Monday, February 28, 2011

The Very Useful People at Merriam-Webster

I recently found the message below in my personal email archive. Unfortunately, I do not remember the exact question that I asked the fine folks at Merriam-Webster back in 2002, but it seems that I was concerned about the earliest usage of the word for the performer of a activity being dated earlier (1930) than the word for the activity itself (1932).

From: James ████████████ <█████████>
Sent: Wed, March 13, 2002 11:55:16 AM
Subject: Re: striptease

Dear Jim,

As an historical research editor here at Merriam-Webster, I edit the
dates of first usage, and look for earlier examples of use. I
frequently deal with the troubling issue you bring up.

It seems like "stripteaser" implies "striptease." How could the name
for a doer of some action be formed, if that action hadn't been named?

The problem is that we are not dating when we surmise the word to have
come into use, but the first actual quote we can find of it in print or
manuscript. I can surmise "striptease" to have preceded "stripteaser,"
but the first citation of "stripteaser" we can find is from _Variety_
magazine (as are all the early citations for both words) from 1930,
while the first time "striptease" was used (in _Variety_) was 1936.

This may seem picky, but proof and specificity are absolutely necessary
in dating word usage, and for good reason. I have often found pairs of
words with similarly reversed-seeming dates, for which I have found
proof that the seemingly basic form was not formed first. This may (or
may not) even be the case with "striptease." _Variety_ used "the strip
and tease" as early as 1930. "Stripteaser" may have been formed directly
from "the strip and tease," and the latter only later compacted in
speech to "striptease."


James ████████████
Merriam-Webster, Inc.
47 Federal Street, P.O. Box 281
Springfield, MA 01102

Monday, February 21, 2011

Friday, February 11, 2011

For Kush

(Yes, we're going to Hell)
  1. Candace
  2. Marymac
  3. Sarah
  4. Stephanie (Brownie Queen)
  5. Morgan
  6. Megan
  7. Tracy
  8. Care Bear
  9. Krista
  10. Jamie
  11. Heather
  12. Vickie
  13. Miss Fedora (the other Heather)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Another Bottle

I decided to try the second bottle from the latest home brew batch. Next in line was the bottle marked 11 plus a little dot. This bottle has me a bit worried. I added the little dot because I dropped one of the carbonation tabs on the counter. I then picked it up with my fingers and put it in the bottle. There is some concern around the Internet about handling carbonation tabs. Some people suggest using little tongs or perhaps tweezers (sanitized and sterilized, I assume) to get the tablets out of the package and inserted in the bottle. Having neither small tongs nor tweezers (clean or otherwise), I went with cutting a small opening in the corner of the package, placing that opening very near to the top of the bottle, and then sliding a tablet out of the package and into the bottle. I managed quite well with only a few drops. Some dropped tablets hit the floor. I discarded those. However, I decided to use the ones that hit the counter. There was one of those counter tablets in this bottle. As it so happens, the only other bottle that contains dropped tablets is the one with 13 tablets, three of which were dropped on the counter. I am not superstitious, but that 13 bottle might have some surprises in store.

Back to this bottle. The initial pour is completely flat. Again, I believe more time carbonating is required. Surprisingly, the taste does not seem as bad as the previous bottle. The sour taste is still there, but it is much subdued. Or perhaps I am just getting use to the taste with the second bottle. Sourness aside, I do like the Octoberfest Vienna Lager. It has a nice amber color and a malty taste.

While searching the Internet for information on the Vienna Lager, I found out something that I should have realized earlier. This brew can not be a true lager since it was fermented at room temperature. Lagers are brewed at lower temperatures than ales, and they use a special type of yeast. Wikipedia tells me lagers are brewed at around 50 °F as opposed to 64 °F for ales. Lager yeast are mutated bottom-feeding varieties, specifically Saccharomyces pastorianus. Now I know.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Home Brew Update

Today, I got around to cracking open the first bottle of the latest batch of the home brew. I selected one of the two bottles that contained twelve of the Munton's CarbTabs. The amber-colored brew is a bit of a disappointment. It is flat which probably means that it needs to sit a bit longer while more carbonation is created. This is not unexpected with the Munton's CarbTabs which I have read take up to three weeks for the carbonation period. There are also white specks in the brew which is also not unexpected with the CarbTabs. The taste is sour which is more disconcerting. A search of the Internet shows several possible answers. Perhaps what I am tasting is just stale beer and additional carbonation will fix the problem. On the other hand, the yeast might have been dead in the packet or perhaps killed by me if the wort was too warm. Or the batch might have needed to ferment a little longer. I will try another bottle in a few days, but I think the odds are that I have myself a bad batch of brew.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Last Crusade

When I am in the gym, Glenn Beck's television show is usually on the one television tuned to Fox News. While I am on the elliptical machine, I watch Around the Horn and Pardon the Interruption on ESPN, but occasionally during commercials, I switch over to see what Mr. Beck is all teared up about. As one would might expect, Mr. Beck's most recent concern is the forthcoming Armageddon ignited by the troubles in Egypt and somewhat related demonstrations in Tunisia, Jordan, and Yemen. Mr. Beck sees these uprisings as a beginning of an organized attempt by Islamic groups to take over the world.

I really have no opinion on Mr. Beck's concerns. However, as an example of Muslim aggressiveness, he goes all the way back to the Crusades. Now am I not an expert on those religious wars of the Middle Ages, but I am pretty sure all of the Crusades, except the last one, were due to Christian armies invading Muslim territory which in those times included Palestine. The point being that the Crusades were the result of aggressiveness by Christians and not Muslims.

Of course, the Last Crusade is not a war, but the third of the Indiana Jones movies. It's the one where Indiana Jones, played by Harrison Ford in one of his iconic roles, and his father, played by Sean Connery, are searching for the Holy Grail while being pursued by Nazis. The movie has that great line delivered by Connery, "We named the dog Indiana."