30 December 2009

5 Reasons Against Votes for Men

. . . I post below a short piece of satire written by Alice Duer Miller (1874-1942) during the woman suffrage movement. One of the principle arguments against allowing women to vote was that the "woman’s sphere" was and should be domestic: that women were "created" to be lovely things, helpful to men, to guide humanity to higher morals, and so on, all of which would be "lost" if they were to get mixed up in the "dirty" world of politics. Miller wrote this in 1915, five years before American women earned the right to vote. Repeat, this is satire.

Why We Oppose Votes For Men

1. Because a man's place is in the army.

2. Because no really manly man wants to settle any question otherwise than by fighting about it.

3. Because if men should adopt peaceable methods, women will no longer look up to them.

4. Because men will lose their charm if they step out of their natural sphere and interest themselves in other matters than feats of arms, uniforms and drums.

5. Because men are too emotional to vote. Their conduct at baseball games and political conventions show this, while their innate tendency to appeal to force renders them particularly unfit for the task of government.

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27 December 2009

20 New Quotes about Books (and other topics) from Used Bookdealers

. . . Collected here and there over the past few years.

A curse for underhanded bookdealers:
1. "Let them have a copious variety of urgent, but fraudulent, book orders and increasingly tempting Nigerian schemes richly laden with ornate subordinate clauses, Victorian circumlocutions of cloying sweetness, and semi-plausible misspellings. Furthermore, let their own spellchecker be seeded with random malapropisms." David Anderson

2. "People who haggle over a five dollar book were never going to buy anything anyway." Brian Cassidy, 2008

3. "Creamsicle. My only reason for living as a child. Well, that and the library." Michelle Palmer, 2003

4. "All the scrapbook stores seem to have dogs, and all the bookstores seem to have cats." bookdealer and scrapbooker Marilyn Brownjohn

5. "I am a firm believer that a computer needs a Microsoft operating system the way a dog needs bricks tied to its head." Ian J. Kahn

6. "I don't know why they call it Victoria's secret. Everybody already knows about all that stuff." Victoria, 8-year old granddaughter of bookdealer Jim Hart

7. "Sometimes being born without the shopping gene means I feel like a foreigner in my own economy." Charmaine Taylor, 2003

8. "My acquaintances who are very rich insist that the less advantaged dealers exist to be exploited. The only people who truly count, whose needs and desires should be considered, are the members of the investor class. They all chuckle when I point out they are scum." unnamed bookdealer quoted by Renee Magriel Roberts

9. "I believe most booksellers are, by nature, hoarders." Rock Toews

10. "Incipient fascism is still thought to be curable. When presented with a sufferer of the common bureaucratic malady called cranio-rectal inversion, immediate prophylaxis is indicated." Andris Danielsons

11. "The difference between liberals and right-wing nuts is that right-wing nuts believe that *They* are better than *We and You*, whereas liberals believe that *We and You and They* should be treated equally under the law." Jessie Munro

12. "Specializing in Non-Moveable Type books. Some haven't moved in 17 years." Joe Oprisch

13. "The only effective protection from lies is the developement of critical thinking. Keeping kids in a kind of intellectual padded cell, fed only what their parents believe is true, is a guarantee that they will grow up gullible." Marc de Piolenc, in reply to a news story on parents stealing books from school libraries 'to protect them from lies'

14. "I'm not anti-religion -- I'm anti people who claim religion and practice cruelty." Shirley Bryant

15. "[Vice President Dick] Cheney is a white cat and an eye patch away from being a Bond Villain." Joyce Godsey, 2008

16. "Pricing [antiquarian and collectible books] is an acquired skill, an art, as long-time antiquarian specialists can attest. The presence or lack of a single mark on a single page can triple the price. No algorithm will ever take that into account." -- anonymous, quoted by Chris Hartmann, 2003

17. "Some of those books are too old to have first editions." comment by customer to bookdealer Doreen Steinbeck

18. "People with white carpeting never have good books. I think it's because they care more about appearances than brains." Jessie Munro, only half sarcastically, on how to judge the book potential at an estate sale by the decor in the front room, 2007

19. "These days if I find a mistake that could have been corrected by an editor, I fling the book across the room with great force. Who am I kidding? I stopped reading modern books when I ran out of spackle back in '02." Joyce Godsey, 2008

20. "Learn something new every day, if I'm not careful." Christopher Crockett

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24 December 2009

24 Interfaith Season's Greetings, 2009 Edition

1. To my Christian friends, Merry Christmas!

2. To my Catholic friends, Happy St. Stephen's Day!

3. To my Jewish friends, Happy Chanukah!

4. To my Muslim friends, Eid Mubarak!

5. To my African American friends, Good Kwanzaa!

6. To my Zoroastrian friends, Happy Mithra's Birthday!

7. To my Pagan friends, Blessed Solstice!

8. To my Malaysian friends, Selamat Hari Raya!

9. To my Hindu friends, a belated Shubh Diwali!

10. To my friends in the British Commonwealth: Happy Boxing Day early!

11. To my Universalist Unitarian friends, Happy Thomas Starr King's Birthday!

12. To my interfaith friends, Happy Whichever!

13. To my chorister friends: Throw the Yule Log on Uncle John!

14. To my scientist friends: Enjoy the Perihelion!

15. To my websurfing friends, eGreetings!

16. To my folklore-loving friends: Merry Generic Winter Festival!

17. To my friends in retail: Happy Non-Specific Holiday!

To everyone I haven't mentioned yet, 18. Happy Saturnalia! 19. Happy Brumalia! 20. Oneg Shabbat! 21. Yuletide Greetings! 22. Merry Festivus! 23. Season's Greetings!

24. To my Atheist friends, damn it's cold outside!

And a Kickass New Year to all.

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21 December 2009

9 Stupid Customer Stories

. . . Sent in by your cheerful, anonymous used-book dealers from around the world.


1. Customer ordered via Amazon. Spelled his own last name two different ways. Gave the wrong city in his address. Gave the wrong phone number. Title of book ordered: The Story of Stupidity.

2. I was in a friend's bookshop one day when a customer came in and asked for a specific title, which was available, brand new, for £3 or some such. The customer exuded great delight and said he had been looking for that book for years, but that he would buy it next time round.

3. From the chief of sales at a music publishing company: "I had a customer once who wanted some flute parts, but wasn't sure to what. So she suggested that I read off our entire catalog one at a time for her to then decide if she wanted that title or not. I was flabbergasted and responded that we had over 10,000 titles."

4. Customer wrote to say, "So far I have not received the book. I guess it is still within 14 day window. But it ranks as one of the slower shipments from an Amazon bookseller. I bought a book last Thursday night that was shipped on Friday. I got the book on Tuesday from Florida." Oh, by the way, the book he ordered was Shut Up, Stop Whining, and Get a Life. I hope it helps.

5. Customer ordered a book, received it, returned it and said it was "the wrong book." This customer had all the following initials after his name, which he put on his order form: M.S., Ph.D., M.P.H., M.A., M.S.B.S. The book he ordered by mistake: Scientific Blunders: A Brief History of How Wrong Scientists Can Sometimes Be.

6. Customer in India, ordered the book to be sent from the US by Economy Rate Shipping (via the slow boat, known to take from 1 to 3 months or longer). After seven days, he emailed anxiously: "I ordered my book on 9/7. When is my book due to arrive?????????" Title ordered: Behavior Modification: What It Is and How to Do It. Think he needs that book?

