P. K. Subban of the Montreal Canadiens skates around all of Tampa Bay before feeding a pass to Brendan Gallagher for a goal in the first-round playoff series.
[In Spartacus,] Crassus indicates his bisexuality to Antoninus by explaining that he has an appetite for snails as well as oysters, and the censors proposed that the scene might pass if “artichokes and truffles” were substituted for “snails and oysters” and the word “appetite” wasn’t used; but when the scene was reshot accordingly, the censors still wouldn’t pass it.
The program began on December 24, 1955, when a Sears department store placed an advertisement in a Colorado Springs newspaper which told children that they could telephone Santa Claus and included a number for them to call. However, the telephone number printed was misprinted and calls instead came through to Colorado Springs’ Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD) Center. Colonel Harry Shoup, who was on duty that night, told his staff to give all children who called in a “current location” for Santa Claus. A tradition began which continued when the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) replaced CONAD in 1958.
Another theory (advanced by Professor R. Atkinson of Dublin) traces it to Latin fellare “to suck” (see fecund), which had an obscene secondary meaning in classical Latin (well-known to readers of Martial and Catullus), which would make a felon etymologically a “cock-sucker.” OED inclines toward the “gall” explanation, but finds Atkinson’s “most plausible” of the others.
The near-universal European word now, it appeared in Europe as Latin catta (Martial, c.75 C.E.), Byzantine Greek katta (c.350) and was in general use on the continent by c.700, replacing Latin feles. Probably ultimately Afro-Asiatic (compare Nubian kadis, Berber kadiska, both meaning “cat”). Arabic qitt “tomcat” may be from the same source. Cats were domestic in Egypt from c.2000 B.C.E., but not a familiar household animal to classical Greeks and Romans. The nine lives have been proverbial since at least 1560s.
The Late Latin word also is the source of Old Irish and Gaelic cat, Welsh kath, Breton kaz, Italian gatto, Spanish gato, French chat (12c.). Independent, but ultimately from the same source are words in the Slavic group: Old Church Slavonic kotuka, kotel’a, Bulgarian kotka, Russian koška, Polish kot, along with Lithuanian kate and non-Indo-European Finnish katti, which is from Lithuanian.
Extended to lions, tigers, etc. c.1600. As a term of contempt for a woman, from early 13c. Slang sense of “prostitute” is from at least c.1400. Slang sense of “fellow, guy,” is from 1920, originally in U.S. Black English; narrower sense of “jazz enthusiast” is recorded from 1931.
Cat’s paw (1769, but cat’s foot in the same sense, 1590s) refers to old folk tale in which the monkey tricks the cat into pawing chestnuts from a fire; the monkey gets the nuts, the cat gets a burnt paw. Cat bath “hurried or partial cleaning” is from 1953. Cat burglar is from 1907, so called for stealth. Cat-witted “small-minded, obstinate, and spiteful” (1670s) deserved to survive. For Cat’s meow, cat’s pajamas, see bee’s knees.
Early in the development of Macintosh, Steve Jobs wanted to add “a mysterious character” to the first OS, according to an early developer from the 80’s, Andy Hertzfeld. Mr. Macintosh is a mysterious little man who lives inside each Macintosh. He pops up every once in a while, when you least expect it, and then winks at you and disappears again. It will be so quick that you won’t be sure if you saw him or not… One out of every 1000–2000 times that you pull down a menu, instead of the normal commands, you’ll get Mr. Macintosh, leaning against the wall of the menu. He’ll wave at you, then quickly disappear. You’ll try to get him to come back, but you won’t be able to. Steve was really excited to get this mysterious character in the OS, so he hired Belgian cartoonist Jean-Michel Folon. Mr. Macintosh was intended to mysteriously appear every “One thousand times or so a person used an OS UI element such as the menu bar.” Code for Mr. Macintosh is named “MrMacHook” and exists in the first version of Mac OS. Animations were never made for Mr. Macintosh because the character was scrapped from the OS, as the images were too large to fit in the available storage space.
