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The final book in the Harry Potter series hit the bookstores last weekend and has been, as expected, a smashing success. So it seems appropriate to devote this week to words from that book.

billycan – (Australian) any container in which water may be carried and boiled over a campfire, ranging from a makeshift tin can to a special earthenware kettle
    … they had had nothing to eat except some wild mushrooms that Hermione had collected from amongst the nearest trees and stewed in a billycan.

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I knew this one from Elementary Music class . . .
quote:
And he sang as he watched and waited till his billy boil,
You'll come a Waltzing Matilda with me.


Billy being a billycan, of course.


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"Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.
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Oh, CW... I just love that song!! And they don't teach the old ballads now in elem school like they did when we were young... well, when I was young; I think you are a lot younger than me. Remember Sal on the Erie Canal... ?
 
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vol-au-vent – a small light puff pastry filled with a meat or fish ragout
[French, ‘flight in the wind’]
    Mrs. Weasley kept Harry, Ron, and Hermione so busy with preparations for the wedding that they hardly had time to think. … “I think Mum thinks that if she can keep the three of you getting together, she’ll be able to delay you leaving,” Ginny told Harry in an undertone … . “Then what does she think’s going to happen?” Harry muttered. “Someone else might kill Voldemort while she's holding us here making vol-au-vents?
 
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vol-au-vent is a real dish? I thought it was a silly made up thing! Can you still get them in the UK? Sounds delicious!


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~Dalai Lama
 
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quote:
Remember Sal on the Erie Canal

Oh yes, all of the Erie Canal songs were very popular in Ohio schools, since we had canals here! You can still go see some of the locks in operation, even!

My favorite is Buffalo Gals, won't you come out tonight? . . . but I also very much like the barge song . . . out of my window, looking in the night, I can see the barges' flickering lights . . .

Do you know either of those?


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"Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.
~Dalai Lama
 
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quote: My favorite is Buffalo Gals, won't you come out tonight . . . Do you know [this]?

Every Christmas season the US television stations, understandably, program a huge dollop of Christmas-themed movies. And the most ubiquitously-shone, unavoidble of them is James Stewart's It's a Wonderful Life. In that movie Stewart and his lady-love sing an a capella duet of Buffalo Girls.

So I'd say that darn near every American knows of that song, even if he or she may not be consciously aware of it. Is the movie as omnipresent UK as well?
 
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vol-au-vent is a real dish? I thought it was a silly made up thing! Can you still get them in the UK? Sounds delicious!

I was eating some only yesterday in the Burlington Arcade.


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quote:
Is the movie as omnipresent UK as well?
Pretty much. It may not be shown every Christmas, but it seems like it.
quote:
vol-au-vents
Surely that should be vols-au-vent? Cool


Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
 
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In today's passage, as Aberforth vents his jealously of his brother, authoress Rowling comes quite close to "language not suitable for minors."
    "That old berk," muttered Aberforth, taking another swig of mead. "Thought the sun shone out of my brother's every orifice, he did. Well, so did plenty of people …"
berk – a stupid person that is easily taken advantage of
[abbreviation of Berkeley or Berkshire Hunt, rhyming slang for c*nt].
orifice – a hole opening into a bodily cavity
 
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Oooh - I knew berk was an insult, but I didn't know what it really meant. Oh my!

I noticed, though, near the end of the book that Molly Weasley utters what I thought was the only word I'd really consider a "bad" word in the whole series when she calls someone else a Bitch. (Go Mom!), but "berk" qualifies, too, I guess!


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~Dalai Lama
 
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quote:
abbreviation of Berkeley or Berkshire Hunt, rhyming slang

This is an interesting example. As I'm sure everyone knows, "Berkshire" is pronounced "Barkshire". You'd therefore expect berk to be pronounced "Bark", but it's not. At a guess, cockneys read of the activities of the Berkshire Hunt in the Diary columns or similar of their newspapers. Being only poor iggerant cockneys, they probably pronounced it as it was spelt.

I'd also hazard a guess that the general cockney opinion of the sort of people who made up the Berkshire Hunt was that they were a lot of berks. Oscar Wilde put it similarly, though perhaps more eloquently: "The English country gentleman galloping after a fox - The unspeakable in full pursuit of the uneatable."


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quote: Molly Weasley utters what I thought was the only word I'd really consider a "bad" word in the whole series when she calls someone else a Bitch. (Go Mom!), but "berk" qualifies, too, I guess!

It particularly qualifies when used with the term "orifice" -- not a typical Rowling term. The combination of the two is too striking to be a mere coincidence, with Rowling unaware of the background of "berk"; she surely knew what she was doing.
 
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All I can say is "orchestras to the lot of them!".


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diadem – a jewelled crown or headband
    "Sorry, but what is a diadem? asked Ron. "It's a kind of crown," said Terry Boot. "Ravenclaw's was supposed to have magical properties, enhance the wisdom of the wearer."

    "I stole the diadem," repeated Helena Ravenclaw in a whisper. "I sought to make myself cleverer, more important than my mother. I ran away with it."
 
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besom1. a broom made of twigs tied round a stick 2. derog.; ch. Scot. & N.Engl.: a woman or girl
    Amycus bellowed, shaking the door for all he was worth, but it wouldn't open … in a second a more familiar voice rang out … "May I ask what your are doing, Professor Carrow?" "Trying – to get – through this damned door!" "But isn't your sister in there?" asked Professor McGonagall. … "Perhaps she could open the door for you? Then you needn't wake half the castle." "She ain't answering, you old besom! You open it! Garn! Do it now!"

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plinth – a heavy base supporting a statue or vase [cognate with flint]
    And all along the corridor the statues and suits of armor jumped down from their plinths, and from the echoing crashes from the floors above and below, Harry knew that their fellows throughout the castle had done the same. "Hogwarts is threatened!" shouted Professor McGonagall. "Man the boundaries, protect us, do your duty to our school!"
 
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This is a very cool scene. Wouldn't it be neat to see suits of armor, long dormant on display, suddenly spring to life?


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"Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.
~Dalai Lama
 
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fraught – causing or characterized by emotional distress or tension
[fraught with – filled with a specified element, as fraught with danger]
[from the sense of "laden" (as a ship); cognate with freight]
    Dealings between wizards and goblins have been fraught of centuries … . There has been fault on both sides, I would never claim that wizards have been innocent.
 
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