7. Dealer joked: "We are thinking about putting in a link to Literacy Volunteers for those people who seem to be unable to read our data entries. The latest example is 'a 1/2" x 2" light brown stain on the front free endpaper.' The question is, 'How large is the stain?'"

8. I had a field guide to butterflies returned because the customer complained the pictures were too small. Only problem, all the butterflies were pictured life-size.

9. Customer on Amazon, left 2 out of 5 feedback for the dealer, saying, "My order was for a hard cover I received a soft cover." The dealer replied: "You may still return an item for any reason to [address deleted]. This buyer did neither, and wants both the book and the refund. It is somewhat entertaining, as the book's subject is 'forgiveness.'"


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18 December 2009

23 Handy Substitutes for Old Used Book Terms that are Not Correctly Handled by Modern Search Engines and Might Not be Understood by the General Public Either

. . . Since the used book business went out onto the internet, some dealers have discarded some treasured old bits of jargon due to their embarrassing sound, their potentially misunderstood meaning, or their tendency to get flagged by search engines for the wrong reasons. Here's a small collection. (Please note: In places where a color would generally be indicated I have used blue as an example.)

Old Term > New Term

1. appendices > appendixes

2. bastard title > half title
Some books have both a bastard title and a half title, but the term bastard title is often avoided, for obvious reasons.

3. cocked > slanted or askew

4. cutline > caption
The old term cutline literally means caption, but since it could be taken to mean the book has been cut up, it is often avoided.

5. first or 1st

Any use of the word "first," in any context, will be flagged as a "first edition" and will be returned in a search for a first edition. Thus, where the dealer needs to use the word "first," a number of workarounds have been invented. Examples:

index of first lines > index of f*rst lines

first volume in series > volume one in series

author's first book > author's inaugural book

facsimile reprint of first edition > facsimile reprint of original edition

textbook for first-year chemistry students > textbook for freshman chemistry students

The word "first" should never be used in the description of any used book unless the copy in hand is a true first edition.

6. foxed > spotted or discolored
The term "foxed" or "foxing" is still in wide use but may not always be understood.

7. half bound > cloth over spine, blue boards
"Half bound" will be understood by serious book collectors but the general public will be completely in the dark.

8. indices > indexes

9. inscription > gift note or penned note
Any use of the word "inscription" or "inscribed," in any context, will be flagged as a "signed book" and will be returned in a search for a signed edition. Therefore the word should never be used in the online description of any used book unless it is in fact signed by the author or by a notable person.

10. paste-on > label or overlay
Having a paste-on generally indicates quality workmanship, but you don't want the buyer thinking the book has been abused by a six-year-old with too much time on their hands.

11. quarter bound > leather over spine, blue boards
"Quarter bound" will be understood by serious book collectors but the general public will be completely in the dark.

12. rag paper > cotton paper
Rag paper was common in the 1700s and 1800s but was pushed out of the market by high-acid wood-pulp paper. Rag paper is much more durable than paper made of wood pulp, does not normally turn brown like wood-pulp paper, and does not become brittle over time. However, the term rag paper can potentially evoke an image of a book printed on dirty rags.

13. recto > front
No comment.

14. saddle stitch > fold-and-staple binding or stapleback binding
This term could easily be misunderstood as some kind of fancy binding when in fact it is one of the cheapest.

15. stabbed or side stitched > side stapled
Saying a book has been stabbed or stitched when in fact it has been stapled (bound with staples near the folded edge) will be misunderstood by a large portion of the general public.

16. suede > brushed leather
Let's face it, "brushed leather" just sounds a whole lot fancier than "suede."

17. three-quarter bound or 3/4 bound > leather spine and tips
Refers to a binding in which the spine is covered in leather, and there is also leather over the corners of the boards, usually placed diagonally, and also that the central parts of the boards are covered in cloth or paper.

18. thumb index > thumb notch

19. topstain, as in:
blue topstain > top edge blue
Some books have colored top edges, with the most common colors being black, blue, or red. The correct term is topstain, but this word can be mistaken as a description of an accidental stain.

20. unfoliated or unpaginated > unnumbered pages
Seriously, who but a bookdealer knows that foliation refers to page numbers?

21. verso > back

22. vicesimo-quarto or 24mo > [size given in centimeters]
There are a number of wacky old terms for book sizes, although, technically, these terms do not refer to sizes but to the number of times the original paper stock was folded during the process of printing and manufacturing the book. In any case, the modern method of indicating size is simply to give the height of the book in centimeters, rounded up. Click here for a detailed list of these old size terms.

23. wraps, wrappers, paperwraps or stiffwraps > paperback or softcover
Few today understand the old term "wraps" and its variants.

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17 December 2009

28 Universalist Members of Congress

. . . I often hear that Universalists were never historically significant compared to Unitarians. This is an irritating myth that needs to be thoroughly quashed.

Today I am posting a list of 28 Universalists who happened to have served in the US Congress as either senators or congressmen. (6 senators, 24 congressers, including 2 who are on both lists, total 28.)

This page lists senators first, followed by members of the house of representatives. Each list is in chronological order based on the date the individual was elected to congress. (Two of these gentlemen served in both the house and senate and are therefore on both lists.)

For each individual I have also mentioned a few of their other major accomplishments.


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Universalist Senators

Timothy Pickering (17 Jul 1745–29 Jan 1829) (also known as Thomas Pickering), patriot in American Revolution; officer in the Massachusetts militia 1766–75; judge of the Massachusetts general court 1774–77; appointed by George Washington army adjutant general 1777–91; US postmaster general 1791–95, US secretary of war 1795, US secretary of state 1795–1800; US senator 1803–11 and congressman for Massachusetts 1812–17; SS Timothy Pickering named in his honor 1942 (sank 1945)

John Milton Niles (20 Aug 1787–30 May 1856), abolitionist; founding owner-editor Hartford Weekly Times c.1817–1847; wrote Life of Oliver Hazard Perry 1820, History of South America and Mexico 1838 (2 volumes) and other books; member of Connecticut legislature 1826–28; postmaster of Hartford 1829–36; US senator for Connecticut 1835–39, 1844–49; US postmaster general 1840–41

Joseph Cilley (14 Jan 1791–16 Sep 1887), brevet captain in the 21st New Hampshire Infantry in the War of 1812; US senator for New Hampshire 1846–47

William Drew Washburn, Sr. (14 Jan 1831–29 Jul 1912), as owner of lumber, railroad, mining and milling enterprises credited with putting Minneapolis on the map; surveyor general of Minnesota 1861–65 (federal position); congressman for Minnesota 1879–85; trustee of Tufts College 1883–95; US senator 1889–95; one of the seven Washburn brothers

Obadiah Gardner (13 Sep 1852–24 Jul 1938), master of the Maine State Grange 1897–1907; US Senator for Maine 1911–13; member of the Joint Commission for Settlement of Questions Arising on Boundary Waters between US and Canada

Marcus Allen Coolidge (6 Oct 1865–23 Jan 1947), mayor of Fitchburg, Massachusetts, 1916; appointed by Calvin Coolidge (a distant cousin) special envoy to Poland for the Peace Commission 1919; US senator for Massachusetts 1931–37

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Universalist Members of US House of Representatives (including one member of the Continental Congress)

James Mitchell Varnum (17 Dec 1748–9 Jan 1789), Colonel to Brigadier General in the American Revolution 1774–79; instrumental in allowing African Americans to enlist (they formed the First Rhode Island Infantry); Major General in the Rhode Island militia 1779–80; member of the Continental Congress 1780–82, 1786–87; as supreme court justice in the Northwest Territory 1787–89 opened the first court in present-day Ohio

