The Daily Ping

The 1st Ping was published on January 6, 2000.

April 2nd, 2003

The Old Phrase Dept.

I am twenty-five, but sometimes I talk like I’m sixty-five.

I do curse sometimes, but I’m more apt to use an old phrase in its place, I’ve found. For instance, the big one I’ve been using a lot of recently is, “Gee whiz.” And I use it a lot. I use it when programming, driving, and making sandwiches.

But then I got to thinking how much I enjoy old phrases, simply because they’re not common. I actually had the chance to say, “Let’s blow this pop stand” yesterday, and I got the reaction I figured I’d get: confusion. “Pop stand? What?”

Do you find yourself using old phrases and clich?s?

Posted in Everyday Life

FROM: Greg
DATE: Wednesday April 2, 2003 -- 9:52:43 am

FROM: jk
DATE: Wednesday April 2, 2003 -- 10:45:02 am

What do you want me to do, stand on my head and spit nickels?

FROM: Dave Walls
DATE: Wednesday April 2, 2003 -- 1:01:14 pm
As a child, I had a knack for being a bit clumsy. So if I would trip, slip, or knock something over, she would use the phrase, "Just like a bull in a china shop".

I know, it's the stupidest phrase ever, but I keep catching myself using it. Argh.

The other I still use is: "6 with one, a half dozen with the other."

FROM: Greg C
DATE: Wednesday April 2, 2003 -- 4:06:48 pm
My parents were the masters of old cliche'd phrases and rubbed them off on me.

Here are some of my favorites... some are from parents and some I came up with myself. Some are from popular media.

Dang it!
Half past a freckle, goin' on a hair.
Let's blow this popcycle stand.
"Ahhh Craaaaap!" (in Grampa Simpson voice)
That wouldn't cut hot butter!

FROM: Ryan
DATE: Wednesday April 2, 2003 -- 7:00:58 pm
I like calling people "sport."

FROM: Marsha
DATE: Wednesday April 2, 2003 -- 7:07:54 pm
We're trying to come up w/an acronym for Wednesdays. We have:
Monday: MOAN-day
Tuesda: S.H.I.T. (sure happy it's Tuesday)
Thursday: S.H.I.T.
and of course TGIF

Any suggestions?

FROM: Paul
DATE: Wednesday April 2, 2003 -- 8:17:19 pm
"Please learn how to use the Internet" is becoming an old phrase.

FROM: Matt
DATE: Wednesday April 2, 2003 -- 9:40:30 pm
I like saying Keen lots.

FROM: Game Show Man Joe [E-Mail]
DATE: Thursday April 3, 2003 -- 1:23:56 am
My current favorite is:


FROM: bj
DATE: Thursday April 3, 2003 -- 7:17:51 am

DATE: Thursday April 3, 2003 -- 9:55:04 am
Strong Bad Impression: Holy CRAAAAAAAP!

FROM: Jason Taylor [E-Mail]
DATE: Wednesday July 9, 2003 -- 3:36:27 pm
if ask an obvious question I always reply....

"Is a sharks head waterproof"

FROM: Aaron [E-Mail]
DATE: Wednesday July 9, 2003 -- 10:31:23 pm

That's one of the treasures of talking to my grandparents and their
peers -- the dated vernacular. If they haven't been updating their
diction, you'll hear lots of "gee whiz" and "swell".

It's also interesting to see how changing social norms are reflected
in our language. One of my grandmothers still uses the term
"coloreds" to refer to blacks. I guess back in her day, the term
"negro" was ousted in favor of "colored" and "colored people", which
then lost out to the passively voiced "people of color". Today it
seems that "African American" is the universal term for black people
in America -- regardless of their heritage.

A bit of a tangent, but the term "African American" as a general
synonym for "black" has always seemed odd to me, but that's what it
has become. I mean, look at any new source and you'll almost always
see blacks in the U.S. referred to as "African American".

