Wednesday, November 16, 2016

November 16, 2016

  • Last evening, my wife (Joyce) and I were talking about family sayings--and one she recalled from her mother was the expression smart cookie. We agreed that that seemed odd, a cookie's having no gray matter (unless it has food coloring--no fair!). So I checked it out. The Oxford English Dictionary has the earliest listing from 1939.
    • b. Usu. with modifying adjective expressing some positive personal quality: a person. Esp. in smart cookie, tough cookie.
      1928   Chicago Tribune 7 Oct. (Comics) 2   What a swell bunch of cookies you turned out to be.
      1939   Oakland (Calif.) Tribune 4 June a9/1   We're a couple of smart cookies, hey?
      1942   Amer. Mercury Oct. 436/1   Just about the toughest cookie ever born.
      1953   W. R. Burnett Vanity Row xvi. 110   He's a real tough cookie and you know it.
      1981   W. Gleason Perils of Lulu ii. 40   You're one smart cookie. That deserves a kiss.
      2009   Mirror (Nexis) 24 Mar. 3   [She] is a smart cookie and..won't rush into making any rash decisions.
  • I've been reading the novels of Carl Hiaasen since I first stumbled across them, oh, a decade or more. Reading, though, is a bit too mild of a term. Swallowing whole? But this most recent one, Razor Girl (2016), I have been reading more slowly, enjoying immensely. Hiaasen, as many know, writes about the wackiness of south Florida, and this is another wacky example of the wackiness. Last night I laughed aloud at this opening of Chapter Twenty. (Nineteen ends as sex is commencing between one couple; Twenty begins with the conclusion of sex between another couple, and these two people we do not like,)
    • "The sex had lasted a long time. / Forty-three minutes, according to Deb's Fitbit. Forty-three minutes and 167 calories" (229).
  • The New York Times reports today that post-truth is the word-of-the-year from the Oxford dictionaries. (Link to story.)
  • Overheard in the coffee shop this morning; climate change is a hoax; the Electoral College is the greatest invention since the wheel--or, maybe, the stone axe.
  • Finally--I memorized poem/literary passage #190 last week, an Emily Dickinson poem that has some family history. Mom used the line route of evanescence in a booklet about poetry that she wrote for her high school students at James A. Garfield High School; Garrettsville, Ohio. So ... in Mom's honor ... a poem about a hummingbird ...
A Route of Evanescence

A Route of Evanescence,
With a revolving Wheel –
A Resonance of Emerald
A Rush of Cochineal –
And every Blossom on the Bush
Adjusts it’s tumbled Head –
The Mail from Tunis – probably,
An easy Morning’s Ride –

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