Timothy Pickering (17 Jul 1745–29 Jan 1829) (see above)

John Galbraith (2 Aug 1794–15 Jun 1860) (also spelled Galbreath), founding editor-publisher Palladium and Republican Star 1818–20 (first newspaper in Butler County, Pennsylvania); member of the Pennsylvania legislature 1829–32; congressman for Pennsylvania 1833–37, 1839–41; district judge in Pennsylvania 1851–60; at the Universalist General Convention of 1859 he made a motion to allow women to be ordained (it did not pass)

Rev. Charles Hudson (14 Nov 1795–4 May 1881), soldier in the War of 1812; member of the Massachusetts legislature 1828–39; member of the governor's council 1838–41; Massachusetts state board of education 1837–45; congressman for Massachusetts 1841–49

Horace Greeley (3 Feb 1811–29 Nov 1872), newspaper publisher; supporter of women's equality, abolition of slavery and other progressive causes; founding owner-editor New-Yorker 1834–72 (became NY Weekly Tribune 1840); congressman for New York 1848–49

Israel Washburn, Jr. (6 Jun 1813–12 May 1883), congressman for Maine 1851–61; instrumental in founding the Republican Party and credited with choosing the party name 1854 (formed at a meeting in Jackson, Michigan, the Republican party was, in the beginning, a left-wing, anti-slavery party); trustee of Tufts College 1852–83; trustee of the Universalist Publishing House 1860–63; Governor of Maine 1861–63; one of the seven Washburn brothers

Elihu Benjamin Washburne (23 Sep 1816–23 Oct 1887), known as 'Father of the House' during his time as a congressman for Illinois 1852–69; US secretary of state under Ulysses S. Grant 1869 (2 weeks); Ambassador to France 1869–77; one of the seven Washburn brothers but always spelled his name in an E

Cadwallader C. Washburn (22 Apr 1818–15 May 1882), congressman for Wisconsin 1855–61, 1867–71; Major General in the Civil War; founding president of Gold Medal Flour 1866 (Minneapolis, now part of General Mills); adopted a new process that revolutionized the flour industry 1878; Governor of Wisconsin 1872–74; the town of Washburn, Wisconsin, was named in his honor 1883; one of the seven Washburn brothers

Portus Baxter (4 Dec 1806–4 Mar 1868), congressman for Vermont 1861–67; as a Civil War nurse at Battle of Fredericksburg 1864 became known as 'the Soldier's Friend'; Marine Hospital at Burlington, Vermont, renamed Baxter General Hospital in his honor 1864

Sidney Perham (27 Mar 1819–10 Apr 1907), member of the Maine legislature 1854–55; congressman for Maine 1863–69; board president of the Westbrook Seminary 1865–80; Governor of Maine 1871–74; founder and president of the Aine Industrial School for Girls, Hallowell, Maine, 1872–99 (27 years); trustee for 27 years and president 1866, 1870, 1875, of the Universalist Church of America

Hosea Washington Parker (30 May 1833–21 Aug 1922), member of the New Hampshire legislature 1859–60; congressman for New Hampshire 1871–75; trustee of Tufts College 1883–1913; president of the Universalist Church of America 1887–91

Samuel Freeman Hersey (12 Apr 1812–3 Feb 1875), philanthropist; member of the Maine legislature 1842, 1857, 1865, 1867, 1869; congressman for Maine 1873–75

Latimer Whipple Ballou I (1 Mar 1812–9 May 1900), co-founder of the Cambridge Press 1835–42; president of Woonsocket Hospital; congressman for Rhode Island 1875–81

William Smith King (16 Dec 1828–24 Feb 1900), newspaper editor; postmaster of the US House of Representatives 1861–65, 1867–73; congressman for Minnesota 1875–77

Horatio Bisbee, Jr. (1 May 1839–27 Mar 1916), enlisted as Private in Civil War, promoted to Colonel of the 9th Maine Infantry 1861–63; US Attorney for the Northern District of Florida 1869–73; congressman for Florida 1877–79, 1882–85

William Drew Washburn, Sr. (14 Jan 1831–29 Jul 1912) (see above)

Henry Lee Morey (8 Apr 1841–29 Dec 1902), enlisted as Private in Civil War, promoted to Captain; prosecuting attorney of Butler County, Ohio, 1873–81; congressman for Ohio 1881–84, 1889–91

Rev. Luther Franklin McKinney (25 Apr 1841–30 Jul 1922), Cavalry Sergeant in Civil War 1861–63; congressman for New Hampshire 1887–89, 1891–93; Ambassador to Colombia 1893–96; member of the Maine legislature 1907; master of the New Hampshire State International Order of Odd Fellows

Willfred Weymouth Lufkin (10 Mar 1879–28 Mar 1934), congressman for Massachusetts 1917–21

Allen Francis Moore (30 Sep 1869–15 Aug 1945), mayor of Monticello, Illinois, 1901–03; congressman for Illinois 1921–25

Frank Herbert Foss (20 Sep 1865–15 Feb 1947) (no relation), city council 1906–12 and mayor of Fitchburg, Massachusetts, 1917–20; congressman for Massachusetts 1925–35

Henry Leland Bowles (6 Jan 1866–17 May 1932), member of the governor's council of Massachusetts 1913, 1918, 1919; congressman for Massachusetts 1925–29

Jesse Paine Wolcott (3 Mar 1893–28 Jan 1969), Infantry Second Lieutenant in World War One 1917–19; prosecuting attorney in St Clair County, Michigan, 1927–30; congressman for Michigan 1931–57

Simon Moulton Hamlin (10 Aug 1866–27 Jul 1939), mayor of South Portland, Maine, 1933–34; congressman for Maine 1935–37

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13 December 2009

Top Ten Reasons U/Us aren't identified as U/Us by historians, when Quakers are almost always identified as Quakers.

. . . (With apologies to David Letterman because this is his shtick.)

10. General cultural prejudice against U/Us.

9. The term "Universalist" carries almost no recognition.

8. The term "Unitarian" started out as an insult, and probably still is to some.

7. Some of our churches bear nondenominational names. (Examples: King's Chapel, All Souls, First Parish, Church of Our Father.)

6. Some of our churches carry the names of other denominations. (Examples: Unity, Congregational, Non-Subscribing Presbyterian, Polish Brethren.)

5. Our well-known forebears are confused with Congregationalists, Puritans, or some other religious movement.

4. Our well-known forebears are identified with nonreligious movements. (Examples: Priestley is often labeled a scientist, not a Unitarian minister; Emerson is often labeled a Transcendentalist.)

3. Biographers may lack specialized knowledge of religious history and may therefore avoid mentioning the subject's religious affiliation.

2. Being Universalist or Unitarian is simply not considered relevant. (One prominent biographer, David McCullough, whose massive best-selling biography John Adams makes no mention of Adams' Unitarianism, stated that being a Mennonite or Quaker is "historically significant" but being a Unitarian isn't.)

And, the number one reason historians often identify Quakers by their religion but seldom identify U/Us:

1. The Quakers have a line of breakfast cereal and we don't.

08 December 2009

4 Proofs I Have Asperger Syndrome

. . . Asperger's is a mild form of autism which generally impairs the social skills without affecting the language or verbal skills of the individual. I went all the way from kindergarten through 12th grade and some college without being officially diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome. Yes, it was hell, but probably better that being institutionalized.

Having been in the following conversations — 1) 'I have Asperger's.' 'What is that?' or 2) 'I have Asperger's.' 'No you don't.' — about a zillion times, I feel compelled to post a short list of 4 Proofs I Have Asperger Syndrome.


