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Let's Panic: The Book!

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How to Endure and Possibly Triumph Over the Adorable Tyrant
who Will Ruin Your Body, Destroy Your Life, Liquefy Your Brain,
and Finally Turn You
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Written by Alice Bradley and Eden Kennedy

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Twenty-three skiddoo!

When Maggie first told me about her book, No One Cares What You Had for Lunch: 100 Ideas for Your Blog, I thought, that’s going to be a great resource--for someone else. For the lame-o who can’t come up with a single topic to post about. Not to put those losers down! But such a book—wonderful as it would undoubtedly be—would nonetheless not be of use to myself, the greatest creative mind of the 21st century.

As in most things, I have been proven wrong. It’s a goldmine of inspiration even for the veteran blogger who thinks she knows her way around these parts. In fact it may be even more useful for such a person, who might be feeling a tad blocked these days, who may be thinking, “I’ve been writing this damn thing for two and a half years and I’ve covered every topic under the sun. I DESERVE TO TELL THEM ABOUT MY LUNCH.”

(Leftover shepherd’s pie and a Fun-Sized Twix bar. See? Haven’t you gained something from knowing that?)

The topic I’ve chosen from Maggie’s book is #14, “Watch Your Language,” in which I am to list some archaic words or phrases I wish would come back into popular use. I have many of these, as I find living in the present highly distasteful. Here are a few:

Vo- dee-oh-do. Sometimes “Vo-dee-oh-do-do.” Either way, it’s a winner. This was used to great effect in the Little Rascals to describe some colorful and suspicious individuals. “They were a couple of vo-dee-oh-dos.” According to Google it was also used in "Laverne and Shirley" as a euphemism for sex, but no one wants to imagine either Laverne or Shirley in that way, so let’s go with the former useage.

Jackanapes and cock of the walk. Preferably used together. “He thinks he’s a real cock of the walk, but I say he’s nothing but a jackanapes.”

Conniptions. No one talks about anyone having conniptions anymore. That’s a shame. I myself make it a habit of having a conniption at least once a day, just to give someone the opportunity to use this glorious word.

…see? I believe everyone should end every statement with “see?” It’ll make you sound like a character in Double Indemnity. At the very least, you’ll sound like my Grandpa. Either way I will love you.

What olde-timey words or phrases would you like to come back? Place your requests here!

Reader Comments (178)

All sixes and sevens. As in "How are you feeling? Oh, I'm all sixes and sevens today". My grandmother used to say that all the time.

I am also prone to conniptions.
October 13, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterAnne Prince
I'd like to hear "cad" to describe dastardly men. And I give a second to "fie". As for conniption, comeonna my house because it's used frequently here. It might be nice to hear "egads!" now and again as well.
October 13, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterSara
I'd like to see "pell nell" or "willy nilly" come back. Not that that stops me from using them anyway.
October 13, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterLauren
Being from a small town in Texas, I hear lots of stuff folks apparently don't say anymore. However I'm partial to "pert near". I hope I spelled it right because I've never seen it written. It means "almost". "Growing like topsy" is another favorite. I could go on but I'll spare everyone.
October 13, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterHWilliams
Oh this is all really good stuff! I used to read the Ramona Quimby books when I was a kid and I always loved that Ramona and Beatrice didn't fight or argue, they had quarrels. In that same vein, I also like it when people have rows. My husband and I like to travel waaaay back in time on occasion and call each other ye. As in "Have ye had lunch yet?" or "Do ye want to go to a movie?"
October 13, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterKasey
I love that you titled this post "Twenty-three Skidoo!" I was once told that the expression got its start when the Flatiron Bldg. in NYC was being constructed on 23rd street. Passersby would stop to gawk at the glorious piece of architecture (my favorite in nyc!) and policemen would shout "Twenty-three skidoo!" to get people to keep walking.
October 13, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterStar Shine
Has anyone said DAGNABBIT yet? 'cause I love to say me some dagnabbit ('specially when prospecting for gold).
October 13, 2006 | Unregistered Commentermotherbumper
I distincly remember watching the eposide of Laverne and Shirley where they are talking about vo-dee-oh-do. Good memories of Nick at Night in college!
October 13, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterThe Dutchess of Kickball
October 13, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterUppahand
Necking. When I was a kid, I was prone to devouring cheesy pop music, a la Jeffrey Osborne's "Baby, Stay with Me Tonight." He talked about necking, and I thought it sounded very adult.

