Some TV commercials launch catchphrases that stick around long after the original ads. The exclamation Good stuff, Maynard! is still a compliment almost 40 years after it was used in a commercial for Malt-O-Meal hot cereal. And: what do you call that room where the whole family gathers? The family room? The den? The TV room? Names for that part of a home go in and out of fashion. Also, if you’re suffering from writer’s block, try going easy on yourself for a while. Sometimes a writer’s imagination needs to lie fallow in order to become fertile again. Plus, a trivia test about domain names, criminently and other minced oaths, pure-D vs. pure-T, deviled eggs vs. dressed eggs, pixelated vs. pixilated, how to pronounce aegis, and I got the Motts!
This episode first aired September 12, 2020. It was rebroadcast the weekend of December 4, 2021.
Nancy from Ithaca, New York, says her daughter read widely at a very young age, which meant she encountered the terms son of a gun and record long before she knew how to pronounce them correctly, which made for some amusing stories.
Megan in Denver, Colorado, wonders about an exclamation she’s used all her life, which she suspects is spelled criminiddly. It’s another variant of that mild oath criminently, also rendered as criminetly, criminitlies, crimenightie, criminy, crime in Italy, and several other versions, all which are substitutes for exclaiming Christ! or Christ Almighty!
A voicemail from a Hawaii listener leads to a discussion of the correct pronunciation for Aegis, a naval combat system. Is it EE-jiss or AY-jiss? In Greek myth, an aegis was a protective shield, and today, to be under the aegis means to be “under the protection or control” of something.
Emilia from Chicago, Illinois, says a co-worker used the phrase get the Motts to denote the feeling of second-hand embarrassment she feels for someone when watching a cringeworthy performance. The phrase I got the Motts became a catchphrase in the early 1980s thanks to a commercial for Motts applesauce. By the way, German has a word for the “uncomfortable feeling of shame or embarrassment for someone else”: Fremdscham.
What do you call that room in your house where the family gathers — the family room? The den? The TV room? Names for that living space go in and out of fashion. In the 1930s, you might have called it the sitting room, parlor, living room, setting room, or front room. For a great resource on this topic, check out the book Lexical Change and Variation in the Southeastern United States, 1930-1990 by Ellen Johnson (Bookshop.org|Amazon).
In their article “My Mother, Whenever She passed Away, She Had Pneumonia: The History and Functions of whenever,” Michael Montgomery and John Kirk discuss the “punctual” whenever, a vestige of Scots-Irish usage heard in much of the Southern United States, Appalachia, and the Midwest.
In an essay in LitHub, Kate Angus urges writers to be kind to themselves when they have a creative block. Sometimes you can get past it simply by letting yourself not write at all, with the hope that lying fallow for a while may be just what you need to replenish and revive your imagination.
The catchphrase Good stuff, Maynard! Comes from a series of TV commercials for Malt-O-Meal hot cereal that aired during the early 1980s and featured a little boy and his imaginary friend Maynard. Some folks still use this phrase today when enthusing about tasty food or suggesting that something has positive qualities. Although a lot of people suggest it may come from the television show The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis because one of the main characters is named “Maynard,” nobody has been able to pinpoint the phrase in an episode of the program.
The Icelandic word for “echo” is bergmal,which literally means “rock language” or “language of the mountain.”
Gail from Minden, Nevada, notes the difference between pixelated, which describes images composed of tiny pixels, and pixilated, which is pronounced the same, but means “drunk” or “confused.” Pixilated derives from the idea of being pixie-led, or “enticed into trouble by mischievous imaginary creatures.” Pixelated, in contrast, comes from the much more recent word pixel, short for picture elements.
Book Mentioned in the Episode
|Lexical Change and Variation in the Southeastern United States, 1930-1990 by Ellen Johnson (Bookshop.org|Amazon)|
Music Used in the Episode
|Ephra||Budos Band||The Budos Band EP||Daptone Records|
|Bongo Joe||Galactic||Ruckus||Sanctuary Records|
|I Can Change Your Mind||James Hunter||Nick Of Time||Daptone Records|
|The Moil||Galactic||Ruckus||Sanctuary Records|
|The Proposition||Budos Band||The Budos Band EP||Daptone Records|
|Volcano Vapes||Sure Fire Soul Ensemble||Out On The Coast||Colemine Records|