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February 23, 2019

Comments

If you want to talk about the NFL, the anthem, and "American"-ness, don't leave out the $$$$$ paid to the NFL (and other sports leagues) by the military as an advertisement and recruiting tool. Patriotism bought and sold. That has gone a long way toward the twisted notion that the national anthem is about the military more than it's about the nation itself.

Bah.

And good for the Old Miss basketball team.

It appears that a string of dollar signs (maybe only if attached to a link?) will get a comment sent to the spam filter. Who knew? (Maybe everyone but me.)

While baseball could (and sometime does) make a claim to being more 'American', that has been diluted by a lot of things like influx of Latino players, followed by the Japanese invasion, something which comes together in the person of Ichiro Suzuki.

In contrast, I would say that the presence of a great variety of players makes baseball more American. As in, more accurately reflecting both the variety of folks making up our society and the number of immigrants who come here and excel.

I was trying to find it, but I can't, but I believe there is a roster limitation on the number of foreign players on the roster for MLB. I don't say this to take issue with baseball being American, but if I am remembering correctly, it is rather ironic.

Here are the MLB numbers
https://www.mlb.com/news/opening-day-rosters-feature-254-players-born-outside-the-us/c-270131918

Not related but interesting. the Korean basketball league has a height restriction on foreigners
https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2018/apr/06/too-tall-for-basketball-american-player-exceeds-korean-league-height-limit

I dunno lj, you'd think if there was some foreign player roster limitation it would be mentioned in one of the gazillion articles online about foreign-born players, like this one or this one.

I'm far from an expert, but I'm going to be really surprised if that turns out to be true.

And now that I'm thinking about it, a friend of a friend of mine who's a lawyer and one of the world's premier baseball fans is (or at least was) also a player agent. I'll ask him (it would be quicker if I had his email address, but I don't).

lj, it is probably worth noting that, while the percentage of foreign born major league baseball players is high, the percentage in the minor leagues is low. Mostly because players there are restricted to H-2B visas (vs. the P type visas that major leaguers use) -- and the number of H-2B visas is severely limited. As a result, "hundreds" of foreign born players are not in the minors simply because they are unable to get here.

Fun fact: while the number of foreign born major leaguers has skyrocketed in the past few decades, this has not resulted in lower salaries. Rather, average salaries have quadrupled. Hmmmm.

Yeah, I thought that I saw it, but it was at a point where it would be very hard to kick in. Unfortunately, all of my google-fu is swamped by pages of people talking about foreign players in Japan and Korea, which is an interesting point in itself.

There was this
https://deadspin.com/mlbs-international-signing-rules-are-a-disgrace-1819090610

So yeah, with that kind of labor suppression, maybe baseball IS the American sport...

"Normal university" is an interesting misnomer. In Continental-style education, a "normal school" is a teacher-training institution. "Normal" means "norm-setting", not "typical".

Thus, a "normal university" should be a university-teacher-training institution.

BTW, I have attended a "normal school". In Finland, they are primary or secondary schools attached to a faculty of education of some university, and the students minoring in education do their practical training there. They are curious places: three categories of people: teachers, teacher students (called auscultants) and the pupils. The auscultants mostly "auscult", i.e. sit at the back of the class listening to ordinary lessons given by teachers or fellow auscultants. After each lesson, there is a critique session where the pedagogical choices, student-teacher interaction and demeanour of the teacher are discussed.

And naturally, you will hold your own lessons: you first review your lesson plan carefully with your supervising teacher, then hold the lesson, with the teacher and your fellow auscultants listening in the back of the class, and finally, receive the critique of the lesson, first publicly from your peers, then privately from your supervising teacher.

In my opinion, the normal school experience was much more important for my teacher training than the theoretical courses.

It seems from the links that MLB limits the amount of money teams can spend on signing foreign-born players rather than a limit on the absolute number of foreign players carried on rosters.

lj's first link states that while 254 foreign-born players were on last year's opening day rosters, 259 were on the previous year's. The highest percentage of foreign-born players on rosters occurred in 2005.

I deplore the militarization of sports and agree that the NFL has brought this on themselves.

Leave it to used-car salesman to use the flag for cheap sales thrills, but can we keep it within tasteful bounds during sporting events, please?

To paraphrase Rodney Dangerfield, at sporting events sometimes I feel like I went to the May Day parade in Red Square and a football or baseball game broke out.

And I feel like if the Confederacy, which by any standard (especially the love it or leave it standard that white conservatives constantly wield over the rest of us) was a traitorous, anti-American movement, can march onto campus in 2019, then perhaps halftime during sporting events should feature a re-enactment of Sherman's March to the Sea or Nat Turner's rampage to balance out the cheap sentimental historical presentation.

It makes a liberal see the value of allowing weaponry on campus.

