spud has erroneously been attributed to a 19th-century activist group dedicated to keeping the potato out of Britain, calling itself The Society for the Prevention of an Unwholesome Diet.
It was Mario Pei’s 1949 The Story of Language that can be blamed for the false origin. Pei writes, “the potato, for its part, was in disrepute some centuries ago. Some Englishmen who did not fancy potatoes formed a Society for the Prevention of Unwholesome Diet. The initials of the main words in this title gave rise to spud.” Like most other pre-20th century acronymic theories of origin, this one is false.
Potato plants are herbaceous perennials that grow about 60 cm (24 in) high, depending on variety, the culms (stems) dying back after flowering. They bear white, pink, red, blue, or purple flowers with yellow stamens. In general, the tubers of varieties with white flowers have white skins, while those of varieties with colored flowers tend to have pinkish skins.
Potatoes are cross-pollinated mostly by insects, including bumblebees, which carry pollen from other potato plants, but a substantial amount of self-fertilizing occurs as well. Tubers form in response to decreasing day length, although this tendency has been minimized in commercial varieties.
After potato plants flower, some varieties produce small green fruits that resemble green cherry tomatoes, each containing up to 300 true seeds. Potato fruit contains large amounts of the toxic alkaloid solanine and is therefore unsuitable for consumption.
All new potato varieties are grown from seeds, also called “true seed” or “botanical seed” to distinguish it from seed tubers. By finely chopping the fruit and soaking it in water, the seeds separate from the flesh by sinking to the bottom after about a day (the remnants of the fruit float).
Any potato variety can also be propagated vegetatively by planting tubers, pieces of tubers, cut to include at least one or two eyes, or also by cuttings, a practice used in greenhouses for the production of healthy seed tubers. During the production and growing process, you may find that something like a greenhouse heating system could help to make all of the difference when it comes to your potatoes. You’d usually find this type of feature in commercial greenhouses, but you could probably find something similar for your own personal greenhouse too. Moreover, commercial greenhouses are often able to make use of opaque black and white poly film that can be used for either ground cover or as a reflective blackout curtain for photoperiod control. As you can see here in this interesting guide, black and white plastic sheeting is widely used in crop control management. Whereas the white side is highly reflective and used to direct light away, the black side is completely opaque and absorbs light, keeping heat and light away. Accordingly, black and white poly film is also used for waterproofing and temperature control.
Some commercial potato varieties do not produce seeds at all (they bear imperfect flowers) and are propagated only from tuber pieces. Confusingly, these tubers or tuber pieces are called “seed potatoes,” because the potato itself functions as “seed”.
There are about 5,000 potato varieties worldwide. Three thousand of them are found in the Andes alone, mainly in Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, Chile, and Colombia. They belong to eight or nine species, depending on the system of taxonomy used.
A traditional Peruvian causa layers avocados and potatoes into a sort of casserole, which is sliced and served cold. Other layers might contain tuna, meat, or hard-boiled egg. Causa can also be like a cake or even a quiche made from golden potatoes, lemon, chicken, and mayonnaise.
Apart from the 5,000 cultivated varieties, there are about 200 wild species and subspecies, many of which can be cross-bred with cultivated varieties, which has been done repeatedly to transfer resistances to certain pests and diseases from the gene pool of wild species to the gene pool of cultivated potato species.
Genetically modified potato varieties have met public resistance in the United States and in the European Union.
Even McDonald’s has refused GMO potatoes.
This was a very wise decision, although they probably had some help with it.
No GMO potatoes in our bag!
The major species of potato grown worldwide is Solanum tuberosum (a tetraploid with 48 chromosomes), and modern varieties of this species are the most widely cultivated. There are two major subspecies of Solanum tuberosum: andigena, or Andean; and tuberosum, or Chilean. The Andean potato is adapted to the short-day conditions prevalent in the mountainous equatorial and tropical regions where it originated. The Chilean potato, native to the Chiloé Archipelago, is adapted to the long-day conditions prevalent in the higher latitude region of southern Chile.
The Centro Internacional de la Papa (International Potato Center CIP) based in Lima, Peru, holds an ISO-accredited collection of potato germplasm.
The international Potato Genome Sequencing Consortium announced in 2009 that they had achieved a draft sequence of the potato genome, which contains 12 chromosomes and 860 million base pairs making it a medium-sized plant genome.
Eat Dem Taters, a painting from 1975, substituted laughing black people for the pious Dutch peasants ofvan Gogh’s Potato Eaters to attack, in the words of the artist, Robert Colescott, “the myth of the happy darky.”
