Archive for the ‘DEFINITION’ Category


February 26, 2019 1 comment

swOl/  To be visibly muscular.  This is to be distinguished from “swollen” which would be in the past tense and usually refers to some sort of malady or affliction.

Swole is the 21st. century description that has now succeeded:

-‘Pumped’ as popularized by the 1977 movie Pumping Iron and referenced in 1997’s Boogie Nights, was the calling card for pneumatic muscular development in the late 70s and early 80s.  The tire reference was telling as that era of bodybuilding and weight training, which are NOT the same at all, was characterized by the intake of massive amounts of whole diary products lending their users a somewhat bloated appearance.

-‘Jacked’ took over at about the time I started tending bar.  ‘Jacked’ had multiple meanings in conversation when referring to appearance.  ‘Jacked’ as in acquired illegitimately, “Dude, that guy must be jacked, he’s so big.”

(This meaning of illegitimate acquisition is still used in hip-hop in reference to illegal and unacknowledged samples).

‘Jacked’ also referred to self-abuse as bodybuilders were often thought to be absorbed in onanistic self-enchantment.  In this context ‘jacked’ was something of a double entendre.

-‘Decked’ came into fruition in the 90s as weightlifting and bodybuilding became chic among Generation X.

‘Decked’ is a nickname for DecaDrol, a trade name for Dexamethasone, a popular anabolic steroid easily obtained through scrip doctors who charged cash for prescriptions that rarely if ever required an examination or bonafide therapeutic issue.

(It is worth mentioning that Decadrol was used by AIDS patients to combat the wasting precipitated by a variety of AOOIs).

‘Decked’ also came to refer to the use of DecaDrol as a party drug, in spite of the very real danger of alcohol interactions.

Women seeking a tad more fiber to enhance their sleeveless tops began to emulate Linda Hamilton in Terminator II with her display of ‘femceps/sheceps’.

Eventually, enough bad interactions prompted authorities to crack down on the number of prescriptions and DecaDrol became just another drug by the time President George W. Bush was elected.

‘Swole’ entered the lingua franca around the time of President Obama’s second term.  By this time an almost obese silhouette had become acceptable and indeed de rigueur for hip hop fashion.

Smartphones enabled the instant constant communication of physiques to all interested…and even those who were uninterested.  Massiveness that filled a  screen superseded aesthetic elevation.

This new standard inspired a new definition of fitness which emphasized an inflated midsection that sat in stark contrast to the cut, defined look of 90s fitness practitioners.  Whole milk, refined sugar and sugared sodas returned to the menus of many.  Bulging bellies and bulging biceps formed a kind of symmetrical symphony which came to be called ‘swole.’

It is telling, at least to this aspiring journalist, that ‘swole’ is always in the present tense.  Although the ‘pumped,’ ‘jacked’ and ‘decked’ eras all had contradictions there was at least the pretense of looking to be healthy.

And while the morality of chemically enhanced strength is a matter of continual debate in gyms and professional sports the ‘swole’ era is primarily about appearance.

‘Swole’ is the current nomenclature but a new generation will press another term.  Stay tuned…




February 5, 2016 Leave a comment

CORIed, verb, referring to having been the subject of a C.O.R.I.(Criminal Offender Record Investigation) search via the CORI system in Massachusetts.

“I’m not sweating getting CORIed.  All I’ve got is a court appearance as a witness in something.”

“Yo, it was 10 f****** years ago and the case was dismissed and I didn’t get the job!”

CORI became law in June 30, 2005 enabling non-judicial investigation of a job applicant’s criminal history, if any.

What is more problematic is that court appearances, including those of one subpoenaed as a witness are also found by being CORIed as are dismissals and acquittals.

Additionally, the omnipresence of the Internet makes these records vulnerable to being posted online by those with somewhat less than worthy motives.

CORIed is now a verb used frequently.  I heard it most recently from a guest of mine who expressed his fear over an adolescent act being unearthed.

…While the debate over CORI continues…

CORIed as a verb is certain to remain part of the 21st. Century’s lexicon…


BLACK FRIDAY: It didn’t always mean a retail holiday.

December 1, 2015 1 comment

BLACK FRIDAY, the day after Thanksgiving kicks off the Christmas shopping season in spite of the fact that my nearest CVS has had Christmas thingys since Halloween, and don’t give me any of that ‘Happy Holidays’ stuff,  as surely as the Detroit Lions vs. whoever has been played since 1959.

