I ran across the odd Russian word мадаполам, looked it up, and found it defined by the equally odd English word madapollam. That wasn’t in my smaller dictionaries, but it was in the OED, which revised the entry just last year:

[< Madapollam (Telugu Mādhavayya-pāḷemu encampment, fortified village of Mādhava), the name of a suburb of Narsapur in Andhra Pradesh, India, and formerly the location of one of the commercial agencies of the East India Company. Compare French madapolame (1823).]
More fully Madapollam cloth, Madapollam muslin, etc. A kind of plain-weave calico or cotton cloth, originally manufactured at Madapollam (see above). Cf. LONG CLOTH n.
[1610 S. BRADSHAW Let. Sept. in W. Foster Lett. received by E. India Co. (1896) I. 74 Madafunum is chequered, somewhat fine and well requested.] 1685 in A. T. Pringle Diary Fort St. George 9 Mar. (1895) IV. 49 Mr. Benja Northey having brought up Musters of the Madapollm Cloth, Itt is thought convenient that the same be taken of him. 1826 Brit. Consular Rep. Lat. Amer. (1940) 189 The British articles best suited to the markets are prints, muslins, madalaporams [sic], and shirtings. 1827 J. B. PENTLAND Rep. Bolivia iv, in Camden Misc. (1974) XXV. 214 British and Indian cotton goods, especially of that kind of glazed calico called Madopolams. 1829 in M. Russell View Anc. & Mod. Egypt (1831) viii. 366 He intends.. to send long-cloths, maddapollans, &c. 1858 P. L. SIMMONDS Dict. Trade Products, Madapollam, a kind of fine long cloth, shipped to the Eastern markets. 1882 S. F. A. CAULFEILD & B. C. SAWARD Dict. Needlework 339/1 Madapolams. A coarse description of calico cloth, of a stiff heavy make, originally of Indian manufacture, where it was employed for Quilts. 1885 Manch. Examiner 31 Dec. 4/4 Buff-end madapollams. 1923 J. CONRAD Rover iii. 46 A remnant piece of Madapolam muslin. 1969 New Scientist 25 Sept. 647/3 They used standard 15×12 inch flags, made of a special cotton cloth called ‘Madapollam’.

The Wikipedia article spells it madapolam, and judging from the OED cites, it’s spelled with either one or two l’s, according to taste. (If anyone’s browser is having trouble with the Telugu name Mādhavayya-pāḷemu, it’s Madhavayya-palemu, but the first and last a’s have macrons and the l has a dot underneath.)


  1. Victor Sonkin says

    It was nostrified in some Russian texts as “полумадам” (Gogol or Leskov, I forget).

  2. Victor Sonkin says

    Gosh no, it was Lev Kassil’s Os’ka from “Кондуит и Швамбрания”, who was generally prone to spoonerism. Funny that a boy would use such a word at all.

  3. marie-lucie says

    I know the word madapolam in French for a kind of fabric, but I don’t think I have ever seen any (or if I have, not in a context where I would have learned the name). I don’t even remember what it was that it was used for, but perhaps shirts or pajamas or something like that. To me it sounds old-fashioned, a fabric that my grandmother might have used to make clothes for my mother when she was a little girl (after the first world war), maybe, not something that was still used or sold when I was young. I have seen the word in print, but in contexts that I vaguely associate with the period between the two world wars.

  4. marie-lucie says

    From the descriptions, it sounds like a cloth that is basically soft and limp and needs stiffening (sizing) for some uses.

  5. Wow, I was surprised to see this here
    In Memoria de mis putas tristes‎ Gabriel García Márquez describes a piece of clothing as “un calzón amarillo de malapodán”- I couldn’t figure out what he was referring to, but now I see it’s a typo for “madapolán”.

  6. Hmm. I wonder whether the double in the spelling might not be an attempt at representing retroflex /l/. I know that in the neighboring Konkani language the Roman orthography makes use of consonant doubling to indicate retroflex phonemes, including retroflex /l/. Could a similar such convention have once existed in other Roman script representations of Indian languages?

  7. In a contribution by Schwitters to a Dadaist review of 1919-1920, Der Zweemann, I found the abbreviation Madapol. for a shirt fabric:

    Taghemd a. Madapol. mit Stick-Ein- und Ansatz 22,50 M
    Day shirt of madapol. with embroidered insert and neck 22.50 Marks

    I hope I got those technical terms right, marie-lucie. Here is a Hemd mit Einsatz. Here you see a Hemd mit Rundansatz, so the Ansatz is simply what I am calling the neck.
    I would never in my life have bothered to find out what a sartorial term such as Hemdeinsatz actually means, had I not been imagining the watchful eye of m.-l. trained on my person.

  8. marie-lucie says

    Grumbly, thank you for taking the trouble to find the reference and pictures! But my eye would not be trained on your own person! especially since the reference for “Madapol.” is to a lady’s garment.
    Given the date, and what I can guess of the context, the Taghemd (“chemise de jour”) in the text is not what would now be called a shirt but a woman’s undergarment, similar to what is now called a ‘slip’, or, if shorter, a ‘camisole’ (there are other names too), meant to be worn under a dress and therefore made of a very soft, pliable fabric. The Stick-Einsatz on such a garment might not be an extra piece showing, as in the first picture, but some separately made embroidery (or perhaps lace ?) inserted into the fabric, as well as laid along the Ansatz or “neckline”.

  9. separately made embroidery (or perhaps lace ?) inserted into the fabric
    My first thought had been that the Einsatz might be a special piece sewed in (“set in”), like the yoke across the shoulders of a cowboy shirt. But in any case the text does say embroidery, not lace (Spitze).
    The price of 22.50 Marks suggests to me that the early-20’s inflationary period was still not even visible on the horizon. But I actually have no idea whether that was a large sum of money for such an article, since I don’t know what different kinds of workers earned then.

  10. Here’s something that may interest you, marie-lucie, from Shaw’s The Intelligent Woman’s Guide to Socialism, Capitalism, Sovietism and Fascism, which I am now reading. It’s the start of chapter 42, “How Wealth Accumulates and Men Decay”:

    I want to stress this personal helplessness we are all stricken with in the face of a system [Capitalism] that has passed beyond our knowledge and control. To bring it nearer home, I propose that we switch off from the big things like empires and their wars to little familiar things. Take pins for example ! I do not know why it is that I so seldom use a pin when my wife cannot get on without boxes of them at hand; but it is so; and I will therefore take pins as being for some reason specially important to women.
    There was a time when pinmakers could buy the material; shape it; make the head and the point; ornament it; and take it to market or to your door and sell it to you. They had to know three trades: buying, making, and selling; and the making required skill in several operations. They not only knew how the thing was done from beginning to end, but could do it. But they could not afford to sell you a paper of pins for a farthing. Pins cost so much that a woman’s dress allowance was called pin money.

    À propos, the title of the first edition was The Intelligent Woman’s Guide To Socialism and Capitalism. For the second edition. Shaw added “Sovietism and Fascism” to the title and two new chapters dealing with these.