I'm not keen on any kind of exhibitionist display during sporting events. I can do without end zone ball-spiking and celebrations (though their cleverness sometimes gets me), and if I see one more jackass point at the sky after making a routine play I want to call in the Gibson-Drysdale high cheese.

Put your head down and play and STFU.

As an aside, am I the only rock and roll music lover who finds the football half-time displays lame as Hell?

Give me the Grambling College marching band anytime.

When I attend an MLB game in person now, there is too much going on besides the actual game, like maybe I can't go four minutes without having jugglers, microphone jockeys, dumb contests, the fucking Blue Angel flyovers, and scoreboard pyrotechnics, with background fireworks, in my face.

What's next, handjobs during the 7th inning stretch?

Hey, the grass on the field is my lawn. Get off it!

On the other hand, after reading Ibram Kendi's "Stamped From The Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America", in case all of the other reading hasn't convinced a person, America is lucky kneeling in protest during sporting events is all we get, particularly with the resurgent white victimhood demagogued by the usual suspects theseadays.

We should have been murdered in our beds after this 235 years of foot-dragging horseshit.

Why not kneel on Steve King's and Laura Ingraham's necks instead?

It's interesting that language change and pragmatics has made 'normal college' a strange collocation in the US (don't think it ever caught on in the UK). I run into lots of Chinese (mainland and taiwan) presenters from 'Normal colleges' and a list is here
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_normal_schools_by_country

Didn't realize (or have forgotten) that you were a teacher Lurker, if you'd like to make a guest post about schooling (in Finland, iirc) or anything else, drop a line to the address for the kitty.

John D. Thullen: You outdo yourself when baseball is the trigger..... :-)

*****

My friend who has the friend who's an agent is also a big baseball guy, and he wrote back and said, "There is a rule limiting the number of Americans on Japanese teams but I'm pretty sure there's no such rule in MLB." (No word from the agent yet.)

So I looked that up and found this:

For most of its history, NPB regulations imposed "gaijin waku", a limit on the number of non-Japanese people per team to two or three — including the manager and/or coaching staff.[25] Even today, a team cannot have more than four foreign players on a 25-man game roster, although there is no limit on the number of foreign players that it may sign. If there are four, they cannot all be pitchers nor all be position players.[25] This limits the cost and competition for expensive players of other nationalities, and is similar to rules in many European sports leagues' roster limits on non-European players.

Interesting that even there it's players on the roster, not players who are signed at any given time.

This now legendary sporting event:

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/history/9763539/Britons-started-WW1-Christmas-football-match-with-ball-kicked-from-trench.html

That I like.

You take a break from slaughtering your fellow humans to kick a ball around for a bit accompanied by some peaceful jocularity and holiday good cheer.

Then the officers in the trenches recall both sides and it's immediately back to "Kill the bastards!" again.

Everyone act normal, like maybe we're not all us looney tune insane.

Now, during the post 9/11 break in the baseball or football game, wherein a veteran of the Iraq War, that murderous travesty, is trotted out for deserved respect (on an individual, not a national, basis; nationally, we should have a moment of embarrassed, with the emphasis on bare assed, silence) and now I have that colossal waste of human blood and treasure on my conscience and I'm expected to blithely go back to the game and my beer like nothing happened.

Give me an hour to puke and cry and then resume play. How bout we kneel right there and never get up.

And THEN, the stranger sitting next to me, his hat placed back on his head after its moment pressed against his savage breast, bellows out "Kill the bastards!", especially if it's Tom Brady he wants to kill, and before you know it, it's third down and inches again.

It's just like World War I all over against except that the bad guy, Brady wins, AND then expects reparations as well.

LennonOno's "War is Over" slumber party didn't make much of a dent.

If they conducted a "Football Is Over" bed-in, the assembled celebrities in the Toronto or Amsterdam hotel rooms would shush everyone in the midst of "Give Concussions A Chance" and say, "Hey, pipe down, the game is on!"


Lurker: "Normal university" is an interesting misnomer... "Normal" means "norm-setting", not "typical".

I don't see where lj ever said or implied that normal in this usage meant "typical," and the rest of us might be presumed to be literate enough to know this usage too. And anyhow, are you trying to tell us that "continental" usage of English words trumps (sorry) British and American usage of English words?

A word or phrase isn't a "misnomer" just because usage differs across continents and countries. In the US the term is a misnomer only insofar as it's a survival of an earlier era (as lj said, "historical"), when the colleges in question had narrower missions than they do now. Wikipedia:

A normal school is the historical term for an institution created to train high school graduates to be teachers by educating them in the norms of pedagogy and curriculum. Most such schools, where they still exist, are now denominated "teacher-training colleges" or "teachers' colleges" and may be organized as part of a comprehensive university. Normal schools in the United States and Canada trained teachers for primary schools, while in continental Europe, the equivalent colleges educated teachers for primary, secondary and tertiary schools.[1]

And while I'm quibbling, this...

