amber & dork

James A. Landau JJJRLandau at AOL.COM
Fri Nov 30 00:16:05 UTC 2001

Yellow is the color in the rainbow and the color of lemons and school buses.
(Although I note a current fashion to paint the tops of school buses white so
that they appear to be snow-covered.)

Amber is a yellow-brown color which is as distinct from lemon- or
school-bus-yellow as, say, orange is from red.

If you want to be technical, or pedantic, then the middle bulb in the traffic
light is amber.  However, for normal conversation this distinction is about
as useful as insisting that people distinguish between purple and violet.
Since no less an authority than the Book of Numbers cannot distinguish purple
from _blue_, I really can't care whether people call the traffic-light color
"yellow" (as I do) or "amber".

List-members might be interested in a related color, known to those who use
it as "bastard amber".  It is a specific color that is used in theatrical
spotlights for emphasizing the color of human skin.  The filter that produces
a color in a spotlight is called a "gel" since it was once made of gelatin.
A spotlight with a bastard amber gel in it is called a "bastard".  Fixing
such a spotlight into position is called "screwing the bastard."

In a message dated 11/29/2
001 1:24:39 PM Eastern Standard Time, slang at BLUEYONDER.CO.UK writes:

> What I asume is its risque meaning stems from the slang use of the word to
>  mean a penis, which seems to have emerged in the 1960s and is cited in
>  American Speech (39:2 p.118) as 'probably Midwestern'. It is paired with
>  _dirk_ and is a. one of those terms in which the penis is equated with some
>  form of stabbing instrument and b. a 'penis term' that is also used to mean
>  a fool. The ety. may also include the influence of another popular slang
>  penis-synonym with a 'd' initial, _dick_.

A thud-and-blunder writer named Robert Adams once wrote a story in which he
used the words "he fought off the enemies with his dirk."  It appeared in
print as "with his dick."  He raised Cain about this and the publisher
promised to correct it.  In the next edition the wording was "he fought off
the enemies with his dork."

As if this weren't enough, it turns out Mr. Adams has, not a double, but a
mirror image.  Adams wrote action-packed adventure stories, i.e. bloody,
warlike, etc.  A man named Adam Roberts edited a book entitled IIRC
"Non-Violent Alterantives to War."

                              - Jim Landau

P.S.  And then there was Roger Zelazny with his Amber cycle...

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