CSotD: Friday Funnies – Words, words, words

Arlo & Janis set me back a moment this past Sunday, until I re-read it and realized Arlo was talking about when wings went national, not when they were invented.

Of course, wings were invented at the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, and what KFC and others have done is turned good bar food into mediocre fast food, plus skyrocketing the price of parts that used to be shelved over with the gizzards and other entrails.

I first had wings in 1971, not at the Anchor Bar but about eight miles away in Tonawanda, where my folks were living, which date I can pin down because they had recently moved there and which meal I remember because (A) I thought Buffalo wings were the best idea I’d come across in a very long time and (B) my dad asked if I had informed my draft board that I’d dropped out of college.

To which I responded that I wasn’t participating in the draft anymore, and whatever was dribbled on those wings wasn’t nearly as hot as the conversation that ensued. My father, like Arlo’s, was a great veteran.

But I do think of wings as one of those missed opportunities our lives are full of, because then-wife and I briefly discussed bringing them to Colorado, which would have put us well ahead of KFC and, besides, we wouldn’t have turned them into crap as the bulk of the imitators have.

Which was actually the sticking point, since however much I liked various aspects of the restaurant industry, serving alcohol to people who ought to be home with their kids but who in any case sure can’t be loud and obnoxious here was enough to put me off it.

And, yes, you can have a diner without a liquor license but when the main thing on your menu is bar food, and you are determined not to screw it up by turning it into fast food, you kind of need a bar.

Oh well. I coulda been a contender. I could have been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am.


Though, as Adam@Home affirms, the naps are more than adequate compensation.

Working at home is a pretty sweet gig, though the fictional aspect of Adam@Home is that he appears to earn enough to support a family, or at least to chip in enough that his wife hasn’t tumbled to the realities.

I’ve often noted that the best thing about my situation is that it’s just me and the dog, and he thinks sleeping in the park and eating out of Dumpsters would be a blast. We’re about one click above that.

And he also enjoys naps, so there ya go.


Back to the topic of bar food and fast food and such, Betty and Bub have just completed a leisurely dinner of charcuterie, much to Bub’s surprise.

It began back here, with Betty having to explain to him that “charcuterie” and “cold cuts” are two different things.

Which I think means that a slice of bologna is “cold cuts,” but if you cut it into four pieces and drape a pimento over it, ooh-la-la: “Charcuterie”!


Civilizing Bub is an ongoing process for Betty, and, earlier, they went through a brief exercise in footwear nomenclature.

I don’t think I had any overshoes. I had galoshes, which may not be a Dad word so much as a Grandpa word, but I don’t think the ones with zippers were really galoshes.

Galoshes had those brilliant clip closures with the four choices of tightness.

And, when you took them off, your shoes stayed in them.

Speaking of terms you don’t hear much, this reminds me that, when I moved from Colorado to New York, my new job involved a newsroom dress code, and I was told that we couldn’t wear “dungarees.”

Since standard young-hip dress in Colorado then was (unfaded) blue jeans, tattarsall shirt, knit tie and tweed or corduroy jacket with Frye boots, I was taken a little aback, but fortunately owned a couple of pairs of khakis.

Had to wait for my first paycheck to get some loafers, though, and, in the meantime, my ropers were a subject of some wonder and mystification among them Easterners.

See? No dungarees. And you can’t see their feet, but they’re not wearing galoshes, either.


Further language notes come from Francis, wherein I find myself in the very unusual situation of being comparable to the Pope, because I didn’t think “quid pro quo” was a particularly bothersome term.

Apparently it is, and I note that Nancy Pelosi has switched to the simple term “bribe,” which is kind of incomplete technically but makes up for it in clarity.

And I was about to say that little Nancy D’Alesandro — who is not a “boomer” — certainly heard plenty of Latin in her day, but then remembered that, no, she didn’t, because while the Mass was in Latin, it was mumbled by men and boys with their backs to the congregation.

Though, growing up in an Italian immigrant household, she’d have easily understood it.

Still, while the altar boys knew the Latin responses, we didn’t let no wimmin up there on the altar and, by the time we did, we’d scuttled the secret language.

There was a brief crossover period in which the priest spoke up at various moments and the congregation was supposed to respond with an “Et cum spiritu tuo” (which is God’s phone number) or some such brief phrase.

During that period, there was one part of the Mass where the priest turned to the people and said “Nobis quoque peccatoribus,” which doesn’t require a response because it’s just the first three words of a much longer sentence.

However, we had a dear old lady in our parish who was deaf as a doorpost, but she could hear that and would always respond with a loud “Amen.”

Which became so familiar that we’d occasionally say it, too.

That would get you a snicker at home but it really puzzled people if you did it somewhere else.

Hey, it was just a lapsus linguae.



7 thoughts on “CSotD: Friday Funnies – Words, words, words

  1. Hey, I lived in Buffalo for a year just a bit after your time — it was 1972/73. My gf and I were both in grad school at SUNY-Buffalo (previously the private “University of Buffalo”, currently still part of SUNY but called “The University at Buffalo”). We went out to Tonawanda a few times,including looking for a place to live, but we settled in the city not far from downtown — on a block that also held the “museum” of the house where Teddy Roosevelt was sworn in.

    We didn’t know anything about the Anchor Bar, but the big local food specialties were “beef on weck” sandwiches as well as the hot chicken wings with that characteristic thick sauce. AFAIK they were not yet called “Buffalo wings”, in Buffalo anyway, though as you say, they were on the cusp of going national with that name.

  2. WNY native from birth through 1978 – love the beef on weck with horseradish. In-laws can be counted on serving it up at a large family gathering when we return. Went to the Anchor Bar only once, back in the 80s – great to have “full-sized” wings.

  3. Most altar boys didn’t “know” Latin; they just memorized the prayers and responses and recited them with no understanding of the words’ meaning. Fifty years later I can still get through abouut half a dozen of the biggie prayers, which are now useless since I haven’t been a practicing Catholic about as long as I’ve been a former altar boy.

    My understanding of Latin improved over the years to the point where, although I can’t speak it or read it fluently, I can translate it competently with the right reference materials handy. To that, I say:

    “Soli linguæ bonæ sunt linguæ mortuæ”.

  4. I believe the poem you want is:

    Latin is a dead language,
    As any fool can see.
    First it killed the Romans,
    And now it’s killing me.

    As an altar boy, I did understand the Latin, though I also knew that, in school, I needed to use hard C’s and V’s, which were soft at church.

    And I loved translating Caesar, though my favorite moment was when the actual translation was “ordered the chickens to be given water to see if they would drink” and Rosie translated it as “ordered the chickens to be given water and to pretend to drink.” We liked Caesar, but we loved Rosie.

    To this day, I’m grateful for Caesar having been a rich spoiled kid, because if Thomas Aquinas had written the history of the Gallic Wars, I’d have never gotten through it.

  5. What you describe as ‘galoshes” were known as “Four-buckle Arctics” in the area between New York and Colorado, speaking of Dad words/

  6. Mike, first – thank you for your work!
    For history, yes galoshes. They buckled, and yes the shoe stayed in them. Latin is part of me, it dug in deep. Really very useful for an English speaker, although church Latin got me weird looks at public school. At family chicken dinner my apportioned piece was “the carcass.” Still my favorite.

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