My husband is fond of "keen."

October 13, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterFrema
I like "gee willickers," and when people refer to jail as "the pokey." My absolute favorite is "hogwash."

Motherbummper: I say "dagnabbit" all the time!
October 13, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterLeslie
"That's Bully!"

October 13, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterCJ
Star Shine, in New York we are of the understanding that it was lurking crowds of lagabouts near the Flatiron who came up with the phrase. Apparently the wind there was wont to gust upward suddenly, causing the flashing of ankles when unprepared women walked by in their dresses. The coppers would chase these ruffians off, whereupon the rogues would execute the 23 Skidoo and take off down 23rd St.

Lagabouts, wont, coppers, ruffians, rogues...why not?
October 13, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterbraine
Gals - only suitable female equivilant to guys

Clams - hey pal, you got the 20 clams you owe me?



October 13, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterthe patriarch
My husband constantly rolls his eyes at me when I tell our preschooler he needs to "mind" me better. Apparently it makes me sound old-timey or somesuch nonsense.

I have conniption fits regularly, as well. And when there are "little pitchers" present, I am apt to call something "cockamamie" rather than use the more colorful terms reserved for adult company.. Because I don't think I could handle being the one whose kid teaches the other preschoolers to say 'clusterfuck'.

October 13, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMeL
How about "Criminy!" I say that one a lot.

And in the '90s I loved the term "Tool." "That freshman biology teacher was such a tool," for instance.

October 13, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterel-e-e
I say conniption all the time: "Boys! If you don't stop it RIGHT NOW, Mommy's going to have a conniption!"
October 13, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterAEMom
a few years ago, before my husband was my husband, he insisted that "P'shaw" was a popular saying. Currently. I suppose we could work on making it so...
October 13, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterR
Conniption fits are alive and well around here as well.

My husband and I have adopted "KNIGHTS OF COLUMBUS!" from Anchorman.
October 13, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMom Nancy
I love (and this is neither old nor out of date, but in a dialect that we don't use on this side of the world) when British people say "Isn't it?" after a sentence. Or, "Innt it?" Or "Innit?" Depending in the accent.
October 13, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterRae
My neighbor said "Zowie!" to me when I came into the lobby looking particularly fine the other day.

I vote for druthers. People should have their druthers more often.
October 13, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterWeeze
"Horsefeathers!" Also fun to pronounce "Horth-fezzers"

October 13, 2006 | Unregistered Commentergnightgirl
My husband's from a large old-timers family that have passed down some good ol' ones, (so ancient the sayings that most people don't know what their origin are), like bumbershoots and hoopies / umbrellas and vehicles. I'm also fond of referring to a loss of memory as being due to aluminum buildup: gotta stop cooking with that doggone aluminum cookware.
October 13, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterCharmaine
I don't think I hear "daper" enough.

As in, "Gee, you look daper tonight honey, what with that top hat and cane and all."

or perhaps "gussied"As in," now I'm going to have to go and get all gussied up too"

The one I use the most though that people roll their eyes at?Bees Knee's and Cat's Meow

I could give you an Earful if you'd let me I suppose.

I think I got too attached to "The Great Gatsby" as a teen...
October 13, 2006 | Unregistered Commenteronbeelay
Now that The Dudes is repeating what we say, I have incoprated the following into my daily life:1) Jeepers!2) Jiminy!

It is sort of fun and much better than "f*cking sh*t!"

(Other versions, Jumpin Jiminy, Jeepers Creepers, etc.)
October 13, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterXdm

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