I remember the potato fields of Long Island in the 1960s. They stretched for miles and it seemed like you could smell potatoes all the way out to the Hamptons. Some of those fields are still there but many have since been turned into housing developments and vineyards.
Potatoes yield abundantly with little effort, and adapt readily to diverse climates as long as the climate is cool and moist enough for the plants to gather sufficient water from the soil to form the starchy tubers. Potatoes do not keep very well in storage and are vulnerable to molds that feed on the stored tubers, quickly turning them rotten. By contrast, grain can be stored for several years without much risk of rotting.
According to conservative estimates, the introduction of the potato was responsible for a quarter of the growth in Old World population and urbanization between 1700 and 1900. Following the Spanish conquest of the Inca empire, the Spanish introduced the potato to Europe in the second half of the 16th century. The staple was subsequently conveyed by European mariners to territories and ports throughout the world. The potato was slow to be adopted by distrustful European farmers, but soon enough it became an important food staple and field crop that played a major role in the European 19th century population boom.
However, lack of genetic diversity, due to the very limited number of varieties initially introduced, left the crop vulnerable to disease. In 1845, a plant disease known as late blight, caused by the fungus-like oomycete Phytophthora infestans, spread rapidly through the poorer communities of western Ireland, resulting in the crop failures that led to the Great Irish Famine, all due to the use of very few species of potatoes, a condition that still exists today with both potatoes and corn (maize).
Thousands of varieties still persist in the Andes however, where over 100 cultivars might be found in a valley, and a dozen or more might be maintained by a single agricultural household.
El poder de la papa nativa: “The power of the native potato.” The region around Lake Titicaca in southern Peru and northern Bolivia is particularly rich in genetic diversity, and the wild potatoes from here are valuable for their disease and pest resistance.
In Spain and Italy, they say “patata.”
In the American world, though, they say “papa,” which is the same as the word for “pope,” although the gender is different.
La papa is “the potato” in the Spanish of the new world, and the word probably came, as noted above, from the Quechua language. Il Papa, or el Papa, or Le Pape is the word for “pope” in the Latin languages. La papa = potato. El papa = the pope.
Every language is full of such ambiguities and interesting quirks. When the NRA sends you a note saying they’ve been “missing” you, you really have to wonder a bit what they have in mind.
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization reports that the world production of potatoes in 2010 was about 324 million tons. (Fiat panis = let there be bread.)
Just over two thirds of the global production is eaten directly by humans with the rest being fed to animals or used to produce starch.
This means that the annual diet of an average global citizen in the first decade of the 21st century included about 33 kg (or 73 lb) of potato.
Or about the weight that this woman lost last year.
China is now the world’s largest potato-producing country, and nearly a third of the world’s potatoes are harvested in China and India.
The geographic shift of potato production has been away from wealthier countries toward lower-income areas of the world, although the degree of this trend is ambiguous.
In 2008, several international organizations highlighted the potato’s role in world food production, in the face of developing economic problems. They cited its potential derived from its status as a cheap and plentiful crop that grows in a wide variety of climates and locales.
Potatoes don’t travel well. Only about 5% of the world’s potato crop is traded internationally; its minimal presence in world financial markets contributed to its stable pricing during the 2007-2008 world food price crisis. Thus, the United Nations officially declared 2008 as the International Year of the Potato to raise its profile in developing nations, calling the crop a “hidden treasure”.
The potato contains vitamins and minerals, as well as an assortment of phytochemicals, such as carotenoids and natural phenols. Chlorogenic acid constitutes up to 90% of the potato tuber natural phenols.
A medium-size 150 g (5.3 oz) potato with the skin provides 27 mg of vitamin C(45% of the Daily Value (DV)), 620 mg of potassium (18% of DV), 0.2 mg vitamin B6 (10% of DV) and trace amounts of thiamin, riboflavin, folate, niacin, magnesium, phosphorus, iron and zinc. The fiber content of a potato with skin (2 g) is equivalent to that of many whole grain breads, pastas, and cereals.
The potato is best known for its carbohydrate content (approximately 26 grams in a medium potato). The predominant form of this carbohydrate is starch. A small but significant portion of this starch is resistant to digestion by enzymes in the stomach and small intestines and so reaches the large intestine essentially intact.
This resistant starch is considered to have similar physiological effects and health benefits as fiber: It provides bulk, offers protection against colon cancer, improves glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity, lowers plasma cholesterol and triglyceride concentrations, increases satiety, and possibly even reduces fat storage.