Target, Macy’s, Olympia Sports, Sephora, Sears, and a virtual plethora of retailers clamor to gain our ears, bandwidths and wallets.  Even “cultural” retailers such as the Guitar Center on Boylston St. here in Boston ply their off priced wares.  Here in the New England of the  21st. century malls such as Boston’s Copley Place and the Natick Mall advertise for all of the stores housed under their roofs.  

Security firms pay $25 an hour for armed guards at the Neiman Marcus at the Natick Mall!  Righteous bucks!

*54″ HDTV for only $19.99!*

and the like are the lingua franca of the marketing maelstrom.

Such was not always the case.

Indeed methinks that the emergence of Black Friday as a retail holiday dates back to…

…the passing of what Tom Brokaw called “the greatest generation,” who lived through the Great Depression and WWII, which is to say my parents.

My mother, Doris was born in 1925, and my father Shelly was born in 1927. 

On occasion I would want some kind of mild extravagance, such as a 1st. baseman’s mitt.  My father would reply by bending my ear with stories of playing kick-the-can and being grateful that his father, who worked 3 jobs, was not among the legions of the unemployed in the Brooklyn of the 1930’s.

When I became a bartender Dad was all too willing to tell the tale of walking to the local tavern to buy a “bag of ice,” in the days before refrigerators became standard. 

What would Dad think of $1199.00 for a GE 20.3 cubic foot fridge with a bottom freezer?

Mom hailed from New Kensington, PA a manufacturing city 19 miles NW of Pittsburgh.  Her father, Wiley O. Jack was a partner in a local Ford dealership.  During WWII very few cars were manufactured for retail sale as the auto makers of that era, Packard and Studebaker among them, retooled their assembly lines for the war effort.  My maternal grandfather made his living by servicing the cars he had already sold.

On occasion Mom would educate my brother Peter and I about the rationing of sugar, flour and eggs during the Great Depression.

I am on very safe grounds when I forward the thought that neither of my parents would ever think of ‘Black Friday’ as retail therapy.

BLACK FRIDAY prompts memories of my parents both of whom are no longer.  Investopedia tells us that the Black Friday that formed my parents hearts and minds occurred on October 25, 1929 when the stock market lost 11% of its net worth.

This pre-nuclear meltdown turned into a panic as the technology of our simplistic telephone system couldn’t keep up with panicked investors dumping their holdings.  Banks, being substantial institutional investors, lost their worth in the pre-FDIC era and throngs flocked to banks to withdraw their savings while there was still cash to meet their demands.

Black Friday had made a previous appearance in the financial lexicon in the 19th. century on September 24, 1869 when financiers Jay Gould and Jim Fisk sought to corner the gold supply.  When this scheme collapsed it was dubbed ‘Black Friday.’  It is certainly a viable concept that those with an education in the economic history of our country knew of the 1869 scandal when the stock market crash of 1929 occurred.…/grant-black-friday

The contemporary usage of black Friday’s earliest mention seems to have been in January of 1966 when the Philadelphia Police Dept(PPD) used the term to describe the crowds in downtown Philadelphia on the day after Thanksgiving.

In a more casual way the term Black Friday was bandied about by retailers to refer to the final quarter of the year which would pull the given retailer into the ‘black’ of profitability.  Research did not reveal any specific date or author for this phrase but it certainly has been in usage since the beginning of my business awareness,

The 21st. century brought the coinage of ‘Cyber Monday’ referring to the huge volume of online shopping that begins the week after Thanksgiving as those put off by the stampedes of shoppers at brick and mortar locations and with conflicting obligations click on to innumerable web sites to let their cursors do the shopping.

Cyber Monday was coined in 2005, just after Boston became a DSL city in 2003, by the National Retail Federation’s to encourage and promote virtual shopping.

Black Friday didn’t become the catch phrase it is now until the mid-1990s when the World War II generation, which was born in the 1920s as my parents were, began to pass.

Only my aunt Thelma, born 1925, of my older relatives is still with this world of ours.

Contemporary usage of Black Friday no longer carries the baggage it did during my now long-ago youth.

Black Friday is now the brightest of Fridays.





Oh Kay

is a way of expressing ambivalent, reluctant agreement with a statement of dubious value.

