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Things People Don’t Say Anymore

October 30, 2022

I’ve been reading an old(er) novel lately and although the plot and ideas are timeless, some of the phraseology is a bit out of date.  I know that millennials, et. al. don’t read many novels and I started thinking that aside from the lack of pictures, maybe one of the things putting them off is outdated terms and phrases. 

So I’ve put together a little glossary to help!  Here are some of the obscure phrases I’ve encountered.

Put paid to—This means to complete or finish something once and for all.  The term comes from the old days when business was transacted with paper invoices.  Once the invoice was paid, it would be stamped “Paid in Full” to indicate that the debt was discharged.  So putting paid refers to stamping “Paid” on an invoice and finalizing the transaction.  A modern use of the term might be, “The persistence of Kanye West as a cultural icon has put paid to the notion that civilization is advancing.”

Quitting—Nope this doesn’t mean leaving your job. In the old days it meant leaving the room.  As in, “when I heard my girlfriend’s parents pulling into the drive, I quit her bedroom.”  You might add “posthaste” to that.

Footfalls—These days it’s a marketing term for foot traffic in stores, as in, “we’ve got to increase the footfall or we’ll go out of business.”  But in old books it means the sound of footsteps.  So when quitting your girlfriend’s bedchamber, you will probably want to make sure your footfalls are silent.

Confutation—I like this one because it sounds like “confused,” and the less well informed (i.e., people who don’t read this blog) may think that’s what it means.  But they would be wrong!  Confute means to deliver an overwhelming (irrefutable) argument.  For example, you definitely want a really good confutation if you are going to ask your boss for a raise.

Hitherto—Up until now or before this.  I’d expected my new iPhone to have more hitherto unknown features.

Gainsay—To deny or contradict.  As in “I tried to gainsay her confutation to no avail.”

Lest—Another tricky one. A lot of people think it means ‘unless,’ but the real meaning is to prevent something (usually bad) from happening.  As in, “Don’t juggle chainsaws lest you lose a limb.”

Afford—Another sneaky word that has a different usage today.  Now it means to be able to pay for something, as in “I wish I could afford an iPhone 14.”  But it also means to provide.  As in, I hope my helmet will afford protection if I go over the handlebars.

Malice aforethought—This is an old legal term that has been replaced by “premeditated,” and “intent.  It basically means you did something to hurt someone and you wanted to do it before you did it so it wasn’t an accident.  When I threw my sister’s doll down the stairs and claimed it was an accident, my grandmother said, “I saw you.  You did it with malice aforethought!”

Alas the day—If you manage to find this in a dictionary, it will say “archaic,” which means really old.  Like Shakespeare old—in fact he used it a lot.  Sometimes it appears as alackaday.  I can’t find a clear cut explanation of where it comes from but it’s basically an old fashioned way of saying, “Oh shit.”   So you might say, “Alas the day, I lost my phone.”

Yclept—It’s pronounced i-klept and it means by the name of.  So you might say, “the guy yclept Joe.”

Anent—If you are OK with using yclept, you’ll love anent.  It means “about,” and in the old days people used it all the time in formal correspondence.  So instead of saying, “get back to me,” they’d say “kindly revert anent the above.”  Try it in a text message sometime!

Hope this helps you enhance your communications.  The next time you are talking to your colleague yclept Joe anent his attempt to gainsay your confutation that there was no malice aforethought before he quits the conversation with echoing footfalls you might say “alas the day, I only wanted to afford you some hitherto unknown facts lest you put paid to your career.”

Don’t Play With Your Food

October 27, 2022

A while ago I mentioned that there was something called National Ice Cream for Breakfast Day.  I have no problem with that and other than for some attentive parents, health advocates and people with dietary restrictions, I’m sure not many other people would object. 

The only question really is what would be the best flavor.  There has been a surprising amount of research done on the topic and almost 50% of people would choose vanilla, chocolate or strawberry as their favorite.  After that choices really taper off through things like mint chocolate chip, rocky road, etc.

Apparently, however, ice cream companies have found that exotic flavors will also sell and there has been a bit of exploring to see what people will tolerate.

The envelope just got pushed by (spoiler alert) the Oscar Mayer company.  Yes, they have come up with “hot dog flavored ice cream.”

According to the article I read, it “is called the Oscar Mayer Cold Dog and it “isn’t quite as unappetizing as it sounds on first blush.” And it’s not a frozen hot dog.  It’s actually gelato with a hot dog flavor.  A company like Oscar Mayer, purveyors of foods like hot dogs and baloney are no strangers to putting chemicals in their food, so it’s possible to make gelato have the “familiar and delicious notes of Oscar Mayer’s hickory-smoked hot dogs, tomato, onion and more” without the benefit of those actual foods being present.

A plain hot dog would be boring, so the Cold Dog has a “mustard swirl” made of white chocolate with yellow food coloring.  Oscar Mayer warns, however, that those hoping for mustard flavor will be disappointed.  The swirl is solely there to “reinforce the image of a hot dog, while keeping the classic hot dog flavor front and center.”

How can anyone take this seriously enough to worry about the “classic hot dog flavor?”

The idea came about when the company posted the idea on Twitter (where else) and asked their followers if the idea was “stupid,” or “genius.”  The consensus was “genius,” and the Cold Dog was born.

In case I’ve whet your appetite and you are wondering where you can sample a Cold Dog, the answer is that it’s not likely.  They are only available for a limited time at a shop called Popbar, who are the people who actually make the Cold Dogs and Popbars are only in a few American cities.  If you live in New York City, you may be able to snag a Cold Dog from the Oscar Mayer “Weinermobile,” which is being reflagged with a paint job to look like it just came out of the freezer.  

What’s a Weinermobile you ask?  I would provide a photo but would probably get in some sort of intellectual [sic] property trouble.  If you really need to know, you can Google it and then think about how terrifying it must look when reversing.  In fact, please do Google it here:  And scroll to the bottom to learn how to be a “Hotdogger,” one of the Weinermobile crew.  It doesn’t say how much they pay.

By the way, this isn’t the first time Oscar Mayer has made a foray outside of processed food products.  Earlier this year, they came out with the “Bologna Sheet Mask” which is a face mask that looks like a slice of bologna with holes for your eyes that look like they were bitten out (why not?). 

The masks were sold on Amazon ($4.99) and sold out within hours (and don’t bother to check, they are out of stock indefinitely).  The packaging actually looks like a pack of bologna and says “Oscar Mayer Face Mask/Beauty Inspired by Bologna.”

And of course “Do Not Eat Bologna Masks” in big letters.

Why is this happening?

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