Amush, shiggies, toke the whiled heir

James A. Landau JJJRLandau at AOL.COM
Fri May 31 13:34:16 UTC 2002

In a message dated Fri, 31 May 2002  4:21:54 AM Eastern Daylight Time, Michael Quinion <editor at WORLDWIDEWORDS.ORG> writes:

>'my mind has been running me amush the past few days.'

Change it slightly to 'my mind's been running me amush the past few days' and it is iambic, which may be significant.  There is an old practice in folk songs (and imitation folk songs) to insert the prefix "a-", generally before a gerund or present participle, to maintain the meter, e.g.
  "A-hunting we will go"
  "The times they are a-changing" (Bob Dylan, early 1960's)
In both case the inserted prefix preserves iambic meter.

I don't know if this be the fossil of some old Anglo-Saxon inflection or simply a song-writers' convention.

Hence "amush" is "a-mush" meaning "mush" meaning, uh, I'm not sure.  My mind's been running off like a dog-sled team on the Itidarod?  My mind's been turning my thoughts to meaningless noise?  or to sentimental drivel?

>"ROTC members prepared for amush training Wednesday at MacGragor Park by
>outfitting themselves in army fatigues and painting their faces".

>"The opener could be a possible amush in Vegas against a dangerous
>UNLV team coming off a big season and bowl win".

In both of the above "amush" is a typo for "ambush".


Those who have nothing better to do are invited to try a Google search on "+shiggies+hash" and report back to this list what Singapore shiggies may be.
As for "toke the wild hair" (or however it's spelt)

I can't help thinking of the Jan and Dean song of the early 1960's "Ride the Wild Surf" (lyrics available on a Spanish-language Web site

I have a vague recollection that "toke" is a term used (or once used) by marijuana smokers (is a maneating pothead a cannabis cannibal?).  Here in Atlantic City "toke" has a meaning that must be totally irrelevant: a tip given to a casino dealer.   Each casino has a formal "Toke Committee" that oversees how the tips get split.

    - James A. Landau (almost totally irrelevant)

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