“…and if Sandoval and Ortiz start hitting and Masterston finds his fastball and 1/2 of the Orioles stay injured and the Yankees start feeling their age, the Red Sox can win the division…”

Oh Kay

“…she is so right for me so if I just quit smoking, go to the gym and get a better job I am so sure that she will want to hook up…”

Oh Kay

“… I exaggerated my background perhaps a little on my application but I am more than capable and I have a lot of skills that don’t show up on a resume’…”

Oh Kay

Oh Kay is usually pronounced with a lower pitch than “okay/OK” and is usually stated after a short pause from the initial speaker.  Eye contact after the Oh Kay is the micro order standard.  A toothy grin between friends assures that good relations continue.

Oh Kay is far from the worst of modern nomenclature.  Indeed, between friends it can lubricate jagged egos and with the proper inflection it offers a hint of humor that isn’t hurtful.

Oh Kay can be an instrument of kindness as a path to reassuring your friend that you are on their side even when reality isn’t.

Oh Kay often accompanies listening while texting so as to continue the interaction and avoid hurting someone’s feelings.

However, in school and in the workplace the rejoinder of Oh Kay is a politically correct way of telling someone that ‘their pleas fall on deaf ears,’ even while a wide smile and nodding head accompany the verbal response.

If a friend says Oh Kay they are still on your side.

If an employer or prospective employer tells you Oh Kay update your resume’

Oh Kay


April 18, 2014 4 comments

Notech:  referring to not using or carrying a smartphone, tablet or laptop on certain occasions.

21st. Century socializing is defined by the distant intimacy of digital technology.

Smartphones have replaced cellphones as tablets have replaced laptops as laptops replaced desktops.  This usage trend is accelerating at an ever faster pace and shows no signs of abating within the immediate future.

Interrupting verbal speech is verboten but scrolling through one’s iPhone is acceptable as there is always the chance that the person who isn’t there is more worthy than the person who is, y’know, there, here.

Perchance the face-to-face is a memorable one a selfie will memorialize the event.

Masturbatory though it may be the ubiquitous Chainsmokers hit “Take Another Selfie” disses AND celebrates Girls’ Room club culture with its duo of hair-tossing club habitues in self-photographed glory.

(Am I the only one who is reminded of Klymaxx’s 1986 hit “Meeting in the Ladies’ Room”?  Get back to me on this).

Notech is the reaction to our digital world.

Trends that are all encompassing inevitably breed reaction.

Notech was first heard by your blogger while tending bar about 6 months ago.

“I’m here for sex, NOT sexting.  I’m notech tonight.  I want a naked body not a picture of one”.

Amused though I was I was taken aback to hear the coinage used not 2 weeks later in “my” Starbucks.

“It’s notech for me.  Why would I want to see if the boss is sending me another email while I’m having a cappucino.”

Not a week later…

“No, I didn’t bring my laptop.  Notech is freedom.  The f(^%&#) laptop is like a ball and chain.  It’s the f#()^%#$&* freedom to have no freedom while I’m out of the country.”

It was this last incident that convinced me that this word now had an intense, although relatively infrequent, usage.

Notech is something of a reaction to “selfie”.  Notech values action more than reaction and freedom from technological ties.  Notech memory is something in the mind, not in a byte.

It is certain that the ever improving ability of technology to not just enhance and memorialize interaction but create it will be increasing exponentially for the foreseeable future.

Luddites will not be taking over although their distant cousins, the Steampunk enthusiasts, are increasingly public wheeling their fixed gear bicycles through Davis Square, Somerville.

Likewise Newbury Comics’ signage “1000s of Vinyl Records!”


is the Dialectical materialism of Frederick Engel per Dialectics of Nature, 1883

Notech is Dialectical Materialism in the Digital Decade.

However, it does seem likely that relief from this most mixed of blessings will be sought.  Being of a certain generation I recall all too well the days of unlisted phone numbers…even for clubs.

Notech signifies a kind of analog dude ranch where the 20th. Century lives in eternal irony.

Notech will be a word heard only occasionally but spoken with very clear intent and action.

Notech will become a virtual and literal vacation from our cloud.


January 18, 2014 2 comments


 is the use of text based acronyms such as LOL/”Laugh out Loud” and OMG/”Oh My God”! in spoken conversation.  This trend is becoming heard more every day as the Digital Decade comes of age.  To wit:

“I am so tired of your…”


“Of course I could be wrong but IMHO.”

Textlish is different from the increasing use of Ebonics/African American and Spanglish/Latino in that it is not verbally originated.

