neat phrases from Kent Desormeaux

Wilson Gray hwgray at GMAIL.COM
Mon May 5 04:21:58 UTC 2008

Those are neat, George! I also find your use of "neat" neat. Are you
likewise a man of mature years? When I was a teenager in the 'Fifties,
"neat" was really neat. Not even "real george" was able to dislodge
"neat" from its position of power. Indeed, I didn't even know that
"real george" was real slang till someone mentioned it here in a post.
An ad for a local DJ went, "The teenagers say that he's 'real george,'
but his name is really [forgotten]." Nobody in Saint Louis, black or
white, considered "real george" to be neat. [Oh! Your name is
"George"! Sorry about that. :-)]


On Sun, May 4, 2008 at 10:47 PM, George Thompson
<george.thompson at> wrote:
> ---------------------- Information from the mail header -----------------------
>  Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>  Poster:       George Thompson <george.thompson at NYU.EDU>
>  Subject:      neat phrases from Kent Desormeaux
>  -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>  Desormeaux is a jockey, in the Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame, and rode the winner of this past Saturday's Kentucky Derby (brought to us, let us not forget, by Yum! Brands).  I believe he is a country boy from Louisiana.  I have the first 2 vols. of DARE, but can't find either.  (You may ask, how can I lose 2 books the size of DARE?  Well, that's easier to do in some apartment than in others, perhaps.  In my apartment, I could lose easily bigger books than DARE.)
>  [Referring to the way that Stewart Elliott rode Smarty Jones when winning the 2004 Kentucky Derby:]
>  "Stewart came down the stretch like a lizard on a log"
>  Daily Racing Form, May 3, 2008, p. 14, col. 1.  I suppose that this means sitting still on the horse's back, as a lizard sits on a log.
>  [Referring to his expectations as to the way he would ride Big Brown in last Saturday's Derby]
>  "For me, it works out perfect because I can catbird someone, whoever leads me into the first turn"
>  New York Times, May 3, 2008, section D, p. 5, col. 1.  I suppose that this means to run behind another horse at a comfortable pace.   It's no doubt connected with Red Barber's familiar remark that some player or some baseball team was "In the catbird seat' -- in a favorable position
>  GAT
>  George A. Thompson
>  Author of A Documentary History of "The African Theatre", Northwestern Univ. Pr., 1998, but nothing much lately.
>  ------------------------------------------------------------
>  The American Dialect Society -

All say, "How hard it is that we have to die"---a strange complaint to
come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
 -Sam'l Clemens

The American Dialect Society -

More information about the Ads-l mailing list