The amount of resistant starch in potatoes depends much on preparation methods. Cooking and then cooling potatoes significantly increases resistant starch. For example, cooked potato starch contains about 7% resistant starch, which increases to about 13% upon cooling.
The cooking method used can significantly affect the nutrient availability of the potato.
Potatoes are often broadly classified as high on the glycemic index (GI) and so are often excluded from the diets of individuals trying to follow a low G-I diet. In fact, the GI of potatoes can vary considerably depending on type (such as red, russet, white, or Prince Edward), origin (where it was grown), preparation methods (i.e., cooking method, whether it is eaten hot or cold, whether it is mashed or cubed or consumed whole, etc.), and with what it is consumed (i.e., the addition of various high-fat or high-protein toppings).
Eating a healthy five portions of fruit and vegetables can cost less than 50 pence a day. In the United Kingdom, potatoes are not considered by the National Health Service as counting towards the five portions of fruit and vegetables diet.
Potatoes contain toxic compounds known as glycoalkaloids of which the most prevalent are solanine and chaconine. Solanine is also found in other plants in the family Solanaceae, which includes such plants as the deadly nightshade (Atropa belladonna), henbane (Hyascyamos niger) and tobacco (Nicotiana) as well as the potato, eggplant, and tomato. This toxin affects the nervous system, causing weakness and confusion.
These compounds, which protect the plant from its predators, are, in general, concentrated in its leaves, stems, sprouts, and fruits. Exposure to light, physical damage, and age increase glycoalkaloid content within the tuber. The highest concentrations occur just underneath the skin.
Cooking at high temperatures -over 170 °C (340 °F)- partly destroys these. The concentration of glycoalkaloid in wild potatoes suffices to produce toxic effects in humans. Glycoalkaloids may cause headaches, diarrhea, cramps and in severe cases coma and death. Poisoning from potatoes occurs very rarely.
Light exposure causes greening from chlorophyll synthesis, thus giving a visual clue as to areas of the tuber that may have become more toxic. This does not, however, provide a definitive guide, as greening and glycoalkaloid accumulation can occur independently of each other. Some varieties of potato contain greater glycoalkaloid concentrations than others. When breeders develop new varieties, they test for this, and sometimes have to discard an otherwise promising cultivar.
The toxic fruits produced by mature potato plants.
Breeders try to keep solanine levels below 200 mg/kg (200 ppmw). However, when these commercial varieties turn green, even they can approach concentrations of solanine of 1000 mg/kg (1000 ppmw).
In normal potatoes, analysis has shown solanine levels may be as little as 3.5% of the breeders’ maximum, with 7–187 mg/kg being found. While a normal potato has 12–20 mg/kg of glycoalkaloid content, a green tuber contains 250–280 mg/kg, and green skin 1500–2200 mg/kg.
The U.S. National Toxicology Program suggests that the average American consume at most 12.5 mg/day of solanine from potatoes (the toxic dose is actually several times this, depending on body weight).
Douglas L. Holt, the State Extension Specialist for Food Safety at the University of Missouri notes that no reported cases of potato-source solanine poisoning have occurred in the U.S. in the last 50 years, and most cases involved eating green potatoes or drinking potato-leaf tea.
Potatoes grown in a tall bag are common in gardens as they increase potato yield and minimize the amount of digging required at harvest.
Potatoes are generally grown from seed potatoes – these are tubers specifically grown to be disease free and provide consistent and healthy plants. To be disease free, the areas where seed potatoes are grown are selected with care. In the USA this restricts production of seed potatoes to only 15 states out of the 50 states that grow potatoes.
These locations are selected for their cold hard winters that kill pests and long sunshine hours in the summer for optimum growth. Some people prefer to grow their own potatoes in their garden, regardless of which state they live in. The downside to this is that it doesn’t kill pests, but it attracts them instead. The increased risk of having pests in your garden is that they can harm your potatoes, and could also cause harm to you if they somehow manage to find a way into your home. If this happens, the best thing that you may want to do is to find pest control in your area, similar to this terminix NH company. They will be able to help get rid of this unwanted problem for good, and your potatoes should be unharmed. It may help if you live in one of those locations though.
In the UK, most seed potatoes originate in Scotland in areas where westerly winds prevent aphid attack and thus prevent spread of potato virus pathogens.
Potato growth has been divided into five phases.
During the first phase, sprouts emerge from the seed potatoes and root growth begins.
In the second phase, photosynthesis begins as the plant develops leaves and branches.
