Some Like It Hot

James A. Landau JJJRLandau at AOL.COM
Tue Jul 31 14:51:36 UTC 2001

In a message dated 7/31/01 8:57:34 AM Eastern Daylight Time, Bapopik at AOL.COM

> SOME LIKE IT HOT--I don't know what Fred Shapiro has for this phrase, but
> predates the movie.  It's a header in a Clementine Paddleford column, NEW
> YORK HERALD TRIBUNE, 23 November 1938, pg. 14, col. 6.

I don't have a Mother Goose collection handy, but I do recall
    Pease porridge hot
    Pease porridge cold
    Pease porridge in the pot, nine days old

    Some like it hot
    Some like it cold
    Some like it in the pot, nine days old

>  THE THING--Another movie title.  "The Nature of 'The Thing'*" (*With
> compliments to Westbrook Pegler) is in the NYHT, 18 November 1938, pg. 21,
> cols. 7-8.  The story is about Nazism.

I don't have dates, but the science fiction thriller "The Thing", apparently
a totally different movie than the one Barry cites, is based on the novella
(or maybe novellette) "Who Goes There?" by the noted science fiction author
and later editor, John W. Campbell Jr.  I believe Campbell wrote "Who Goes
There?" under his pen-name of Don A. Stuart.

>  MOLASSES CHIPS--Not in OED.  I also have "molasses cookies" somewhere.

"Molasses cookies" appear in two different recipes on page 149 of the 1903
Second Edition of _The Way to a Man's Heart: "The Settlement" Cook Book"


As for the various permutations on "I don't know Art, but I know what I
like", Gelett Burgess may have considered it a bromide, but with our
21st-Century sophistication we recognize that it is actually a protest
against Artistic Correctness.

M-W 10th Collegiate gives an 1836 date for "bromide" in the original sense:
"a binary compound of bromine with another element or a radical".  (I think
the OED2 gives the same date but I mislaid my note on the OED2 entry.)  I
have two antedatings, one an 1834 English translation of a paper and the
other from the 1830 edition of a chemistry text originally published not
later than 1828.


A "Twelfth Avenue Cowboy" is a man who rides a horse ahead of a railroad
train to warn people to keep clear of the tracks.  This sounds like an
occupation that has been in serious decline since the Andrew Jackson
administration, but in fact it was practiced in New York City into the
1930's.  There is a freight railroad that meanders down Manhattan more or
less along Twelfth Avenue well into Lower Manhattan.  Officially this was the
"West Side Line" of the New York Central, and is now used by Amtrak to reach
Penn Station from the north.

Part of this line ran in or across city streets, and the New York Central
provided men on horseback, known as "Twelfth Avenue Cowboys", to escort
trains.  Sometime in the 1930's the line was finally grade-separated from
city streets and the Twelfth Avenue cowboys went out of existence.

              - Jim Landau

More information about the Ads-l mailing list