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.
“Thinking again?” the Duchess asked, with another dig of her sharp little chin.
“I’ve a right to think,” said Alice sharply, for she was beginning to feel a little worried.
“Just about as much right,” said the Duchess, “as pigs have to fly….”
— Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Chapter 9.
Everyone knows that pigs can’t fly.
Except, of course, when they do. And fly they do, in all sorts of lore and literature, song and show, and even in a few airborne vessels. This ThThTh list is hog-wild for the swine of the skies.
A list of flying pigs
when pigs fly: an expression by which a speaker can convey the opinion that a given event will never happen. As in “this blog will be awarded a Pulitzer when pigs fly.”
when pigs grow wings: an expression that means “when pigs fly”
Pigs Have Wings, by P.G. Wodehouse. A book by the author of the Jeeves and Wooster series.
The first recorded pig flight took place in England in 1909. (source)
The first historically recorded flight of a pig took place on British soil, at Leysdown in Kent in 1909. The pig was carried aloft by J.T.C. Moore-Brabazon, later the First Lord Brabazon of Tara, in his personal French-built Voisin aero plane.
The pig was placed into a wicker basket, which was in turn strapped to a wing strut of the aero plane. A hand-lettered sign attached to the basket read: ‘I am the first pig to fly.’ Brabazon purposefully carried the pig aloft, thereby disproving the long help opinion that ‘pigs can not fly.’
Pigs in Space: these pigs from the Muppet Show have mastered not just flight, but space flight.
ad astra per alia porci: Steinbeck’s motto “To the stars on the wings of a pig” (found via the blog On Pig’s Wings, taking its name “from Steinbeck, whose motto, described his status as a ‘lumbering soul but trying to fly.'” )
Can’t get enough flying pigs? Lots more about them can be found at Porkopolis, a website devoted to all things porcine. Be sure to check posts in the category “flight,” and the informative post A Brief History of Pigs and Flight. Flying pigs have their own Wiki page, too.
It’s the 5th of November. Which makes me remember some things about remembering.
I’m fascinated by memory, and clearly I’m not alone, judging from the large number of movies, stories, songs and such that feature themes of memory. Or loss of memory. Here’s a ThThTh list of some things I can remember:
string tied around a finger: if you need to remember something, you can tie a string around your finger as a reminder that there was something you were supposed to remember. This relies on you being able to remember what it was that you hoped to remember.
souvenir: a keepsake or memento, typically from a visit to a place to which one has travelled. From the French verb souvenir, “to remember”
memento: an object kept to remember a time, place or event. From the latin remember:
L. memento “remember,” imperative of meminisse “to remember,” a reduplicated form, related to mens “mind.” Meaning “reminder, warning” is from 1582; sense of “keepsake” is first recorded 1768. (from etymology online)
Memento (2000): a movie about a man who loses his ability to form new memories.
With Chinese New Year having brought us into the Year of the Ox, it seems a good time to bring on the bovines.
Seeing as oxen aren’t all that plentiful in the universe of things in my head, Babe aside¹, I’ve decide to round up some more plentiful bovines instead. This ThThTh brings you cows².
A herd of cow things
Cows are used in the branding of several companies, such as Ben & Jerry’s (ice cream, which is a dairy product), La Vache Qui Rit/Lauging Cow cheese (more dairy products), A black and white cowhide pattern is also used for Gateway Computers, which are computers made entirely out of cheese. Or are they made out of beef?
cow pie: Not anlagous to a chicken pie, this is not a beef-filled pastry.
cowlick: a section of hair that grows in the wrong direction, sticking out as if licked by a cow.
Vachement: a French slang adverb. Vache being the word for cow, and -ment being an adverbial suffix along the lines of -ly, vachement could be translated as “cowly.”
Cow Parade: a large scale art project/event in which life-sized plastic cow models are painted and/or decorated as works of art and put on display. First seen in Chicago, and later in other cities around the world.
Mrs. O’Leary’s cow: the cow blamed for starting the Great Chicago Fire by kicking over a lantern. She has since been cleared of the arson charges, as she didn’t really exist.
Don’t have a cow, man.An expression meaning “don’t get upset.” A catchphrase used by Bart on The Simpsons.
How now, brown cow? A saying used to practice the diphthong [aʊ], which is contained in each of the words.