The third phase is when the stolons develop from lower leaf axils on the stem and grow downwards into the ground and on these stolons new tubers develop as swellings of the stolon. This phase is often (but not always) associated with flowering. Tuber formation halts when soil temperatures reach 27 °C (81 °F). Potatoes are considered a cool-season crop.
During the fourth phase, tuber bulking occurs when the plant begins investing the majority of its resources in its newly formed tubers. At this stage, several factors are critical to yield: optimal soil moisture and temperature, soil nutrient availability and balance, and resistance to pest attacks.
The fifth and final phase is maturation: The plant canopy dies back, the tuber skins harden, and their sugars convert to starches.
New tubers may arise at the soil surface. Since exposure to light leads to greening of the skins and the development of solanine, growers are interested in covering such tubers. Commercial growers usually address this problem by piling additional soil around the base of the plant as it grows (“hilling”, or in British English “earthing up”).
An alternative method used by home gardeners and smaller-scale growers involves covering the growing area with organic mulches such as straw or with plastic sheets.
Growing potatoes can be a difficult task in some circumstances. Good ground preparation, harrowing, plowing and rolling are always needed, along with a little grace from the weather and a good source of water.
Three successive plowings, with associated harrowing and rolling, are often needed before planting. Eliminating all root-weeds is desirable in potato cultivation.
Potatoes are generally grown from the eyes of another potato and not from seed.
Home gardeners often plant a piece of potato with two or three eyes in a hill of mounded soil. Commercial growers plant potatoes as a row crop using seed tubers, young plants or microtubers and may mound the entire row. Kartoffel is the German word for potato, and there is a very similar word in Russian.
Romanian cartof, Ukrainian ????????(kartóplja), Bulgarian ?????? (kartof) are all obviously connected as well to the German and Danish kartoffel. But even this word comes from the Italian word tartufuli , meaning ‘truffle-like thingy’.
The Polish name ziemniaki as well as the Slovak zemiak, which both come from the Slavic root ZEM meaning ‘earth’. Russian ?????, ‘earth/land.’ Like the French with pomme de terre ‘apple of the earth’, the Poles named it by where is was found.
Seed potato crops are ‘rogued’ in some countries to eliminate diseased plants or those of a different variety from the seed crop. This is where the farmer goes over the seed bed and pulls up the ‘rogues,’ inferior plants.
Potatoes are sensitive to heavy frosts, which damage them in the ground. Even cold weather makes potatoes more susceptible to bruising and possibly later rotting, which can quickly ruin a large stored crop.
At harvest time, gardeners usually dig up potatoes with a long-handled, three-prong “grape” (or graip) a spading fork or a potato hook, which is similar to the graip but with tines at a 90° angle to the handle.
In larger plots, the plow is the fastest implement for unearthing potatoes.
Commercial harvesting is typically done with large potato harvesters, which scoop up the plant and surrounding earth. This is transported up an apron chain consisting of steel links several feet wide, which separates some of the dirt. The chain deposits into an area where further separation occurs.
Different designs use different systems at this point. The most complex designs use vine choppers and shakers, along with a blower system or “Flying Willard” to separate the potatoes from the plant. The result is then usually run past workers who continue to sort out plant material, stones, and rotten potatoes before the potatoes are continuously delivered to a wagon or truck. Further inspection and separation occurs when the potatoes are unloaded from the field vehicles and put into storage.
Immature potatoes may be sold as “new potatoes” and are particularly valued for taste. These are often harvested by the home gardener or farmer by “grabbling”, pulling out the young tubers by hand while leaving the plant in place.
Potatoes are usually cured after harvest to improve skin-set. Skin-set is the process by which the skin of the potato becomes resistant to skinning damage. Potato tubers may be susceptible to skinning at harvest and suffer skinning damage during harvest and handling operations.
Curing allows the skin to fully set and any wounds to heal. Wound-healing prevents infection and water-loss from the tubers during storage. Curing is normally done at relatively warm temperatures 50 to 60 °C (122 to 140 °F) with high humidity and good gas-exchange if at all possible.
Storage facilities need to be carefully designed to keep the potatoes alive and slow the natural process of decomposition, which involves the breakdown of starch.
It is crucial that the storage area be dark, well ventilated and for long-term storage maintained at temperatures near 4 °C (39 °F). For short-term storage before cooking, temperatures of about 7 to 10 °C (45 to 50 °F) are preferred.
On the other hand, temperatures below 4 °C (39 °F) convert potatoes’ starch into sugar, which alters their taste and cooking qualities and leads to higher acrylamide levels in the cooked product, especially in deep-fried dishes-the discovery of acrylamides in starchy foods in 2002 has led to many international health concerns as they are believed to be possible carcinogens and their occurrence in cooked foods are currently under study as possible influences in potential health problems.
