Herb; "Caesar Salad scion" Cardini dies; OT: Still Crazy

Bapopik at AOL.COM Bapopik at AOL.COM
Wed Sep 17 01:05:41 UTC 2003


   "What do you do?"  someone just asked me on the subway.  I told him.
   "That must be interesting," he said.  Then he thought a moment and related
some experiences.  "I don't know how you can put up with it."
    I had another day in the room with no air.  I missed meeting the
Merriam-Webster Word Wizard yestereday because I was still doing parking tickets in
the Bronx at 6:30 p.m.
   Paul Simon has recently gotten back togather with Art Garfunkel, and I've
used his music as an anthem, going from "Crazy" to "Still Crazy," from Paul's
"I'll never worry--why should I?" to Patsy's "Worry?  Why should I let myself
worry?"  Going from Paul's "four in the morning" to...five in the morning.
   A few years ago, one parking respondent told me that he couldn't afford to
pay the ticket.  "Is there something else I can do?"
   "No," I said.  "Just try to pay the ticket within seven days."
   "I can't pay the ticket.  Is there some community serviceI could do
   "No," I said again.  "Just pay the ticket."
   "I'll sing your favorite song," he suggested.  I didn't say anything to
that.  Sing my favorite song?
   "I'll sing your favorite song," he said again.
   "No, just pay the ticket!" I said.
   "I'll bark like a dog.  I can bark like a dog!"
   "Pay the ticket!  That's it!  This hearing is over!"
   And then he barked like a dog--in a hearing room of the Bronx Parking
Violations Bureau Help Center.
   "Do I still have to pay the ticket?" he asked.
   He left the room.  Other judges entered the room..  "Did you just have
someone bark like a dog?" they asked me.
   Yeah, yeah.
   After the Help Center staff stopped laughing, one person asked me:
   "What _is_ your favorite song?"


   The RHHDAS has "Herb" (_Stu._ a clumsy or stupid person; GEEK) from 1993,
Univ. Tenn. prof., age 49.  Did that Tennessee professor come from New York
City?  The other cites are NYC, including one "1994 Graffito in N.Y.C. subway
(Coll. J. Sheidlower)."
   Ah, another food etymology--and from the New York City subway, too.
   From THE SUN (NY), 16 September 2003, pg. 16, col. 3, a book review of

_The Herb Grows Up_
   Two days after I turned 12 years old, I had my first day of junior high
(...)(These first "book review" paragraphs discuss the book reviewer at 12
years old--ed.)
   One of Wakim's boys shoved me back hard against the crowd.  "You want
some, herb?" he asked.
   I'd never heard the word before, but as I soon found it was one of those
words that can define existence for a 12-year-old boy while remaining unknown
to the broader world.  In the 1980s it was (and may still be, I don't know)
both noun and verb.  A "herb" was a born victim, nearly always white; to be
"herbed" was to be on the bad end of an intimidation game where you gave up your
new Starter cap, your JanSport bag, the few dollars in your pocket, or even your
bus pass, all on pretext that you somehow had a special and protective
relationship with your assailant.


   From THE SUN (NY), 16 September 2003, pg. 15, col. 1:

_Rosa Maria Cardini, 75, Bottled Cardini's Caesar Dressing_
   SAN DIEGO--Rosa Maria Cardini, who bottled her father's Caesar salad
dressing recipe and created a multimillion-dollar business, died September 3, age
   Caesar Cardini introduced the dressing at Caesar's Hotel, a Tijuana
restaurant popular with Hollywood celebrities such as Clark Gable and Jean Harlow in
the 1920s.  His version omitted the customary anchovies.
(...)--Associated Press.

   During my trip to Croatia, my last trip, way back in what seems the
ancient times of June, my tour guide (the tour company's old pro) told me that he
once had this Cardini-clan woman on his tour.  He then visited the Cardini salad
bowl museum.  He told me that it's a good museum and that she opened it just
for him, but he was most amazed at her enthusiasm over thousands of ordinary
salad bowls.  He wanted to leave after a few minutes, but she would go on with
"...and then so-and-so ate a Caesar salad in this bowl..."


   I e-mailed the writers of both recent "Big Apple" articles.  The CHARLOTTE
OBSERVER guy wrote back (below).  He didn't get the "whore hoax" story from
the New-York Historical Society, did he?
   Yes, he did!
   The current president of the New-York Historical Society is Kenneth
Jackson, the editor of its ENCYCLOPEDIA OF NEW YORK CITY (1995). Nowhere in Gerald
Cohen's "Big Apple" entry did Cohen mention whores.  For good reason.
   Maybe Cohen or George Thompson could speak to the N-YHS about this
   I don't know if I can send the N-YHS a civil letter at this point.
Besides,  I'm too busy with parking tickets.

Subj:   RE: "Big Apple" was wrong
Date:   9/16/2003 9:55:22 AM Eastern Standard Time
From:   <A HREF="mailto:jelder at charlotteobserver.com">jelder at charlotteobserver.com</A>
To: <A HREF="mailto:Bapopik at aol.com">Bapopik at aol.com</A>
Sent from the Internet (Details)

Great research, Barry! I think I might have come across you in my research,
but I was writing on deadline during the blackout, hoping to offer a tribute
to the city at a tough time. I figured at the time that getting in the
jockey angle as the main explanation was sufficient. Yes, I believe the
society did give me the brothel angle.

Thanks for the note, and good luck in your continued word sleuthing.

Jeff Elder
Glad You Asked - Send us a question!
The Charlotte Observer
(704) 358-5032

-----Original Message-----
From: Bapopik at aol.com [mailto:Bapopik at aol.com]
Sent: Monday, September 15, 2003 8:54 PM
To: glad at charlotteobserver.com
Subject: "Big Apple" was wrong

   I solved "the Big Apple" and dedicated "Big Apple Corner" in 1997.  It
should have been in your story.  Simply Google "Barry Popik" (my name) and
"Big Apple."  How could you miss me?
   Just curious, but did the New-York Historical Society give you the
prostitution story?

Barry Popik
New York, NY

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