“I never saw a purple cow.”: a children’s rhyme.
I never saw a purple cow.
I never hope to see one.
But I can tell you, anyhow,
I’d rather see than be one.
till the cows come home: an idiom meaning “all day long” or “for a long time.” I could list cows till the cows come home.
¹ The blue ox, not the pig.
²I’ll spare you the bull, or at least the bulls, for now.
ship’s log: a weighted piece of wood once used to measure the speed of a ship. It was attached to a rope with knots tied at set intervals, and tossed overboard:
It was tossed overboard attached to a line having knots in it at known distances. The number of knots played out, correlated with a reading from a special sandglass, called a log glass, gave the ship’s speed. The term knot, meaning one nautical mile per hour, comes from the knots in the log line.
ship’s log: a shortening of “ship’s logbook,” a journal where the ship’s speed and other events were, um, logged.
weblog, or “blog”: a website where short articles are published in reverse chronological order. A quaint custom of the early 2000s. Typically used to share in-depth political analyses, complain about in-laws or share horror stories of ingrown toenails.
logjam: a blockage caused by logs clogging a waterway. Also used metaphorically to mean a clog or blockage. As in “I can’t get any work done due to this logjam of blog posts in my feed reader.”
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.”
like a hot knife through butter: an expression meaning that something was or can be cut easily
not the sharpest knife in the drawer: an expression meaning “not very smart,” playing of the use of the word sharp as a synonym of intelligent.
The Subtle Knife: A novel by Philip Pullman, second in the trilogy His Dark Materials. (It’s the sequel to The Golden Compass.)
“3 Blind Mice”: a nursery rhyme and song in which a carving knife is used. Possibly is about Bloody Mary.
Three blind mice, three blind mice,
See how they run, see how they run,
They all ran after the farmer’s wife,
Who cut off their tails with a carving knife,
Did you ever see such a thing in your life,
As three blind mice?
going under the knife: an expression meaning “having surgery”
“I always eat my peas with honey”: A poem of largely unknown origins. I first ever heard it while visiting my in-laws last week (and eating peas), and then encountered it a second time the next day when Magpie left it as a comment on my utensil list. Kind of eerie.
I always eat my peas with honey;
I’ve done it all my life.
They do taste kind of funny but
It keeps them on my knife.
“Mack the Knife“: a song from the Threepenny opera. Has been performed by many, From Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, and Louis Armstrong to Sting, The Doors and The Psychedlic Furs.
“Cuts Like a Knife”: the title track from the 1983 Bryan Adams album (YouTube)
Slash with a Knife, a book of works by artist Yoshitomo Nara with many paintings of angry and threatening-looking but cute litte kids.
Knives can be used for slashing, stabbing, and throwing (as well as slicing, dicing and julienning), so they appear pretty frequently in movies as weapons. You might see them such in fight scenes (eg. West Side Story) or murder mysteries (eg. Gosford Park).
The knife is one of the possible murder weapons in the boardgame Clue.
“That’s not a knife. This is a knife.” A line from Crocodile Dundee. (See the scene on YouTube.)
“Chefs do that”: A line from the movie The Long Kiss Goodnight. Geena Davis plays an amnesiac with no memory of her past life as an assassin. When she discovers her skill with knives, she briefly thinks she must have been a chef. Then she throws a knife and skewers a tomato against the wall, saying “chefs do that.” (You can see at least part of the scene in the trailer on YouTube.)
knife throwing: a sport involving throwing knives at a target. (The goal is to hit the target with the point of the knife, not, for instance, the handle.)
knife throwing act: involves a performer throwing knives around a person, with the goal of not impaling the person. Somewhat ironically considered an “impalement art.” Here’s an example of a mother throwing knives at her little kids in the 50s:
knifehand strike: a martial arts strike using the “blade” of the hand (not the palm or a fist), and sometimes called a “karate chop.”
“In Japan, the hand can be used like a knife.” A famous line from a 1970s commercial for the Ginsu knife.
Little Cloud. A picture book by Eric Carle about a cloud who likes to change shapes.
Sector 7, by David Wiesner. A Caldecott Honor-winning picture book with no words about a boy’s remarkable encounter with some clouds.