  11. marie-lucie says

    Thank you, Grumbly. That comment shows that Shaw did not spend too much time watching his wife at work, so perhaps he was not home very much. Why should he use a pin? if a seam or hem started unravelling on one of his garments one day, he did not puzzle too much about how it came about that the garment in question looked perfect the next day. The “woman’s touch” owed a lot to the availability of pins. And at a time when women’s fashions required yards and yards of fabric, embellished with even more yards of ribbon, lace or other ornaments, the making of a single garment might use require the use of dozens of pins (of different sizes and thicknesses too, depending on the fabric).
    Pins are indispensable in making, ornamenting or repairing clothes, and in the days before the advent of inexpensive ready-made clothes (compared to people’s average incomes), most women were in charge of making and fixing clothes for themselves and their children, and also in repairing their husbands’ and grown sons’ shirts and other garments even if the wives and mothers did not make them themselves. Pins are indispensable to sewing work in order to keep the pieces of fabric together temporarily. During such activities, no matter how skillful and careful the seamstress (or tailor), pins often fail to stay where they should be (they are dislodged by the slipperiness of some fabrics and by the movements of the sewer) and fall to the floor. If the floor is made of boards, the shrinking of the boards over time leaves spaces between them which are perfect as disappearing places for pins. In addition, some pins get bent or even broken if used with particularly heavy fabrics. A person who does a lot of sewing has to buy new boxes of pins on a regular basis. In earlier centuries, not having enough pins would prevent a woman from performing this part of her economic role, so she had to be provided with “pin money” or her family’s clothes would remain ragged.
    In times long before elastic bands and zippers were invented, there were few ways of adjusting clothes on the wearer, and pins were used there as well. For instance, pictures of peasant women in past centuries (or in some remote rural areas) show them wearing aprons to protect the front of their dresses. The skirt part of the apron is supported by a belt which ends in long strips for tying it behind the back, but to protect the chest there is a kind of “bib”, which was pinned to the front of the dress (thus allowing the apron to be adjusted to the wearer better than with a fixed strip around the back of the neck)). Shawls and other loose garments were also kept in place and adjusted with pins, and of course also decorated hats, for which the pins were so long and strong that they could serve as weapons in a pinch.
    The PIN, one of the pillars of Western Civilization.

  12. marie-lucie says

    a special piece sewed in (“set in”), like the yoke across the shoulders of a cowboy shirt
    That yoke is not “set in”, but simply “sewn on” – laid over and sewn down over the top parts of the shirt fronts. Actually the part called “yoke” is the horizontal piece at the top of the back of a shirt, which sometimes is continued over the shoulders and farther down the front.
    Neither of these pieces is “set in”: that description is applied to the type of sleeve most commonly seen in suit jackets and coats, and also in most women’s suits and blouses. The main body of the garment is completed, the entire sleeves are completed separately, and then the sleeves are “set in” inside the armholes in the proper position (not as easy as it seems) and sewn in there (by hand in the best houses – a very skilled job). The wearer does not see all this, because it is hidden by the lining, which is attached at the end of the job, and the lining of the sleeve itself is set in too, but by a different, simpler technique. With less technically demanding or looser garments (eg pajamas or many children’s clothes) there is a continuous seam on each side from the bottom of the shirt or jacket up and into the sleeve. Quite often in those cases the ends of the armhole seam (which is done earlier, before the side seams and the sleeve seams) don’t match under the arm, unlike the seam around the top of a set-in sleeve.

  13. HMS Pinafore (in Gilbert & Sullivan) was named for a similar protective garment, pinned to a woman’s dress.

  14. Pinafore … protective garment, pinned to a woman’s dress.
    I’ll be damned, it’s called pinafore because it’s pinned to the front of the dress ! I suppose its counterpart would be a pinabaft ?
    That yoke is not “set in”, but simply “sewn on
    marie-lucie, “set in” was merely a jokeymological rendering of einsetzen -> Einsatz. But thanks for explaining the many uses of pins. I had no idea how loosely held-together is the fabric of the world. Not even the security of a basting stitch ! And your image of pins sinking into oblivion between the shrinking floorboards is fabulous – “not pricking but drowning”. I have a deal floor in my apartment, but only common dust dies in the abutments when I sweep.
    That comment shows that Shaw did not spend too much time watching his wife at work, so perhaps he was not home very much
    Les soufflés de Shaw ne peuvent que retomber dans un si fort champ de gravité. You don’t seriously believe that Shaw doesn’t know what his wife uses her pins for ? It’s just mild gentlemanly humor for British ladies. The book is chock-full of it.

  15. Socialist or not, didn’t the servants do Charlotte Frances Payne-Townshend’s mending?

  16. marie-lucie says

    I had no idea how loosely held-together is the fabric of the world.
    Very nice..
    Not even the security of a basting stitch !
    Pinning comes before basting, and basting is not always needed before the final sewing. For a pinafore (I had forgotten the word) you don’t want any kind of sewing, just pinning.
    MMcM: Even if the servants did some of the mending (probably away from the eye of the master of the house), the lady of the house must have done quite a bit of sewing herself if she needed to keep several boxes of pins handy (but that is probably another exaggeration).

  17. they are dislodged by the slipperiness of some fabrics and by the movements of the sewer
    It took me some time to understand this perfectly reasonable phrase.

  18. I know a few women who sew many of their own clothes even today. They’re not especially old, either. This allows them to be fashionable without paying the 1000% markup that is customary in the bigtime fashion world.

  19. keep several boxes of pins handy
    Pins were sold stuck through a paper (at least here) hence the song

    I’ll give to you a paper of pins,
    And that’s the way that love begins,
    If you will marry me,
    If you will marry me.

    From the paper they were transferred to a pincushion. Basting was usually unnecessary unless you were working with the bias of the fabric (as around a sleeve) and needed to ease in some of the fabric in order to attach it to a piece cut on the straight. Almost everything can be accomplished with pin basting; even seams that are difficult to match can be done with precision if you use enough pins.
    I suspect the apron type of “pinafore” is more British than anything. I remember something called a pinafore from the 50s, but it was just a sleeveless dress with a large ruffle at the armhole.
    I suspect that “madapollam” is British as well, although it would be before my time. On the American farm they would have have used recycled cloth flour sacks for underwear and quilts. I’m not old enough to remember when flour came in cloth bags, but I do remember sleeping under one flour-sack quilt with WWII designs–airplanes and such on it; one was a picture of Hitler and Mussolini in a frying pan with the slogan “bad eggs, keep ’em frying”, so that would put cloth flour sacks into the 40’s at least.
    It’s amazing to remember back to how labor-intensive all of that was. Now you can work an hour or two of overtime and buy a garment made in an Asian seat shop for less money than it would take to buy the materials.

  20. marie-lucie says

    I am descended from generations of seamstresses and dressmakers, some of them professional. My grandmother would have loved to work for a couturier, and she was a match for any professional. Even though my own mother was a schoolteacher, she hardly ever bought clothes for herself or her daughters, until ready-made clothes became both cheaper and more stylish (before that, store-bought clothes might be well-made but tended to be rather dowdy, and women who did not have the time or skill to make their own used the services of dressmakers). I started helping my mother around 10 years old and little by little became proficient enough to make my own from scratch. I have not made any clothes for a while, but in the past I made some not only for myself but for friends and for my daughter when she was younger. Same thing for knitting.
    I remember reading a French article about the economic tradeoffs: up to the 70s, it was more economical for a French woman to stay at home and make most of her own and her children’s clothes, but after that time it was more economical for her to take a job and buy clothes.

  21. It’s not precisely that the British lived in cities while Americans lived on farms, but it’s an interesting question how the word was or wasn’t used in the US.
    From a quick search through older works, it appears to only occur here in the context of import and export, mostly to the Caribbean, whose tariff laws evidently used that term, having originally got their fabric from England. More interesting is this ad for the Wilton Manufacturing Co., in New York, which specialized in cotton for export, founded by Harvard alums Elwyn (’99) and Walter (’05) Poor. (And maybe associated with Wilton, Maine?)
    The Wikipedia article uses the term “linen weave” for plain weave and doesn’t make it clear to me how madapolam differs from calico. This says “stouter,” and equates it with “T-cloth.”

  22. Allan Noble Monkhouse, of the Manchester Guardian, where they ought to know their cotton manufacturing, tells me that T Cloth is a plain grey calico, which isn’t really helping. (Apparently that name comes from someone’s trademark.)

  23. Burlap underwear! That’s what I call roughing it.

  24. It took me some time to understand this perfectly reasonable phrase.
    Me too, Crown. Our minds were in the sewers, instead of with the sewers.

  25. There ought to be a word “seamster” to go with seamstress. Oddly, in Britain, but not elsewhere, it is politically incorrect to use the word “actress”. Everyone is an actor. I may have mentioned this before.

  26. In the US the -ress forms are frowned on too. Catherine the Great was not a despotess. (“Off with your head!” she would shout, whenever someone called her that.)
    Flour sacks were actually cotton. Burlap is still used for peanuts, beans, animal feed, whole grains and the like.

