2011.08.10 Hot enough for a tonic, maybe even for a dope

Written by David Green.

By RICH FOLEY

I recently was involved in one of those conversations where people with nothing better to do argue whether a carbonated soft drink should be called “pop” or “soda.” I finally had the motivation to open a new dictionary I recently purchased and found the answer, and a lot more.

My new reference volume is the latest edition of the American Heritage College Dictionary. I bought my first one back in college, after my freshman English professor gave it a ringing endorsement. If he’s still with us, I’m sure Dr. Hoffman would be proud I continue to heed his advice.

As to the pop vs. soda question, it pretty much comes down to where you were raised. According to the dictionary, the name soda is commonly used in the northeast United States and in the eastern Missouri and southwestern Illinois areas surrounding St. Louis. From the midwest to the west coast, pop is the preferred term. Then it starts to get interesting.

In the South, except for South Carolina, the word “coke” is often used, even if you’re planning to buy a Pepsi. Other terms used in the South are “cold drink” or simply “drink”. Then, I guess, you have to explain what brand of coke or cold drink you want.

In the area surrounding Boston and in western Maryland, “tonic” is the preferred term. And in South Carolina, you say the word “dope” when you mean a cola-flavored soft drink. They must prefer non-colas down there because I sure wouldn’t want to order a large dope.

The more I leafed through my new dictionary, the more odd little items I came across. For example, In Pennsylvania, the word “smearcase” is often used to describe what we in this area call cottage cheese, and “gum band” is used instead of rubber band, making it possible to use gum bands to secure the lid to the smearcase.

Then there’s “olicook,” which to folks in New York’s Hudson Valley is the little delight we call a doughnut. Woodchuck is pretty much interchangeable with groundhog, except in the Appalachian Mountains, where the rodent is also known as a whistle pig.

Depending on where you live, a stream might be called a creek, a crick, a kill, a brook, a branch or a run. Take your pick.

It annoys me when I see “mic” used as a short form for microphone instead of the term “mike” I grew up with. I was glad to see the dictionary still lists “mike” first, although the dreaded “mic” is also included.

There’s quite a debate over whether the term “compact disc” is correct, or whether it should be “compact disk”. Disk was originally the preferred term in America, with disc used in Great Britain. After the development of the phonograph record in the late 1800s, disc became the popular spelling on both sides of the ocean.

With the advent of computer storage devices, disk was used by those in the computer industry, but when the CD was developed for use by the music industry, the familiar disc spelling was kept. Today, whether the product is used mainly for entertainment or serious computing decides the spelling.

Speaking of discs, I got a kick out of looking up some famous names in the music industry. For instance, Chuck Berry, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Elvis Presley all get a separate listing, but Little Richard, Bill Haley and Carl Perkins are out of luck. Then there’s the case of The Beatles.

Both John Lennon and Paul McCartney are defined as British musicians and composers who, with the help of the other, wrote many of the Beatles songs. Even Ringo Starr makes the book, simply described as “British musician who was the drummer for The Beatles.” 

George Harrison, however, is called a “British singer and songwriter whose best-known compositions include ‘My Sweet Lord.’” I could have sworn he used to be in a group, but the name escapes me... Seriously, the dictionary makes it sound like he was never in The Beatles, the same treatment they give former drummer Pete Best, not to mention former bass player Stuart Sutcliffe, by ignoring them completely.

Johnny Carson gets a tiny mention in the book while Letterman, Leno, Tom Snyder and the rest of the talk show genre are ignored, except for one big, Oprah-sized shoutout, including photo, to Oprah Winfrey herself. I’d bet that was enough to make the dictionary one of her favorite things. And I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if she celebrated with a dozen olicooks. And maybe a dope or two.

  • Homecoming Court
    HOMECOMING—One senior candidate will be chosen Morenci’s fall homecoming queen during half-time ceremonies Friday at the football field. In the back row are seniors Mikayla Price, who will be escorted by Mason Vaughn; Madison Bachman, escorted by Kiegan Merillat, and Mikayla Reinke, escorted by Griffin Grieder. Senior Ariana Roseman is absent from the photo. Her escort is Garrett Smith. In the front is sophomore Abbie White, who will be escorted by Ryder Price; junior Madysen Schmitz, escorted by Harley McCaskey and freshman Madison Keller, escorted by Jarett Cook.
  • Front.cross
    HUDSON RUNNER Jacob Morgan looks toward the top of the hill with dismay during the tough finish at Harrison Lake State Park. Fayette runner Jacob Garrow focuses on the summit, also, during the Eagle Invitational cross country run Saturday morning. Continuing rain and drizzle made the course even more challenging. Results of the race are in this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.
  • Front.crossing
    Crossing over—Jim Heiney was given a U.S. flag to carry by George Vereecke (behind Jim in the hat), turning him into the leader of the parade. Bridge Walk participants cross over Bean Creek while, in the background, members of the Morenci Legion Riders cross the main traffic bridge on East Street South. Additional photos appear on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.hose Testing
    HOSE safety—The FireCatt hose testing company from Troy put Morenci Fire Department hose to the test Monday morning when Mill Street was closed to traffic. The company also checks nozzles and ladders for wear in an effort to keep fire fighters safe while on calls.
  • Front.starting
    BIKE-A-THON—Children in Morenci’s Summer Recreation Program brought their bikes last Tuesday to participate in a bike-a-thon. Riders await the start of the event at the elementary school before being led on a course through town by organizer Leonie Leahy.
  • Front.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2016