To the Editors:
In his fascinating essay Edward Mendelson gives examples of W.H. Auden’s “gifts of time, money, and sympathy” [“The Secret Auden,” NYR, March 20]. Although by its nature not entirely secret, then and since, in 1935 Auden gave himself in matrimony, to Erika, Thomas Mann’s daughter, to provide her with British nationality when the Nazis were about to revoke her German citizenship. In the following year he persuaded John Hampson to marry a friend of Erika, the actress Therese Giehse, who was also under threat for her anti-Nazi activities. Auden paid all the expenses involved. Hampson told a mutual friend who had tried to dissuade him: “Wystan says, ‘What are buggers for?’”
Edward Mendelson replies:
David Martin’s letter is a welcome reminder of Auden’s generosity in his early years. Erika Mann first asked Christopher Isherwood if he would marry her so that she could get a British passport. He refused but said he would ask Auden, who cabled back DELIGHTED, and arranged a wedding party at the pub …
She watched a couple up at the bar with a miniature poodle on a stool in between. Its politeness and general agitation seemed to be half human. But when a man came in with a vast brindled bull terrier on a lead as thick as an ox’s tail the smaller dog turned her back to the drinks, ignored her owners at once, and gazed at the killer with thrilled lack lustre eyes. For his part the bull terrier lay down as soon as the the man on the other end of his lead let him, and, with an air of acute embarrassment gazed hard at the poodle, then away again, then, as though he could not help it, back once more. He started to whine. Miss Pomfret smiled. The other occupants began paying attention to these interested animals.
“Rather sweet, isn’t he?” she said.
“Who? Your father?”
“Oh no, Daddy always is. The bull terrier I mean.”
“So long as he doesn’t take it into his head to murder that other wretched brute in front of our very eyes.”
“But he won’t Philip. She’s a lady.”
First: the rules of the game are in equilibrium: that is, from the start, the diamond was made just the right size, the pitcher’s mound just the right distance from home plate, etc., and this makes possible the marvelous plays, such as the double play. The physical layout of the game is perfectly adjusted to the human skills it is meant to display and to call into graceful exercise. Whereas, basketball, e.g., is constantly (or was then) adjusting its rules to get them in balance.
Second: the game does not give unusual preference or advantage to special physical types, e.g., to tall men as in basketball. All sorts of abilities can find a place somewhere, the tall and the short etc. can enjoy the game together in different positions.
Third: the game uses all parts of the body: the arms to throw, the legs to run, and to swing the bat, etc.; per contra soccer where you can’t touch the ball. It calls upon speed, accuracy of throw, gifts of sight for batting, shrewdness for pitchers and catchers, etc. And there are all kinds of strategies.
Fourth: all plays of the game are open to view: the spectators and the players can see what is going on. Per contra football where it is hard to know what is happening in the battlefront along the line. Even the umpires can’t see it all, so there is lots of cheating etc. And in basketball, it is hard to know when to call a foul. There are close calls in baseball too, but the umps do very well on the whole, and these close calls arise from the marvelous timing built into the game and not from trying to police cheaters etc.
Fifth: baseball is the only game where scoring is not done with the ball, and this has the remarkable effect of concentrating the excitement of plays at different points of the field at the same time. Will the runner cross the plate before the fielder gets to the ball and throws it to home plate, and so on.
Finally, there is the factor of time, the use of which is a central part of any game. Baseball shares with tennis the idea that time never runs out, as it does in basketball and football and soccer. This means that there is always time for the losing side to make a comeback. The last of the ninth inning becomes one of the most potentially exciting parts of the game. And while the same sometimes happens in tennis also, it seems to happen less often. Cricket, much like baseball (and indeed I must correct my remark above that baseball is the only game where scoring is not done with the ball), does not have a time limit.