Thus, a "normal university" should be a university-teacher-training institution.

...doesn't follow at all.

More interesting stuff, an MA thesis titled
Major League Baseball's Latin American
Connection: Salaries, Scouting, and Globalization

lots of interesting stuff in there.

Link

https://digital.sandiego.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1010&context=theses

Whether this makes it more or less American is something that I leave to the commentariat.

Masterful!

For those who haven't read the article, I remember that Ichiro often does a pop-up slide into second base on a double to the gap, and while removing his batting gloves, speaks fluent Spanish to the second basemen or shortstop who might hale from the Dominican Republic or Mexico, and the first time it happens to the fielder they are momentarily speechless because few Americano players are able to do that, though former Mets pitcher Ron Darling could converse with Odysseus in classical Greek if the two of them ever met on the base paths.

For some reason, since someone or other mentioned John and Yoko up above, I remember having a conversation with my Beatle buddies years ago, and they launched into the obligatory Yoko-bashing, the complaint this time being that she had not lost her Japanese accent when speaking American, to which I pointed out that Lennon himself never lost his Liverpudlian accent either, and for a few moments my friends lost the ability to speak at all, even American, until one said "Good point."

But we need interment camps, the Wall, Brexit, and on and on because, God forbid, we might start talking funny.

When I attend an MLB game in person now, there is too much going on besides the actual game, like maybe I can't go four minutes without having jugglers, microphone jockeys, dumb contests, the fucking Blue Angel flyovers, and scoreboard pyrotechnics, with background fireworks, in my face.

I think it's a reflection of a change in our national character. Or maybe psyche. A lot of people these days seem to be unable to simply kick back and chill. They have to have constant stimulation of some kind.** But baseball is structured to have lots of "chill out" time. So there's a compatibility problem.

It would probably do the fans a world of good to just leave them hanging. But I suppose the teams (or their marketing people) know their fans, and what it takes to keep them coming back.

** Do you suppose we can blame computer games? (Not enough people left who are old enough to embrace blaming TV. But I remember when it was a thing to do so.)

Do you suppose we can blame computer games?

smart phones

Actually, as I think about it, smart phones may be the solution. Those incapable of just sitting still can play with their phones. No need to clog up the public space.

i go to a lot of concerts, and there are always people around me ignoring the show because they'd rather be poking at their phones. it would be fine, except screens are bright enough to be distracting in a dark room.

i always wonder "why did you spend the $30 to get in if you're just going to fuck around on instagram the whole time? you coulda done that for free at home! cheaper beer, too!"

I sing karaoke. I look up and everyone is on their cellphone. Maybe for good reason, hah!

But sometimes I nail it.

But I attend live acoustic sets in the same joint and I look down the bar and everyone is on their phone.

Sometimes I wish the guitar guy or girl would just get THEIR phone out and sit in front of the mic until someone notices.

Me, I bring a book just in case.

I suppose it's better that playing inside a cage to deflect thrown beer bottles and the odd cabbage.

cell phone addiction

I'm not sure a regional accent (we've all got one) is the same sort of thing as a foreign accent, however charming. But John Lennon's accent was gentle on the ear. If you want a full-on Liverpool accent, try listening to clips of Jamie Carragher, a retired footballer, now a popular television analyst. He's learnt to speak less quickly, but he's done nothing to soften his accent - note the fricative 'k's.

...a regional accent (we've all got one)...

Many years ago there was an oval whose long axis ran from a bit east of Des Moines, IA to a bit west of Lincoln, NE where the regional accent was defined to be "neutral American". It was what they taught the national TV news anchors and many actors (after the studios decided to go for neutral rather than the contrived Mid-Atlantic accent). I lived inside that oval from about age 3 up through my undergraduate years. For a surprisingly long time I thought regional accents were something people used only when playing a role.

Well, of course this had got to be obvious to all, in the context of the Lennon thing, I could have used "British accent" as well.

Sean Lennon, first generation American-born of immigrants from two different foreign lands, speaks without a noticeable accent, though probably a linguist might pick up hints on Manhattan.

Point being, that the two people kvetching about Yoko had immigrant grandparents or great-grandparents Germany, as I did, and Sweden respectively, and I'm sure those good people spoke English with accents as well, but THEIR children did not.

The larger point following is this is as it is among nearly all children of first generation immigrants but ya know, to many Americans, the complaint is that immigrant don't, or refuse to learn English, but moreover if its an Asian or Latin accent, THAT's grounds for ridicule, but the European derivations, not so much.

I grew up in Pittsburgh, home of the strangest regional accent, IMHO, though I was eight years old when I moved there so it was a little late to be imprinted with it.