1. A psychology major who prefers to remain anonymous. Explained to me that I displayed strong characteristics of Asperger Syndrome. This was about 1995, when I was 31.

I did not run out and get myself tested due to expense and so what if I have it anyway? I was long out of school and just about everything one reads about Asperger's or Autism is geared toward parents coping with a child who has it. Where is the information for the 30-year-old who has it?

2. A professional who has worked with disabled people, has disabled relatives, and is familiar with all manner of developmental disabilities. About the year 2000.

My brother's fiancee. Founder and executive director of a large company that provides services to blind, deaf, and developmentally disabled individuals so they can live on their own rather than in a group home or institution. She has 300 employees and 200 clients (or is it 200 employees and 300 clients, I can never remember).

The first time I met my brother's fiancee we talked for perhaps 10 or 15 minutes. So, you can tell what's wrong with me, can't you? I asked her. She did not hesitate for a moment: Asperger Syndrome.

3. The holder of a master's degree in social work. Director of religious education at the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Detroit. August 2007.

The first time she and I had a conversation of more than a few words I asked her if she thought I might have some kind of developmental disability and she said of course I have Asperger's, it's obvious.

4. A test given by a Ph.D. psychologist, March 2009.

In February 2009, a gentleman at my church, who goes regularly to a Ph.D. psychologist for his ADHD, asked me if I would be willing to take an Asperger questionnaire, and I said sure. A week or two later he brought me a 3-page questionnaire with exactly 50 questions.

I noticed a problem right away: since the quiz was all yes-or-no questions, for many of them, for me, the answer will be sometimes yes, sometimes no. He said, for questions like that, I may circle both. An ingenious solution. I agreed, finished the questionnaire and gave it back to him.

About two weeks later he reported to me that my test had been scored by his psychologist, and that my score was 44 out of a possible 50, and that a score of 32 or more is a positive for Asperger Syndrome.

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04 December 2009

55 Unusual Names of Ancient and Medieval Hand Weapons

. . . Seriously, I'm not into weapons, but I am fascinated by their interesting and often beautiful names. Here's a smattering from my collection (of words, not weapons).


1. adze or adz. form of ax with blade mounted perpendicular to haft, like a hoe; technically a carpenter's tool.

2. baculus. heavy club with knotted hardwood business end.

3. ballista. giant crossbow, usually mounted on a cart or sledge.

4. bec-de-corbin. a form of war hammer having a pick-like head and a spear-like tip projecting straight up from the end of the shaft.

5. biliong. Malaysian ax with large handle.

6. bisacuta. double pointed pick.

7. bouzdykan. Polish mace made entirely of metal.

8. bulawa. Russian mace made entirely of metal.

9. chemeti. fighting whip of Java.

10. claymore. giant two-handed Scottish sword.

11. cumber-jung. flail used in India, having a wooden handle and two short chains each ending in a heavy metal ring.

12. dabus. wooden mace studded with nails, used in Arabia.

13. dolabra. Roman Legionnaire's battle ax.

14. falcata ("fall-KAH-tah"). Celtic sword, circa 100 CE, with a short, inward-curving blade.

15. fauchard. polearm with a long, narrow, curved blade, sharpened on one side only, having a curved parrying spike on the back of the blade.

16. flagellum. Roman three-pronged whip.

17. flamberge. giant two-handed German sword.

18. francisca. heavy throwing ax with metal blade and wooden handle, used by Franks of 6th to 8th centuries.

19. ganjing. iron club of Java, Indonesia.

20. gargaz. six- to ten-bladed mace of India.

21. glaive. polearm with a rear-projecting knob or spike.

22. goupillon. European three-pronged steel flail used by mounted warriors.

23. hoeroa. whalebone club used by the Maori of New Zealand.

24. hurlbat. European throwing axe made entirely of metal.

25. hunga-munga. African curved-bladed throwing knife with projecting points or hooks on either side of the handle, such that it will pierce its victim no matter which way it impacts.

26. i-wata-jinga. stone-headed club used by North American Plains Indians.

27. jo. Japanese wooden staff. The English name is a quarterstaff.

28. kadjo. Australian stone-headed club.

29. kalus. Malaysian fighting whip.

30. kamcha. Turkish whip having a wooden handle and a leather or cord business end.

31. katana. classic Samurai sword with a long, slightly curved blade that does not taper.

32. kujerong. heavy wooden Australian club with a rounded end.

33. kukri. national sword of the Gurkha warriors of Nepal, having a small, curved blade. The sword itself is often called a Gurkha.

34. mabobo. Australian club with rounded head and square handle.

35. mace. general term for any metal club designed for crushing armor; some maces also have knobs, spikes or blades.

36. mugdar. club used by Sepoy warriors of India, wooden with lead weights.

37. novacula. ancient sickle-like weapon of Cyprus.

38. nunchaku. Japanese type of flail consisting of two short sticks or rods joined by a short chain or rope. English term is nunchucks.

39. partizan. a polearm with a single broad blade surrounded by shorter points.

40. pike. long-handled thrusting weapon with short blade, used by foot soldiers against charging cavalry.

41. plombee ("plom-BAY"). European lead-weighted mace with a wooden handle.

42. polearm ("POLE-arm"). general term for any weapon mounted on a pole.

43. qama ("KAH-mah"). national weapon of Soviet Georgia, being a dagger with a straight, double-edged blade.

44. quadrelle. small metal mace with four flanges or blades.

45. rante. Malasian chain whip used to entangle an opponent's arms or legs; some have metal star-shaped weights on the ends of the chain.

46. sai ("SY"). Japanese parrying baton with two side hooks. Often the warrior holds one in each hand.

47. scimitar ("SIM-it-ar"). sword with long, sweeping, slightly curved blade, 1500s, used for slashing rather than thrusting.

48. scramasax. short-bladed sword used by Saxons, Franks, Vikings and Gauls.

49. shuriken. Japanese throwing star: a small, flat metal disc with points protruding around the entire edge.

50. skain. ancient Irish dagger.

51. spontoon. small pike.

52. trebuchet ("TREB-yoo-shay"). giant hurling mechanism, usually mounted on a wheeled platform or sledge.

53. verutum. light Roman infantry javelin with a back-pointing barb on each side of the blade.

54. voulge or vouge. European polearm having a broad axe-like blade used for slashing and a projecting spike used for thrusting.

55. war witch. thin-bladed battle axe on a four-foot pole, originated in Denmark.

(Some of these terms were found in Palladium Books Presents the Compendium of Weapons, Armour and Castles, for Use with all Role Playing Games, by Matthew Balent. Detroit, Mich: Palladium Books, 1981, 1989)

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30 November 2009

30 Terms for Packing Peanuts

. . . Ghost poop is the term I grew up on. Here's a whole bunch more.

1. anti-static packing peanuts

2. biodegradable peanuts

3. bio-peanuts

4. cellulose packing peanuts

5. cornstarch peanuts, cornstarch packing peanuts (made of biodegradable material, safe for pets to eat)

6. eco-fill

7. elephant poo

8. fill, filler

9. foam cushioning

10. foam peanuts

11. ghost poop, ghost poo

12. ghost turds

13. loose fill, loosefill

14. nerdlies, styrofoam nerdlies

15. packing peanuts, packaging peanuts

16. peanuts

17. penauts (sic)

18. plastic loosefill

19. polystyrene-based packing peanuts

20. polystyrene filler

21. popcorn, polystyrene popcorn

22. Puffy Stuff (brand name)

23. shipping peanuts

24. starch-based peanuts, starch-based foam peanuts

25. starch packing peanuts

26. styro snow (term for broken bits that fly around the room)

27. styro-demons (so named due to their propensity of sticking to everything)

28. styrofoam filler

29. styrofoam popcorn

30. void fill

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28 November 2009

10 Reasons Why AT&T Sucks

. . . I am posting a slimmed-down version of my notes from my runaround with the evil corporation known as AT&T. I have numbered the AT&T reps I have spoken with since this fiasco started and there are 10.