This term is both too narrow and too broad. It doesn't include all
the non-black North Africans living in the U.S. I know some men from
Algeria and Tunisia that live and work here in San Francisco. Would
people describe them as "African Americans"? No, becuase they are not
black. They would probably be labeled as "Arabs", whether they
consider themselves Arabs or not. Are black South Africans that move
to the U.S. called "African Americans" whereas white South Africans
are ineligible for that distinction?

The term "African American" is also too broad as it is almost
automatically applied to all blacks in the U.S. regardless of their
heritage. Numerous black people the U.S. can trace their ancestry to
somewhere outside the U.S. that is not a continent: Brazil, Jamaica,
Columbia, etc. I suppose that the argument is that if you go back far
enough, all black people trace their heritage back to somewhere in
Africa. Well, then all U.S. citizens are "African Americans" if you
go back far enough.

When I hear the terms "African American", "Hispanic" or "Latino" in
the news, that just signals to me that some oblique point about the
person's skin color is being made, but that finding out that person's
actual heritage was not important enough to find out.

FROM: Ryan
DATE: Thursday July 10, 2003 -- 8:31:35 am
Aaron -- I have older relatives that still say "colored" as well...

With regards to "African American," as far as I know "black" is generally preferred these days -- it certainly sounds a lot more natural when a white newscaster says it. When I hear someone say "African American," it's always with a slight hesitation that seems to ask, "What do 'they' want to be called now?"

FROM: Aaron [E-Mail]
DATE: Thursday July 10, 2003 -- 2:04:11 pm
So, it's back to "black" then. I think that's better because it makes it obvious that the speaker/writer is talking about skin color and not hiding it behind some pseudo-ethic grouping. Hopefully drawing attention to the fact that skin color is so blatantly specified, people will question whether or not its relevant. How many news reports have you heard, "a black man..." or "an African-American man..." and wondered, "why is it so important to distinguish skin color for this report?" I mean, they rarely mention if the subject is left or right handed.

It looks like we're stuck with "Asian" though. This one seems to persist and I don't know if any alternate is on the horizon. Talk about an overybroad grouping -- Asia is a huge continent with a wide ethnic diversity. If someone is described as "Asian", could they be talking about a Russian? A Turkmen? An Indian? An Indonesian? A Korean? Javanese? Mongol? Afghan? Persian?

FROM: Ryan
DATE: Friday July 11, 2003 -- 9:52:15 am
How many news reports have you heard, "a black man..." or "an African-American man..." and wondered, "why is it so important to distinguish skin color for this report?" I mean, they rarely mention if the subject is left or right handed.

I agree. And to continue straying off-topic, the one phrase that makes my skin crawl like no other is: "This black guy..." Usually it starts a sentence that the speaker would never start "This white guy..." if a white person were involved.

FROM: Peter
DATE: Wednesday November 5, 2003 -- 10:14:28 pm
I agree with some of the statement about African American vs. Black.

I know some that prefer Black and some African American. Some even don't mind both. I was raised in a Church that was call the African Episcopal Church.

African American is actually an old term that is dated about 1853 or 1856. It was decided by the Negro convention in the 1800's to stop using the term African in schools and where ever else.

Afro American I believe is the 1856 one. It does seem broad and narrow, but our history is unique.

The term Black is not fully suited either. Blacks from other places many times do not like to be called black.

African American does not include North Africans, but Black doesn't either. It is a term used for us and by us for many reasons.

Which ever someone choose it shouldn't matter. You have to know the history to understand it.

