Monthly Archives: October 2011

Donnybrook — ever take part in one?

Donnybrook (Domhnach Broc–meaning The Church of Saint Broc) is located in Dublin, Ireland.  Many consider the area to be one of Dublin’s most affluent suburbs today.

Donnybrook was the location for the Donnybrook Fair.  This event was notorious for drunkenness and violent disorder. The fair was banned in 1855.

So, today the word donnybrook is applied to a quarrel fight or disturbance usually involving disorderly and violent behavior.

The above definition is the most popular one to explain why a fight is sometimes
called a donnybrook. Others say the word origin is from a battle because of the
Battle of Donnybrook. In this fight, the Scots repelled the British.

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Briefly ranting

Okay, word people of the world, it’s time for this blogger to dust of his soapbox and do a slight rant.  Listen up class, today’s topic is the word debrief (and brief, too.)

The generally accepted definitions of the term debrief include:

To question to gather information, usually after a completed mission or to
carefully review upon completion.

This word is not the same as briefing.

In many instances, such briefings and debriefings are of  military or law enforcement nature.

For example, at most police departments, the oncoming crew has a briefing to
tell them the latest on what is going on in their city or town. Conversely,
pilots usually do a debriefing after the complete a mission.

When I was in the Air Force and on a missile launch crew, we had a
briefing of all crews before we went out to the Atlas E missile sites. After a
full shift, there was a brief debriefing for all involved too.

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Mondegreens — even more

Mondegreens were the subject of my last blog post.

It seemed to be popular, so I dug up some items from Saturday Night Live. Why SNL? Well I think Emily Litella (played by Gilda Radner) were some excellent examples of mondegreens.

As a reminder–A mondegreen is defined as the mishearing or misinterpretation of a phrase in a way that gives it and new meaning. The mishearing is usually not very plausible. SNL was great at this.

Radner would go into a tirade on about some topic. Eventually, the newsperson would interrupt her to point out her error.

Topics she ranted (incorrectly about) included:

the “deaf “penalty (death)

the “eagle” rights amendment (equal)

saving Soviet “jewelry” (jewry)

endangered “feces” (species)

presidential “erections ” (elections)

conserving our natural racehorses (resources)

“violins on television” (violence)

China pouring money into canker research (cancer)

youth in Asia (euthanasia)

sax [on television   (sex)

making Puerto Rico a steak   (state)

Good ol’ Emily would end by saying, “Never mind!”

I MISS GILDA