Earlier this week, AT&T slammed my internet connection. That's right, they slammed it. They took it over by force and without permission. If this is not illegal it should be.

(Background: AT&T bought out Ameritech same years ago. Actually they bought out SCB which bought out Ameritech. Ameritech and SBC were both Baby Bells: companies created by the gubmint-mandated breakup of the Bell Telephone monopoly. Ameritech supplied my phone service, then SCB, then AT&T.)

(Further: The minute AT&T got hold of my phone line, my phone bill nearly doubled. Also, calls to AT&T for any purpose: service, billing, adding features, etc, no matter what number or department you call, all go to the same phone maze. There is no chance of getting help on anything without being at least 20 minutes on the phone and going through multiple departments. But this is probably true for most giant corporations.)

The Saga Begins

November 23, 2009

10:50am, I called my internet service provider to find out why my connection was down. The tech support guy explained that a lot of their DSL (high-speed internet) customers lost their connection. What happened was that ATT simply took over all the DSL connections without warning. He also mentioned that ATT had recently tripled the price they were charging to companies who used ATT hardware to supply customers with DSL connections to the internet. He was certain that I would no longer be able to get DSL from their company in the near future.

11:03am, I called ATT's standard customer service number
800-244-4444 to ask what kind of DSL they offer -- I was not planning on using them but just interested to know what kind of pricing they offered -- got to a live person at 11:06am, Becky (#1), who asked what my "business" phone number was, said she's in the business office, tried to sell me a business DSL line. I asked whether residential or business was cheaper, had to ask twice, she was not able to answer, finally she said I currently pay $46/mo for residential phone, business would be $35/mo.

Becky then quoted DSL at $30/mo with a guaranteed speed of 3meg and said it's a "forever" rate, and that I would also get a free business listing in their phone book and other free services.

She further explained that ATT will charge me $62 for a new modem (router), but then fully rebate the cost by sending me a check, and charge me $12 for shipping, said there's no rebate on that, and that it will take 2 business days to set everything up. I promised to make sure Becky got the commission if I decided to take their DSL. Call ended 11:17am.

November 25, 2009

1:19pm, I received a robot call from ATT announcing that my new DSL is now in place, it is up and running, and I should call 877-722-3755 if I need tech support.

1:20pm, I still have no internet connection. I waited to see if it would come up but it did not.

1:32pm, I phoned the number the robot gave me, 877-722-3755, and ended up in the same phone maze as always. My requests for "internet tech support" were ignored and the maze dumped me into the billing dept.

1:34pm, phone maze put me on hold.

1:39pm, Valerie (#2) from customer accounts looked me up, said my number was residential, I told her I had a DSL problem, she transferred me.

1:43pm, Jessica (#3) answered, India accent, she kept saying "sorry for the inconvenience," asked for my name, phone, billing address, told me that her records show that an order for my phone number for DSL was placed for me on November 18, with an activation date of November 23, and that for future reference I should call the orders dept 877-722-3755 extension 288. She then transferred me to the orders dept to find out who placed the order.

1:48pm, got to Dana (#4) in the orders dept, she confirmed my name and said that one P****** is the name on the order. She also was able to find that K**** was the name of the ATT agent that P****** spoke to. I have never heard of either of these people.

I said that I had promised the commission to Becky. She said there is no way Becky could get this commission since K****'s name was already on the order. Not only is ATT screwing their customers, they're screwing their own employees.

Dana could not find a November 18 date on my order but said that her info shows that my connection should be up and running. It is not.

Looking further, Dana found a note on my order sating that "the DS3" went down. She admitted she did not know what that was but kept insisting ATT does not hijack people.

Dana then said she had to have a service leader (floor manager) look over my order because she doesn't understand the note. She said it could even be a typo. My DSL got hijacked due to a typo? That's a good one.

1:57pm, Dana came back, said floor support doesn't know what's going on, she is going to ask the provisioning dept. Says it could be an order that got attached to my account incorrectly.

2:00pm, Dana says she can't undo it, all she can do is to disconnect my DSL. I asked if she could determine where this order came from. She said she had to ask her supervisor for help, back on hold.

2:04pm, Dana said they have no way of knowing if the order came from my current ISP or not, but insisted it would be illegal for ATT to just switch me over without my knowledge. Back on hold.

2:07pm, Dana says two companies in Michigan are going out of business, and maybe my current ISP is one of them? She wouldn't give me their names, of course, so how would I be expected to know? She then decided to send me over to tech support anyway since ATT is now my carrier. For future reference she gave me the number for tech support 800-650-2865. She was quite pleasant and apologized many times.

2:16pm, Dana transferred me to tech support.

2:18pm, Peter (#5) came to phone, asked what kind of modem and operating system I have, asked me how many lights on my modem were lit, then he told me to load a webpage. I explained to him that my connection was down and I can't load any webpages. He asked me to load it anyway. Nothing happened of course. He asked about modem lights again, asked about the DSL light, I told him my modem has no such light. He asked if my modem has 4 or 5 lights. It has 6 lights. I told him the WAN light was not lit, back on hold.

2:24pm, Peter said I have a modem-router, not a modem. He has to send me to "Support Plus" to assist me with my "registration." He still doesn't grasp that my connection is down.

2:27, Brian (#6) answered the phone. He asked me if a line test has been done. For future reference he gave me 800-288-2020 for DSL tech support. Said he would transfer me to someone who can do a line test.

2:29pm, I got dumped into the middle of a phone maze in which the voice read back a phone number to me which was not my number and then asked if it were my number. I said "No." Then I said "DSL tech support" into the phone but that did not work. The voice said, "We're sorry, your call was unable to be completed, please hang up and dial the toll free number again" and hung up on me.

2:32pm, I called back, using the new number I had just been given, 800-288-2020, but got the same phone maze as before. Again the maze refused to send me to tech support and dumped me into the billing dept. Brandy (#7), answered. I told her I had been cut off from tech support, she transferred me to 877-722-3755.

2:35pm, Nick (#8), India accent, came to the phone, he "apologized for the inconvenience," confirmed my modem model number, asked where I got the modem, I told him got it from Ameritech as a matter of fact, and that Ameritech was bought out by ATT. He said the model number is no longer supported. I explained the entire mess and asked if we could attack the problem of my DSL connection being down, then asked for a line test, he said he can't do it, not trained on it, has to transfer me to "Support Plus."

2:42pm, back on hold, same phone maze again. Phone maze tells me the dept I'm going to is a fee-based service, then gave me only two options: use the fee-based phone support or have a tech come to my house.

2:44pm, Prince (#9, not sure that is the right name) answered, asked for my modem model number, which I gave her. She then said she is the 3rd level of support, separate from ATT, and fee based. I tell her the whole story and ask for a line test. She would not run a line test unless I paid a fee. I explained that it's not funny they hijack my line then try to get a fee out of me to fix it, and asked her to transfer me back. Back on hold.

