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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
into a Worthwhile
Human Being.

Written by Alice Bradley and Eden Kennedy

Some Books
I'm In...

Sleep Is
For The Weak

Chicago Review Press

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Let's Panic

The site that inspired the book!

At LET'S PANIC ABOUT BABIES, Eden Kennedy and I share our hard-won wisdom and tell you exactly what to think and feel and do, whether you're about to have a baby or already did and don't know what to do with it. → 

« Because Peter O’Toole isn’t mocked enough. | Main | A brief account of the festivities. »

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)

I had a teacher who used call us "whipper-snappers" when we misbehaved. Sounds better than "brats" I guess!
October 13, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterJune
"Take a powder""Go Figure"
October 13, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterCatizhere
I vote for 'criminy'.

And Heidi, I know someone who is a bona fidescofflaw. The judge told him so right before he (the judge) sentenced him (the scofflaw) to four months for driving w/o a license. So the scofflaw, it is not a dead word!
October 13, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda
You are so my favorite person ever.

I used to love using the word "simoleon" instead of "dollar", but who knew the Sims appropriated it ages ago as their currency of choice? They ruin EVERYTHING.

My grandmother used to tell me to pack my "grip" instead of "suitcase", which was hilarious even in 1964.

I'm also a sucker for anything ever uttered by The Honourable Galahad Threepwood in a P.G. Wodehouse novel, but especially this: "It's the maddest, merriest day of all the glad New Year."

October 13, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterCamilla
I found the definition of conniption fit once in an old dictionary. "To be so angry the one's head literally splits apart." FUN!
October 13, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterHeather
One word that I'm keeping alive (and sometimes I feel like I'm the only one under 79 doing so) is "fiddlesticks." It helps to bar use of the other more ubiquitious and more obscene F word. In addition, it has old-timey charm that usually generates a chuckle from my co-workers.
October 13, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterSchroeder
How about bilious? You young whippersnapper.
October 13, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterLinda
OMG, all these words my mother uses! Simoleon? That's a dandy, fiddlesticks, caddywhompus, davenport, gallavanting, gussied up, gals, the list goes on.I say conniption also a lot, and my daughter likes to sass me from time to time.

My grandmother used to have two great things as kids that she and her sisters called each other when they were "mad" at each other:1) OSR: this stood for Old Snot Rag. Evidently saying "snot" was so heinous, you had to give it an acronym!2) OFFATT: Old Fashioned Fool And Tattle Tale. Okay, this is just AWE-some.

But my as of yet not added words would be:a) calling something queer, meaning peculiar, not meaning homosexualb) saying clothing "suits" you rather than "looks good"c) calling a rainstorm a "gullywasher" or saying it's "raining cats and dogs"d) saying "close doesn't count except in horseshoes and hand grenades."e) Miscreant. It means ne'er-do-well. :-)
October 13, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterTrasi
What? People don't use the word "conniption" anymore? Where have I been living? BECAUSE I USE IT REGULARLY.


Not everyone is stuck in the present. Some of us are still stuck in 1980. Or 1990. Close enough.
October 13, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterjes
delurking to add my faves:

I used the word "hornswoggle" at work a few months ago. People were all, "Whaaaa?"

The phrase "pop some corn" sounds so dreamily old-fashioned, as does "hamburger sandwich."

"Goldbrick" is a good one, too.

Thanks for all the word fun!
October 13, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterkaybeedee
I like calling everybody "kid," like in a 1940's war movie. Little Edie calls her septegenarian mom "kid" in Grey Gardens. She says things like, "Listen Kid! I'm very organized!"
October 13, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterbinidoo
"Hanky panky"
October 13, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterfeeling old
My husband is sad that it's no longer "short-pants" weather. And he always says "whilst" instead of 'while'....oh, and "capital!" As in, 'that's a capital idea!' We're not British ;-).
October 13, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterAmy D.
Rapscallion (sp)? it means scoundrel. The little rascals homage made me think of it. And I use conniption on a regualar basis, probably because i've been having them on a regualr basis since I was 2. Cheers! to scoundrels having conniptions everywhere. Doesn't that sound fun and safe.
October 13, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterBethany Suzanne Coffey
My husband the police officer likes to use the words "hobos", "ne'er-do wells" and "hooligans" as much as possible in his work notebook.

My five year old daughter has singlehandedly brought back the return of "take a chill pill" and "chill-ax", although I don't know if 80's phrases can count as old-timey words or not.
October 13, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterKaryn
Not only do I use the word "conniptions" at least once a week, I also end quite a few of my sentences with "see?" I was born in the wrong era.
October 13, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterschmutzie
My grandma used to say, " Awww dry up!" to my brother when he was being especially snotty. My mom used to work out her '70's road rage by calling bad drivers, "Jasper!" And ,sadly, I saw all the "Laverne & Shirley" episodes when they were brand spankin' new.
October 13, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterCeej
When I was growing up, the word coniptions described a fit - a coniption fit, but then it became a hissy fit in the 70s and then I lost track of it.
October 13, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterAntique Mommy
Back in the 70's I knew a few guys who used the term "copacetic" as in mellow, calm, or tranquil. "Things around here are pretty copacetic." I haven't used that word or even thought about it for ages. Brings back memories of dudes in plaid pants & white belts...the "shmoes" there's another one!) that looked like my dad's golf buddies.
October 13, 2006 | Unregistered Commentersharon
"I've got a hitch in my git-along," which I still use because it explains the stiffness better than anything else.

Our kids are often rapscallions and ragamuffins, and we prefer floozy or hussy to the more economical 'ho.

And in honor of my father, we have to say, "Home, James!" whenever we pull into our driveway. I don't even know where that comes from.
October 13, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterLunasea
My BF and I have been trying to bring back "huzzah!" for the last ten years. It seems to be working, because no one looks at me funny anymore when i say it.I also like "dadgummit!" as an expression of annoyance. My studio mate uses the term "fellow" to refer to any small object that can be manipulated in the hand. I just find it so cute when he points to a paintbrush and asks "can you please hand me that round fellow over there?"

My favorite right now, though, is "Oh! My stars!" whenever one of our cheeky friends says something ribald.
October 13, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterfridythirteen
I have a chesterfield that would match your davenport, Amy!
October 13, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterrebecca
Um, what does it say about me that I TALK LIKE THIS ALL THE TIME? And I am only 36 years old?

Fiddlesticks and poppycock.
October 13, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterFishyGirl
And how.

Piece of work.

As in, "That Alice sure is a piece of work." "And how!"
October 13, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterShannon Weiland
My personal favorite is "curtains". As in "It's curtains for you, see?" And one must pronounce it "coytins".

Our household is also fond of "shenanigans" and "hooligans".
October 13, 2006 | Unregistered Commentersveedish

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