Today is Thanksgiving in the US, a holiday marked primarily by having a large meal together with family and/or loved ones. In previous years, I’ve set the table with utensils, and served up some turkeys. This year, I want to make sure we include bread (and a few other bready baked goods) in our ongoing ThThTh feast.
break bread: an expression meaning “have a meal together with people”
“Breaking Bread,” a song by Johnny Cash
“bumped his head on a piece of bread”: a line from the song/nursery rhyme “It’s raining, it’s pouring” in the version I learned as a child (though not in more commonly known versions). Did anyone else learn this version?
It’s raining, it’s pouring
The old man in snoring.
Bumped his head on a piece of bread,
And didn’t get up till morning.
bread: a slang term for money
breadwinner: one who earns money for a household
dough: another term for “bread” as in “I’ll need some dough to buy bread”
dough: a mixture of flour, water and other ingredients used to bake bread, as in “I’ll knead some dough to bake bread.”
I smell the blood of an Englishman.
Be he ‘live, or be he dead,
I’ll grind his bones to make my bread.
the best thing since sliced bread: an expression said appreciatively of something really innovative, or just something really good. Often said facetiously.
bread and circus: as the wiki says, since I’m too tired/lazy to say something on my own “is a metaphor for handouts and petty amusements that politicians use to gain popular support, instead of gaining it through sound policy”
Project Bread, a Massachusetts anti-hunger organization. I’ll donate $5.00 to them for each commenter who includes the name of a type of bread in the comments below.
image credits: bread from wpclipart, Little Red Hen from Ella M. Beebe Picture Primer (New York: American Book Company, 1910) 87 from clipart ETC.
It’s that time of year again. You know, when the goose is getting fat. And you know what? So is my goose list for this fine Themed Things Thursday. But I’m in a bit of a rush, so I’ve gotten a bit loose in my descriptions.
A flock of geese things
one’s goose is cooked: an expression meaning that one is in trouble. Eg. “She knew her goose was cooked when she saw the flock of angry geese heading her way”
a wild goose chase: an expression for a fruitless venture, usually involving a lot of wasted energy. And sometimes flying feathers.
a goose walked over my grave: an expression meaning “got a sudden chill”
goose bumps: bumps that a appear temporarily on the skin when a person is cold. Perhaps because the skin looks a bit like that of a plucked goose.
what’s good for the goose is good for the gander: an expression meaning that both male and female should be plucked. Or otherwise get equal treatment.
take a gander at: an expression meaning “have a look.” As in “Take a gander at those soldiers doing the goose step.”
Phoebe got a real bed a couple of weeks ago, inspiring me to think about beds for a ThThTh list¹.
A bed list²
make one’s bed and lie in it: an expression meaning that one must accept the consequences of one’s actions. The wording of the expression is somewhat variable, with various subjects (and agreeing possessives) possible, some variation in tense/aspect of the verb make, and variability in the the following clause. eg. You’ve made your bed, and now you must lie in it. or He made is bed, so now he’ll have to lie in it.
The Princess and the Pea: a classic fairy tale in which a pea is hidden under mattresses to test whether a girl can feel the lump under the bedding
“Someone’s been sleeping in my bed.” Something the bears say in the fairy tale Goldilocks.
flower bed: an area, such as in a garden, that has been planted with flowers
bed of roses: an expression meaning an easy or luxurious situtation. More often heard with a negative, such as “it was no bed of roses.”
fortune cookies: If you add “in bed” to the end of the fortune when you read it, hilarity will ensue (in bed).
hotbed: an environment conducive to rapid growth
Beds Are Burning, a song by Midnight Oil. (youtube video)
“5 little monkeys jumping on the bed:” a children’s song/rhyme of the “counting down” variety:
Five little monkeys jumping on the bed
One fell off and bumped his head
Mama called the doctor and the doctor said
“No more monkeys jumping on the bed!”
Subsequent verses are sung with one fewer monkeys jumping, until one reaches the final “no more monkeys” state. There’s a book based on the rhyme, too.
“10 in the bed:” another kids’ song of the countdown type.
Ten in the bed and the little one said “roll over! roll over”
So they all rolled over and one fell out…
in bed with the enemy: an expression meaning “consorting with the opposition”
strange bedfellows: an expression used to describe a situation where unlikely individuals cooperate, having been brought together to by unusual circumstances. Taken from a line from Shakespeare’s The Tempest: “Misery acquaints a man with strange bedfellows.”
