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Monday, March 31, 2008

Questions, Questions, Questions

posted by on March 31 at 16:15 PM

1. How come in sports we say “DE-fense” and “DE-fensive,” but in every other context we say “de-FENSE” and “de-FENSE-ive”? What is the answer? This has been bothering me for weeks now.

2. Here is a question my friend posed to me the other month: How come sometimes on an old-timey Looney Tunes, all of a sudden a character will show up with a GIANT fur coat and a TINY ukelele? That has to signify something to somebody (Grandma Winnie? Can you read blogs in heaven?), but it means nothing to me. WHAT does big-fur-coat-with-tiny-ukelele MEAN!?

Case in point (minute 4:35):

3. “Dessert”? Really? Oats & Beef?

I thought you Sloggers might know the answers to these questions. Because I know you luuuuv knowing stuff. Thanks in advance!

RSS icon Comments


1. Sports fans are cretins.

2. A college BMOC wooing his sweetheart. Furs and ukuleles were a fad. Why furs and ukuleles? No reason. They were a FAD.

3. Meat eaters are cretins.

Ask me another one. These are fun.

Posted by elenchos | March 31, 2008 4:42 PM

#2: i think this was a pre-war football game cheerleading stereotype - not a cheerleader, but a rah-rah mascot in the stands type. think yale, harvard, princeton. i believe its supposed to be a raccoon coat.

Posted by max solomon | March 31, 2008 4:43 PM

#2 - Raccoon coats were a popular fad amongst college kids in the 1920s, as was ukulele strumming. There was even a song or two written about the fad, as seen here

Posted by Alan J. Stein | March 31, 2008 4:43 PM

Because if it were pronounced "deFENSE," sports fans who think they are being creative couldn't bring a picture of a D and a picture of a fence to hold up during games?

I'm not sure, but now it's going to bother me.

Posted by Jo | March 31, 2008 4:44 PM

2. In the 1920s, ukelele-strumming college students made racoon fur coats a fashion craze on campuses. George Olsen wrote a song in 1928 called "Doin' the Raccoon" based on the craze:

So it was a pop culture reference that 1930s-40s Looney Tunes audiences would get...

Posted by Peter F | March 31, 2008 4:44 PM

1) But do they ACTually say "DE-fensive?" I just asked my co-worker to say it and he said it all "de-FEN-sive" even for football. I dunno...

2)VERY good question! Well it's kind of like how my grandfather used to say "You're so good to me since the baby came!" I mean, what is THAT from?

3)What I'd also like to know is about the Grass Jelly Mousse

Posted by twoshoes | March 31, 2008 4:49 PM

I think Bud Flanagan had something to do with it the Uke, hat, and fur coat.

Posted by Medina | March 31, 2008 4:52 PM

1. 'DE-fence': Something to do with chanting the word at football games in large crowds ? I reckon you have to split the the two syllables to make it heard.

I've never heard anyone say 'DE-fencive', and having moved here from England, pronunciation difference like that really stick in my head. I'm not much of a sports fan, but the chants at 'footy' games tend to be little different to american sporting events from what I remember anyway, mostly insults!

Posted by Sto | March 31, 2008 4:59 PM

@3 and @5 are correct. You can still see it in some old movies as well.

3. Actually, in some places you have Fish for breakfast.

No, seriously.

Posted by Will in Seattle | March 31, 2008 5:03 PM

#1. It's because fans want to be as loud as possible, and it is easier to belt, "DEE" than "fense." Also, most cheers (I think) accent the first syllable to get it started.

Posted by MR. Language Person | March 31, 2008 5:47 PM

#2 - The ukelele player is strumming the Charleston--further evidence that this is 1920's fad.

Posted by Polka Party | March 31, 2008 5:57 PM

Wow, a SLOG post without the ubiquitous meandering pointlessness of a FNARF contribution.

Posted by ecce homo | March 31, 2008 6:13 PM

The ukelele player is strumming the Charleston--further evidence that this is 1920's fad.

Right...the joke being what a square the wolf was, acting out a 1920s college fad in a 1950s jazz lounge...

Posted by Bruce Garrett | March 31, 2008 6:16 PM


And that is not cretinous how?

Posted by elenchos | March 31, 2008 6:19 PM

that is my all-time favorite Warner Bros. piece. The backgrounds are amazing.

Posted by kevin jones | March 31, 2008 6:22 PM

My opinion on #1:

when you're going back and forth talking about DE-fense and OF-fense, if makes sense to emphasize the part of the word that's different, not the part that's the same.

Posted by Asa | March 31, 2008 6:45 PM

#3: The second character from the left is "niu" which means cow. So I guess it's legit!

Posted by J | March 31, 2008 7:44 PM


It is just weird to me that weird raccoon coat/ukelele situation was ALWAYS happening. It was like Looney Tunes' calling card, and it didn't stand the test of time even KIND OF.

Posted by Meagan | March 31, 2008 7:45 PM

The ukelele resurfaced in the late 60's with Tiny Tim. Who can forget his immortal rendition of "Tiptoe Through the Tulips"? I think I would need a frontal lobotomy to get that image out of my mind...

Posted by RainMan | March 31, 2008 8:30 PM

I want a frontal lobotomy.

Posted by Mr. Poe | March 31, 2008 9:29 PM

23 Skidoo!

Posted by Big Al | March 31, 2008 10:23 PM

#1: What #16 said.

Posted by Cate B | March 31, 2008 11:46 PM

3) it's not exactly dessert, but it is beef and oatmeal: )

and in response to #6, grass jelly is a kind of (herbal)jelly that is a bit bitter, so people usu. mix it with syrup or fruits for dessert!
and actually the word 'mousse' is translated wrongly, it should be 'ice', so grass jelly mixed with ice and i guess some coconut can find drinks like that in hong kong!

Posted by ella | April 1, 2008 3:08 AM

Yum, ella, that sounds delicious! Next time I'm in Hong Kong...

Posted by twoshoes | April 1, 2008 8:44 AM

@Everyone: Thanks!

@16: That's my favorite explanation so far.

@23 and 24: I took that pic at the A&B Cafe in the ID (at least I think that's what it's called, but I can't find the address online), where you can also get Hong Kong-style English breakfast, milk tea, and tasty half-tea/half-coffee.

Posted by Lindy | April 1, 2008 10:07 AM

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