I love it when a local Pittsburgher, tongue clotted with the localese, complains gratingly on rare occasions when the Other talks funny.

"had got"?

What is that, Turkish?

Many years ago there was an oval whose long axis ran from a bit east of Des Moines, IA to a bit west of Lincoln, NE where the regional accent was defined to be "neutral American".

Yet when I was in college, "General American" was held to be what one heard on the West Coast. (My linguistics professor claimed he could tell listening where people were from; for New York City, within a few blocks. But for the West Coast, the best he could do was "give them a long Indian name" -- if they could pronounce it: Washington or Oregon, if not: California.) I suspect part of the blame for it being the default lies with Hollywood. Movies got made with people mostly speaking the way they did off-camera.

Yet when I was in college, "General American" was held to be what one heard on the West Coast.

The Wikipedia article on General American lists three areas where it's the regional accent: western New England, a now-shrinking part of the northern Midlands (where I got it), and the West generally.

I like the quote about why the media adopted it: "In television you are not supposed to sound like you're from anywhere."

Beto O'Rourke was asked by a hostile questioner about anthem kneeling. I think his answer is definitive.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lAw9eXXVwfM

What is that?

Welcome to Side Five.

Follow along in your books as we learn our first three words in Turkish :

towel

bath

border

May I see your passport please ?

"I love it when a local Pittsburgher, tongue clotted with the localese, complains gratingly on rare occasions when the Other talks funny."

I'd love to see a Pittsburgher and a Longilander fight it out. Incomprehensible, but amusing.

C'mon NFL, set it up!

I'm enjoying all the regional accent stuff by the way: I don't expect it happens anymore, but a girlfriend and I were given a free meal in a diner in NYC in the 70s because of our accents....

Honest-to-god really-happened accent things...

When I moved from Nebraska to Texas for graduate school and was a TA for a 50-person calculus section, after my second or third session with the class a couple of the freshmen stopped afterwards to ask if I could speak more slowly because "we don't listen as fast down here."

When I moved from Texas to NJ a couple of years later to work at Bell Labs, I discovered right off that I spoke more slowly than most everyone else, and had to speed up again.

Sportscaster and "Stillers" announcer Myron Cope from Pittsburgh:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kk7qTgTvbPw

I'm a sucker for female British accents. Hayley Mills and Julie Christie and GFTNC and her girlfriend would have free meals forever if I had my way and the cash.

Here's something that has always caused me wonder.

Nearly every British actor playing an American can do a flawless accent-free American speech pattern, but American actors can rarely do the reverse. We sound like Dick Van Dyke in "Mary Poppins".

Unless we're trying to impress an American woman:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tlm_1LIbKOs

The worst attempt at an English accent on television ever was by one Greg Bryan in an episode of Castle. He's supposed to be a Geordie (from Newcastle). No one could possibly have guessed.

Don Cheadle in Ocean's Eleven pips Dick Van Dyke for the worst English accent on film.

Nearly every British actor playing an American can do a flawless accent-free American speech pattern, but American actors can rarely do the reverse.

Nearly, yes. I just the other day picked up on a Brit playing an American in the newer version of Dawn of the Dead. I'd seen it before, but this was the first time I noticed something not quite right in the accent. I still can't say specifically what it was, but I just knew he had to be English. IMDB confirmed.

"Stillers"

"Iggles"

i can usually pick out the non-Americans trying to do American accents. there's usually a vowel or two they just can't get right.

I believe people were astounded to hear that Hugh Laurie wasn't American when he played House. Anybody who saw him play Bertie Wooster to Stephen Fry's Jeeves must have been pretty startled (also a put on accent in a way, although he is an old Etonian).

Not a big movie person, but I have to say I've never heard anyone do a believable Boston accent. Even aside from the fact that there's not just one Boston accent...or one Maine accent...

There's a Maine trio called Schooner Fare that I've loved since I first heard them in a pizza joint in Bar Harbor in 1981, years before I moved to Maine. They're now a duo, because Tommy died ten years ago, but back in the day, they often did these big long dumb Maine joke/stories between songs, so that I was eventually forced to acknowledge that I loved hearing my favorite songs over and over again, why not the jokes, too?

In one of their routines, Tommy would imitate six or seven Maine accents. He'd say okay, "this is Oxfuhd County" (I can't possibly phoneticize how he'd pronounce "County"), and "this is Washington County," and so on. It was amazing to hear them all in a row like that and to realize that yes, they were all different! And imagine having Tommy's ear -- first to be able to pick up on them, then -- even more unimaginable to me, because my ear is pretty good -- to be able to imitate them. I miss that guy.

Hugh Laurie is very good. i never heard him slip on House.

Idris Elba is also really good at an American accent. i watched all five seasons of The Wire twice and had no idea he was British. i could tell something was off about Aidan Gillen (aka Littlefinger on GoT) but i thought he was messing up a Baltimore accent.