2:50pm, Michelle (#10) answered, I did not tell her the whole story, just asked for a line test. This is now the 10th person I have talked to and the 4th person I've talked to since I was told I needed a line test. She said she could to a line test, asked my phone, name, router model number, how many lights are lit, etc. She explained that some older models don't have a component that allows ATT to reprogram them remotely. She did a line test, no problem found, then ran a sync test, nothing wrong. She then had me access my modem and change the registration info using a temporary name.

3:07pm, by golly, the connection is up and running again.

3:19pm, Michelle had me download and install some new software, set me up with a new email address, call ended 3:26pm. On the phone over two hours.


4:00pm, my email doesn't work.

At this point I was too angry and disgusted to make any fresh attempt to get it fixed.

I will post more on this BS as it happens.

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26 November 2009

58 Unusual Names of Fairies, Demons, and Other Mythical and Imaginary Beings

. . . Happy Turkey Day to all! Here's a few of the more interesting fairies and demons from my large collection.

1. Abeyoyo (ah-bay-YO-yo). a ferocious giant. Africa.

2. Aughisky. a water spirit that preys on cattle. Ireland.

3. Balkin. a mountain spirit. Orkney Islands, Scotland.

4. banshee (BAN-she) a wailing, female spirit attached to a specific family: she wails just prior to the death of a family member. Celtic, Scottish and Irish.

5. the Baobhan Sith. a type of monster or malevolent spirit, often appearing as a beautiful woman, known to suck blood. Highland Scotland.

6. bargus. a frightening ghost draped in clanking chains. Yorkshire and South Lancashire, England

7. Bodachan Sabhaill (Scottish: little old man of the barn). a friendly fairy who threshes corn and binds straw for old men. Highland Scotland.

8. boggart. a mischievous fairy, known for making noise, throwing objects about and like behavior. Yorkshire and northern England. Called a bwca in Wales, a bogle in Scotland, a poltergeist in Germany. (In the Harry Potter books by J. K. Rowling, a boggart appears in the form of whatever its victim fears most. See clutterbumph.)

9. Brollachan (Gaelic: shapeless thing). a monster born of a fuath.

10. brownie. a small, rag-clothed fairy or spirit that haunts a specific place; to give a brownie clothes is bad luck. Northern England and Scotland.

11. Ca Sith (Scottish: fairy dog). a monstrous spirit dog, the size of a bull, with a green coat. Scotland.

12. Cait Sith (Scottish: fairy cat). a monstrous black cat owned by the fairies. Scotland.

13. clutterbumph. a scary thing that is not there until you imagine it: whatever is just above the worst thing you can think of, that is what a clutterbumph looks like. (From the book Manxmouse by Paul Gallico, a book which J. K. Rowling said was one of her favorites, which possibly inspired her version of a boggart in the Harry Potter books.)

14. Coblynau (Welsh: goblins). friendly beings who inhabit mines: they stand about two feet tall, dress like miners and are helpful to miners. Wales.

15. Deva (DAY-vah) (India: shining one). general term for any type of nature spirit.

16. dvergr. Norse word for dwarf: they were believed to live in rocks and were skilled in metalworking.

17. Ellylldan (Welsh: will o' the wisp). local name for friendly fairies. Wales.

18. Fear Dearg. (Irish: red man). a red-clothed spirit whose visit brings good luck. Munster, Ireland.

19. Fenodyree / Phynoderee / Phynnodderee. name for a local fairy similar to a brownie. Isle of Man.

20. fetch. a double of a living man; when seen it means death. Ireland.

21. Firbolg. a non-cannibal giant. Ireland.

22. Fomorian. a giant known for throwing huge stones, blamed for the boulders seen scattered about Scotland.

23. fuath (FOO-ah). a group of malignant water spirits. Sutherland, Scotland.

24. Gally-Trot. a spirit in the shape of a large white dog, known for chasing anyone who runs from it. Suffolk, England.

25. Ghillie Dhu (Scottish: black servant). a friendly, domestic, solitary fairy who is helpful in finding lost children. Scotland.

26. the Glaistig. a fairy woman, clothed in green, known for being kind to children but also for misleading travelers. Highland Scotland.

27. the Glashtin. a mischievous fairy. Isle of Man.

28. Grindylow (GRIN-dee-loh). a malevolent water spirit. Yorkshire. (J. K. Rowling included these in the Harry Potter books; they live in the lake near Hogwarts School.)

29. the Grogan. the brownie as it is known in Ireland.

30. the Gwragedd Annwn. beautiful, friendly female spirits who inhabit lakes. Wales. The singular is Gwraig (Welsh: lady of the lake).

31. Gwydion. the wizard king of the fairies. North Wales.

32. Habetrot. queen of the spinning fairies, patroness of human spinners, generally described as very industrious and friendly but not too attractive. Scottish Borderlands.

33. the Hag of Winter. a spirit woman, the personification of winter, she is fearsome, withered, and has only one eye. Called Gentle Annie in Leicester, Black Annis in northern England, and the Cailleach Bheur in the Scottish Highlands. (John Milton called her the Blue Meagre Hag.)

34. the Hedley Kow. a monster that haunts the village of Hedley, Northumberland, England, known for transforming itself into the shape of a man, woman, horse or other beast, and for causing harm to the unwary.

35. Hraesvelger (corpse swallower). in Norse mythology, a giant wearing eagle plumage who produces the wind.

36. incubus. (ING-kyoo-bus). a male demon that preys on young women in their sleep.

37. Jenny Greenteeth. a female water spirit known for dragging people under the water to their deaths. A green scum on the surface of the water indicates her presence. Lancashire, England.

38. J├Âtunn. (Anglo-Saxon: eoten). in Norse mythology, a giant.

39. Kadaicha Man (Aborigine tribe Luritja: retribution man). a fearful being who chases wrongdoers to deliver justice. He walks without leaving tracks. Australia.

40. Kobold. a mining spirit. Germany.

41. Kooshd'aa K'aa. (land otter or land otter man). A malignant being who can change himself into a human being, another animal, or anything. Children who might wander off alone are warned that the Kooshd'aa K'aa would wait from them, put them in a trance and take them away. Tlingit Indians of Alaska.

42. Llamhigyn y Dwr (Welsh: the water leaper). a malevolent water spirit known for stealing fishermen's bait and for dragging sheep into the water to eat.

43. the Loireag. a female spirit, patroness of weavers and fullers (ones who beat or press cloth to increase its bulk). Highland Scotland.

44. merfolk. water spirits, including mermaids and mermen, said to very beautiful and playful, with fishtails in the place of legs.

45. the Muileartach. a hideous, one-eyed water hag of enormous size. Highland Scotland.

46. Nuckelavee. a mythical water monster, half horse and half man. Scotland.

47. the Peallaidh (Scottish: the shaggy one). chief of the Urisks. Perthshire, Scotland.

48. peerie. local term for fairy. Shetland Isles.

49. the Pellings. a race of half-human fairies, children of a fairy mother (Penelope) and human father, who dwell in Corwrion Lake. Wales.

50. pooka. a type of fairy or spirit that always appears in animal form. Ireland. (Make famous as a six foot tall invisible rabbit in the movie and play "Harvey.")

51. the Ratchet. a demonic hound, known for hunting in packs in the sky and howling before the death of a human.

52. silkie / silky / selkie / selky. a seal-like water spirit able to change his form into a man. Scotland.

53. spriggan. the ghost of a giant, usually found guarding the giant's buried treasure, usually tiny but able to grow enormous, considered to be very dangerous. Cornwall, England.