In commercial warehouses with very good conditions, potatoes can be stored for up to ten to twelve months.
When stored in homes, the shelf life is usually only a few weeks. If potatoes develop green areas or start to sprout, these areas should be trimmed before using. Trimming or peeling green areas are inadequate to remove copresent toxins, and such potatoes are no longer suitable as animal food.
Commercial storage of potatoes involves several phases: drying of surface moisture; a wound healing phase at 85% to 95% relative humidity and temperatures below 25 °C (77 °F); a staged cooling phase; a holding phase; and a reconditioning phase, during which the tubers are slowly warmed. Mechanical ventilation is used at various points during the process to prevent condensation and accumulation of carbon dioxide.
Potatoes were grown on 18.6 million hectares in 2010, each hectare yielding 17.4 tons of tubers. Farms in the United States were the most productive in 2010, with a nationwide average of 44.3 tons per hectare. The United Kingdom was a close second.
Farms in New Zealand have ranged between 60 to 80 tons per hectare, some reporting yields of 88 tons per hectare.
There is a big gap among various countries between high and low yields, even with the same variety of potato. Average potato yields in developed economies ranges between 38–44 tons per hectare. The two largest producers of potatoes, China and India which accounted for over a third of world’s production in 2010, had yields of 14.7 and 19.9 tons per hectare respectively.
The yield gap between farms in developing economies and developed economies represents an opportunity loss of over 400 million tons of potato, or an amount greater than 2010 world potato production. Potato crop yields are determined by factors such as the crop breed, seed age and quality, crop management practices and the plant environment. Improvements in one or more of these yield determinants, and a closure of the yield gap, can be a major boost to food supply and farmer incomes in the developing world.
While there are close to 4000 different varieties of potato, there are many standard or well-known varieties, each of which has particular agricultural or culinary attributes.
Varieties are categorized into a few main groups, such as russets, reds, whites, yellows (also called Yukons) and purples-based on common characteristics. Around 80 varieties are commercially available in the UK.
For culinary purposes, varieties are often differentiated by their waxiness. Floury, or mealy (baking) potatoes have more starch (20–22%) than waxy (boiling) potatoes (16–18%).
This painting is called Die Kartoffelschälerin, the Potato Peeler. As I mentioned Kartoffel is German for potato.
The Russian word is quite close, Kartophely, or something like that. It’s difficult to transcribe Russian.
The distinction between waxy and floury may also arise from variation in the comparative ratio of two potato starch compounds: amylose and amylopectin. Amylose, a long-chain molecule, diffuses from the starch granule when cooked in water, and lends itself to dishes where the potato is mashed. Varieties that contain a slightly higher amylopectin content, a highly branched molecule, help the potato retain its shape when boiled.
Peru still has some 2,800 varieties of potato, more than any other country.
The blue potato (or purple potato) originated in South America. It has purple skin and flesh, which becomes blue once cooked. It has a slight whitish scab that seems to be present in all samples. The variety, called “Cream of the Crop”, has been introduced into Ireland and has proved popular.
Genetic research has produced several genetically modified varieties. ‘New Leaf’, owned by Monsanto incorporates genes from Bacillus thuringiensis, which confers resistance to the Colorado potato beetle.
‘New Leaf Plus’ and ‘New Leaf Y’, approved by US regulatory agencies during the 1990s, also include resistance to viruses.McDonald’s, Burger King, Frito-Lay and Proctor & Gamble announced they would not use genetically modified potatoes, and Monsanto published its intent to discontinue the line in March 2001.
All blight-resistant potatoes must be replaced every three generations by fresh new strains from the Andes, as they lose their resistance very quickly.
Waxy potato varieties produce two main kinds of potato starch, amylose and amylopectin, the latter of which is most industrially useful. The German chemical company BASF created the Amflora potato, which has been modified to contain antisense against the enzyme that drives synthesis of amylose, namely granule bound starch synthase.
The resulting potato almost exclusively produces amylopectin, and thus is more useful for the starch industry. In 2010, the European Commission cleared the way for ‘Amflora’ to be grown in the European Union for industrial purposes only-not for food. Nevertheless, under EU rules, individual countries have the right to decide whether they will allow this potato to be grown on their territory. Commercial planting of ‘Amflora’ was expected in the Czech Republic and Germany in the spring of 2010, and Sweden and the Netherlands in subsequent years.
