Archive for May, 2012

Everything on this planet eventually dies, even words! The language we speak today is not what was spoken 100 years ago. If you have a family Bible, reading it will show you how differently things were phrased and how difficult it now is to understand what basically still is English. Or listen to the Emancipation Proclamation. Not even 200 years old and yet its language is strange to our ears. Even though we understand the Constitution if it were read, still many of its expressions and phrases would be unfamiliar to us except that we’ve heard them before and had their meanings explained to us.

But you don’t have to go back more than 50 or 60 years to find words that have lost their original meaning. Here are a few:

The precursor of the refrigerator was the ice box. Instead of using electricity to generate cold, it used blocks of ice….that were delivered by the Iceman.

TVs used to have UHF tuners. These initials stand for Ultra High Frequency television signals in the days when TVs had rabbit ears, metal antenna that grabbed the signal out of the air instead of coming through a cable or fiber optic.

People used to make this comment “you sound like a broken record” when you kept repeating yourself. This was in the day of vinyl records that actually could be scratched or broken and played with a needle which could then get stuck in the scratches. All before the Walkman was invented which played small tape loaded cassettes. They didn’t get stuck but could break and gum up the Sony player device, something that never happens to an iPod!

Today we carry our phones around with us in our pockets. At one time, the only way you could place a call when not inside a building was to locate a phone booth, which had a huge phone inside and required coins to be deposited to pay for the call.

Going even further back in time, there was an era when you had to share your phone with other people. It was called a party line and was especially common in rural America where stringing phone wire on poles was difficult and expensive. At any time you could pick up the phone and instead of hearing a dial tone, you’d hear your neighbor talking! Each party’s phone had it’s own distinctive ring so you wouldn’t pick up your neighbor’s call when the phone rang.

Before digital cameras, there was the box camera that used large film and had no settings, just a lever to trip the camera’s shutter to take the picture. 

Going steady was what two people did when they dated exclusively for a period of time. To enjoy each other’s company they would go to the drive in and sit in their cars to see the latest movie, or hang out at the soda fountain where all kinds of soda combinations were served by the soda jerk.

Milk used to come in bottles and was delivered to ones doorstep by the milkman.

Food markets used to give green stamps as customer rewards. Actual stamps that were licked and placed in a booklet eventually to be traded in for pots, pans, or other household items.

Quote of the Week

Posted: May 29, 2012 in Quotes
Tags: , ,

“A blank piece of paper is God’s way of telling us how hard it to be God.”
Sidney Sheldon

Christian daffynitions

AMEN: The only part of a prayer that everyone knows.
CHOIR: A group of people whose singing allows the rest of the congregation to lip-sync.
HOLY WATER: A liquid whose chemical formula is H2OLY.
INCENSE: Holy Smoke!
JONAH: The original ‘Jaws’ story.
MAGI: The most famous trio to attend a baby shower.
PEW: A medieval torture device still found in Catholic churches.
TEN COMMANDMENTS: The most important Top Ten list not given by David Letterman.
USHERS: The only people in the parish who don’t know the seating capacity of a pew.

“Like everyone else, I am going to die. But the words – the words live on for as long as there are readers to see them, audiences to hear them. It is immortality by proxy. It is not really a bad deal, all things considered.”
J. Michael Straczynski

Over the last 3 decades inventors in garages and corporate labs have created a whole slew of gadgets that not only delighted us and occasionally drove us crazy, but also changed who we are and how we relate to each other. In the process of naming these devices they gave birth to new words and phrases.

Ever wonder when these words were born? Here is a list of the most popular ones:

Cellphone – in 1983 Motorola introduced its DynaTAC 8000x, weighing in at 2lbs and costing $4,000!

Laptop – Though hardly considered a device you could place on your lap, the Compaq Portable launched in 1983 was the first portable computer, and weighed in at a hefty 28 lbs. But it set the trend for smaller and smaller machines.

Karaoke – this machine was invented in 1983 and has led to lots of fun, stupidity, and embarrassment.

Caller ID – in 1984 BellSouth introduced this invention and revolutionized the way we respond to telephone calls.

Digital camera – “digital” and “camera” have been around for decades. But in 1986 Kodak married the two into a pricey camera for professional photographers. Eight years later Apple produced the first consumer version and the way we view our world hasn’t been the same since!

PowerPoint – Where would speakers be without this invention that Microsoft unveiled for the PC platform in 1990?

Doppler Radar – in 1990 it became a household word as weather forecasters brought up-to-the-minute images to TV.

Lithium rechargeable battery– Originally making its debut in the Sony camcorder in 1991, this revolutionary battery made possible the powering of all those power hungry devices developed since then.

DirectTV (home satellite TV) – Once dishes were so pricey and large, they’d pull down your house if you mounted one on your roof! Then in 1994 (yes they’ve been around that long!) DirectTV launched its services with smaller versions for restaurants and bars (or your backyard). In time technology made them so small that they now can be mounted outside your window. Today as competition to cable services, they have popped up on rooftops like mushrooms, the 21st century’s version of the antenna.

DVD – in 1995 Americans traded their video cassettes for hours of extended movie watching with behind the scenes specials, outtakes and bloopers included.

GPS – (The Global Positioning System) originally developed in the 1970s by the US department of Defense it took until 1995 for Oldsmobile to introduce the first GPS navigation system available in a car, called GuideStar.

Blackberry – in 1999 an obscure Canadian company, Research in Motion, produced this mobile e-mail device.

TiVo – This gadget is now used as a verb (as in “I’m Tivo-ing Survivor tonight”) and changed TV viewing habits for millions after it was shipped in 1999.

iPod – where would music be without this device. Introduced in 2001 by Apple, it would become the most popular portable music player available.

Quote of the Week

Posted: May 14, 2012 in Quotes
Tags: ,

“The art of writing is the art of discovering what you believe.” Gustave Flaubert

Some of these are clever, some will make you groan, others will make your laugh.

I changed my iPod name to Titanic. It’s syncing now.                       

A soldier who survived mustard gas and pepper spray is now a seasoned veteran.

I know a guy who’s addicted to brake fluid. But he says he can stop any time.                  
I stayed up all night to see where the sun went. Then it dawned on me.   

This girl said she recognized me from the vegetarian club, but I’d never met herbivore.

A guy got arrested for playing the guitar. ….For fingering A minor.            
I’m reading a book about anti-gravity and I can’t put it down. 
They told me I had type A blood, but it was a Type-O.                                    

Class trip to the Coca-Cola factory. I hope there’s no pop quiz.                          

Energizer bunny arrested. Charged with battery.

Did you hear about the cross eyed teacher who lost her job? She couldn’t control her pupils?                         
What does a clock do when it’s hungry? It goes back four seconds.      
I tried to catch some fog. But I mist.                                                             
What do you call a dinosaur with an extensive vocabulary? A thesaurus.  
England has no kidney bank, but it does have a Liverpool.  

I used to be a banker, but then I lost interest.                                         
I dropped out of communism class because of lousy Marx.  

Haunted French pancakes give me the crepes.  
Velcro – what a rip off!                                                                      
Cartoonist found dead in home. Details are sketchy.