54. Tom Tit Tot. name of a particularly mischievous fairy in England. Known in Scotland as Whuppity Stoorie, in Wales as Trwtyn a Trotyn, in Cornwall as the Devil Terrytop, in Germany as Rumpelstiltzkin.

55. Tylwyth Teg (Welsh: Fair Family). local name for a group of fair-haired, larger-than-human-sized fairies.

56. the Urisk. a group of hobgoblins. Perthshire, Scotland.

57. Valkyrie (VAL-kee-ree) (chooser of the slain). in Norse mythology, one of a troop of goddesses who serve in Valhalla, land of fallen heroes, and carry out errands for Odin, king of the gods.

58. worm. general term for monstrous being akin to a dragon. England.

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Select bibliography:

The Personnel of Fairyland: A Short Account of the Fairy People of Great Britain for Those Who Tell Stories to Children, by K. M. Briggs. Detroit: Singing Tree Press, 1971, reprint of Oxford: Alden Press, 1953.

The Kingdom of Faerie, by Geoffrey Hodson. London: Theosophical Publishing House, 1927, and, Fairies at Work and at Play, Observed by Geoffrey Hodson. London: Theosophical Publishing House, 1947.

Norse Mythology, Or, the Religion of our Forefathers, by Rasmus Bjorn Anderson. Chicago, S. C. Griggs & Company, 2nd edition, 1876.

Tlingit Stories, by Marie Ackerman. Anchorage, Alaska: AMU Press, 1975.

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22 November 2009

92 Types of Payment

. . . "First, I charge a retainer; then I charge a reminder; next I charge a refresher; and then I charge a finisher." — attorney Judah P. Benjamin (1811–1884)

Who knows why we have special words for all these different things? They are all payments. English is strange and fun.


1. account. a pool of money, such as that belonging to one person and held by a bank on that person's behalf.

2. ad valorem or advalorem duty. an import duty proportional to the value assessed by customs.

3. agio. fee for currency exchange.

4. allowance. a small amount of spending money given weekly by parents to their children.

5. alms. money given to the poor.

6. amercement. a legal fine or penalty. Feudal era.

7. auction scrip. Originated in the 1930s by Donald F. Cochrane of Hartford, Michigan as a "newspaper stunt" in which the scrip was given out by merchants to customers who made purchases, then it was announced that the scrip would be the only legal tender for a public auction on Christmas Eve of merchandise from participating merchants. A successful scheme which was then copied elsewhere.

8. balance. amount remaining in a specific fund, or amount of a debt yet to be paid off.

9. banalities. fees paid to a lord for use of his gristmill, winepress, or similar equipment. Feudal era.

10. bribe. money paid secretly or illegally, often involving a government official, for secret or illegal services.

11. capital gains tax. percentage paid to government on profit made by buying and selling stocks or other valuables.

12. charge card. similar to a credit card but the bearer is not allowed to have a balance and must pay the full amount due each month. For example, American Express is a charge card, not a credit card.

13. check card. similar to a credit card but the money is deducted immediately from the bearer's checking account rather than being loaned to the bearer.

14. chevage. tax collected by the lord of a manor from peasants who lived outside the manor. Feudal era.

15. chit. general term for a piece of paper or card holding some value for exchange.

16. collection. term in the Roman Catholic church for money taken up by the church from worshipers during a worship service.

17. commission. 1) fee for services rendered, taken out of money gained. 2) euphemism for bribe.

18. contribution. 1) donation. 2) euphemism for bribe paid by a company to a government official.

19. coordinated deductible. deductible that is not paid until a separate company ponies up some of the money.

20. corrody. payment in the form of food and drink, and sometimes a room or other goods, paid by an abbot (church official) for services rendered.

21. credit card. card used in a system by which the bearer borrows money from a credit company in order to make purchases. Credit companies issue cards to consumers, set their interest rates, and charge fees to merchants who accept credit card payments.

22. damages. fee paid by person found guilty of a crime.

23. Danegeld. tax levied to fight off Danish invasion of England. Anglo-Saxon era.

24. deductible. a term in the insurance business; it is the amount of money the customer must first pay on a claim before the insurance company will pay.

25. deposit. 1) amount of money one puts into one's bank account. 2) amount of money less than the price of the item, paid to a merchant in order for the merchant to hold the item for the customer.

26. ding. slang term for any fee, deductible, surcharge, etc, forced on an innocent consumer by a corporation such as a bank, credit card company, or merchant account service. (Example: The bank dinged me for two overdraft fees.)

27. distraint. seizure of goods for nonpayment of rent (UK); also called forfeiture.

28. distress. another word for distraint.

29. dividend. a percentage of money invested paid to the investor.

30. donation. money given freely to an organization that performs public services or good works. Also called a charitable donation.

31. duty. fee paid on an item when moving it across the border from one country into another; it supposedly takes the place of the tax you would have paid if you had purchased the item within the country.

32. entry fee. payment by a tenant for admission to a holding. Feudal era.

33. expense or expenses. general term for money that must be paid out to keep the company running: expenses include office rent, worker salaries, cost of paper clips, etc.

34. farm bureau issue. a highly successful form of emergency currency issued and hand signed by the president and secretary of the farm bureau of Millington, Michigan, in 1933.

35. fee. general term for any additional payment required by a government, a merchant, an organizations, etc.

36. forfeiture. seizure of goods for nonpayment of rent (US); also called distraint.

37. fund. general term for an amount of money held for a specific purpose.

38. geldum. another term for tax. Pre-Norman England.

39. gersuma. fee paid to a lord on entering a holding. Feudal era.

40. guerdon. reward.

41. heriot. payment, usually in the form of the best specimen of livestock, made to a manor-lord at the time of death of a tenant, paid by the family of the tenant. Compare mortuary. Feudal era.

42. income tax. taxes paid to the government based on a person's income. Became part of the US Constitution with the 16th Amendment.

43. interest. 1) additional amount paid on a loan, over and above the value of the loan. 2) money earned on an investment.

44. jeton (French: jeter = to push). a small coin-like item used as a counter in making calculations. Called Rechenpfennig (REKH-en-pfen-ikh, reckoning pennies) in Germany. Made of bone, glass, metal, etc. In olden days, metal ones were struck like coins, usually decorated with an ownership mark, coat of arms, religious symbol, etc, but never with a denomination (value) or date. They were large and flat enough to stack well.

45. kola. bribe.

46. levy. 1) a tax. 2) a seizure of property taken to recover back taxes.

47. loan. money given from an individual or lending institution, to another individual or organization, who agrees to pay it back over time, with or without interest.

48. medkniche. fee paid by the haymaker to the lord of the manor, determined by how much hay the hayward (official in charge of haying) can lift to his knees with his middle finger. Feudal era.

49. millage. a type of property tax increase that goes to pay for schools, libraries, or other public services. A "mill" is one-thousandth of a dollar, or one-tenth of a penny; a "millage" is usually an increase of a very small percentage.

50. mortuary. gift given to the parish priest from the estate of a deceased parishioner, usually being the second best specimen of livestock. Compare heriot. Feudal era.

51. minimum order fee. amount added to your order to meet the minimum order amount.

52. mita. payment in the form of public service. Inca empire.

53. multure. gristmill tax. Scotland and feudal England.

54. offering or offertory. term used in most Protestant churches for money taken up by the church from worshipers during a worship service.

55. overhead. euphemism for business expenses.

56. overplus. extra amount over the base or balance.

57. pannage. payment made to a lord for the right of feeding livestock in the lord's forest. Feudal era.

58. payoff. 1) bribe. 2) payment.

