Author Archive
folk metaphor
Folk speech

Milking the Cat

Informant:

Davis is from Newport Beach, California and enjoys surfing.

Original Script:

Davis: “Dude, stop milking the cat.”

Context:

When someone feels like they are being led on or lied to.

My Thoughts:

Davis said that this is similar to the saying “Stop yanking my chain.” Coming from southern California myself, I thought that I had heard every type of folk speech here, but I apparently have not. This shows that not only is foreign folklore unfamiliar to me, but I guess that even folklore from my culture can be unfamiliar.

folk metaphor
Folk speech

Eggy

Informant:

Davis is from Newport Beach, California and enjoys surfing.

Original Script:

Davis: “The term ‘eggy’ basically means that someone is kind of strange or weird. A lot of people in my area sometimes even call a party ‘eggy.'”

Context:

When referring to something as odd.

My Thoughts:

Growing up in southern California myself, I have heard this term a few times, but it meant something different. I always thought that it meant that something is awesome, similar to the term that is commonly used “sick.” This shows that sometimes one folk term can mean more than one thing.

Legends
Narrative

Davey Crockett – The Savior of Tennessee

Informant:

Clarke is from Nashville, Tennessee and considers himself “one of the biggest fans of his hometown in the world.”

Original Script:

Clarke: “Davey Crockett was from eastern Tennessee, like in the mountains, and people say that he fought a bear when he was a kid. But anyway, during the Alamo, when Texas was fighting for their independence, Davey Crockett was the guy who rallied all the troops from Tennessee, which is why we’re called the volunteer state. Also, even though many people died, Crockett is said to be the spirit of Tennessee because he is someone who helped people in need.”

Context:

This story is a way to inspire Tennessee pride in its citizens.

My thoughts:

For some reason, I am almost jealous that Tennessee has an awesome fictional hero. California does not have such figure to look up to, which I think keeps us from having as much pride in our state as those in Tennessee. Hopefully, one day California will have someone to stir up its citizens to be proud that they live there.

Foodways

Sirop d’Érable: Maple Syrup Popsicles

Informant:

Tim Marino is a nineteen year old student at USC from Calgary, Alberta. He currently plays on the USC hockey team.

Original Script:

Tim: “Usually they bring out these, like, long rectangular tables that they pack snow on, and then they’d, like, pour maple syrup in lines and stick popsicle sticks on the end. Then after a while, they would harden and become, like, syrup popsicles.”

Context:

Winter sweets.

My Thoughts:

It is very interesting to me how desserts, and food in general, of different places are slaves to the world in which they are created. For example, this kind of icy syrup treat would never be invented here in Southern California because there is no snow here. This is truly why different cultures have foods that differ in so many ways

Folk speech

Brick

Informant:

Matt is from Staten Island, New York and currently attends USC.

Original Script:

“It’s so freaking brick right now.”

Context:

When someone from New York wants to say that it is cold outside.

My Thoughts:

I always find it fascinating when I hear people from other areas use slang words that I have never heard. Finding out why a word takes place of another one does not always make sense at first, but after Matt explained that “in New York, the cold can hit you like a brick.”

Foodways
general

Abacate

Informant:

Ricardo is from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and currently lives there “for 75 percent of the year.”

Cuisine:

Ricardo: “The story behind abacate is that there was this woman a long time ago who had a bunch of extra avocado after, like, a dinner that she served, so she decided to not let it go to waste and make something out of it. She decided to make a dessert, like, dish, and it became abate. It’s like my favorite food ever (laughs). You basically combine it with cream of milk and sweeten it with sugar and make it cold…super easy. My mom makes the best abacate.”

Context:

Brazilians have it after dinner as a dessert.

My Thoughts:

Personally, I am not sure if I would like this dessert. I love avocado and guacamole, but I do not think it sounds very appetizing to turn them into a dessert with cream. It reminds me of pistachio ice cream, which I strongly dislike. I am always surprised at the different ways different cultures prepare food, because a lot of the time it seems like they taste things completely differently than people in the United States do.

Humor
Magic
Narrative
Tales /märchen

Saci Pereré

Informant:

Ricardo is from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and currently lives there “for 75 percent of the year.”

