James A. Landau <JJJRLandau@netscape.com>
JJJRLandau at NETSCAPE.COM
Fri Nov 11 16:27:51 UTC 2011
On Thu, 10 Nov 2011 21:32:50 Zone minus 0500
Victor Steinbok <aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM> wrote:
Subject: Jersey Devil(s)
>A somewhat odd verbing in an episode of The Culinary Adventures of Baron
>Ambrosia series on The Cooking Channel.
>"You want to Jersey Devil me? Come with me."
>The chef in question follows a "trapper" character to retrieve a burlap
>bag holding a live Jersey Devil (turns out to be a puppet). The Devil
>apparently is cute enough to avoid being served on a platter.
>On second thought, there is nothing odd about this particular verbing
>(in a string of similar verbings). But there is obviously a multilayered
>play on "Jersey Devil" (the New Jersey hockey team is nowhere in
>sight--the episode takes place in the Bronx).
The Jersey Devil is a beloved legend of New Jersey, particularly around the area known as the "Pine Barrens". There is only one Jersey Devil, but he gets around a lot, even (in a series of sightings in 1909) reaching to Philadelpia and Bristol, Pennsylvania.
I have never encountered any theological significance to "Devil". The creature is considered a cruel mischief-maker, not an evangelist of evil.
The hockey team is named after the legend. So is the 177th Fighter Wing, which among other duties guards the skies over New York City, so yes Jersey Devils do get to the Bronx.
A doctor I know complained about having to make calls in the Pine Barrens area---"I would hate to get stuck there---it's real Jersey Devil country."
When I first saw the report of Obama's swag order, I immediately assumed the story was using the techie's definition of "swag", namely "Scientific Wild-Assed Guess", which generally means a plausible Wild-Assed Guess, as in "I don't know the figures, but I'll take a swag at them."
- Jim Landau
Netscape. Just the Net You Need.
The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
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