While working on an article the other day, I came across a press release that said in part: “Seminole Classic Casino, the first Native American Casino in the country, today celebrated its grand re-opening…. Seminole Gaming CEO Jim Allen provided welcoming remarks and historical background of the casino, while Good Times television personality Jimmie ‘J.J.’ Walker warmed-up the crowd with Tribal and 1970s trivia.”
Jimmie Walker. Now there’s a name I hadn’t heard in a long time. I hope the Seminoles paid him a reasonable amount. Even has-beens have to make some kind of living. 1970s trivia? Such as, “What was Jimmie Walker’s catchphrase?” I’m not going to repeat it here. If you know it, you know it. If not, leave it be.
Snippet of recent conversation:
Ann: “Lance Armstrong, he’s the one who went to the Moon?”
Me: “No, that was Neil Armstrong. He was a test pilot, astronaut and explorer. Lance Armstrong is a guy who can stand riding a bicycle for hours and hours.” (Link includes salty George Carlin language.) (And if you’re going to sit on a bike for that long, maybe you need the drugs.)
I was toying with the idea of reading only books that I already own this year. Got a fair number on the shelves that I haven’t gotten around to, after all. But I was at the library the other day and that notion flew out the window. I was looking for The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt’s Darkest Journey (Candice Millard), which is about TR’s expedition to one of the remotest of the Amazon’s tributaries in 1914, but it was checked out, so I checked out 1920: The Year of Six Presidents by David Pietrusza.
Not that there were six serving U.S. presidents in 1920, unlike the four emperors of AD 69. Just one: Wilson, a shadow of his former self by then. But the book promises to track TR (odd, since he was dead by 1920), Harding, Coolidge, Hoover and FDR and their involvement in the 1920 election. I’ve only read a few chapters. So far, not bad, but Pietrusza has a few annoying writing tics, and I’ve spotted a couple of small errors. The Armistice did not, for example, take place at 11:11 am.
I’m going to stick with it for now, because 1920 was a pretty interesting year in this country, besides for the election of Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge: the last of the Palmer raids and the Red Scare, the beginning of Prohibition, the Wall Street bombing, the final push to secure women’s suffrage, and the first commercial radio station on the air, whose first broadcast concerned the results of the election. Among other things.
I just looked up salmagundi, long a favorite word. Never looked into its origin before. I’d have guessed it was one of those words the English language picked up in British India. Sounds like it, doesn’t it? “Sahib, the salmagundi is served.”
But no. My American Heritage New College Dictionary tells me it’s from French, salmigondis, and before that, origin obscure. Just another one of the French food words, then. Maybe next time I’ll call a jumble like this a gallimaufry, another good word that needs more use, also with a Frenchy origin.