  27. I believe that a webster was originally a female weaver. No webstress about it. “-ster” indicated female.
    So seamstresses could have been called seamsters (and their male counterparts perhaps seamers?), but they weren’t.
    The same goes for teamsters.
    I gather that of these three words webster is the oldest, teamster the youngest, and that the feminine sense of -ster had already faded away somewhat by the time the last two were coined. Then there’s hipster.
    Is there another good old female -ster example?
    I assume that hamster and monster have nothing to do with this.
    I’m ignoring words that have the -ess without the -str-.
    But, speaking of them, actress is somewhat frowned on in US acting circles except at Aacademy Awards time, I believe. And poetess and authoress have been very much frowned upon at least since my youth (1960s).

  28. Just as webster = female weaver,
    baxter = female baker
    (no such thing as a baxtress)

  29. Is there another good old female -ster example?
    Spinster. Shaw sez about that, in the same chapter cited above:

    Formerly the whole work of making clothes, from the shearing of the sheep to the turning out of the finished and washed garment ready to put on, had to be done in the country by the men and women of the household, especially the women; so that to this day an unmarried woman is called a spinster.

  30. I’m not sure whether mobster is another example. Women used to wear something called mob hats. The job of a hamster is to cure male chauvinist pigs, so Germaine Greer would be one. German has Ginster, also known as Mother’s Ruin.

  31. Although it spoils the joke, I should point out that Ginster is pronounced with a hard “g” as in got, not “dj” as in gin.

  32. I’ve always wondered why the four provinces of Ireland are Ulster, Leinster, Munster and Connaught. Why not Connster?

  33. Shaw’s example of the pin must of course be heavily indebted to (plagiarised from) Adam Smith’s discussion of the industrialisation of pin manufacture in ‘Wealth of Nations’.

  34. Connster nation?

  35. The plant Ginster is the same plant called ‘broom’ in English — which I mentioned the other day on AJP’s blog. (And broom=plant is older than broom=thing-for-sweeping-with.)

  36. Genista, with a lovely picture of French broom.

  37. 8ev0u6 hgpvpnvairee, [url=]idjzukfqpszb[/url], [link=]uicwaxtoxwpr[/link],

  38. MMcM: doesn’t make it clear to me how madapolam differs from calico
    The wiki for muslin suggests a difference between U.S. and U.K. usage.

    The word muslin is also used colloquially. In the United Kingdom, many sheer cotton fabrics are called muslin, while in the United States, muslin sometimes refers to a firm cloth for everyday use, which in the UK is known as calico.

    From the link to the Cole book: “madapollam…A coarse heavy cotton cloth, similar to calico, but stouter, and intermediate in quality between calico and muslin.” It also says the cloth is 20 to 33 inches in width. The standard cloth now is 44 or 45 inches, and is sold on bolts and folded in half lengthwise–easier to do with lighter weight fabrics. Sometimes heavy upholstery or brocade fabric is sold on rolls.
    “Calico” I have never seen; it must be an older usage because I’m pretty sure it’s in the Laura Ingalls Wilder books, which very much took place in my neck of the woods.
    “Muslin” I have used. It’s quite heavy and is used for making patterns, since it doesn’t stretch easily and lose its shape. In fact, I made my Viking reenactment outfit of muslin first before cutting into the silk I eventually used (there being no contemporary costume patterns for Viking wannabees, you have to make your own).
    About the stretching–the first thing we would do with fabric was to wash it in hot water to shrink it. If you measured before and after, the fabric might shrink as much as 1 or 2 inches per yard (lengthwise only), which on a hemline, sleeve or pantleg is enough to make a noticeable difference. The other thing you have to do is straighten the fabric. If you cut the ends of the fabric by pulling a thread so that the ends are straight with the grain of the fabric, then hold it up by the fold, you will see the ends probably don’t match up. That’s when you have to stretch the fabric on the diagonal until the ends do match up (easier to accomplish with two people, each one holding an opposite corner). You don’t have to do this with muslin (much, at least, but I would still check it) because it is stable.
    As far as the “quality” of the fabric, in MMcM’s dictionaries, some of the fabric is sold by weight. I have never seen that in a fabric shop, although sometimes bed sheets are sold by thread count (200 threads per inch is a fine weave). If by “quality” they are talking about appearance, muslin has a lot of imperfections–small knobs, small bits of dark thread that show up against the unbleached cream colored background, and thread size that isn’t always uniform. So it’s mainly functional and used where it’s not going to show, like for underwear and bedding.
    So my interpretation of madapollam is that it’s maybe heavy and utilitarian but not as heavy as muslin, and maybe has a more uniform or finished appearance.

  39. “Calico” I have never seen
    I have never seen a “calico cat” either, and don’t even know what that’s supposed to be. Does it occur in Lewis Carroll somewhere ?

  40. “Calico” I have never seen
    How interesting. Do you know gingham? Those seem perfectly ordinary words for Midwesterners of middle-age to me, but we’ve seen how misleading such intuitions can be. Were only St. Louis post-war children read Eugene Field?
    Laura Ingalls Wilder books
    It’s hard to find a work of Mark Twain’s that doesn’t use calico somewhere.

  41. Good heavens, “calico cat” seems like an utterly unremarkable collocation to me. I had no idea it was geographically limited. I may have to do a poll post.

  42. MMcM, maybe I learned calico from Twain then, but the word is only familiar from literature. Oh, we do have calico cats, both in Wobegon and Chicago (but not Cheshire cats).
    Gingham we had, the checked kind, but we didn’t call it that. A checkered apron was considered to be a good project for children to learn sewing and embroidery, as you can make various patterns on it with a fairly simple cross stitch, but it wasn’t considered to be very stylish at that time. The poem is familiar too, but I never associated the word gingham with that particular fabric. Oh, I see Eugene Field was the one who wrote The Sugar-Plum Tree–my childhood favorite. And his also was “some few east, some flew west, some flew over the cuckoo’s nest.”

  43. Nobody tells me what a “calico cat” is, so I had to look it up myself in WiPe. What a disappointment. It’s a “largely white”, non-brindled subtype of tortoiseshell cat, which is “mottled, with patches of orange or cream and chocolate, black or blue”. In other words, a plain old cat.
    Why in the world would one want to go into such classificatory detail about cat fur ?

  44. I may have to do a poll post
    Don’t be misled by me. Now that I think closer about it, I’m pretty sure I heard “calico cat” when I was a kid, probably from my mother (from Mississippi), who for sure also knows what calico and gingham are. Me, I know neither fabrics nor cats. I had a vague notion that “calico cat” was something in The Owl and the Pussycat. I know words, but not things.
    I am hopeless with your actual worldly stuff. I can see the differences between a hawk and a handsaw when they’re in front of my nose, or on TV. But to describe them in their absence is beyond me. I could probably not say much more than that one has teeth, the other wings. Like Firbank’s king, when I go out I have an impression of raised hats, especially when hats have in fact been raised. I experience things as crowds of multicolored ghostly items, potentially distinguishable from each other but that I usually do not actually distinguish, for lack of motive. The only taxonomy I have ever been able to grasp is the one based on primary sexual characteristics.
    I suspect I harbor a fundamental belief that it would be injurious to my mind to pay more attention to reality. Running around with a color wheel and inspecting cats, how would I find the time to settle my business with hoti ? My home is on the high seize of the magination, where ideas foam from churning words and epileptic tuna leap. Maybe I shoulda oughta beena poet. On the other hand, you should now understand better why I am suspicious of people who write poetry.

  45. Some poets are quite shifty. I’m rereading Auden’s The Dyer’s Art and I wouldn’t have trusted him across the room. One thing about birds not having teeth is that they ought to be able to eat sugar. Our parrot has to watch his weight or he can’t fly, but I’ve offered a little bit to the hens and they’re just not interested.