FROM: Richard
DATE: Tuesday January 18, 2005 -- 3:11:12 am
To the discussion of the term African-American: Ryan I concur wholeheartedly, as a black male of 40yrs, I’ve grown increasingly annoyed by the schizophrenic flip-flopping between African-American an black by the media. Let’s get this straight once and for all, at the risk of incurring the wrath of those who happen to share the same hue as I, the term African-American was born out of a pathetic attempt to put style over substance. Instead of putting our energies into the real problems of the black community: crime, drugs, education, unwed births ect, we waste our time on moronic notions such as the afore mentioned phrase and Ebonics.
Those who wish to call themselves AA’s are those who wish to stick their head in the sand and wallow in pools of ignorance. First I would like to ask anyone who considers themselves an AA which of 55 countries in the continent of Africa they are from. Secondly, by calling themselves AA’s, they imply that their lineage is pure. If you can prove that your family line has never been slaves, raped by slave owners, or immigrated after 1863 you probably have something other than pure Mandingo flowing through your veins. Now if you are still determined to call yourself an AA, would you please call the descendants of Sally Hemming and the bastard daughter of Strom Thurmond and tell them to shut up. While you’re at it, why don’t you write to Ebony Magazine and tell them to stop putting Mariah Carey on the cover and tell her she sings R&B very well for a white girl.
Being black in America is to be of many hues from many nations; even those who are white, but still believe in the ‘one drop’ lie. Those same individuals have white people in their lives, and probably had something to do with their existence. They must feel somewhat slighted when others invade their world and tell their brown relatives that they are AA’s and only AA’s. We still have a long way to go before we truly put our stamp on this country, but let’s not do it by adding more lies to the hundreds that are already attached to our race.

FROM: Joseph
DATE: Tuesday January 18, 2005 -- 3:22:06 pm
"For crying out loud!"
"Jiminy Christmas!"
"Balls!" (exclamation: used like "Bullshit!" but only in the noun form, usually in disgust immediately after hearing bullshit or to express profound disappointment. My father uses it. I actually saw it in print in a first hand account by a WWII infantry.
"What the Christ?"
"What in the world?"
"What in blazes?"

FROM: Joseph
DATE: Tuesday January 18, 2005 -- 3:26:34 pm
But my all time favorite oldie expression:

"(You, he, she, they) don't know shit from Shinola."

FROM: Ryan [E-Mail]
DATE: Tuesday January 18, 2005 -- 11:54:36 pm
"(You, he, she, they) don't know shit from Shinola."

Holy Hell, I'm using that phrase tomorrow.

FROM: Peter
DATE: Thursday January 20, 2005 -- 12:18:07 am
Richard I hear what you are saying. I'm 40 years old as well. It is obvious however that what you think about terms for us and what I would say comes from a different experience in America. It is amazing to me you talk about someone having thier head in the sand when others might say that about your point of view. We all have the right to self identify.

For example, I have always liked and accepted the term Black. I have also understood the term African. Black doesn't let people know that you mixed with white or Indian blood either. We all know that we are at the very least of Afro, Euro, and Indo descent. America and other places as well has not let us even attach our other mixtures to their groups in general. Both Black and white.

We all know that that when the Africans came they lost their tribal and national affliations. They merged into one group and began to call themselves Africans. They took parts of different African cultures and mixed it with European and Native American and became a distinct subgroup of Africans. Some say really not African or American. Became a new culture. African has been grasped to be able to pass some small part of our identity.

I know my ancestry, I know for a fact that I have Euorpean, African ancestors on both sides of my family. My maternal 2nd great grandmother was owned and emancipated by her father in 1851 who was a Frenchmen by way of Canada. I als know that many Senegambian slaves went to Louisiana as well as the Carolinas. My family comes from both places. I have had my DNA run in special project. My paternal side goes back to Europe and my maternal back to West Africa and they believe Senegal is the greatest possibility. That would match the Senegambian history.

My family has also lived in an era whwer you can't be Creole because you are Black. I have news for evreyone you can be Black, white, or mixed and still be a Creole, just like American, Latino or Hispanic.

You have the right to identify yourself as Black as do I. You can't get down on others that a different term may work for them. You have to understand both sides of the coin. We do have a history of the term African American. There still is the Baltimore newspaper called the Afro-American. Still family owned after four generations and 112 years later. It was established by a former slave in 1892.

Lets just think about it.

FROM: katie
DATE: Monday January 9, 2006 -- 12:41:24 pm
how did the comments get onto racism?! lol anyways

my best mate is "old phrase" prone and she got them from her mum. she says: "you're not qite the ticket today!" or others like that: "you're a few sandwhiches short of a picnic!" and she also uses the "Half past a freckle, goin' on a hair." but being the donkey she is she customised it and said "just past the scar going on a spot" cos shes cool!

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