Columns » Words

Where have the dials gone, Joe Dimaggio?



"Dimaggio would stay in the hotel room [in the summer of 1941], and he and Gomez would put on the radio and order up steak." Obviously written by someone who doesn't remember old-time radio. Somebody who does remember would write "he and Gomez would turn on the radio."

When TV first came along, it was turned on too. I guess now it's put on, or punched on, or entered on, or something. Dials are disappearing like clocks with faces. I read the other day that the word "clockwise" is vanishing from the language because younger people don't know what it means.

n E-mail from eureka4me:

"In the April 27 issue, you wrote 'The word [uber] is all over these days – usually with an umlaut, but we don't do unlauts at the Times.' I assume that you meant umlauts because unlauts in Germany means dishonesty ­— sure hope you don't do that at the Times either." Far from it, Eu. Your assumption about "umlauts" is correct.

After receiving your message, I checked the office German-English dictionary. I couldn't find unlaut, but I did find unlauter, and sure enough, it means all those things that the Times fights against — "dishonest, unfair, squalid, Republican." Well, maybe the dictionary didn't actually say "Republican," but that's the logical extension.

n E-mail from Max Brantley:

"I hate how the race tracks and casinos refuse to refer to slot machines, poker, blackjack, roulette, etc., as gambling. Instead, it's gaming, which is somehow cleaner. Now this has taken hold in the media. Here's a Twitter from KTHV. 'On THV at noon a new study shows 15 percent of women who file for divorce cite their hubby's gaming. Is this enough for divorce?' Right. Many a wife's said, 'If you game away the grocery money one more time, I'm leaving your sorry butt.' "

Let the gaming be ended.

Add a comment