The Cat's Pajamas: A Fabulous Fictionary of Familiar Phrases

Tad Tuleja, Author, Thaddeus F. Tuleja, Author Ballantine Books $7.95 (226p) ISBN 978-0-449-90242-4
After researching William Safire, H. L. Mencken and Eric Partridge, humorist Tuleja discovered what he calls ""shocking lacunae'' in the explanations of common idioms, so he began to construct his own etymological ``fakelore.'' The result is this book of ``imagined origins'' for 300 figures of speech. For example, he claims Tom, Dick and Harry were a vaudeville trio that ``closed after one night, leaving us with the phrase every Tom, Dick, and Harry to signify the absence of individual style.'' ``Nitty-gritty'' came from 19th century England, he says: ``Nits are the eggs of head lice (hence nit-picking for close, meticulous work) and grit is, of course, fine sand. To get down to nits and grits was kitchen slang for discovering these unwelcome additions in your food.'' References include such ``books'' as Erika Livingston Seagull's Getting Rich Off Latin: A User's Guide, Nancy Milieu's Hoboken Weirdos and Eric Quill's Social History of Yeast. This is witty, inventive satire. (January)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1988
Release date: 01/01/1988
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