Is it easier for a Brit to do a strong regional American accent, like that of a blue-collar NYC native or someone from the Deep South, rather than trying to sound like a generic (or neutral) American? Maybe it depends on who you're trying to fool, someone from the specific place in question or ... well... everyone else.

Toni Collette did about the best Philadelphia accent I've ever heard in The Sixth Sense - better than any American actor not from Philadelphia.

Is it easier for a Brit to do a strong regional American accent, like that of a blue-collar NYC native or someone from the Deep South, rather than trying to sound like a generic (or neutral) American?

I have no idea which accent(s) would be easier to do, but I suspect it's easier to find coaches for General American just because of the ongoing demand from Americans looking to lose a regional accent.

In the days of national media, it seems (to me) surprising that new regional accents -- like the Northern Cities Vowel Shift -- are still emerging in the US.

I am stunned by the number of regional dialects that survive in England (just England, not the UK), a country only a third the area of California.

Michael, you might enjoy this:
One woman, 17 British accents
Our British friends can tell us how valid it is.

--TP

During the winter break between semesters my sophomore year in college, I went up to Hartford from Tallahassee, where my family moved to (coincidentally, from Newington, one of Hartford's bedroom communities) the summer before I turned 4. One of my college buddies was taking a break from higher education and about to head to Israel and live on a kibbutz, and a couple of us came in from the hinterlands for a send-off visit.

After a coupled of days kicking around Hartford, the three of us drove up to Lawrence, Mass., where another one of our college crowd lived, and stayed a couple nights at his folks' house, went in to Boston for a nice meal and check things out, smoke some bad weed at Samuel Adams' grave, etc.

The evening we arrived in Lawrence, during small talk with the parents, my friend's mom asked me, "How are your mox?" I had to ask her to repeat the question, then looked at my friend, mystified, for a translation. The problem was two-fold: accent, and usage. She was asking about my "marks", my grades in school. I was familiar with that usage from reading books, but it was not a term encountered in conversation in my environs, and her pronunciation turned an uncommon word into something from a different language.

Hmm, Tony P, she's not too bad, but plenty of them aren't quite right; her Birmingham for example has more than a touch of South African. But she does give a reasonable idea of most of them, although a bit erratic. Interestingly, although she says she speaks RP, there's something not quite right about it - if I were Henry Higgins I could tell you exactly what!

Agreed there's something not quite right with the RP, I think that it wanders about a bit. But an impressive tour all the same.

western New England

?!?!?!?!?

Scratching my head over that one.

My wife and her family are convinced that folks from northeast Ohio have no accent whatsoever. Which always cracks me up.

Agreed on Idris Elba and Hugh Laurie.

Besides diction, the big giveaway for actors trying to pass as American or Brits is the writing. US and UK vernaculars are really different, it's hard for non-natives to get the nuances right.

How are your mox

Clearly not a native. There is no 'r' in 'are'.

:)

The mox story reminds me of the time I was pumping gas (other people’s gas, as a job) and this girl from somewhere down south asked “Y’all got a pap machine?” I was at a total loss. Did she think I was a gynocologist?

Same deal as mox. People around here call sweetened carbonated drinks soda, not pop, but I would have understood were it not for the pronunciation.

I love Nicola Walker, and saw her in a Broadway production of "A View from the Bridge" by Arthur Miller. It was a worthwhile evening, for sure, but the Brits did not have the American accent down at all, much less Brooklyn, or whatever it was supposed to have been. It was overlookable, but on its own very funny. So, yeah, people who can get accents right are either gifted, or have worked at it harder than these actors did.

I loved The Americans, and thought that the leads did American accents (and demeanor) extremely well.

My wife and her family are convinced that folks from northeast Ohio have no accent whatsoever.

Of course we don't. ;-)

*********

"pap" -- Pop vs soda is all well and good, but in moving from northeastern Ohio (where we called it "pop") to Boston, I had to learn that some people call it (generically) "tonic." Or "tawnic," or "t(w)awnic," or something like that.

*********

Dialogue in Brigham's ice cream store in Harvard Square in the fall of 1968 (Brigham's is long gone, more's the pity, although Toscanini's burnt caramel with hot fudge sauce can make up for the loss of any number of ice cream stores; then again, Toscanini's is also gone from Harvard Square, you have to schlep on down to Central now):

Me: "I want a chocolate ice cream cone in a sugar cone." (I knew at least that much).

Boy behind the counter: "Withuhwithout?" (No point in trying to explain his accent.)

Me, after deciphering it: "With or without what?"

Boy: [Eye roll #1] "Jimmies."

Me: "What are jimmies?"

Boy: [Eye roll #2] Chocolate sprinkles.

And that's not to mention the difference between what we Ohioans meant by a "milk shake" and what you'd get if you asked for that in the Boston area.

