...Bananas

James A. Landau JJJRLandau at AOL.COM
Tue Nov 13 02:05:56 UTC 2001


In a pair of messages dated 11/12/2001, Bapopik at AOL.COM writes:

> BANANAS--My regular tour guide added that lawyers are also called
"bananas."
> Why?  "Because they┬┤re always crooked."

This is a pun in English, playing on two meanings of "crooked",  namely
"curved" and "criminal".  But does this pun work in Spanish?  My pocket
Spanish-English dictionary gives "chueco" as a New World term meaning:
    - crooked, bent
    - crook-legged, bowlegged, knock-kneed
   -  worn-out, dejected
   - disgusted, annoyed
but adds "comerciar en chueco" means "to trade in stolen goods."

Does your tour guide know the following riddle:
"What vegetable should you ask for if you find yourself in a Latin American
jail?"
"An avocado!"

> PANAMA HATS:  They're from Ecuador.  My tour guide said the naming is from
> the Panama Canal (about 1914), but I know he's years off.  I'll see what
> research I can do.

OED2 gives "Panama straw hat" in 1833 and "Panama hat" in 1856
An 1858 quote reads "...In Central America, where they are made..." showing
that the confusion as well as the hat long antedates the Canal.   I once read
that Panama hats got their name in English because they were exported to the
US from Panama.



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