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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)

Oh yeah! I remembered another goody from my dad. If caught picking your nose, my dad would say, "The lady you're picking pills for died last night."
October 14, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterJennie
Don't know if I even know how to spell my favorite saying...."Heavens to Mergatroid!" Anyone else know that one? Annie Who the heck is Mergatroid, anyway?
October 14, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterAnnie Hall
This is timely because over the last few months (I've only been blogging since August) I've been posting lists of words I like. Today's list includes rigamarole and swell.
October 14, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterRoyn
my mom has always said: 'dinna fash yourself!' when she wanted us to calm down. i love that one, but when i use it i get weird looks.

also, 'don't make me no never mind,' which means (of course) 'i don't care.'

'twould be spiffy if we could all use these lovely words. and yes, we have conniptions here as well, and call them by their proper name. ;)
October 14, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterrachael
Just thought of another "Marge-ism" (my mother being named Marge). Whenever we'd finally leave for someplace after the usual long preparation to get out the door, she'd say with finality, "Well! We're off in a cloud of dust!"
October 14, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMauigirl52
Annie - Heavens to Mergatroid was from the Flintstones - Harvey Korman as Gazoo. I also love to have conniptions, and use the phrase "close only counts..." pretty much all the time. I have been trying to say "Cheese Louise" for the preschoolers here. My sister-in-law used Fudge and Peanut Butter.
October 14, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterKathy
the word 'conniption' lives and thrives.

I use it often.

Although spelling it correctly is sometimes a challenge.
October 14, 2006 | Unregistered Commentershula
Oh, conniption, that's beautiful. And I definitely love the suggestion of "whatnot." However, my personal favorite?

"Pernt near," (no clue about spelling) as in we are only five miles from the fun park, we are pernt near there!
October 15, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterImperfect Mommy
Vo-dee-oh-do: I was immediately reminded of Laverne and Shirley when I read this. And no, it wasn't from Nick at Night reruns.

Jackanapes and cock of the walk: I can't remember the last time I heard 'jackanapes', but I distinctly remember the last time I heard 'cock of the walk'. It was on SNL when Darrell Hammond was doing his Sean Connery tormenting Alex Trebek on Celebrity Jeopardy. "And I'm the cock of the walk!"

Conniptions: We grew up using 'conniptions', with or without 'fit'. I haven't heard it as much lately, but I'm pretty sure my mom and sister still use it.

October 15, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterSumo
Wow! I am so relieved that I am not the only miscreant who enjoys an archaic turn of phrase! I figured it was just my English-teachery fondness for quaint colloquialisms.

I had never heard this one until I met my father-in-law. Now my three-year-old son is perpetuating the family tradition. Whenever we get in the car to go somewhere, my husband and I say,

"And we're off.."

" a herd of turtles!" comes the reply!
October 15, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterValorie
i am passionate about words so i could go on and on and on with suggestions BUT i will restrain myself and offer but one meager suggestion: how's about HIGH FALUTIN' making a comeback as part of the daily parlance???
I TOTALLY use the word conniption. Usually in references to my baby nieces (the little angels...).
October 15, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterCartwheelsAtMidnight
Move to Ireland. All in common use except the v word. Especially conniptions. Where I used to work, people were always having conniptions. Really.
October 15, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterAnne
I'm partial to "the bee's knees" and "the cat's pajamas." I got teased for saying "For pete's sake" all the time while in college. BTW, it was Snagglepuss who popularized "heavens to Murgatroyd."
October 15, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterGen
Caddywompas (wumpas)! Matt, you totally stole my word!!!
October 15, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterRobin in San Jose
Or how 'bout "skullduggery"!
October 15, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterRobin in San Jose
Oooh,I keep thinking of new ones! My mom used to use the expression "fart-in-a-mitt" for someone who is making a pain of themselves. She is the only person I've ever heard use the term "jillpoke" for those frequent occasions when you are running with something long in your hand and it gets hung up on something, thereby bringing you to a rapid hault, usually having impaled yourself on the long object. You know.....jillpoke. "I was running with a javelin when it got stuck in the ground and stabbed my innards." Innards is ANOTHER good one! I said nards, heh!
October 15, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterRobin in San Jose
My dad totally used Fiddlesticks and Bean Soup! all the time. My girlfriend uses Jeepers quite frequently which totally makes me giggle. I say dandy quite a bit. Nifty is a friend of mine as well. I am sorta old school I guess.
October 15, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterJenS
Having just finished "Vile Bodies" by Evelyn Waugh, I was reminded of one I've always liked: "tight." As in, "I've had one too many glasses of champagne, so I'm tight as a house." "Are you tight, darling?"

Waugh's empty-headed characters are also fond of this: "Oh, too much champagne, too sick-making." Or, "Don't cry in front of me, it's too shy-making." Or, "Darling, let's go. This is too bored-making."

Dont't think I like the various "making" expressions, but am a big fan of getting "tight."

I don't know if this one is regional (people where I live now don't know it, but where I grew up it was common) but, I like the word Schmozzle to refer to a mess (either a messy room or a messy situation). "We all tried to go to dinner together but it was such a Schmozzle we didn't bother."

My friend was making fun of me recently for repeatedly using the word "Preen". He accused me of being 80.

I love all the old-timey words I'm gaining from the comments here!

October 16, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterLori
I forgot my favorite one, vex.Go clean your room and don't vex me!
October 16, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMissusB
As long as everyone is posting favorite alternative cuss(I guess that's old-timey, too) words.... Here are a few that I've had to re-introduce into my vocabulary now that I have a 2yo:

Good night, Nurse!God bless America!Christ on crutches!Sweet cracker sandwiches! (I can't claim this one. Got it from
October 16, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterhwilliams
I think it's a Southern thing that these words and phrases seemed to be used all the time when I was growing up in rural East Tennessee (I'm only 26). I still use them quite regularly, and my grad student friends crack up when I do...

Addlepated: frustratedFixin': about to..."I'm a fixin' to make supper."Pole-cat: a skunk!Discombobulated: all confused, turned around

Or some of my favorite expressions:"Like a duck on a June bug.""Like white on rice.""Poorer than Job's turkey."

October 16, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterNicole
Calling women's underwear "step-ins". I'd never heard that until about a year ago, but now I love it! This was around the same time I heard the phrase "that dog won't hunt." Love those! People should use those a lot more!
October 16, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterscribblesnbits
Is it non-PC to used the term retarded? In the 70s we used it all the time to describe something or someone we thought was stupid. For example, "that homework assignment is retarded!"
October 16, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterSusan

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