Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Words I'm Looking Up (One in an occasional, cleverly named series on words I'm looking up)


Hey, remember "Hey, Remember the '80s?"? I didn't think so. Then you probably don't remember quaaludes, either. Actually, I myself never had any firsthand experience with these once-popular-for-recreational-purposes pills. I was usually too drunk to hold in my hands anything smaller than a large Jack Daniels bottle or an average-sized steering wheel. But I did derive a great deal of pleasure from quaaludes as punch lines.

What's wrong with Diane? 'Ludes, man.
How did you spend the weekend? 'Ludes, man.
How do you explain Reagan's hair? 'Ludes, man.

See how that never got old?

Anyway, today's my husband's birthday and, as old folks in their autumn years are wont to do, he said, "You never hear anybody talk about angel dust anymore." (We share a nostalgia for simpler, more innocent times.) That's when I remembered that, for years, I've been meaning to look up quaaludes. Here's Webster's New World.
Quaalude: [a former trademark] methaqualone.

Once again, ladies and gentlemen, Webster's New World.
methaqualone: a white, crystalline powder, C16H14N2O, used in the form of its hydrochloride salt as a sedative and hypnotic.

Sounds like it might be related to the stuff all the kids are doing these days -- you know, the angel dust or the reefers. I wouldn't know. I recently had to downgrade from Coke to Sprite. I learned that, since I reached a certain age, all that carmel coloring (as Grampa Simpson says) "angries up the blood." But I remember Coke.

Hey, remember New Coke ...?

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Di said...

Hanging out with friends, I was sitting next to my friend Crystal, who is about 15 years younger than I am. I usually try not to sit that close to her because she's really pretty and has boobs that don't need high level engineering to hold them up.

Anyway, the keeper of the iPod was playing songs and challenging us to name the artist. She would come up with 80's artists that I never heard of and I would come up with 80's artists that she never heard of.

Finally I said, "I have it figured out...you lived through the pot-smoking 80's and I lived through the cocaine 80's. Completely different music!"

June Casagrande said...

Wow. That really nails it.

At times, my universe intersected the pot-smoking '80s. But I remained solidly entrenched in the New Order, Rick James, Love and Rockets cocaine '80s.

Of course, I was usually too drunk to do cocaine, either. But I did see on the dance floor those guys with the coke spoons hanging from their necks burning it up to Lisa, Lisa and the Cult Jam.

Yeah, I remember the cocaine '80s ...

. said...

Hey June, it's Mike again (the gerbil comment was mine). Last year I gave my teacher friend "Grammar Snobs" for her birthday, and she just sent me a note that she's going to use it in her class at Long Beach City College. You're part of a curriculum! :)


June Casagrande said...

Hello! You know, I thought that gerbil comment had a very familiar kind of voice to it. Too funny!

Thanks for the book news and for spreading the word. I once got an e-mail from a professor in Texas who said he was using "Grammar Snobs" in his rhetoric class. I can't stop feeling uneasy about that, as if he was holding it up as an example of something bad: like how to ridicule grammar sticklers while at the same time sort of usurping their role. No one's called me out yet on what a weasel move I pulled. But I can't help but worry what a rhetoric professor might think.

Anyway, glad to hear someone found GS helpful!

Fritinancy said...

Speaking of "carmel," have you seen John McIntyre's video pronunciation guide? "CARMEL is a mountain in Israel! If you're going to stuff it in your piehole, it's CAR-A-MEL!" http://is.gd/fIGZ

June Casagrande said...

I hadn't seen the video, but I have seen a Shaquille O'Neal commercial with the same basic message.

More interesting to me is the idea of putting caramel in a piehole. Seems wrong somehow.

: )


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