59. payola. bribe paid to DJs for playing certain bands or songs on their radio programs. 1960s-1970s term.

60. payout. money spent from a fund.

61. pension. monthly amount paid by a company to retired workers who completed certain qualifications, such as 20 years with the company.

62. pittance. 1) donation to a religious community that has taken vows of poverty. 2) any amount so small it is useless.

63. presentations. payment for fishing rights. Pre-Norman England.

64. profit. general term for any amount of money achieved by buying low and selling high: for example, buying a used LP record for $1 and selling it for $5 results in a net profit of $4. (Gross profit is total profit regardless of expenses; net profit is profit after subtracting expenses.)

65. promissory note. a card or slip of paper written by one individual to the person s/he has borrowed money from, promising to pay the amount back. Also called an I.O.U.

66. prosperity certificate or prosperity scrip. a form of scrip issued by the federal treasury, similar to the trade dollars issued in Howell, Michigan.

67. protection. a type of bribe in which the victim pays a bully, gangster, or thug an amount of money rather than getting beaten up.

68. rate. general term for an amount.

69. reimbursement. money paid after the fact when an amount is necessarily paid out to obtain a specific item or service.

70. relief. a type of death tax: a fee paid by the heir of a vassal to his lord for the privilege of inheriting the vassal's estate. Feudal era.

71. rent. amount paid to a landlord for the privilege of living in his/her property.

72. replevin. recovery by legal mean of goods unlawfully taken from a person.

73. revenue. income; often refers to money collected via taxes.

74. salary. amount earned by a worker regardless of hours worked. Most executive jobs are salaried jobs. The opposite is a wage.

75. scale. general term for wage and/or salary amounts designated by a union. To be paid scale means to be paid the lowest possible amount on the scale according to the job you are doing.

76. scrip. a certificate representing currency, issued in lieu of government currency. Most often used in emergency situations for temporary payment.

77. scutage. fee paid by a knight in order to be excused from military service. Also called a shield tax.

78. settlement. general term for the end result of a lawsuit or legal proceeding; some settlements involve payment of some form.

79. shield tax. another name for scutage.

80. simony. amount paid for the purchase of a religious benefice or indulgence.

81. surcharge. general term for a fee added onto an existing fee.

82. surtax. 1) general term for a tax added onto an existing tax. 2) income tax.

83. tallage. tax paid by serfs to their manorial lord. Feudal era.

84. tariff. a tax paid by merchants who import goods.

85. tax. general term for any money required by the government, usually relating to specific goods or services, and usually determined by a percentage. Types include sales tax, income tax, property tax, television tax, estate tax, and capital gains tax.

86. toll. 1) fee for the privilege of using a private road. 2) fee paid to one's lord for the privilege of selling one's livestock. Feudal era.

87. trade dollar / trade scrip / stamp scrip / stamp money / prosperity scrip. a form of emergency currency invented by the Chamber of Commerce of Howell, Michigan in 1933. The unique feature was that the scrip lost value if it was not spent. Dollars were given away free at first, by participating merchants, who gave out one trade dollar for every $5 worth of goods purchased. If the individual who received it did not spend it within 3 days, s/he had to purchase a 2-cent stamp (also issued by the Chamber of Commerce) and affix it to the scrip. After one trade dollar had been spent 52 times, it had collected $1.04 in stamps and was redeemed for $1.00 in cash. The scheme doubled commerce in Howell and was soon copied by small towns all over Michigan.

88. tranche. a portion of something, usually money. Example: "We're lowering the lowest tranche fee (i.e. for items with a starting price of $0.01 to $0.99) from a quarter to twenty cents." -- eBay, Feb 2006

89. wage. amount earned by a worker who gets paid by the hour. Most jobs requiring little specialized knowledge or skills are wage jobs. The opposite is salary.

90. windfall. government term for any amount of money that comes into one's possession unexpectedly, such as from winning the lottery or having a rich relative die and leave you piles of money.

91. withdrawal. amount of money one takes out of one's bank account.

92. writ of replevin. see replevin.


(Information on auction scrip, farm bureau scrip, prosperity certificates and trade dollars came from Michigan Depression Scrip of the 1930s, by James J. Curto. Reprinted from 'The Numismatist,' copyright 1949. Published by the author, Grosse Pointe, Mich., no date (circa 1960-1970).

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18 November 2009

9 Differences between Universalists and Unitarians, and 4 Things They Have in Common

. . . In my experience, the average Unitarian Universalist knows very little about UU history, and what they do know is usually superficial and often downright incorrect. Even more alarming is that often, when I chat about Universalism, I find that the average UU knows even less about Universalist history. Inevitable they will ask me, what's the difference between Unitarians and Universalists anyway? Hence this little list.

Please note: These lists are historical in content. By the 1920s-1940s, most of these differences ceased to matter. American Universalists and American Unitarians consolidated in 1961, although among UUs today there are still some that identify more with one side than the other.

(Much of this material is from the massive book by Russell E. Miller, The Larger Hope, Volume 2: The Second Century of the Universalist Church in America, 1870–1970.)


9 Differences between Universalists and Unitarians

1. In the early days, Universalism appealed mainly to the common people while Unitarianism appealed to a much smaller and wealthier class.

2. In the early days, there were few college graduates among the ministers of Universalism but nearly every Unitarian preacher was a graduate of Harvard.

3. In the early days, Universalist preachers, typified by Hosea Ballou I (1771–1852), were philosophers, poets, reformers, philanthropists. Unitarian preachers, typified by William Ellery Channing (1780–1842), were thinkers, logicians, theologians, controversialists.

4. Unitarians appealed to the aristocratic, cultural, trained mind. Universalists appealed to the democratic, spiritual, "warmth and fervor" side.

5. Universalists hung on to the Bible longer than the Unitarians. Universalists emphasized the goodness of God and the moral leadership of Jesus. Unitarians emphasized biblical criticism and the ethical elements in political and social problems.

6. Unitarianism never took hold among the common people. Unitarians saw their mission being with the scholarly and elite.

7. Universalists were ahead of Unitarians in racial equality. African Americans were members of the first Universalist congregation in America. Universalists started schools and social service agencies to help poverty-stricken blacks after the Civil War. Universalists had interracial congregations in Northern cities and black congregations in the rural South. On the other hand, the American Unitarian Association (AUA) systematically ignored the few black preachers and congregations their faith attracted. In slavery days there were even some Unitarians who owned slaves and defended human slavery, and in the early 20th century the AUA actually published books by Unitarian authors on white racial superiority.

8. Universalists led the way in women's equality. They accepted a woman preacher as early as 1811 (Maria Cook, 1779–1835), ordained the first woman in 1860 (Lydia Ann Jenkins, 1824–1874), and in 1869 had a national organization of Universalist women that stood on par with the church. Unitarians did ordained a few women in the late 1800s, but in the early 20th century they actually pushed women who wanted to be ministers into "parish assistant" roles.

9. There is no record of a Universalist ever excluding a Unitarian from their circle. There are several examples on record of Unitarians excluding Universalists.


4 Things Unitarians and Universalists had in Common

1. Both were radical Protestant denominations with their roots in Europe; both started in North America in the late 1700s. The first Universalist congregation here was formed in Massachusetts in 1779. The first Unitarian congregation, also in Massachusetts, came into being in 1785.

2. Both denominations preached absolute freedom of religion, asserting that each person had the right to question, to learn, and to make up his or her own mind on matters of religious doctrine.

3. Both denominations practiced democracy in church governance.

4. Unitarian and Universalist views of the nature of Jesus have been essentially identical since the late 1700s.

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