In the days of national media, it seems (to me) surprising that new regional accents -- like the Northern Cities Vowel Shift -- are still emerging in the US.

Would love to hear from lj on this, but I would guess that there's a tug-of-war between standardization on the one hand and in-group boundary maintenance/setting on the other. Maybe in the end we'll all be code-switchers between an American RP, spread by the ubiquitous media, and our local lingo.

Which also reminds me -- a friend of mine has a kid who is a big fan of the YouTube personality StampyLongnose, who has a channel where he does Minecraft stuff for kids. It's a big deal, apparently. StampyLongnose is British, and my friend's son now uses a lot of British idioms in his speech. But not the accent. So it's interesting how the vocabulary spreads even when the accent doesn't.

Addendum on ice cream cones -- hidden in the vocabulary side of the story is the fact that in those days, in the Boston area, it was absolutely standard to ask "With or without." In Ohio we might have sprinkles on an ice cream cone at home, but they were not that common in stores, and certainly not the default.

In my experience in the US, water is not carbonated by default. But I recently discovered that (at least in Belgium) there isn't a default. And "carbonated" is called "with gas". Hadn't encountered that one before.

"With or without" reminds of something the bilingual "moment of silence" in the other thread also reminded me of.

Diner: I'd like a cup of coffee without cream.
Waiter: I'm sorry, sir. We have no cream. Can it be without milk?

FWIW, that Brigham's in Harvard Square was the last place I remember where I could get a "milkshake" that wasn't mostly ice cream.

--TP

"Can it be without milk" cracked me up.

The fact that a "milkshake" wasn't mostly ice cream was exactly my problem. In Ohio, where I grew up, a milk shake is (or at least was, in those days) basically drinkable ice cream. What I called a milk shake, Bostonians called a frappe. I only made that mistake once. Flavored milk was not my idea of a treat.

Then there was that one trip to Brighton Beach, where I was introduced to egg creams -- no egg, and no cream, but yummy. It gave me the idea, as I grew older and less able to eat a lot of ice cream, to sometimes ask for "a chocolate ice cream soda without the ice cream." This throws people for a loop, but it's actually quite tasty on a hot summer day.

JanieM: "Can it be without milk" cracked me up.

If it did so on the spot, then you obviously have a better sense of humor than the Soviet commissar Ninotchka played by Greta Garbo in the 1932 movie of the same name.

Funny thing is, it was told in the movie as an already old joke. But it's a hardy perennial: it seems to me that many angry debates and blood feuds throughout history have boiled down to an argument of the form "without cream, or without milk". When I finally write my book "My Philosophy, in Jokes" it will be the 2nd or 3rd example at least.

BTW, never had an egg cream, but it was apparently a favorite of Richard Feynman's in his youth, so that makes two people I respect recommending it.

--TP

TP - you're making me blush.

As to Feynman, I never finished "Genius," but I think it was in the portion I did get through that I read that Feynman played the drums, and could do a 12 against 13 rhythm. Since I never got beyond 2 against 3, and shakily at that, I was bowled over by the very idea. I wonder what russell has to say about that......

"As late as the early Eighties, more than 60 per cent of the UK population had never lived more than a dozen miles from where they were born: this no longer holds. Another recent development is that we're all anxious not to appear too posh; even upper-class people speak less correctly than 30 years ago. Weirdly, the middle and working classes used to have broader accents; now there's a linguistic levelling that's taking place across the country."
Mind your slanguage: Where do words like 'bling' and 'nang' come from? A new documentary examines how youth culture sticks its tongue out at the Queen's English (Aug 2005)

Diner: I'd like a cup of coffee without cream.
Waiter: I'm sorry, sir. We have no cream. Can it be without milk?

Reminds me of some old GDR jokes (I guess similar ones were common all over the Soviet bloc):
Customer: are there no razor blades available here?
Store employee: Sorry, no razors are on second floor, this is no bathroom tiles.

Then there was of course the mythical consumer paradise Kürze. "In Kürze gibt's..." ('soon XX will be available' but it sounds the same as 'at place XX it is available' in German). Pun does not fully work in English ('in Short' or 'Fort Cumming' doesn't fully cut it).

I wonder what russell has to say about that.

Ultimately, x-against-y polyrhythms are math. If you the interest and patience for it, you can work them out.

The question is, did it make you want to dance.

My requests for "porridge" from the US office breakfast bar were met with blank looks until I learnt to ask for "oatmeal".

Accent and Feynman: saw Feynman in a production of The Madwoman of Chaillot. He played the part of 'The Sewerman'.

With a voice that echoed Art Carney, for those old enough to remember.

Tony Blair one made the adoption of estuary English by the upper middle class quite fashionable:
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Estuary_English

Not so much now, of course.