“In Bed with Madonna:” The title of the 1991 Madonna movie (“Truth or Dare“) as it was released in various countries. I saw it in Brazil as “Na Cama com Madonna.”
“My Bed is a Boat:” a poem by Robert Louis Stevenson from A Child’s Garden of Verses
My bed is like a little boat;
Nurse helps me in when I embark;
She girds me in my sailor’s coat
And starts me in the dark.
“To bed! To bed!”
“Tarry awhile,” says Slow;
“Put on the pan,”
Says Greedy Nan;
“We’ll sup before we go.”
bed head: hair that has been messed up during sleep, or that at least appears that way
¹Also at times inspiring me to miss the cage-like qualities of the crib. Is duct tape really so wrong?
²You know, I pretty much never make my bed. But I’m clearly not opposed to making a bed list.³
³You know, I really need to get to bed.
It’s fall now up here in the Northern Hemisphere, and the squirrels are busy squirreling away their nuts for the winter. Meanwhile, I’ve been eating a lot of nuts, and going a little nuts. And reading about nuts¹. It’s almost as if nuts have been falling out of the trees and bonking me on the head². So, grab your nutcracker³, because I’ve gathered up a few nuts to share with you for this week’s list o’ Things.
a selection of mixed nuts
nuts. (adj.) An expression meaning “crazy.” As in “you are totally nuts.” There are also other nut-themed variations, such as the additional adjectives nutty and nutso, and nouns like nutjob and nutcase.
Nuts (1987) A movie starring Richard Dreyfuss and Barbra Streisand.
The Nutshell Library: A box set collection of miniature books by Maurice Sendak. Not about technical topics.
“Death in a Nut“: A folktale (in various versions) about a boy who tries to save his mother from death by stuffing Death into a nut shell.
“Thumbelina“: a fairytale about a tiny girl. She had a cradle made of a walnut shell.
Kate Crackernuts: an English fairytale about a girl who frees her stepsister from a curse that hides her beauty. The nuts are somewhat peripheral to the story. Kate collects them while going about her tasks and eats them for breakfast.
Nutcracker: a device used to access nuts that are encased in a hard shell. Decorative ones sometimes are made to look like people.
Harlan Pepper, played by Christopher Guest in Best in Show, likes to name nuts:
I used to be able to name every nut that there was. And it used to drive my mother crazy, because she used to say, “Harlan Pepper, if you don’t stop naming nuts,” and the joke was that we lived in Pine Nut, and I think that’s what put it in my mind at that point. So she would hear me in the other room, and she’d just start yelling. I’d say, “Peanut. Hazelnut. Cashew nut. Macadamia nut.” That was the one that would send her into going crazy. She’d say, “Would you stop naming nuts!” And Hubert used to be able to make the sound, he couldn’t talk, but he’d go “rrrawr rrawr” and that sounded like Macadamia nut. Pine nut, which is a nut, but it’s also the name of a town. Pistachio nut. Red pistachio nut. Natural, all natural white pistachio nut.
¹ Two of my favorite bloggers coincidentally (or perhaps both sparked by the start of school) wrote about how they are dealing with nut restrictions in their schools. Emily wrote Nutty, and Denguy wrote Aw, Nuts, two thoughtful posts that raise awareness about nut allergies. (I’d like to add that neither of them has a child with a nut allergy, and in fact have kids who love peanut butter. But they are both concerned and considerate.)
² That happened to me once with a chestnut. It hurt.
³ …or your epipen…
Thumbelina image from Hans Christian Andersen, Fairy Tales (Chicago: W. B. Conkey Company, ND).
A while back, I gave you a list of moths for a Themed Things Thursday list, and I said I’d get around to the other major set of lepidoptera shortly. So here is a collection of butterfly things, which I have carefully skewered with pins and lined up for your enjoyment.
A Butterfly Collection
butterfly collecting: a hobby that involves collecting specimens of butterflies, and typically pinning them to a board and displaying them under glass in rows. It was a particularly popular hobby during Victorian and Edwardian times.