  46. Hand?

  47. Calico cats are unusually pretty. I also like tortoiseshell cats. They have at least one color more than normal cats. They need a name because they’re a genetic special type, and always female. When I was about ten we had a calico cat named Crisco, and it will always will be my favorite cat.
    A friend of mine called Cheshire cats “chessie cats”, so Carroll’s conceit apparently underwent a colloquial transformation.

  48. Thank you, M. I thought of it on the way upstairs to bed, but I couldn’t be bothered to come down again and add a correction. I’m glad to see you noticed. I must be mixing it up with “a dying art”.

  49. After The Dyer’s Hand, Auden became a dying artful codger:

    During his last years, his conversation became repetitive, to the disappointment of friends who had known him earlier as a witty and wide-ranging conversationalist

    The brief WiPe entry on the book perplexed me at first, because it refers to “E=MC2”. That turns out to be related, via Eddington and his 1919 eclipse expedition, to the book The dyer’s hand: An autobiography by Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin. Yet another female scientist who fled to America, namely to Harvard: “She completed her studies, but was not awarded a degree as Cambridge did not grant degrees to women at that time”. There

    Her thesis [1925] thus established that hydrogen was the overwhelming constituent of the stars. When her dissertation was reviewed, she was dissuaded by Henry Norris Russell from concluding that the composition of the Sun is different from the Earth, which was the accepted wisdom at the time. However, Russell changed his mind four years later when other evidence emerged. After Payne-Gaposchkin was proven correct Russell was often given the credit.

    Harvard also gave her a hard time for years, until “later, with her appointment to the Chair of the Department of Astronomy, she also became the first woman to head a department at Harvard”.

  50. I did a bad job of sentence-building in my last comment. After finishing her studies at Cambridge, Payne went to Harvard and wrote her thesis there.

  51. bruessel says

    I’m surprised nobody mentioned the song “A Gal in Calico”.

  52. A friend of mine called Cheshire cats “chessie cats”
    JE: Did you mean “called calico cats ‘chessie cats'”?
    Lear gives no information on the coloration of the cat in “The Owl and the Pussy Cat”.
    calico pie by Lear
    chess pie (for Grumbly)

  53. Flour sacks were actually cotton. Burlap is still used for peanuts, beans, animal feed, whole grains and the like.
    OK, well, I guess I can still say that I’ve heard that midwesterners used to wear underwear made of sackcloth.

  54. bruessel says

    Thanks for the chess pie link. Obviously not at all the same thing as Schachbrettkuchen:

  55. Wiki: Joseph Brodsky wrote that [Auden’s] was “the greatest mind of the twentieth century”.
    I like Auden (although I admit I’ve been influenced by Alan Bennett’s play The Habit Of Art), but you’d have to ignore busloads of people to say that. Ridiculous. So much for Wikipedian objectivity; just adding “Joseph Brodsky wrote” doesn’t make it objective, but it probably means you can’t remove it.

  56. Schachbrettkuchen
    Boy, bruessel, what a beaut ! Never seen anything like it. I wouldn’t mind having that on the table. But not in public – it’s a bit girly, you see. Wouldn’t want anybody to get funny ideas. I suppose one needn’t worry if it were granny’s birthday cake in the US South or in England. But here one is a slave to metropolitan fashion.

  57. “Joseph Brodsky wrote” doesn’t make it objective, but it probably means you can’t remove it.
    You could add: AJP Crown wrote “Brodsky is being ridiculous, just look at all those busloads of people”.

  58. chess pie
    empty, I had that once decades ago, and it was too sweet. However, in principle it sounds good. I just wouldn’t add so much sugar or (shudder) corn syrup. Custard, vanilla and a zing of apple vinegar would be the ticket.

  59. marie-lucie says

    Back to textiles: the changes in meaning for textile words are quite amazing. Some say madapolam is very fine (and thus sutiable for underwear), others coarse. The English word muslin refers to a plain but sturdy cotton cloth, but it is from French mousseline which refers to the very fine, soft and fragile material known in English as chiffon, which in French means “rag” (as in “dustrag”) in the singular, and in the plural either “rags” or “anything to do with women’s clothes” (as in parler chiffons “to talk about clothes”, a somewhat derogatory phrase).
    Nijma, the “muslin” you describe sounds like the fabric called “Osnaburg”, which could be considered a type of “muslin”.

  60. Sez here that the word osnaburg comes from Osnabrück, the home of the renowned painter Friedrich Vordemberge-Gildewart. Pictures of the fabric reminded me of the word “gunnysack”. The thankful prayer cited in the article contains rather ambivalent thanks, it seems to me, but that may be over-daintiness on my part:

    We bless thee osnaburg for those indispensable feedsacks for our backs and for our daily use — a Mother’s thanks

  61. So much for Wikipedian objectivity; just adding “Joseph Brodsky wrote” doesn’t make it objective, but it probably means you can’t remove it.
    I’m not understanding your complaint here. Why would you want to remove it? It is explicitly presented as a subjective opinion, in the “Reputation” section; if you removed it, you would have to remove the entire section, starting with Hugh MacDiarmid’s calling him “a complete wash-out.” Surely it’s valuable to know what various poets have had to say about him?
    That said, Brodsky’s opinion is of course hyperbolic and absurd; he hero-worshipped Auden and tried to make his translations sound as much like Auden as possible (a procedure both inadvisable and doomed).

  62. I can’t tell whether anyone here besides me finds expressions such as “mind of the century”, or “mind of the week”, to be already ridiculous enough – even more so with the addition of “best”. What is “mind”, anyway ? In “the best tits on TV”, at least you know what is being referred to. But since both brains and boobs come in so many varieties, as do their admirers, what is the point of invidious comparisons ? Isn’t this just advertising burble gone epidemic ? Even though nobody is actually increasing their cashflow ?

  63. Replace “best” by “greatest”.

  64. I’m not understanding your complaint here. Yes you are, Language, and you’re quite right as usual.
    tried to make his translations sound as much like Auden as possible (a procedure both inadvisable and doomed)
    Literally not possible to sound like Auden unless you can identify both pre-war England and East 8th Street in his voice.
    But now it’s the Eurovision Song Contest on telly — And it’s live, from Oslo!!!

  65. I can’t tell whether anyone here besides me finds expressions such as “mind of the century”, or “mind of the week”, to be already ridiculous enough – even more so with the addition of “best”.
    I do.

  66. Yes, I agree. “Greatest poet (writer/ architect/ painter etc.) of the twentieth century is equally ridiculous. Who were the greatest jazz musician and footballer? Louis Armstrong & Pelé? That’s what everyone says, but the answer depends on who you prefer — also Armstrong never won a World Cup.
    If you acknowledge that the competition makes people’s life’s work comparable to swimming the butterfly stroke, the further back you go the more success you can have with this game. How about “greatest whatever of the seventeenth century”? You can usually narrow it down to half a dozen names. Based on what? Original ideas that bore fruit and other causes of influence, usually on ignorance of or disqualification of non-Europeans… but mostly still on hearsay. The greatest mathematicians in the entire history of the world are supposed to be Archimedes, Gauss and Newton. I’m not in any position to argue about that (I’ll take the word of James R. Newman, the editor of The World Of Mathematics), but now you’ve got an ignoramus like me telling everybody who the greatest mathematicians in the history of the world are, based on having read one book twenty years ago. Should I stop doing it? Probably, but I doubt I’m alone. In other words, it’s not very reliable.

  67. I don’t see that many exclamation marks in your prose any more, Mr. Ork, now that Germany has won the Eurovision instead of Norway.
    On German TV there was a review of the “best song winners” since the inception of eurodeception. In every field, variety is being crushed down and extruded into a single value noodle. It’s all due to the inherently linear notion of “progress”, and nobody can make me believe differnt.

  68. I’ve never even seen the words “progress” and “Eurovision Song Contest” in the same sentence before.
    The best thing about having it in Norway is that locals have stopped calling it the “melodi grand prix”, the previous Norwegian name. Like they were singing along, driving racing cars.
    Germany was the best, and so I’m very surprised they won. Britain should pull out if they’re only going to enter shit sung by a trainee bank manager sitting in a box — thank god it came last.
    If I were running the Eurovision Song Contest, I’d hold it in a football stadium and have opposing teams of at least ten musicians per country face off against each other. No other rules, but the winner would “emerge” after twenty minutes.

