Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Sat Jul 21 03:19:24 UTC 2007

At 6:39 PM -0400 7/20/07, Wilson Gray wrote:
>In WWII Saint Louis, it was:
>Q. What time is it?
>A. Half pas' the monkey's ass and a quarter to his nuts.
>Even then, this reply was essentially noise, but, WTF? It had "ass"
>and "nuts" in it. What more could a grade-school boy ask for?

Hey, we had that one, mutatis mutandis, a few years post-WWII in NYC,
only it was "Half-past a cow's ass and a quarter to his balls".  (We
weren't too well-informed about the gender of livestock  in
Washington Heights.)

>I should point out that "half pas(t)" occurred only in this locution
>and not in ordinary speech.

That wasn't a problem; we were fine with "half past n" for any hour
n, we just weren't all that knowledgable about bovine anatomy.


>To quote Richard Pryor:
>Q. "What y'all waitin' for?"
>A. "'Leven-thirty. Don't nothin' start happenin' till eleven-thirty."
>Much later.
>Later for the happenings.
>[Once the coolest of the cool ways to say, "Catch you later."]

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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