Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Phrasemania p.2

Earlier in February I did a post on common phrases: meaning and origins and after that post, I realized that there were even more phrases that needed explanation.

Now, this are my meanings/origins for these words, some based in the real world, some based in my head, if you're offended check out Ricky Gervais' blog and you'll see what real offensive posts look like. Without further ado...

"It's/that's gold" Meaning it's great/wonderful/fantasmic.
Originated in the 1849 gold rush. Modern use is to describe comedic jokes or comedic acts. When a comedian tells a good joke and no one laughs, they have the legal right to say: "Come on, that joke is gold!" or "That's gold, people! Why do I waste telling my jokes to lame nobody's who can't laugh worth a snot when I'm dolling out the best jokes in the biz?!?!" Or a variation of those phrases.

"Classy" Sophisticated/sophistication.
This term began as a reference to class. When the class system began in the U.S. classes were put into levels from poorest to wealthiest and denoted by an alphabetical system. The richest class was Class Z. Class Z lacked tact and sophistication as they threw their money in peoples' faces (sometimes literally). Consider Scrooge:

As a general rule, Class Y had similar amounts of money to Class Z, they just didn't show it off as much, and were kinder to those who were of a lower class. As time wore on, people forgot about the alphabetical class system; seeing Class Y in print soon became "classy" in normal conversation. As more time wore on, and the class system became a 3ish part system, classy no longer referred to the rich as much as it referred to the sophistication shown by those of Class Y.
"Lyeberrie" Circa 1880.
Around the same time as the U.S. established public libraries, the ever elusive lyberrie appeared. Some believe this to be a very sour fruit similar to when one gets a taste of their own medicine and finds it to be very bitter. It may also be a gigantic berry which houses books (which would explain requests for lyberrie cards) but this magical place is more evasive than the Loch Ness monster and possibly cannot be seen by the human eye. This term is also considered to be used by people who either: a.) cannot articulate OR b.) actually think a Library is a lyberrie.

"Too Legit to Quit" also printed as "2 Legit 2 Quit" Circa 1991.
When someone tells you to stop you don't stop. Your desires/work/whatever you're doing is legitimate enough to continue on in the face of any challenge. Has been known to be used to prevent suicide: "Dude, you are too legit to quit life!" Should not be used to condone smoking/drinking/drugging/gambling/any other addiction/harmful behavior.

"Jelly" Popular term in France during the years prior to the French revolution (1789-1799). The upper class citizens where know to say to the lower class citizens "Jelly?" in passing as a way of asking if they were jealous of their money and of the fact that they actually had food to eat. During the revolution, the lower class citizens asked the same of the upper class citizens as they were sent to the Guillotine as a way of asking if they were jealous that the poor got to keep their heads and the rich didn't. Contemporary use: primarily in reference to a fruit-made paste for toast, sandwiches, cookies, pancakes and biscuits. Although, in some circles it still can be used in questions about jealousy and in statements of jealousy: "Did you see her shoes? I'm so jelly." (Insert sad face).

"To Catch A Predator"
This phrase has been around since the beginning of time. As long as there have been predators, there has been the mentality/hope to "catch a predator". This phrase means either to literally catch one in a net/cage/other device or on film (It is well known that prehistoric man where the first to invent the Polaroid so they could take photos of predators (along with family and sometimes attacking family) and they couldn't wait 24 hours to get it developed down at the closest convenience store, so they invented the Polaroid camera.).

On a quick side note, for years I've been telling people about the threat of Raptors (especially during the rapture) and not the basketball team, those guys are pansies when compared to the (Veloci)raptor of the Jurassic period. Now, I can't quote the wonderful lines beautifully acted by the great Sam Neill in Jurassic Park due to copyright reasons, (more so because I wouldn't do them justice) but I think after seeing that film (and the millions of nightmares later) that we can all agree that a raptor is one freaky predator, much worse than the predators of today. In this day and age we see a lot of predators from wild animals to 60 yr old creeps pretending to be 14 in online chat rooms. And while we are more aware of our online predators, let us not forget those of the past, or you may be surprised who shows up at your house to meet your 14 yr old daughter. Naked and with a 6 pack...

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Mythology - Using Old/Making New

We have previously explored some of my humorous mythology:
{Zoology of Mythical Creatures V.1}
{Zoology of Mythical Creatures V.2}
{Zoology of Mythical Creatures V.3}
But we should also explore the use of mythology in writing.

Mythology is defined as "a body of folklore/myths/legends that a particular culture believes to be true and that often use the supernatural to interpret natural events and to explain the nature of the universe and humanity." (Thank you wikipedia).
Mythology also has been known to spring forth from history, or to replace history entirely. It is quite the sneaky little creature. When an author writes a tome of a novel, much backstory must be given, and often this author will go into the (lengthy 100-1,000 pages of description) mythology of the people whom the story is about.

The question this begets would be: When creating a story, do you create your own mythology, use an old mythology, or a combination of the two?