  69. Would that be in line with football rules ? Rugby players, in contrast, could carry a tune without incurring penalties.

  70. The biggest team wins. Look at Pavarotti and the three tenors (I saw them in Hamburg, they were huge).

  71. Germany was the catchiest. Moldova was the campiest. I would have rooted for them, but I’m not European.

  72. empty, I had that once decades ago, and it was too sweet.
    I have never had it, Grumbly. As far as I know the first time I ever heard of it was when you mentioned it, somewhere, some months ago. Calico cat, chess cat, calico pie, I was happy to complete the square.
    Chess pie seems to be akin to pecan pie and a Pennsylvania “Dutch” delicacy called shoo-fly pie that I believe my grandfather liked. All that stuff is too sweet for me — and I have quite a sweet tooth.

  73. How depressing to see the American Idol format exported.

  74. The Eurovision Song Contest started in 1957. Much later came the British Pop Idol series in 2001-2003. The doubly derivative American Idol started in 2002.

  75. m-l, back to textiles….
    “Osnaburg” sounds like it’s made from flax, which would make it more like linen. Our “muslin” was strictly cotton, a very tight and regular weave, and an off-white, unbleached color.
    Our only linen was ready-made hand towels. Here is a typical linen towel (usually with a blue stripe running down both sides). On the farm there was a huge circular linen towel suspended on a spoked drying rack; each person would pull down a clean section to dry their hands.
    Linen can be difficult since it needs to be pressed with an unusually hot iron, also it does not stay pressed. Mark Twain was said to have frequently worn white linen suits which became wrinkled and which became even more untidy since he favored a corncob pipe, which material is not well suited to the burning temperatures of tobacco. He would smoke the pipes hot until they burned through the bottom, releasing tobacco ash onto the front of his already wrinkled suit.
    “Chiffon” we had as well (not to mention lemon chiffon cake). It’s very difficult to work with, needs special seams to keep the edges from raveling– either a flat felt seam (considered more appropriate to children’s pajamas) or a French seam. It’s impossible to keep a pin in it for more than a few seconds.
    Empty, your “sackcloth” would probably be made of something coarse and scratchy like camel hair. Flour bags are very soft and nice to have next to the skin.

  76. All roads led to Rome in order to facilitate the importation of stuff ripped off from the “colonies”.

  77. I tried to buy linen for my Viking costume, since that was the common material for Viking dresses, but it was unavailable at that time. Since then the stores where I looked for it have gone out of business. I ended up with a silk (I could document silk for Vikings), but with a very heavy weave, that looked like linen.

  78. The Greek men with hairy chests and sailor outfits were quite campy, like waiters trying their luck with northern tourists.
    I think “they” have given Simon Cowell, the man who invented the Idle shows, a knighthood. Ostensibly not for that but for services to charity (he raised money for Haiti).
    I met a woman last week who grows her own flax and weaves it into linen. I’d no idea it grew so far north, but apparently it does very well here.

  79. That might explain the flaxen-haired maidens of the Vikings. They were wearing linen wigs.

  80. marie-lucie says

    “Osnaburg” sounds like it’s made from flax, which would make it more like linen
    According to Wikipedia, “Osnaburg” (a textile made in Osnabrück) used to be made of flax, and even hemp or jute (so it was quite coarse), but the one I am familiar with is cotton, so it probably just imitates the old Osnaburg.
    As far as I know, any fiber or textile called “linen” (as opposed a generic name for sheets, etc) is made from flax (Latin linus, French lin). Linen textiles were used extensively in Europe in past centuries: it is very absorbent, and it supports boiling temperatures, the only way to clean and disinfect undergarments, sheets, etc in the old days. Linen can be spun extremely fine, as well as coarse, and it does not shed as much lint as cotton, even though it becomes softer with use. Cotton became popular (once the industry was established in England and America) because it was cheaper and easier to handle than linen, so flax cultivation declined considerably in Western Europe, although it is now reviving in countries with colder climates, such as Northern France, Germany, Ireland, etc where it used to be common and cotton cannot grow.
    In France, sheets are often made from a half and half combination of linen and cotton called métis (like a person of mixed race – it just means “mixed”). This mixed textile is more long-wearing than cotton but not as hard to handle as pure linen.

  81. the flaxen-haired maidens of the Vikings
    I thought this was a Eurovision comment.

  82. The 37th Eurovision Song Contest was held in Malmö in 1992. “The stage represented a big Viking ship, in which Linda Martin performed and won with the song Why Me for Ireland.”

  83. flaxen (Online Etymology Dictionary):

    “made of flax,” O.E. fleaxen; see from flax + -en (2). as “the color of flax” (usually with reference to hair) it is attested from 1520s.

    So the word postdates the Viking Age by quite a bit, also, wigs have never been documented in the Viking world.
    American Idol might be a Good Thing in the sense that it gives Americans something to have conversations about–something that has been lacking in the common culture since the end of the OJ trial.

  84. I’d no idea it grew so far north
    In Wobegon, I remember seeing blue fields of flax waving in the wind; it’s quite a sight, but apparently it grows even further north than that. At one time Ireland imported Russian flax. It has been grown all over the Scandinavian countries, but for home use and spun on spinning wheels, not commercially. The Swedish immigrants in the Illinois utopian community of Bishop Hill made linen–some 12,000 yards of it in 1860–and exported it to Quaker and other nearby communities in exchange for broom corn.
    a half and half combination of linen and cotton called métis
    I would be more interested in a polyester/linen blend, since linen is very comfortable, even in extreme heat, but quickly wrinkles. ( I do NOT iron.) They can make a good cotton/poly blend, 60/40, but you never see it, it’s always the 40/60 reverse blend that’s too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter. I wonder if there’s too much technology involved in making these materials, and it’s too expensive to ship them to the low-wage areas where the garments are assembled.

  85. So the word [flaxen] postdates the Viking Age by quite a bit
    I think you’re confusing words with wigs. The attestations and origins of the English “flaxen” are a dreck compared with the plant itself and its uses over tens of thousands of years:

    Flax fibers are amongst the oldest fiber crops in the world. The use of flax for the production of linen goes back at least to ancient Egyptian times. Dyed flax fibers found in a cave in Dzudzuana (prehistoric Georgia) have been dated to 30,000 years ago.

    We can safely assume that blond hair predates the Vikings. Grimm explains flachsgelb (flaxen yellow) as flavus ut linum:

    Flax fiber is soft, lustrous and flexible; bundles of fiber have the appearance of blonde hair, hence the description “flaxen”.

    The blue flowers of the plant were probably the reason for the “blue fields of flax” you saw.

  86. Brodsky worshipping Auden just makes me sad.

  87. marie-lucie says

    The dates given for words in dictionaries refer to the first known attestation of each word in writing; they don’t mean that the word was not used orally until that time, otherwise all sorts of everyday words would not have existed until someone wrote them down, which except in very rare cases (someone inventing, or more likely adopting, a word in the process of writing), is totally unrealistic. So a date given for flaxen just means that nobody wrote it before that date (or at least, it was not written in a form -book, letter, etc – which has survived. Flaxen is formed like golden or wooden and probably dates from around the same period.
    (I made a mistake in my earlier post: instead of linen supports boiling temperatures I should have written linen withstands boiling temperatures).

  88. marie-lucie says

    p.s. In referring to hair, flaxen, like golden, refers to its colour, not to a wig made of flax or gold.

  89. Nijma, how dare you tell me what “my ‘sackcloth'” would be made of? If somebody makes clothing out of old bags, I’m going to call it sackcloth.

