Dec 19, 2008

The B-word

It isn't quite like Carlin's famous seven, but our northern-plains forecasters are reluctant to use bl****ard. Bad for business. 

So we haven't  had an official governmentally approved (B-word) yet this season. The worst I've seen in print is "whiteout," (code for "Drive and Die") due to heavy snow and high wind. That used to be a (B-word). 

But some of us use the word in conditions of carefully guarded privacy,  and that will sometimes raise the question of where it came from.  As a matter of regional pride, Midwest children hereabouts  are taught that it was invented by an Estherville, Iowa, newspaper writer to describe a spring storm in 1870. 

Which ignores a little bit of doggeral of the kind I've always liked -- an evil-repelling chant from  the early 1800s asking Divine protection against "gizzards and blizzards."

It also ignores one  contribution,  among many,  of the shooting sports to the English language. From the Newark (Ohio) Advocate for October 25. 1867: 

“I and Sam loded and fired as fast as we could, and at every broadside the black rascals fell in showers around us….The crow was keerful to keep as high abuv the rest as possible, but every time he’d lite we’d give him a blast. At length, toward evenin, we kind of hived him, and the last of the blackbirds in a big old tree….Now, Sam, sez I, now for big lodes and a simultuous blizzard!….How it did rain blackbirds….”.

It's sad that Estherville has nothing else to be proud of.

EDIT,  Sat. A.M.: Does NWS read this stuff? Or is Smugistan-on-Lake really in for it? Anyway, the dreaded  B-Word is now in our forecast.



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