The Collector (1965) A movie about a butterfly collector who kidnaps a woman to add to his collection of creatures.
butterfly net: a type of handheld net used for catching butterflies (often for a collection). The image of using oversized butterfly nets to catch people is sometimes used in cartoons (or the imagery is evoked in humor writing). Particularly when depicting the “men in white coats” in pursuit of an escapee from a mental institution. (cf: this, this, or this cartoon.)
“The Butterfly”, a fairy tale by Hans Christian Anderson. A tale of a butterfly seeking a flower to be his bride. Unsuccessfully. In the end, he gets caught by people and pinned down, a state he likens to marriage.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle. A picture book about a caterpillar who is hungry and eats a lot before becoming “a beautiful butterfly.” (Sorry, did I give away the ending?)
Heimlich : a caterpillar (who is generally very hungry) from Pixar’s animated feature, A Bug’s Life. At the end of the movie, he emerges from his cocoon as a butterfly with wings disproportionatley small for his body, saying: “Finally, I’m a beautiful butterfly”?) (You can watch the scene on YouTube.)
butterfly kiss: a nickname for the act of brushing one’s eyelashes against another person’s skin as an act of affection.
In the Time of the Butterflies. A novel by Julia Alvarez about 4 sisters who participated in a resistance against a brutal dictator in the Dominican Republic. Their codename was “las Mariposas,” or “the Butterflies.” Also a 2001 TV movie based on the novel.
butterflies in the stomach: an expression referring to temporary minor gastrointestinal distress triggered by stress, such as that due to an anticipated meeting or public performance. (Doesn’t that sound poetic?)
The Monarch. A bumbling arch-villain from “The Venture Bros.”, a cartoon shown on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim. Wears a butterfly costume, as do his henchman.
Madame Butterfly: an opera written by Giacomo Puccini about a Geisha in Nagasaki called “Butterfly.”
“Butterfly”, a song by Weezer about catching a butterfly in a mason jar. It also makes reference to the opera Madame Butterfly, and is on the album Pinkerton, which is the name of the male protagonist from the opera.
the butterfly effect:
An idea from Chaos theory whereby minor events can trigger a chain reaction of other events, which can sometimes lead to big events. Such as the fluttering of a butterfly’s wings leading to a tornado changing its path. (Also a 2004 movie.)
butterfly ballot: a voting ballot notorious from the 2000 US presidential election, as its confusing layout may have led some would-be Gore voters in Florida to mistakenly vote for Pat Buchanan.
The Sinister Butterfly: “Nefariously fluttering from leaf to leaf.” John’s blog. Which he doesn’t update very often these days. But he has posted some great photos there before, as well as some other stuff that’s worth reading.
The Cowardly Lion from L. F. Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. (Also in the 1939 movie The Wizard of Oz.) A lion who wants to get courage.
Aslan. The lion in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and the other six books in the Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis.
The Lion King (1994) . An animated Disney movie, and a broadway play based on the same.
The MGM Lion. This lion mascot (actually several different lions since 1924) appears roaring in the MGM logo as part of the (much parodied) opening sequence of Metro Goldwyn Mayer film productions.
“The Lion Sleeps Tonight“. A famous song with a more complicated history than I’d realized.. The original version “Mbube” was recorded in South Africa in 1939. Many versions, some also going by the name “Wimoweh,” have since been recorded around the world. Best known perhaps is the version by The Tokens. (Hear it on YouTube in a video with a singing hippo and dancing dog.)
The lion’s share. An expression meaning “the biggest portion.”
“The Lion’s Share“. A song off 10,000 Maniacs’ album Blind Man’s Zoo.
Fed to the lions or Thrown to the lions. Expressions meaning that a person has been placed in a metaphorical position of danger or a situation for which they are not well prepared. (Ancient Romans threw people to the lions as a spectator sport, and in a less figurative way.)
“The Slave and the Lion.” An Aesop’s fable about an escaped slave who removes a thorn from a lion’s paw, and thus gains the lion’s loyalty. And avoids getting eaten when he is thrown to the lions.
“The Lady and the Lion.” A fairy tale told by the Brothers Grimm about a young woman who is held captive by a lion, who turns out to be a cursed prince. The story has much in common with versions of the “Beauty and the Beast” fairy tale. A retelling of the story is available as a picturebook.
