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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)

October 13, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterStacie
For the kids, hootenanny, because we all need a hootenanny once in a while. For the grownups, the phrase, "of the first water," which seems more colloquial than "of the first order", and comes in handy when you're trying to dress up some profanity, like, "That woman is a fuckwit of the first water," which I actually said today. I am all about the classy.
October 13, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterErica
I'm starting to understand why nobody in college understood me when I was speaking, as I use 90% of those in day to day conversation. I'm only 25 for pete's sake!
October 13, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterAnne
Don't know if it's just something my granny says, but if a dish is particularly delicious, she says it's "lairpin'".

Also, I like "drat".
October 13, 2006 | Unregistered Commentercheek
One of my favorites has always been "I like the cut of his jib" I was able to use it today while talking to someone from our HR department. Needless to say, they didn't really get it.
October 13, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterunadventurous
Are you pinocchin' me?
October 13, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterKerri
Look at you! 99 comments!You're in the big league now!
October 13, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterwendy
tomato (instead of girl or broad or chick)hoi polloihobknobdandy (as in, "he's quite a dandy")gander (as in, "two bits a gander")

I also wish the pennyfarthing bicycle would return to fashion.
October 13, 2006 | Unregistered CommentermG
My grandma always said 'cattycorner' when giving directions. My husband's family always said 'kittycorner' and of course, he says my family says it wrong.

Also, she always said "oh, it's six-one-half-dozen or the other"

As far as conniptions - daily!
October 13, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterAngie
I've always been partial to swell, peachy, the cat's pajamas (though honestly I've never said that something was the cat's pajamas, I just think it's cool) - all those fifties-type ways to say things are great. I like conniptions, too, we do use that around here. My husband loves to talk about old-timey diseases, like rickets and scurvy and rheumatiz. I'm not sure if those count....
October 13, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMelanie
Cunnin'. Whenever my sister and I would show up in an especially fetching outfit, my granmother would call us "cunnin'". Also applies to any baby or baby clothing.
October 13, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterSusies
I've been trying to teach myself "Gordon Bennett!" as an alternative curse word. I figure I can't get into too much trouble if my daughter uses it in preschool.
October 13, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterJohschmoh
My favorite is Spifflicated.

It means drunk or the same as canned, corked, tanked, primed, scrooched, jazzed, zozzled, plastered, owled, embalmed, lit, potted, ossified or fried to the hat.

I found it on a website that listed the slang of the 20's. It rocks.
October 13, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterLisa
I've been trying to bring back "Adoy" since 1997 ;)
October 13, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterBazza

As in: "Oh my, look at the dinners on that one".

There are distinct memories of my modest mouse grandmother "whispering" this phrase when she saw a woman with abundant bosoms or especially with abundant clevage. Especially in the case of younger women who were flaunting their wears.

Always said in hushed voice of shock and maybe with a twinge of admiration. So classic.

See also: "My dinners are falling out of this top!"
October 13, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterDani
dungarees for jeans...the other day my uncle let me know that my heinie was sticking out of my dungarees (when i bent over to pick up the pnut)

supper-- always eaten at the kitchen table, dinner was served at the dining room table

peas and carrots!! (as a term of exasperation)

horse hockey!! (instead of bullsh*t)

monkey-around (as in, "stop all that monkeying-around in there!)
October 14, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterpnuts mom
What does it say about us that I thought "conniption" was just regular vocab?

Behoove - (must be said imperiously) as in, "It would behoove you to finish your dinner." (My mom used to say this when we were so little that my sister thought it was "it would be hoo of you.")

People always look at me funny when I say "whipstitch" (to mean 'often') like, "She's always coming back in here every whipstitch."

One of my favorites is "machine" instead of "car," as in, "Look at that machine!"
October 14, 2006 | Unregistered Commenter3 to get ready
Pshaw. Because it's cute and I'd love to know how to pronounce it. I mean, it can't really just be p-shaw, right?

My grandma used to say, "Oh, Lordy Day," which I always thought was really sweet.
I heartily second "trollop". Also: harlot and floozy.

Somewhat related: after acting in a very olde-timey production a few years back, I picked up the habit of saying "oh MY!" is a seductive manner. The boyfriend appreciates this.
October 14, 2006 | Unregistered Commenternadarine
Crackerjack!CadBounderSwell (as a noun)Loose WomanYoung PersonFor Pity's Sake

October 14, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterYoki
I use conniption frequently, probably daily. But then, I'm English, and have 3 kids, prone to conniptions, so it's not surprising!
October 14, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterAlison
I am English and love to teach my children quaint phrases.....'perfectly splendid' isn't heard nearly enough.Ghastly instead of gross.Beejeebers.dash it all.lawks a mercy.I also love to reply ' I most certainly do!'and say 'Young man'scoundrel, rotter and cad.I love this post and the replies and I have never heard of a conniption but do believe I shall jolly well have myself one this very evening.

October 14, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterHelen
October 14, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterSheila
using the words "keester" or "rear" instead of butt
October 14, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterbinidoo
If a room was a mess, my dad would always say, "This place looks like the wreck of the Hesperus!"
October 14, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterJennie

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