    I will now, like an old man who tells the same stories over and over, make my two standard comments on flax and linen:
    1. Besides the fiber, the other useful part of that plant is the oil. In my part of the world it is called flaxseed oil when sold for human consumption and linseed oil when sold for use on wood (for example, the shingles on the outside of my mother’s house).
    2. The word ‘line’ (dear to my heart as a mathematician) is related to the word ‘linen’, indicating that in some place and time the fiber of the flax plant was _the_ fiber for making thread or string or rope out of.

  90. Sackcloth.
    The Blonde Map of Europe.
    The blue flowers of the plant were probably the reason for the “blue fields of flax” you saw.
    Yes, the flowers are blue, but a field of flax has a completely different appearance from, say, a field of blue alfalfa.

  91. marie-lucie says

    The plant itself is also a very pretty green.

  92. I remember blue fields of flax around here from my childhood, but not recently. There was a yellow field of rape down the road a bit a couple of years ago, though.
    I just like saying “yellow fields of rape”.

  93. It reminds me of our national anthem, John:

    Oh beautiful for energy
    From yellow fields of rape,
    For safe off-shore technology
    Should busted wellheads gape.
    America! America!
    God spill his grace on thee
    And cap the well beneath the swell
    Of thy hypocrisy.

  94. The last line is too facile. Of thy cupidity would be better, if only because it alliterates with cap.

  95. I was actually thinking of that song.

  96. There was a yellow field of rape down the road a bit a couple of years ago
    I suspect that might be canola and not rapeseed.
    And cap the well beneath the swell Of thy hypocrisy/cupidity
    I would imagine this is a reference to BP, aka British Petroleum; if so, the poem demonstrates insufficient of apotheosization of The British Engineer. When Krunu sees that he is so going to take that blog off his blogroll in a snit.
    I remember blue fields of flax around here from my childhood, but not recently
    Too bad. The fields were not just blue, they really were “waves of grain”, in the wind having the appearance of a body of water. BTW, I remember seeing similar yellow fields while trekking in Nepal and understood them to be fields of mustard for cooking oil. Oddly enough, there is a connection between the genomes of canola, rapeseed, and mustard–see “Triangle of U“.

  97. It’s only you I take off my blogroll, Nij.

  98. bruessel says

    “I suspect that might be canola and not rapeseed.”
    I ‘m confused. Doesn’t your link for canola say that it IS a cultivar of rapeseed?

  99. Yes, your own link refutes you.

  100. Canola is an inoffensive brand name for rape oil.
    Rape oil! Rape oil! Take that, PC!
    Wheat is now around six inches high. Very little waving is done by wheat any more.

  101. As a lamb of a lad reading Grimms’ Fairy Tales, I was confused by one commentator saying that Rapunzel came from the German Raps (rape), while another said it was a kind of lettuce. Further puzzlement ensued when I found that the hair of the ladies in The Rape of the Sabine Women was not that long, and neither yellow nor green.
    I hope now to help all who were traumatized as I was, by revealing that Rapunzel is gewöhnlicher Feldsalat (“ordinary field lettuce”, lamb’s lettuce). For all its supposèd ordinariness, it’s rather more expensive than plain floppy lettuce, and is available only at certain times of the year.

  102. Also known as lamb’s quarters for some reason.

  103. No, lamb’s quarters appears to be a different edible leaf.

  104. Lamb’s lettuce is labeled mache in the stores I go to around here.

  105. It’s only you I take off my blogroll, Nij.
    Well, that doesn’t really matter to me from a SEO standpoint, since I have more google mojo than I know what to do with. It took me more than two hours to remove all the links I made to the goat blog in various posts over the last year. I didn’t like doing that because I didn’t start a blog to try to be self-important or to put people down…I want to use my blog to promote people I want to see do well, or even to see if I can get a search for a lost cat in my neighborhood to come up on the first page of a google search. That’s my idea of what a blog is for.
    And if someone who used to be a friend suddenly wants to make personal attacks, doesn’t want to assume good faith, doesn’t want to be civil, and can’t seem to explain what’s going on, well, maybe what they are really missing is the little rituals that tell people they are important (rituals that I’m afraid I’m not very good at). Maybe what they really need is a hug.
    *hugs AJP*

  106. Doesn’t your link for canola say that it IS a cultivar of rapeseed?
    The way I’m reading it, canola is edible, while rapeseed is not, having a bad flavor and harmful stuff in it, although it looks like they are both brassica napus. According to the Northern Canola Grower’s Association FAQ Q: Are canola and rapeseed the same thing? A: No. Rapeseed is not a word that can be used in the place of canola.
    You have to appreciate the marketing genius of whoever named nigella sativa oil زيت حبة البارك [zait hibat al-baraka] “oil of the blessed seed”.

  107. There is a hugger syndrome, similar to the helper syndrome. In my experience, both are emotionally manipulative hugger-mugger more often than not. They “work” only when hugger and mugger are co-dependents. I don’t see anything wrong in being pissed off at somebody, or disliking them. Shit happens, after all. It doesn’t imply that you would have them sent to the guillotine, given the chance.
    The idea that gut reactions are a Bad Thing leads some people to go into denial about them. I consider that dangerous, because it drives the Bad Things into the underground, where they mutate into spitefulness and hypocrisy. Better to fly off the handle and then later be heartily ashamed of yourself. Moderation in all things is an attempted static solution to a dynamic problem. I say: go with the flow.
    Q: Are canola and rapeseed the same thing? A: No. Rapeseed is not a word that can be used in the place of canola.
    That’s a strange Q&A. It reminds me of Beckett’s riff about Watt and the pot. What they are saying seems to be that “canola” is a government-approved term for a government-approved product. Even if the product is the same thing as what can also be called “rapeseed”, it has government approval only when it is called “canola”.

    Rapeseed is not a word that can be used in the place of canola. There are strict quality standards governing canola and products which do not meet government standards cannot use this trademarked term.

  108. An apology would be more appropriate than a hug (I can’t remember the details, but I explained my grievance). And if I gave you a hug, wouldn’t you have to spend two more hours putting all your links back?
    There is nothing called canola oil in Norway, it’s rapsolje as in Tyskland. It doesn’t have a bad flavour — or anything harmful in it, as far as I know. Jamessal explained to me that it has a higher burning point than olive oil, so it’s better for frying things that require lots of heat.

  109. bruessel says

    “The way I’m reading it, canola is edible, while rapeseed is not, having a bad flavor and harmful stuff in it.”
    Well, I don’t think that’s right. Canola is a trademark for a hybrid variety of rape initially bred in Canada and has obviously become the standard name for rapeseed in North America, but nobody in Europe uses that name. The Northern Canola Grower’s Association would of course claim that their product is vastly superior, but that doesn’t make it so.

  110. The German Wipe on Rapsöl says that rapeseed oil is used primarily as a fuel and a component in fuel production. In the textual vicinity of that claim it does not become clear whether that is the case only in Germany or worldwide. I wonder what the connection is between a higher smoke point and suitability as a fuel – I would have thought that made it less suitable. Cold-pressed, the smoke point is 130 – 190°C, hot-pressed (industrially refined) it’s 220°C. Sez here that flash points are considerably above smoke points, so maybe there is no direct connection ? I should have paid more attention in chemistry classes.
    But it gets stranger. The German WiPe also says that the cultivation of rape involves the emission of laughing gas:

    Bei der Klimaverträglichkeit der Rapsölnutzung wird insbesondere über die Emissionen des starken Klimagases Lachgas (300-fach stärker als Kohlendioxid) während des Rapsanbaus diskutiert.

    I can’t tell whether that means that rape emits 300 times more laughing gas than carbon dioxide, or that laughing gas is 300 times stronger than carbon dioxide in its effect on air temperature. The article contains several such sentences which seem initially palatable, but on further chewing turn out to be full of gristle.
    I have tried using rapeseed oil once or twice in cooking, with unsatisfactory results. It had a slightly unpleasant taste, and even for an oil was too oily, if you get my meaning. And I was not amused.

