An unlovely sentence from Wikipedia: “Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease causes the brain tissue to degenerate rapidly, and as the disease destroys the brain, the brain develops holes, and the texture changes to resemble that of a kitchen sponge.”
CJD, by the way, killed Joan Weston, aka the Blonde Bomber, aka the Big Blonde Amazon, who skated her way into the Roller Derby Hall of Fame with the San Francisco Bay Area Bombers. I watched both roller derby and wrestling when I was a boy and considered Joanie, as the announcers sometimes called her, a beauty.
Again, from Wikipedia, “Weston was a mentor to many professional Roller Derby skaters that made it on a team. She was said to take rookies under her wing.”
(Not surprisingly, Weston didn’t take not-destined-to-be rookies who didn’t “make it on a team” under her wing).
The word “rookie,” by the way, was coined in the late 19th century, “perhaps as an alternation of recruit, influenced by rook, a gregarious Eurasian crow with black plumage and a bare face, nesting in colonies in treetops.”
Here’s a great stanza from a song from Love’s Labors Lost in which the word rook appears:
When shepherds pipe on oaten straws,
And merry larks are ploughmen’s clocks,
When turtles tread, and rooks, and daws,
And maidens bleach their summer smocks,
The cuckoo then, on every tree,
Mocks married men; for thus sings he,
Cuckoo, cuckoo!” O, word of fear,
Unpleasing to a married ear!
“Cuckoo” displeases a “married ear” because it sounds like “cuckold,” a married man whose wife has, as many a bluesman has put it, “another mule kicking in his stall.” Let Muddy Waters tell you about it.
“When I picked up the receiver,/The party said, “Another mule kicking’ in your stall.”
The following nugget comes from the Wordorigens Discussion Forum:
The allusion to the cuckoo on which the word cuckold is based may not be appreciated by those unfamiliar with the nesting habits of certain varieties of this bird. The female of some Old World cuckoos lays its eggs in the nests of other birds, leaving them to be cared for by the resident nesters. This parasitic tendency has given the female bird a figurative reputation for unfaithfulness as well. Hence in Old French we find the word cucuault, composed of cocu, cuckoo, cuckold, and the pejorative suffix ald and used to designate a husband whose wife has wandered afield like the female cuckoo. An earlier assumed form of the Old French word was borrowed into Middle English by way of Anglo-Norman. Middle English cokewold, the ancestor of Modern English cuckold, is first recorded in a work written around 1250.”
EO Wilson explains that the average human ejaculation contains ~180 million sperm while women possess a scant 400 or so ova. Why then, genetically speaking, would a man stick with one woman when he could be inseminating dozens? Because prehistorically the chances of offspring surviving (and the man’s genes replicating) were significantly higher if the man helped protect his offspring. This state of affairs, Wilson argues, explains the male tendency to jealousy and to violence when he discovers “his woman” has been untrue. Given all that genetic firepower, who wants to raise an unfaithful mate’s child from an interloper?
Got a wife in Chino, babe, and one in Cherokee/
The first one says she’s got my child, but it don’t look like me.
There’s a boat landing near Green Pond, SC, called Cuckold Landing. The sign used to read “Cuckholds (sic) Landing,” but it’s been corrected.
By the way, clicking on google images for “Cuckholds Landing” yields several pornographic images and this intriguing teaser:
Paul Bargetto directed The Magnificent Cuckold in October 2007 at the Connelly Theater in New York City. The Magnificent Cuckold is a penetrating study of …
I swear the ellipses are real!