Another GM potato variety developed by BASF is ‘Fortuna’ which was made resistant to late blight by adding two resistance genes, blb1 and blb2, which originate from the Mexican wild potato Solanum bulbocastanum.
In October 2011 BASF requested cultivation and marketing approval as a feed and food from the EFSA. In 2012 GMO development in Europe was stopped by BASF.
In 2010, a team of Indian scientists announced they had developed a genetically modified potato with 35 to 60% more protein than non-modified potatoes. Protein content was boosted by adding the gene AmA1 from the grain amaranth. They also found 15 to 25% greater crop yields with these potatoes. The researchers expected that a key market for the GM potato would be the developing world, where more than a billion people are chronically undernourished.
The historically significant Phytophthora infestans (late blight) remains an ongoing problem in Europe and the United States.
Other potato diseases include Rhizoctonia, Sclerotinia, black leg, powdery mildew, powdery scab and leafroll virus.
Late blight is infamous as the cause of the Irish Potato Famine, an unforgettable period of Irish history in which four consecutive years of crop failure in the mid-1800s left millions of people starving or dead. And though these days most people think of the disease as a potato plague of the past, it remains a serious problem, threatening to wipe out potato crops in countries around the world every year.
Over the past several decades it has been occurring with increasing frequency in the United States, and this year, it has returned with a vengeance, causing an epidemic in tomatoes in New England, infecting potatoes on farms in Michigan and Indiana, and popping up in isolated cases in potatoes in Wisconsin.
Insects that commonly transmit potato diseases or damage the plants include the Colorado potato beetle, the potato tuber moth, the green peach aphid (Myzus persicae), the potato aphid, beetleafhoppers, thrips and mites.
The potato root nematode is a microscopic worm that thrives on the roots, thus causing the potato plants to wilt. Since its eggs can survive in the soil for several years, crop rotation is necessary to solve the problem.
During the crop year 2008, many of the certified organic potatoes produced in the United Kingdom and certified by the Soil Association as organic were sprayed with a copper pesticide to control potato blight (Phytophthora infestans). According to the Soil Association, the total copper that can be applied to organic land is 6 kg/ha/year.
According to an Environmental Working Group analysis of USDA and FDA pesticide residue tests performed from 2000 through 2008, 84% of the 2,216 tested potato samples contained detectable traces of at least one pesticide. A total of 36 unique pesticides were detected on potatoes over the 2,216 samples, though no individual sample contained more than 6 unique pesticide traces, and the average was 1.29 detectable unique pesticide traces per sample. The average quantity of all pesticide traces found in the 2,216 samples was 1.602 ppm. While this is a very low value of pesticide residue, it is the highest amongst the 50 vegetables analyzed.
Potatoes are used to brew alcoholic beverages such as vodka, potcheen and akvavit.
They are also used as food for domestic animals.
Potato starch is used in the food industry as, for example, thickeners and binders of soups and sauces, in the textile industry, as adhesives, and for the manufacturing of papers and boards.
Maine companies are exploring the possibilities of using waste potatoes to obtain polylactic acid for use in plastic products. Other research projects seek ways to use the starch as a base for biodegradable packaging.
Potato skins, along with honey, are a folk remedy for burns in India. Burn centers in India have experimented with the use of the thin outer skin layer to protect burns while healing.
Potatoes (mainly Russets) are commonly used in plant research. The consistent parenchyma tissue, the clonal nature of the plant and the low metabolic activity provide a very nice “model tissue” for experimentation. Wound-response studies are often done on potato tuber tissue, as are electron transport experiments. In this respect, potato tuber tissue is similar to Drosophila melanogaster, Caenorhabditis elegans and Escherichia coli: they are all “standard” research organisms.
Potatoes are prepared in many ways: skin-on or peeled, whole or cut up, with seasonings or without. The only requirement involves cooking to swell the starch granules. Most potato dishes are served hot, but some are first cooked, then served cold (potato salad, potato chips).
Common dishes are: mashed potatoes, which are first boiled (usually peeled), and then mashed with milk or yogurt and butter; whole baked potatoes; boiled or steamed potatoes; French-fried potatoes or chips; cut into cubes and roasted; scalloped, diced, or sliced and fried (home fries); grated into small thin strips and fried (hash browns); grated and formed into dumplings, Rösti or potato pancakes.
Unlike many foods, potatoes can also be easily cooked in a microwave oven and still retain nearly all of their nutritional value, provided they are covered in ventilated plastic wrap to prevent moisture from escaping. This method produces a meal very similar to a steamed potato, while retaining the appearance of a conventionally baked potato. Potato chunks also commonly appear as a stew ingredient.
