Straight from the Fridge, Dad (2001)

Bapopik at AOL.COM Bapopik at AOL.COM
Sat Nov 10 02:28:45 UTC 2001

by Max Decharne
193 pages, paperback, $12.95
Broadway Books (Random House), NY

   This book was originally published in 2000 in England by No Exit Press.  Maybe Random House bought it on the cheap.  This is a NUN'S TUMMIES kind of deal.  It's harmless, and only offensive if overpraised and taken seriously.  The big story here, as I'll discuss, is Random House itself.
   I went to the book signing.  It was in a cramped bookstore.  Small crowd.  The author went through some old slang.  A giggle or two.  I bought his book.  He signed it.
   I tried to be kind and not say anything.  Did he know who I was?  Does he know who Tom Dalzell is?  Did he ever hear of Peter Tamony?  Does he know that Tamony did all this fifty years ago?  Better?  More thorough?  So what is Decharne doing??
   There is no bibliography.  About half of the terms have short explanations with no citations; half have about one citation, and that citation isn't necessarily the first or even the best.
   Pg. 1 is a good example:

A-1   The best, top of the heap
(A 1953 cite is given, but the term is over 100 years older--ed.)
A-Bomb juice  Moonshine liquor  (No cite--ed.)
A-OK  Fine, all in order, just right (No cite--ed.)

   The author said that the Brits placed his book in the humor section.  I'm not surprised.  Who uses a dictionary like this that reheats very old, moldy terms in an unscholarly way?
   I asked him if he was going to write another slang book, but he wasn't sure.  He said he had "five times" more material than this, but the publisher cut it back.  He said how unusual it was that a Brit was writing a dictionary about mostly American slang.  I asked him why he didn't put British rhyming slang into the book.  "That's been done," he told me.  Oh.  And this hasn't.
   This trifle is published by Random House.
   There's another Random House book, a much greater book, called the RANDOM HOUSE HISTORICAL DICTIONARY OF AMERICAN SLANG.  Volume A-G came out, and volume H-O came out, and then it stopped...
   This is really sad!

(P.S.  Is the entire Random House reference division going, too?)

More information about the Ads-l mailing list