  111. The ambiguity in that German sentence is due to the fact that stärker could refer to Emissionen as well as Lachgas. There are people who write starke Emissionen, but many more (myself among them) who prefer hohe Emissionen. To see the ambiguity, just omit the first occurrence of stark, giving:

    Bei der Klimaverträglichkeit der Rapsölnutzung wird insbesondere über die Emissionen des Klimagases Lachgas (300-fach stärker als Kohlendioxid) während des Rapsanbaus diskutiert

    The first occurrence of stark modified Lachgas, and tended to drag the second one in (300-fach stärker als Kohlendioxid) into apposition, as if it were explaining just how stark. Nevertheless, even this variant can be understood the other way. The issue here is similar to one in English: “powerful” substance/emissions and “high” emissions [emission levels].
    I tend to the interpretation “300 times higher emission levels than with carbon dioxide”, because otherwise the parenthesis is a surreptitious extra explanation shoved in beside the main point, which is about emission levels. If the relative hothouse effect was the point of the parenthesis – “300 times stronger than carbon dioxide” – then my reaction would be “so what ? The quantities emitted might be miniscule, so the relative air-toxicity would be relatively irrelevant. You don’t tell us about the relative quantities emitted”.

  112. “Surreptitious extra explanation” is what you often find in newspaper journalist prose:

    The Polish President, who as a boy was twice tiddlywink champion of Novosibirsk, today died in a tragic plane crash.

  113. bruessel says

    Here in Belgium, rapeseed oil “huile de colza” is becoming more and more popular because of its omega-3-content that’s supposedly good for your health. I use it myself and I’m quite happy with its taste and other proprieties, but then it’s a biologically produced one (first cold pressing).
    Also, in France, according to French wiki, the production of 960 000 hectares out of 1.5 million is used for human consumption.

  114. bruessel, it was a cheap brand of rape oil that I tried. Maybe I should try again with a bio one.
    I’ve pretty much settled down with ghee for frying, and for other purposes a Turkish olive oil with a mild acidity. When I worked in Barcelona, I learned to appreciate the fact that bottles of Spanish olive oil there always stated the acidity content (from 0,5 to about 4 %, as I remember). That helps considerably in judging what to expect from an unfamiliar brand that you are considering trying out.

  115. According to the Northern Canola Grower’s Association FAQ Q: Are canola and rapeseed the same thing? A: No. Rapeseed is not a word that can be used in the place of canola.
    For Christ’s sake, are you not aware of the history of this issue? The term “canola” was coined because the growers were trying to expand their market by eliminating the unpleasant term “rape.” They do not get to determine English usage. There is no difference between canola and rapeseed, any more than there is between realtor and real estate agent.
    And you don’t get to bitch about the time it took to perform a mean-spirited retaliatory task and also say “I didn’t like doing that.” You shouldn’t have done it, then. And boasting about your “Google mojo” is gauche.

  116. marie-lucie says

    Lamb’s lettuce is labeled mache
    I write and say mâche, the traditional pronunciation (with the â similar to the a in father).
    In my opinion this type of lettuce is OK in a mixed salad, but I don’t like it very much by itself. But I am not too fond of arugula either.

  117. We’ve done canola before.
    The word only refers to edible rapeseed oil, from varieties with low erucic acid. Outside North America, you tell the difference by context (you bought it at the grocery store) or because it says “double zero” or “double low”. Also, in Canada it’s mostly GM these days, causing trouble in markets where that doesn’t have public acceptance.

  118. Bathrobe says

    [denial of gut reactions] drives the Bad Things into the underground, where they mutate into spitefulness and hypocrisy.
    I think someone else said it better:
    I was angry with my friend:
    I told my wrath, my wrath did end.
    I was angry with my foe:
    I told it not, my wrath did grow.

  119. Yes, I find congenial spirits in the 18th century much more often than in today’s pussylogical world of niceness and denial.

  120. Perhaps related somehow: recently quoted on the blog Futility Closet
    “It is human nature to hate those whom you have injured.” — Tacitus

  121. About laughing gas (nitrous oxide):
    “Considered over a 100 year period, it has 298 times more impact per unit weight than carbon dioxide” (Wikipedia).
    I wonder if it would be different if considered over a 200-year period. Or even a 5-year period, for that matter…

  122. I get your point about the formulation. However, the measured results could well be different. There’s no physical law enforcing constancy of an effect over time, nor even linearity. Consider cumulative effects, as from radioactive material. The whole can be worse than the time integral of its parts.

  123. bruessel says

    I like mâche, also called “salade de blé” in these parts, it’s one of the few healthy green things I will eat. Can’t stand lettuce and hate the person who came up with the idea of putting shredded lettuce in prepackaged cheese sandwiches, so I have to laboriously remove it.

  124. marie-lucie says

    bruessels, I agree with you about the shredded lettuce!

  125. For Christ’s sake, are you not aware of the history of this issue? The term “canola” was coined because the growers were trying to expand their market by eliminating the unpleasant term “rape.”
    No, I haven’t seen this documented, but you might infer from my comment about marketing “the blessed seed” that it wouldn’t particularly surprise me. Beyond that, wikipedia article on canola indicates the name came from a variety developed in the 70’s that was “low in erucic acid and glucosinolates; it was named Canola, from Canadian oil, low acid.” It also says “Canola was originally a trademark but is now a generic term for this variety of oil. In Canada, an official definition of canola is codified in Canadian law.” I suppose that’s something like the way France controls names of wine varieties.
    I’ve been buying canola oil for about thirty years, although in the last year or two I’ve switched to olive oil because of the cardiac benefits. Canola oil can be used at high temperatures without degrading–the only oil that can withstand higher temperatures is peanut oil, which has a characteristic flavor that I don’t like. Canola oil has no flavor at all to me.
    And you don’t get to bitch about the time it took to perform a mean-spirited retaliatory task and also say “I didn’t like doing that.” You shouldn’t have done it, then.
    No one has any obligation to link to anyone, and certainly not if that person becomes verbally abusive. When this happens, it’s not “retaliation” to remove links, so much as a formal recognition of a relationship that has (sadly) changed. The time factor in removing all the links was mentioned not to *complain* but to point out the support, courtesy, and good will I had consistently shown to this individual in times past. If you ‘re going to call that “meanspirited”, you’re also have to acknowledge the meanspiritedness involved in the removal of my blog from that blogroll, as well as the removal of my comment, a pleasant comment that I had taken time to make, even though I was rushed with other details, and was meant only to wish the other individual well.
    And boasting about your “Google mojo” is gauche.
    I’m not sure what the difference between “boasting” and “mentioning” is, but a certain blogger (who shall remain nameless) several weeks ago said “Wow, this post is already the top Google hit for his name, and my Wikipedia article is #2. The power!” Now I’m not sure if a lost cat has the same gravitas as a wikipedia article for Alexander Veltman, but it looks like I’m not the only gauchiste around these parts. My point about the google mojo is that unlike LH, my blog isn’t monetized (or amazonized)–WordPress doesn’t allow it–so a link means nothing to me other than common courtesy.
    I didn’t delete all of my links to the other blog though. I did leave up the one to the article about the Moscow dacha, because it suits me to add whatever gauche google mojo I might have to that project.

  126. I can’t remember the details, but I explained my grievance
    No, you didn’t. You enlightened me as to my shortcomings with regard to intelligence, competence to deal with my own medical care, and general womanliness. That’s called ad hominem. Then you took my words and reassembled them out of context in order to make it look like I was saying something I didn’t say. That’s called “strawman”, or maybe “bearing false witness”, or maybe just a dishonest tactic. I don’t think it’s cute.
    An apology would be more appropriate than a hug
    If you don’t agree with someone, or don’t understand what they are saying, it would probably be more productive to address the issues involved than to make attacks and demand apologies. Having a different point of view is not a personal attack. On the other hand, over at The Log on the “a message from the queen” thread, they have said some terrible things about British dentistry. Maybe they need your touch.
    And if I gave you a hug, wouldn’t you have to spend two more hours putting all your links back?
    And how long to put my comment you deleted back on your own blog? Time doesn’t go backward, it goes forward, unless you have a TARDIS, which I don’t. I’m not offering you a hug because you earned it, I ‘m offering you a hug because you need it, and because I was your blog’s midwife. Also out of respect for Steve and his scholarship and for the people who have gravitated into his orbit–he and the LHians deserve to have this bullshit put to rest.
    And now if you don’t mind, my birthday is Sunday and I have to go write some syllabus stuff for a while first.