Many authors use old mythology for their stories. This gives a good background to the lives of characters or explains the attributes and limitations of gods, supernatural beings, and other elements of the story connected to the mythology. This is not to be confused with the use of commonly known fairytales in stories, while fairytales can be part of a mythology, using a fairytale as the base plot of a story (in hopes to give the known tale a new spin) is different than using old mythology. A good example of this kind of using old mythology would be stories or books with Greek gods and more specifically Atlantis in them.

Some authors are creative/smart/dedicated/focused enough to create their own unique (as possible) mythology for their characters. Do I do this? No. Why not? Because I'm lazy, it's good enough just to get a story down, no need to worry about what was before and after that. Will that hurt me in the long run? Maybe, but the more I write, the better my stories get, and with time I'll write mythologies with the best of them (writers). Seriously though, enough about me, if you could take five seconds to stop asking questions and just listen to what I have to say, that would be great. Thanks.
Back to dedicated authors. So a good example of someone who wrote a complete mythology and history for their books would be J.R.R. Tolkien, although I'm sure many fantasy writers have been known to create extensive worlds around their stories. This would be another area in which fantasy authors don't get enough credit. When was the last time James Patterson wrote a complete history and mythology for the fictional characters he made up? How 'bout never. Anyways . . .

When writing or reading fantasy, consider the mythology. If you're reading and they are giving you backstory, you should probably pay attention. If you're writing, consider if it is important to know the mythology of your people and give this mythology the time and energy it needs for it to be as full and interesting as the mythology of our present world.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Happy V-Day

So I was making some valentines for some people. And I thought I would share one with my loving readers. I hope this brightens your day.

On Valentine's Day even Octomom deserves some love...
Or is that burning sensation just impotent rage?

Thursday, February 5, 2009

In Place of Something Better

So I've been working on a big blog post, one that is more thought out and prepared than most, but it's taking way too long so I'm going to post a sympathy blog, just so I can keep up with my self-determined quota.

I looked over a book recently. It seemed interesting at first glance, suggesting that it was a book about common phrases - their meanings and their origins. My interest soon turned into disappointment as the book proved to lack some of my favorite phrases. I will post these here and my understanding of what their meanings are and their origins. Why, you ask? To educate the masses, that's why.

"Blow this pop stand" (Can be used with 'Let's' or 'It's time to').
As seen on the semi-popular TV show Miami Vice. Meaning "To exit or remove oneself from a less than exciting location or environment." So next time you're bored or even if you just want to sound cool like me, you can use this phrase while exiting. Just don't use it when making small talk with an undercover police officer while holding a stick of dynamite next to a pop stand. Some of us learn those tough lessons so the rest of you don't have to...

"Too Hot to Trot"
Some people consider this to mean very attractive. Actually the phrase can be attributed to the early settlers in the Southern United States who would complain when the weather became too hot for their horses to run, this led to many a slow pursuits for bandits and other hooligans on horseback. It also was used in the American Civil War when it was too hot for people to catch dysentery, or at least it was too hot for them to show symptoms of the horrible disease (or was it a virus, or do disease and virus mean the same thing? If so, was it a bacterial infection then, and is that a virus too?)

"Keeping It Real"
To be authentic, true to oneself; to be cool. 'Nuff said. This phrase was stared by none other than myself. j/k. The "keeping it real" hysteria can be linked back to when, in our capitalist society, companies started creating similar products to original products, and the original products starting using the phrase "keeping it real" to prove that they were the authentic version of a highly processed food. Not to be confused with the phrase "Keeping it Seal" created by singer/songwriter Seal.

"Tru Dat" & "Word"
Phrase combination used by one or two parties. Used to signify agreement. Can be linked back to Algonquian nations of Native Americans, used when trading with English settlers.

"Good Times"
It is hard to pinpoint the exact moment in history when this phrase started, since, historically, there have been many "good times". In present day use, "Good Times" can be used not only in reference to good times, but also in reference to bad times such as "My Grandmother's finger exploded. Good times." When used in this form, the phrase "Good Times" establishes the end of a discussion on a topic. Since nothing else can be said about the event, "good times" establishes that no more needs to be said. Also used when reminiscing about "good times".

"True Story"
Similar to the historical roots and meaning of "good times". Can be used in place of "good times" when a listener seems to be skeptical about a given story, or to reinforce the use of "good times". Example: "My Grandmother's finger exploded - true story. Good times".

"He's/She's a Winner"
Winners have been around since the beginning of time, but it wasn't until the turn of the century that sarcasm was discovered, giving this phrase new meaning. If someone tells you that you are a "winner" and it's not your Grandmother/Father, Mother/Father, Significant other/other person who would lie to you, then it means you aren't a winner, you're actually the opposite. Listen to me, you no longer want to be a winner, it's no longer cool. You also don't want to be a loser because that's not cool either. You just want to never be defined as either a winner or a loser and you'll never be caught on someone's judgemental radar.