Okay, I was all set to whine again. I came down with the flu a few days ago, and spent many of the last 24 hours feverish and miserable. But it got me thinking about fevers. Now, suddenly, I’m feeling much better. My fever is all gone. But I still have this fever list I came down with, or came up with for ThThTh.
A Few Feverish Bits
- feed a cold, starve a fever (or is it feed a fever, starve a cold?) an expression about folk remedies. Said to be based in part on an idea written in 1574: “Fasting is a great remedie of feuer.” Of course, they probably would have set leeches on you then, too.
- the brainfever bird, a nickname for the common hawk-cuckoo inspired by its repetive song, which sounds to some like the bird is saying “brain fever.”
- the origins of the fahrenheit scale. I remember a story my high school chemistry teacher told about how Fahrenheit made his temperature scale. According to this story, Fahrenheit wanted 100 degrees to be human body temperature. So he took his wife’s temperature to use. It turned out she had a lowgrade fever. (This tale is likely apocryphal, as people have offered up various other stories.)
- Fever is used quite a bit metaphorically to mean “high levels” of some thing: eg. fever of activity, fever of enthusiasm, fever of interest, fever of work. (Mind you, Google showed me no hits for either “fever of pants” nor “fever of bananas.”)
- cabin fever: an expression describing the feeling that one has been stuck inside for too long. Also the title of a movie
- jungle fever: A slang term for interracial relationships. Also a movie directed by Spike Lee
- fever pitch: intense levels of excitement or other emotions, often said in reference to crowds or other masses of people. Also the title of a book by Nick Hornby, and a movie based on the same.
- Saturday Night Fever (1977). John Travolta’s famous disco dancing movie. I don’t believe he actually had a fever in that movie.
- But speaking of fevers and dancing movies, did you ever hear that Gene Kelly had a high fever (103° f) during the famous scene where he dances (and sings) in the rain in the movie Singin’ in the Rain?
- Fever, or the metaphorical hotness it invokes, has also been the inspiration for lots of songs, such as Suzanne Vega’s “99.9 F°“, a lowgrade fever, and also the album title. (Video on YouTube.) And here are a few more from our iTunes library:
Fever Few, Throwing Muses
Fever Moon, Mission of Burma
Fevered, The Stills
Stray Cats Fever and Electric Beach Fever, Puffy AmiYumi
- Of course, any feverish list couldn’t be complete without Fever, the song made famous by Peggy Lee, and which has been stuck in my head much of the day:
- There’s also this version performed by Rita Moreno, as accompanied by Animal. Because many things are improved with the addition of muppets.