  127. The camel’s nose again – thar she blows ! Spraying slime to signal a subsequent round of biting. pace Shelley, it is the unholy state of acrimony that is the longest journey – for the guests.

  128. I was referring to Scott’s novel The Bride of Yammer More.

  129. My main grievance was that you wasted my time. You’re not getting me into another argument unless you’re willing to pay ($5/minute of my time, to be donated to the Wolfson Foundation).

  130. Bathrobe says

    I believe camels are famous for being cantankerous, obstinate, and wilful. Despite this, they are prized for their resistance to dry conditions, ability to travel for long periods with little water or food, and ability to withstand cold weather. They also provide meat and milk — both of which I’ve tried. The meat is rather bland, but kumiss made from the milk is quite nice.

  131. $10/minute says you’re not going to start taking that hard stuff again. That’s 600 bucks an hour for cold turkey. You can handle it.

  132. I don’t understand, Concerned. Are you going to pay $10/minute for me to not argue with Nij? When do we start counting from?

  133. Even cold turkey is more easily digestible than the jerky beefing of madame.

  134. My solicitor will be in touch with yours to draw up a suitable contract with provision for monitoring. I have not had the best experience with self-regulation, and it has come to my attention recently that you too have been in contact with malign forces. Just a precautionary measure, no offense intended.

  135. They also provide meat and milk —
    And hair for sackcloth.
    The camel of Kipling’s Just So Stories was made to carry his “Humph” on his back as penance for his bad attitude.

  136. –he and the LHians deserve to have this bullshit put to rest.
    Nijma, it was put to rest some time ago, until you stirred it up again it on June 2 at 10:18 AM.

  137. And I’m getting very tired of all the drama. Another episode of shit-stirring and there may be another round of link removal and hurt feelings.

  138. I used to thrill to plots that stir,
    Tempers ruined and porcelain broken
    Until, tired of the flying fur,
    I now prefer my plots be shaken.

  139. Was I not clear enough? I deleted your comment, Nijma, and any further stirrings of the pot will get you banned. I don’t care if you think you’re just defending yourself, and I assure you AJP is not the only one who has a problem with you. You’ve been skating on thin ice here for quite a while, and a sterner man than I would have gotten fed up a long time ago. Verbum sapienti sat est.

  140. My vote: ban the Braut. That is the shrewdest taming.

  141. the only oil that can withstand higher temperatures is peanut oil, which has a characteristic flavor that I don’t like
    There’s avocado oil, but it’s a bit pricey and not quite flavorless (though it’s not a bad flavor).
    I generally like the taste of peanut oil, but it’s not right for a delicate tofu dish, for instance, for which I use grapeseed oil, which is also up there in taking the heat.

  142. Smoke points are a common theme on Good Eats, so naturally some helpful fan has cataloged them. That page is better than Wikipedia’s, since it gives more than one number for the same oil when sources vary widely, as they do.

  143. I can’t use peanut, my daughter’s allergic. Good Eats lists higher smoke points for the olive oils than it does for the canolas. I’ll try grapeseed, I’ve seen that at the supermarket.

  144. In my small experience, even the more expensive olive oils seem to break down chemically at higher frying temperatures – at least I suppose that is the reason why they taste less pleasant after heating. At any rate, I now use only ghee for frying.
    I wish there were less “choice” in the grocery stores. It seems one has to have a doctorate nowadays to figure out what’s what on the shelves.

  145. For unheated good (but very pronounced) taste, pumpkinseed oil is hard to beat. But once you’ve opened the bottle, it spoils before the week is out. You would no more want to use it for frying than truffle oil (ick !). For reasons unknown to me, much of it hails from Austria.

  146. even the more expensive olive oils seem to break down chemically at higher frying temperatures
    Expensive olive oils are strictly finishing oils. Which means they really aren’t that expensive, because you only want to pour so much oil on top of a finished dish. We use Crisco for frying.

  147. Salad dressings, too.

  148. Crisco vinaigrette ??

  149. I don’t know about Crisco, Jim. It’s cottonseed oil, and it says on Crisco’s Wikipedia page (Wikipedia’s Crisco page):

    Since cotton crops are under far less chemical regulation than other crops used specifically for food, many pesticides or chemicals can be used on them that are illegal for use on food crops. Products derived from cottonseed can enter into the food chain via a legal loophole[clarification needed] in the regulation of food and chemicals by the United States Food and Drug Administration, possibly leading to consumption of significantly elevated amounts of pesticides or chemicals.

    It works well as sunblock, though.

  150. Peanut oil is good for bringing back the shine on black plastic car-door handles that have turned gray. You didn’t know I shine my car-door handles, did you? Well, I do. (Occasionally).

  151. The German equivalent to Crisco would be Biskin. It comes in blocks instead of tubs like Crisco. It is inexpensive and perfect for deep-frying. Dunno, I just have a fixed idea that I should be using some kind of oil, or minimally processed substance like ghee, instead of commercial bricks.

  152. Peanut oil is good for bringing back the shine on black plastic car-door handles
    You may be caught in a vicious circle there, Crown. Are you certain that the goats are not licking it off as soon as you have applied it ? Then you apply some more, and then …
    Oil sooths raucousness, I think. Has the bleating seemed more mellifluous recently ?

  153. Crisco vinaigrette ??
    Ha! Sounded that way, didn’t it? (Obviously I meant the olive oil.)
    Products derived from cottonseed can enter into the food chain via a legal loophole[clarification needed] in the regulation of food and chemicals by the United States Food and Drug Administration, possibly leading to consumption of significantly elevated amounts of pesticides or chemicals.
    Thanks, Crown. I’ll pass this along to Robin, our home’s Food Decider.

  154. Or has Misty been buttering up to you ?

  155. I’m losing my grip. That should be “buttering you up”, or not ?

  156. You’re welcome, Jim.
    I don’t know whether the goats like vegetable oils, that’s a good question. My guess is they don’t. Their only interest in the car is that Vesla likes to climb on the hood (when it’s parked).

  157. I tried canola oil once on my steamed vegetables. Yeucch. I can’t imagine how anyone can think it lacks flavor — I can see how some people like that flavor (though with difficulty).

  158. Ulster, Leinster, Munster

    The suffix here is not -ster but -ter, from Irish tír ‘(dry) land’, cognate to Latin terra. The English cognate is what you get when the land you are on is excessively dry, namely thirst.

    The -s, however, needs more explanation. The people of Northern Ireland west of Lough Neagh were originally called Uladh, and so their country or land was Tír Ulaidh, with the Irish genitive case. The Norse, however, called the area Ulvastir, reordering the two nouns into Germanic order and supplying the Germanic genitive ending between them. Similar processes transformed Laighin to Leinster and Mumhun to Munster. For whatever reason, Connacht was not prefixed by Tír.

    Some of the Irish counties still retain the Irish order, like Tyrone, Tír Eoghain, and Tyrconnell, Tír Chonaill, an alternative name for Co. Donegal. Although my own surname is Mac Eoghain, my people are not from Tyrone but from Mayo, Maigh Eo, the plain of the yews.

  159. The Norse, however, called the area Ulvastir, reordering the two nouns into Germanic order and supplying the Germanic genitive ending between them.

    That seems odd; why on earth wouldn’t they translate the opaque tír and make it Ulvasland or whatever?

  160. Perhaps because they were bilingual in Norse and Irish.

  161. Then why translate it at all?

  162. Maybe they used “tír” when talking about territories in Ireland, same like people use “departements” when talking about France or “oblasts” when talking about Russia?

  163. Ah, that makes sense.

  164. Now why did I think that the -ster in these words was from -staðir?

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