His description:

Ricardo: “Saci Pereré is, like, an African American guy who only has one foot. He smokes on a pipe a lot and makes a lot of jokes that, as a kid, thought were so funny. And he has a red hat that allows him to go invisible whenever he wants so that he can cause mischief, but if you catch him he can grant you a wish, but it’s really hard to catch him because he can go invisible.”

Context:

This story is often told to children as entertainment.

My Thoughts:

To me, this character is similar to what Americans perceive as leprechauns. Growing up, I loved St. Patrick’s Day because I loved the idea of sneaky little leprechauns, and I always made traps to try to catch them. I think that kids find these types of fictional characters intriguing because they themselves are often mischievous little people that try to get away with tricks and pranks too.

general
Humor
Musical

Yellow Cow – The Brazilian Shut Up Song

Informant:

Ricardo is from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and currently lives there “for 75 percent of the year.”

Original Script:

A vaca amarela fez cocô na Ranela,

quem balar primeiro come bodo o cocô dela.

Summary:

Ricardo: “It’s about a yellow cow that, like, took a shit in a pan (laughs), and whoever speaks first or next has to eat all her shit.”

Context:

Ricardo: “It’s a song you sing whenever you want everyone else to be quiet.”

My Thoughts:

To me, the way Ricardo describes the song is extremely funny. It’s a song, so I thought it would be something that kids would sing when they want everyone around them to be quiet, but the fact that there are curse words in it makes me think otherwise. I am sort of confused about who would be the people singing this song.

Folk Dance
Game
Gestures
Musical

Bat Masterson – Brazilian Wild West Song and Game

Informant:

Ricardo is from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and currently lives there “for 75 percent of the year.”

Original Script:

No velho Oeste ele nasceu,
E entre bravos se criou,
Seu nome lenda se tornou,
Bat Masterson, Bat Masterson.

Sempre elegante e cordial,
Sempre o amigo mais leal,
Foi da justiça um defensor,
Bat Masterson, Bat Masterson.

Em toda canção contava,
Sua coragem e destemor,
Em toda canção falava,
Numa bengala e num grande amor.

É o mais famoso dos heróis,
Que o velho oeste conheceu,
Fez do seu nome uma canção,
Bat Masterson, Bat Masterson.

Seu nome lenda se tornou,
Bat Masterson, Bat Masterson.
Seu nome lenda se tornou,
Bat Masterson, Bat Masterson.

Translation:

In the old West he was born,
And among brave ones was created,
His legendary name became,
Bat Masterson, Bat Masterson.

Always elegant and friendly,
Always the most loyal friend,
Justice was a defender,
Bat Masterson, Bat Masterson.

In every song,
His courage and fearlessness,
In every song he spoke,
On a cane and a great love.

It is the most famous of the heroes,
That the old West knew,
Made his name a song,
Bat Masterson, Bat Masterson.

His legendary name became,
Bat Masterson, Bat Masterson.
His legendary name became,
Bat Masterson, Bat Masterson.

Context:

Ricardo: “It’s sang all the time by kids, like, in class or in, like, a break in school because there is hand game that goes with it, but I totally forget how the game goes (laughs). It’s just a fun little thing for young kids to do when they have nothing to do.”

My Thoughts:

I can relate to this song very strongly because when I was younger, I loved playing patty cake with my older sister. Singing games are a great way to pass time when you are a kid, and it is interesting to me that other cultures practice this as well.

Humor

Hood Vulture

My informant is Slim, a homeless man from downtown Los Angeles who often hangs out outside Spudnuts Donuts on Figueroa Street. He was born and raised in Los Angeles, never straying too far from the South Central area.

Hey Slim, do you have a joke for me?

Slim: “Um… yeah. Yeah, I know a joke. Uh… what do ya call a police helicopter in LA?”

I don’t know. What do you call a police helicopter in LA?

Slim: “Ya call it a hood vulture! They just… uh… flyin’ over lookin’ for some brothas to eat!”

Slim here illustrates what I would think many people growing up and living in South Central feel not only whenever they see a police helicopter in the sky but also whenever they see policemen on the ground in the city. Obviously, there are countless police brutality scandals that happen every year, and Slim’s joke represents what many of the subculture of inner-cities are worried about. When asked if South Central has its own culture, Slim replied, “Um… yeah. I would say definitely yeah. We have our own way to do things, I think.” So as a result, this joke comes to display the inner-city and, especially, the South Central mindset towards police.

[geolocation]