The Lion and the Unicorn. Symbols of the United Kingdom. The lion gets to wear the crown on the UK Royal Coat of Arms. There’s also the related nursery rhyme:
The lion and the unicorn were fighting for the crown
The lion beat the unicorn all around the town.
Some gave them white bread, and some gave them brown;
Some gave them plum cake and drummed them out of town.
Here it is, February 28th. What is typically the last day of February. However, this year, as I’m sure you are aware, is a leap year. So we get another day this month, making this year 366 days long.¹ Anyhow, this leaping business of leap year has inspired me to think about frogs.² And thus you get a froggy ThThTh list.
A Few Frogs
leap frog: A game you play by leaping over crouched people. (I can’t really describe it. Go see what Wikipedia says.)
Frogger. A classic 80s arcade game. The goal is to get a frog to hop safely across a road and a river without getting squashed or dunked. You can play online.
Kaeru: This Japanese word means both frog and return, leading to frog charms being carried for luck by travellers.
The Frog Prince. A fairy tale about a princess prince-turned-frog-turned prince. It has some variations I’m less familiar with:
Although in modern versions the transformation is invariably triggered by the princess kissing the frog, in the original Grimm version of the story, the frog’s spell was broken when the princess threw it against a wall in disgust. In other early versions it was sufficient for the frog to spend the night on the princess’s pillow.
The Tale of Mr. Jeremy Fisher, a book by Beatrix Potter. Mr. Fisher is a frog who goes fishing for his meal, but after some mishaps, opts to dine on grasshopper.
Frog and Toad. Characters from the series of books (including Frog and Toad are Friends) by Arnold Lobel. They are a frog and a toad. Who are friends.
Kermit the Frog. The beloved Muppet, created by Jim Henson. The orginal version was made from a discarded coat and ping pong balls.
Five Little Speckled Frogs. A children’s count-down song:
Five little speckled frogs,
Sitting on a hollow log,
Eating some most delicious bugs,
One 1 frog jumped in the pool,
Where it was nice and cool,
Now there are four 4 speckled frogs,
A frog in one’s throat: an expression describing the gurgling and croaking⁴ that people sometimes get when talking with phlegm in the throat.
Crunchy Frog: a Monty Python sketch about a chocolate confection with a dead frog center.
We use only the finest baby frogs, dew-picked and flown from Iraq, cleansed in finest-quality spring water, lightly killed, and then sealed in a succulent Swiss quintuple smooth treble cream milk chocolate envelope and lovingly frosted with glucose.
¹ Has anyone else noticed that this is perhaps an unfortunate year to choose for the inaugural year of Blog 365, where people commit to blogging daily for the whole year? But I see they have a planned day off for tomorrow.
² Because they leap.
³ We recently got a different Froggy book for Phoebe from a Scholastic catalog, namely Froggy Eats Out, and were a bit dismayed by the message of this particular one. In it, Froggy behaves like a brat and embarrasses his parents so badly at a nice restaurant that they must leave. They then reward him by going out to a burger joint, like Froggy had originally wanted.
⁴ Or irregular phonation. Which sounds less frog-like than croaking and gurgling.
Happy New Year, and welcome to the Year of the Rat! In celebration of this holiday, how could I not offer up to you a platter of rats? No, not to eat, silly. That would be gross. This is a generous helping of rat-themed¹ things for a festive ThThTh list.²
Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, by Robert C. O’Brien. The Newbery Award winning children’s novel about a mother mouse and a colony of highly intelligent rats.
Templeton, the rat from E. B. White’s beloved book, Charlotte’s Web. Was voiced by Steve Buscemi in the 2006 movie based on the book.
I don’t give a rat’s ass. An idiom meaning “I don’t care,” akin to “I don’t give a flying fig.” One of those expressions that is always used with the negative. For example, one would not likely hear “I give a rat’s ass.” Or maybe one should. I could design a line of greeting cards, perhaps for Valentine’s Day: “I give a rat’s ass about you.”
ratty: An adjective to mean dirty, messy and/or worn out. Also a nickname for a cafeteria at my undergrad University. The Sharpe Refectory was long ago nicknamed the Sharpe Rat Factory, later shortened to The Ratty. The nickname was used so frequently that it was easy to forget that it wasn’t the cafeteria’s official name.