Potatoes are boiled between 10 and 25 minutes, depending on size and type, to become soft.
Peruvians naturally use the potato as a primary ingredient in many dishes, as around 3,000 varieties of this tuber are grown there. Some of the more notable dishes include boiled potato as a base for several dishes or with ají-based sauces such as the Papa a la Huancaína or ocopa, diced potato for its use in soups like in cau cau, or in Carapulca with dried potato (papa seca).
Smashed condimented potato is used in causa Limeña and papa rellena. French-fried potatoes are a typical ingredient in Peruvian stir-fries, including the classic dish lomo saltado.
Chuño is a freeze dried potato product traditionally made by Quechua and Aymara communities of Peru and Bolivia, and is known in various countries of South America, including Peru, Bolivia and Chile.
In Chile’s Chiloé Archipelago, potatoes are the main ingredient of many dishes, including milcaos, chapaleles, curanto and chochoca. In Ecuador, the potato, as well as being a staple with most dishes, is featured in the hearty locro de papas, a thick soup of potato, squash, and cheese.
In the UK, potatoes form part of the traditional staple fish and chips. Roast potatoes are commonly served with a Sunday roast and mashed potatoes form a major component of several other traditional dishes such as shepherd’s pie, bubble and squeak, and bangers and mash. New potatoes are often cooked with mint and served with a little melted butter.
The Tattie scone is a popular Scottish dish containing potatoes. Colcannon is a traditional Irish food made with mashed potato, shredded kale or cabbage, and onion. Champ is a similar dish.
Boxty pancakes are eaten throughout Ireland, although associated especially with the north, and in Irish diaspora communities; they are traditionally made with grated potatoes, soaked to loosen the starch and mixed with flour, buttermilk and baking powder. A variant eaten and sold in Lancashire,especially Liverpool, is made with cooked and mashed potatoes.
Bryvanzové halusky is the Slovakian national dish, made of a batter of flour and finely grated potatoes that is boiled to form dumplings. These are then mixed with regionally varying ingredients.
In Northern and Eastern Europe, especially in Scandinavia, Poland, Russia, Belarus and Ukraine, newly harvested, early ripening varieties are considered a special delicacy. Boiled whole and served un-peeled with dill, these “new potatoes” are traditionally consumed with Baltic herring. Puddings made from grated potatoes (kugel, kugelis and potato babka) are popular items of Ashkenazi, Lithuanian and Belarussian cuisine.
In Western Europe, especially in Belgium, sliced potatoes are fried to create frieten, the original French fried potatoes. Stampot, a traditional Dutch meal, is based on mashed potatoes mixed with vegetables.
In France, the most notable potato dish is the Hachis Parmentier, named after Antoine-Augustin Parmentier, French pharmacist, nutritionist, and agronomist who, in the late 18th century, was instrumental in the acceptance of the potato as an edible crop in the country.
The pâté aux pommes de terre is a regional potato dish from the central Allier and Limousin regions.
In the north of Italy, in particular, in the Friuli region of the northeast, potatoes serve to make a type of pasta called gnocchi. Gnocchi with chicken essence, pancetta and fresh Périgord truffle.
Friuli is a lovely area of northeastern Italy with its own particular cultural and historical identity. The capital is Udine where we played on a hilltop one beautiful afternoon. In the Middle Ages this place was called the Patriarchate of Aquileia, which was the fourth largest city of Italy during Roman imperial times.
This is sign is written in standard Italian, top, and Friulian, bottom. The name Friuli comes from Forum Iulii. The area was important to the Romans because it was at the foot of the Alps, and Julius Caesar could intercept barbarian invasions here as well as wintering his troops. I wonder if they ate gnocchi then? The Roman soldiers lived on what they called frumentarium, which was basically wheat, Roman meal.
Yes, Rome conquered the known world on a vegetarian diet of wheat, barley, oats, spelt and rye. Roman soldiers ate meat but not very often, and never on their summer campaigns when meat would have spoiled. Anyway, they didn’t know any Peruvians yet, so gnocchi were unknown.
Cooked and mashed potatoes or potato flour can be used in the Knödel or dumpling eaten with or added to meat dishes all over central and Eastern Europe, but especially in Bavaria and Luxembourg.
Das Gulasch mit Knödel.
Potatoes form one of the main ingredients in many soups such as the vichyssoise and Albanian potato and cabbage soup. In western Norway, komle, spheres of grated potato, wheat flour, barley flour, and salt, is popular.
