Monday, October 16, 2006

Where does the term “hang over” come from and what does it really mean?

The term "hang over" dates back to 16th century Britain, during Henry VIII's reign which was peaceful and prosperous era. (Though he was most famous for having six wives, Henry was actually a talented politician and governed deftly. Historians consider his reign one of the most successful of the middle ages). No one took advantage of this national prosperity more than the upper classes. If you look at portraits of Henry as a young adult, you'll see a slim, handsome man. Compare that to the more familiar, portly images of him and you can see that feasting was a frequent occurrence in his many royal was imbibing in beer and mead.

But back to the question. As you might guess, there was no indoor plumbing in the 16th century. To relieve themselves the wealthy, who typically quartered on the upper floors, would modestly fill their chamber pots and then toss the contents out the window -- or, more likely, had a servant toss it for them. But to regurgitate, they simply went to the nearest window, "hung over" the sill and puked. Apparently, there were a lot of mornings when, due to excessive revelry, the King and his court were compelled to "hang over" the window sill and vomit into the yard.

So now you know.

An update thanks to Poppersmoke:

Here's a related fact: If the medieval reveller was so inebriated that he couldn't get to a window in time, it was not uncommon to just grab a chamber pot and vomit into it. If that pot had been used recently, there was a good chance its contents would splash up onto the person who was puking. Hence, the term "shit faced."

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Why haven’t I posted much lately? Well, the answer is two-fold. First, I’ve been wicked busy with work and life’s general what-nots. But also, it’s been difficult to find any shred of humor in the news lately. Take, for example, this Foley douchebag. WTF? Could he be more of a hypocrite? A leading, Republican congressman known for his tough political stance on the exploitation of children has a lurid penchant for young boys? And if that wasn’t enough, Dennis Hastert — and other members of the majority leadership — knew about it. Can you say "cover-up?" How about "accomplice?"

And the administration. I think there’s another problem there: I never know where to start. For example at a fundraiser in Reno yesterday Bush said this: “If you listen closely to some of the leaders of the Democratic Party, it sounds like — it sounds like — they think the best way to protect the American people is, wait until we're attacked again. That's not the way it's going to be under my administration. We will stay on the offense. We will defeat the enemy overseas so we do not have to face them here at home."

See what I mean, where do I start? Hell, let’s give it a whirl and start with the first sentence. “...they think the best way to protect the American people is, wait until we're attacked again.” What does that even mean? On one hand, it’s such a baseless, ignorant, slanderous and irresponsible statement but on the other hand, it doesn’t mean anything. It’s just hollow mud-slinging. The bumbling rantings of a prep school bully who’s in over his head and out of his element.

Second sentence: “That's not the way it's going to be under my administration.” Are you kidding me? First, it HAS happened under his administration — with great fanfare. Second, since the US-lead terror attack against Iraq, the known number of terrorists around the globe have sky-rocketed. We’re not stomping out terrorism, we’re pouring Miracle grow on it. No, wait, I have a better analogy: we’re trying to put out a fire with gasoline. Don’t get me wrong, I agree that Bin Laden is a problem and needs to be stopped — that’s old news. But using the emotional equity of 9/11 and the endless hunt for al-Qaida as justification for the war in Iraq is just plain stupid. Saddam Hussein didn’t have anything to do with the events of 9/11 and he had no affiliation with al-Qaida. That’s a fact.

“We will stay on the offense. We will defeat the enemy overseas so we do not have to face them here at home.” What? Now would be a good time to check in with our friends over at Merriam-Webster. Terrorism: “the unlawful use or threat of violence esp. against the state or the public as a politically motivated means of attack or coercion.” Which side of the equation do you think we are on? No, really, think about it. It’s no wonder that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad thinks that WE are the terrorists. The dude wants to elevate his country out of third world nation status by developing the technology to generate nuclear power and we won’t let him. Why such an oppressive stance? Because the administration claims is a lunatic and will create WMDs and attack someone? I’m confused, we’re afraid he might attack so we might have to attack him. He has clearly voiced his opposition to even the concept of nuclear weapons. Why won’t we take his word for it?

While we’re on the topic of terror preemption, yesterday the McClatchy Washington Bureau reported that Secretary of War Donald Rumsfeld and former Attorney General John Ashcroft received the same detailed CIA briefing about an imminent al-Qaida attack on an American target that was given to the White House two months before the Sept. 11, 2001. Whutha? You call that preemption? Way to nip it in the bud.

And let’s talk about the Bush administration's insistence on more leeway in applying Geneva Convention standards to the interrogation of terrorism detainees. Last week Congress authorized the administration to try terrorism suspects before military tribunals and banning torture — but did not prohibit specific coercive techniques. WTF? I know that this post is meandering all over the place but hear me out. It was America that spearheaded the creation of the Geneva Convention and now we're casting aside the values we advocated? Why? To catch terrorists or to protect members of the administration from future prosecution because they approved the use of illegal torture?

That’s all I got.