"People around here call sweetened carbonated drinks soda, not pop, but I would have understood were it not for the pronunciation."

A real old-fashioned (or maybe just old) Southerner would call it neither soda nor pop. It's called coke, and it doesn't matter if you're really talking about Dr. Pepper or Sprite or Mountain Dew. It's coke.

Not so much now, of course.

Well, Tony Blair himself is still the kiss of death (unfortunately, in my view - whatever his considerable sins on e.g. the Iraq war, his leadership of Labour, compared to Corbyn, can now be looked at as a golden age), but estuary English has continued its onward march. Much was made of Princess Diana's estuary accent, but among the English upper middle and upper classes the accent has changed dramatically even since her day. For proof, listen to even the Queen's accent now, compared to in the 50s. From personal experience, I can testify that when I first landed in an English boarding school in the 60s, in the first year (it was phased out thereafter I think) we all had to take an oral test which consisted of various sentences. The one I particularly remember was "The cat sat on the mat.", and unless you pronounced it "The cet set on the met." you were marked for remedial elocution classes. Luckily, observing what was happening to the first few girls, I adjusted my pronunciation to give them what they wanted, and avoided it. Clearly, in those days, they still wanted us all to sound like Celia Johnson in Brief Encounter.

It's called coke, and it doesn't matter if you're really talking about Dr. Pepper or Sprite or Mountain Dew. It's coke.

Wife's cousins from Ohio visiting Philadelphia: "Why would someone hang tennis shoes from the wires?"

Me: "Those sneakers are for basketball, not tennis." (Admittedly, not much of an answer to the actual question.)

It's coke.

Correct. If you actually want a Coke, you ask for "Co Cola".

Regionalisms: my wife and her family refer to the bit of lawn between the sidewalk and the curb as the "devil strip". Apparently that term is only used in an area roughly from Cleveland to Akron.

"The cet set on the met."

Now Claire Foy in "The Queen" makes much more sense

It's called coke, and it doesn't matter if you're really talking about Dr. Pepper or Sprite or Mountain Dew. It's coke.

Indeed, it doesn't even matter if it's Pepsi, it's still coke. No doubt to the intense irritation of the marketing departments of both Coca-Cola and Pepsi.

Tony Blair himself is still the kiss of death (unfortunately, in my view - whatever his considerable sins on e.g. the Iraq war, his leadership of Labour, compared to Corbyn, can now be looked at as a golden age)

Somehow I am instantly put in mind of Bush II, as a result of Trump. Although I beg leave to doubt that Corbyn, for all his shortcomings (and there are lots of them), would do as much damage as Trump is accomplishing. Not to the world. Not to his country.

wj: mainly seconded. Except that if Brexit proceeds in the worst way (which is still more than possible), Corbyn and the Tories between them will have done incalculable damage to their country.

john (not mccain)'s mention of coke as a generic term reminds me of another drink associated with the South: "sweet tea."

I somehow got well into my sixties without hearing that phrase, though apparently it isn't new. As someone who likes lots of sugar in my (hot) (usually oolong) tea, to call tea "sweet" is redundant. I don't drink iced tea, so I don't know: is iced tea unsweetened by default? Does it depend on the part of the country/world you're in, or what?

*****

"devil strip"

I grew up an hour from Cleveland and had close family near Akron for 25 years, and I never heard the term "devil's strip" until there was a discussion about it at Balloon-Juice a while back.

In Ashtabula County, at least, we called it a "tree lawn." The BJ discussion led me to go googling, and I found (what a surprise!) that not everyone agrees on the origin or geographic range of the phrase "devil's strip."

is iced tea unsweetened by default? Does it depend on the part of the country/world you're in, or what?

definitely depends.

in the south, it's sweet unless you're lucky enough to find a place that has unsweetened. i usually do half / half, because pure sweet tea can be very sweet. but i never encountered sweet tea in NY or PA.

Innumerable regional (or, to complicate matters, class) differences here:

"pop" v "fizzy drink" (never soda)
"toilet" or "khazi" or "bog" v "loo" or (somewhat archaic now) "lav" or "lavatory")

for anybody interested, the NYT has been running an interactive quiz for the last couple of days to determine what part of the UK you're from depending on what terms you use for all sorts of things.

I just had to look up the recipe for egg creams. Fascinating.

Tea: the English believe that Americans cannot make a decent cup of tea ("a brew") almost under any circumstances (not me - I find English-style tea sickening and can only drink what we call China tea - very, very weak and fragrant).

Not too long ago I stopped for lunch at a place and was informed that they didn't have plain iced tea, only pre-sweetened or mixed with fruit juice of some sort. Suddenly my father spoke through my mouth, "What? You don't have any customers who like iced tea?"

for anybody interested, the NYT has been running an interactive quiz for the last couple of days to determine what part of the UK you're from depending on what terms you use for all sorts of things.

