aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM
Sat Feb 20 09:34:45 UTC 2010
I've long suspected that "letter bomb" was used for all explosive
devices sent through the mail, but this is getting to the fore with the
Ame Bishop case. That there is a perfectly utilizable term "mail bomb"
that's been around for over 100 does not seem to stop anyone. Worse, we
now have "parcel bomb" as well.
There are two major cases right now that generate "letter bomb" news
hits--one is the 1993 parcel sent to one of Bishop's professors and
another where a Toronto target was injured after opening "a large
envelope". The latter is at least an envelope. But, in the 1993 case,
the package was a box--and some stories reported that had the target
opened the package from the side rather than from the top, the
assassination attempt would have succeeded. With two pipe bombs inside,
that does not sound like a description of an envelope.
Report: Bishop Suspect In Newton Mail Bomb Attempt
Feb 14, 2010 6:18 pm US/Eastern
> Back in 1993 Dr. Paul Rosenberg opened a package containing two pipe
> bombs in his Newton home. Because Rosenberg *cut open the box rather
> than lifting its flaps*, the bombs did not detonate. Nobody was ever
Prof speaks out on '93 bombing
By Laurel J. Sweet and Laura Crimaldi
Friday, February 19, 2010
> A Newton neurologist broke his silence yesterday about his close call
> with *a letter bomb*, as federal authorities scrambled to retrieve the
> archived files of their investigation of Amy Bishop and her husband in
> that unsolved 1993 case.
Amy Bishop reportedly suspected in 1993 Harvard *letter bomb*
February 15, 4:10 PM
> Amy Bishop, the University of Alabama-Huntsville professor accused of
> killing three colleagues, was reportedly a suspect in a 1993 *letter
> bomb* aimed at a Harvard Medical School professor.
Alabama professor Amy Bishop, accused of killing three colleagues,
reportedly eyed for *letter bomb*
BY BILL HUTCHINSON
February 15 2010, 5:16 PM
NY Daily News
> A psycho professor accused of gunning down three colleagues at
> the University of Alabama was reportedly a prime suspect in a 1993
> *letter bomb* mailed to a Harvard Medical School professor.
Three major loose strands in Bishop case
February 18, 2010 at 9:30 am
> 2. Who sent *a letter bomb* to Harvard Medical School professor Paul
> Rosenberg in 1993? Bishop's husband, James Anderson, says he and
> Bishop were questioned and cleared. But there was never an arrest. And
> now Anderson has been caught saying something rather suspicious.
To make matters worse, there is now a series of headlines that refer to
scandalous or sensational letters as "letter bombs".
Ex-CEC's *letter bomb* against Chawla released
8 Feb 2010, 0407 hrs IST, ET Bureau
The Economic Times (India)
> The law ministry has released former chief electioncommissioner (CEC)
> N Gopalaswami's letter to the President seeking ouster of Mr Navin
> Chawla from the body for "lack of political neutrality". Mr Chawla,
> who was election commissioner (EC) when *the letter was written* and
> is now the CEC, had asked Rashtrapati Bhawan not to make the January
> 2009 communication public.
In fact, there need not even be a letter.
Bullz-Eye's TCA 2010 Winter Press Tour Wrap-Up: Simon Signs, Conan
Conquers, and Patrick Stewart Just Plain Rules
01/28/10 08:30 AM
> A few days later, the **** really hit the fan...and, man, you cannot
> /imagine/ the electricity that was coursing through the room when
> Conan dropped *his hell-no-we-won't-go letter bomb*. (I swear, Bill
> Carter of The New York Times was literally /glowing/.)
There is even broader metaphorical usage:
By Robert Duffy
Sunday, Feb. 7, 2010
San Diego Reader
> San Diego punk quartet the Postals has finally signed, sealed, and
> delivered its debut, jamming 17 songs into 26 minutes. On opening, the
> incendiary instrumental "7.62 Madness" *goes off like a letter bomb*
> and sets the tone for the ensuing fallout.
[Why not "goes off like an IED"? Or not "goes off like a Connecticut
Alternatively, it may be a letter, but not an explosive one.
Man admits sending *hoax letter bomb* to St Albans bank
5:30pm 17 February 2010
From St Albans & Harpenden Review
> A wannabe letter bomber has confessed to sending *a hoax noxious
> substance* through the post to a St Albans bank. Jayesh Vekeria, 24,
> admitted sending *a bag of corn starch* to his former line manager,
> Susan Castell, at the Abbey Bank in Grosvenor Road on November 30,
> 2007, intending her to think it was a toxic chemical.
Finally, another use is in dumping "letters" as if "bombing" something.
Crazy Teabagger *Letterbomb* Unleashed on Upper West Side
Jan 27, 2010 05:30 PM
> Someone has *dumped thousands of crazy anti-Obama fliers* all over
> 68th and Broadway on the Upper West Side of New York. They are very,
> very crazy fliers, and there are a lot of them.
The bottom line is that "letter bomb" has come a long way from "an
envelope containing an explosive device designed to detonate when the
envelope is opened by the recipient".
Oh, and if anyone wants to date the phrase, here's something to think
about (RHD 2010 dates it to 1945-50, Wiki traces mail-bombs back to
1764, as well reproducing an article on a bomb send to Mme Tussauds in
1889, but neither used the term)
Time: A Monthly Miscellany of Interesting and Amusing Literature, Vol.
VII. London, July 1882
John Baker Hopkins. By the Waters of Babylon, Chapter XII.
> Mrs. Alstein alluded to a scheme of the revolutionists, to send
> through the post letters containing matter that would explode when the
> envelope was opened. Bruin *boasted of inventing a letter-bomb that
> would not explode until the letter was opened*. If a dozen officials
> lost their sight or were otherwise seriously injusred, there would
> afterwards be very little post-office letter opening.
Interestingly, there are no other legitimate GB and GNA hits until 1947.
The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
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