Ratatouille (2007) Pixar’s latest animated movie is about a young rat who loves to cook.
Willard (1971), and its sequel, Ben (1972). There was also a 2003 remake of Willard, starring the appropriately creepy Crispin Glover. These were movies about the friendship between a man (or boy) and some rats. (Oh, and the rats are vicious killers. Note that you can find these movies on imdb via the plot keywords “eaten alive by rats.”)
It should be noted, however, that he never actually said, “You dirty rat!”, a popular phrase associated with him….The phrase actually originated in the 1932 film Taxi!, in which Cagney said, “Come out and take it, you dirty, yellow-bellied rat, or I’ll give it to you through the door!” often misquoted as “Come out, you dirty rat, or I’ll give it to you through the door!”
Rodents of Unusual Size (ROUS): Oversized rats (well, it’s not specified that they’re rats, but they look pretty rat-like in the movie) from the Princess Bride.
The Pied Piper of Hamelin. A legend, sometimes written as a fairy tale, about a man who freed a town of its rat infestation by playing his pipe to lure the rats to drown themselves in the river. When the town refused to pay the agreed upon fees, the Piper then lured away the town’s children.
Amy from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. A character who turned herself into a rat to escape being burned as a witch, but didn’t manage to turn herself back into a human afterwards. Was then kept in a cage as pet by Willow for several years. When she eventually returns to human state, says “I felt like I was in that cage for weeks.”
“I think I smell a rat,” a song by the White Stripes. For Amy (see above item) clips set to the song check out this YouTube video.)
Bear with me. Or, bears with me. Well, not really with me. But on the list. Yes, Themed Things Thursday¹ is coming out of hibernation, as I come crawling out of my work-induced cave of fatigue and grumpitude. And what better way to come out of a cave than being pursued by a whole lot of bears?
Some Bears ²
Winnie-the-Pooh: Pooh has to top any list of bears in my book. The bear from the books by A. A. Milne. (I prefer not to think about the Disneyfied version.)
Gentle Ben: A lesser-known show about a boy and a bear.
Grizzly Man A movie about a man who decided to go and live with bears. Eventually, the bears tired of him. From what I understand, he met a…um…grizzly…end.
Yogi Bear: A cartoon about a bear, smarter than the average bear, so he says. Stole pic-a-nic baskets. Yogi Bear was always allegedly “in the ranger’s hair.” But I don’t believe he ever actually ate the ranger. (I watched this show as a kid, but I’m not sure I liked it. I feel like I felt some empathy for Boo-boo Bear, the side-kick.)
Goldilocks and the 3 bears:
The classic fairy tale of breaking and entering. While a family of bears is out for a walk while their porridge cools, a little girl heads into their house where she steals their food and breaks some furniture.
Bear Snores On: A kids’ book (by Karma Wilson and Jane Chapman) about a bear who snoozes through a party in his cave, when various other animals sneak in to get out of the winter storm.
There are a whole bunch of other bear books for kids, several of which are berry-oriented, like Blueberries for Sal, Jamberry, The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry and the Big Hungry Bear.
bear hug: A hug characterized by a real squeezing of the arms, rather than just a symbolic arm-wrapping. As one might imagine it would be like if hugged by a bear. Though without the mauling.
“B is for Basil, assaulted by bears:” A page from The Gashleycrumb Tinies, Edward Gorey’s alphabetic masterpiece.
Fozzie Bear: a muppet who likes to tell bad jokes. (Wocka, wocka, wocka.)
fuzzy wuzzy, a children’s rhyme:
Fuzzy Wuzzy was a bear
Fuzzy Wuzzy had no hair
Fuzzy Wuzzy wasn’t very Fuzzy, was he.
“Bears Discover Fire:” A Hugo Award-winning short story by Terry Bisson in which bears…discover fire.
Bears are fairly popular mascots for sporting teams, especially brown bears, or Bruins (cf. the Brown University Bruins, UCLA Bruins, the Boston Bruins, or the Chicago Bears. And cf. also “da Bears” sketch from SNL)
teddy bear: A popular type of stuffed animal, named for Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt
Gummy Bears: fruit-flavored, brightly-colored, gelatin-based candies shaped like little bears.
¹ Yes, I realize it is now no longer Thursday. But I ran out of time, and I’ve had this draft going for over a week.