They've run a similar one, and maybe it's still available, for the US. I recall getting Philadelphia/Paterson/Yonkers. I was a little surprised about those last two. Perhaps my college days in northern NJ had some kind of influence.

Here's a map depicting how people pronounce "caramel" across the US that looks like the ones I saw on the NYT.

https://i.stack.imgur.com/eO0oe.png

I live in the very small area within an hour's drive of the Atlantic where people use the 2-syllable pronunciation. The rest of the immediate coast uses 3 syllables. A friend from North Jersey who moved to South Jersey had no idea at first what people were saying when they mentioned CAR-muhl. That was after moving a whole 100 or so miles from where she grew up.

The local QuikTrip has six icetea flavors, either sweetened or unsweetened.

So why were those gym shoes hanging from the wires?

By the way, on different regional accents, I have been watching The Clinton Affair, and for the first time heard Jill Abramson actually speaking. Can anybody else who has watched it, or knows what she sounds like, explain to me whether her weird way of speaking (occasional strangely drawly, elongated syllables according to no system I could understand) is just an idiosyncracy of her own, or whether it is a regional accent?

As he "negotiates".

https://digbysblog.blogspot.com/2019/02/your-deeply-respectful-president.html

... with the yellow peril:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PkYIhjDn3WQ

Jill Abramson - based on a few YouTube vids, i'd say that's not regional, that's some variation of 'vocal fry'.

From Janie's link on the devil strip thing:

When West Virginians flooded into Akron to work in the rubber factories...

This rings true. My wife's people basically went to Akron to work rubber during the Depression. Not from WV, but from around Butler PA, which is not far from there. Followed by Rosie the Riveter shifts by her mom and grandmother shortly thereafter.

Based on my wife's and her sibs' tales of growing up, the thing about making up the name to scare the bejesus outta the kids rings true, too.

So, all in all, a plausible narrative.

And as a final point of curiosity, auto-correct has a canonical spelling for "bejesus". Who knew.

I haven't paid enough attention to Jill Abramson to figure out what meter she's trying to speak in.

I've always thought that it was a nice touch that Hugo Weaving, in his Matrix Mr. Smith character, spoke his lines in, I guess, Shakespearian pentameter.

"The first thing that people usually notice about Jill Abramson is her voice. The equivalent of a nasal car honk, it’s an odd combination of upper- and working-class. Inside the newsroom, her schoolteacherlike way of elongating words and drawing out the last word of each sentence is a subject of endless conversation and expert mimicry."
Jill Abramson's voice

Clearly, in those days, they still wanted us all to sound like Celia Johnson in Brief Encounter.

There are worse fates; while it cracks me up to listen to those strangulated vowels, I’m also rather fond of them.

The NYT quiz didn’t work for me, despite my efforts to answer honestly, placing me simulataneously in Gloucester, Northampton and London - none of which are correct.

Here in Atlanta most places offer sweet and unsweet ice tea, and that has been the case for as long as I can recall; a few small non-franchised places here and there might only have sweet. And for the people that like it, they want it made very sweet, with copious amounts of sugar added while the fresh-brewed tea is hot, so it super-saturates. Generally way sweeter than regular soft drinks, which is why it is not uncommon to hear people order half and half, as mentioned above.

Excellent info on Jill Abramson, CharlesWT. Also cleek, thanks for introducing me for the first time to the phenomenon of vocal fry!

The devil strip reminds me of this

https://www.nola.com/living/2016/05/new_orleans_neutral_ground_238972871.html

So why were those gym shoes hanging from the wires?

So some dude could make a cute video. (Gym shoes - jeez.)

https://philly.curbed.com/2015/11/9/9902536/heres-a-video-of-shoes-hanging-out-on-power-lines-in-philly

I hadn't heard Abramson before. I had to stop, she was putting me to sleep.

Her accent and diction appear to be uniquely her own.

She sounded as though either she, or her interviewer, was putting her(self) to sleep.

Wikipedia lists a large number of names for that strip of grass. I can confirm that during my childhood in Iowa, it was indeed called the "parking".

Somebody in Chattanooga is having fun with wikipedia.

Yeah, and they call it what I call it.

Friend of mine who grew up in South Florida does indeed call them swales. He was telling a story about high school days and he and a friend were "golfing in the swales". I had no idea what he meant, I did not have a word for the concept, just the Chattanooga version, so to speak.

i think everybody else in my town called it a devil strip (though we didn't have one in my town). but i thought that was dumb because there's nothing devilish about it. so i've always called it a median.

He was telling a story about high school days and he and a friend were "golfing in the swales"

sounds like a euphemism for something really, REALLY naughty.

Or it should be.

and, in breaking news, Michael Cohen thinks Donald Trump is a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad man.

film at 11.

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