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Update: 24 Sep 00
Update: 29 Jul 98
Update: 1 Aug 98
the Midnight Wind
|SpiritWalker’s Fun Facts
Update: 24 Sep 00
Update: original entry
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|Song on the
Update: 17 Feb 99
Update: original entry
|Song on the
Walking the road to tomorrow, I put on yesterday’s shoes;
I wear today’s clothing and walk where I choose.
I find the promises of the future wrapped in the skin of the past;
But it’s the present I’m traveling that’s so extensive and vast.
I’ve tripped over boulders, I’ll climb over walls;
I fly with the eagles, through canyons and draws.
I was never a hero, I will never be a star;
I never walk quickly, I never walk far.
It’s the path I have traveled, it’s the one I will take;
It’s the road that I’m walking; it’s the choice that I make.
My ancestors spoke, my descendants will speak;
But, it’s the family around me whose comfort I seek.
I’ve seen things of wonder, I’ll see many more;
I see splendors about me and miracles galore.
My parents were wise, my children will be;
My siblings are loving and caring to me.
I look back on my failings, I look forward to success;
I look around for solutions and throw out the rest.
I’ve been mistaken before, I’ll be mistaken again;
But, it’s the mistake of not trying that’s truly a sin.
More of SpiritWalker’s Poetry
I know what you’re thinking, but as
usual, I’ve put a little twist in the lesson again. Most computerites know that
the “RGB” in the title refers to “Red-Green-Blue” - the three colors that make
up all of the colors your monitor produces for you. That is correct, oh wise
sage of the terminal, however, I wish to address some of the odd ways that we
use Red, Green, and Blue to describe ideas that have nothing to do with the
Once, after cutting through the red tape, I found I was chasing a red herring - it was not a red-letter day for me. See what I mean? I just used the color red three times in one sentence and yet, the actual color was completely irrelevant as far as you understanding what I meant. Where did these phrases come from?
Charles Dickens and Thomas Carlyle are responsible for popularizing the phrase “red tape.” English lawyers and government officials had traditionally tied official papers together with pieces of red ribbon, which they referred to as red tape. The irritating thing to the men mentioned above was that these papers were again tied with the red tape after each use, even if it was just to store the documents. Retrieving any official papers required the elaborate procedure of untying and then retying the red tape, a small but time-consuming inconvenience. Thus, “red tape” came to represent the government’s exasperating tendency to prolong even the simplest transaction.
Chasing the red herring saga, I found that it is linked closely with another cliché, namely, “neither fish nor fowl.” The original phrase was, “Neither fish, nor fowl, nor good red herring.” You see, in the Middle Ages, it was believed that only the clergy were worthy to eat fish. The masses had to settle for fowl and the poor were forced to settle for red herring. Why red? Because it was dried in the sun or smoked so it would keep longer in the age before refrigeration.
Hunters found another use for the herring. They would smoke the herring with a strong odor and drag it behind their horses to train young bloodhounds to follow a trail. Once the dog could successfully follow the “red herring trail,” the pup was ready to trail a fox for the hunters. This led to two other groups using the same method in a different way. Criminals would also use the “red herring trail” to through off the bloodhounds which were used to track their escape from justice. Animal rights enthusiasts used the “red herring trail” to deceive the hounds on the hunt. So, chasing the “red herring” became synonymous with following the wrong trail - a trail of deception.
In the fifteenth century, ecclesiastical calendars (and many calendars today, if you think about it) designated religious holidays by printing them with red ink. In England, saints’ days and feast days were printed in red in the calendar of the Book of Common Prayers, indicating that special services were to be held on those days. Soon, even Sundays became “red-letter days.” Therefore, a red-letter day is any special day or particularly good day.
I know what you’re thinking (correct me if I’m wrong), you’re thinking, “Wow! The knowledge you have pertaining to those phrases would make the average greenhorn green with envy!” And I would reply, “See, you did it again! Two more color references!”
Green has long been associated with anything young. I suppose it’s because of the young, green sprout of a plant - one that is just beginning to grow. But, why a greenhorn? John Cardi supplies the only plausible theory to this one. When young deer grow horns, they are covered by a delicate growth of skin. Greenish fungus spores tend to gather on the skin, which make the skin appear green until the skin peels away and the horns mature. Thus, a greenhorn is someone who is young and inexperienced - not yet mature.
The ancient Greeks believed that jealousy was accompanied by an overproduction of bile, lending a pallid green cast to the victim’s face. Ovid, Chaucer, and Shakespeare freely used green to denote jealousy or envy. Probably the most famous reference is Iago’s speech in the 3rd Act of Othello:
I could also talk a blue streak about
blue jeans, but only once in a blue moon. There’s those color references again!
When you’re talking a mile-a-minute, it is said that you are talking a blue streak. The “blue” reference here refers to the blue sky from whence “streaks” of lightning emanate. Most people would rather hear the thunder of lightning than the cacophony spewed by a human talking a metaphoric blue streak.
Though most original blue jeans were, in fact, blue, today they come in a variety of colors. They are still, however, called blue jeans. The real key to the definition is in the word “jean” which is a derivative of the name of the place of origin for the cotton material used to make the garment - Genoa, Italy.
Denim is derived from the city of Nimes, France and the material was originally called serge de Nimes.
Levi Strauss, a San Francisco merchant during the Gold Rush days, added the familiar rivets that now proudly grace the corners of our durable blue jeans.
The myth that the moon was made of green cheese and the phrase “once in a blue moon” both appeared in the 16th century. The rhyme by William Ray and J. Barlow is:
We all know that that is a bunch of
“baloney” and the original meaning of “once in a blue moon” was “never.” But,
even today some people insist that the moon sometimes appears to be blue; some
claim that on crystal-clear night, or on exceptionally foggy nights, or in
areas full of volcanic ash, the moon appears blue. With all of these “blue-moon
sightings,” the phrase has gradually shifted in time from meaning “never” to
Well, there you have it: Today is a red-letter day for you green-with-envy greenhorns in blue jeans who, once in a blue moon, stop chasing that red-herring trail, cut through the red tape and make it to my web site to listen to me talk a blue streak about trivial subjects. Well, I typed one anyway.
This has been SpiritWalker. Thanks for reading!
Do you have an odd
subject you’d like me to write about? Or do you have a comment about this one?
If so, Email me at: NDN email@example.com
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