Again Textlish is not rooted in the verbal strategies of an ethnic group as in the roots of Ebonics and Spanglish.

Finally Textlish has not made its way into what little remains of literature.

(I have never read a text novel).

Again this in contrast to Ebonics in literature.  My first encounter with written Ebonics came in 8th. Grade when I read my copy of Mom’s NATIVE SON by Richard Wright, 1940.  My subsequent reading of THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF MALCOLM X, 1965,  by Malcolm X. as told to Alex Haley illuminated the way in which conversational dialect could shed light upon a culture.

Likewise, Piri Thomas’ DOWN THESE MEAN STREETS, 1967, featured the Spanglish of Spanish Harlem as the narrator grappled with identity issues.

2004’s the James Brooks’ directed SPANGLISH finally brought the dialect to Hollywood decades after the tongue had been spoken for generations by  a variety of Latino immigrants and their children.

Textlish is not Ebonics or Spanglish.

Textlish is not an occupational acronym such as SNAFU/”Situation Normal, All F*%&)% Up,” as often employed by those in the Armed Forces nor is it a case where letters approximate words as in IOU/”I Owe You”.

Textlish first came to my ears in 2009 when the HTC Dream Droid made smartphone technology affordable.  Although the HTC Dream’s manual QWERTY keyboard was cumbersome the affordability of the HTC Dream as opposed to the Apple iPhone made the Dream ubiquitous. Google/Android and Apple/iPhone went to war creating virtual keyboards and a variety of apps that made conversation superfluous.

Verbal articulation was a casualty of digitalization.  After the “hassle” of conferring on the phone became needless profanity formed the first phrases in Textlish.

More importantly the loss of privacy engendered by verbal conversations could now be avoided.  While it might be fine to tell your friends to “Shut the F#*% Up” many social situations still hadn’t warmed to talking trash. Thumbs gained new dexterity to text the expletives that couldn’t be spoken in polite company.

By 2009 “STFU” was heard by my far from virgin bartender years.    One of the biggest changes during the past 5 years in the adult beverage business  was a bar full of folks intently tapping their smartphones, emerging from their digital cocoons occasionally to say “OMG” as if the root of all discourse was in their smartphones.  Indeed bar and club music was now louder than it had been in the 1990’s as texting replaced talking and Textlish replaced English.

Finally in 2011 LMFAO‘s anthemic “Party Rock” branded Textlish as Red Foo’s and Sky Blu’s tech house duo AND the new virtual tongue of the time.

Now Textlish is part of our lingua franca as a generation that has never known a world without the Internet matures.  Textlish is a creation of bandwidth rather than a bandwidth claiming a chunk of our minds as in Douglas Copeland’s prescient 1995 novel MICROSERFS.

Textlish is deeply rooted in the billions of text messages sent globally but as yet not codified.  There is no King James Bible, Dead Sea Scrolls or Rosetta Stone to clarify and define meaning.

References to Latin etymology are irrelevant and literally meaningless.

Indeed Textlish epitomizes digital democracy in a way that Webster’ Dictionary just can’t.  Textlish is emotional shorthand for when you don’t want to bother with entire words.  Textlish assumes that the Speakers are attuned enough to acronyms that further elucidation is needless and even vulgar.

Does Textlish promote or encourage sharing?

Sometimes.  The transmitter and the receiver need to be on the same wavelength or Textlish can rapidly devolve to a series of assumptions that bear little resemblance to thought.

(And you know what they say about “assume”).

As traditional literacy’s practitioners age and pass our tongue will be shaped by those who have never know an analog universe.  The use of Textlish is a harbinger of the faith that folks have in shared values.

Indeed as words such as “abdominals”, “carbohydrates” and “applications” are heard more in truncated form than as intellectual property it seems a virtual certainty that Textlish is only beginning to claim our lexicon.

Tending bar I have learned to make nice with folks who introduce friends as their BFFs/”Best Friend Forever”.

Would this tactic work in an environment where hospitality isn’t the guiding star?


DEFINITION: COGS a/k/a Cost of Goods Sold

COGS is an acronym for “Cost of Goods Sold” frequently used in the hospitality industry.  It is especially used as verbal shorthand by beverage and kitchen managers to describe costly situations that need corrective management.

“Dude, that bartender may have a following but his COGS is through the roof with all of the giveaways.”

“The swordfish steak special is very tasty but at $14.95 an entree the COGS is way out of line for a product bought at full price.”

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