Sunday, February 20, 2005

Apple #39: Potpourri

POTPOURRI (In the Jeopardy! sense of the word)

Rather than doing one entry on one subject, I thought today I would note a few little factoids I have uncovered recently, on miscellaneous subjects:

  • While one can be "ruthless" (devoid of pity or compassion), one can no longer have "ruth" or be "ruthful." Those words did exist and were in use at one time, but they are now archaic. "Ruth," by the way, was the quality of being compassionate; or pity or sorrow. If you were "ruthful" you had compassion for others, or you could inspire pity in others. But you can't do that anymore.
  • The true origins of feta cheese are difficult to discern. While it came from the Balkan countries at some point in the 12th century, both Greece and Bulgaria claim to have made it first. The word "feta" seems to have been derived from the Italian fetta, meaning "slice." Now, with the help of the EU, only Greek feta will be allowed to use the name "feta" when exporting its cheese.
  • Tiger paw prints are called "pug marks." Tigers can eat up to 80 pounds of meat at one time. The sandpaper-like roughness of their tongue helps to take the meat off the bone. They like water and often swim to cool themselves in the hottest parts of the day. Tigers do not purr, but they do chuff, which is something like a small sneeze and is accompanied by a shake of the head. It means hello and all is well.
  • In Steely Dan's "Deacon Blues," they never say "our Pamela," as I'd thought. The chorus actually goes like this:

I'll learn to work the saxophone
I'll play just what I feel
Drink Scotch whiskey all night long
And die behind the wheel
They got a name for the winners in the world
I want a name when I lose
They call Alabama the Crimson Tide
Call me Deacon Blues

My copy of the Oxford English Dictionary
Feta Cheese Rich in History," San Francisco Chronicle, republished in the Cincinnati Post, 8/18/2004
In-Sync Exotics Wildlife Rescue and Education Center,
Education page on big cats, especially Tigers
Steely Dan's official website, lyrics by song,
Deacon Blues

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