A traditional Canary Islands dish is wrinkly potatoes or papas arrugadas usually served with a pepper sauce called Mojo or as an accompaniment to meat dishes.
Tortilla de patatas (potato omelete) and patatas bravas (a dish of fried potatoes in a spicy tomato sauce) are near-universal constituent of Spanish tapas.
French fries and often hash browns are commonly found in typical American fast-food burger joints and cafeterias. One popular favorite involves a baked potato with cheddar cheese (or sour cream and chives) on top, and in New England “smashed potatoes” (a chunkier variation of mashed potatoes, retaining the peel) have great popularity.
Potato flakes are popular as an instant variety of mashed potatoes, which reconstitute into mashed potatoes by adding water, with butter or oil and salt to taste.
A regional dish of central New York, salt potatoes are bite-size new potatoes boiled in water saturated with salt then served with melted butter. This photograph is from the Dinosaur Bar-B-Que in Syracuse, where we played one happy night.
American Jews eat latkes (fried potato pancakes) during Hanukkah. Yum!
A traditional Acadian dish from New Brunswick is known as poutine râpée. The Acadian poutine is a ball of grated and mashed potato, salted, sometimes filled with pork in the center, and boiled. It is commonly eaten with salt and pepper or brown sugar, and is believed to have originated from the German Klöße, prepared by early German settlers who lived among the Acadians.
Everyone knows that many Acadians migrated from the Canary Islands and Canada to Louisiana where they became Cajuns, right?
Poutine is a hearty serving of French fries, fresh cheese curds and hot gravy, which originated in Québec in the 1950s, and became a widespread and popular dish throughout Canada.
In India, the most popular potato dishes are aloo ki sabzi, batata vada and samosa, which is spicy mashed potato mixed with a small amount of vegetable stuffed in conical dough, and deep fried. Potatoes are also a major ingredient as fast food items, such as aloo chaat, where they are deep fried and served with chutney. In Northern India, alu dum and alu paratha are a favorite part of the diet; the first is a spicy curry of boiled potato, the second is a type of stuffed chapati.
A dish called masala dosa from South India is common throughout India. It is a thin pancake of rice and pulse paste rolled over spicy smashed potato and eaten with sambhar and chutney. Poori in south India in particular in Tamil Nadu is almost always taken with smashed potato masal. Other favorite dishes are alu tikki and pakoda.
Vada pav is a popular vegetarian fast food dish in Mumbai and other regions in the Maharashtra in India.
Aloo posto (a curry with potatoes and poppy seeds) is immensely popular in East India, especially Bengal.
Although potatoes are not native to India, they have become a vital part of food all over the country especially North Indian food preparations. In Tamil Nadu this tuber acquired a name based on its appearance ‘urulai-k-kizhangu’ (??????? ???????) meaning cylindrical tuber.
In the southern part of East Asia, rice is by far the predominant starch crop, with potatoes a secondary crop, especially in China and Japan.
In northern China the main crop is wheat, and rice is not easily grown. A potato dish in the north is ????? (q?ng ji?o t? dòu s?), made with green pepper, vinegar and thin slices of potato.
Potatoes in Chinese cuisine are treated more like an ordinary vegetable than like a staple carb, and so it would not be unusual to see a potato-based dish served with rice. For the same reason, the potatoes tend to be somewhat undercooked to Western tastes.
More vegetable like and undercooked. Both of these characteristics apply to ??? – it’s a fresh, crisp stirfry of very finely shredded potatoes that have been soaked in water before cooking, to remove as much of the starch as possible.
In the winter, roadside sellers in northern China sell roasted potatoes.
The Moche culture from Northern Peru made ceramics from earth, water, and fire.
They made pottery into potatoes.
This pottery was a sacred substance, formed in significant shapes and used to represent important themes.
The Moche culture made their pottery into startlingly realistic scenes of everyday life and people.
The Moche didn’t seem to have any of the self censoring mechanisms that most cultures have.
It’s almost like having photographs of these pre Inca people.
This used to be a punishment in the American army, putting a soldier on KP (Kitchen Patrol). I bet no one peels potatos any more. They probably blast off the skins in nuclear microwave ovens. Really, the peelings should be eaten. They’re the best part.
Here’s how the Italians do it. They don’t call it a potato peeler, they call it a “peel potato.”
???????? means “potato” in a diminuitive, endearing sense. It would be like saying “papita” for papa in Spanish. Vod = water in Russian. Vodka = little water.
You can get a good kartoshka here.
A store in Barcelona.
Where it’s cold, people tend to eat root crops, turnips, beets, potatoes.