Winnie-the-Pooh. In the first chapter of A. A. Milne’s classic book, Winnie-the-Pooh attempts to pass himself off as a small dark cloud in order to sneak some honey away from a beehive in a tree. Eeyore, for that matter, is often depicted as having a cloud hanging over his head. (In this case, though, it is not Pooh.)
head in the clouds. An expression meaning “having a poor grasp of reality” or “not paying attention.”
on cloud nine: an expression meaning “extremely happy.” (So what if you are on cloud one? Are you only marginally happy?)
every cloud has a silver lining: a saying suggesting that there is always something good to accompany the bad. (And an irritating thing to hear if you are a pessimist.)
head under a cloud: means “in a bad mood,” typically either gloomy (eg. Eeyore, above) or cranky (eg. me, sleep deprived).
(storm) clouds on the horizon: an expression meaning that trouble of some sort is foreseen.
If you find yourself hankering for more clouds and cloud trivia, you could consider joining the The Cloud Appreciation Society. Those people love their clouds.
¹Sometimes, I just need to write about a light and fluffy topic. What could be lighter and fluffier than clouds?²
² Actually, I’m really quite partial to clouds. I recently had a little conversation with YTSL on this topic when she posted about her own affinity for clouds, along with a cool photo of a dragon-shaped cloud. And I found myself thinking: “I should do a cloud list.” So I done went and did it.
It’s raining here today. Lots of rain. It’s a good day to bring out some umbrellas, so I give you a ThThTh list of umbrella things.¹
a selection of umbrellas
The Sopping Thursday, by Edward Gorey. This is one of my all-time favorite Gorey books. John and I have been known to send each other messages that are quotations from the book:
I have lost my umbrella.
I do not find my umbrella
I have been poked in the eye with an umbrella
None of these umbrellas will do
And perhaps our favorite:
The child has somehow got shut inside its umbrella
Mary Poppins: The famed fictional nanny of books, stage and screen uses her wind-propelled umbrella as a mode of transportation. (I think that’s how it works, at least. I confess that I haven’t read the books, and this horror trailer recut video is the most I’ve seen of the Disney movie.)
John Steed. A character from the 60s British spy show The Avengers. Carrying a finely crafted traditional British umbrella is one of his trademarks.
James Smith & Sons, Umbrellas Ltd.: An umbrella store in London, established in 1830. A place to go if you would like to buy a finely crafted traditional British umbrella .
The Correct Way to Kill: An episode of The Avengers. The plot involves a lot of umbrellas, as well as an umbrella store. Also spies with bad fake Russian accents. A favorite quote, which must be spoken with a bad Russian accent is:
What would a chiropodist want with a case of umbrellas?
Singin’ in the Rain (1952): The famous scene where Gene Kelly dances around in the rain with an umbrella (though generally not held over his head) singing “Singin’ in the Rain.”
Umbrella, a song by Innocence Mission (also the album title):
You dance around with my umbrella.
You dance around the obvious weaknesses.
Around the room with my umbrella.
You dance around the room with me.
let your smile be your umbrella: an expression meaning something like “let a good attitude keep your day from being totally crappy.” It’s probably good that the meaning is metaphorical, because let’s face it. A smile is pretty ineffectual at keeping you dry in the rain.
“Under the Umbrella of the United States”. This was a song that I remember singing in my Junior High chorus class as part of a series of jingoistic patriotic songs about America.²
umbrella superstitions: It is considered bad luck to open an umbrella indoors. Or give an umbrella as a gift. There are a few others, too.³
Q: Three very large men are standing under a single little umbrella. But, not one of them gets wet. Why?⁴
little paper umbrellas: What can I say about them? They are little umbrellas. Made from brightly colored paper. Often used in tropical-esque cocktails. I really liked them when I was little.⁵
¹ I’ve had this list in mind for a while, but I was saving it for a rainy day…
² The song was pretty awful, and I can’t find a record of it. Anyone else ever heard of it? (I fear it may have been written by the chorus teacher himself. And someday he may find my scathing review.)
³ My own superstition, if you want to call it that, is that carrying an umbrella with you will prevent the rain. At least, it rarely rains when I bring an umbrella, and I rarely have an umbrella with me when it does rain.
⁴ A: It’s not raining.
⁵ The umbrellas, that is. I didn’t so much get to try the cocktails…